THE POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE LAVENDER AND RED UNION.
Gay Liberation is impossible without socialist revolution. Socialist revolution is incomplete without gay liberation.
Dedicated to Lesbians and Faggots – to those who perished for their suffering, to those who survived for their strength, to those who fight back for their courage, to our people with great love.
A Note to Gay Revolutionaries
Situation in the World Today
Who We Are
Separatism, Autonomy and the Party
Points of Unity
Gay Liberation Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Theory on Sexuality
INTRODUCTION: This political perspective represents Lavender and Red Union positions after one year in existence. To many of these areas we still have a great deal more study and practical experience to engage in to develop these positions. Because this paper is necessarily condensed other literature will be helpful. One of the areas we have done the most study of is sexism, women’s and gay oppression and yet, this is the area in which we still have the most to do because of the lack of work done by other Marxists. Three areas we have only touched on in this paper (and we are in the process of developing broader analyses of) are the origins of Gay oppression, a thorough class analysis of the United States of North America (USNA) and the national question.
A NOTE TO GAY REVOLUTIONARIES
To all upfront gay people working in basically non-gay revolutionary organizations we offer our support.
To all Gay revolutionaries, it is our responsibility to provide leadership among our people, to teach Marxism and to lead our people towards the goal of socialism. We recognize that this is difficult if you are working independently and we encourage the formation of autonomous Gay liberation/Communist groups in other cities to carry out this work. Presently, it is only through our labour that this struggle will be fought. We cannot depend on others to do this work for us, for history has shown us they won’t. Ours is a grave responsibility indeed, for without a strong Gay voice within the Communist movement, it is possible that the revolution will eave us in chains against which to struggle anew.
SITAUTION IN THE WORLD TODAY
Monopoly capitalism has reached its highest development in the USNA. This monopoly ruling class continually seeks to control, exploit and manipulate the masses of working people wherever they can, whether in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe or here at home. They compete for political domination of the world while at the same time aligning themselves with other imperialist ruling classes. It often seems that they are so powerful that struggle against them is useless. But examples are given to us everyday that show the opposite.
People around the world are fighting imperialism and breaking the chains that keep a death-grip on the world. In Vietnam, Cuba, Mozambique, the Philippines, Brazil, etc, the working and oppressed people are waging armed struggle to win national self-determination and revolution has become the main trend in the world today.
As Third World countries win independence the ruling class will continually turn its focus more towards the USNA masses. The few relative privileges we receive from imperialism have started to diminish and attacks on our standard of living are increasing. The energy hoax is just one example of such an attack.
However the profoundest lie the American people are told is that there are no class divisions in the USNA. Working people are kept unaware of their true class position. This leads to some people seeing sex, race, age and sexual/emotional orientation (Gayness/non-gayness) as the primary divisions. This is analogous to the situation in many work places where workers see the supervisors or their co-workers as their enemies rather than the owners who are less visible.
American workers have a rich tradition of resistance to ruling class terror and continue to rise up against their exploitation.
WHO WE ARE
The Lavender and Red Union is a Gay liberation-Communist organization which is based in the Gay community of Los Angeles. Our offices are located in Hollywood one of the largest gay ghettoes in the USNA.
As a Gay liberation-Communist organization we struggle for an end to the oppression of the many by the few, for an end to the exploitation of people for profit. And as Gay liberationists, we feel a cultural and political identity with our people and work for our liberation.
The L&RU is committed to helping build a vanguard Communist party. By this we mean a tightly organized political party with participation and leadership from the most advanced, conscious elements among Gay, women, Black, Brown, Asian, American Indian and white workers, in order to give leadership to the people in overthrowing capitalism and establishing socialism.
We are Marxist-Leninists because we feel Marx, Engels and Lenin were among the best formulators and practitioners of the science of historical and dialectical materialism. The theory and leadership they have provided has been invaluable to the revolutionary movement. At the same time we are anti-dogmatists and anti-sectarian. We study their work and follow their direction when we see they were correct. We do not believe everything they said just because they said it. We also know it is important to study all Marxists, progressive and even bourgeois writers to develop a correct scientific theory for revolution in the USNA.
Marxism-Leninism is a science not a dogma. We have much more to study and much analysis remains to be done. It is important for working and oppressed people to arm themselves with the science of Marxism-Leninism. Likewise, we must all train ourselves as thinkers. As Marxist-Leninists we see these issues as critical: 1) democratic centralism 2) dictatorship of the proletariat and 3) the struggle against imperialism.
The union is predominantly male. However we do not consider ourselves a Gay men’s organization, as many organizations do, since we feel that to constitute ourselves as such would be reactionary and sexist and would deny the support we have gotten from Lesbians. While it is clearly necessary for Gay people and women and people of colour to consolidate themselves in distinct organizations at this time, for men or whites to do this is a consolidation of dominance.
Our Lesbian sisters and our Gay Third World sisters and brothers and other oppressed groups suffer triple and quadruple oppression as workers, as women, as people of color and as Gay people.
We do recognize the necessity for Lesbians to organize autonomously. We do realize that the male dominated Gay liberation movement has used and manipulated Lesbians. We understand that this situation has generated a lot of mistrust and that new trust will take a long time to build. While L&RU is a very young organization and we have not fully come to terms with this issue we are working towards this by working with women’s groups, by presenting programs of interest to Lesbians and advertising them amongst Lesbians and by intensive internal struggle with sexism.
Our work is directed towards the Gay community as a whole. We see trade union work in shops where Gay people predominate or are a very large minority as particularly important in the future.
SEPARATISM, AUTONOMY AND THE PARTY
There is presently no national organization that considers Gay liberation a priority – where this position is consistently borne out in practice. However, even if such an organization did exist we would not join it unless there was also a basis of political unity in other areas.
No national organization sees it as an important part of their political practice to achieve a materialist analysis of Gay oppression and to support the popular demands of Gay people in this country. (Most groups that take a pro-Gay liberation position are opportunists. They take this position in order to snare the support of Gay people. No predominantly non-gay organization we have encountered has a genuinely diligent, revolutionary position.) Since the L&RU sees this work as a priority we feel that it is necessary to work autonomously at this time.
We make a distinction between autonomy and separatism. By autonomy we mean independent and self-governing; in cooperation with rather than in subordination to the broader revolutionary movement. Separatism sees the contradictions that exist now among the people as complete and absolute while autonomy is a temporary strategy to instigate a higher level of struggle amongst the people and within the revolutionary movement. Though separatism and autonomy grow out of the material, cultural and ideological domination of the oppressor culture, autonomy is correct and will aid our liberation.
We see autonomy not as an end in itself but rather a transitional device. It will be of primary importance that the party take over the task of speaking to the needs of Gay people and all oppressed people. The party must have a broad base in the masses and its leadership will have to include all oppressed groups – in a real sense not as tokens. The L&RU will be involved in the work to create this party because unity is the solution.
Separatism is the call for the absolute separation of groups. It elevates contradictions amongst the people such as non-white/white, women/men, Gay/non-gay to the level of absolute enemies. The idea that any one group has the power to make a revolution is fallacious. Separatism is short-sighted and in reality not a thoughtful program for social change.
Separatism turns its back on struggling out contradictions which continues our oppression. It also liquidates other areas of oppression (for example, if one says that Gayness/non-gayness is the primary contradiction in society this liquidates the race question.)
Obviously the anti-gayness of Cuba, China and the left is not encouraging, but it is only by struggling within the revolutionary movement that we have any hope of reversing this trend. By practicing separatism we facilitate our exclusion – suicide for our culture and identity.
Non-gay people are the agents of Gay people’s oppression – not our enemies. They are agents because they are merely carrying out the orders of the true enemies, the ruling class and its lackeys. They oppress us because of a few paltry privileges of heterosexual dominance in a class society – and not by anything inherent among non-gay people. In reality anti-gayness is not in the long term interests of non-gay people because it divides us.
There is one truly revolutionary movement – the Communist movement. Other movements may appear to be revolutionary but they don’t have the power to overthrow the ruling class by seizing the means of production. These other movements may seem to be separate from the class struggle but this is due to the failure of Communists to provide leadership in these struggles.
POINTS OF UNITY
“In short, the Communists support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.
In all these movements they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.”
The Communist Manifesto.
There is only one way for all working and oppressed people to achieve liberation and that is through socialist revolution. Only through the overthrow of monopoly capitalism, the seizure of the means of production by the working class and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, in other words, the setting up of socialism, can a basis for the liberation of the masses be built.
The working class is the most revolutionary class in capitalist society because it has the capability of creating, through its labour, a new society out of the old. The primary contradiction of capitalism is between the concentrated private ownership of the means of production and the increasingly socialized and collective labour necessary to run them. The ruling class must be overthrown and the controlled management of society by the working class, for the good of the people and not for profits, must be established.
It is therefore of primary importance that the relationship of all oppression to the class division in society be understood. The most dangerous ideology of liberation is: that some form of ideology is above or has nothing to do with classes. A theory of oppression that doesn’t understand the primacy of the class question will end up with a program based on idealism. To call for an end to sexism or racism, as examples, that are essential to the maintenance of capitalism, without calling for the smashing of capitalism and the class system is utopian. Only socialism can provide the basis for liberation and freedom. For example, the theory of the Black civil rights movement was that through changing laws the oppression of Black people would end. Yet even though the Constitution itself was changed the oppression of Black people still goes on unabated.
Divisions amongst the People
The divisions among the people are developed, spread and institutionalized by the capitalist system in order to divide the masses and keep the working class weak.
This has two effects: First, in an attempt to buy people off, it gives one group a little privilege and power over another and secondly it masks the class base of society giving us the illusion that we are each other’s enemies. Both of these effects make it difficult to achieve unity in the working class.
Racism is the material, ideological, psychological and cultural oppression of people of color. It manifests itself in white chauvinism which enables the super exploitation of Third World people in the USNA and around the world.
The ruling class seeks to have white and Third World workers scramble for a few crumbs (jobs, housing, schools, etc). Large numbers of Third World workers are kept in a reserve pool of labor and used as a club to keep white workers in line.
We pledge our support to progressive and revolutionary struggles of Black, Chicana and Chicano, Puuertoriquena and Puertoriqueno, Asian, American Indian, Pilipina and Pilipino people as well as all other people of color.
Sexism is the material, ideological and psychological oppression of women and Gay people. Marxists have neglected to make a complete analysis of sexism and seen one as unimportant. The movement has catered to backward tendencies rather than opposing them. To the extent that these analyses have been made they have dealt almost exclusively with the exclusion of women from the workforce and the super exploitation of women workers. The revolutionary movement has been woefully lacking in supporting the demands of women for control over their own bodies, for equality in relationships with men, for independence and self-sufficiency, for an identity other than what they get from “their man”, to smash sex role stereotyping, for an end to the ideological and psychological oppression of women in addition to the economic.
When the revolutionary movement has not been supporting the oppression of Gay people they have taken positions (seldom action) in support of legal rights and have neglected dealing with heterosexism in all of its manifestations institutionally, economically and among the people themselves. It is imperative that sexism be fought against as an integral part of the class struggle.
There will be no free men until there are free women.
D Women and Feminism.
The nuclear family is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of capitalism. The family lays the basis for the passing down of property, the maintenance and reproduction of the workforce and the maximizing of consumption. Sex role stereotyping is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of the family and lays the basis for the oppression of women and Gay people. Without it womenchildren and menchildren wouldn’t know that women are meant to be wives and mothers, secretaries, telephone operators, etc and that men are meant to be the “kings of their castle”, rulers, athletes, scientists, doctors, technicians, labourers, breadwinners, etc.
Feminism has been labeled reactionary and bourgeois by some of the left. This is nonsense. Women’s liberation (which we use interchangeably with feminism) is progressive because it calls forth a new age of equality, which cannot be granted in even the smallest degree without playing havoc with the existing social and economic relations. Feminism is not anti-male. It has a double edge it is an attack on 1) the economic and material oppression of women by the system and 2) the sexism of men.
The fact that the feminist movement is dominated by reformists should come as no surprise to us since the revolutionary movement paid no attention to sexism (economic or otherwise) until the “bourgeois” feminist movement was reborn in the 1960s.
It is imperative that men take up the fight for women’s liberation, particularly the struggle against their own sexism.
The relationship between the socialist movement and Gay liberation is the foulest chapter in the recent history of the left. There has been no analysis of why Gay people are oppressed and in place of that many revolutionaries have put forth as science bourgeois myths.
Like women, Third World people and young people, Gay people exist in all classes. Gay workers are doubly oppressed as workers and as Gay people. However, the oppression of Gay people as Gay people does not, strictly speaking, derive from their class position. The fact that the primary function of anti-gayness is not economic, that is that we get paid less, etc, does not mean (as we have explained earlier) that Gay oppression is not a fundamental necessity under capitalism and that there are not direct instances of economic exploitation of Gayness.
It is a superficial analysis to say that bosses do not reap profits directly from the economic super exploitation of some Gay people. Many Lesbians do not have the “protection” of marriage, economically. When they enter the workforce they must take jobs which are reserved for women, therefore receiving low pay as their only source of sustenance. Or we are working in a Gay business at starvation wages so we can be “out” or Gay men are tracked into service industry jobs or Gay women are tracked into the most alienating factory jobs, where pressures to live up to standard role images are not as intense.
Furthermore, the oppression of Gay people in the workforce includes many falling into the reserve army of labour by virtue of their Gayness, being fired from their jobs, or they couldn’t get a job because they were too “butch” or “femme”, or having been driven crazy and being thrown into hospitals.
Gay liberation is also not a sexual liberation movement as it is often talked about. Gay people are a people – with a common identity, a culture, institutions and a host of internal contradictions. Ours is not a movement to “do it” with whomever we want, but rather to be who we are, to smash sex roles and to live our lives according to our own needs – to win our freedom.
Gay people will never be free under capitalism. As long as capitalism rules we will be oppressed as workers and as women, as Third World people and as gay people. And as long as the revolutionary movement neglects Gay liberation the revolution is being held back.
Ageism is the oppression of young people and old people. The subjugation of children as property of their parents, the objectification of young people and defining of old people as non-human and unimportant are all aspects of ageism.
It is imperative that the revolutionary movement understand and fight ageism. It is necessary to be able to bring the full abilities and productiveness of all people into the benefit of society.
For the most part ageism stems from the relative exploitability of people, because capitalism reaps no profit from the very young and the very old, they are seen as being unimportant.
Jews have a long history of oppression throughout the world, especially under capitalism. Anti-Jewishness stems from an ideology similar to racism based on the need for cultural and ideological domination by oppressor cultures. The oppression of Jews has by no means vanished from the USNA. Jews are not all rich and influential as the WASP ruling class would have us believe. Just as in fascist Germany, the manipulation of anti-Jewishness, enables the monopoly capitalist class to turn attention away from who the enemy actually is.
The revolutionary movement has had a reactionary attitude towards the oppression of Jews. Many revolutionaries identify the Jewish people with the Israeli government and Zionism. This is an absolutely false conception and is itself an aspect of anti-jewishness. Jews are no more responsible for the situation in the Middle East than the American people are responsible for the war in Vietnam.
The Jewish question is still a priority of the revolutionary movement and must be seen as such. The Jewish people have every right to maintain their culture and peoplehood.
One of the main fronts of the struggle must be the fight against imperialism. Imperialism is the seeking after of new markets, raw materials and cheap labour. World control through the exploitation of underdeveloped nations by the industrialized nations – imperialism – is the highest and last stage of capitalism.
Racism and national chauvinism are the primary tools used by the imperialists to split the international working class and enable them to cover up their viciousness. Imperialism has plundered the world and continues to do so today.
The two major imperialists of the world, the USNA and the USSR, continually seek to divide the world between themselves. But nations which have been kept underdeveloped are fighting back and in many places they are winning.
We give our utmost support to the people of Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, Panama, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Philippines, Okinawa, Guam, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Palestine, Dhofar, Iran, Oman, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the South African Black Nation, Mozambique, Angola, Ireland and all others who are struggling to win independence and fight imperialism.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics claims to be socialist when in actuality they practice imperialism and have moved away from building socialism and away from destroying class differences and the divisions among the people they create. The USSR’s revision of revolutionary Marxism must be combatted especially with the USSR franchise Communist parties around the world (eg. Communist Party, USA). We have no support for the USSR and the revisionism they pass for revolution around the world. We do have much to learn from the Russian Revolution and the move toward setting up socialism in Russia.
On the other hand we have critical support for the attempts of the following countries to build socialism: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the republic of Cuba, the People’s Republic of china and the People’s Republic of Albania. We do not glorify these revolutions as many American revolutionary groups do. We look at their revolution, their practice in building socialism and their handling of contradictions amongst the people to analyse them. We have criticisms of these countries, many being around the handling of Gayness and sexism in general, but we also have much support for these countries, many being around the handling of Gayness and sexism in general, but we also have much support for these countries and realize the tremendous revolutionary knowledge they have to teach us, especially in the struggle against imperialism.
GAY LIBERATION, YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW
The history of Gay people fighting back against their oppression is not new. One example is the Homosexual Rights Movement in Germany (1864-1935) and another is the work of Edward Carpemter and others in Britain around the end of the 19th century. In this country there have been two Gay liberation movements. One was the homophile movement of the 1950s and early 1960s. The second began with the first mass resistance of Gay people in the USNA when a group of gay bar customers at the Stonewall Inn in New York fought back with bottles and cobblestones against continued police harassment. They spontaneously arose against the system that has harassed and oppressed Gay people, killed us, thrown us into prison and tired to destroy our minds. Out of the Stonewall riots came a new, increasingly militant Gay liberation movement.
The first organised group to come out of this movement was the Gay Liberation Front, named for the freedom fighters in Vietnam – the National Liberation Front of Vietnam. Loosely connected GLF chapters were formed across the USNA. The primary activities of these groups were demonstrations (which came to be known as zaps), social events, newspapers, etc. What underlaid all of their activities was letting the world know that there were indeed Gay people and that they were indeed angry about their situation.
It is impossible to estimate the effect GLF has had on the lives and consciousness of Gay and non-Gay people. In the six years since Stonewall we have witnessed tremendous changes in the attitudes of a great many non-gay people, but what has been most profound is the pride and identity now felt by many, many Gay people. However, GLF, like the Gay movement of the 19th century and today lacked a class analysis and a real strategy for the liberation of Gay people. GLF was rapidly replaced by organizations that were more or less reformist while the progressive and revolutionary elements were dispersed or went to work in other movements.
A great many service centres were formed and are still being formed today. The largest is located in Los Angeles, the Gay Community Services Centre (the international headquarters of the first Gay church – Metropolitan Community Church is also located here). The GCSC was recently granted over a million dollars by a variety of government agencies.
Services for Gay people strikes a responsive chord among many of us. We have been denied equal health care, employment, legal aid and have been historically prevented from meeting our people outside of bars, baths, T rooms, etc. It seemed good to form places to be with our own people. But these projects have drifted to the right, many becoming little more than branches of the government. So now we have Gay people dishing out the poisonous drugs, serving as the parole officers, the mental health jailers, etc. The ruling class knows that it is always better to get the prisoners to beat up on each other than to use the guards.
All of these groups have so systematically gone this route because service is not a strategy for Gay liberation – or social change of any kind for that matter. We cannot replace revolutionary education and action with medical care, psychological treatment or crash pads. We cannot replace people moving in their own interests with social workers who move for them. The greatest service one can do for our Gay sisters and brothers is to fight with them for their legitimate rights and needs (fair employment housing, the right to custody of their children, the freedom to conduct their lives as equals with heterosexuals, etc) to align with the workers movement and perhaps most importantly at this time, to help people see the class nature of society and their true position in that society.
The progressive and revolutionary elements of Gay liberation are consolidating themselves again. And indeed within the community as a whole there is a great deal of interest in socialism and a renewed interest in direct political action. As much of the Gay liberation movement moves more and more definitively into the camp of reaction the alternatives become clearer. Service centres and government funded projects make their appeal on the basis of the most narrow, limited and short range satisfaction of Gay people’s needs while the Lavender and Red Union and others are attempting to develop a program that will lead to the liberation of Gay people and the working class.
THEORY ON SEXUALITY
It is an important aspect of our work that analyses be made of Gay people’s oppression, of Gayness and of sexuality in general. Gay people have been oppressed by not being seen as a people and an oppressed group, but at best as a sexual minority and at worst as non-existent, a reaction to capitalism, a perversion of “normal” sexuality, etc, etc. We see it as our responsibility as Marxists to begin to provide these scientific analyses.
What is heterosexuality? Heterosexuality is the sexual-emotional orientation of a person to people of the opposite sex. What is Gayness? Gayness is the sexual-emotional orientation of a person to people of the same sex. In reaction to the theory that Gayness is a sickness we have heard still another definition put forth by some elements of the Gay liberation movement that Gayness is creativity, sexual liberation, rolelessness, a political vanguard, etc. This view is incorrect and mystifies the actual difference between Gay and non-gay people.
Our study proves that there is a historical, material basis for Gayness. Gayness exists in species of animals and in other cultures, at all stages of society, from primitive communal societies, right through to capitalism (although the categories heterosexual and homosexual did not always exist and in fact the existence of the category heterosexual necessitates homosexual). There is no evidence that Gayness did not exist in any culture.
Gayness is not “caused”, as most theories of sexuality have implied, by dominant mother/passive father, birth trauma, decadent reaction to capitalism, hormonal imbalance, misogyny, fear of the opposite sex, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. In reality the whole conception of heterosexual and homosexual was created as part and parcel of the definition of sex.
Just as one cannot pinpoint in a single case why one child develops to be extroverted or another introverted, likewise the sexuality of an individual cannot be so pinpointed. It is undeniable that these characteristics develop due to contact with surrounding though one particular set of surroundings will not produce a particular characteristic in a child. (External causes are the conditions of change and internal causes are the basis of change not the reverse.) Two children growing up in the same setting will be different. Likewise Gayness/non-gayness is determined by external material conditions and socialization which have different effects on different individuals.
Gayness or non-gayness is not a matter of individual choice. Gayness and non-gayness develop out of the material conditions of an individual’s life and those conditions certainly are not of an individual’s choosing.
Out goes “feminism is a massive complaint, Lesbianism is the solution” and with it “we are all bisexual”. We should not deceive ourselves into thinking that behind every heterosexual woman and man is a Lesbian or a Faggot screaming to get out. Nor should we go searching in ourselves for our potential heterosexuality. Such thinking and searching is non-materialist because sexuality/emotionality as it exists today is role-defined, gender-defined and arises from material conditions.
When we say that sexuality in today’s capitalist society is role-defined and gender-defined we mean that we are sexually and emotionally attracted to people on the basis of gender (on the basis of whether they are a woman or a man) and trained to respond in terms of roles (dominant/passive, masculine/feminine, etc.) Though many of us are seeking expanded sexuality/emotionality and while there is evidence that non-gender and role-defined s/e existed in the past and will again in the future, this should not obscure that the materialist view of s/e is that it is gender and role defined in class society.
The term we use to describe sexuality that is not defined by gender and roles is non-defined sexuality. When no privileges are given to men or to heterosexuals, a sexuality will develop which does not accord a certain role to women and a certain role to men and whether one relates to people of the same sex or the opposite sex would have no particular significance. At that point sexuality would become non-defined. It is impossible to have non-defined sexuality in class society. There is no individual solution to the problem of sexuality. As long as men and heterosexuals are given privileges and power sexuality for all of us will be “defined”.
We are told (at least Gay people are told) “bi is best” and “bisexuality is the wave of the future”. Why are we told this? Class society cannot permit Gayness to exist unoppressed. But it also has become apparent, due to the uprisings of Gay people in the last few years that total suppression of Gay people is impossible. Gay liberation is a confrontation with the roles so necessary to sustaining the nuclear family, an essential unit of capitalism. The “bi is best” politics says – okay, you say you’re Gay, but you’re also part-straight. There is still a place for you in the nuclear family and the traditional sex role set up. As such bisexuality is an attack on Gay people.
Bisexuality is not the wave of the future, but in actuality is an outgrowth of sexist society’s attempt to deal with Gayness. Bisexuality advances the idea that human beings are naturally half-people – you get certain things from women – certain things from men – and not both from either – people are not seen as capable of being whole or complete.
Gender and role definition must be smashed. Only then will we be able to see non-defined sexuality- something vastly different from bisexuality. When we establish non-defined sexuality, gender will have no more significance than one’s hat size now. The working through of these contradictions and the resolution of them is far in the future, most probably occurring as the state withers away and the transition to Communism takes place. This can be likened to the resolution of race and national differences. There will be a time when those differences along with classes will wither and there will be no divisions by race, class, sex or nationality. However, it is ridiculous to talk as if the way to resolve these contradictions is by saying “we’re all equal” and not recognize the contradictions for what they are today.
Bisexuality as a strategy to combat sex roles is a liberal and incomplete way of dealing with the contradiction of sexuality. The correct way to confront bisexuality is to give people support to come out, work for the liberation of Gay people and to work through the contradictions of sexism between women and men. Only when a time has come that people are not objectified and socialized as “men” or “women” will sexuality based on gender roles and reproduction disappear. At that time divisions such as Gay and heterosexual will die. People will not be seen as women, men, Black, white, etc. When these divisions are destroyed people will not relate to people because of gender, race, false beauty standards, etc.
People who see themselves as bisexuals and who see this as a strategy for confronting sexism are victims not enemies. While bisexuals maintain heterosexual privilege over Gay people, they are also victims of the distortion of sexuality perpetrated by capitalism, but they are also robbed of the vision to see this distortion. The struggle of Gay people and non-gay people and women and men cannot be struggled out in the bedroom between individuals. The fact that a gay person can go to bed with someone of the opposite sex or that a non-gay person with someone of the same sex or the fact that people can function mechanically in bed with someone of either sex does not mean that people are not either heterosexual or Gay. The struggle to break down this false division is a political and class struggle.
A word must be said about a certain aspect of bisexuality as it directly results to Gay people. Often times during the transitional coming out process many Gay women and men find it necessary to temporarily hold on to the concept of themselves as bisexual in order to make coming out less a trauma. Most of these people upon finding a source of pride in their Gayness gladly cast off this deception. It is our responsibility as gay people to give support to people to come out – and to be sensitive to the difficulty and pain such an emergence engenders.
Coming out is a unique experience different than the experience of other oppressed peoples in that it is a dramatic qualitative change in a Gay person’s life when she/he comes out. For every Gay person there is a different story concerning this phenomenon. For some coming out is seen as the first sexual experience with someone of the same sex, for others it is their first love, or when they admit it to themselves or to others, and people often express their coming out as a combination of all of these and other things.
The ting that is found in all coming out stories is that coming out as a Gay persons is a qualitative change brought about by internal contradictions and it is a resolution of those contradictions. We see in coming out that the primary contradiction is between a person’s actual Gay sexuality/emotionality and the material conditions in society which work to suppress Gayness.
In some ways our socialization as Gay people has made it difficult to form and maintain ongoing s/e relationships. Society can give no support to our relationships since such support would mean overall support for being Gay. The traditional institutions of the state and the church which actively encourage and support heterosexual relationships actively oppose Gayness.
In addition, there is the matter of roles. Women are socialized to strive to be a “woman”, soft, weak, emotional, supportive, passive, brainless and men to be a “man”, hard, strong, rational, competitive aggressive and intellectual. The fact that these are unreal conceptions is easily seen since in reality no person embodies only these traits to the exclusion of those that are supposed to belong solely to the opposite sex. But nevertheless, these two images of “woman” and “man” are what we are all taught to emulate. One reason for this is because then only by merging both sets of characteristics can one come up with a whole person, only by obtaining an “other half’ can you become complete – only through a heterosexual union (ie, marriage and the nuclear family) can one be made whole.
For two women in a relationship, or two men, this leaves a couple of choices. One person can play the role relegated to a woman and one the man’s role, or each person can engage in struggle to liberate the repressed aspects of character which supposedly belong to the opposite sex. There is no doubt that the latter course is correct since these roles in society derive from the oppression of women. Either course is difficult and places tremendous pressure on Gay people in relationships.
We must also say that this struggle against roles is not confined to the Gay community. Women’s liberation also speaks to this issue and many non-gay women and men are also involved in waging this battle against the repressive roles which they have been socialized into. We deeply support their struggle.
The issue of monogamy/non-monogamy is an important and thorny problem. We have a great deal more study to do about this. However, we see that people have been taught to see sexuality either in terms of emotionally exclusive or casual objectified relationships. We believe both of these views are distorted. We look forward to a day when sexuality is looked on as an outgrowth of liking/loving capacity to give each other sexual gratification/ and as a part of a relationship.
We give our support to every Gay person in the struggle against roles and views of sexuality imposed by the dominant male supremacist, heterosexist reality. We believe this to be a struggle for genuine equality in relationships and in the world, to smash the roles of powerful/powerless, passive/aggressive and dominant/dominated.
We have been made into half people. Some of us are “woman” some of us “man”. We should not glamorize either. Men should not be seeking to be “woman” or woman to be “man”. A woman who is assertive or intellectual is not acting like a man or a man who is emotional is not acting like a woman but as a more complete human. At the same time we must keep in mind that there is a difference between a woman and a man being assertive and intellectual in the way that they are viewed by sexist society.
Capitalist class society is anti-sex. We believe that the socialist movement should come to be identified as supporting sexual liberation.
Role of Collective – Final authority in all political and organizational decisions rests in the collective.
Sustain the organization
do whatever work needs to be done
responsibility for security of the organization
Determine political direction
make decisions about what action is to be taken
make decisions about forming alliances
give direction and support to non-collective members
Role of non-collective members. As a democratic centralist organization that believes in workers control we feel that any work that people do they should control. This means that in projects participated in by people who are not members of the collective, decisions are made by everyone involved. This is not in any way contradictory to the final authority of the collective, since we have the option of withdrawing our support from any project.
Support the organization
take responsibility for own work
provide organization with criticism
help to financially sustain the organization.
We encourage people to become politically active with us. The present ways available for involvement are: L&RU bookstore, theatre group, demonstrations, study group and program committee (which conducts films, forums, etc.)