the ultra-left on homosexuality?

Alex Trotter uburoi at panix.com
Tue Feb 7 11:17:32 MST 1995


I don't know of anything written on the subject of homosexuality by
"ultraleft" groups before the 1960s (BTW--Bernstein, as in Eduard
Bernstein the original "revisionist," could hardly be called ultraleft).
Most likely it was not a major concern of theirs. Since even the
Bolsheviks had (initially) a tolerant attitude, it's a fair guess that
the left communists might have had a similar tolerance. I doubt that any
of them could have been as unenlightened about questions of sexual freedom
as Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc.
	W. Reich tried to conduct his Sex-Pol program within the German
Communist Party and was sharply rebuked for it. Meanwhile, the
surrealists in Paris were expressing an interest in eroticism as well as
marxism. But in neither case was homosexuality looked upon very favorably.
	Among groups of the ultraleft (for want of a better term) *after*
the 1960s there is one essay I remember reading by one of the Bay Area
situationists (pro-situs?)--I think it was Chris Shutes--about the gay
scene in San Francisco in the '70s, criticizing it for being thoroughly
integrated into commodity relations. I forget what it was titled. I might
have obtained a copy (which I seem to have lost) of this essay from a fellow
who calls himself the Museum of Modern Prehistory. The address I have for
him is 54 State Street #5L, Brooklyn, NY 11201. I don't know if this is a
current address, but give it a try. He also has a lot of other obscure
pro-situ texts you might be interested in.

--AT


On Tue, 7 Feb 1995 sj at deakin.edu.au wrote:

> I have a question to throw out into the crowd - I imagine that Alex Trotter
> and Ralph Dumain, amongst others, may have something to say on the matter (I
> hope so). Here goes:
>
> Has anyone come across any ultra-left discussions of homosexuality from the
> years *before* the late sixties? By ultra-left I mean the Dutch, German and
> Italian 'Lefts' (e.g. Pannekoek, Mattick, Bordiga), as well as those groups
> which emerged in the forties and fifties (the Johnson-Forest Tendency and its
> various offshoots, Socialisme ou Barbarie, the situationists, those around
> Munis). And I ask specifically about the period before 1968, since so many
> people did start 'taking positions' on gay and lesbian identity after then.
>
> My own suspicion - having been shaped by a lot of such perspectives in the
> seventies - is that this wasn't an issue for any of the groups I've mentioned
> apart perhaps for the *Correspondence*/*Facing Reality* and *News & Letters*
> circles, and maybe not even for them... but I could be wrong. I also suspect
> that the broader left libertarian milieu which such groups influenced would
> have had rather more to say on the matter. Any thoughts or leads?
>
> Steve Wright
>
>

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