[Marxism] Gays and German Communists
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 1 10:24:28 MDT 2004
Sexual freedom vs. fascism in Germany
By Leslie Feinberg
Decades of left-wing political activism, agitation and education ushered
in the short-lived era of the "Golden Twenties" in Germany. Berlin
rivaled Paris for its flourishing gay and lesbian cultures-which
included transgender expression. The movement had forced the police to
issue certificates to trans people, allowing them to "cross-dress"
without threat of arrest.
Turn-of-the-century independent strug gles for sexual reform, including
the movement for women's right to vote-which had held its first large
protest in Berlin in 1894-were coalescing into a broad political
alliance between the women's emancipation movement and the gay, trans
and lesbian movement.
In the heat of the struggle, the actual positions the German Communist
Party and the Nazi Party took on homosexuality and on abortion
demonstrate class objectives as different as night and day.
In 1928 gay publisher Adolf Brand, a founding member of an elitist and
male chauvinist German gay group called the Community of the Special,
polled the political parties of Germany about their position on
After the Second International collapsed following its surrender to the
inter-imperialist chauvinism of World War I, German revolutionary
elements joined the Communist Party. As the Communist Party became
strong, it responded to the call by the gay/trans/lesbian movement for
support against Paragraph 175.
The Communist Party replied that it had "taken a stand for the repeal of
Paragraph 175 at every available opportunity. There is no need to
emphasize that we will continue to wage the most resolute struggle for
the repeal of these laws in the future."
Communist lawyer Felix Halle, a co-worker in the Coalition for Reform of
the Sexual Crimes Code, provided this formulation of the German
Communist Party's stance:
"The class-conscious proletariat, uninfluenced by the ideology of
property and freed from the ideology of the churches, approaches the
question of sex life and also the problem of homosexuality with a lack
of prejudice afforded by an understanding of the overall social
structure. ... In accordance with the scientific insights of modern
times, the proletariat regards these relations as a special form of
sexual gratification and demands the same freedom and restrictions for
these forms of sex life as for intercourse between the sexes, i.e.,
protection of the sexually immature from attacks, ... control over one's
own body, and finally respect for the rights of non-involved parties."
The Nazis deliberately hid the fascist nature of their party by calling
themselves "National Socialists." But their response to the poll shows
that their program was just the opposite of a communist workers' party.
The Nazi reply included this succinct sentence: "Anyone who even thinks
of homosexual love is our enemy."
Some theorists have explained this ferocious enmity as part of the Nazi
effort to build a "Rambo" fighting machine. That's true. But the fact
that the fascists despised and destroyed the movements for sexuality,
gender and sexual freedom was also rooted in their entire political
ideology and the capitalist class objective it served.
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