Wednesday 15 August 2007 by Antoine
Speech at the forum on the subejct of ”LGBT oppression, family and norms” (LGBT = LesbianGayBiTrans) by Nina Trige Andersen from the Queergroup of the Red-Green Alliance and SAP – danish section of the Fourth International
I will start this intervention with a qoute from a leaflet handed out at the Pride of 1990 in New York:
”Queers read this! Every day you wake up alive, relatively happy, and a functioning human being, you are comitting a rebellious act. You as an alive and functioning queer are a revolutionary.”
At this time, gay people had been dying for years from AIDS with no reaction from society. The problem of AIDS was ignored and gay people were told that the disease was the punishment of God for living against nature. As long as the ruling class believed AIDS was only in gay environment, no action was taken to cure or prevent the disease.
Still sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS are associated with promiscuity and homosexuality – and for this it is heavily tabooed.
The radical gay movement rising 20 years ago was fighting for visibility, not afraid to provoke or chock the bourgeousy. Radical direct action such as laying down in the streets in socalled Die-Ins was tools in the struggle of the movement.
In some parts of the leaflet of 1990, the anger and hostility towards straight people and straight society is very strong. This expression should be understood in the context of heavy social, political, economic, and fysically violent oppression of gay and transgender people.
Today conformity and commercialization is taking over the LGBT-movements in may countries. The fight is no longer centered on radical demands of the right to act queer in public. The demands of the mainstream gay-movement is many places focused on the right to marriage and adoption.
Any criticism of the existing social structures is silenced as being too provocative, too unrealistic. In this process, trangendered people, poor LGBT people, non-white queers etc. are being sacrificed in the aspiration to be included in normality.
As revolutionaries this is not our game. We have a wider perspective than this, as Claudia explained (the previous speaker at the forum, from Italy). We are not afraid of making the ruling class unfomfortable. Our vision of queer struggle is more than the right to establish more monogamous nuclear families.
Penny (leading comrade of the Fourth International) explained yesterday at the educational why the institution of the family is repressive and a key stone in the system of capitalism.
Still many people – also on the left – put forwad the idea that man and woman living in monogamy, raising childring, is the natural way of organising social life. That the best upbringing conditions for children is living with two parents, man and woman.
But, as Marx said: ”The human being is not something definite, it does not come from within. In its reality it is the consequence of social relations.”
There is a dialectic relation between society norms and the actions of people. How we express our gender, our desire, how we organise our social life is affected by the ideas of the ruling class. Ideas that reflect and reproduce material conditions and power relations in society. Liberating ourselves from ideas of the ruling class is a central step towards a socialist reality.
Revolutionaries don’t ask repressive institutions such as Family, the Vatican or the Capitalist State to make room for a few more people. As revolutionaries we are comitted to the destruction of these repressive institutions and to the constructions of a new socialist reality based on ideas of democracy, not hierarchy, on ideas of socialism, not capitalism.
A revolutionary transitional demand is therefore not the right for gay people to marry and live in silence within the walls of the institutional family. A revolutionary transitional demand can be a social pact with no regards of gender, sexual orientation or number of people involved. A pact that makes it possible to provide social end economic security between people who choose this. A pact that does not privilege one form of social life above others.
Another central demand is the economic independence of youth. Young people need economic independence to be able to leavve from a family that oppress them because of gender or sexuality. The family is a central element in the process of disciplining new workers through a patriarchal structure of hierarchy and authority. The institution of family teach us to act according to the expectations of society.
This includes a heterosexist disciplining that many children and young people experience within the framework of family. If a young person experience disciplining for being transgender, for being homosexual or simply being too independent, they should have the possibility to leave the family and search for new social communities that will not be oppressive of the ideas and desires of the youth.
Often people stay within the family because the only alternative is the street. As revolutionaries the struggle for youth independence, economic and social, is a central demand, because independence is necessary for new rebellious ideas to stay alive and developing.
I will end by another quote from the Pride leaflet of 1990s queer movement:
”The strong sisters told the brothers that there were two important things to remember about the coming revolutions. The first is that we will get our ass kicked. The second is that we will win.”
An army of lovers cannot loose.
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