Archive for October, 2018

President Trump:

Yesterday, a gunman slaughtered 11 Americans during Shabbat morning services. We mourn with the victims’ families and pray for the wounded. Here in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, we express gratitude for the first responders and for the outpouring of support from our neighbors near and far. We are committed to healing as a community while we recommit ourselves to repairing our nation.
For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.

President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.

Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted. You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.

President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities.

The murderer’s last public statement invoked the compassionate work of the Jewish refugee service HIAS at the end of a week in which you spread lies and sowed fear about migrant families in Central America. He killed Jews in order to undermine the efforts of all those who find shared humanity with immigrants and refugees.

President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.

The Torah teaches that every human being is made b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God.
This means all of us.
In our neighbors, Americans, and people worldwide who have reached out to give our community strength, there we find the image of God. While we cannot speak for all Pittsburghers, or even all Jewish Pittsburghers, we know we speak for a diverse and unified group when we say:

President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.

Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh
Jamie Forrest
Joshua Friedman
Jamie Harris
Tammy Hepps
Harry Hochheiser
Sasha King
Jonathan Mayo
Elinor S. Nathanson
Avigail S. Oren
Kate Rothstein
Yael Silk

To add your name to this letter click HERE.

Bread and Puppet Theater in New York City Dec 5th to Dec 16th!
Public · Hosted by Bread and Puppet Theater and Theater for the New City

Bread and Puppet Theater returns to Theater for the New City for it’s annual December residency!

Theater for the New City
155 1st Ave, New York, New York 10003
Show Map

Tickets · On Sale November 1 at 12 PM
theaterforthenewcity.net

Dec 5th- Dec 9th: The Or Else Opera – Eisler/Brecht

A paper maché puppet opera, punctuated by melting ice drops under a starry sky made of garlic. The composer Hanns Eisler, a major Brecht collaborator, fled the Nazis, joined the Berliner Ensemble and now enters the 21st century’s humanity, it’s giant fears and overcrowded spirit, at the moment of re-occurring fascism. In musical collaboration with The Pi Ensemble.

Dec 13th- Dec 16th: The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus

The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus is a large-scale puppet spectacle that explains and teaches riot and rebellion against intolerable situations with the help of state of the art paper-maché weaponry and the appropriate riotous Bread and Puppet Brass Band.

B&P director, Peter Schumann, says of The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus: “Tigers roar, apes drum their chests, horses neigh, and celestial grasshoppers teach ICE agents the basics steps of grasshopper rebellion dancing. A paradise investigation team analyses the earthling’s relationship to paradise, while major representatives of Mother Earth attend a festive Puerto Rican dance of liberation from natural and political disaster.”

*Bread and aioli to be served following all shows! & The Cheap Art Emporium will be open for your perusal.

tickets available at http://theaterforthenewcity.net

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Please contact joe.yes.yes@gmail.com for more info if you are interested in volunteering. For more information go to HERE.


For our music series this weekend let’s listen to Lucille Bogan sing, B.D Women Blues.  B.D. stands for bulldagger or bulldyke, colloquial terms of the era that meant lesbian.

New Haven Rally & Speakout: Trans People #WontBeErased!
Public · Hosted by Party for Socialism and Liberation – CT and Party for Socialism and Liberation – PSL

Saturday October 27, 2018

1:00pm-2:30pm

WHEN: Saturday, October 27 @ 1pm
WHERE: downtown New Haven courthouse – 121 Elm St

WHAT: Join us for an emergency demonstration to show that New Haven says NO to the Trump administration’s efforts to legislate trans people out of existence!

A couple days ago, the New York Times exposed a plan by the Department of Health and Human Services to redefine gender as it pertains to Title IX protections in an unscientific and deeply transphobic manner. This threatens the safety of trans and intersex people, especially youth and students, and could strip our community both of protections from discrimination and of access to correct documentation.

Actions are taking place across the country – let’s show that Connecticut will not stay silent and will fight for trans rights!

Currently co-sponsored by:
ANSWER CT
Party for Socialism and Liberation – CT
New Haven Pride Center
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
Trans At Yale
Connecticut Bail Fund
Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF)
Trans Lifeline
Yale Young Democratic Socialists
CT Green Party
True Colors
Socialist Action CT

CO-SPONSORS WANTED! If your organization wants to cosponsor this event, please email ct@pslweb.org!


“We oppose all forms of bigotry and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender.”

The October Revolution, also called Bolshevik Revolution, (Oct. 24–25 [Nov. 6–7, New Style], 1917), the second and last major phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917, in which the Bolshevik Party seized power in Russia, led by Bolshevik Party leader Vladimir Lenin in a nearly bloodless coup d’état against the Duma’s provisional government.

We find this in our timeline, Challenging and Changing America: The Struggle For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Civil Rights, 1900-1999.

1917: The Bolshevik revolution sweeps away centuries-old standards of sexual conduct. Two months after coming to power the Bolsheviks struck down all laws governing sexual conduct. This early Soviet policy stated, “Absolute non-inference into sexual matters.” Revolutionary delegates play a leading role in the World Congress of Sexual Reform, an organization committed to Gay rights organized by Magnus Hirschfield.

Leslie Feinberg in “People of the Moonlight” in the dawn of revolution, Workers World August 5, 2004 has these opening lines:

“The Bolshevik Party did not merely scrap anti-homosexual tsarist laws. Sexologist Wilhelm Reich, in “The Sexual Revolution,” described the intent of the Bolsheviks’ political position. They felt it was necessary to tear down the walls that divided homosexuals–also known in Russia as “people of the moonlight”–from the rest of society.

The revolutionaries tried to examine sexuality and gender as they did all social and economic relations–through a scientific lens. Reich explained that the Bolsheviks believed same-sex love harmed no one and that it was wrong to punish anyone because of their sexuality.

And as Lenin and his party won over segments of the middle classes to the goals of the socialist revolution, the young workers’ state drew strong support from prominent homosexuals. Russian literary historian Simon Karlinsky, no friend to socialist revolution, admits that, “With remarkable unanimity, all male gay and bisexual writers welcomed the October takeover.” That included Mikhail Kuzmin, author of “Wings,” and Nikolai Kliusev, considered the unofficial poet laureate of the Russian peasantry.”

Feinberg has an excellent series Lavender and Red found on Line Here.

The rainbows and Lenin is a posting by the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

 

The Campaign for a People’s Attorney General

Goselin4AG·

My name is Peter Goselin. I’m a labor and employment lawyer representing working people all over Connecticut. I accepted the Green Party of Connecticut’s nomination to run for Attorney General with the goal of reflecting in our campaign the concerns, demands, and visions of the peoples’ movements for social justice. From police violence against people of color, to workers’ right to dignity on the job, to protecting immigrants and other vulnerable members of our communities, to opposing the ultra-right, my Platform for a People’s Attorney General will raise critical issues and ideas that are being ignored by the two corporate-owned political parties.

The Connecticut Attorney General has general supervision over all legal matters in which the state is an interested party. Past office-holders have treated the job as a combination of in-house counsel defending state agencies and a consumer advocate. I believe the state of Connecticut is an interested party wherever and whenever the people of the state are being denied their fundamental rights. I would use the resources of the Attorney General’s office to assert, protect, and extend those rights – including against unscrupulous employers; against hate groups that interfere with the rights of people of color, immigrants, women, and LGBTQ people; and against cities and towns that deny equal treatment to their residents.

The system we live in shuts down schools while it builds jails; it denies us health care while it poisons our planet; it gives human jobs to robots while it treats human beings like cogs in a machine; it gives tanks to police departments and assault rifles to schoolkids while maintaining its own global nuclear-fueled empire. Capitalism has become nothing more than an organized network of vampires systematically sucking the life blood out of working people and poor people. It is a danger to us as individuals, as families, as communities, and as inhabitants of Planet Earth.
If capitalism is the disease, the only cure is socialism. Those of us who identify ourselves as socialists may mean a range of different things by that term, but in 2018 it’s clear that our children will have no future worthy of the name if it is not rooted in working class control over the commanding heights of the economy, and planning that is hardwired with the values of social equality, human rights, and the protection of the planet.

Our campaign needs to be more than just a protest vote in the November elections. Yes, I want to offer to Connecticut voters the chance to express their opposition to a politics-as-usual that is funded by big money and driven by careerism and opportunism. Yes, I want to make the Democrats and Republicans to address the issues that they would prefer to ignore. But I also want to help lay the groundwork for a new kind of politics in Connecticut. Mainstream politics in the United States today is a two-party road to nowhere. We desperately need a new, people-affirming, life-affirming politics. A politics that raises up people, defends human dignity, promotes peace, and protects our planet. Our campaign, along with those of other Green Party candidates and other candidates on the Left, needs to be a part of building that new politics.

Note from Peter.

Last night I finally got to debate one of my opponents in the Attorney General’s race – Democrat William Tong (Susan Hatfield, the Republican, refused). It was a great experience and showed, I think, that the Green Party can be a force to reckon with.
But it’s now less than three weeks to election day and I need your help. The advertising budgets for both of my opponents run to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mine is nearly non-existent by comparison.
I will be campaigning right up to election day, but right now racking up votes on November 6 may depend on you even more than me. So let me ask you to do these things, starting immediately:
Make sure you’re registered to vote and you know where your polling place is.
Most Connecticut voters STILL dont know who I am or what I stand for. Talk to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and classmates about the campaign.
Make sure THEY are registered to vote and know where their polling place is.
We still have campaign literature, especially 4×6 cards. If you know a place where you can get them out, let me know and we will get them to you.
We have had to depend heavily on social media to promote this campaign. Please keep sharing and posting, including on the pages of local community groups and on the Facebook pages of media outlets. The more buzz we create, the more the media will cover the campaign.
Thanks all of you for the support you have offered so far. It has meant a lot to me. Please keep up the great work!
– Peter

Let’s take a listen to this amazing song even though we have heard it many times. Yes to a new creation.

NOTE: Some language terms in this article are terms that were used in 1975-1976 which have been replaced in Queerdom since then. Bear with these terms and be glad we are not still living back then.

Ivan Valentin and The Connection to Connecticut. A Fight Back!

” Our strength lies not in our ability to assimilate, hide and become absorbed, but in our ability despite our great diversity to stick together and to continue to fight for rights of all men and women to be different and diverse and live their lives in freedom according to their own life choices.”  Ivan Valentin


Gay Pride March, NYC. Left to Right: Ivan Valentin, unidentified, Sylvia Rivera, Jim Fouratt, Marsha P. Johnson (photo Joe Caputo)

Ivan Valentin was quoted as saying, “A drag or transvestite is somebody who always dresses as a woman. A female impersonator is someone who claims to actually be a woman. I’m just a man who likes to dress up.” He was a good friend of Sylvia Rivera and helped to fight back during the Stonewall Rebellion where he was hit in the knee by a policeman’s Billy Club and had ten stiches to close the wound. Speaking about that time he remarked, “We had it. We weren’t going to be beaten or jailed. Those with the good jobs ran out of the bar and fled but those of us who remained fought back. ( 1 ) By 1975 Ivan was headlining Leading Ladies of New York, and appeared in Connecticut at the University of Connecticut, in West Hartford at Finocchios East and after fighting against the liquor laws in Ct. and wining in other places around the state.

We are sure very few knew that what happened on December 10, 1975 would be a blow against oppression, a fight for freedom and a big thumbs up for Queer Culture. That night in December along came Lilly Law and her boys and Ivan showed us the way to fight back. A great lesson learned from Stonewall, When you’re under attack, Stonewall means fight back.! More times than not many of our people fall through the cracks of even our ownstories, let alone the mainstreams story books. More times than not these hard fighting folks are people of color. Such is the case of Ivan Valentin in our own Ct LGBT+ stories.

Well that is what Ivan did.

What was the fight about?

“No on-premises consumption place of business such as a restaurant, tavern, hotel, café, or club ,shall permit entertainment consisting of impersonations either of females by males or of males by females, nor shall any permittee of any such establishment advertise, give, permit or participate in any obscene, indecent, immoral, or impure show or entertainment.” ( 2 )

STOP THE SHOW!!

For a brief time from November 1975 to June 1976, the nightspot Finnocchio’s East was an attraction for the gay community. Its New Year’s celebration was called the “First New Year’s Gayla Party” and featured the Arthur Blake Review. According to ads in the Hartford Courant, the Review was so popular that it was held over for four days. An attempt by entertainer Ivan Valentin to perform Leading Ladies of New York with his troop of female impersonators was shut down by the Connecticut State Liquor Commissioner in the winter 1975. Connecticut state law prohibited entertainment at a liquor establishment where men dressed as women or women dressed as men. Valentin said the show was shut down mainly because “it attracted a largely homosexual crowd.” Others argued that the show was seductive and dealt in sexual content. According to Ivan in interviews the show was not seductive and had no sexual content. In a Hartford Courant article written just 4 days after the closing of the show, William Cockerham had this to say, “According to a spokesperson from Finocchios the complaint that closed the show was made by a competitor, another café that was frequented by homosexuals.”( 3 )  Like so many other bars at that time frequented by Lesbian and Gay people a threat was made to the owner of Finocchio’s that if he allowed the show to continue the liquor license for the premises would be taken away. One way folks that those in power kept us down by threatening to close our gathering places.

Ivan a member of The Gay Liberation Front in NYC contacted the membership who came out with full support of Leading Ladies of New York and Ivan and the GLF stated they would join in any actions to be taken “vowing to fight it all the way.” Leading Ladies of New York had performed for years in New York and Massachusetts without any problems. The troupe did impressions of Bette Midler, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Ross and others. I am beginning to wonder if this attack on Ivan Valentin and The Leading Ladies of New York  was rooted in racism and classism owing to the fact that Ivan was a Puerto Rican performer and was very involved with radical politics in NYC.

By June of 1976 things along with the season began to heat up. Ads began appearing that the Chateau de Ville a dinner theater in East Windsor had scheduled a three week show staring the Female impersonator group French Dressing beginning on August 3. When news got around about the show Ivan stated, “That show will open over my dead body, unless my show is allowed to go on.” He then went on to threaten to picket the Chateau de Ville if he had to and filed a formal complaint. Richard Aubuchon, Chateau de Ville manger said, “I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. We are talking about two totally different acts. The show at Finnocchio’s was seductive and dealt in a sexual content.” He said people have told him that Valentin’s show is “strictly a drag show and not very professional.” Where as French Dressing does an impersonation of Miss Judy Garland so well, “That I have actually seen people in the audience weeping because it was so real.” Aubuchon went on to say that French Dressing has performed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and has been heralded through-out Europe “as a tremendous entertainment.” ( 3 )

In the Hartford Courant article, “Female Impersonators Would Stop Rival Show,” Henry Donovan, chief inspector for the State Liquor Commission, was quoted as say, “the East Windsor dinner theater would be in violation of the law if the show, French Dressing goes on. The regulation has been on the books for years,” Donovan said. When asked if he would close the show, Donovan said, “probably not, unless there was a complaint.” (3)

Ivan Valentin disputed this by saying, “We have no nudity and we don’t used dirty words. We’re not in drag or impersonating women. We’re entertainers. When we’re off the stage, we take off the makeup, and dress in boy’s clothes.” Tom Condon writing for the Hartford Courant, began his review of ‘French Dressing’ this way, “Feminine beauty whether real or contrived is particularly skin deep on the stage. There has to be more and this is the problem with the female impersonator show, ‘French Dressing’ at the Chateau De Ville in East Windsor.” But then went on to praise some of the performers claiming that some “are seasoned night club entertainers,” another “absolutely amazing” and “two come very close to the truth.” But one just wishes there were more to the show.” ( 4 )

Another source for this ourstory lesson comes from Eric Gordon who at the time wrote for the Hartford Advocate.  In the Hartford Advocate story, Imitation of Images Mr. Gordon writes: “When the Chateau de Ville advertised a revue called “French Dressing” this past summer, Ivan betook himself down to th halls of the Liquor omission and raised a terrible ruckus indeed. Dutifully responding to an outraged citizen’s complain the Commission informed the dinner theatre manager Richard Aubuchon that he too, would be running afoul of the law.” Ivan brought his case to the University of Connecticut School of Law and its Legal Clinic. Louis Parley and a team of UConn lawyers were prepared to file suit in federal court against the Liquor Control Commission seeking to overturn the provision on the basis of unconstitutionality. Claiming that the law was overly broad, vague, and enforced in a unequal and discriminatory fashion. According to Mr. Gordon, “Ivan and the group French Dressing where prohibited while giving the go ahead to Flip Wilson and his character “Geraldine.” ( 5 )

At this time Ivan and the Leading Ladies of New York were performing at the bar in Springfield and a group of UConn Lawyers, students and other interested persons went  to the bar to see the show to, in Mr. Gordon’s words, “make sure they are taking on a worthy case.” They found the show to be harmless and points out that Ivan may be doing something very healthy. He confronts his audience head-on with their uptightness. He demands to know what is your problem with me?” ( 5 )

Ivan at the time of the fight back.

THE SHOW WILL GO ON!! (more…)