Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The New Voice

Bakke Decision must Be Fought


First Published: The New Voice, Vol. VII, No. 15, July 24, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The U.S. Supreme Court’s Bakke decision is an outrageous racist and anti-working class ruling. It does not deal in any way, shape or form with upholding affirmative action or with racist discrimination and oppression of minority people. This decision, contrary to newspaper reports and some statements, is in no sense a victory for any working person.

*The court admitted 38-year old engineer Alan Bakke to the University of California medical school. The court thus supported his false claim of “reverse discrimination” and pushed aside minority people once again so that Mr. Bakke could have a second career.

*The court abolished the UC medical school’s special admissions program. There will be fewer black, Chicano and other minority doctors in the years ahead as a direct result of the decision.

*The court handed the problem of designing “acceptable” affirmative action programs to University management, which opposed them in the first place and is already moving to a racist “merit” system of admissions. The court talked all around the absolute need for programs to overcome racist discrimination and oppression of black and other minority people.

*The court’s confused and narrow ruling invites more lawsuits, thus encouraging racist employers to use set-ups for attacks on anti-racist programs. It was UC officers who got Bakke started on his lawsuit.

*The court, along with the newspapers and television, gave a boost to individualistic, racialistic and national chauvinistic thinking. This is an attack on united working-class struggle against the capitalist class.

*The court contributed “its share” to the current capitalist attack on working people Proposition 13 cut-backs, union-busting, fascist laws and now this Bakke ruling.

A CLASS BATTLE

Class unity against racism means fighting for equality. We should make the boss face us all and cough up the resources for affirmative action. For example, we demand more admissions slots at UC med school, to be devoted to increasing minority representation. Class unity means better wages and working conditions, more school funds and social services, and more paid-for training on the job at the capitalists’ expense.

MUST HAVE AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Affirmative action programs are necessary to fight racism. Who admits, hires and promotes people in this society? Basically, the capitalist class does. They own the corporations and lay down personnel policies. They control the University of California through the Board of Regents (millionaires like Hearst, Simon, etc.). The capitalists and their managerial servants set up elaborate, bureaucratic tests for admission, hiring and promotion.

These mechanisms discriminate against black and other minority people. They are hired last, put in the worst jobs and denied chances for advancement. They must live in ghettos, and their children must go to schools systematically underfunded by racist school boards. Then they meet the rigged system at UC, and other colleges.

Affirmative action programs won in struggle, begin in a small way to break institutionalized racism. They force schools and employers to give more opportunity to minority people. They demand that the employer provide resources for training and opportunity.

This is only justice. The capitalist class does the discriminating in hiring, training and promoting. It must pay!

UNITE AND STRUGGLE

The court’s ruling betrayed fear, too. The court did not dare uphold the California decision that admission programs may never take race into account. The court divided up its ruling several ways to blur its actions. It voted 5-4 to admit Bakke. Then one justice swung around and joined a new majority that said some affirmative action programs “may” be valid. The court’s six different opinions will be a lawyer’s paradise for years to come.

The racism, fear and confusion of the court’s ruling show us that oppression must be defeated by struggle. Already, struggle is mounting again, as shown by large demonstrations in San Francisco, California immediately after the Supreme Court ruling.

Where people get united, they can force management to concede affirmative action programs. For this reason, the important thing is to build struggles at the base, in particular schools, factories and offices. Movements against political symbols like the Bakke case should serve struggles at the base, helping to spur them on and unite them.

It is necessary to unite all workers to fight racism. Racism does not oppress only the minority worker. Where black and other minority people are held down, conditions for white workers are worse, too. Where black workers are specially oppressed, white workers suffer from the boss’s increased power, too. Where racism divides worker’s, unions are weakest, wages lowest, and the chance for any worker’s fair advancement is minimal.

A CLASS BATTLE

Class unity against racism means fighting for equality. We should make the boss face us all and cough up the resources for affirmative action. For example, we demand more admissions slots at UC med school, to be devoted to increasing minority representation. Class unity means better wages and working conditions, more school funds and social services, and more paid-for training on the job at the capitalists’ expense.

The Supreme Court is part of the state, a tool of the capitalist class. Its ruling was to be expected, but it cannot stop the fight against racism. By building struggles in colleges, factories and offices, by linking them under the banner of fighting racism, and by uniting all working people, the Bakke decision can be beaten!

SMASH THE BAKKE DECISION!
FIGHT RACISM!