BAM-N Looking for Trouble in Toledo

The Revolutionary Workers League, a tiny opportunistic Trotskyite organization in Detroit that I first reported on as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan has revived an old organizational facade to apparently attempt to instigate confrontation in Toledo. A number of white supremacists held rally in Toledo this past Saturday, which remained peaceful largely as a result of an assertive police presence. The Toledo Blade has an excellent summary of the events.

The RWL has a long history of attempting to incite violence at political demonstrations including being connected to a rock-throwing incident during the Detroit News and Free Press strike of the 1990s, and a minor skirmish which broke out at a KKK rally in Ann Arbor in 1998. Of course, in every instance RWL leaders were never directly involved in criminal acts, only low-level activists. From this Toledo Blade report it seems that RWL lead organizer Luke Massie has pulled the old name of NWROC out of the closet to attempt to spark a similar confrontation there at a rally held last Saturday by white supremacists:

Luke Massie, of the Detroit-based National Women’s Rights Organizing Coalition, said he was trying to gather a large group to interfere with what he called a recruitment campaign by the National Socialist Movement “by whatever means necessary.”

“We’re going to show a very strong and determined resistance to the attempt to establish a fascist beachhead in Toledo,” he said.

(White supremacist groups instigated a confrontation in October in Toledo through a march through an African American neighborhood.)

Of course, I find Klan just as objectionable as the next thinking person, however the RWL, apparently as a part of their particular Trotskyite ideology attempts to convert political disputes into violent confrontation instead of anything peaceful, constructive, or educational. The best description of the RWL I have found comes from a now-offline website called the “Red Encyclopedia” which I have archived on my site:

Revolutionary Workers League: Formed in 1976 as a split from the Spartacist League, the RWL is a dogmatic and intensely militant Trotskyist group based in Detroit. Little is seen of them outside of Michigan and California state, and (like the Spartacist League) they demand the devotion of all their members. They have set up a network of puppet organizations: the National Women’s Rights Organizing Committee (NWROC, founded 1980’s), the Committee to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary (BAMN, founded 1995), and others. These front groups are where the RWL’s primary activism takes place. They often practice entryism — entering larger organizations and trying to bend them toward their own ideology. The most recent case of this occurred in Oakland, California (far from their home base), where BAMN supporters tried to take over the local teachers’ union, the OEA.A group that split with the RWL during the Gulf War, the Trotskyist League, would break from the RWL’s traditional entryism and work with Solidarity and other groups, though maintaining their ultra-left stance. No matter what group they enter, RWL will never win many converts to their extreme tactics.

The logo above is from the RWL’s old webpage,, which they have since taken offline (not a good thing to have around when you’re trying to convince people you are NWROC, or BAM-N, or another group. However, the Internet Archive has a long memory and has many copies of the old page available.

ArborUpdate has more coverage of the rally and the Toledo Blade reported that it was peaceful.

Author: Rob Goodspeed