Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

I Wor Kuen

Thousands mobilize nationwide to smash Bakke Decision

First Published: Getting Together, Vol. VIII, No. 11, November 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Thousands of people marched and demonstrated in every region of the country to greet the October 12th hearings of the U.S. Supreme Court on the Bakke case. In the past year, the Bakke issue has emerged as a nationwide issue, as shown by the mobilizations that took place from Boston to New York, from Washington, D.C. to the Midwest, and from Atlanta, Georgia to California, under the slogans of Smash the Bakke Decision – Down with national oppression! Full equality for women!

The largest mobilization took place in California, organized by the Anti-Bakke Decision Coalition. The demonstration culminated months of consistent out-reach, education and organizing activity through which dozens of gatherings took place in numerous workplaces, communities and on over 10 campuses the week directly leading up to the event, The ABDC’s statewide demonstration rallied over 4,000 people from all over California. It took place on October 15th as part of a National Day of Solidarity Against the Bakke Decision.

The day began with a militant march starting from the Latino community in the San Francisco Mission District. The march stretched nearly 20 blocks long, and chants of “Smash the Bakke Decision now!” and “Courts and, regents you can’t hide, we know you’re on Bakke’s side!” and “End national oppression!” thundered amidst the streets of San Francisco.

Colorful banners in English, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese highlighted the march, representing the United Steelworkers and United Auto Workers Union locals, the Post Office Mailhandlers Union, the Chinese Progressive Association of S.F., the Los Angeles Little Tokyo People’s Rights Organization, the S.F. Committee Against Nihonmachi Evictions, the MEChA’s (mass Chicano student organizations) and Asian Student Unions throughout California, and hundreds of other organizations who had actively mobilized for the statewide demonstration. The march reflected the; wide sections of workers, students, community people and progressive professionals which the ABDC has united in the course of its work.

The spirit throughout the march was high. At one point, a section of the march began a “snake dance“ that weaved through the streets and converged on the S.F. Federal Building where the mass rally took place. As each contingent entered the Federal Building plaza, they were met with deafening applause and cheers. The plaza was bursting with the enthusiasm and energy of the masses – a concrete expression of the militant solidarity and unity of the anti-Bakke forces from throughout the state.

4,000 people strong! Busloads from San Diego. and Los Angeles, car caravans from Santa Barbara/ Ventura/Oxnard, contingents from the Fresno Valley, Chico, and the Sacramento/Davis area. Thousands of people from San Francisco, Oakland and the South Bay Area. People of all nationalities and from all walks of life, uniting together to bring forth their demands. Each had come to San Francisco with a clear determination to smash the racist Bakke Decision and build the struggle against each and every instance of national oppression.

Militant program highlights demonstration

The program at the Federal Building began with a performance by the San Francisco. Chinatown Lien Dance Association, a group of youths who have grown up in the S.F. Chinese community. At one point, a lien dancer leaped on another’s shoulders and unfurled a 12 feet banner proclaiming “Smash the Bakke Decision,” which ignited the masses and brought everyone to their feet.

The ABDC keynote speaker emphasized the importance of building a multi-national movement to smash the, Bakke Decision and against national oppression. She stated that the Bakke Decision was part of the history of oppression of Third World people which included forcing “Native Americans to become strangers in their own lands, and placing them into concentration camps called ’reservations’.” She added that the “venom of national oppression is spreading” throughout the country today, as represented by the “exploitation of undocumented workers who fatten the pockets of the corporations and growers, the evictions of the l-Hotel tenants ... and the attacks on the S.F. Black community” where students are being classified as “mentally retarded” by means of a racist and culturally biased IQ test.

In summing up the developments of the anti-Bakke struggle, she emphasized the importance of rooting the movement among the masses of workers, students and community people, and that through relying on “our own strength and unity, we can bounce off the bullets that they (the U.S. ruling class) are firing at us,” to “chain our unity to overcome the daily occurrences of repressive tactics” that “seek to suck and drain the blood of our communities and our people!”

She brought home the point that our struggle must deepen and intensify. “If the Bakke Decision is upheld, we will not take it sitting down: .. ” and she declared that “the 1960’s will be mild compared to what will be in store when we take to the streets to demand our rights! OVERTURNING THE BAKKE DECISION IS A MUST, OVERCOMING AND FIGHTING NATIONAL OPPRESSION IS IMPERATIVE!”

This was followed by a rousing speech by UC Berkeley Professor Harry Edwards. He exposed the role of the UC Regents and the U.S. Supreme Court in the Bakke case, which “reveals the clearly fraudulent character of the U.S. judicial atrocity. First of all, Bakke resulted from a collusion. We’re in a situation where both the defendant and the plaintiff are foxes ... We had the UC who was in the defendant’s pew, and determined not to put up any defense. We were in a situation where both the defendant and the plaintiff were foxes. From the very beginning, there was a situation of collusion!”

Edwards pointed out that the Bakke case is a direct attack against Third World people. “They (the courts, government and Regents) act like racist discrimination doesn’t exist anymore. Affirmative action is not just to correct the past, it is to deal with racial discrimination that continues to exist today!” He tied this to the intensifying inequalities and oppression faced by Third World people, citing that “the only place we get special admissions is when it comes to dying, ain’t nobody complained: when we were getting carted off to fight in the Vietnam War. We get ’special admissions’ when it comes time to go to jail – when you go there, all you find is ’just us’, ain’t no justice, just us! This is the kind of special admissions that Third World people really get!”

Other speakers included community activist Carlos Montes from Los Angeles, an industrial worker from the Santa Barbara area, and a representative from the Native American movement. There was also a skit on the Bakke issue by Teatro Contra Bakke, and a joint Marxist- Leninist statement presented by I Wor Kuen, the August 29th Movement, and-other individual Marxist-Leninists in the ABDC.

Throughout, the slogans, actions and demands of the October 15th statewide mobilization of the Anti Bakke Decision Coalition directed its fire against national oppression and the entire system of imperialism, and represented a significant and historic advance for the anti-Bakke struggle.

Bakke’s attacks reach far and wide, Build the struggle nationwide!

Numerous other events took place on October 15th. The Atlanta Committee Against the Bakke Decision organized a demonstration at the Georgia state capitol building. This played a key role in bringing the anti-Bakke struggle to the heart of the South, the homeland of the Afro-American people, and the center of many historical and current struggles against national oppression.

The Committee Against the Bakke Decision in Boston also organized a citywide march and rally. It involved many people from the surrounding campuses, communities and workplaces.

Prior to these events, the Princeton Affirmative Action Committee and students at Harvard University organized campus programs which included speakers, workshops, and a slide show prepared by the ABDC. A similar campus program was organized by the Concerned Asian Students of the City College of New York. Emphasis was placed on connecting the Bakke issue to the day-to-day ongoing struggles to defend and expand Third World campus programs, and were part of the coordinated efforts of the Intercollegiate Communication-Liaison Committee.

Earlier in the month, the Black American Law Students Assoc. organized nationwide demonstrations against the Bakke Decision on October 3rd. The largest of these took place in Washington, DC, where over 2,000 people demonstrated at the capitol building. Similar demonstrations took place in other cities across the U.S. Other demonstrations also took place on October 8th and October 12th.

Throughout the month of October, there was a continuous wave of protest that spread across the U.S. These demonstrate the growing mass movement to smash the racist Bakke Decision. Coalitions such as the ABDC will be deepening and intensifying their work on the campuses, communities, and workplaces to actively organize against the Bakke Decision and its attacks against Third World people. Dare to struggle, dare to win!