Yvette Felarca, one of the organizers of last week’s violent protests against Breitbart News Tech Editor MILO at the Berkeley Campus of the University of California told TV station KTVU has she has “no regrets” about the violence and that she believes that millions more should engage in militant leftist protest.
Felarca and the group she leads—the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary aka By Any Means Necessary or BAMN—has history of gain engaging in violent protest. She was an activist in the Occupy movement and in Black Lives Matter-connected protests at the University of California at Berkeley.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Friday that the administration “knew” who the protesters were, but there was no indication that Spicer was aware of the involvement of Felarca, who was involved last year in the Burlingame, California protest that forced Donald Trump and his Secret Service detail to leave their vehicle.
BAMN sees no distinction between admitted white supremecists and people who support President Trump, and considers both valid targets for attacks. Last summer, members of the neo-Nazi group the Traditionalist Workers Party on a permitted march were physically attacked by a group of about 400 protesters organized by BAMN.
During her recent interview, Felarca repeatedly attacked both MILO and former Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon—now the President’s chief strategist—using the exact same “white supremacist” lie recently used Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Felarca also argued that MILO was a deserving target of violence since he works for Breitbart News, saying:
Well, first of all, Milo Yiannopoulos is a fascist. He’s a white supremacist. He’s funded by Steve Bannon and Breitbart. He’s an accolade of Donald Trump. And he was on the UC Berkeley campus to try to recruit more fascists and to wage attacks on Muslim students, immigrant students, women and trans students.
Felarca readily admits to being part of the recent anti-MILO protests:
I was there and there was thousands of people out there who were united– it was a mass protest and it was a militant protest. And everyone was there to shut him down. And so whatever it was gonna take to do that, we were all there for the united cause and we were stunningly successful.
Felarca has openly advocated militant violence for years. In a 2014 interview, she told the New York Times:
“Riots are the voice of the unheard,” said Ms. Felarca, a Berkeley alumna. “You can never replace the lives of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, but you can always replace broken windows.”
Felarca also justified her group’s recent actions and said she felt they were setting an example for the left.
You know, I think that the left has been far too timid for way too long, and it’s why we’d even gotten in this position, where we even have someone like Donald Trump leading a fascist movement as the President of the United States. We need to make sure that we have more mass protests, more militant protests that are mass and militant. And the reality is, is that these aren’t people just putting forward their ideas. There’s white supremacists who’ve already murdered six Muslims just five days ago in Québec. There’s a women in Korea—from Korea, in Los Angeles who was just beaten down by a white supremacist.
Felarca says the that mobs have an “obligation” to “defend themselves” against free speech:
We have a right to defend ourselves. And not only a right, we have an obligation to do that. Not just for each other, but for our communities…
The right-wing and the fascists in this country already have a spokesperson and they already found one in Trump, Steve Bannon, and also now Milo. But now what I think was so important about our success on Wednesday, which is why it should be the model for how the movement needs to take things now in the future.
Felarca called for millions of people to rise up in violence against President Trump and his supporters:
[W]e need to make sure the millions of people out there who are angry and who are scared under Donald Trump and everything he’s doing now know there are people out there who will stand up and fight the way the movement needs to. Clearly,Wednesday was not business as usual. It was people fighting united in a mass effort—a united effort—by any means necessary.
BAMN leader Felarca also blamed others for the violence her group caused.
One: Chancellor Dirks is responsible for anything that happened. And if the business community is upset, they should join the professors and students and community members who are demanding that Dirks step down immediately. Because he had a chance to cancel the event, to make sure it didn’t happen. There were hundreds of professors that demanded that, for safety reasons. He didn’t listen.
Two: A few broken windows is nothing compared to the lives that are at stake. And if that’s what it takes in order to make sure more people don’t get targeted—if that’s what it takes to make sure Milo Yiannopoulos or another white supremacist is not welcome or allowed to come to UC Berkeley and attack our community, then good. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen in the future.
The BAMN leader also makes it clear that more violent protests are on the way from her group:
I think what we gotta do is we gotta draw lessons from this in terms of how we can build and build even stronger, how we can make sure we build the movement, and also that we continue to organize. Because it’s not spontaneous. This is about organizing and fighting by any means necessary.
BAMN has connections to, of all places, teacher’s unions. In an article from 2012 entitled “BAMN Pushes Teachers Unions Toward Radicalism,” the leftist site In These Times talked about BAMN:
A student-teacher alliance that operates as a joint caucus within the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA), BAMN uses litigation and direct action to combat racial inequality throughout the public education system. Its work ranges from organizing against school closings to fighting for greater black and Hispanic representation at public universities.
Teachers are scared of BAMN, too, as the article points out:
Several teachers and observers (who agreed to comment on condition of anonymity) cited run-ins with pushy or persistent BAMN organizers, or accuse BAMN of alienating potential supporters by inciting physical confrontation at actions or taking overly uncompromising stances.
In that 2012 article, Felarca makes exactly the same claim of “self-defense” that she used to justify the violence in Berkley.
“Accusations of violence should be directed against the police or administrators… in instances of confrontation,” Felarca says in response. “We believe every movement has a right to defend itself.”
In another 2012 article, Felarca was described as a “Northern California Coordinator of BAMN and a middle school teacher in Berkeley.”
The Trump Administration has given no indication so far that intends to crack down on the rising tide of leftist political violence by prosecuting groups openly advocating violence such as BAMN.