Inviting BAM-N To Speak

According to an email I was forwarded, the featured speaker at a fundraiser in for MARAL Pro-Choice Michigan in Ann Arbor Thursday is non other than Miranda Massie.

Miranda
was the lead attorney for one group of student intervenors (the law
students – not the undergrad intervenors) in the Grutter v. Bollinger
affirmative action case. She’s also the sister of Luke Massie, an organizer for the organization Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary (BAM-N).
She’s also one of the core leaders of a Trotskyite sect called the
Revolutionary Workers League which goes by the name BAM-N in public.
RWL was founded by George Washington, an activist attorney who built up
a practice with a small group (Scheff & Washington) in combination
with his efforts to build a revolutionary Trotskyite organization.

This
one is tough: Massie is no doubt an accomplished attorney and the law
firm has certainly litigated a number of worthy cases. In general I
have heard only good things about MARAL, and I trust they simply don’t
know much about BAM-N, but I question their wisdom of inviting Massie
to speak. Despite the slickness of their “Speakers’ Bureau?
webpage, there’s a lot about BAM-N they wouldn’t like you to know.
BAM-N’s recruitment tactics verge on cult-like (One former member was
brought to Detroit to participate in hours-long Marxist study
sessions), and their organizing tactics are always divisive, sometimes
violent, and frequently downright nasty. In his role as organizer for
the group, Luke Massie has physically intimidated friends of mine,
engaged in yelling matches, and called one of my best friends (an ACLU
member and committed progressive) a “white devil.? Nathan Newman, a
well-known journalist and blogger and columnist for the Populist
Progressive, has called BAM-N
a “threat … to the affirmative action and civil rights movement? and
said his research, “In twenty years of political organizing, I have
never seen such violent and thuggish behavior, a step beyond the worst
sectarian acts I had ever imagined.? The Michigan Daily has harshly criticized the organization in an editorial.

So,
I guess I wouldn’t invite a member of the group to come to speak at my
fundraiser. But that’s just me. Here’s the bio they circulated on their
email:

About Miranda Massie
Miranda Massie is a civil rights attorney with Scheff & Washington
in Detroit, and has been actively involved in organizing for women’s
rights and civil rights throughout her education and career. Massie is
currently representing a sixteen-year-old male from Macomb County
charged
with a major felony for trying to assist his girlfriend in terminating
her pregnancy. He is being tried for intentional conduct against a
pregnant individual resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth, a 15-year
felony. Massie argues that it was not assault because the girlfriend
consented to the means of the termination, and that the young girl was
simply exercising her right to an abortion.

Massie
received a B.A magna cum laude from Cornell University, an M.A in
History and American Studies from Yale University, and a J.D. cum laude
from the New York University School of Law in 1996. One of her best
known cases is Grutter v. Bollinger, for which she served as lead
counsel to student defendants in the University of Michigan affirmative
action case.
Massie is also currently a member of the legal team challenging Ward Connerly’s attempts to ban affirmative action in Michigan.

These
days, BAM-N spends their time blowing hot air about MCRI. For
organizing that’s not from a freaky fringe group on MCRI, check out Citizens for a United Michigan. For more info, see my somewhat outdated information page: NoBAMN.com, or if you’re new to all this check out my BAM-N Update post from January 2004.

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Author: Rob Goodspeed

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