Nato’s-eye view of the Berkeley march (

Peaceful protesters sing at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley on Aug. 27. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

By Monday after the Berkeley march against hate, the SF Chronicle website prominently featured three articles about violence. The lead article had 11 paragraphs about an “army” of a mysterious menace Antifa “violently routing” a right-wing rally. If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t know the right-wing rally consisted of no one. If you didn’t suffer 11 paragraphs about a dozen arrests, you wouldn’t know that 10,000 people enjoyed a peaceful march — less violent than any major sporting event. If you didn’t scroll to the bottom of the Chronicle page, you wouldn’t have seen coverage of any peaceful aspect of the rallies’ hate. The headline could have been, “Who Organized a Diverse Antiracist March of Thousands, and also a few people got punched.”

I was there. When Antifa arrived at the front of the march, I thought it was a BDSM contingent. I saw reporters idling, waiting for violence to photograph and ignoring everyone else. The videos that purport to show Antifa’s excesses as much show a scrum of photographers toting a small fortune in camera gear. Providing dozens of angles of a few fights and ignoring thousands of peaceful marchers tells a story.

It’s the wrong story.

The marches didn’t come from nowhere. The Bay Area has a lot of organizers who get the job done, who rarely get the benefit of puff pieces and personality profiles. Here’s my quick and woefully incomplete brainstorm of heroes behind the scenes who deserve more attention …

For years, San Francisco progressives bemoaned our failure to maintain an enduring labor/community coalition. Now, we have Jobs with Justice, SF Rising, and SF Tenants and Families. SF Rising is a 501c4 created by racial justice nonprofits to do political and electoral organizing in communities where they had a base. Since these three interlocking structures launched, there is a permanent coalition of progressive unions and community organizations, like the Chinese Progressive Association. This is the political apparatus behind all progressive organizing and policy in San Francisco of the last five years.

Those relationships provided an easy transition for a similar constellation of organizers to convene Bay Resistance to plan direct action responses to Trump and the right-wing agenda. Bay Resistance, the Democratic Socialists, Showing Up for Racial Justice, and others were among the range of groups responsible for the scale and sophistication of the rallies against white supremacy in the Bay. You would have missed it if you only watched the news, but they were doing large-scale direct-action trainings, around the clock logistical coordination, security preparations and interfacing with other coalitions, politicians and faith groups.

The media coverage focused entirely on politicians or the truly miniscule amount of actual violence that occurred or random people on the street and their signs. You wouldn’t know that long-standing organizations with deep roots in Bay Area communities and ties of solidarity built over years of common work made the marches so successful and positive. The only press that even noticed Bay Resistance was the Christian Science Monitor.

Reporters, like everyone, are always looking for ways to make their jobs easier. By not taking the time to understand the context of how organizations and movements rise and fall, our media tells the public a story of how change happens. It’s a story of sudden eruptions and politicians, which teaches readers that they are powerless.

If you tell the stories of the work in the trenches, mostly done by women and people of color, change is demystified. It doesn’t happen spontaneously. Political power comes out of the barrel of a to-do list. We need more stories about ACCE, Unitarians, Jewish social justice groups, AROC, the anti-gentrification groups, Center for Media Justice, Anti-Police Terror Project and EBASE.

Who else am I missing?

So if you’re a reporter, including for this newspaper, and your default is to give a platform yet again to white men, including me, you’re part of the problem.

Nato Green is a San Francisco-based comedian and union organizer. See him live for Verdi Wild Things Are at the Verdi Club on Thursday, Sept. 14.

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Martin Luther King, Jr., from his 1963 “Letter From Birmingham Jail”

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says:  ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action.'”

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San Francisco could become first local government to use open-source voting system (

By Dominic Fracassa

September 3, 2017 

John Arntz, the director of the Department of Elections in San Francisco, at City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif. Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle

Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle.  John Arntz, the director of the Department of Elections in San Francisco, at City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif.

San Francisco has taken a tentative step toward deciding on whether it will become the first local government in the country to run its voting machines on open-source software.

The notion of shifting away from using proprietary technology sold by private companies to computer code made freely available for anyone to use and modify has been talked about for years. But it’s been getting more attention since the city allocated $300,000 to study the issue.

Last week, Elections Director John Arntz opened discussions with Slalom, a consulting group selected by the city to prepare a detailed report on what San Francisco would face if it decides go to an open-source voting system. The report is expected to be finished by January at a cost of around $175,000.

Proponents of open-source voting systems say local governments using them would be able to hold elections with an unprecedented level of control, transparency and security. It’s a concept that’s gaining wider attention nationwide given the specter of vote tampering that arose during last year’s presidential election.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has said he would support an open-source voting system, assuming it could pass the state’s certification protocols. In April, Padilla endorsedthe Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2018, which seeks $450 million to upgrade the state’s antiquated voting machines. Some of that money could be spent by county elections officials to research and develop open-source voting systems.

Supporters say open-source systems would be reliable because they can be constantly assessed by a swarm of programmers who can spot bugs and recommend improvements before election day.

“To put it simply, you want to have as many eyes on the code as possible,” said Brent Turner, secretary of the California Association of Voting Officials, a group dedicated to implementing open-source voting systems.

Open-source software could allow the city to more fully understand and adjust how votes are tallied. Currently, vendors of electronic voting equipment provide few details about how their machines operate, claiming those details are proprietary. Governments are also beholden to private vendors if they want to make a change to the software running the machines.

“You’re stuck with whatever they provide,” said Chris Jerdonek, president of the San Francisco Elections Commission and the chairman of the commission’s Open Source Voting System Technical Advisory Committee. “Open-source would give the city an opportunity to say, ‘We want to make a tweak,’ and then they’d be free to do that.”

Open-source proponents also say governments could save money by reducing their reliance on outside vendors. Just how much San Francisco might save isn’t totally clear, but for the past 11 years, the city has spent an average of $2 million annually on its voting equipment, which it buys from Dominion Voting Systems. This year, the city renewed its contract with Dominion through 2018 for $2.3 million.

There are doubters, however.

Many technology and security experts stress that open-source software is not inherently more secure just because a lot of people are looking for bugs and plugging security holes.

“Software designed for inspection tends to be ‘better’ — although transparency does not magically improve security,” said Deirdre Mulligan, an associate professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information.

And Jack Miller, the chief information security officer at SlashNext, a cybersecurity firm, questioned whether an open-source voting project could attract enough skilled volunteers to police the software code effectively.

But Turner said the term “open source” can be a bit of a misnomer, suggesting that the code is open to inspection and alteration at any time. In reality, Turner said, access to the code could be controlled by the city, even if it remains visible to the public.

“It’s a publicly held code that can be locked down before it’s utilized in a real election,” Turner said. And if hackers do manage to manipulate the code, “with an open-source system, someone will see it and you’ll have all these smarty-pants try to outshine each other to fix the problem. They’re the proofreaders,” Turner said.

Any hope of receiving additional funding to exploring open-source voting will be “fully contingent” on the consulting firm’s findings in January, said Jerdonek, the elections commissioner. The biggest potential roadblock, he said, is getting city officials to take the risk of being the first in the nation to try it.

Dominic Fracassa is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @dominic fracassa

Dominic Fracassa

Dominic Fracassa

City Hall Reporter

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Schwarzenegger’s bipartisan next political act: Terminating gerrymandering (

September 4, 2017 

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a master at marketing, having scaled to the top of three different professions.

But these days, the former bodybuilder and movie star is taking on perhaps his biggest sales challenge since he made “Last Action Hero”: He’s trying to get people to care about redistricting, the critical but arcane process of drawing political districts.

How those boundaries are drawn, block by block, once every decade, can determine which party controls the state legislatures and Congress. In many states, the process is overseen by a few politicians or whichever party dominates the legislature. That often leads to gerrymandering — districts created to favor a single party

This distortion perpetuates a system in which 98 percent of House members are regularly re-elected in politically safe districts and is a big reason gridlock continues in Washington: The same players return year after year with no real fear of competition at home.

That lack of competition, Schwarzenegger said, has made voters think the system is rigged. And that frustration, he said, led many to vote for President Trump.

“People elected an outsider because of frustration,” Schwarzenegger said. “That’s one way of reaction. The other way is to fix the system.”

The 70-year-old is at the forefront of a push to change that system.

Challenges to existing redistricting systems are moving through courts in several states, with a pivotal case scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court next month. Former President Barack Obama said overhauling redistricting will be one of his post-presidency priorities. This month, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, fronted by former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder and others, will ramp up its operations, focusing on changing redistricting procedures in several states, either through the ballot box or court challenges.

But Schwarzenegger could be the movement’s most influential voice.

“Nobody is probably going to change their opinion about redistricting because President Obama and Eric Holder talk about it,” said Eric Rauchway, a professor of history at UC Davis. “They might if Schwarzenegger does. He has his own platform. He’s a celebrity. And he’s a moderate Republican.”

Plus, Schwarzenegger has redistricting street cred. In 2008, he led the passage of Proposition 11 that set up a nonpartisan citizens commission to draw the boundaries for California’s legislative seats. Two years later, voters approved a measure that enabled the commission to draw the lines for California’s congressional districts as well.

The key to talking about redistricting and gerrymandering, Schwarzenegger said, is to keep it simple.

“The mistake that a lot of people make is to talk about the details,” Schwarzenegger said during a recent phone interview. “Don’t start with the details, because then people see the pine needles but not the forest.”

The twist: If the Republican Schwarzenegger and his allies across the political spectrum, including Obama, Holder and Common Cause, are successful in taking the redistricting out of the hands of partisan officials, “there’s every reason to believe that Democrats would benefit from a more neutral” way of drawing the lines, Rauchway said.

But Schwarzenegger, who has tried to cultivate a “post-partisan” image since leaving office in 2011, disagreed that improving redistricting is designed to create a partisan outcome.

“It’s an issue where there should be no advantage or disadvantage to any party,” Schwarzenegger said. “It is meant to be an advantage for the people.”

And that’s why he’s directing his pitch at the mass market.

He’s been crafting his antigerrymandering campaign just as he would one of his action movies. He’s created a villain (Congress, entrenched politicians in general). He’s come up with a couple of memorable one-liners about his enemy — “(Congress) couldn’t even beat herpes in the polls.” And he explains the path to a happy ending: “Gerrymandering must be destroyed. You must demand gerrymandering reform in all 50 states.”

Instead of dropping in on late-night talk shows to promote his new project, Schwarzenegger is drawing a mass audience to the issue by starring in a series of short, funny videos, heavily salted with quotations from his movies, that have gone viral. Each explains the issue in simple, easy-to-understand terms.

“Gerrymandering has created an absurd reality,” Schwarzenegger says looking straight into the camera in one video, “where politicians now pick their voters instead of the voters picking their politicians.”

Through San Francisco’s CrowdPac, an online fundraising platform, he’s raising money online ($98,217 as of Friday) to help fund a legal challenge to Wisconsin gerrymandering that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 3. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the case “perhaps the most important” that the court will hear all year. Schwarzenegger will match what is raised online and likely kick in more support, as legal bills could approach $1 million.

He has spent much of the last week on the phone trying to arm-twist Republican members of Congress into signing onto an amicus brief in the Wisconsin case. It’s been a tough recruiting effort. While politicians tell him privately that they support him, they’re hesitant to publicly sign something that party leaders think could be their political death warrant.

Republicans have mastered the redistricting process thanks to a concerted effort in 2010 to win state-level races that enabled them to draw the political maps to their advantage. The result is a strong majority in the House of Representatives that Democrats are unlikely to break unless they can redraw the maps into more competitive districts after the next census in 2020, analysts said.

The GOP’s mastery of redistricting has helped them to dominate several levels of government. Since 2008, Democrats have lost more than 1,000 legislative seats across the country. Democrats hold 39 fewer seats in the House, three fewer in the Senate, and can claim 13 fewer Democratic governors than they did in 2007. The GOP controls 34 governor’s seats and dominates all branches of government in 26 states. Democrats control all three branches in only 15 states.

Schwarzenegger thinks that there will be more competitive races if the lines are drawn by non-politicians.

“Competition creates better performances,” Schwarzenegger said. “If someone is worried about competition, they will go out and perform better.”

Joe Garofoli is The San Francisco Chronicle’s senior political writer. Email: jgarofoli@sfchronicle.comTwitter: @joegarofoli

Joe Garofoli

Joe Garofoli

Senior Political Writer

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Updates & Announcements (from Adrienne Fong)

Please check Indybay for other listings:

Listed are a few events- still having computer issues. 


A.  Trump ends DACA, but gives Congress window to save it (September 5)

     (See items # 2 & 10)

B.  How ‘Regime Change’ Wars Led to Korea Crisis (September 4)

C.  As Violence Intensifies, Israel Continues to Arm Myanmar’s Military Junta (September 4)

D.  I’m a black daughter of the Confederacy, and this is how we should deal with all those General Lees (August 27)


~ San Francisco ~

Occupy San Francisco Bulletin Board


Tuesday, September 5

1.  Tuesday, 3:00pm, Press conferenceFamilies of Patients Threatened by Closure of St Luke’s Hospital Subacute Unit Speak Out

SF City Hall
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Place

4:00pm Health Commission hearing.

Families of twenty-four severely ill patients at the St. Luke’s Hospital Subacute Unit, who face life-threatening transfers to far-away facilities, will tell their harrowing stories 

St. Luke’s owner, California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC), has announced the closure of all 79 Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) beds, including 40 subacute beds at St. Luke’s for October 31. These are the last Subacute Skilled Nursing beds in San Francisco.  Twenty-four extremely fragile ventilator-dependent patients are left, and CPMC is insisting on evicting them even though the closest comparable facilities are as far away as San Jose or even Los Angeles.  

The afflicted families, city leaders, nurses, and community groups that support them will be speaking at this press conference shortly before they testify at a San Francisco Health Commission meeting.

CPMC’s CEO, Warren Browner, insisted that there is no room for subacute patients in CPMC’s new 274-bed Cathedral Hospital or the new 120-bed St. Luke’s Hospital.  The Health Commission told Browner to come back to the next meeting on September 5, with a better plan. No plan has been put forward.

At its 4 PM meeting September 5, the Health Commission will rule whether CPMC’s closure of the St. Luke’s Skilled Nursing Facility, including the subacute unit, will have a detrimental effect on San Francisco’s health. 

2.  Tuesday, 5:00pm – 6:30pm, Emergency DACA Rally: No Deportations!

SF Federal Building
90 7th Street (@Mission)

Trump decided to end DACA today. DACA protects over 800,000 undocumented youth from deportation and was won through visionary organizing by immigrant youth themselves. 

Join us at the SF Federal Building to continue our fight against xenophobia and white supremacy. We stand in solidarity with all 11 million undocumented people. Join us to fight deportations and honor the resilience of our immigrant communities. 

Sponsor: Free SF, SFILEN, Bay Resistance


From people in the faith community:

We are looking for People of faith/interfaith folks/spiritual beings- who may be willing to do civil disobedience and risk arrest. Please email me – if you are ready to engage in such action – please include your telephone number.

Or if you are interested in learning more and getting prepared- but may not be quite ready yet – and would like more training or preparation. Email Sarah Lee –

Wednesday, September 6

3.  Wednesday 5:30pm – 6:30pm, PEACE VIGIL

Montgomery & Market Street, below Senator Feinstein’s office; directly above Montgomery BART / MUNI Station

Join us at the large PEACE or IMPEACH banner.

This week’s focus: “STOP URBAN SHIELD”

“The weekend of September 8th, Alameda County will host the controversial SWAT training, war games and weapons expo, Urban Shield. We will gather on September 8th, across communities, to end it & resist police militarization around the world!” 

All are welcomed!

4.  Wednesday, 9/6 – Saturday, 9/9, 2017 Soil Not Oil International Conference

Richmond Memorial Auditorium
403 Civic Center Plaza

Ticket info:

The global movement for environmental justice and a livable climate has brought international attention to the value of soils as a sink for the carbon accumulated in the atmosphere due to irresponsible consumption of fossil fuels. Increasing soil organic matter is the only practical way to mitigate climate chaos. 

Wednesday, 7:00pm-9:00pm,  Dr. Vandana Shiva, keynote speaker and beginning of 4 day conference

  See schedule for Wednesday – Saturday at:

Thursday, September 7

5.  Thursday, 10:00am – 11:00am, 1 Year; 5 Months – Monthly Celebration of Luis Gongora Pat

Luis’s Memorial site
Shotwell St. & 19th St.

Gather with family and friends. Come hear updates. Not officially posted. Check FB page for updates.

Luis was killed by SFPD on April 7, 2015.


6. Thursday, 6:30pm – 8:00pm, Free Speech: Wanna Fight About It”

Mechanics’ Institute
57 Post St.

Free; registration required

Ticket info;

The idea of free speech is suddenly up for grabs — even in the Bay Area, the home of the Free Speech Movement. With national leaders relentlessly attacking mainstream media as “fake news” and giving succor to those spewing hate speech, can the First Amendment survive intact?

Join the San Francisco Public Press for a candid panel discussion and debate moderated by Peter Scheer, the Public Press’ newest board member and former executive director of the First Amendment Coalition.

Host: The San Francisco Public Press


Friday, September 8 

7.  Friday, 4:00pm – 7:00pm All Out to Stop Urban Shield!

Alameda County Offices Board of Supervisors
1221 Oak St.

The weekend of September 8th, Alameda County will host the controversial SWAT training, war games and weapons expo, Urban Shield. We will gather on September 8th, across communities, to end it & resist police militarization around the world!” 

With the current manifestations of violence under the Trump administration, it is more important than ever to urge the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to end this racist, ableist, and Islamaphobic event and invest in emergency preparedness that benefits the health and wellbeing of our communities.

4PM // Rally at Alameda County Board of Supervisor’s Office, 1221 Oak St., Oakland CA
5PM // Community Fair at South Amphitheater Lake Merritt

Accessibility information: Space is wheelchair accessible and we will provide ASL translation.

Host: Stop Urban Shield


Saturday, September 9 

8.  Saturday, 10:30am – 1:00pm, Film: “Killing Them Safely, Documentary on TASERS”

San Francisco Main Library
100 Larkin St.


The SF Police Commission will be hosting 2 community meeting in the month of September on TASER and their potential deployment within SFPD. Before then, join us at the Main Branch of the SF public Library as we screen, “Killing them Safely”, an insightful documentary about Tasers and the industry that pushes them.
We will be hosting a Panel afterward and facilitation a group discussion.
Panel participants TBD

Info on two community hearings will be posted soon.

Sponsor: Coalition on Homelessness


9.  Saturday, 9/9, 10:00am – 4:00pm & Sunday 9/10, 10:00am- 2:00pm, Decolonization/Redistribution /Community Reparations Seminar

POOR Magazine
8032 MacArthur Blvd

Decolonization/Redistribution & Community Reparations seminar at PeopleSkool on the sacred land we unhoused, bordered, criminalized and displaced peoples cal Homefulness- with the goal of launching more Self-Determed poor and indigenous peoples led land reclamation movements like Homefulness across Mama Earth in this time of so much poor people/white supremacist hate, settler-colonizer theft and Sacred land desecration

This two day seminar is geared to bring/teach the medicine of hoarded wealth/inherited blood-stained dollars redistribution, settler colonizer decolonization, and Community reparations to as many folks as possible because poltrickster solutons are NOT solutions and we MUST spread POOR Magazine’s poverty skola-led solutions in this time of so much mass distraction, unhoused, gentriFUKEd, criminalized, mass incarcerated,racism/wite supremacized miseducated, silenced and intentionally dismantled peoples

Day 1&2 (Both Days) is required for Folks with Race, Class & or Formal Education Privilege

An application and sLiding Scale Tuition is Required and is the first part of each participant’s decolonizaiton. Please go to to download an applicaiton for folks with Race,class and/or formal educaion privilege. We will go lower than the listed tution – as low as $1.00 per person and you can also make payments, but please pay what is truly possible 

If you are confused its ok- kkkolonization and Settler colonizer theft is CONfusing- Race and/or class privilege and blud-stained dolla hoarding is CONfusing- its meant to be. Capitalism and all this stolen land is intentionally CONfusing- so come and begin the Healing-and climb with us out of the vortex of so much pain – into interdependence, transformation and redistribution


10.  Saturday, 2:00pm, DEFEND DACA!

Oscar Grant Plaza
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plz. (nr. 12th Street BART)

*** NOTE: This will be a RADICAL space. ICE officers, police, deportation service members, etc. ARE NOT WELCOME. And folks who support them are not welcome either. We are planning on creating a safe and inclusive environment–anyone who supports or is apart of law enforcement or other deportation services will disrupt the space that we are aiming to create. Be cautious and defend those under attack at whatever means necessary. ***

Immigrants have been under attack within Amerikkka for decades, now–it’s nothing new. However, the Trump Administration has recently sent out and initiated threats on our undocumented siblings, and it’s time that we show them solidarity and fight back against the normalization of Trump’s cruelty and bigotry. 

We must show up as a community in solidarity with those who are targeted by the threats on DACA made by Trump; and we must resist the hateful, misinformed actions that this administration is taking to further marginalize and oppress our fellow citizens. Ending DACA will affect over 11 million children—we must be prepared and ready to mobilize the SECOND one of their lives is under attack.

We invite all undacamented folks, families and allies to join us in a rally and march to show love and support for #DACA. We must show those affected that we stand with them, and those making the decision that we’ve already made it for them. We are here to stay! 

Please join us, this will be a peaceful demonstration centered around showing endless support and love for our community members who are under attack by this administration and ICE. 

If you are able to help provide bottled water/granola bars, OR if you or someone you know would be fit to speak at the rally, please contact


11.  Saturday, 7:30pm – 9:30pm, Occupy Everything: Buildings and Beyond

Omni Commons
4799 Shattuck Ave.

To celebrate the release of the second edition of second zine “Ours,” new title “All of Your Base Are Belong to Us!!!” our September Second Saturday Skillshare will explore direct action occupations with a panel of local organizers from Homes not Jails, Occupy the Farm and Land Action. From empty buildings to fallow farmland and other empty lots, we’ll be looking at the different ways the tactic of direct action occupation has manifested throughout the Bay Area.

We’re excited to announce the inclusion of Land Action’s guide to occupying vacant, tax foreclosed lots in the new edition of our collaborative zine with Occupy the Farm! Come be the first to see the freshly printed copies, available notaflof!

We will collect donations to support East Bay Homes not Jails and the Omni Commons.

Hosts: East Bay Homes Not Jails, Occupy the Farm


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Trump Administration Announces New $20 Bill Design Honoring Harriet Tubman’s Owners

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“Tyranny is the end game of prosperity.”

–Bret Weinstein is a biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., who supported Bernie Sanders, admiringly retweets Glenn Greenwald and was an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Weinstein, who identifies himself as “deeply progressive,” is just the kind of teacher that students at one of the most left-wing colleges in the country would admire. Instead, he has become a victim of an increasingly widespread campaign by leftist students against anyone who dares challenge ideological orthodoxy on campus.

This professor’s crime? He had the gall to challenge a day of racial segregation.

A bit of background: The “Day of Absence” is an Evergreen tradition that stretches back to the 1970s. As Mr. Weinstein explained on Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, “in previous years students and faculty of color organized a day on which they met off campus — a symbolic act based on the Douglas Turner Ward play in which all the black residents of a Southern town fail to show up one morning.” This year, the script was flipped: “White students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave campus for the day’s activities,” reported the student newspaper on the change. The decision was made after students of color “voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”

Mr. Weinstein thought this was wrong. The biology professor said as much in a letter to Rashida Love, the school’s Director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services. “There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles,” he wrote, “and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away.” The first instance, he argued, “is a forceful call to consciousness.” The second “is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.” In other words, what purported to be a request for white students and professors to leave campus was something more than that. It was an act of moral bullying — to stay on campus as a white person would mean to be tarred as a racist.

Reasonable people can debate whether or not social experiments like a Day of Absence are enlightening. Perhaps there’s a case to be made that a white-free day could be a useful way to highlight the lack of racial diversity, particularly at a proudly progressive school like Evergreen. Yet reasonable debate has made itself absent at Evergreen.

For expressing his view, Mr. Weinstein was confronted outside his classroom last week by a group of some 50 students insisting he was a racist. The video of that exchange — “You’re supporting white supremacy” is one of the more milquetoast quotes — must be seen to be believed. It will make anyone who believes in the liberalizing promise of higher education quickly lose heart. When a calm Mr. Weinstein tries to explain that his only agenda is “the truth,” the students chortle.

Following the protest, college police, ordered by Evergreen’s president to stand down, told Mr. Weinstein they couldn’t guarantee his safety on campus. In the end, Mr. Weinstein held his biology class in a public park. Meantime, photographs and names of his students were circulated online. “Fire Bret” graffiti showed up on campus buildings. What was that about safe spaces?

Watching the way George Bridges, the president of Evergreen, has handled this situation put me in mind of a line from Allan Bloom’s book “The Closing of the American Mind.” Mr. Bloom was writing about administrators’ reaction to student radicals in the 1960s, but he might as well be writing about Evergreen: “A few students discovered that pompous teachers who catechized them about academic freedom could, with a little shove, be made into dancing bears.”

At a town hall meeting, Mr. Bridges described the protestors as “courageous” and expressed his gratitude for “this catalyst to expedite the work to which we are jointly committed.” Of course, there was also pablum about how “free speech must be fostered and encouraged.” But if that’s what Mr. Bridges really believes, why isn’t he doing everything in his power to protect a professor who exercised it and condemn the mob that tried to stifle him?

The Weinstein saga is just the latest installment in a series of similar instances of illiberalism on American campuses. In March, a planned speech by Charles Murray at Middlebury ended with the political scientists escorted off campus by police and his interviewer, Professor Allison Stanger, in a neck brace. In April, a speech at Claremont McKenna by the conservative writer Heather Mac Donald had to be livestreamed when protestors blocked access to the auditorium.

Shutting down conservatives has become de rigueur. But now anti-free-speech activists are increasingly turning their ire on free-thinking progressives. Liberals shouldn’t cede the responsibility to defend free speech on college campuses to conservatives. After all, without free speech, what’s liberalism about?

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The Democratic Party can lead the country in a new direction, but will it?

Millions of Americans who are politically engaged for the first time in their lives are crying out for a bold alternative to bigoted and destructive policies.

But Democrats can’t just be anti-Trump or move to the middle.

To be successful Democrats must address the forces that created Trump: The toxic combination of widening inequality and racism.

The richest one percent now own more than the bottom 90 percent. Corporations and the rich are running our politics.

The resulting economic stresses have made many people vulnerable to Trump’s politics of hate and bigotry.

If Democrats stand for one thing, it must be overcoming this unprecedented economic imbalance and creating a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition of the bottom 90 percent, to take back our economy and politics.

This requires, at the least:

  1. Public investments in world-class schools and infrastructure for all.
  2. Free public universities and first-class technical training for all;
  3. Single-payer Medicare-for-All;
  4. Higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for this;
  5. Using antitrust to break up powerful monopolies on Wall Street, Big Tech, Big Pharma, and Big Agriculture.
  6. Getting big money out of our politics.

Together, these steps form an agenda to reclaim our economy and democracy for all. Will Democrats lead the way?

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