A holy alliance between the Pride Board, the local Democratic Clubs, and corporate sponsorship paves a comfortable and familiar path for the politicians to arrive at PRIDE leveraging the interests of the status-quo over those of the masses. And thus when Bradley Manning, whose actions are viewed as heroic by those oppressed and victimized by the US imperialist military is elevated to Grand Marshall status in a clear expression of anti-imperialist sentiment - the true heart of the LGBT community - the class line had been drawn! By rejecting the community’s anti-imperialist wishes, the Pride board became social-imperialists, besides being undemocratic, arbitrary and biased.
For those who live under the jackboot of imperialism every act that stymies the imperialist forces’ ability to act militarily, economically or to act with impunity is heroic. Every defeat inflicted on imperialism on the battlefield of public credibility is a victory for the international working class. Embracing Bradley Manning, the heart and soul of the LGBT movement was drawing the class line against imperialism and therefore had to be slapped down by the social-imperialist, pro-corporate PRIDE board.
NGO’s, CBO’s and Democratic Party and Log Cabin Republicans have narrowed the agenda, strategy and tactics of the movement. They claim mainstreaming of the movement led to the overturn of DOMA and Prop 8 by the Supreme Court. These decisions secured some but not all democratic rights for LGBT persons, and came with a price that has been paid for with decades of abuse. Counted as nothing are decades of Acting Up and fighting back. The true cost of the mainstreaming of the movement, was the abandonment of it’s allies among the most oppressed and the crossing of the class line to embrace and support the political shills and representatives of imperialism (Obama, Clinton, Pelosi) and the imposers of capitalist austerity on the state and local level (Newsom, Leno, Amianno, Harris and Brown).
Working people and the base of the LGBT community need to know these same “LBGT-friendly” politicians and corporations are themselves imposing the austerity, while approving, building and endorsing the National Security State. These very politicians defend and are responsible for US imperialist actions and their cover-ups. Thus in classic social-imperialist style, the Pride board conceded everything to the wishes of their corporate sponsors! This should have come as no surprise as the corporations have privatized the official LGBT movement, narrowing its agenda to equal rights in marriage and the military.
The San Francisco Gay Pride board shamed the history of the LGBT movement by overturning the decision to name “Queer Hero” Bradley Manning the Grand Marshall of the S.F. Gay Pride parade. The LGBT movement (both generally and concretely) grew out of and allied itself with, the civil rights, black and brown liberation, anti-war, anti-imperialist, United Farm workers, women's, feminist, socialist and libertarian movements. For LGBT youth and working class people this is still the case, yet for the middle class LGBT and labor aristocratic layers the status quo of bourgeois politics prevailed.
The Pride board had an opportunity to build solidarity with those who by their millions see Bradley Manning as a hero. But this board sold its soul for a bowl of pottage; to protect their cozy political and corporate relations they choose the narrowed interests of the LGBT elite over those of the masses, the working class and the victims of capitalist exploitation and imperialist military brutality internationally.
The program for full LGBT liberation is yet to be written and cannot be until the movement breaks from the political parties which are based on the capitalist system, the system synonymous with patriarchy and the propertied gender-dominant roles that perpetuate Women’s, Youth and LGBT oppression.
Such a program would include: full democratic rights for all; protection from bullying through LGBT; labor self defense, intervention and education by self organization against homophobic violence; end homelessness, create safe transition centers for the homeless and the runaways, with sufficient social services to elevate each from the misery of street life; for socialized childcare, medical care and education, free abortion on demand, free 24 hour child care services, and equal pay for equal work, for jobs for all and we militantly refuse to accept gay bashing or exclusion from employment based on sexual preference or orientation.
Defend Snowden, Manning and Assange!
The July 8th Militant (organ of the US Socialist Workers Party [SWP]) tells workers that Manning and Snowden are not heroes or traitors.
“Those who think that secret revelations from whistleblowers are the way workers find out about how capitalism and its war machine operate, or inspire mass action in defense of political rights, sow naïve and dangerous illusions about the source of the problem and the road to its solution.
…Manning and Snowden act on the premise that revelations will make some capitalist politicians come to their senses and do the right thing.
….Revelations like those of Manning and Snowden do not point a road forward for the working class. They foster conspiracy theories and paranoia that divert and demobilize us. ”
In contrast the Militant polishes its own lapel by referring to their 1973 lawsuit which exposed the Cointelpro program (government spying and infiltration of workers, civil rights, black liberation and anti-imperialist groups) and says nothing about the illusions in the capitalist judiciary fostered by this type of lawsuit! Like the pot calling the kettle black, the Militant skirts this issues completely. The Militant claims the SWP case rested its strength on the masses of the proletarians who mobilized to end Jim Crow and the mass movement which ended the Vietnam war. Yet the case was hardly used for mobilizing masses in the streets or in the unions; it was an academic and legal exercise carried out as the movement was on the wane, by the middle class base and periphery of the SWP which had de-proletarianized staking everything on the student and other single-issue sector al movements.
Did the Cointelpro case create expectations that with exposure in the courts, the police state’s undemocratic behavior would be abated? Indeed for the SWP’s middle class periphery such was supposed to be a reasonable expectation, especially as the SWP’s public action and program fostered many similar illusions in parliamentarism (think of Novack’s ‘linear extension of democracy’) and the legal-peaceful road to “revolution”!
Yet despite their victorious case and all good work done, forty years later the exposures of the COINTELPRO case have not abated the behavior of the National Security State, not one iota. Nor should we expect it to have done so.
Marxists understood the value of smearing egg on the face of the state, of defending our militants in court and of arming the movement with the information acquired from the procedural process of the legal inquiry. However, the capitalists run the state and organize their security police as they see fit. We get ample proof of this from the contemporary revelations of Manning, Assange and Snowden.
By their actions the rhetorical question is posed, “if this is democracy what is wrong with this picture?” The Militant, in essence, tells whistle blowers, “don’t leak secrets…” – this the same thing Obama, Kerry and Pelosi are telling workers! Or they are cynically saying we’ll tell you when revelations have a special meaning for the working class!
Marxists on the other hand support every action on the battlefield of war or of public opinion that pushes imperialism towards it grave. Snowden and Manning may have had illusions in the democratic institutions of the State at the time of their decisions; however, since then they have undoubtedly received an accelerated education. Manning has become an explicit anti-imperialist. Snowden says he doesn’t want to live in a country or a world that practices espionage against the person. The hypocrisy of the imperial state attempting to kill the messenger is a moral blow to imperialism’s credibility, to its benefactors, its apologists and the dominance of its ideological sway. A time survey polls shows 70% of youth age 18-34 support Snowden and approve of his actions.
Socialists support every exposure of the imperialist states secrets. If the workers movement had organized the rank and file of the military against imperialist wars instead of building the anti-war movement around social pacifism, there would be a movement of workers in uniform taking action against and exposing the secrets of imperialism, in which case the whistle blowers like Manning and Snowden would not be driven by their moral convictions to act alone. The workers movement would have their back and defend them everywhere.
Even now with no such movement we should solidarize with and support any individuals whose conscience drives them to expose the secrets of the state. Class war prisoners like Snowden, Manning and Assange, in uniform or work-clothes, should be defended unconditionally and where possible liberated by the workers movement and not derided for “fostering conspiracy theories…” and “demobilizing us”!
Revolutionary socialists call on rank and file military to form up your own councils, elect your own officers, expose military and intelligence secrets that defend imperialism and its interests, arrest officers whose actions and orders are illegal, predatory, aggressive and constitute crimes against humanity! Organize a “Let’s Go Home!” movement and close all overseas bases now!