Cubans march against homophobia

The following article is from the Associated Press:

HAVANA – Hundreds of gay and lesbian activists, some dressed in drag and others sporting multicolored flags representing sexual diversity, marched and danced through the streets of Havana on Saturday along with the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro as part of a celebration aimed at eliminating homophobia around the world.

Some of the marchers played drums and others walked on stilts as they made their way down a wide avenue in the capital’s hip Vedado neighborhood, where they have held a series of debates and workshops ahead of the May 17 celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia, which participants say marks the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization stopped listing homosexuality as a mental illness.

“We have made progress, but we need to make more progress,” said Mariela Castro, a campaigner for gay rights on the island and the leader of Cuba’s National Sexual Education Center. She is also the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro.

Cuba has come a long way in accepting homosexuality. In the 1960s, shortly after the revolution, homosexuals were fired from state jobs and many were imprisoned or sent to work camps. Others fled into exile.

But that began to change in the 1980s, in large part to the work of Mariela Castro’s center. Recently, the government has even agreed to include sex change operations for transsexuals under its free national health system, another project championed by the center.

The workshops and debates held Saturday dealt with issues such as adoption by gay and lesbian couples and whether to legalize gay marriages, a step Mariela Castro has been pushing for years, so far without success. The week of celebrations culminates Monday.

About these ads

31 responses to “Cubans march against homophobia

  1. Hi there,
    As a believer in communism, my heroes have always been Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. I was brought up red, am still red, and will die red.

    I like this website. But I do feel a bit put off by aligning communism behind gay rights. Since when did this become the case?

    I’m not homophobic – and certainly I agree in terms of sexual orientation, live and let live.

    But what on earth has gay rights to do with the socialist revolution? I can assure you that many old communists in Russia, and in China find homosexuality to be a sexual aberration. In fact it use to be treated as hooliganism.

    Of course we need not be stuck in the past and need to move on. So I would certainly not want to persecute gays, as they were in the past in both capitalist and socialist countries. But please they are not part of our movement.

    I say this in good faith and without prejudice or ill will towards anyone, gay or straight.

    Best,
    John Liu

    • All working and oppressed people, queer or straight, are a part of our movement. Furthermore, revolutionaries must support the democratic demands of the broad masses. The demands of the queer community are demands for the most basic human and civil rights, which are denied by the patriarchal capitalist system.

      How can we make a revolution if we exclude queer people?

      The working class is the first class in history that has no material interest in oppressing others. It is the historic mission of our class to uproot and sytematically destroy all oppression. Vladimir Lenin was the first leader in the world to strike down anti-queer laws. We should follow his example and struggle against the oppression of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer people. Socialism (and socialists) must welcome the full participation of LGBTQ people in the revolutionary struggle. This means supporting LGBTQ people’s immediate demands, such as ending discrimination in jobs, housing, healthcare, and immigration, full equality in marriage and parternship rights, and so on.

      Queer people have been front line fighters in the people’s movements throughout history. Those old socialists who want to see queer people as an “abberation” are standing against everything we know from modern science, and unfortunately, on this question they are standing on the wrong side of history. Their wrong ideas should be challenged and criticized.

      Comrade Mariela Castro and CENESEX are courageously and boldly lighting the way here.

    • Booo! John Liu! When the revolution succeeds here in the Philippines, the LGBT community will join the revolutionary proletarian class in launching a socialist cultural revolution and we will smash into pieces old and reactionary ideas like yours! LGBT community Serve the People! Serve the Revolution! Join the New People’s Army!

      • I certainly don’t want to persecute or oppress anyone.

        I am a communist. So are my family. But growing up in socialist China (under Mao) I never even knew gay people existed. And I know that Stalin never thought much of them, nor does Fidel.

        But I have no animus towards gays. I just don’t think gay ‘rights’ should be on our agenda. The truth is on our side. Capitalism is a monstrous system which enslaves untold millions around the world and is bringing mankind to the abyss. We should strive all out for socialist revolution. We should strive to emancipate all mankind. That includes of course people of whatever sexual orientation.

        But at this stage, what is the point of bringing the gay agenda to the table, when all that will do is offend and alienate a great many people who would otherwise be with us? Ninety nine percent of people throughout the world, whether socialist inclined or not, strongly believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. But gays all over the world are trying to hijack this institution, an institution that does not belong to them.

        I have nothing against gays, but their cause has nothing to do with the socialist cause. The socialist cause is not against gay rights nor should it be for gay rights. We of course are pro gay people, not because they are gay, but because they are human.
        We are pro gay people, not pro gay.

        But the gay movement should not be our concern, anymore than whether a comrade prefers dogs over cats, or prefers soccer over basketball.

  2. “But at this stage, what is the point of bringing the gay agenda to the table, when all that will do is offend and alienate a great many people who would otherwise be with us? Ninety nine percent of people throughout the world, whether socialist inclined or not, strongly believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. But gays all over the world are trying to hijack this institution, an institution that does not belong to them. ”

    QUE HORROR! So disgusting! And you say that you have nothing against gays!?! You know what John Liu, its people like you that frustrates me sometimes in the communist movement! Such MACHO and IDEALIST Thinking! Marriage should be between MAN and WOMAN? Who told you that? Isn’t marriage cultural and therefore a HISTORICAL truth SUBJECT to CHANGE — ie the dialectical movement of time and space? You call yourself a communist but it seems you have not read Engels’ Origin of the Family and State. Yuck! You sound more like Papa Benito rather than Marx or Mao! Shame on you!

    Communism isn’t just about the workers but about humanity! Communism does not seek the celebration of the “proletariat’s self same identity” but rather it’s dissolution since the very existence of the proletariat as a class points to the fact that there is still class division ie exploitation! The same divisions and categories that structure social formations should also be targets for abolition by any movement worthy to be called “communist” because they alienate humanity into becoming truly “human.” That includes the sexual division of subjects which gives us categories homosexual and heterosexual.

    You say that there are many people out there — including wingnuts, most probably, who are against gays — who hesitate joining communist movements because of the latter’s inclusion of the gay agenda in their revolutionary platform? What if I also retort back that many gays and lesbians are also turned off from joining the movement because of people like you who are so patriarchal, narrow, and bigoted! Please, I don’t want to be associated with people like you who belong more to museums as displays of archaic and backward thinking rather than revolutionary communist movements!

    I will tell this to my gay communist friends and party mates. In case you don’t know, I’m a Filipino and part of a communist movement waging revolutionary armed struggle. I’m proud that our movement respects and appreciates the importance of the LGBT community and has implemented concrete efforts to combat homophobia and sexism. You will not be welcomed in our guerilla zones.

  3. To the admin. I hope you could also make a comprehensive reply to John Liu to combat his reactionary ideas other than what uou already wrote above. If he continues to propagate his homophobic poison, please block him from posting comments. Let him have a taste of STALINISM for what it truly is!

    • I think there are many old communists who still cling to the conservative, bourgeois ideas of the old society, just like Comrade John Liu here.

      It is correct to point out that these backwards views about LGBTQ rights do not fall from the sky, but are ideas that correspond to bougeois social relations which have developed dialectically as an integral part of the capitalist mode of production. Though Engels does not deal explicitly with LGBTQ people, his book Origin of the Family does indeed clearly describe the development of patriarchal social relations alongside capitalist productive relations. If we study Engels’ book creatively and from a dialectical materialist viewpoint, it is quite simple to understand the connection here.

      As Karl Marx said so well in his book Class Struggles in France, we must abolish not only the old class distinctions, but along with them all of the old productive relations on which they rest, all of the social relations that correspond to those relations of production, and we must revolutionize all of the ideas that developed from these social relations. Only in this way can the working class build socialism from its lower stage to it higher stage, communism. Clearly this won’t be easy.

      I understand your point, sashafierce, about blocking him, but I don’t that’s the correct thing to do at this time.

      In my opinion it is better now to expose, criticize and struggle with those ideas here publicly than to block him. It is a valuable educational experience, and I think criticism of John Liu’s incorrect line on this question can help us to clearify the correct line.

      I hope other voices will way in as well.

  4. sashafierce: I salute your struggle. I salute the Communist Party of the Philippines, and I salute the New People’s Army.

    But really to be honest I am really surprised that someone has rewritten the rules on what it means to be a good communist – and those rules include supporting the gay movement!

    That is really news to me! In fact I was blown away simply by the fact that there is a thread such as this one on a website advocating socialism.

    I love the eight model works, especially the the Red Detachment of Women, the white Haired Girl. I love Soviet music, especially Red Army music. I love revolutionary culture, films, and art from the Soviet Union and China. The Soviet of course also produced some of the greatest classical musicians ever.

    In all my years of enjoying revolutionary art, I have never ever seen anything which could be remotely considered pro-gay, or could be construed in any way as advancing the gay agenda.

    In fact I enjoy Socialist art, precisely because the struggle to realize noble ideals are put across in such a clean and wholesome way – in complete contrast to much of the sordid trash put out by Hollywood.

    Sorry, but I cannot accept this hijacking of of the socialist movement to advance the interests of homosexuals. In fact I find it nearly sacriligeous.

    Yan’an was never ever a San Francisco bathhouse, and Marshal Zhukov was never ever a Harvey Milk.

    • 'Uncle' Joe Mama

      @JohnLiu: Given your appropriate love of revolutionary-proletarian art, etc, I assume that includes the works of the pioneering Bolshevik filmmaker and renowned homosexual, Sergei Eisenstein.

      I mean, really….. where to even start? PS: Comrade sashafierce, I think I love you, brother :-)

      • As a Film Geek and Maker myself I could not hold back commenting on this. Eisentein is one of the greats, with Ivan the Terrible holding the title of one of the greatest movies of all time. So props for mention him!

    • Comrade John Liu–
      I ask you to respond to each of these points so that I can better understand your position which has been characterized–although I don’t know that I, as a queer man, agree–as bigoted or homophobic.

      1) You speak of the alienation of the vast numbers of working class individuals who are in some ways anti-gay or don’t feel entirely comfortable with homosexuality if the socialist cause were to get behind the gay cause. Well I respond with two points, a and b:
      a. Much of the world is still in the structure (which is being deconstructed rapidly in the more developed and wealthy countries) of the nucleic family. That is, you have a wife and have a lot of kids because you must do so to survive. To this whole genre of individuals homosexuality, and moreover any deviation from heterosexuality, is not a viable option AT ALL even if they themselves are queer in any way, shape, or form. Furthermore, aside from those working class individuals who are forced to enter into heterosexual relationships in order to acquire the basic means of subsistence there is an entire other group of people, immeasurable in quantity, who, because of cultural values and restrictions, have never allowed themselves to give in to their basic feelings of homosexual love or queer love. Both of these types of closeted-working-class people may be anti-gay when their true interests lie, whether they know it or can admit it to others or themselves or not, in a more pro-gay agenda.
      b. What of the revolutionaries and radicals who face oppression from the capitalist class AND from the patriarchal structure (I, as well as many other comrades, would argue that these two are inherently interlinked) due to their sexuality? For those comrades, such as myself, they can find no solace nor solidarity in positions such as yours. It is in this way that positions such as yours CAN and DO have a detrimental effect on the left.

      2) People of color and working class people who are also queer experience a multi-layered oppression where they are not only pitted against the capitalist class but the capitalist class (through media influence, laws, propaganda, religion, etc.) also pits them against their very own communities. How can we as socialists leave this entire sector of the working class hung out to dry telling them that even though their sexual orientation has a profound impact on their political life, their personal life, their life at the workplace, how they experience oppression and thus their very world outlook and attitude, their sexual orientation still has little or nothing to do with the socialist cause or the communist cause which is meant to be the cause of all oppressed peoples of the world uniting?

      3) Going off of number two… When we as socialists or communists ALIENATE queer folk from the socialist movement we must realize that if these queers are a member of the working class their is a good chance that the solidarity that they have with other members of the working class will be greatly diminished, for, as you pointed out, much of the international working class is relatively anti-gay. These queers are then not only alienated from their very own communities–their very own class, the working class–but also from the political expression of the interests of their communities and their class: the socialist, communist, or anti-capitalist movement. This allows for a strategic opening for the ruling class to come in and co-opt those most cunning and clever working class queer people to work against the interest (whether they know it or not) of the working class. As for those queers of the upper-class, well, we’d have even less of a chance of bringing them over to our side then we would the working class queers. As socialists this pitting of one oppressed group against another oppressed group is THE LAST thing we want, for whether or not you think that queer interests are inherently interlinked with socialist interests we can at least say that the queer population of the world is not inherently antagonistic or contradictory to the working class in the way that the capitalist class is.

      IN CONCLUSION:
      If is true that working class communities are homophobic or have homophobic tendencies then it is our responsibility as revolutionaries and radicals to try and push thinking in a more accepting, non-bigoted and inclusive direction.
      We, as Socialists, have a vested interest in not alienating (or at least no vested interest in alienating) queer folk from anywhere along the socio-economic spectrum, but especially those queer folk of color and from working class backgrounds where it is often most dangerous to be queer.
      We as socialists have a tactical incentive to produce solidarity among all the oppressed peoples and queer people cannot be rationally left out of this equation.

  5. It’s the responsibility of the communist movement to advance the consciousness of gays and lesbians who express interest in joining the movement into a higher plane, into a proletarian scientific outlook. In order to garner the broadest support of the oppressed and exploited, the communist movement has to sincerely articulate the interest of sectors such as women, gays, lesbians, urban poor, national minorities, etc. That’s what the Gramscian hegemony is all about. The respect that the people has for the Communist Party of the Philippines has been gained through painstaking mass work.

    John Liu, the gays are not “hi-jacking” the communist movement. Don’t be paranoid. The communist movement is just being CONSISTENT. It stands against all forms and manifestations of OPPRESSION, EXPLOITATION, and DISCRIMINATION. Of course this principle has to be expressed and concretized within History and contextualized within the narrative of the proletarian struggle.

    Oh so you enjoy proletkult art? Good for you. I also know a few fascist dictators and mass murderers who have special inkling for classical music and high-art.

    “In fact I enjoy Socialist art, precisely because the struggle to realize noble ideals are put across in such a clean and wholesome way – in complete contrast to much of the sordid trash put out by Hollywood.”

    Seriously, you sound like Pope Benedict issuing a papal encyclical against homosexuals for the “crime” of advocating immorality and profanity in society. Oh John, have you already paid a visit to your confessor? Tell him you are a sinful “communist”. He might give you a lighter penance, just tell him that you are a gay-basher anyway. Prudish much? Oh John Liu, please spare me your holier-than-thou posturings!

    On the other hand, John Liu, I think you are already old. Your yearning for your pre-historical macho-patriarchal “Communist Party” of yesteryear inspires laughter and pity. Your time-worn ideas belong to the archives and museum.

    While I and comrade zero have tried our best to at least support our arguments with some theoretical readings, I have yet to grasp the “Marxist” bases of your hardcore homophobic attacks. You have said nothing except that you are “surprised!” How profound! Well you know what, objective truth will not become “untruth” just because you are “surprised” with it. It will stare in your face unchanged no matter how hard you may try to veer your eyes away from it.

    And I don’t need your salute. I am disgusted with you. Please stop claiming to be a communist. You are a disgrace to the communist movement.

  6. John Liu, you have just insulted a considerable number of gay and lesbian comrades in the Philippines. I had a gay best friend who died fighting in the countrysides for the people. He is a martyr of the proletarian class! And he is gay! How dare you! You should be ashamed of yourself!

  7. “Isn’t marriage cultural and therefore a HISTORICAL truth SUBJECT to CHANGE”

    sashafierce, I believe in 实事求是 (seeking truth from facts).

    What are the facts? The facts are these. Women are biologically different from men. Only women, by virtue of their biology, can bear children. Men cannot. Therefore women have to be the child-bearers. Also, in general, women are physically weaker than men. That is why, throughout history men have generally tilled the fields, fought the wars, while women have raised children. Women tend to be more nurturing than men.

    Now you of course will retort that all this is just a cultural artefact. Well you would definitely have a point if we were just talking of a culture here, a culture there, in which women are nurturers and men are warriors.

    But this of course is not the case. All over the world, for a variety of peoples of widely different religions, cultures, and world-views, we always see the same thing – women as nurturers, men as warriors. The fact this is found everywhere throughout the world, both in pre-modern and modern times leads to one inescapable conclusion – the reason for the different roles of men and women are grounded not in culture, but in biology.

    Thus men and women naturally complement each other (this is such an obvious fact that I find myself having to argue it almost absurd). Thus to say that marriage is between a man and woman is completely correct – not because god or the pope so ordains, but because of evolution, because of biology.

    As for homosexuals, I bear them no ill will. I have no problem with them being a part of the communist movement – but as human beings, not as gays.

    After all we don’t hear heterosexual communists (who I am sure make up the vast majority of our movement) telling everyone else every waking moment about their sexual preferences. Neither should homosexuals.

  8. “Therefore women have to be the child-bearers. Also, in general, women are physically weaker than men. That is why, throughout history men have generally tilled the fields, fought the wars, while women have raised children. Women tend to be more nurturing than men.” May Simone de Beauvoir forgive you, John Liu-Shaoqi. You have just demolished an entire project initiated and expounded by socialist feminists during the last century. As this discussion progresses, it gets clearer to me that you are neither a communist nor a puny liberal-democrat. You are a wingnut. It doesn’t hurt to be honest about your true ideological color.

    Nothing in your comments resemble any deep knowledge of Marxist historical-materialism. Please don’t try to smuggle in your funny evolutionist dogma as “Marxist.” You can’t substitute Darwin for Engels. The fact that women have been traditionally (and oppressively) assigned the task of child-rearing and domestic care doesn’t mean that that situation cannot and should not be changed. It’s like saying that the proletariat are naturally predisposed to be exploited by the bourgeoisie. Since when did naturalizing oppressive conditions and structures become proper to Marxist dialectics?

    You may find it absurd that during socialist construction, women are enjoined and encouraged to join production and work, a stark contrast to their previous role of being mothers tied to their homes. That’s why in Revolutionary socialist China, 24-hour day care centers were put up because Mao understood the urgent need of liberating women from domestic work because this was one of the structural root cause of their oppression.

    It is important to stress the participation of the LGBT community in the Communist movement because by doing so, we signify our recognition of the truth that the LGBT community are really oppressed and discriminated against. But that’s just the start. Of course we all dream of a world where alienating categories and divisions will no longer apply. But to be able to attain that world, we first have to resolve the contradictions which the LGBT community expresses. You do not go around those categories in order to dismantle them. You GO THROUGH THOSE ALIENATING CATEGORIES AND IDENTITIES TO SOMEHOW EMERGE ON THE OTHER SIDE. Yes we do not speak of heterosexual communist first, because that’s stupid and second, I have yet to encounter a heterosexual who is oppressed because s/he is a heterosexual.

    The task of revolutionaries is challenging indeed! Imagine we do not only have to fight the enemy from the outside but we also have to smash reactionary ideas that the bourgeoisie is trying to smuggle into the communist movement and make them pass off as “Marxist!”

    I commend your classy cultural taste but I also suggest that you start reading books. Especially books written by Marx and Engels and not by Adam Smith or Confucius. Please start with “The Origin of the Family and Sate.”

    Fierce!

    • Sasha fierce, I completely understand where you are coming from. I take no offense to your tone, when you are passionate about something then it means something must be unjust! and thus a right to be passionate about it. Reminds me of a recent discussion I had over a issue I am passionate about, namely abused families. It was on a city meeting to discuss a planned woman’s shelter.I live in the suburbs, so the rich bourgesie did not want to tarnish thier image so they opposed it. I got mad about it and it turned into a fight about manners, not the actual problem. So I completely understand it.

      Accept my apology as well, I did come off pretty bad every now and then. I am glad we have the same unity in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Proletarian Regards as well,
      Tyler

  9. ProfessorToad

    Bigotry survives because the ruling class uses it to divide the working class. How can the communist party refuse to fight a thing which the bourgeoisie uses to divide the working class? How can the communist party fail to come to the defense of a section of the working class which is under constant attack by the bourgeoisie?

    Anti-gay prejudice is also part of the most counter-revolutionary aspects of religion, in which religion is used to convince as much of the public as possible that the problem is something — anything — other than capitalism.

    The link between gay marriage and San Francisco bathhouses is offensive. The reference to bathhouses is I am sure meant to connote a free love culture. Marriage is of course the opposite of free love.

    John Liu’s notions about the role of women in history are ignorant in the extreme. Not only are women encouraged to work in socialist countries, but in capitalist ones women in the proletariat, like men, have no choice but to work. I do not know where John Liu lives, but if he lives anywhere in the English speaking world, he only needs to look around to grasp this truth.

    There is a famous quote by the escaped American slave Sojourner Truth:

    “Look at me! Look at my arms! I have plowed, I have planted, I have gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man — when I could get it — and bear the lash as well. And ain’t I a woman? I have born thirteen children and seen them most all sold off into slavery, and when I cried out in my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

    In prehistory, too, women worked. In fact, the reference to fields being the province of men is especially ignorant, since it is accepted in anthropology that every time agriculture was invented it was invented by women, as a natural outgrowth of the gatherer side of the ancient gatherer/hunter societies.

    As to women in war: Really, how can a person have studied Soviet history and never heard of Ljudmila Pavlichenko? She is one outstanding example of a woman communist warrior, but there have been hundreds of thousands of others. Even bourgeois armies are now learning that women can fight, some sixty years after it was conclusively proven by the Red Army. And in ancient times, again, women are known to have fought and to even led armies, as in the cases of Bodicea and Black Candice.

  10. anti-imperialismo

    Re: John Liu’s statement “growing up in socialist China (under Mao) I never even knew gay people existed. And I know that Stalin never thought much of them, nor does Fidel.”

    About Comrade Fidel Castro, this simply is not true at all. The article should be sufficient to prove this wrong – it is in socialist Cuba where they are marching so strong to combat homophobic prejudice!

    It is certainly true that at an early stage of the Cuban revolution, there existed a level of predjudice against LGBT people, based on machismo in the Cuban culture. However, the imperialists and their running dogs have distorted this out, claiming that “homosexuals were put in prison” – quite the contrary, homosexuals and a mass of other people unable in positions to join the military (such as religious people, pacifists and stuff) went and worked in UMAPs, a series of labouring camps to provide for the country in a non military ways, not as a punishment but as a morale booster and way to work for socialist construction. It has been Fidel who has most consistently fought for the demolition of homophobic misconceptions in Cuban society, and this process has continued now under the presidency of Raul Castro, as this article shows.

    Comrade Stalin never seemed homophobic. As far as I know, homosexuality was recriminalised in the USSR in his time, but I believe this was in an attempt to provide unity for the Soviet people in their struggle against imperialist subversion and attacks on the USSR. It was an action utterly condemnable by modern standards, but one at least understandable in it’s social context.

  11. Dear Comrades,

    I have been following this blog for the last while, and find it a very reliable source for Marxist-Leninists especialy on the topics of Stalin vs. Trotskyist revisionism. I am coming in this discussion late, and I fear I will not be able to properly word this so bare with me if I do not communicate it well enough. With a subject as sensitive as homosexuality, animosity often becomes the case rather then a discussion that actually goes somewhere.

    First, I will get this out of the way. By the looks of the comments I will get rocks thrown at me over this but whatever. The claims about modern science overturning prejudices about homosexuality are false. Not that I think one should be prejudiced, or treat gays as some kind of sub-human, but modern science does not say that being gay is a natural orientation. In fact, research leans towards that it means something is wrong with you. Like other ailments, it should be respected and understood not bashed. That is as silly as bashing people who have bi-polar. So I am against the gay bashers. John’s comment about women being nurturing is true as well. Even strong women who serve in guerrila movements and armys never get rid of the innate nurturing sense. Men and Woman do compliment eachother. This does not mean keep women oppressed, it is simply a biological and psychological fact. I encourage women to particapate fully in revolutionary action.(Btw noone is subsititing Darwin for Engels in saying this, the topic of marriage has not really been properly brought up yet.) And yes, I know this can be used to justify bourgeios social relations. If you want to discuss that with me I will be happy to debate(especially since Simone de Beauvior was mentioned) on what it means for us, although I am not getting into it now.

    More to the point I do not think gay rights should be the focus of revolutionaries. This does not mean exclude them as they should have full participation as every other minority. What I mean is when a Communist movement focuses too much on human rights, the fight against Capitalism appears overshadowed by rights concerns. Human rights is a broad concept mostly hijacked by bleeding heart liberals. Communists should fight for humanity not some abstract idea of human rights. I am sure the situation in the Phillipines is different so I will understand that but here in Canada, homosexuality is pretty much accepted.Even glorified. In fact you get treated more sub human here if you disagree with it.(This is not to say that gay marriage is fully accepted)If you focused on the gay rights struggle in a country such as mine, what do you do when they accept homosexuality? As it happened in my country it was simply held up as a model of the progressive nature of a liberal utopia. Capitalism thus takes the revolutionary movement and adapts to it for it’s own culture of “Tolerance”. That is the destructivness of Capitalism, swallowing every emancipatory action for it’s own purpose. We should be focusing on fighting Capitalism exclusively, and with that the bourgeois relations will fall away, including of course the oppression of gays.

    • Professor Toad

      Dear Thammy,

      You say:

      “Not that I think one should be prejudiced, or treat gays as some kind of sub-human, but modern science does not say that being gay is a natural orientation. In fact, research leans towards that it means something is wrong with you. Like other ailments, it should be respected and understood not bashed. That is as silly as bashing people who have bi-polar”

      I have followed the research on homosexuality reasonably closely for a non-medical person. I am unaware of any such research as this. To the contrary, the trend in medicine for a number of years now has been away from treating homosexuality as a disease. In American psychiatry, at least, the question that is asked in deciding whether many mental conditions are disorders is whether they disrupt a person’s life. Homosexuality disrupts a person’s life only to the extent that person has to confront bigotry.

      And please do not tell me that homosexuals cannot have babies. I promise you that homosexuality in itself is no barrier to reproduction and that many gay people do have babies.

      As far as the question of what causes homosexuality, I believe that bourgeois science currently says that it is a mixture of a genetic predisposition with a matter of what hormones you are exposed to in utero. In contrast, many serious mental illnesses are now thought to be in part a matter of viral exposure in utero, or to be linked to drug use or even head injuries.

      But bourgeois psychiatry and psychology of course focus to excess on individuals on their own, and do not examine enough the interplay between the individual and society. Marx and Engels understood very clearly that homosexuality is to a considerable extent a social phenomenon Although it is true that there are some gays even in Iran, where homosexuality can easily get you killed, in other societies where it was tolerated and even encouraged — such as ancient Greece — it was much, much more prevalent.

      If you could find a psychiatrist who would compare homosexuality to bipolar disorder, I think he would very possibly have a picture of Hitler in his closet, or at least Ted Haggard.

      I would not like to comment very much about conditions in Canada. I can tell you that here in the United States, attitudes about homosexuality are still quite varied. For an increasing part of the population homosexuality is entirely acceptable. But it remains an important rallying point for the right-wing. In some ways, the treatment of it is comparable to the treatment of the Jewish problem in pre-revolutionary Russia: Irrational prejudices concerning homosexuality are used to distract the working class from issues of class origin.

      As to the matter of the natural inclinations of men and women, I think I would be very hesitant to make such bold pronouncements as you have made. Until recently it was widely accepted in bourgeois science that men had a greater ability at math than women. However, only a few years ago, new studies with better controls debunked that myth. That the myth had become so widely accepted is pretty clear evidence of the extent to which prejudice still controls scientific examinations of these issues.

      • I am very grateful for your response comrade, you brought up alot of interesting points I will look into to consider. I also am a non-medical student only doing occasional research into the discpline so I am not claiming to be accurate, so take what I say with a grain of salt. As with the claims of innate nurturing, I came off way too strong initially.(hence worried about being misunderstood) I still however advocate that posistion but if research comes up I will shift positions. I know the situation on homosexuality in the United States is not as accepted as it is here, but it is good to hear it is increasing. Anyways I appreciate your feedback.
        Regards,
        Tyler

  12. Who’s saying that the communist movement should exclusively focus their efforts on gay rights? Stop being hysterical and paranoid. What I am trying to say is that the proper communist stance is to not let the liberals take monopoly of gay rights issues and struggle. We should transform the ideological and political tendency of the gay rights movement into a communist one but you cannot do that by branding the LGBTQ community as bourgeois and decadent! Plus, I think some activists here should learn the value of MASS WORK: you don’t go about forcing people to embrace communism with a finger’s snap. You have to immerse yourself among the masses and show to them what communism is and how each oppressed and exploited class and sector in a capitalist society relate to the revolutionary communist project. Don’t be lazy. There are no shortcuts to the revolution. You have to work.

    So you think it’s okay that we communist will just allow bourgeois liberals continue it’s dominance and hegemony in human rights struggle? Does it follow that if the human rights movement is “swallowed” by capitalist discourse, we should just abandon it into the hands of the enemy?

    I am sorry but your analysis betrays a kind of economic determinism long ago denounced by Marxists. That’s why we had the Cultural Revolution. The superstructure does not smoothly follow the course of development of the economic base. So it doesn’t follow that if we eliminate capitalism, homophobia will also cease. That’s a concrete example of the Leninist concept of uneven development for you.

    Also, I am surprised to always hear this stupid “innate nurturing” characteristic of women. That is just so funny especially coming from supposed “communists” like John Liu-shaochi and you.

    We are not suffering from any ailment, sorry that’s just FOUL and INSULTING. There is nothing wrong with gays and lesbians; on what basis are you saying that this or that particular sexual orientation is right or wrong? What yardstick are you using? The YARDSTICK of HETEROSEXUALITY! So of course gays and lesbians would appear “odd” and “wrong” according to this perspective!

    • This is my fourh time responding to this, as a serious of ridicolous computer failures happened near the end each time. So I will keep it short this time for obvious reasons.(I also just did six hours of history class so it does not help how tired I am.)

      First, I am sorry if you found what I said “foul” and “insulting”. I was simply pointing out what I had discovered as a non-med student occasionaly looking into the discpline, and that is the research I uncovered. Enough said on that though.

      Whether we brandish it or not, the gay rights movement here in Canada(as I pointed out, I mentioned a difference between the Philipinnes situation and the Canadian one) is from a bourgeois decadent perspective. I am not being hysterical or paranoid. I am saying here, in an advanced rich Capitalist society founded on the ideology of autonomy of the individual with the free market, human rights means the right to pursue any identity you want, except of course it is a false constructed identity founded on consumption. Here the lines of oppression are not so drawn out. I wish I was in a situation like the NPA where an armed struggle with the enemy is pretty up front. Here it is hidden and the situation very complex. The injunction here is to enjoy anything no matter the cost, free from any law or whatever you wanna call it. When the concept of human rights is employed it is employed from a perspective of the bourgeois fighting for decadent rights rather then an emancipatory movement. In fact every issue comes as an issue of tolerance, not actually removing the divisions which makes minorities to begin with. You pointed out earlier to John that the struggle is not for proleterian shared same identiy, but rather to remove the class distinction. Here they fight for tolerance and decadent values as some kind of nihlistic voice, free from any emancpiation from oppression and exploitation. Most of the time regular protesting does not even work the bourgesoie just accept it and say “look how good we are, we accept other viewpoints and tolerate them!” Tolerance is the enemy, we need to fight for emancipation, and employing human rights as the purpose in a country like Canada(and again not your country which is very different culture and situation) you play by the bourgeose’s rules. I refuse to buy into their games, and I refuse to join movements simply because they think they will make a difference. However, I feel we should take the struggle back, not hand it over to them. I am not lazy and I would agree that many activists in the west do not put in mass work. I do, I just understand what works in a culture like mine and what will not. This is not coming out the way I want too, as I can tell by re reading what I am writing, but it is hard to write an analysis of my country’s situation and how it effects the struggle in such a small comment space.(let alone the fourth re-write) I am sure you will understand that and try to bare with me. Of course the revolution needs to be worked towards. Of course it will not come suddenly. I work towards reaching to the masses everyday in any way I can. So do not assume by this little discussion that I am some kind of armchair coffee shop Marxist. I even defend the NPA here, especially to Filiponos who emigrated to Canada from the propaganda instilled in them that the NPA is some kind of murderous terrorist group. What I am saying is I wish you and your comrades well and offer support in any way I can provide. I do not want to cause division over a little internet discussion. So comrade I hope you will understand what I am trying to say(even though I am half-dead and know it is not coming out the way I want it too.)and I appreciate your response.
      Regards,
      Tyler

      • “the gay rights movement here in Canada … is from a bourgeois decadent perspective. [...] Here the lines of oppression are not so drawn out”

        Tyler, you may want to spend more observing the reality around you. It seems the lines of oppression are pretty clear.

        http://www42.statcan.ca/smr08/smr08_118-eng.htm

        Sexual orientation and victimization

        According to the 2004 General Social Survey (GSS), gays, lesbians and bisexuals reported experiencing higher rates of violent victimization including sexual assault, robbery and physical assault, than did their heterosexual counterparts.

        The number of gays, lesbians and bisexuals who felt they had experienced discrimination was about 3 times higher than that of heterosexuals. Furthermore, 78% of gays and lesbians who experienced discrimination believed it was because of their sexual orientation compared to 29% of bisexuals and 2% of heterosexuals.

        1.5% — The proportion of Canadians aged 18 years and over who identified themselves in the GSS as being homosexual (gay or lesbian).

        94% — The proportion of Canadians aged 18 years and over who identified themselves in the GSS as being heterosexual.

        5% — The percentage of respondents to the GSS who did not state their sexual orientation.

        Source: Sexual orientation and victimization, 2004.

        1 in 10 — The proportion of hate crimes that were motivated by sexual orientation.

        56% — The proportion of all hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation that are marked by violence. This percentage was higher than the proportion of incidents motivated by race/ethnicity (38%) or religion (26%). Common assault was the most frequent type of violent offence.

        As a result, incidents motivated by sexual orientation were more likely than other types of hate crime incidents to result in physical injury to victims.

        Source: “Study: Hate-motivated crime”, The Daily, Monday, June 9, 2008.

        See also: “Police-reported hate crime, 2007,” The Daily, Wednesday, May 13, 2009.

      • Sasha Fierce

        Sorry Thammy if I may have sounded as antagonistic or aggressive with my comments to you. The LGBTQ struggle is close to my heart because I am part of the LGBTQ community. But I am a communist first and foremost. I am glad that we share and uphold the same ideological line — Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

        Please accept my proletarian love and regards!

    • “I am sorry but your analysis betrays a kind of economic determinism long ago denounced by Marxists. That’s why we had the Cultural Revolution. The superstructure does not smoothly follow the course of development of the economic base. So it doesn’t follow that if we eliminate capitalism, homophobia will also cease. That’s a concrete example of the Leninist concept of uneven development for you.”
      Also thank you for this, I need to brush up on Marxist-Leninist theory. I accept your rebuttal on this.

  13. Kosta, you may want to spend more time reading what I actually said. I never denied there is oppression. What I was saying is that the lines are not clear, because oppression is supported by the ideology of liberal tolerance. Hence, mostly different. I was bringing to the light the fact that it comes out in not so obvious forms. Interesting stastics although they do not convince me entirely. I am not denying that what is cited in your source does not happen. But let’s be honest’s here. Quoting your source,

    “The number of gays, lesbians and bisexuals who felt they had experienced discrimination was about 3 times higher than that of heterosexuals. Furthermore, 78% of gays and lesbians who experienced discrimination believed it was because of their sexual orientation compared to 29% of bisexuals and 2% of heterosexuals.”

    I am gonna put this in the most naive simplistic terms possible. Do you have any idea how easy it is for someone to feel discriminated against? Notice the word “felt” and “believed”. That is not pretty set in stone. I mean honestly, I have expressed disagreement with many groups and guess what their response is? Not an argument, not a grain of intelligience, but rather I am “discriminating” against them simply because I disagreed.A lot of things that are done to me as well, I could point out as discrimination.In fact, I have been violently attacked before, and barely allowed to open my mouth in face to face disagreement on this same issue. I am usually pre-painted as some kind of homophobic bigot.

    That does not make it so, or mean this is how the oppression really is…. That is very simplistic.I am saying the true oppression is much deeper, regardless of what minority I am talking about. Of course that is not to say it never happens. But seriously that is pretty faulty. The violence towards them is terrible obviously. This just proves more what I was actually trying to say. That focusing on “rights” and “tolerance” more oppression is created, just not in in your face forms such as these statistics indicate.(which is a major difference between a Canadian cultural war and an armed struggle in the Phillipines.) So please re-read my analysis. I think you and the other posters agree with me more then you think….
    Regards,
    Tyler

  14. It appears that John is nothing more than a troll posing as a Marxist-Leninist in order to comment on the blog. There is no science behind his posting, merely conjecture. The “women are biologically different from men” argument is tired and has been used for centuries to discriminate not only against our LGBTQI sisters and brothers but against women as a whole. The scientific reality is that women make up a large part of the brave fighters of national liberation struggles that Marxist-Leninists should and do support. You cannot say that you bear a group no ill will but think that they are “unnatural”. John Liu must admit that he is a bigot, not just towards queers but towards women as well.

    If we want to talk about what would be “Marxist” when it comes to marriage, we should talk about the eventual dissolution of marriage, as Marx and Engels both upheld the position of marriage as being a crude form of latent slavery, and considered families (women and children to men) to be the ‘first property’.

    However, we are not abolishing marriage for quite a long time, as it still serves a societal purpose. Therefore, how should we as Marxists relate to marriage under capitalism? Certainly not by the sexist, narrow view that marriage should be constrained to “one man, one woman” under guise of child-bearing and tasks (do women not work or fight in the military? do women who are sterile or wish not to have children marry?). We must uphold the right to marry, or to be with without reprisal, whomever you choose to be your partner. If you are as non-discriminatory as you say you are, why is this such a sticking point?

    Also, I want to recognize Tyler’s point about the queer movement not being rooted in the worker’s struggle. This actually has some validity to it. The US struggle for marriage equality tends to be petty-bourgeois. So does a lot of the national movements in this country – struggles against racism especially. Women’s movements as well. What we need to do is unite and promote these struggles and put them on a working class footing, and unite them with the worker’s struggle. Worker’s and oppressed people unite! Let’s all remember that. I’m not going to address the people “feeling like” they are oppressed comment, because that is drivel.

    • Glad you recognize my point. As for “feeling oppressed” I am simply pointing out that showing statistics based on feeling and belief are not always accurate. I am not saying they are not oppressed. I am saying the root of oppression goes alot deeper then that.
      As for marriage I agree with that, but I guess that is a given.
      Regards,
      -Tyler

      • Tyler, you might like to find some books by Leslie Feinberg, who looks at these questions from a Marxist-Leninist perspective. I would reccomend you check out “Transgender Warriors” or “Trans Liberation”. Both are very good and I think you will find them helpful.

  15. Thank you Comrade Zero, I will check those out as soon as possible. I look forward to reading them.
    Regards,
    Tyler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s