[Marxism] quiet and behaved?

John Obrien causecollector at msn.com
Thu Jun 17 22:26:07 MDT 2004

As someone who will not be quiet and behaved - I have been sadly hearing the 
same old defense of the continuing ogvernment supported homophobia in Cuba.  
Whatever changes have occured there are not by the government, but because 
of the Gay/Lesbian Movement's growing demands and influence, around the 
world - outside of Cuba.

We have had this discussion before and it seems to always drive several to 
immediately "come to the defense of the Cuban government if any questions 
are raised about inequality in that country.
Just for the record - in my opinion - no country at present is a "paradise 
for Gays and Lesbians.

The painful reality at present in Cuba is that- no Gay group is allowed to 
legally exist in that nation - yet the Cahtolic Church is allowed to operate 
freely and have many organizations.  Where is the fairness in that?

That some films were made - does not answer the question of the reality.  
There were films made in the U. S. on Gays and many other subjects but this 
does not reflect the true situation of official oppression and prejudice.

The Cuban government has done some very important international support and 
efforts against imperialsim and capitalism.  For this I applaud them.  I 
oppose the blockade and am for freeing the Cuban Five, etc. But this does 
not mean I have to be quiet and behaved and not speak the truth.

Truth is not something to be afraid of - it is something that needs to be 
known and understood.  Things would change quicker and better for all Cubans 
- if people would speak the truth and demand justice instead of playing this 
game that everything is okay now.

I hear proclaimed every little thing that is perceived as tolerant towards 
Gays in Cuba - as the proof that everything is great.  It is far from that.  
And why can I not suggest that a Left Unity Conference include Gay activists 
who do not like the Cuban government?  I notice the issue I raised about the 
travel costs to hold a Left Unity Conference in Cuba, was limiting poor 
people's participation, was of no interest to address - just the Gay issue?

I guess poor people are even more to be ignored than Gays at this time?  I 
guess this is "progress" in some distorted way - since Gays usually are not 
mentioned and now seem to be of interest and fascination of more and more 
people!  Yet my objection was precisely because of trying to marginalize 
Gays and Lesbians who respect themselves and will not settle for inequality 
in any form or venue. Or be silent on their issues. Caring only for others 
who deserve better, unlike those Gays who are only interested in pleasure 
and sex!!!

As most are aware there are no local workers councils voting locally on 
their managers and on direct control of their factories.  Havana appoints 
these people - which goes against socialist views on who should control.  
Does this mean we can not be critical of this either.  The level of 
development in creating a true socilaist society is being worked on - my 
difference with comrade Walter Lippmann is on how hard in all areas.  It is 
a difference I have - and I hope it should be considered by those who wish 
reading this email and other previous ones.

No criticism!! No criticsm!! - I heard this about the Soviet Union, China, 
Albania and the Democratic Republic of Korea.  Did this help stave off the 
inevitable - when it became clear that many people did not support the 
beauracrcies in those countries.

Walter Lippmann is a fine comrade - and can disagree with me all he wants - 
and defend what he wants - but what I am saying is not without some or a lot 
of truth (depending on each participants view on this list).  My points are 
not "outdated" or not relevant today, as he implies in my view.

If some are uncomfortable with the issues I raise, I am sorry.  For those 
who are afraid of an honest appraisal or different view, I am sorry.  But I 
beleive this goes back to hetero privilege.  I do not want someone to give 
me some rights or toleration - I want respect and fairness and equal access 
and be treated the same with my right to be different.  Conformity is not 
socialism in my opinion.

Walter I am glad you can provide documents and films that discuss the 
situation of sexuality in Cuba - but the "Gay Issue" is not limited to 
relegating me to some side space "in a separate but equal status argument " 
that we heard in keeping People of Color down.  The issue is empowerment and 
many are afraid of this - fearing that "perceived privileges" would be lost 
by them.

I want to emphasize that this is not the case of Walter Lippmann and 
honorable comrade who stood up many years ago, for basic rights for Gays and 
Lesbians.  I give him my respect for doing this.  I just hope he allows me 
my right to want more for Gays and Lesbians whether in the U.S., Cuba or any 
other place on this planet.  Is this wrong?  I do not support the "go slow 
appraoch" and why should I have to?  Walter and I have a difference but it 
is not something that we have to not be respectful in our differences over.  
It is an issue that will actually be decided by the Cuban people and 
especualliy the Gay and Lesbian Cubans who will decide how much they want in 
respect and fair tretment and an actual voice in decisions.

Best regards to all my comrades who want a better world - and it is okay 
that we have differences but understand that what we are united against - 
the Capitalist monster - is the far greater threat than just some little Gay 
activist such as myself who raises questions on equalioty and freedom for 

I too hope Melvin returns - because he gave some insight and views that we 
should all think about - whether we agree and reach the same judgement and 
view with him or not.

Viva la difference!
Onward in Struggle for a Better World!

John O'Brien
Los Angeles

>From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
>Reply-To: Activists and scholars in Marxist 
>tradition<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
>To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition 
><marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
>Subject: Re: [Marxism] quiet and behaved?
>Date: Thu, 17 Jun 2004 11:41:37 -0400
>Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
>>Walter wrote:
>>>Here's a chapter from a recently published Cuban book on
>>Thanks for posting the chapter.  Do you (or does anyone else here) have a 
>>bibliography of books and articles on sexuality in Cuba?
>I would also include these two as essential resources:
>Gay activist Larry Oberg's report:
>Jon Hillson's "The Sexual Politics of Reinaldo Arenas":
>The Marxism list: www.marxmail.org
>Marxism mailing list
>Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu

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