[Marxism] The National Equality March: A New Generation of Protesters

aaron amaral amaral1871 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 13 21:18:38 MDT 2009


This post is so full of outright misinformation and vapid polemic that it is
hardly even worthy of a response. But to point out one egregious fallacy,
that the march was 'poorly attended': there were easily over 150,000 people
there.

Park police estimated the turnout at 150,000. March organizers said 200,000.
And the Associated Press estimated the crowd at 300,000.
-aa

On Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 10:58 PM, John Obrien <causecollector at msn.com>wrote:

>
> Having been on the National Steering Committees of the 1979 and 1987
> National Lesbian and Gay Rights Marches on Washington DC - here is my
> feedback:
>
>
>
> This Oct 11, 2009 event (so called March) was poorly attended - and much
> smaller compared to the previous real national marches.
>
>
> The major reason is that it was called and controlled by three people!
>  There was no national organizing conference, as in the previous three
> national marches (1979, 1987, 1993) that invited all to participate and to
> set up a political and financial accountable organization, that was grass
> roots based. The three main organizers of this 10/11/09 event who controlled
> everything - were democratic party adherents, who wanted to keep this as a
> lobbying/pressure group and not to let it get beyond that.  They succeeded
> in controlling it - but did not advance the GLBT Movement, by what they did.
>
>
>
> This so called march - which was more a staged event - was a setback - not
> an advance for the GLBT Movement.  Instead of following a good tradition of
> having a grass roots based demorcratic decision making organization, that
> was inclusive and welcoming - this top down controlled event, instead took
> place.
>
>
>
> We expected many young people who never had the oportunity before to
> participate in a real national GLBT March, to be lured to this event.  The
> three organizers counted on that.
>
> However, they were disappointed by the response of the larger majority of
> the GLBT Community gave them. - and not because of being pro-Obama - but
> because of what they were trying to do.  Many long time activists and
> fortunately a number of new ones, understood how undemocratic and
> self-serving this event was.
>
>
>
> What I was surprised about is how the ISO and RCP added their names as
> endorsers - without even thinking - was this a good thing to build the GLBT
> Movement - and the best way.  The ISO and RCP apparently had not thought out
> a political understanding or goals to build a mass independent GLBT
> Movement, but just to tail after some bourgeois democrats.
>
>
>
> As with other small sectarian sects, they apparently in supporting this
> undemocratic event, counter their own little vanguard parties for people to
> join, than to actually promote and build a mass independent movement.  A
> better course of action would be to sincerely build a mass independent
> movement. Had they been seen as the best builders of promoting a real
> independent mass GLBT Movement, they could become leaders of this movement
> and the communities it represents.
>
>
>
> But the ISO and RCP never reached out to the previous National March
> organizers or do any serious outreach to the many existing community
> organizations - to analyze what was this event for and about - but instead
> chased after this event, to follow the democratic party operatives and
> without considering the political demands, outcome and may I mention - any
> financial accountability, along with political accountability.  They thought
> it was great because it appeared to be protesting the Obama government -
> when it actually was to only beg and lobby and promise to be loyal defenders
> of that government, if some speech was made - without any concrete changes,
> in including poor and working people to decision making.
>
>
>
> I saw one ISO member state they were so proud to have brought 40 buses from
> New York City!  Forty buses - that is two thousand people and in 2009 that
> is not saying very much about good organizing!  Thus instead of thousands of
> buses from that city alone - forty buses and this is considered successful?
>  The 1993 March (before the internet) had a million participants. This one
> had a small fraction of that size!
>
>
>
> Was this small Oct 11, 2009 turnout due to so many people not wanting to
> protest the Obama govenrment - or just bad organizing.  I believe mainly the
> later.
>
>
>
> I did not attend this event in Wash DC this weekend. I watched it on CSPAN
> with my partner hoping to see some break with the democratic party - but
> there was none!
>
>
>
> In 1987, I led the Los Angeles Committee that brought over 30,000 people
> from Los Angeles alone, to that real national march and helped to bring from
> California, over a hundred thousand - which is more than what showed up in
> total on this Sunday (with today's internet - that was not available 22
> years ago).
>
>
>
> Is this because support for GLBT Rights has declined - or interest in the
> GLBT Movement?
>
> No - it is not that - so I suggest we look at the misleaders and
> misorganizers of this event, as responsbile for the poor showing.  Had they
> instead allowed a national open organizing process for this - the march
> would have taken place far differently and next year instead, with the focus
> not on lobbying, as this event was.
>
>
>
> What was possibly established, by the ISO and others going to this event -
> was to allow both allow left cover to the organizers, to appear progressive
> and to allow any rich billionaire or another small unrepresented body in the
> future, to call in name for a National March - and that is the major
> disservice done by this event - to tear down the progress and tradition and
> hard work done, to build a united powerful movement, that the three previous
> real National Marches did - in 1979, 1987, 1993.
>
>
>
> David Mixner the main person behind this event (who just endorsed the
> Republican Bloomberg for relection as mayor of New York City!) and who
> worked to oppose the Single Payer health referendum in California not long
> ago - was who benefited from this event.  Watch the money raised from this
> event and see who received funds.
>
>
>
> We heard a great deal at this Sunday event, about marriage and inclusion in
> the U. S. military - but little or nothing about ending U.S. government
> support to governments that murder and abuse GLBT people, or of those among
> the two million in U. S. prisons, or among the poor and working people - and
> the physical and psychological violence.  They had one labor person from the
> RWDSU who mentioned employment and housing discrimination - and the only
> other speaker (Urvashi Viad) who mentioned the wars and how atttacks on
> working people and the environment and homophobia need to all be struggled
> against and opposed.  The rest of the speakers promoted lobbying and working
> inside the democratic party - which was not a very good political message
> that I got from this so called march for equality.  That there were not even
> concrete demands but a vague equality word - took away from the three former
> real national marches in 1979, 1987 and 1993 that all had specific demands.
>  But those were organized democratically and welcomed grass roots
> involvement at all levels - unlike this event that was controlled top down
> and had the ISO as cheerleaders for this dangerous departure from a hard
> fought and proud hsitory of accomplishment.
>
>
>
> The tone of this march was politically more conservative than the three
> previous national marches - I was embarassed about the pro-nationalist
> speeches and little mention of those in the U. S. or around the world in
> their daily struggles of survival against the wealthy.
>
>
>
> Is it any wonder that so many call the ISO - the International Student
> Organization - when they blunder like this - tailing and following
> democratic party hacks - instead of analyzing and offering real leadership?
>  I happen to be politically close to much of the ISO political program, but
> their lack of judgement, only moves me and others further from joining them.
>
>
>
> The ISO can learn from the older generation of GLBT protestors, who
> actually know how to build a mass movement - to avoid future such mistakes -
> that embarass those who try to educate about the democratic party operatives
> interest, in only personal and financial gain, over the interests of the
> masses of GLBT people.  But then they would have to learn more about the
> GLBT community and work in it - and not just try to recruit a few to their
> party as a great acheivement.  In the long run, they will lose these same
> people, they temporarily recruit, if that is all that is really offered.
>
>
>
> Not truly immersing into a movement to build and lead, but instead to just
> try and recruit a few people - is what has in part led to the current
> isolation of the U.S. left today - that has become cheerleaders but not
> builders, of any mass movements presently today. Instead the Democratic
> Party operatives keep tight control of these various peoples communities -
> and this event this past Sunday in Washington DC, is just another example.
>
>
>
> But I am hopeful that the poor and oppressed will see though this - and not
> follow blindly such leaders - as a "Father Gapon". Maybe the ISO can learn
> to analyze and have a thought out program, with concrete actions that build
> independent movements and not just tail after ones controlled by bourgois
> operatives.
>
>
>
>
>
> John O'Brien
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>  > Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 09:32:20 -0500
> > From: proletariandan at gmail.com
> > Subject: [Marxism] The National Equality March: A New Generation of
> Protesters
> >
> >
> > I'm surprised I haven't seen anything on the list about Sunday's
> > march. This was my first march on Washington and was incredible; I was
> > shocked how many (mostly young) people turned out due to sheer
> > frustration with Obama and the Democrats. This is one of many openings
> > for the left and a very bright spot in an otherwise dull political
> > landscape. For folks in Chicago there is a follow-up meeting next week
> > at the Lincoln Park Public Library. Also, Sherri Wolf will be speaking
> > about her book 'Sexuality and Socialism' at the Midwest Socialist
> > Conference in November.
> > >
> > http://socialistworker.org/2009/10/12/we-demand-full-equality
> >
> > http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1929747,00.html
> >
> > The march on Washington that gays staged Sunday on the National Mall
> > drew something like 200,000 people — that's a good guess based on
> > conversations with many of the organizers and local authorities,
> > although estimates of Mall crowds are notoriously unreliable. But one
> > number you can take to the bank: the average age of those backstage
> > who wore walkie-talkie headsets and staff badges, the men (and a few
> > women) who were behind much of the organizing effort, wasn't over 30.
> > And that, by far, was the oddest thing about the march: Why would a
> > generation wired to their mobile phones and Facebook accounts nearly
> > from birth want to resurrect a form of political expression as old and
> > musty as a mass gathering?
> > >
> > Right then I thought of a conversation I had had with Ting, the young
> > private-equity associate and march organizer. He had told me that he
> > didn't know that in 1993, Mixner — the gay activist and friend of Bill
> > Clinton's who helped agitate for this year's march — had been arrested
> > outside the White House for opposing Clinton's infamous "Don't ask,
> > don't tell" policy for gays in the military, the same policy that gays
> > are now impatiently waiting on Obama to overturn. "A lot of us were 9
> > or 10 years old in 1993," Ting had said to me. I wondered if today's
> > 9- and 10-year-old gays and lesbians would remember this march. Ting
> > and his friends have a lot of work ahead of them to make sure they do.
>
>
>
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-- 

"A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in
chains, and a slave who through cunning and violence breaks the
chains - let not the contemptible eunuchs tell us that they are
equals before a court of morality!"
--Leon Trotsky, "Their Morals and Ours," 1938



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