Tag Archives: queer

Oakland to Seattle: Solidarity Against Police Brutality

This statement was written by participants in the Justice for Oscar Grant movement in Oakland, including the group Advance the Struggle.  Please distribute widely, to help build for tonight’s demonstration against police brutality in Seattle.  For more info about the events leading to this demonstration, check out Jomo’s article “It doesn’t get better, we rebel to make it better.” 

STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AFTER THE JUNE 24, 2012 POLICE BRUTALITY INCIDENT IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — written 6/28/12

Dear Comrades,*

It was recently brought to our attention by members of the Black Orchid Collective that during the end of the Gay Pride weekend (6/24/12) LGBTQ youth organized an anti-racist and anti-heterosexist street dance party. This unpermitted gathering was assaulted by the Seattle Police Department (SPD), who unleashed unjustified brutality at the participants. Six young people were arrested.

Lt. Greg Calder was filmed pepper-spraying a youth at close range, and then physically abusing this young person. The victim was then arrested for assaulting the police despite video evidence that clearly proves the cop to be the aggressor. First off, we now know due to extensive documentation and experience that so-called “non-lethal weapons” (pepper spray, tasers, tear gas, etc.) have led to the death of far too many people. Secondly, the SPD in particular and the American police in general routinely blame the victim and frame up innocent people in these situations. The police only serve the rich and protect the conditions in which oppression thrives.

Down in the Bay Area, we have police departments that claim to be on the side of queer communities just as in Seattle. SPD’s actions on June 24th only prove what we should already know: police are not queer allies. Even if they are themselves gay, lesbian, or transgender, they are our queer enemies.

On April 29th in Oakland, a black trans-gender woman named Brandy Martell was murdered in Oakland in a homophobic hate crime. Police arrived on the scene and did nothing to help the dying victim. In fact they even turned an ambulance away while a passerby did CPR that he learned at Occupy Oakland’s medic training. As long as police attack people for dancing in the street for the cause of liberation, we can be guaranteed that they will stand idly by in the face of homophobic violence from the community.

We support all struggles motivated by love, striving for true freedom, and battling oppression, as these are the basic ingredients of a future society in which equal rights exist for all, and everything is provided for everyone. Radical queer movements will be amongst those advancing the struggle toward the society of the future. We can be assured that the police will be there every step of the way to try to prevent such a society from smashing out of the one we are imprisoned in today.

REMEMBER STONEWALL!

DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST THE SIX PARTICIPANTS ARRESTED BY THE SPD!

QUEER STRUGGLE IS CLASS STRUGGLE!

* The greeting was changed from “Brothers and Sisters” to “Comrades” so as not to gender people within that binary (done with permission of statement authors).

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Queer Liberation and Class Struggle Case Study: The Welsh Miner’s Strike

Can you imagine a 100% male industry of miners acting in solidarity with communities of gays and lesbians?  Can you imagine them dancing in queer spaces together, learning about each other over a beer?  Can you imagine these men marching behind members of the queer community and under a queer banner in a parade?  Seems hard to imagine . . .

Identity politics has long maintained that differences of identity along lines of race, gender, ability, and sexuality must be respected and tolerated.  This has often been counterposed to what is characterized as the “class reductionist” approach of class unity above all else.  The history of race riots, domestic violence, and macho heterosexism within the proletarian movement is all too real, and has provided the material basis for a form of postmodern politics in the 1980s towards today which has defensively fetishized forms of social difference.

Within this context, the communist movement has sought in various ways to reconcile the contradictions and move towards a higher plane of political unity.  Unfortunately, often times these moves have ended up reifying differences – bowing to forms of sectoralism which keep differences static, with each “identity group” staying safe within its own silo – or attempts to paper over the real differences and antagonisms which exist in society and amongst the proletariat in particular, which amount to reifying the differences from another angle.

As a young generation of communists coming up in this context, we are seeking to carve out a space which can account for difference while also aiming towards the pedagogical development of radical understanding and unity amongst people of different backgrounds and identities.  We seek out the common class interest amongst the proletariat in ways which facilitate the learning process amongst all its sectors – where male identified workers are able to break down the patriarchal values instilled in them since birth; where women workers are able to assert themselves amongst men and feel confident that they will not be silenced by a culture of machismo; where trans workers are able to occupy space with their fellow cis-workers and engage in radical dialogue that facilitates understanding between them, along with creating the space to strategize about taking down the boss. Continue reading