Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1122/32099

From The Socialist newspaper, 24 February 2021

LGBT+ history month

Pride flag is about unity in struggle

Leeds Pride 2011, photo Leeds Socialist Party

Leeds Pride 2011, photo Leeds Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Rachel Gambling, Essex socialist party

'Rainbow capitalism' is the term given to the corporate bandwagon-jumping of brands using the iconic gay pride symbol - the rainbow flag - to decorate their products during 'Pride season'. In 2017 Skittles chose to "give the rainbow" back to the community by selling white sweets instead of their usual multi-coloured ones.

While the notion of white Skittles might be riveting for some, this and widespread 'rainbow washing' is a hollow attempt at trying to cover up big businesses' true intentions: to sell more products during a period that is meant to commemorate the Stonewall riots and the rainbow symbol that is about the true, diverse, working-class history of LGBTQ+ struggle.

Corporations never address the real history behind Pride, but nor does the British education system. Only last year did the government decide it should be compulsory to teach LGBTQ+ inclusive Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in schools. But at the same time they banned the use of anti-capitalist materials within the curriculum.

To understand the history behind LGBTQ+ oppression, and why (in pre-Covid times) people protest, march and party in the streets of Soho and across the world, it is essential to have some understanding of the struggles that have taken place, including the 1969 Stonewall riots. It is impossible for the true lessons to be drawn from these events without looking at the links between the oppression of LGBT+ people and capitalism and class society.

There are attempts by the capitalist-owned media to re-write history and undermine our collective memory, including of Stonewall.

Commercialised

Like Pride, the Stonewall story has become commercialised and sanitised. The involvement of queer and trans people of colour, poor queers, and non-queer people of colour is often obscured.

But this was also the period of the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war protests in the US. In France, the May revolutionary strike movement had taken place the year before.

The class divisions within the LGBT+ population were highlighted to an extent by these events. Richer LGBT+ people were reported to "characterise the events at Stonewall as 'regrettable,' as the demented carryings-on of 'stoned, tacky queens' - precisely those elements in the gay world from whom they had long disassociated themselves."

Many people are unaware that the Stonewall Inn was a bar in New York owned by the mafia. Marc Stein reported: "Most of its patrons were working- and middle-class whites in their teens, twenties, and thirties, but there was a significant presence of African Americans and Latinos as well. Gay men, drag queens, street queens, transsexuals, sex workers, and others who transgressed gender and sexual norms frequented the bar, as did a small number of lesbians.

The riots were an outburst of stored-up anger. They also marked a watershed moment in the public visibility of LGBT+ repression and conflict, and a wave of organisation and political struggle followed.

The Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was quickly formed, directly challenging politicians, the police and media on LGBTphobia on a regular basis. The GLF had anti-capitalist, anti-racist and anti-establishment politics.

STAR, the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, was founded by Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson.

If the Stonewall riots are reclaimed from corporations profiting from rainbow capitalism during Pride, and instead reintroduced into collective memory as a show of unity between the working class against police brutality, there is an opportunity to use it as a chance to unite not just the queer community, but the black community, and the wider working class too.

Improving our knowledge on queer history and the organisations and individuals who contributed to these revolutionary moments can allow for greater solidarity against capitalism.


Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 24 February 2021:


Covid

Where's the road map to jobs and wages Boris?

Johnson's 'road map' for schools: Act together to protect safety

Vaccine algorithm can't solve capitalist inequality

Garment workers and Covid: Dying for less than minimum wage


What we think

Starmer's speech a return to New Labour


News

Justice for Moyied Bashir

Uber drivers win case - they are workers

Social care: End privatisation and let workers decide how it's run


Lessons from history

How militant trade unionism defeated the 1971 Industrial Relations Act


Workplace news

Usdaw elections - right makes gains but Broad Left builds

HMRC: Divisive pay deal leads to expulsions

Hinkley Point electricians fight 'deskilling'

"I'm here to fight for the future education of children in Hackney"

London bus dispute against low pay, pay cuts and longer hours

GMB members continue fight against 'fire and rehire' in British Gas

Scunthorpe steelworks scaffolders: Fifth week of action


TUSC

Liverpool Unite branch supports 'no cuts' budget strategy

Scottish TUSC election campaign launch

Keep the fighting fund rushing in for a TUSC stand in May


Campaigns news

W. Sussex children's centres on the chopping block

Coventry success building subscriptions

Socialist Students conference - postering

Save John Carroll Leisure Centre

Getting the Socialist out in lockdown


LGBT+ history month

Pride flag is about unity in struggle

Tories tout toilet tensions


International news

Nigeria: Abbey Trotsky on trial for assisting workers' struggle

Facebook v Australian government: nationalise the bosses' media!


Readers' opinion

Film Review: The White Tiger

Tories admit guilt for asylum seeker neglect

Tories target universities in free speech shakedown

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 24 February 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

LGBT:

triangleTories tout toilet tensions

triangleSocialist Party LGBT+ members' meeting: Perspectives and tasks

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTV Review: It's a Sin

Pride:

trianglePriced out of Pride

triangleStonewall riots' legacy shows need for socialist struggle to win LGBT+ liberation

triangleBirmingham Pride - revitalising political struggle

triangleDiscussion and debate at Leeds Trans Pride

Gay:

triangle30 years on from Section 28: the legacy of fighting LGBT+ attacks must continue

triangleSupport for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

triangleLessons from the Russian revolution for LGBT+ struggle today

Capitalism:

triangleYouth under attack

triangle1920s-30s Britain: A working-class movement fighting unemployment and capitalism

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

14/4/21

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

7/4/21

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

31/3/21

Labour Party

Warning: Labour Party cutters - careful who you phone!

31/3/21

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

31/3/21

Women

Women, violence and defiance

31/3/21

Council

Socialist Liverpool City Council inspired me

24/3/21

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

24/3/21

Film

Film Review: Moxie

17/3/21

Film

Judas and the Black Messiah - taste of Fred Hampton's politics, with lessons for fighting oppression today

10/3/21

Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party - to fight for the future of the working class

10/3/21

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

24/2/21

Review

Film Review: The White Tiger

24/2/21

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

24/2/21

LGBT

Tories tout toilet tensions

24/2/21

LGBT

Pride flag is about unity in struggle

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999