marxists & gay liberation
mlm at ursula.blythe.org
Fri May 3 12:00:22 MDT 1996
> 1. If industrialisation (?!?!!) and fear of fascism influenced Stalin what I
> wonder influenced Hitler who at exactly the same time did the same as
> Stalin? Now if that is too long ago or too difficult to think about try a
> more recent one. What has influenced Donna Violeta to criminalise
> homosexuality in Nicaragua since her electoral success in 1990?
> Is it also fear of industrialisation and fasicism or could it actually be
> fear of revolution that motivated all three worthies?
Sorry to take so long to reply, but in my original post I did not mean to
imply that Stalin. et al., were motivated by concerns about
industrialization and fascism to therefore criminalize homosexuality. I
suspect that was their overwhelming concern, and the issue of gay
rights/gay liberation probably wasn't a major issue for them (at least
not consciously). I would presume there was a conscious effort to focus
Soviet culture and individual behaviour towards building a stronger
economy, state etc. and away from personal issues.
As for Nicaragua, I would assume the role of the Catholic Church in the
revolution, as well as deeply-entrenched attitudes towards gays had more
to do with things than anything Stalin's actions.
> 2. I welcome your remark that despite being a maoist and a stalinist you
> believe that a revolutionary movement should address the question of "gay
> liberation". How do you think this might be done? And what do you mean by
> "not modelling it on events that occurred 60 years ago."?
It seems obvious to me that the issue of gay rights is a democratic one,
and following Lenin democratic stuggles need to be supported in the
struggle for socialism. A revolutionary movement in the U.S., for
example, should have the struggle against all forms of oppression as part
of its program. Wether or not to support specific movements or reforms
would depend on whether they serve the cause of the proletariat or not,
eg. whether they are bourgeois reformist, etc.
> We first need to understand that the Bolsheviks decriminalised homosexuality
> and legalised abortion. They also supported a wide variety of modern
> progressive causes. That was 70 years ago, but their ideas have not been
> eclipsed. It is BTW extremly un marxist to say that because something
> happened 60 or even 600 years ago it is not relevant. That my friend is
> bourgeois thought. But if you will hang out with Maoists you will pick
> this kind of thing up.
I think it is frankly stupid to base a political strategy for gay
liberation on the policies (or their opposite) of the Soviet union, when
they should be based on the politics and culture of today, on the society
we base ourselves in materially, not on an ideal of justice or freedom.
That's true for all democratic rights, I believe.
> 3. How does you argument follow here? I am afraid you are unwilling to give
> an honest estimate of the full extent of the revolution that the Bolsheviks
> accomplished. I can understand that coming from a bourgeois and come to
> think of it I can understand that coming from one who "upholds Mao and
> Stalin" whatever that means.
I don't know a lot about the cultural revolution in the USSR after 1917.
It has nothing to do with honesty, more to do with prioritizing. I don't
think gay struggles are marginal or frivolous, but I expect that gay
Marxists will do a better job of theorizing /leading them than straight
ones. You can't expect one idividual to know everything about all
aspects of the Russian revolution.
> Let me repeat when the Bolsheviks seized power they implemented a
> progressive program that had been fought for and argued for by the best
> socialist minds for over 80 years. It operated in the fields of culture,
> education, sexuality etc. No Bolshevik wouold ever have thought to question
> or attack the values of Havelock Ellis, Edwards Carpenter or Magnus
> Hershfeld. Their program on sexuality was in fact very influenced by these
> men. This program was destroyed by Stalin.
What books document the above statement?
> we do need to update it in detail but not in spirit. But the
> Stalinists are not even willing to acknowledge its existence. That is the
> sticking point between us.
That depends on which Maoist you ask.
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