LGBT

LGBT Alisdare HicksonThe struggle against sexual discrimination is linked to the struggle against class society in general for several reasons. The first is that only the abolition of class society can create the material economic basis and cultural drive sufficient to dismantle the model of the monogamous family as the only basic unit of society. By socially carrying out all the tasks that are today assigned to the sphere of the family, and mostly to women (cooking, cleaning, raising children), and by allowing the free development of individuals with access to the best material and cultural resources society can provide, it will be possible to facilitate a process by which interpersonal and family bonds are gradually freed from material necessity and correspond solely to romantic and sexual desires, thereby dissolving the oppressive norms and discriminations that exist at present.

The second reason is that the vast majority of LGBT people are workers, youth, temporary workers, unemployed, who experience a double oppression in regard to both their class, in the workplace and living (or surviving) conditions, and their identity or sexual orientation. Joining the struggles against these two forms of oppression is therefore the most natural thing, especially when we consider that the enemy is the same. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that homophobic prejudices are also fostered to divide workers – for example, to make heterosexual workers believe that, while they may be oppressed, they are still superior to the gay person (how satisfying!), in the same way that racist prejudices are nurtured. The role played by the right wing in this process is self-evident.

Whoever says that the two fronts of struggle must be separated is playing into the enemy's hands. And often, in the LGBT movement, those people promoting this stance are wealthy individuals who do not experience the material problems faced by LGBT workers and youth.

– From LGBT: Liberation and Revolution

Today is 50 years since the Stonewall riots of 28 June 1969, which marked the beginning of the modern LGBT rights movement. Following other revolutionary events of the 1960s, the riots – described as the “hairpin drop heard ‘round the world” by the New York Mattachine newsletter – marked a shift amongst LGBT people away from individualised, small-scale activism and towards mass protest and demonstrations.

On 28 June 1969, a riot just outside the Stonewall Inn bar, located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, New York City, marked a turning point in the fight for the emancipation of LGBTQ people. That night, the bar was raided by the police, which was all too common at the time with gay bars. But this time, gay people didn’t let the police walk over them. They stood up to the NYPD in an unprecedented weekend of rioting. This courageous act transformed the movement and led to thousands of LGBTQ people coming “out of the closet, into the streets!” It is important to revisit these events and draw the main lessons for today.

This document, after a thorough discussion at all levels of the International Marxist Tendency over the past year, was approved unanimously by the IMT World Congress held at the end of July 2018 with the original title Marxist Theory and The Struggle Against Alien Class Ideas. Its aim is to draw a line between Marxism and a set of idealistic and postmodernist alien class ideas, which have affected for some time a layer of activists in academic circles and are also being used in a reactionary manner within the international workers' movement.

On 23 May, more than 70 students and workers gathered at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada for Fightback’s event on the Sexual Revolution in the Soviet Union. Presenting on the topic was Fred Weston, editor of the In Defense of Marxism website and author of a recent series of articles on sexuality in the USSR. While over 100 years later the social advances made by the Russian Revolution of 1917 are still widely misunderstood, if not entirely erased by mainstream and pro-capitalist versions of history, Fred’s presentation cut through all the misinformation and laid bare both the real gains and limitations of the revolution. He explained that to learn the real lessons for the struggle

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We reproduce here a letter that Harry Whyte (a British Communist Party member) wrote to Stalin in May 1934, in which Whyte posed the question: “can a homosexual be considered someone worthy of membership in the Communist Party?”.

We publish here in English an oft-quoted text, The Sexual Revolution in Russia, by Dr. Grigory Batkis, published in German in 1925 as a contribution to the proceedings of the World League for Sexual Reform. Unable to locate an English language edition, we found a copy of the German original and had it translated by our German and Austrian comrades of the IMT.

The October Revolution radically changed the situation for homosexuals in Russia, as it did for women. In 1922 the first criminal code of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was passed as law. In 1918 all the old Tsarist laws were suspended and when finally, after a few years of debate, the new constitution was adopted, homosexuality or “sodomy” as it was called, was decriminalised. This was an enormous advance for homosexuals, who under the Tsar could be arrested and sentenced to years of imprisonment or sent to labour camps.

In March 1934 Stalin re-criminalised homosexuality across the whole of the Soviet Union. Henceforth anyone involved in homosexual acts could be sent to prison for three to five years. In the early years of the Russian Revolution, however, homosexuality had been legalised – but this is something you will find little mention of in the literature produced by the official Communist Parties after 1934. Today’s Stalinists, who model themselves on Stalin’s regime, have a lot of explaining to do.

In recent years the struggle against gender oppression and sexual orientation-based discrimination has developed into mass movements in many countries. We have seen large-scale protests expressing anger and rebellion – that had been building up for years and decades – against an exasperating interference of a system that not only forces you to struggle daily to make ends meet, but also claims the right to decide what you can or cannot do in your private lives, who you can have a relationship with, sexual or otherwise, whether you can raise a child, etc., and subjects anyone who departs from the norms of the so-called “traditional family” to a social and legal ghetto.

The crisis of capitalism has given rise to a mood of questioning and mass movements across the world. From the Spanish Indignados, to the Syntagma Square in Greece, and more recently the Nuit Debout in France, youth are starting to take action and challenge the capitalist system. As part of this general mood, recent years have also seen a number of spontaneous movements erupt against the multiple forms of oppression that different layers of the working class experience under capitalism.

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