The city of Berkeley, California, denied a permit to hold an anti-Marxist rally over allegations from elected officials that the rally's real purpose is a march for white supremacy.
According to KPIX-TV, Berkeley Deputy City Manager Jovan Grogan told “No to Marxism” rally organizer Amber Cummings that her rally was denied because her permit application "was late, incomplete and doesn’t include critical information."
Cummings rally was scheduled at Berkeley’s Civic Center Park from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. According to Grogan, permission for rallies in major parks must be submitted 10 days before the rally is to take place. Cummings submitted her paperwork seven days before the rally's intended date.
Grogan told Cummings her permit ran into other problems, according to KPIX, including lack of arrangements for emergency medical services, and amplified sound permits.
“Given the totality of circumstances, we cannot issue a permit to you for the use of Civic Center Park on August 27, 2017,” Grogan told Cummings.
KPIX reported city officials believe the rally will occur anyway, despite the denial for a permit. Berkeley police told KPIX they are planning security measures for the rally and will intervene if things get violent.
City officials have pegged Cummings' rally as an event for white supremacy and have spoken out against it.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin characterized the event as a white nationalist rally during a news conference on the steps of Berkeley's City Hall on Tuesday. Arreguin claimed that social media posts promoting it contain "hate filled messages," and that people who became violent in Berkeley protests earlier this year said they planned to attend.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who represents Oakland, said the rally “represents a fundamental challenge to our community values, regardless of how the organizers are characterizing it.”
On the "No to Marxism" rally's Facebook page, however, Cummings rejected violence, promoted diversity, and bluntly told white supremacists they aren't welcome:
In Addition to the discription of the event i would like to add this caveat to my event page. I do not invite or condone anyone showing up to this event with the intent of starting violence. I also want to add I do not stand with any racist groups like the KKK , Neo Nazis, or any form of racist groups. You are not welcome at this event and please stay away. I myself am a transsexual female who embraces diversity and loves diversity. This event is not a event of hate speech it is a event about concerns of Marxism in America.
This event has people of all races, genders, and sexualities. This event is as diverse as it gets. We are all coming together in unification and to speak about the growing concern of Marxism. I will stress again I DO NOT STAND NOR CONDONE RACISM and if you are RACIST your not welcome at this event. Also I stress we want a peaceful NONE VIOLENT event that is my overgoal [sic]. Thank you so much and hope to see you there.
The rally's Facebook page indicates that it has more than 300 people claiming they will attend at this time.
Will the rally get violent?
It's possible — but not in the way Berkeley officials think.
The anti-Marxist rally will probably gather, chant, hold signs, then go home if left alone. The media would either ignore it, or — depending on the source — find a bad apple or two among the crowd and use them to represent the rally's entire demographic.
However, the DailyWire reported on Thursday that a Marxist Antifa group called By Any Means Necessary plans to intercept Cummings' rally in order to "counteract" a "white supremacist rally."
Antifa is habitually violent against any group it comes across, even Black Lives Matter, or its own members. Their tactics to harm, or intimidate their opposition has driven many to sign a petition for Washington to legally qualify them as a terrorist organization.
Seeing as how Antifa is a group that actively promotes violence against those they disagree with, the safe bet is that violence will occur between Cummings' rally and By Any Means Necessary, but it likely won't be started by the former.