Archive for the ‘In Remembrance’ Category

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Charleena Lyles was murdered by Seattle PD on the morning of Sunday, June 18, 2017 after calling them for help, after her home was broken into. She was a mother of 4 – ages ranging from 12 –
1yrs old. Her children were in the home with her when this assault happened. We also know that she was 3 months pregnant. Her family has shared that she suffered from mental illness as well. The assault on Black lives – including Black women – is a continued declaration of state-sanctioned violence against our existence. Again, and again, and again the system refuses to allow us to be human, to be safe, to thrive, to flourish.

We haven’t even processed the fact that #PhilandoCastile will not be getting justice, yet we mourn another life lost at the hands of systemic racism and racist police terror. We will be uplifting Philando’s life and tell the facts of his case at an upcoming People’s Monday.

Facebook page HERE.

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AND THEN FIGHT BACK!!

June-July 2017 – Volume 38, No. 3

Tribute to gay rights pioneer Tamara Turner

Historian, wit, and flagrant socialist feminist, 1940–2017

Megan Cornish
June 2017

A foremother of the LGBTQ movement, Tamara Turner graduated from the anti-gay 1950s school of hard knocks. She played a crucial role in shaping the Freedom Socialist Party’s (FSP) groundbreaking program for queer liberation. She was a historian of the gay movement, an ardent bibliophile, and a brilliant satirist who filled her 77 years with commitment, generosity, and humor. Turner died March 22 in Seattle after a long battle with leukemia.

Playwright and director Drew Emery says of her, “She had a quick wit, an undying passion for social and economic justice, and she was flat-out one of the best storytellers I ever knew. I learned a lot from her and have long considered her one of my heroes.”

Merging gay liberation with Marxist feminism. Tamara was the first open lesbian to join Radical Women, FSP’s sister organization, in 1972. Her loyalty was won after extensive discussions of lesbian oppression led her to the conclusion that Radical Women (RW) was serious about gay liberation.

Tamara shared her knowledge of history with the organization, from the influence of early lesbian and gay writers to the origins of the homosexual movement. She particularly brought to life the period of the anti-communist McCarthy witch hunt. She explained how the taint of being queer was used to get rid of radicals, and vice versa. She told her own story of being forced into counseling at the University of Washington for her supposed “mental illness” of lesbianism and of freeing herself from this requirement by declaring herself “cured.”

Raised on her mother’s single income, Turner had a deep knowledge of the centrality of class exploitation and its interconnection with gender and sexuality oppression. So it was logical that she soon joined FSP as well. As she later became fond of saying, “Capitalism can’t have its cake without eating ours too!”

Her influence led to socialist feminist theory embracing the understanding that the oppression of sexual minorities, like sexism and racism, is rooted in the private property system, and dependent on the nuclear family. And she mentored a flood of new lesbian and gay members who joined the party and RW.

But as this multi-issue, class-based analysis gained traction in the gay community, fireworks erupted. In 1973, lesbian separatists spray-painted the RW and FSP meeting hall with slogans like “Straights out of lesbian politics.” Tamara participated in the stinging defense of the right to be radical that followed.

Organizing, writing, spinning ideas. While working for the Pierce County Library system in the mid-1970s, Turner was elected to the union’s contract bargaining team and initiated the selection of FSP founder Clara Fraser as chief negotiator. The resulting landmark contract won a substantial wage and benefit increase, plus a guarantee of constitutional rights on the job, a model grievance procedure, extended seniority rights with separate affirmative action lists, and a broad nondiscrimination clause.

Later in her professional life, she was Director of Medical Library Services at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital for 17 years.

Tamara helped produce the Freedom Socialist in its early years and wrote prolifically for the paper, including the satirical column Malice Aforethought under the byline Ms. Tami. (Her articles are available at socialism.com.) She wrote and performed in innumerable comedy sketches and roasts over the years, with her Elvis Presley impersonation a fan favorite. (more…)

Furbirdsqueerly sends out a liberation greeting to all of our readers, friend, comrade and foe. Here is one of our favorite liberation warriors who we celebrate today and everyday. How many times over the years have we said the same. No Pride for Some of US without Liberation for All of US! or as I use to say, I do not want my rights if all of my comrades can’t have theirs. (note to the mainstream)

Marsha P (Pay It No Mind) Johnson

The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson

A song tribute to one of my generations martyrs Sandy Scheuer. Walking to class on May 4, 1970 at Kent State and murdered by the Ohio National Guard along with 3 other students protesting the invasion of Cambodia.

Hey Sandy

written and sung by Harvey Andrews

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We remember our martyrs. Kent State May 4, 1970 and Jackson State May 15, 1970. May they rest in power and may we continue to build a people’s movement against all injustice.