Note: I originally wrote this piece 4 months ago in the aftermath of the Patriot’s Day Rally riots i Berkeley that involved clashes between Antifa, white nationalists, and moderate ideologies caught in the fray. It centers around the Berkeley-based organization and analyzes their history, key people, and operations. I never got around to publishing it, but with the media bashing the idea that the “alt-left” exists, I felt the need to share what I uncovered.
On April 15th, a Patriots Day rally took place in Berkeley in support of Trump. Although thousands of demonstrators for and against the event came, one small group of people proved to be the most disruptive and disorderly. Antifa, a group that opposes fascism in all its forms, had been a disruption in the past. From shutting down the Milo Yiannapolis event at UC Berkeley to causing an all out riot the next month, the writing is on the wall for an escalation to happen at the most recent event. One man, Eric Clanton, was even captured hitting people with a bike lock on multiple occasions. These hooded figures at events have been identified as Antifa, a collective of individuals who believe that a Trump Presidency will lead to genocide (at least that is what of their leaders, Yvette Felarca, said live on television). If one does a little digging, they would soon discover that Antifa is an offshoot of Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary, abbreviated as BAMN.
BAMN describes itself as a militant left-wing organization that seeks to build a mass movement. Its beginnings can be traced back to Revolutionary Workers League, a Trotskyist organization. The group found success in its early years, with its legal arm, United for Equality and Affirmative Action Legal Defense Fund, scoring victories in favor of affirmative action including the landmark decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. This victory gave the group the credibility capital it needed to attract students.
BAMN was founded in 1995 after the Regents of the University of California rejected affirmative action policies and operates mainly in Detriot and in the Bay Area. The group’s leader Shanta Driver runs the group along with Leland Sanderson, who helped establish the Revolutionary Worker’s League in the 1970s. In BAMN’s early years, the organization recruited UC Berkeley students who were mainly teachers to play active roles in the organization. The most visible of these recruits is Yvette Felarca, a middle school teacher who is notorious for her aggressive protesting tactics. Tania Kappner is another teacher who has led the group’s activities, portraying herself as the calm side compared to Yvette’s brash voice. Even the current mayor of Berkeley has close ties with BAMN. Politically active during his college years, Jesse Arreguin worked his way up in city government from legislative assistant to the city councilman and finally mayor in 2016. These three people help BAMN operate on different levels; From interacting with students to be at the pinnacle of local politics, BAMN is firmly in place to do as it pleases in the Oakland/Berkeley area.
The website Secret Survivors of BAMN is dedicated to exposing BAMN’s corrupt mechanisms to the public. In one testimony, a former activist named Jevon talks about how BAMN recruits unsuspecting idealistic teens as young as 14 to take part in their activities. BAMN convinced Jevon and others that their families are abusive, and manipulates them to move into BAMN housing in Berkeley. Jevon’s experience with BAMN lasted 4 years and he left the organization when he was 18 after realizing the group’s cultish ways. While living at Yvette’s house, BAMN did everything possible to harass and slander him to prevent him from leaving the group. They went so far to have him arrested and accused him of robbing them when he really was trying to run away and forgot his things. After he reconciled with his family and moved back to Detroit, BAMN slandered him for years, saying that he went crazy and was suicidal to members.
The goal BAMN has for its soldiers is to make them dependent on them. They take young, unsuspecting minds and tell them that they can make a difference in the world if they join BAMN. They eventually get free housing and free food, but all of that comes at a cost, sacrificing yourself for the decisions the dictatorial leader, Shanta Driver. They are willing to do anything to prevent you from leaving, and their ultimate end goal is to make you a drone in their plans. BAMN sells a false promise of a new civil rights movement to suck young minds into their cult.
End note: Although it is important to denounce white supremacists, one must equally take into consideration the threat that alt-left groups like BAMN pose. The fact that that media and the likes of Mitt Romney defend them is ignorance in its worst form. White supremacist groups are already well-documented, yet Antifa extreme positions, methods, and ultimate goals are not… This should concern everybody because if Antiga’s tactics and reasoning becomes widely accepted, then everyone who doesn’t agree with them will be branded a Nazi and will be dealt with accordingly.