Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Unseen: A history of Pride and the Private Interest of LGBTQ Suppression

In the wee hours of June 28th, 1969 following a police raid on Stonewall Inn in the heart of New York City an unprecedented struggle ensued. Undercover police officers targeting the bar's openly gay patrons arrested a butch lesbian woman, who resisted as she was outnumbered, savaged and struck in the head with a police baton. Beaten and bloodied she looked at the crowd and shouted "Why don't you guys do something?" and the crowd erupted. The rioting to protest state oppression against the LGBTQ community lasted for days. This was the inspiration for the first gay pride parade in the United States, which took place there in Greenwich Village on June 28th, 1970. As we reflect on these events 39 years later and the current political climate and brutal capitalist offensive we are reminded of the inexorable strength of the working class when called to action. Bombarded with dangerous rhetoric ours is the burden of wresting the popular narrative from those who stand to profit and insisting that we will do something, that we will push back against all special oppression. Long before humans served as products to enrich corporations, Native Americans recognized that the fluidity of nature extended to the bodily manifestations of gender. Their unobstructed view of birth, community, sickness, aging and death surely contributed to their respect for nature in all forms; the seen and unseen.

Marx had some interesting things to say about the modern family of his time, writing in the Communist Manifesto in 1848:

"On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution. The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital. ...

But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the bourgeoisie in chorus. The bourgeois sees his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women. He has not even a suspicion that the real point aimed at is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production. For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial."

If we look at today's labels regarding family roles, sexuality and gender as merely a snapshot of the current condition, we find that when people stop being treated as articles of commerce the necessity of putting them in neat little categories falls away. One can easily replace "women" in this passage with "LGBTQ." There is no need to introduce community of LGBTQ: they have existed among us from time immemorial.

Today we renew our commitment to uplift our LGBTQ comrades, ever vigilant of who stands to profit from their subjugation.

No comments: