At the last MSU BAMN Meeting on Thursday, Oct 6, 2011, the following Demands were voted on and passed:
Do everything legally permissible to increase underrepresented minority student enrollment at MSU;
Go on record that the ban on affirmative action, Prop 2, should be declared unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause
Do not punish black and other minority students for standing up for themselves against racist attacks;
Investigate racist incidents and hold open hearings of the racist students involved, so that they can be identified by the student body; and that the racist students be forced to denounce their racist actions or face further disciplinary action, even up to expulsion;
Force the white student to leave the dorm or face disciplinary consequences, not the recipient of the racist’s hate crime or speech, when a black or minority student is attacked.
Take our Fight to the MSU Administration
We also voted to hold a rally at the Administration building this Thursday at noon. We will be negotiating around our demands, but in order for this demonstration to be a success, we must meet regularly to check in on how building for the action is going, what still needs to be done, and to share any updates. We also have to be sure to get pledges from other individual students and student organizations to spread the word about the rally and to attend.
More than a thousand mostly black students showed up at the town hall meeting in Conrad Hall last week to yell out, enough is enough! Students spoke out agaist all the brutal, unspeakable, racist abuse that black and other minority students face at MSU, and our disappearing numbers under the ban on affirmative action, which gives weight to the lie of black inferiority, strengthening the racists and weakening us and our supporters. This richly-attended meeting, which was later supplemented by a march of hundreds, was a tremendous achievement!
Defend The Abused, Not The Abuser – Defend The Right Of The Abused To Fight
We know from our own experience that each student had to reach deep inside to overcome the fears and threats and to summon the courage needed to stand up, speak out and march for our own right to be ourselves as equal human beings at MSU. We know as well how proud we are of these two actions and that despite our fears, these actions were the happiest moments of our lives at MSU. But we have just begun to wage the bravest and most inspiring struggle against the overt racism and hostility at MSU, for the life at MSU that we love.
We have joined others on other campuses around the nation and the world, waging a fight that for the U.S. began in particular with the first runaway slave. As we look to other campuses around the country and the world to see what they do, so too must we expect that we too are being watched by both our friends and enemies.
These unspeakable, racist incidents are not isolated accidents. They are a measure of the heightened fear of the tiny number of racists in the U.S, who see a growing, integrated, youth and student-led, immigrant and civil rights movement led by The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) that has an opportunity to successfully challenge the whole right-wing national effort to eliminate affirmative action, equal access and opportunity programs.
BAMN’s lawsuit against the ban on Affirmative Action in Michigan (Prop 2) and California (Prop 209), that may go all the way up to the Supreme Court, if successful, would deliver the greatest historic defense for black equality, power and general human progress in the 21st century, as we did in marching 50,000-strong to successfully defend affirmative action at the Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003.
No More Racist Attacks!
So it doesn’t surprise us that these latest racist incidents coincide with the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) at UCB holding an anti-affirmative action “bake sale” on September 27th, to express their opposition to diversity and integration. That coincided with an event on Friday, September 23, 2011, when an Orange County, California jury found 10 Muslim UC Irvine students guilty of unlawful disruption for protesting and speaking out at a September 2010 speech on campus by Israel’s ambassador to the U.S.
Similarly, these tiny number of racists, including the MSU racists, dream of a pre-civil rights, racist 1950 U.S. with their own handmade Jim Crow signs. We intend to turn their dreams into their worst nightmare–black and Latina/o students leading a mass movement for equality and integration–and winning.
The administration made it all too clear to all who can see or hear, that while our meeting and march did much for us, it did nothing to change the administration’s attitude of indifference, and even worse, their lack of spirit in defending us, which only gives public sanction to the tiny number of racists! To persuade the Michigan State University Administration and Board of Trustees to DO WHAT THEY KNOW IS RIGHT, we need a broad, united public campaign in support of all our demands. We are calling on MSU students to use mass, militant action, which is the key to winning.
We are also calling on students at MSU to become part of the campaign on our campus and across the state to increase underrepresented minority student enrollment and overturn Prop 2. In California, virtually every national civil rights organization, several unions, and immigrant rights and labor organizations have already pledged support for the BAMN effort there against Prop 209.
We need to make this true here; every professor, every student and student group, every worker who believes in equality, should pledge to support the effort here at MSU and in Michigan. BAMN calls on all supporters of human dignity, affirmative action and equal opportunity programs to mobilize, to show that students at MSU are proud supporters of integration and affirmative action, and because we love ourselves and MSU, we intend to defend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for America and the tradition of Brown v. Board of Education at MSU By Any Means Necessary!
Our only real obstacle to this victory is if we allow ourselves to listen to those who have told us to stay silent, who tell us it is a “dog eat dog” world and it is “every person for themselves.” They tell us to not struggle and to look to the rich and powerful as the only power in society. They tell us to wait and wait and wait, that the time to fight is in the future – always in the future, NEVER now.
They tell us to keep our heads down and just do our homework – as if we can give full attention to our studies while racists are writing swastikas on our door or a few other people are doing the smaller things like suddenly closing the lunch line when a black student requests service. We must not drink this conciliatory poison! We must “walk like an Egyptian,” act in the spirit of Dr. King, understanding that all our lives are connected, and embrace the struggle, no longer be silent. And we must always speak to and for the oppressed. We have to keep fighting, march today and march tomorrow until victory is ours!
Join BAMN’s fight against the Racist Attacks at MSU!
BAMN is a mass, democratic, integrated, national organization dedicated to building a new mass civil rights movement to defend affirmative action,integration, and the other gains of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and to advance the struggle for equality in American society by any means necessary.