Florida: A Symptom of Fascist Decay

Terrorism-Word-Cloud

Recently, a gunman opened fire in a Queer nightclub in the U.S. state of Florida. Armed with an automatic weapon and a handgun, the terrorist managed to kill at least fifty people and wound dozens more before he was killed by police as he attempted to take hostages. The attack is the worst mass-shooting in U.S. history.

What can we say about this incident? The moralist left has already had their share: it is a senseless, violent act perpetuated by someone deeply disturbed; their hearts are with everyone in this senseless tragedy. Although it is never bad to sympathize and show solidarity with those affected by terrorism, when it comes to violence against oppressed and marginalized communities, such sentimentality misses the point of why the act of violence was carried out in the first place.

In contemporary America, capitalism is, and has been for a long while, in a state of decay. Neoliberalism and neoconservatism have eroded a whole host of welfare and social programs, while, in turn, the Right-wing have gained immensely as Identity Politics have taken the stage; scientific and revolutionary ideology, meanwhile, has degenerated, with Leftist-hobby tendencies (such as Left Communism and Trotskyism), taking a more prominent level of appreciation to the point where they are seen as the official incarnations of Marxism.

This is all to say that the situation in the United States is bleak. The ruling class, moreover, knows that it is bleak and hence why they attempt to bulwark their rotting edifice by prompting identity politics. Although not a time or a place to go into detail on the nature of Queer individualism and identity politics more generally, it needs to be said that the rationale for this latest act of terrorism lies in the hands of the bourgeoisie and their advancement of postmodern Id-Pol.

We need to remember that the capitalist class is in crisis. This is why they are pushing identity politics– they want people, especially minority, oppressed, and super-exploited groups, to feel as if their community has a role to play. So, in order to accomplish this, they have launched a campaign of reform and multi-identity acceptance. Understanding that they have nothing to fear from same-sex marriage and anti-binary gender distinctions, they discarded the archaic heterosexist marriage laws and have allowed trans-queer activists to enter the political fold (so as to, like Gay and Black groups before them, have their goals ultimately usurped by the liberal bourgeois elements and thus recuperated into the superstructure as an instance of American exceptionalism).

Such a moment is done, remember, while ultra-conservative and Rightist neo-reactionary elements have thrived in a country where, under the pushing of minority Identity Politics as spearheaded by Obama the Bomber, have incited counterrevolutionary forces to the zenith of their paranoid-delusional fantasies and conspiracy theories. Under Obama, anti-Semitic, White Supremacist, Neo-Nazi groups have exploded and along with this explosion a deluge of misinformation and historical revisionism; we now see a political landscape mired with forces who view their idea of America as a thing of the past, where ‘ultra lefties, pinkos, commies,’ and the rest, have stolen the country and are indoctrinating youth with their esoteric academic views on gender and sexuality.

While much in the Leftist media have covered the violence against Black and Persons of color in this epoch of identity, little has been said in regards to Queer life. This is funny because non-heteronormative persons suffer all the same under a white-cis-hetero supremacist regime (especially, those Queer Persons of Color who, in this moment as the gunman being identified as someone from Afghan ancestry, will need solidarity which does more than express good wishes).

This brings us back to our present moment where, as over a hundred innocent people are made casualties at the hand of a terrorist, the Moralist left fails to consider the deeper ramifications of this assault; instead of organizing and publishing slogans of resistance to what is clearly a fascistic attack, the Queer and left groups are content to sentimentally mourn over this senseless tragedy instead of organizing self-defense committees and beginning the armament campaign needed to fend off fascist terror.

Fascist terror is not senseless; it is directed and rationalized. Deluded, but rational in its application: they want to “take America back” and “make America great again.” And they know how to do it.

The Leftist response to this attack should be something more than solidarity with the victims, it should, and needs to be, more than merely a sentimental tribute to the victims– it needs to be organized resistance to the white-hetero patriarchy which has fostered this death cult. It needs to be resistance led by a scientific ideal. Otherwise, we can expect to see more of these attacks without the proper means of ending the terror, all the while the further radicalization of the Right spurs ever greater means of violence.

Reactionary Communism?

It is often assumed that communism equates liberation for the whole of humanity from the shackles of oppression; this includes Persons of Color, Women, and, of course, Queer people. Yet is this set in stone? When a communist mode of production is realized and class society has disintegrated does this automatically entail equality for oppressed and minority groups? Just the same, is the inverse true: is a classless society which still oppresses Queer people (and others) “communist” even when classes have dissolved?

 
If communism is defined as simply a classless society than it must be agreed upon that bigotry and communism are compatible. To efface such birthmarks more would need to be added to the definition. Yet, as it stands, this is a peculiar contradiction. Mostly for its “against the grain” attitude as communism is traditionally seen as liberation.

 
Facts do, however, stand in the way. Glaringly, the bourgeois mode of production entails contradiction innate to it as a system which generates and exacerbates Racist and Queerphobic and Sexist attitudes; the need for a reserve army of labor, therefore, is one of the essential components which generate many of the secondary contradictions propelling the reactionary beliefs of capitalist society. Accordingly, it is expected that once the underlying foundation for the bastion of reaction has been stifled (and subsequently replaced with a production mode friendly towards non-bourgeois ideology) that these back-ward understandings will die.

 
Yet, it does not happen overnight. Regardless, that is why there exist a socialist stage: to smash reactionary attitudes and assist in the march towards equality. However, what if the revolutionary forces are not friendly towards the oppressed? What if they are Queerphobic? In such a scenario it is likely that Queer liberation would never take place; that even under communism minority groups would still face persecution.

 
This is the importance of forward thinking- to reach beyond one’s self, associate with those suffering under capitalism, and forge a revolutionary paradigm inclusive of all. It is as Mao said, ‘all of us reach communism, or none of us do.’

The State of International Queer Liberation

The “Rainbow Fist” is an insignia for the Queer Working Class.

May ninth will be a historic year for the gay liberation movement in North America. This is because American President Barack Obama announced his backing of Gay marriage. Though bourgeois apologists have claimed that this move will push forward the global equality campaign such a statement is a complete fabrication. The truth couldn’t be more backwards. With many countries becoming more anti-American by the minute, and often doing the opposite of whatever America does,  any endorsement from the United States will only serve as another reason why bigoted nations crackdown on equality protesters.

With the decline of capitalism entering its second decade, a decade which, much like its predecessor, will be marked by Imperialist interventions, repressive social measures, and draconian austerity pushes, the ruling class will seek to undermine popular uprisings by dividing the working class. In a world so disturbed by unrest many minorities are caught in the crosshairs and used as scapegoats. In our modern epoch no minority is perhaps more persecuted than sexual minorities; the people of the Queer movement (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) face the brunt of the assault.

In Europe, with the rise of Neo-Fascism steadily climbing, many Queer people are facing bigoted governments. In Russia, within the city of St. Petersburg, the city board passed an “Anti-Gay Propaganda” bill which prohibits any “promotion” of Queer people. Because of this bill many activists have already been arrested. The recent conviction of Nikolai Alexeyev proves that the reactionary Russian government intends to stick with this law. Worse yet, other cities in the former USSR are attempting to pass similar legislation.

Going beyond Russia one finds within the African Continent widespread Homophobia. For men homosexuality is illegal in 29 countries while for women it is illegal in 20 countries. Examining such fear more closely one will find that Uganda still reigns supreme with its rigid maintenance of patriarchal social-systems.  Under such orders the Ugandan government still seeks to pass its infamous “Kill All Gays” bill; though once defeated it has reemerged with some support.

Moving onto China we can see how “capitalist road travelers” have firmly entrenched the Western stigmatization of homosexuality. Though Same-Sex attraction was officially “legalized” in 1997, and removed from the Ministry of Health’s list of mental diseases in 2001, modern China maintains “traditional” unions. It is routine for police to raid gay establishments, depictions of Same-Sex couples are banned from television, and the Absolute Neutrality policy (commonly referred to as the “Three No’s) All but prohibit the ruling party from any progressive action.

Yet, no location is perhaps more important than the United States. With North America being home to the citadel of worldwide Imperialism, and the U.S.A readily calling itself a progressive nation, the status of the Queer Liberation movement here is important precisely for the reasons which many heterosexual revolutionaries fail to see.

Though several American States have passed laws allowing homosexual marriage, with more states doing all but allowing marriage, discrimination remains high. Many Queer activists are fooled into advocating for the failed institution of marriage because they honestly believe it will lead to equality. Yet, the opposite is most often true. This is evidenced by the continuing epidemic of gay teenagers committing suicide. Many of these suicides have taken place within areas which were above the so-called “Bible Belt” and thusly were considered desirable areas for Queer couples to immigrate to.

Facts such as this should be studied by all socialist revolutionaries for exactly the same reason that the marriage battlers want to be married: equality. The reality is that the anti-discrimination and bullying movement is far more prevalent. Within this movement progress is likely to be reached within a duel fashion: as soon as all discrimination is truly expelled than marriage would naturally be the end result. Many bourgeois activists, however, fail to see such methods and opt instead for the direct route of marriage (the reasoning that with marriage will come acceptance).

These American movements are important to note because of the ripple effect American power has on its allied Imperial camps. As social tides change and the working class begins to assert themselves throughout the world, the bourgeoisie finds each passing day their power dwindling. It will only be expected that to reassure their stranglehold they will adopt successful tactics as operated by their foreign counterparts.

This event is what some Situationists might refer to as “Recuperation.” Simply put it is when the Ruling Class takes an event which has at one time threatened their position and now uses it to strengthen their base. Decades ago the Gay Liberation movement was militant and lead by all stripes of the revolutionary left, yet, as progress slowed, and the religious fundamentalist counter-revolution gained momentum, the movement which had once been radical gradually became mired in reactionary goals and tactics.

Such an example is exactly what has happened in the allied camps. In this manner the battle for marriage, and not anti-discrimination, is another example of a degenerated workers movement that the bourgeoisie harnessed to protect themselves; though conservative elements oppose such a goal the liberal wing understands that even when the day comes where marriage is made legal it will no longer pose a threat to their control.

Under this strategy the Ruling Class seeks to export such tactics to both their allies and their enemies; their allies via diplomatic and societal coercion, and their enemies, those capitalist nations which exist outside the American sphere of influence, by brute force (often known as “Humanitarian Interventions”). Though often a slow process the Capitalist class invariably gets want they want sooner or later.

Using Recuperation, to again use the Situationist term, the reactionaries fool the masses into believing their progressive rhetoric thus eliminating an obstacle and gaining a friend (Once the immediate goal of marriage has been satisfied many bourgeois activist see little reason to continue participating and thus return to the bourgeois system full heartedly).

Their victory is reflected in how their citizenry are treated. In American life this often translates to Transsexuals; a minority within a minority that is often persecuted by reactionary Queer elements.

With the trial of CeCe McDonald drawing to a close and many Transgender activists furious at the incident, many Americans are blind to Transgender struggle despite contributing to the hatred. CeCe was attacked late one night while patroning a local convenient store. Her attackers were four Caucasians, one of which had a Swastika tattoo on his chest. CeCe defended herself and though the details are hazy by the end of the night two of her attackers lay dead.

CeCe, a colored Transwomen, was a dedicated activist and role model for the Queer youth she lived with. Yet this did not stop her from being unjustly persecuted as a criminal. It is commonly assumed that CeCe took the offered plea deal because she understood that she would be convicted and sent away for a much heavier sentence than if she refused.

It must not be overlooked that it was fear which drove her to accept this deal (a deal which gave her 41 months behind bars). Fear that manifested itself as a direct result of the Queerphobic and racist attitudes which still persist in America despite the election of a Black man and the widespread “Justice for Trayvarn Martin” movement. This episode indicates that many Americans have such Transphobia that even their supposed anti-racist convictions cannot push them to helping another human. In this manner they reveal that though they fight for Martin’s “Justice” they are, in fact, little better than petite-racists for their rejection of CeCe’s struggle.

We see here that American politics are opportunist: Obama announcing his support for gay marriage while overlooking CeCe McDonald, is potent proof of the reactionary intents of even the so-called “progressive” bourgeois dictatorships. It is simply another tactic the bourgeoisie uses in its never ending campaign to adjust to new social climates.

In conclusion, though in some parts of the world the bourgeoisie have been tactful and granted some steam towards the Queer Rights movement such support is misleading; it weakens the Working Class movement while adding to the Capitalist class’s “moral reserve;” it does this not from any inherent Queerphobic paranoias but from depriving activists a vital tool in organizing. As revolutionary anti-capitalists it is our mission to fight with our Queer brothers and sisters. We must battle alongside them for anti-discrimination measures, equal treatment in the workplace, and where no other more progressive cause exists, a revolutionized effort at attaining marriage.

Pride Parades: A First Timers Account

Some individuals, and those youth who are fortunate enough to live in a progressive location, have a capacity to attend multiple gay pride parades every year, thus making the event seem less spectacular over time. Yet, once upon a time they attended their first ever pride parade: this is my story; from the anxious waiting, to the colorful fun, and fulfilling end, the trappings of the liberation struggle left this revolutionary filled with a sense of awe.

Awe, however, wasn’t exactly the word to describe how I felt on the morning of June 16th. Not at least when I had only received a pittance of several hours of sleep and was tired and sore at the prospect of spending the day with no caffeine. Still, my excitement, I knew, would carry the day and overcome the night of prior excitement.

As with most of my activist events I didn’t so much as “plan” my attendance at Pride this year so much as I stumbled into it. As a result I hastily cobbled together several strings of transportation: the first string consisted of my father dropping me off at a Universalist church on his way to work, while the second string was meeting the organizers to which the remainder of the distance would be traveled. The only problem, you ask? Well, my father dropped me off at six in the morning while the organizers didn’t arrive until ten. So fast forward through four hours of me waiting and pacing and reading (I had brought a book) and you will find the others finally trickling in.

By the time the others had arrived I was happier than a dog greeting its master after a long day. Primarily this was because my mind was almost gone after so long but realistically it was due to the fact that after about twenty minutes I was in the car with my queer mates heading to the Portland Pride Parade.

On the way there our little caravan stopped for a moment to gather up the banner which we planned to use in the parade. This locale in our story is worth mentioning not for its importance to the parade but because it was important for me. With the banner held within one of the lead organizers partner’s house this was a rare moment in which I saw older queer women in their own light. One can internalize their understanding of queer culture though movies and television but that is not enough for it does not compare to seeing the way we interact in person, without Hollywood’s neoliberal agenda.

Though I left that house with a renewed sense of happiness at seeing the life two lesbians had made for each other my excitement for the parade didn’t loosen up even a smidgen. After about another twenty or so minutes of driving we finally found our parking place and walked up to the event. When we first entered the street which our banner would be located I would never forget the sight of dozens of rainbow flags surrounding a horse painted a rainbow hue of colors with a unicorn’s horn placed on its head.

This was but only a small selection, however, of the total marchers; as the attendees would soon fill several whole blocks, drowning out any detractors within a veritable sea of rainbows. The floats, eccentric characters grabbed in gem-stone encrusted clothing, the youths draped in rainbow peace flags offering free hugs along with the drag queens, cross dressers, Butches and leather bound muscle head Bears, made this year’s events one of wonderful variety. Again though, this even does not surpass the moment in which I had waited for all day- the march.

An hour of mild exploring, in which I volunteered to help canvassing the state capital with a local equality group, and all the groups were finally organized and ready to march. Though slow to start eventually the line picked up steam and I marveled at the thousands of onlookers cheering the marchers on waving rainbow flags. Through my mind floated, “this is my day. The one day of the year in which I am not looked down on by society or cursed, the day in which I am cheered for who I am and the obstacles I overcome!” This was a moment in which I would never forget.

With over ten thousand marchers in attendance, several thousand more supports watching form the sidelines, and over 55 sponsoring organizations (including 25 religious groups) this year’s Pride was the largest in Maine’s history. With the big gay marriage vote in the fall and equality groups raising twice as much money as their bigoted opponents, this event was a well-used coordinated part of an vital campaign against the right-wing.

Political maneuverings, however, were still far in the future. And when you are attending a Pride event in the summer you can always expect a festival and this year was no different. For after the parade there was a large celebration in the local park where vendors sold the typical assortment of delectable fair foods. Swearing off such food, however, I was content to window shop the vendors while I enjoyed the aroma.

Being strong and only purchasing a necklace in the shape of a tooth from a local Native American booth I was happy to spend the remainder of the day walking around the festival and taking in all the sights and sounds. This included being introduced to a drag king, watching a strip show (though the exact title was a little more graceful), and walking around with a queer youth of color while we ogled hot guys. In short it was a day which would have been impossible during any other time.

Yet that old radical saying comes to mind at this part: be realistic, demand the impossible.

As with all oppressed peoples we Queers are not unaware of the oppressive intuitions which grip our existence so we understand that before liberation can be total we must fight for the same rights which our heterosexual couples possess. This means defying the heterosexist state and battling against overwhelming odds for a dream which is still far in the distance; never once giving up when the times grow tough and the chains heavy. We know this to be the only true course of action: everything else it just smoke.

So with a heart content and a soul filled with joy so ended my first experience at Pride. The music was loud; the people were flamboyant, though not in a stereotypical manner, and the atmosphere delightful (even with that one odd protestor waving a cryptic sign relating to morality). I returned home tired, exhausted and ready for some rest but more willing than ever to resume my peoples epic battle for freedom.

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