Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

I Wor Kuen

Editorial – Future direction of the anti-Bakke Decision struggle

First Published: Getting Together, Vol. VIII, No. 11, November 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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October 15, the National Day of Solidarity Against the Bakke Decision; marked a big step forward for the growing anti-Bakke movement nationwide. The October marches and rallies, culminating many months of intense work by committees around the country, brought thousands upon thousands of people onto the streets, united around the demands: Smash the Bakke Decision! Down with National Oppression!

The October 15 demonstrations were significant in that large numbers of oppressed nationalities and students, and some workers from various industries such as auto, steel, postal, transportation, electronics and others, participated. This reflected the correct orientation over the past months of rooting the anti-Bakke struggle in the workplaces, on the campuses and in the communities, and in this way building the day-to-day struggles of the masses against national oppression and class exploitation.

The marches and demonstrations signaled the growing consciousness among large numbers of people that the anti-Bakke struggle must be linked to the struggle against national oppression and its source – the system of imperialism. Many people carried placards and banners with slogans calling upon the people of all nationalities to unite to defeat the Bakke decision, struggle to end the system of imperialism and national oppression, and unite with working and oppressed peoples of the world against the two main enemies of the world’s people, the U.S. and the Soviet Union.


The October mobilizations reaffirmed the perspectives that have united the great majority of students, community organizations and working people involved in the anti-Bakke movement around the country: that of relying on the masses of people to defeat Bakke, uniting people of all nationalities in the struggle, opposing the systematic oppression of Third World people in the U:S., and targetting the Courts, the U.C. Regents, the labor bureaucrats and all other representatives of the monopoly capitalist class in the struggle against the Bakke decision.

In the course of uniting the majority of people around these perspectives, it has been necessary to wage a sharp struggle against the views and strategy being promoted by certain reformist forces in the movement. This struggle focused initially around their viewing the U.C. Regents as a “tactical ally,” and then as a “secondary target” in the anti-Bakke struggle. This incorrect view failed to expose that the Regents have systematically colluded with the courts to use the Bakke Decision to attack Third World programs on the campuses and have tried to create the illusion that the Regents could be relied upon to “defend minority rights” through legal battles in court. This incorrect view leads to only lead the movement to defeat. In focusing on the court case in a narrow way, and refusing to connect the anti-Bakke struggle to related student struggles such as to defend Ethnic Studies, financial aid and other programs being attacked by the Regents and administrations.

Recently, these same forces have been promoting the idea that the main problem is that the Supreme Court is a “Nixon court,” as if having a “less conservative” or a “Carter court” would solve the problems of the masses! They have been promoting all sorts of “liberal” congressmen, mayors and other capitalist politicians to “lead“ the anti-Bakke struggle, and whose aim is to tie down the mass movement into congressional or other legislative battles, seeing these as the solution. They have also been promoting various labor bureaucrats to “lead” workers, opposing the desire of the workers to rely on themselves and build a, strong, independent rank and me movement against the Bakke Decision and other attacks.

These reformist views must be struggled against and defeated, for if they prevail they are certain to lead the movement to defeat. Instead of organizing mass protest and resistance, and instead of organizing political struggle to force the capitalist class to meet our demands, these reformists want to foster a view of passive reliance on the Regents, and various “liberal” representatives of the capitalist class. Instead of striking a blow at imperialism and national oppression, they protect and strengthen the system.

It is important to unite as many forces as we can in the anti-Bakke movement, including not only workers, students and oppressed nationalities, but also professors, lawyers and other social strata. The question, however, which must be clear is who the mass movement must be directed against and what methods are to be used in building it.

We must build mass and militant actions, build a long-term movement that is rooted among the masses, rely on the initiative and strength of the masses in struggle, and link the struggle to the overall struggle of the working class and the oppressed nationalities against imperialism.

Future Tasks

We should continue along the path which has guided the October 15 mobilizations and deepen even further the mass movement so that it can grow stronger and become more firmly rooted among the masses.

We should continue to build and expand the strong student base of the anti-Bakke movement, and continue to link it to building the ongoing progressive student organizations on the campuses and to other day to day struggles which are occurring, such as the defense of Ethnic Studies, and against cutbacks in courses and programs.

We should pay special attention to deepening our work in the multi-national working class, brutality and taking our demand to overturn the Bakke decision and expand affirmative action programs to each and every factory and workplace, to the trade women, to the rank and file caucuses, and do broad and continuous outreach, including educational leaflets and pamphlets and programs focused to the workers. This work should be aimed at building a strong rank and file movement against the Bakke decision and other instances of national oppression and class exploitation.

Since the Bakke decision is not an isolated instance but part and parcel of the entire system of national, oppression and imperialism, we should link up the anti-Bakke movement to fighting other attacks upon Third World people, such as the destruction of the oppressed nationality communities; against inequalities in education such as the racist IQ tests and tracking systems; for the unionization of oppressed nationality workers and the equal recognition of their languages in union proceedings and on the job; against the deportation of immigrants, against police brutality and legal lynchings of Third World people.

And since the Bakke decision also threatens affirmative action and other related programs for women, we must link it to the struggle for women’s equality, including demands such as against the forced sterilization of Third World women, for equal hiring and promotions for women, for pregnancy and other benefits for women workers, and day care for working and Third World women.

The anti-Bakke movement must be built in a way that unites the entire multi-national working class. A crucial part of our work is to educate workers of all nationalities how it is in their interests to oppose the intensification of national oppression of which the Bakke decision is a part. We should show concretely how each and every blow dealt to the system of national oppression weakens our common enemy, the system of imperialism, which is the common cause of the suffering and impoverishment of all oppressed and working people in the U.S.

Lastly, we should strive to build a broad, nation-wide movement based upon principle that unites as many forces as possible opposed to the Bakke decision. And in the course of broadening the movement, we should continue to build on an independent footing and expand even further the mass committees which will be the anchor of this movement, which will link the movement to the day to day struggles of the masses, and which will boldly target the U.C. regents, the courts; the labor bureaucrats and all other representatives of the capitalist class in the movement to smash the Bakke decision.

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hand down its decision on the Bakke case in the coming weeks or months, we should prepare to launch even wider-scale protests in the coming months. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Allan Bakke, we must meet this blatant attack with a storm of militant and sustained protests throughout the country. And if the Bakke case is overturned, we must also intensify our struggle to defend affirmative action and special admissions and fight each and every attack. The capitalist class will not relent in its attacks, and neither can we relax our efforts to mobilize and unite even greater numbers of people to smash the Bakke decision, and ultimately bring a final end to the system of national oppression and the system of imperialism itself.