Socialism and Queerness
“No other group has gone from such marginalization to capitalist assimilation so quickly. In just fifty years, the cops went from beating, raping, and arresting us to marching in our parade. Since its inception, the LGBTQ+ movement has been divided on the question of assimilation: Do we want to fit into the current system, or do we want to change the whole thing? Here, revolutionary socialists can make an important contribution, with a strategy to beat capitalism and to fight all forms of oppression.”
In the 1970s, Jean Nicolas, Trotskyist militant and activist of the French Homosexual Front of Revolutionary Action, published “The Homosexual Question,” a brilliant analysis of the history of the oppression of “homosexuals” and the struggle for liberation, as connected to the struggle for socialism and new human relations.
LGBTQ+ oppression is inscribed in capitalist production and reproduction. Only socialism can create the context for queer liberation and sexual liberation for all.
Pete Buttigieg is positioning himself as an ally of queer liberation because he is the first openly gay man to run for president. However, down the road of identity politics lies only cooptation, not liberation.
As companies broadcast hollow messages of support on Trans Remembrance Day, many working class LGBT+ people are unable to afford or access adequate healthcare due to high insurance rates and discriminatory medical practices. We need to fight for a truly universal healthcare system that prioritizes health and well-being over profit.
Should the left fight for workers’ demands? Or for the rights of trans people? Workerism or wokeism? These struggles are often presented as mutually exclusive. But a factory from Argentina shows that when workers fight for equal rights for everyone, they are fighting for their own interests.
“So many of my LGBT brothers and sisters are so scared right now. I imagine many of you are scared too. But as a revolutionary, I have to fight the immobility of fear. Bolsonaro wants us to bow our heads and hide the pride in ourselves and each other that we fought so hard for. I think of Stonewall almost 50 years later, and I know that Marsha and Sylvia must have been scared too. But like them, I know the only way forward is to fight. Its time for more marches, more organized rage. It’s time for a new generation of Sylvias and Marshas: new leaders who will make history.”
The first people in the migrant caravan to reach the US border was a group of LGBT migrants. How do we fight for the rights for trans migrants?
Abolish Cops, Abolish ICE
Immigrants’ rights are an LGBTQ+ issue.
The police force that locks up and harasses people of color and working class people wants to portray themselves as gay-friendly for the Pride parade.We cannot be deceived by rainbows on their cars—cops are the enemies of the vast majority of LGBT people.
Pride month is a celebration of the Stonewall Riot in 1969. Now uprisings are breaking out all over the country. Wealthy, white gay men today might be opposed to “violence,” but the history of the LGBTQ+ movement shows that riots of oppressed people are about liberation.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. The riot against police violence will be commemorated with radical demonstrations, but also with “parades” including police, corporate floats and speeches by capitalist politicians. What happened? Has queerness lost its revolutionary potential?