MATTD: Re: marxists & gay liberation

detcom at detcom at
Mon Apr 22 13:57:06 MDT 1996

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Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 14:16:07 -0400
To: marxism at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU
From: "Matt D." <afn02065 at>
Subject: Re: marxists & gay liberation
Sender: owner-marxism at jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU

Gary wrote:

>Chris B., Charlotte, Gina, Jay, Luis Q., Luis Godena, Chatterjee, Cronin,
>Matt D. have all said nothing.  Do they support Olechea's position?

Q: Do you, Matt D., support the criminalization of homosexuality?

A: No, I do not.

Q: But what of the Soviet Union in 1934?  Do you criticize Stalin's
ization of homosexuality in that period?

A: I presume by "Stalin" you mean the Soviet government?

Q: Obfuscating devil!  There was no Soviet government!  I'm talking about
Stalin -- you know, "Portrait of a Monster in Blood", "Hitler and Stalin:
Parallel Lives"!

A: Well, I'm reluctant to embrace this formula to describe the Soviet Union
during the period 1927-1953.  We've discussed this in the past.

Q: Bracketing, then, the question of "Stalinism" -- do you think it was
correct to criminalize homosexuality in the Soviet Union in 1934?

A: May I rephrase that, "Did it retard or advance the socialist movement?"

Q <begrudgingly>: Yes.

A: It is difficult for me to see how it could have advanced the socialist
movement to criminalize homosexuality in 1934.  I suspect it was a mistake.

Q: So then you admit that Stalin was a counter-revolutionary, bloodthirsty
psychopath, destroyer of the legacy of Lenin, etc., etc.?

A: Well, no.  I don't think that the criminalization of homosexuality in
1934 is
a dividing line issue for communists today.  I used to feel the same way
about positions on Stalin and "Stalinism".  It has become clear to me, how-
ever, that those who take as their starting point attacks on Stalin and the
Soviet Union of the '30s and '40s will in fact attack at every opportunity
*any* revolution, and *any* exercise of power by the workers.  The rabid
"anti-Stalinist" is in fact no more than an *anti-communist*.

Furthermore, I don't pretend to have a clear idea of how the situation
>from the standpoint of the Soviet Union in 1934.  It may have seemed much
more rational to repress whatever form "gay liberation" was taking in the
Soviet Union at that time -- even though it may still have been wrong to do
so.  In any event, your own concern for gay liberation seems to me to be no
more than a thinly veiled cover for your real concern -- attacking
and attacking the working class.

Q: So basically you're a maniacal homophobe and murderous disciple of

A: Well, that will be for history to judge, won't it?  I only hope that my
rades will remember me with some tiny fraction of the love the masses
still have for Comrade Stalin.

As for homophobia/heterosexism -- I do indeed think that the question of
sexual liberation as posed by the formulation "gay liberation" is
in that it accepts the category of gay/straight which, as we all know, is
even more socially constructed than the category of race, and proceeds
to make this opposition central to the question of personal and political
identity.  Did this keep me from participating in the "gay rights" march
in Gainesville last summer?  No.  But that could just be my Stalinist
ness, I guess.

Another problem I have is with the assumption implicit in much "gay
liberation" rhetoric that same-sex intercourse is somehow more "free"
or "liberating" than heterosex.  A substantial section of gay male
culture, for instance, is at least as viciously anti-woman -- if not more
so -- than much of straight culture.

>Gays like Hershfeld in Germany and Edward Carpenter
>in England saw no difference between the movemnt
>for socialism and that for tolerance in the field of sexuality.
>Much the same pertains for feminism by the  way.

I'm all for "tolerance in the field of sexuality."  At the same time, let's
all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the USSR 1934 at a reasonable

>Since the seventies, however, gays have turned not to
>Marxists for ideas but to Michel  Foucault.

Yes, the reluctance of the mainstream gay movement to dissassociate
itself from pederasts is disappointing, to say the least.  What are you
doing about this?

>I will be dealing with his ideas when we come to discuss queer theory but
>for me Foucault is a very ambiguous figure when it comes to gay
>However for all his  weaknesses Foucault wouold never have perpretrated
>kind of gross crudity that Olaechea did when he argued that the state
>legitimately require the criminalisation and persecution of gay poeple.

Neither would the Marquis de Sade have "perpetrated [that] kind of gross
crudity."  Does this make him an exemplar for communists?

>I would like now to ask Olechea or one of his colleagues to explain to me
>how could any state influenced by Marxism require such a thing?

Well, that's a historical question, isn't it?  If you're really so
concerned for
an answer, you should probably get to work.

>and while
>they are at it could they explain to me how is it that in 1936  the same
>state required the criminalisation of abortion?

See above.

-- Matt D.

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