The Right Coast

February 28, 2004
BAMN BAMN: The Kookie Left Attacks the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative in the Courts.
By Gail Heriot

One lawsuit against the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative was apparently not enough. Now there are two. Both are pretty silly, but the newer one is special, because it’s brought by BAMN--an organization with a long track record of really, really silly attacks on efforts to curtail race- and gender-based admissions policies in higher education. It promises to be entertaining if nothing else.

BAMN is the acronym used by an organization that once called itself the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary. It has now lengthened its name to the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary. If there’s one thing you can say for the loony left, it’s this: They aren’t stingy with words.

BAMN was available for comic relief during the 1996 campaign for California’s Proposition 209. During that period, its members proved over and over again that the organization had been misnamed. They were not in fact willing to defend affirmative action by any means necessary; they were quite unwilling to use one method that might have won them some converts: rational argument. Instead, BAMN activists staged militant sixties’ style rallies, some small and some rather large, including one that one that shut down a freeway. They did things like stand outside a high school with a bull horn and demand that the students walk out of class in protest of 209. (A few did and were promptly cited for truancy; most just stared out the window in disbelief.) By the end of the campaign, even committed supporters of racial & gender preferences at UC-Berkeley were getting tired of BAMN’s neo-Marxist harangues and fondness for blocking traffic.

I have to admit I loved them. I figured for every television camera that followed them around, Proposition 209 picked up another five to ten thousand votes. The most extreme BAMN antic occurred at Cal State Northridge where they staged a mini-riot to protest KKK Poobah David Duke’s appearance there advocating Proposition 209. The only problem was that Duke had been invited by opponents of the initiative in cooperation with BAMN. The whole thing was staged to embarrass the Yes on Proposition 209 campaign. The plan backfired only because a letter detailing the plan was accidently (well, as far as I know it was accidently) sent to the 209 campaign. By then, even the liberal media figured out what clowns these guys were.

Since 209, BAMN has taken its act all over the country, mostly in the form of shouting down campus speakers who speak out against race-based admissions policies. And they have made a special (if futile) project of demanding that Ward Connerly be fired from the UC Board of Regents.

The current lawsuit is called BAMN v. Board of Canvassers. It seeks to compel the board to reverse its previously issued opinion allowing signature gathering to get underway for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (which is modeled after 209). According to BAMN and the other plaintiff organizations with which it has formed a coalition, including the Michigan Black Legislative Caucus, MCRI is misleading because it calls itself a civil rights initiative, but is in fact an anti-civil rights initiative. Apparently the definition of a “civil right” is “a right supported by BAMN.”