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‘ZOMBIE BOYS IN BLACK MASKS’

Inside the black bloc, the decades-old violent tactic that divides liberals and wreaked havoc at Berkeley

@maxkutner

IT WAS THE first black bloc for Neil Lawrence, a third-year undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. He had demonstrated with Black Lives Matter and seen people in bandannas show up at events and smash things. But after the Berkeley College Republicans announced controversial Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos would be speaking on campus, Lawrence decided it was time for a more aggressive form of protest. “It became clear to me and my close friends that the tone of living in America is changing, and in order to stop being scared, we started organizing,” he says. “I, a transgender Jew, don’t have a problem with violence against fascists.”

Through a friend who was involved in the local Antifa (anti-fascist) group, Lawrence learned activists were planning a black bloc. As a 5-feet-2-inch person who has never been in a fight, he says he wanted the safety that comes from being part of an anonymous mob. On February 1, hours before Yiannopoulos was about to speak, Lawrence and around 150 others gathered of campus where Antifa told them to meet. They got their gear and outits ready. He was dressed in all black and had a T-shirt wrapped around his face, leaving a slit for his eyes. A person with a megaphone told the group the route they’d be marching, and they set of toward campus. Along the way, they chanted, “No borders, no nations, fuck deportation.” Lawrence didn’t carry anything, but others had lags and projectiles.

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THE WAR ON ALZHEIMER'S This aggressive attempt to prevent Alzheimer’s rather than treating it is the most exciting new development in decades, as well as a radical departure for researchers and the pharmaceutical industry. Traditionally, drug companies have tested their therapies on patients who already have memory loss, trouble thinking and other signs of dementia. It’s been a losing tactic: More than ninety nine percent of all Alzheimer’s drugs have failed tests in the clinic, and the few that have made it to the market only ameliorate some symptoms. No single medicine has been shown to slow the relentless progression of the disease. However this new approach, even partial success an appreciable slowing of brain degeneration could have a big impact, says Dr. Reisa Sperling, a neurologist who directs the Center for Alzheimer’s Researc.
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