Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
“Bernie is asking for a political revolution and college students are some of the main demographic he is speaking to,” Elizabeth Prier, communications director for the Young Democrats of Watauga County, told students at Appalachian State University’s Plemmons Student Union.
That was a year ago.
This year, Prier became one of four ASU students arrested for spray painting “F— Trump,” “F— Cops” and “Black Lives Matter” on a police car and stores in downtown Boone, North Carolina.
Watauga County is divided between rural conservative voters and the students of Appalachian State University. Boone has a smaller population than the number of students at ASU. The tug of war between residents and students made it a swing county going by very narrow margins from Obama to Romney.
The Watauga County Board of Elections had been forced to add an early voting site on campus so that ASU students wouldn’t be expected to walk a few blocks over to vote even while rural voters were being disenfranchised and expected to travel for miles. ASU students won. And the natives lost.
Hillary Clinton won Watauga County, but it didn’t give her the state. And the ASU leftists lashed out.
At four in the morning, the four feminists went to work. The Appalachian Antique Mall, its cozy windows still filled with shining lights and gifts, was defaced with hateful scrawls of “Black Lives Matter” and “Ruled by White Supremacy”. Earth Fare, an organic food supermarket, was denounced for “Neoliberalism”. The term is largely associated with the anti-free enterprise radical left.
The Dan’l Boone Inn, a family restaurant in one of the oldest buildings in town serving Southern Fried Chicken and Black Cherry Preserves, was smeared. The vandals did their worst to a Boone police cruiser.
ASU facilities had also been vandalized making it all too easy to figure out who was responsible. A tip to High Country Crime Stoppers located the culprits who were predictably ASU students.
The four, Elizabeth Prier, 22,, Julia Grainger, 22, Taryn Bledsoe, 22, and Hannah Seay, 21 were part of Appalachian State University’s social justice crowd. The meaning of what happened to them goes beyond the vandalism in downtown Boone. It was the endpoint of the indoctrination into extremism on campuses across the country that transforms students into vandals and violent protesters.
How did Elizabeth Prier go from campaigning from Bernie Sanders to vandalism within a year?
Prier had headed up communications for LIPS: Expressions of Female Sexuality. The self-described “lesbian feminist” had also co-founded FEM Radio to discuss “gender and minority issues”.
Julia Grainger is the Director of Marketing for the Appalachian Social Justice Educators club. ASJE is the center of social justice radicalization at ASU. Its logo is a black power fist. Julia had made headlines in the past for attacking a fraternity’s efforts to combat sexual assault. She had denounced fraternities as, “hyper-masculine, rape culture perpetrating cesspools” and their members as, “sexist, racist, homophobic, ignorant trash.”
During her rant, Julia quoted Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Pedagogy is a Marxist text that is widely used in teacher-training. But its brand of education is indoctrinating students to their role in the struggle between the “oppressors” and the “oppressed”. It is how “social justice educators” are manufactured.
Julia and the other vandals believed that they were the oppressed. They had been taken in as teenagers and had been transformed into exactly what the modern college education had been designed to achieve. The vandalism was not out of step with their education at ASU. It was the intended outcome.
Hannah Seay condemned “environmental racism” and had taken part in the Intersect social justice “three-day immersion retreat aimed at empowering students to take positive action on our campus”. Its logo, like much of campus social justice activism, was also the black power fist. Such retreats can resemble cult indoctrination sessions in which individual identity is beaten down through criticism.
Protesting a North Carolina bill to protect women from being attacked by men in the bathroom, Seay described it as “a reflection of a state that relentlessly enacts violence upon black and brown queer and trans communities.” You did not have to listen too hard to hear the hatred or the radicalism.
Like some of the other alleged vandals, Prier was obsessed with identity politics. Her social media shows the effect that the new academic obsession with deconstructing identity appeared to be having on her young psyche.
“This semester has been such a transformation as far as my gender identity goes and I couldn’t be more thankful,” Elizabeth wrote early in her time at Appalachian.
“Some days I wake up and I don’t feel like a girl at all,”
The gender class that Elizabeth was taking at Appalachian State University had changed her sense of self. And she wasn’t alone. Obsession with gender and identity was a running theme among the vandals.
Identity politics deconstructs identity and takes the resulting confusion, anger and frustration, and directs it outward in pursuit of the left’s radical causes. Identity politics studies resemble classic brainwashing techniques used by cults and totalitarian governments. These brainwashing techniques for deconstructing and reconstructing identity are most effective when practiced on the young.
The four were the product of the same process that has spread protests, assaults and faked hate crimes across so many campuses. Campus identity politics studies are a taxpayer funded violent campus cult that seeks to create a fanatical following willing to do anything in the name of its utopian ideal while expanding its influence through lies and threats. Like cults, identity politics offers a false sense of love while spreading paranoia, violence and hatred among its followers.
While Appalachian may not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of radical campuses, leftist radicalism had become deeply embedded in the former teacher’s college. Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies at ASU is headed by Kim Q. Hall. Hall was the co-author of “Whiteness” which encouraged “resistance” to whiteness. The ASU campus features a “Tunnel of Oppression”.
Controversy flared up last year when racist “white privilege” boards denouncing white students, Christians and women were put up by social justice activists. A student who objected to its hateful leftist message faced harassment and threats. One message said: “This white girl deserves all of the cyberbullying because she’s white and has never experienced oppression.”
The associate director of University Housing-Residence Life refused requests to remove the hate board.
And violence was never very far from the mix. The Appalachian Social Justice Educators club could be seen promoting Rayquan Borum who had shot another protester at a Black Lives Matter protest for Keith Lamont Scott. Even though Borum had admitted to the crime and the attack was caught on video, the racist Black Nationalist movements behind the protests have spread claims that Borum was framed.
Instead of protecting students from social justice hate, ASU administrators instead chose to intimidate them. A Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) was rolled out to deal with “unwelcome” speech.
But when actual criminal acts are committed by social justice activists, administrations ignore them. They have to because the ugly truth is that left-wing hate on campus does not come from without, but from within. The women who vandalized local businesses and the campus had been radicalized on campus. When ASU administrators refused to denounce hateful acts, such as the privilege hate boards, they opened the door for their racist messages being scrawled on a larger and more illegal scale.
When the Boone police department announced that the women had been identified, social media messages from other radical students cheered the perpetrators. The supporters had social media profiles touting everything from white privilege to the black panthers to white genocide.
What happened in ASU is a snapshot of what is taking place in campuses across America. Radical indoctrination metastasizes into radical action. What begins with online harassment and minor vandalism escalates into physical violence and terrorism. The old lessons of the sixties are being retaught all over again. And the old battles against leftist campus radicalism must be refought.