Same-sex marriage is a civil right that must be unapologetically defended by socialists and other leftists--not only for its own sake as a material and social benefit under capitalism, especially to working-class and poor LGBT people, but because the reform is not a barrier to further struggles, but can be a gateway to them instead.
Socialists and other leftists defend strikes for higher pay and better health care, despite the fact that even total victory means renegotiating the terms of exploitation, not ending the wage system itself. Radicals are at the forefront of the antiwar movement demanding immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that the U.S. also maintains more than 700 bases on every continent.
Leftists take these stands for reforms because we understand that the capitalist system and its imperial might won't fall in one fell swoop. Reformist struggles themselves create the organizational and human material necessary for a further transformation of society. Moreover, it does make a difference in the here whether workers have more pay and couples have more rights.
[...] Professing hostility to gay marriage in the name of opposing the "hetero-normative institution" of marriage is like attacking demands for an end to the death penalty because the criminal injustice system would remain otherwise intact. Judged on that basis, all fights for reforms are at best irrelevant, and at worst reactionary.
And I believe very strongly people on the left are too prone to do things that are emotionally satisfying and not politically useful. I have a rule, and it’s true of Occupy, it’s true of the gay-rights movement: If you care deeply about a cause, and you are engaged in an activity on behalf of that cause that is great fun and makes you feel good and warm and enthusiastic, you’re probably not helping, because you’re out there with your friends and political work is much tougher and harder. I’m going to write about the history of the LGBT movement, partly to make the point that, in America at least, it’s the way you do progressive causes….
Pride Weekend was very important early on, because people didn’t know who we were, the hiddenness was a problem. Today, Pride has no political role. It’s a fun thing for people.
« Older A liquor store in Amsterdam. A veteran in Bagdad. ... | Looking back at the past week,... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt