[Marxism] Re: Gay Discussion on Marxmail

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Mon Oct 24 09:02:23 MDT 2005

 >I think, Brian, this is a clear example of only paying attention to the
parts of Walter’s post that you felt contributed to your forgone
conclusion. Walter covered a range of territory, *including* Cuba’s
history of sexual repression. (He’s written before on homophobia and
sexual repression in Cuba, in detail, and has never shied away from

The *fact* that Cuba has made strides in this area--huge strides,
immense strides, if Walter’s post was even half-correct--shows that
Cuba *is* combatting homophobia before, during, and after other crises.

The point of showing Cuba’s response to Wilma is to show that real
priorities, such as the saving of human life, as well as political
advances regarding sexual repression and homophobia, are infinitely
more important to consider than whether Fidel has some nice things to
say about Papa Ratzi. —Adam

I have no foregone conclusion on this subject and, in light of Walter’s 
previous writings on this various subject, was in fact startled by the 
section that I chose to quote.

I first did consider solidarizing myself with all the rest of Walter’s 
post. It slipped my mind as I went to write my comment. Nonetheless, I 
feel that if someone feels that this issue is either more important or 
in fact necessary to comment on as it comes up in Marxmail, I can’t see 
why Walter should compare it to what he is writing on and imply that it 
wasn’t as important as Katrina or any other cataclysmic event.

Catastrophes happen all the time. Their interactions with capitalism or 
a form of socialism are important. But there is something in the 
excitement of that that allowed Walter to claim: stop your posts about 
“Papa Ratzi” and to claim that the person writing about this believes 
that “none of this is of any interest to those for whom gay issues are 
the most important ones facing humanity.”

It is not a “gay issue”; it is a “human issue” that is part of all 
forms of oppression. It may be more important to O’Brien or another not 
because it is absolutely so, but because s/he has something special to 
contribute. So when the issue comes up, it is important to discuss it. 
What should O’Brien do: wait a month to write an abstract thesis on the 
subject—hopefully when there is no natural catastrophe that someone can 
use against him?

BTW, why did Castro invite the Pope? Shouldn’t he have stopped 
absolutely everything else to help organize hurricane, flood, and 
earthquake relief? In fact he did all of these. I assume that O’Brien 
and others do many other things as well. But if they have special 
knowledge to contribute on this question and, yes, special indignation, 
why should their comments be so denigrated?

As for my own opinion on the invitation. It is of vital importance that 
Castro takes every opportunity to break the blockade. He is to be 
commended for getting such an early jump on this, setting the opponents 
of the Cuban Revolution back on their heels. It is absolutely marvelous 
how skilled he is at this. As for the “face of an angel” remark, it was 
apparently said in private in order to win over a priest.

It is not part of a political program. The Cuban Revolution laid out 
its international revolutionary program years ago. We should all 
recognize that it does not need to reaffirm it again and again, 
particularly under the difficulties in which it finds itself. 
Similarly, we should not take the remarks of a head of state (which 
Castro may not be technically, but is in reality) as the same as a 
political program for revolutionary parties to follow throughout the 
world. I keep saying this again and again; I don’t know why really.

I also feel that Castro’s attitude towards organized religion is much 
superior, indeed the opposite, of the policy of Lenin. It is also much 
firmer as a Marxist. You can’t overcome the need for comfort, solace, 
etc., by forming an organization to combat religion. It can only be 
done by giving people more and more power over their own collective 
destiny and demonstrating here on earth how we can achieve harmony with 
our lives and with others.

Brian Shannon

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