Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

August Twenty-Ninth Movement

Masses Demonstrate Against Bakke! A Communist View

First Published: Revolutionary Cause, Vol. 2, No. 4, June 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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**Over 300 angry students disrupted a University of California Board of Regents meeting May 20 to protest the racist Bakke decision. After a brief rally in front of the UC Extension in San Francisco, the Black, Asian, white, and Chicano demonstrators charged inside the building. Police grabbed two protestors, but the demonstrators freed them. There were no arrests and the Regents had to temporarily adjourn the meeting. The demonstration called by the United Students Against Bakke was important because for the first time significant numbers of Black students participated, mainly from San Francisco State and Sacramento City College.

** May 7, over 1500 people marched through downtown Los Angeles to register opposition to Bakke. Organized by the California MEChA Central (statewide Chicano student organization), students came from, as far away as Humboldt in the far North, to Calexico on the Mexican border. The largest single group marching was the Multi-National Contingent made up of the East LA Committee for Democratic Rights, Skyhorse/Mohawk Defense Committee, Little Tokyo People’s Rights Organization, Black Survival Union, and others as well as communist groups such as East Wind Organization and ATM(M-L).


As the mass movement against the Bakke decision grows, the struggle as to how to defeat Bakke intensifies. Communists and-revolutionary forces have been playing an active role in the movement. ATM (M-L) believes that only a multi-national revolutionary movement will defeat the Bakke Decision and the cutbacks in minority enrollment. The question is how.

Target imperialism. The Bakke Decision is an attack on the democratic rights of national minorities. Before UC instituted its special admissions program, only 2 blacks and 1 Chicano got into UC Davis Medical School. Even after the program was in full swing, out of every 100 admissions, only 16 were reserved for minorities.

The capitalist courts handed down the Bakke decision in the midst of imperialist economic crisis. NY schools have eliminated open admissions because of “lack of funds .” Across the country, the capitalists are cutting back special funds and programs for national minorities. The Supreme Court hopes to pit Anglos against national minorities for the few remaining admissions slots and financial aid. Imperialism is responsible for the Bakke Decision; we must show students and workers that the Bakke Decision is one more example of how imperialism oppresses large entire nations and peoples. As the ATM (M-L) speaker at the May 7 demonstration noted: “We must bring together the kind of revolutionary movement that will not only over-turn Bakke but lay the groundwork to overturn the rotten capitalist system that is responsible for Bakke.”


In the strictly legal sense, the Bakke Decision so far affects students and California government employees. The vast majority of people mobilized against Bakke have been students and intellectuals employed in education. Should the US Supreme Court uphold Bakke, corporations will use it as an excuse to deny special hiring and promotions for national minority workers. Some workers have begun to spontaneously take up the issue of Bakke. At the recent United Auto Workers Convention the United Latin Caucus introduced a resolution against the Bakke Decision; it was ignored by the top UAW leadership.

Communist organizations like ATM and I Wor Kuen have been among the few groups actively taking the Bakke issue beyond the campuses. Communists and class conscious workers passed anti-Bakke resolutions in the UAW #1364 in Freemont, California, and the United Steelworkers of Local #1981 plans to hold a workers’ meeting on the Bakke case. As the ATM speaker said on May 7, “The working class is the most powerful class in this society. When workers stop work the machines grind to a halt, the services stop, and the profits stop for the capitalists. We must consciously reach out to the plants and unions to involve workers in the anti-Bakke movement.”


Chicano students were the first to actively organize against Bakke and in Southern California; they have been the main organizers and participants in the mass mobilizations. This is a good thing and is a reflection of the renewal of the Chicano student movement. But Bakke is an attack on all national minority students; all of whom face cutbacks in admissions, special programs, and financial aid. Bakke is an attack on all of these hard-won gains secured in the fight against national oppression. Bakke wants to pit whites against oppressed nationalities – to divert them from the common struggle against imperialism. Only through a determined fight against Bakke by ALL nationalities; only through a determined fight against all national oppression in education – can we forge the unity of all students.

Communists have helped to build this type of unity in organizing all nationalities in the May 20 disruption of the Regents and the May 7 Multi-National Contingent (although oppressed nationalities were clearly in the majority). In that contingent people of various nationalities marched together behind banners reading, “Unite All Races to Oppose Bakke,” “Freedom and Equality for Oppressed Nationalities,” and “Black Self-Determination is a Must.” It is clear that a hard and consistent fight against all forms of national oppression is the real key to building multi-national unity.


The struggle against Bakke and against national oppression will intensify. The MEChA’s from throughout California are planning to initiate a multi-national, nation-wide demonstration for the Fall of 1977. All revolutionary and progressive forces should plan to participate and to help build the revolutionary movement which will defeat not only Bakke, but the entire imperialist system.