At least 10 people were arrested in the aftermath of violent clashes between Trump supporters and counter protesters at a pro-Trump rally in Berkeley, California over the weekend. Confiscated by police were a dagger, metal pipes, bats, pieces of lumber and bricks. 7 people were injured.
The video below captures one of the more intense sequences of the violent clashes. Are we seeing the beginnings of a low intensity civil war between the right and left in America? Previous clashes in California include a riot in Berkeley this past February that forced the cancellation of a talk to be given by Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial conservative author and public speaker as well as clashes in Sacremento in June of 2016 between white nationalists and leftists that left 10 wounded.
In the video of the chaos a number of factions and flags are present. A man wielding a gold and black flag is dragged off by black clad counter protestors and apparently beaten while a man with a shield and stick beats counter protesters. Pepper spray appears to be deployed on both sides. Who are these people and what do their flags represent?
Anarcho-capitalism is a political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty, private property, and free markets. Anarcho-capitalists believe that, in the absence of statute (law by decree or legislation), society would improve itself through the discipline of the free market (or what its proponents describe as a “voluntary society”).
At least two Anarcho-Capitalist flags were present in the skirmish, being held by people fighting counter protesters. One person holding an Anarcho-Capitalist flag is dragged off and beaten by counter protesters under a black flag while another uses his flag staff to hit counter protesters.
Anarchist Black Flag
A small, black anarchist flag can be seen among the counter protesters as they drag off and beat a man carrying an Anarco-Capitalist, gold and black flag. The black flag is a universal symbol carried by all types of anarchists. Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions. These are often described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more specifically as institutions based on non-hierarchical free associations. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful.
Why are Anarchists fighting one another?
Anarcho-capitalists and advocates of other forms of anarchism, particular anarchists on the left (who were likely prevalent among the counter protesters), do not always get along. There is no full consensus on either side regarding the actions taken by fellow anarchists at the Berkeley Pro Trump rally. However, some anarcho-capitalists defend the actions taken by their comrades as defense of free speech and as defense against the violence championed by elements of the authoritarian left against people on the political right. Some anarchists on the left justify the violence used against pro-Trump ralliers and the anarcho-capitalists in attendance as self defense against fascist elements in society.
The website you are currently reading, AttackTheSystem.com, is highly critical of actions taken by anarchists on left to suppress free speech and we often become the target of criticism from Antifa and the authoritarian left. Neither do we advocate in-fighting between anarcho-capitalists and other anarchists. The participation of anarchists on either side of what may very well be a low-intensity civil war is potentially counter-productive to the anarchist project.
Other flags present and the factions they represent
The United States flag and the flag of Soviet Union should need no introduction. The US flag was carried by pro Trump ralliers, including one man who came to the rally dressed for melee battle in full armor and can be seen hitting counter protesters with a stick. The communist Hammer and Sickle can be seen in the background, likely carried by a counter protester. Communists and leftwing anarchists are typically allied with one another in the US, especially when it comes to fighting and opposing what they see as fascist elements in society. In the Berkeley skirmish it would appear that anarcho-capitalists were aligned with US flag wielding Trump supporters.
It should be noted that there is plenty of debate among leftwing anarchists and anarcho-capitalists with regards to alliances with authoritarian branches of communism and capitalism. There are leftwing anarchist critics of alliances with communism, and anarcho-capitalist critics of alliances with Trump supporters. Synthesis anarchist movements also exist which advocate for an alliance between left and rightwing anarchists, including the site you are reading.