The Effectiveness of the UC Berkeley Riots

Riots at UC Berkeley

Riots at UC Berkeley

On February 1st, riots erupted from peaceful protests on the University of California-Berkeley campus because of a scheduled talk by controversial right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos. According the university, 150 maskers agitators created $100,000 worth of damage. In the end, the lecture by Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled.

Despite the fact that the initial intent of the riots was ultimately achieved, what can be said about the effectiveness of violence to accomplish goals? The feelings behind the riots were understandable. Yiannopoulos has said extremely controversial things in the past.

However, there is a limit to what should be done. At the point where violence is insinuated against the idea of free speech, nobody wants to take a movement seriously. With that, if the protests had been peaceful, would they have been equally effective?

Because of these riots, there is a certain irony that can be explored. In the 1960’s, there was a free speech movement at the UC Berkley campus.  Fifty years later, it can be said there are protests against this same thing. This raises the question of whether or not causing $100,000 worth of damage was even worth it.

All in all, whether or not the riots were effective could be argued on both sides. Some say violence was needed and others say not only was it too much, but it was also uncalled for. However, most people would agree that violence is not an approach that should be taken unless absolutely necessary.