Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

No Cops, No Corporations—An Interview with Reclaim Pride in New York City

The Reclaim Pride Coalition rejects corporate co-optation, denounces imperialism and state violence, and seeks to center the most marginalized in our community. They are calling a Queer Liberation March this Sunday. Left Voice spoke with Colin Ashley.

Left Voice

June 27, 2019
Facebook Twitter Share
Reclaim Pride Coalition/Alana Reilly

What is Reclaim Pride?

Reclaim Pride is a coalition of groups and activists who for the last few years have been working to reclaim Pride by removing institutions of oppression from the main parade, including the police and corporations. The official pride march has become more and more exclusive, transforming what once was a political celebration of LGBTQ+ people into a day-long dance party that commodified queer existence and substituted corporations, politicians, and the police for grassroot queer organizations and queer communities—especially the most marginalized who often feel excluded from the main Pride parade.

The Reclaim Pride Coalition initially formed out of the resistance contingent of the 2017 Pride Parade. Members of the resistance contengent were disgusted by the fact that Pride continued to be a force of pinkwashing that erased queer issues and queer struggles while our rights were increasingly being stripped from us—Trans people in particular and other oppressed and marginalized communities were being attacked under the new administration. Since that first contingent was formed in 2017, the Reclaim Pride coalition has grown stronger in its mission to create a Pride march that rejects corporate greed and co-optation, that denounces imperialism and state violence, and seeks to center the most marginalized in our community. Beyond creating the alternative Queer Liberation March, the goal of the coalition is to rebuild a movement that is dedicated to intersectionality. The building of the alternative march has been a form of Praxis.

It is the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. What is your vision of Stonewall’s legacy? 

The radical legacy of the Stonewall is that of resistance. It is a legacy of communal self-determination and “fight back” that began with opposition to state violence—specifically against police brutality. It is about the legacy of Marsh P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major—the courage of the most marginalized to not just fight against massive forces of oppression but to also struggle against those who in theory were part of the community but would marginalize them as well. The legacy of Stonewall is about remembering that the first gay Pride march went by the Women’s House of Detention and marchers shouted “Free Our Sisters! Free Ourselves.” Joan Bird and Afeni Shakur, two defendants in the Panther 21 case, were being detained there as part of a conspiracy against freedom fighters in the struggle for Black Liberation. This is the legacy of stonewall that we must reclaim.

What are the biggest problems you see with Pride as it is now? 

The biggest problem is an overall pinkwashing that produces cultural amnesia. Fascism is growing globally. White supremacy is on the rise in the US and the wealth disparity between the 1% and the rest of us is increasing. Many of the folks who woke up wondering how Trump won the last election are the same folks who see nothing wrong with Pride as it is. The official Pride parade erases our own history of fighting back and it teaches people that their oppressors, like the cops and the corporations, are their friends.

In the past, many Pride parades have been disrupted by people denouncing police violence. What do you think about the recent apology by the NYPD?

Commissioner O’Neill’s apology for the police raid on Stonewall was seen by many of the most privileged in our community as a “step in the right direction.” This fails to take a realistic view of history and the current reality of many folks in our community. The apology was hollow and mentioned that nothing like that would ever happen in 2019. However, Black and Brown queer spaces are still overly policed and targeted by the state. Trans women of color are criminalized for sex-work, whether they are sex workers or not. The use of condoms as evidence of sex work disproportionately allows the police to terrorize young queers of color. O’Neill’s apology not only ignores the full history of the oppression of queer people at the hands of the NYPD—it completely ignores our current reality. What is an apology if the person apologizing still has their boot on your neck? His apology is a slap in the face. The presence of police at Pride has always been a slap in the face.

How can people get involved in Reclaim Pride?

Come to the Queer Liberation March this Sunday. The march will start at 7th Avenue south of Christopher Street at 9:30 am. We will go one block up 7th Avenue, take a right on West 10th Street over to 6th Avenue and then march all the way up 6th Avenue into Central Park. You can also meet up with the March at Bryant Park by 11 am. The march will end with a Rally in Central Park’s Great Lawn. You are welcome to join us here at any time. At Reclaim Pride, you will be able to sign up to help us build a radical coalition that continues to grow in its political vision. Find out more information here.

Facebook Twitter Share

Left Voice

Militant journalism, revolutionary politics.

Gender & Sexuality

A trans flag flies above a protest

Trans Day of Visibility 2024: Organize With the Working Class Against The Far-Right

Trans Day of Visibility this year comes in a context of an insurgent far-right. To defeat this right we will need to rely on our own power and join with the working class.

Sybil Davis

March 31, 2024

Berlin Police Attack an Anti-Imperialist Feminist Demonstration on March 8

On International Women's Day, there were numerous demonstrations in Berlin, including: a union demonstration, an anti-imperialist demonstration, and a supposedly "leftist" demonstration in solidarity with Israel. As you would expect, police only attacked one of the three.

Nathaniel Flakin

March 14, 2024
Mobilization for trans rights at Brooklyn, June 2020.

The Working Class Must Fight for Trans Rights

As new anti-trans bills are introduced in the United States, it is imperative to take up the fight for trans rights using working-class strategy and methods.

K.S. Mehta

March 11, 2024

Rise in Forced Pregnancies Shows the Need for an Independent Movement for Abortion Rights

Post-Dobbs, research shows that many people in states where abortions are banned have been unable to get them. We need a movement to fight for free, safe, legal abortion on demand.

Molly Rosenzweig

December 19, 2023

MOST RECENT

Why Won’t PSC-CUNY Stand with Palestine Now?

While other higher education unions are going on strike in defense of their workers and against the genocide in Gaza, the bureaucratic leadership of PSC-CUNY just crushed a resolution calling on the university to divest from Israel and to drop the charges against Palestinian activists arrested on April 30. 

James Dennis Hoff

May 24, 2024

Attack on Pro-Palestinian Protestors at UMich Latest Example of Democrats Defending Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

Capitalist apologists from the Democratic Party have chosen their business partners in Israel’s far-right government over Palestinian lives. In Ann Arbor, those same so-called “progressive” Democrats decided to bring felony charges against protestors earlier this week, encouraging harsh police violence against the University of Michigan encampment.

Ryan McCarty

May 24, 2024
Activists in Detroit speaking at a press conference condemning repression of the pro-Palestine movement on May 20, 2024.

Detroit Activists Hold Press Conference to Condemn Repression of Pro-Palestine Protesters

Detroit Will Breathe organized a press conference to discuss the police violence and repression against pro-Palestine protesters. The movement must stand in solidarity and unite to combat the increase of repression.

Kyle Thibodeau

May 23, 2024
A sign for the University of California at Santa Cruz with a line of UAW signs in front of it

Dispatch from Day One of the UC Santa Cruz Picket Line for Palestine

Left Voice member and City University of New York worker Olivia traveled to Santa Cruz for UAW 4811’s historic strike to talk to workers. This is her dispatch from the first day of the strike.

Olivia Wood

May 22, 2024