Trotskyites On the March

According to media reports, leaders of the Trotskyite organization the Revolutionary Workers League (RWL) have been active in Lansing, Michigan, organizing a counter-protest to a Nazi rally there over the weekend. The Lansing State Journal reported about 100 counter-protestors turned up at the peaceful April 22 rally. I found one local blogger, historymike, who posted some information about the event.

The RWL maintains a network of organization names to use for various purposes, recently most commonly representing themselves as members of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) or the National Women’s Rights Organizing Committee (NWROC). Regardless of the organizational name used, the leaders are consistent: Luke Massie is the vocal professional organizer and most likely to be quoted in the media, Shanta Driver is the attorney on the ground, while others remain in the background. The BAM-N speakers’ bureau webpage contains a photo and bios of some of the organization’s more active leaders, including the shadowy figure and alleged RWL founder George Washington.

The RWL subscribes to an unorthodox position on free speech, freely engaging in a variety of tactics not generally used by mainstream political organizations. These include co-opting public comment periods, shouting or otherwise disturbing formal meetings, and encouraging confrontational exchanges designed to radicalize protestors and intimidate opponents. RWL members have also been closely connected to at least several protests which turned violent, including incidents during the Detroit Newspaper Strike of the 1990s and a 1997 Klan Rally in Ann Arbor. Less clear is their relation to the violence which occured in Toledo, Ohio last fall connected to a white supremacist rally there, however an earlier news report about the Lansing rally quotes Massie praising the violence which broke out, declaring, “We’re gonna say to our people, to the young people of the City of Lansing, to the people in the immense majority of black and Latino communities of this city, who do not want the KKK and the Nazis rallying here, we’re gonna say you have the right to defend yourself, you have the right to shut down rallies that push to murder your neighbors and your friends. We don’t accept that.”

Recently I was contacted by an activist in Olympia, Washington who is preparing for a white supremacist rally planned there by the National Socialist Movement for July. (According to this recent news article, a smaller rally held earlier this month ended after officials escorted the neo-Nazis away when the tense but peaceful rally seemed to be getting “out of hand.” ) Although I have heard nothing about RWL members planning to go to Washington, the local activist was troubled by some footage of Massie and wrote seeking more information should they decide to attend:

He first caught my attention as I was watching video about the National Socialist Movement rally in Lansing Michigan. Something about him really bugged me, he seemed to be escalating the possibility of violence, agitating. A little web research shows me that I’m not the only one who sees this. … My main focus in everything is safety and someone like Luke Massie concerns me, my guess is that he doesn’t believe safety for all is important.

I am encouraged that activists are starting their planning now and hope their careful preparations will result in a peaceful counter-protest, regardless of any potential RWL involvement.

Author: Rob Goodspeed


  1. Revolutionary Worker’s League = Spartacist League

    So violent they even attack their fellow communists.

    Back when I was on the left, I was once compelled to take a knife to the throat of one of their organizers, Brian Manning, after he attacked me questioning them during a public meeting.

Comments are closed.