[Marxism] A "Clash of Civilizations," Sending Pink Sparks Flying?

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Tue Jun 8 14:07:07 MDT 2004

Do you remember Pim Fortuyn, a gay Dutch politician who rose to 
notoriety with his call for a moratorium on immigration and whose 
political party Lijst Pim Fortuyn received "1.6 million votes and 26 
seats in the 150-seat parliament" nine days after Fortuyn's 
assassination on May 6, 2002? . . .

The rise of Pim Fortuyn . . . signaled a new era of white gay male 
politics. By promoting anti-immigrant politics vigorously and 
marketing it with anti-Muslim prejudice demagogically, Fortuyn showed 
that right-wing populism can very well be gay and enormously popular 
to boot, as LPF votes in in 2002 attest, in the Netherlands, "the 
first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage (in March 
2002)" (Wim Lunsing, "Islam versus Homosexuality? Some Reflections on 
the Assassination of Pim Fortuyn," Anthropology Today 19.2, April 
2003, p. 19). . . .

While Fortuyn's life came to an end at the hands of a mad animal 
rights activist Van der Graaf, immigrants and asylum-seekers in the 
Netherlands live with his legacy . . . .

Will the phenomenon of a gay man successfully popularizing the 
rhetoric that pits "Islam" (misrepresented as inherently and 
monolithically homophobic and misogynistic) against the "Western 
Civilization" (made out to be inherently and monolithically feminist 
and pro-gay) remain unique to the Netherlands? Or will the 
Netherlands be a harbinger, as more white gay men, now integrated in 
the militaries and soon to gain the equal right to marriage in most 
rich industrialized nations, lose the ability to identify with other 
outcasts like the Palestinians and migrant workers that once defined 
the politics and aesthetics of Genet (e.g., Prisoner of Love) and 
Fassbinder (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul)? . . .

Take Peter Tatchell, perhaps the most famous queer activist in 
Britain, for example. Unlike Fortuyn, Tatchell is still capable of 
gesturing toward the existence of tolerant Muslims, but a number of 
his writings suggest a paranoid fear of political powers of Muslims:

* The New Dark Ages are already with us. For hundreds of millions of 
people in parts of the Middle-East, Africa and South-East Asia, the 
ascendancy of Islamic fundamentalism has ushered in an era of 
religious obscurantism and intolerance. The liberal, compassionate 
wing of Islam -- although it still has large numbers of adherents -- 
is being forced onto the defensive and increasingly eclipsed. (Peter 
Tatchell, "The New Dark Ages," 1995)

* The political consequences for the gay community could be serious. 
As the fundamentalists gain followers, homophobic Muslim voters may 
be able to influence the outcome of elections in 20 or more marginal 
constituencies. Their voting strength could potentially be used to 
block pro-gay candidates or to pressure electorally vulnerable MPs to 
vote against gay rights legislation. (Peter Tatchell/OutRage! Press 
Release, "The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in Britain," April 10, 
1998) . . .

The full posting is at 

* Critical Montages: <http://montages.blogspot.com/>
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus: 
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>

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