Gay liberation, capitalism, Stalinism

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Fri Dec 1 15:01:40 MST 2000

Hi Mine,

I don't know if we should play the game of trying to decide who are the
most oppressed.  It may well be that oppression of gays has different roots
from that of the oppression of blacks.  Some theorists have suggested that
gay oppression is related to anxiety about falling population and the
non-reproduction of DNA.  I have no idea how one would decide such an issue.

However there is one aspect of Phil's post that I did wish to comment on
and that was the general decline of the gay movement from demands for
emancipation to the most outrageous accommodation with the existing state
of affairs.

It may be my residual International Socialism (i.e. vulgar Marxism) but I
attribute that to the retreat of the working class following the collapse
of the Long Economic Boom.  For me the movements of the 60s were all
related in an admittedly subtle way to the decline of work discipline and
general fear of the boss caused by the collapse in unemployment.

When the working class once more went under the lash then it seems to me
that the courage and daring also went out of the gay movement, the black
movement and the women's movement.

Having said all that and admitting that there is much I admire and agree
with in both your and Phil's posts, I am tempted to think that there is
there is something intrinsically radical about being a *gay* male even in
contemporary society.  Even if it only means that we constitute some kind
of challenge to the dynamics of social reproduction.



At 12:38  1/12/00 -0500, you wrote:

>Gary MacLennan wrote:
> > >Just a few points here Phil,
> >
> > >I think that capitalism can grant full citizenship to no one.   Within
> that
> > of course some are more oppressed than others.  It is true that in New
> > Zealand gays did quite well compared to working class people but then most
> > gays are workers are they not? Oppression and domination simply flowed into
> > another sector.  I may be free to marry a man but my conditions at work are
> > deteriorating etc.
> >
>This is also true. Class largely matters to the degree that middle class gays
>are _still_ better off than working class gays. So, gays are not discriminated
>on the basis of their sexual identity _alone_.  Imagine being a minority gay_.
>Now, this time racism cuts across sexual identity. Or imagine being a _lesbo
>woman_ versus being a _gay man_.This time, I assume, gender will cut across
>sexual identity. Back to Turkey then, an architect friend of  my cousins, a
>very affluent/ middle class gay, was calling me a whore because I was always
>hanging out with men. One day he told my mom, "you should get your daughter
>under your control!".  I was amazed to see how heterosexist social attitudes
>could be effectively regenerated  by its own victims.
>Capitalism reproduces and maintains all sorts of stratifications in society
>(gender, sexual, class, race) . It provides formal equality to oppressed
>identities on the surface. It does not guarantee full liberation. Who gets a
>bigger pie from the system, however, requires a class analysis of the
>issues to
>understand the complexities of oppression.
>I am gonna make some priority here, but I agree with Phil at one point.
>Discrimination of gays, despite being an obvious fact, has never been as
>*systemic* as  discrimination of blacks. Think about slavery; segregation of
>schools on the basis of race, denial of voting rights to blacks, etc.:-)
>Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
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