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Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary
Formation 1995; 22 years ago (1995)
Founded at California, United States

The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, commonly shortened to By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), is an American militant[1] left-wing civil rights activist group that organizes demonstrations and litigation to achieve its aims.


BAMN was formed in 1995 to oppose the July 20, 1995 decision by Regents of the University of California to ban affirmative action. In 1997, BAMN expanded to Michigan, where it organized student support for the affirmative action policy of the University of Michigan Law School at Ann Arbor (UMLS) as a result of a challenge to that policy via Grutter v. Bollinger.


BAMN advocates "a national policy of affirmative action," the central theme of most major BAMN campaigns. BAMN's Principle #3 states,"BAMN is committed to making real America's founding declaration that 'all men are created equal.' Real equality of rights and opportunities for women and [minorities] requires active, positive measures, [as well as] a national policy of affirmative action."[2]

BAMN promotes the protection and expansion of civil rights for all under-represented classes throughout the United States, and is especially focused on challenges to minority students via the defense of historic affirmative action standards.

BAMN became one of 44 parties in the Supreme Court's Grutter v. Bollinger case concerning Michigan Law School admissions; BAMN's chief strategist was one of a 'record number' who filed an amicus brief in the case.[3]

The University of Michigan Law School case was heard at the same time as Gratz v. Bollinger, concerning racial admissions policies in the University of Michigan (U-M) undergraduate school. While the Law School system was allowed to proceed for the period of one generation, the undergraduate school's specific admissions policy was struck down.[4]

Since 1995, BAMN has organized a variety of college campaigns promoting affirmative action and defeat of contrary legislation written to end racial admissions policies.[5] BAMN's campaigns were not successful in the polls over three state initiatives curtailing strict racial quotas in three states: Michigan Prop. 2 'Civil Rights Initiative' (2006), California Prop. 209 (1996) and Washington State Washington Initiative 200 (1998). On April 1, 2003, BAMN spearheaded the organizing of the 50,000 person March on Washington to Defend Affirmative Action and Save Brown v. Board of Education (1954). A sign from this march was featured in the Smithsonian Museum's 2004 exhibit, "Separate Is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education," commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown decision.[6]

In 2008, BAMN met with success opposing the effort by former University of California Regent Ward Connerly effort to place ballot initiatives on five state ballots to end race-based affirmative action. In spring and summer 2008, BAMN organized press conferences and street education efforts in Arizona, Missouri, and Oklahoma to deter voters from signing petitions to qualify these initiatives for state ballots. Connerly withdrew his petition drives in Missouri and Oklahoma. In Arizona, the effort succeeded at preventing the campaign from gathering the required number of verified signatures.[7] A ballot initiative in Nebraska, the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative, succeeded at the polls in November 2008. That same day in Colorado, an identical initiative was defeated, Colorado Amendment 46 (2008).

BAMN's major tactics center on extensive college and high school outreach via pamphleteering, debate, speakers, film and rallies as well as social events. It has also been accused of using the methods of violence and intimidation. Critics of BAMN tactics state that the group creates 'mob' scenes where democratic processes have become overwhelmed and individuals threatened.[8][9] For example, in December 2005, BAMN disrupted a meeting of the Michigan State Board of Canvassers in which the Board voted to put a measure that would prohibit race-based preferential treatment in higher education on the November 2006 ballot. They did so by shouting down officials and overturning chairs and tables—a familiar tactic for the group.[10]

In December 2014, BAMN helped to organize a week of anti-police and Black Lives Matter protest in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. One of these protests shut down a part of Interstate 80 and led to the mass arrest of 210 people. Ronald Cruz, an attorney and organizer for BAMN, said that BAMN demanded that all of the charges against the protesters be dropped.[11] Another protest the same week resulted in violence and property damage.[12][13] Cruz claimed the police were the aggressors.[12]

Conflict with law enforcement[edit]

Some actions by BAMN, such as protests, were classified to be "low-level terrorism" in a Department of Defense exam in 2009.[14]

In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union reported that in 2002 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified BAMN as "thought to be involved in terrorist activities." The FBI acknowledged in the report that the Michigan State Police had information that BAMN has been peaceful in the past.[15][16][17] According to the FBI, the group's protests were discussed in a meeting about alleged links to terrorist organizations.[18] In response to the monitoring of BAMN and other non-violent groups, the Executive Director of Michigan's ACLU Kary Moss said that the FBI "posed a 'threat to legitimate dissent.'"[19]

Sacramento riot[edit]

Main article: 2016 Sacramento riot

In 2016, BAMN led a counter-protest against a rally held by the Traditionalist Workers Party, a white nationalist group, outside of the California State Capitol in Sacramento. Violence at the protests resulted in ten people being hospitalized with stab wounds. According to police, and verified by video taken by BAMN members and bystanders, the violence was initiated by BAMN members.[20][21]

Recognition and awards[edit]

  • The Drum Major for Justice Award, American Association for Affirmative Action[22]
  • "Unsung Hero" Honor, Michigan chapter of National Lawyers Guild (2006) - (In The Struggle, Newsletter of the Detroit & Michigan Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Vol. 3. No. 3, June 2006, page 5) [PDF link][23]


  1. ^ BAMN leader talks about militancy in media interview
  2. ^ BAMN Principles
  3. ^ Grutter v. Bollinger. pp. 137 F. Supp. 2d 821, 825 n.4 (E.D. Mich. 2001). 
  4. ^ Gratz v. Bollinger. pp. 539 U.S. 244 (2003). cf. External links. 
  5. ^ BAMN/AWAKE Efforts Succeed in Oklahoma / Ward Connerly Fraud Exposed / Anti-Affirmative Action Petitions Withdrawn!, BAMN Press Release 4/5/2008
  6. ^ "Changing Definitions of Equal Education: Brown v. Board of Education". Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Preferences Forever? The University of Michigan's president does her best George Wallace impersonation.". Opinion Journal. 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "Wham BAMN: Group stirs controversy in fight for civil rights.". Metro Times. 2006-01-11. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  11. ^ Tracey Taylor (January 7, 2015). "Arrested anti-police protesters may wait up to a year to find out if they will be charged". Berkeleyside. Retrieved July 6, 2016. (BAMN), which helped organize protests the week of Dec. 6-13 
  12. ^ a b Berkeleyside Editors (December 8, 2014). "City of Berkeley told police to use restraint, avoid tear gas, on second night of protests". Berkeleyside. Retrieved July 6, 2016. Ronald Cruz, the attorney for the group By Any Means Necessary, which helped coordinate the protests, told KQED Forum that police were the aggressors on Saturday night. 
  13. ^ Ioffee, Karina. "FBI investigates threat against Berkeley school after teacher's counterprotest at rally". East Bay Times. Digital First Media. Retrieved June 29, 2016. By Any Means Necessary, an Oakland-based organization that describes itself as a "militant anti-fascist group" that uses a variety of tactics, including violence, to spread its message. The leftist group was behind some of the violence during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2014, including looting in downtown Berkeley that left dozens of storefronts smashed. . . . 
  14. ^ "Pentagon Exam Calls Protests 'Low-Level Terrorism,' Angering Activists". Fox News. June 17, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  15. ^ News Standard Archived April 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Direct action FOIA document". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  17. ^ "Local Terrorist Activity Suspected". Archived from the original on May 30, 2006. Retrieved February 18, 2016. 
  18. ^ News Standard. 'terrorist activity' Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ News Standard. Archived December 23, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ Serna, Joseph (27 June 2016). "Neo-Nazis didn't start the violence at state Capitol, police say". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "AAAA Awards: The Drum Major for Justice Award". American Association for Affirmative Action. 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  23. ^ (PDF) Retrieved January 7, 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Text of Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003) is available from:  LII 
  • Text of Gratz v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 244 (2003) is available from:  LII