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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 June 2006

Europride 2006 - 1 July

Putting the politics into Pride

The Lesbian and Gay rights movement started in 1969 with the Stonewall riots in New York when drag queens physically fought the police who were raiding gay bars.

Greg Randall, Hackney

Prejudice against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people has not gone away, even though in parts of the world many legal rights have been won and anti-discrimination laws enacted. Similar laws did not end racism or sex discrimination. "Queer bashing" still takes place on the allegedly tolerant streets of London. The fear of losing your job for "coming out" at work is part of life for many.

Unfortunately, the organisers of Gay Pride events seem to take the view that everything is rosy and that it is not necessary to struggle to protect and extend gay rights. In the last decade, the national Pride event in London has become increasingly depoliticised and commercialised.

This year London hosts EuroPride and British Airways have signed up as sponsor. This union-busting company boasts that it has "gay" business worth 3 billion. Great for its bank balance, but BA won't be so fine for gay workers threatened with the sack or the loss of union rights as it moves to Heathrow terminal five.

The Socialist Party LGBT caucus is determined to put some politics back into Pride. This 1 July we aim to have our largest presence at Pride for a decade. We will be protesting against its commercialisation and calling for community and trade union campaigns for LGBT rights.

The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) will provide translations of our leaflets into European languages. We will protest against state, church and fascist attacks on Pride marches in Poland and Russia with members of the Socialist Party's sister organisations in the CWI. International solidarity, not adverts for BA and its profiteering ilk, is needed to extend LGBT rights across the globe.

Socialist Party branches should also make sure they raise this message at the local Pride marches across the country. International Socialist Resistance members will also be at EuroPride to campaign against homophobic bullying in schools.

Capitalists use reactionary ideas to divide the working class and protect their profit system. Only by getting rid of capitalism and building a socialist society can we ultimately guarantee our rights.

 

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In The Socialist 22 June 2006:


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