Archive for the ‘resistance’ Category

Uniting together for a common goal. A union of folks on a mission to topple that which opposed our very lives.

One lesson that many of us learned back in the day of our youthful rebellion was the idea if we supported others and their fight for liberation that they in turn would support us and the more support that we had and they had the better off we would all be. Maybe, just maybe we would fight together and we would win. A union of different folks together in a common goal, united to fight for a common purpose our liberation against the state. To topple and transform the institutions what a wonderful idea!

In the early days of the L and G movement that idea was lost when a wrong road was taken by members of the Gay Liberation Front who walked out of a meeting at a very crucial time. This time as many of us know who studied or lived our history was the meeting to vote on support for the Black Panther Party. Those who walked out of the multi-issue GLF founded that December the Gay Activist Alliance. Now the GAA was a lot like some of the conservative groups that Harry Hay warned us about, those who only wanted to work on their issues, that is what has been described as the white comfortable gay male issues and fuck everyone else and their issues. We going to get ours and the heck with you. Wrong road boys and girls wrong road.

One thing we learned in union organizing is that we must stick together, and as the old song goes, “What force on earth is weaker than the feeble force of one?” Solidarity across all lines that is how a revolution is made and is won. But the boys and girls back then didn’t see that as the boys and girls operating from their elite non-profit mainstream LGBT organizations don’t see it now. Their little lobbying groups who will only go so far so not to upset the man and his yardstick. The straight man that is. You know that old saying, “we are not different from you, except for what we do in bed.” You have heard about it, we all must look a certain way, to fit in. Men in suits, women in dresses. No butches, fems, no drag queens, no far out types. Look normal! Ding dong hear the wedding bells, go drop some bombs on the little brown girl at her sewing machine. Conform! Fit in! Oh what we do for the love of mommy and daddy! One has to wonder did anyone of these folks even stop to question the very system that they clamored to be a part of? Did they even understand that perhaps not all inclusion was good inclusion? That what they had fled from was no place to return to?

Yes the movement took a wrong road back then, the GAA didn’t see that our liberation was tied into the liberation of the Panthers, the Young Lords, the grape pickers, women, those who fought for civil rights of Black amerikkka and anyone who was or is the outcast. They didn’t see that everyone who called out against the oppressor was leading us towards freedom. A new freedom. No they only could see to the end of their own nose. Their desires and wants should be everybody’s wants and desires.  But that is where everyone was and wanted to be. By 1970 the multi-issue Gay Liberation Front had all but disappeared from the New York political scene and with it the idea that none of us are free unless all of us are. I remember it well and I remember how hard it was to share a revolutionary vision with those not willing to share with all others. I found that I had more in common with those on the left than my own people. This article is just another attempt to free us from the BS of the “We must fit in movement.” We can only say that those who want the man so bad, those who want the ruler, the measuring stick of the straight world, then how can you be our friends and comrades. How can you believe in a one issue movement and fight in a one issue struggle when we know damn well the old slogan, “We are here, there and everywhere,” is the truth?

We are going in this essay to hear about some folks who rejected that type of organizing. Those who can today be called our true revolutionaries who looked beyond their self and fought back.

This work, a collage is gleaned from many sources in the service of the people.

We decided to start each of these articles with The International. Here is the updated version as written and sung by Billy Bragg after a challenge from Pete Seeger.

The Patterson Silk Strike

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Years ago the Imperialist Uncle Scam, the U.S led by George Bush invaded Iraq and destroyed a civilization based on a pack of lies. A group of us Queers were at a antiwar demonstration, passing out leaflets denouncing the war, waving the rainbow flag and chanting along with the best of them. This was nothing new for some of us since we had been demonstrating against war since the invasion of Vietnam by the U.S. A leftist who for the life of me I can’t remember her name came up to us and said, “I thought you gays were only interested in marriage.” This was said to us almost as a put down by one of the organizers of the rally where speaker after speaker never once mentioned the LGBTQ community. A couple of times of course in the apporiate place I had to yell out, something like, “that affects the Queer Community also,” or “you’re forgetting the LGBT community”, or “Queers too!” I think many in the audience listening to the speakers were a bit taken back as you know that those who are chosen to speak, know their subject that is why they are standing up there, telling all of us what is and what isn’t. ( a topic for a whole other article) “Leaders”, as May Riley says, “Oh what do we do with those who call themselves Leader?”) Whenever Queers Without Borders held an event, Frank would bring along his speaker system, Timmy or Richard would decorate their pull along shopping cart, and a open speak out would be held. We wanted to hear what everyone had to say, not just the chosen few. You know that one idea pushes another idea? Well a lot of ideas push a lot of ideas and we always thought we ended up in a much better place.

Below is one of the antiwar leaflets that Queers Without Borders passed out a demo’s in Hartford.

I got to thinking about this again over the past few months when Jerimarie Liesegang, the mother of the Ct. Transgender movement, and I have been doing a lot of research on the LGBTQI+ communities using a timeline that I did for the exhibition Challenging and Changing America The Struggle for LGBT Civil Rights 1900-1999 among other items of research. We now are on the 3rd video in our collaboration a look at the LGBT movement, The Radicals vrs. the Reformists. (soon to be released) I got to thinking again about unions, the work place, and the struggle for basic civil rights. I got to thinking again that most of us, yes I would say a good percentage of us are working class queers and what did the struggle for human rights in the workplace mean for us, how do we approach unions and how do unions approach the LGBTQI+ communties. I remembered a few sections of the timeline that I wanted to explore more fully so began this posting for Furbirdsqueerly.

This work is gleaned from many sources and put together as a collage in the service of the people.

The cause of labor should be the cause of every LGBT person. Our shared struggle is one of the most critical movements in America today. In this the age of trump and the rise of the right-wing gun toting fascists’, the right to work, get paid a living wage, and share in the fruits of your labor is being eroded week by week. Collective bargaining is one of the only tools in our tool belt that allows us to push back against this tide of income inequality and demand our fair share of the economic pie. Not crumbs mind you, never crumbs shaken from the rich man’s table, and even not a piece of the pie, but honest pay and then some. I think of the line from Solidarity Forever, Without Us Not A Single Wheel Would Turn. Pay that every worker can live on. Honest pay that is ours not the bosses, not the owners, and not the wealthy. Not $15 per hour as some unions say, (in Part 2 we will tell you why and do the math.) Nope we are not bowing and scraping and enjoying those table cloth crumbs. We do not live for pie in the sky.  But in this struggle we must be aware from union-busting corporations, to state legislative all out efforts to dismantle workers’ rights, America’s unions have never faced attacks from so many angles at once. As we know and Jerimarie and I have proven in our research, far too often, the LGBT community of today turns a blind eye to these struggles. The elite leadership of the LGBT movement is drunk with their own wins of marriage and “gays” in the military, yeah folks go kill brown people all over the world in the name of equality, and their one issue agenda of and for the elite among our community. (more on that later) But first we demand unity with the workers of the world and the workers of the world demand the same from us.

WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS!     (1)

Let us start this essay using a few dates and information from the original timeline of 1999 and other postings from this site. Here are some of the LGBT people who were activists in support of workers and show that the LGBTQ common struggle is with the labor movement.

From Challenging and Changing America: The Struggle for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Civil Rights 1900-1999.

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman a Russian born Feminist, and Anarchist, though not a Lesbian or Bisexual according to most historians was a strong supporter of our people. When asked in 1900 when living in the U.S how could she dare to come out in support of Oscar Wilde she replied, “Nonsense no daring is needed to protest great injustice.”  ( 2 ) Goldman spoke out in support of freedom of expression, women’s equality, birth control, sexual freedom, workers rights and was a champion of the rights of homosexuals’ and those who were bisexual or transgender. (more…)

Here are three video’s on the LGBTQI+ struggle. Videos by Jerimarie Liesegang and Richard Nelson.

Sylvia Rivera, She was more than Stonewall.

 

 

Queers Without Borders Presents;  Ct. LGBT History 1960-2000

 

 

Ct. Transgender Movement.

 

 

Enjoy these three videos A collage in the service of the people.

We love a little song every once in awhile. Here is a great take off of The Preacher and the Slave. Adhamh Roland is one of our favorite writers and singers. This updated version of the old Wobblie song shows us once again of what it is we fight for and of course against. It is wonderful to share a time on the planet with such folks as Adhamh who says it like it should and must be said..

 

 

Sat. Jan. 25 Global Day of Protest – The People of the World Say: No War With Iran!

On January 25 the people of the world will stand up to oppose yet another catastrophic war in the Middle East! Now is the time to take action. Join us!

Register a protest organized in your city here!

Initiators for this call include the ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK, Popular Resistance, Black Alliance for Peace, National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), Veterans For Peace, US Labor Against the War (USLAW), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), United National Anti-War Committee, Pastors for Peace/Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, International Action Center, United For Peace and Justice, Alliance For Global Justice (AFGJ), December 12th Movement, World Beyond War, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, About Face: Veterans Against The War, Dominican Sisters/ICAN, Nonviolence International, Food Not Bombs and many other anti-war and peace organizations. To add your name as an endorser click here.
Join a protest organized in your city:

To find an action near you go to HERE. 

This wonderful article about a great poet came from Freedom Socialist.

Roque Dalton
The life and tragic death of a Salvadoran revolutionary poet
Sukey Wolf
October 2019

Roque Dalton

Salvadoran radical Roque Dalton has quickly become my favorite poet of the 20th century. By turns, his writing is lyrical, pragmatic, intimate, angry and self-deprecating. He was known by his friends as a man who laughed a lot — at the absurdity of life under a dictatorship, at the vagaries of the human condition, and at himself.
Born in 1935, Dalton was the illegitimate son of a U.S. coffee plantation owner and a Mexican single mother. He was educated by the Jesuits, courtesy of his father. He blamed their hypocrisy and support for the status quo for his break with Catholicism. One of his first political acts was a high school valedictory speech blasting his teachers for their tacit support of the school caste system by which poor children were demeaned.

Among his first poems is one about his experience in kindergarten as a child from a lower-class family. Dalton describes it as
…where I took
my first steps in society
smelling faintly of horse shit
“Peasant!” Roberto called me
… and he gave me a hard shove …

This experience came to define Dalton. The rest of his life was devoted to the exploited, harassed and abused.
Fifty years of dictatorship. The world-wide depression of the 1930s led to the collapse of the Central American coffee market, causing great suffering. At the time, the Communist Party (CP) of El Salvador was organizing among workers, teaching them about the gains of the Russian Revolution and the right to strike. The party called for a mass demonstration on January 22, 1932 to demand better pay and working conditions. When indigenous peasants staged an insurrection in western El Salvador on the same day, both uprisings were attributed to the CP. Mass arrests as well as a ruthless military genocide against communists and the indigenous population followed. In short order, four percent of the population was wiped out by state violence. Afterwards, military juntas ruled until 1992.

This was the world Dalton was born into and fought until his death in 1975.
The early years. While at university, Dalton formed a group with other writers known as the Generación Comprometida or Committed Generation.
Their philosophy was that to be an artist one must be a practicing revolutionary, actively intervening in the class struggle instead of just observing it.

In 1960, Dalton joined the Communist Party and was arrested within a few months. He was sentenced to die, but ironically a military coup, which freed many prisoners, saved his life. After this, Dalton went into exile, first in Mexico and later in Cuba and Prague.
The poet finds his voice. Dalton produced fourteen books of mostly poetry in his life. The poems with explicitly political content are alive in a way that much poetry like this is not. A perfect example is his poem “On Headaches” in which he proclaims:

It is beautiful to be a communist
although it causes many a headache.

Later he concludes, “Communism will be, among other things/an aspirin the size of the sun.” Rather than theorizing, Dalton is giving us his lived experience wrapped up in the fanciful image of a giant pain pill and the ideas come alive.

In a poem about Karl Marx by the same title, the poet says:
… from the fever, like a small world
of light in the endless nights
you have corrected God’s lame work
you, so guilty of giving us hope.

Again, instead of offering the reader propaganda or polemics, Dalton goes right for the gut in deceptively simple language. This simplicity extends to another poem that is all in the title — “Advice Which is Now Not Necessary Anywhere in the World Except El Salvador” — in which he counsels:
Don’t ever forget
that the least fascist
among the fascists
are also
fascists.
The ideas are complex, but he breaks them down to elemental clarity.

Not all Dalton’s poems are about the class struggle. He has some beautiful love poems of which my favorite is “Nakedness.” In it he writes:

When you undress for me with your eyes closed
you fit in a cup next to my tongue
you fit between my hands like my daily bread
you fit beneath my body more neatly than its shadow…

A death too soon. In 1973, Dalton returned to El Salvador from exile in Cuba. By then well-known, he was determined to join the guerrilla movement against the military dictatorship and underwent plastic surgery to avoid being recognized. He joined the People’s Revolutionary Army, known by its Spanish acronym ERP. This group later joined the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), a military front of guerrilla organizations.

A strong proponent of armed struggle, Dalton nonetheless developed differences with the ERP leadership over forging links with mass organizations. Joaquin Villalobos and other leaders of the ERP advocated a coup-d’état strategy instead. They accused Dalton of being an agent of the CIA and Cuba, and Villalobos himself executed Dalton four days before his 40th birthday. After the civil war, Villalobos went on to become a right-wing radio commentator in England.
Sadly, this poetic genius was taken from us too soon. Fortunately, he left us his poems to read and enjoy, to inspire and inform us.

This article and other information about Freedom Socialist can be found on line at: https://socialism.com/fs-article/the-life-and-tragic-death-of-a-salvadoran-revolutionary-poet/?fbclid=IwAR0bIIdTFJXtPFWUom9MIZof6S2h5GHayW7xbEDA2SNL5Fql4WlP1Zs0iB0

It’s Been Twenty Years and We Are Still Remembering!
By Jerimarie Liesegang

In 1999, Gwendolyn Ann Smith started the Transgender Day of Remembrance to memorialize the murder of (transgender woman) Rita Hester (a East Hartford Native) in Allston, Massachusetts. The TDOR has slowly evolved from the Remembering Our Dead Names list started by Smith into a national and then an international Remembrance and day of action.
In 2002, Ct TransAdvocacy (It’s Time, Connecticut) held Connecticut’s first Transgender DOR (Click here to view the 2002 event on CtTransArchives). In that year we remembered 15 US transwomen brutally murdered, many of them trans women of color. Including the brutal murder of Gwen Araujo, a 17 year old who had been living in their preferred gender role for approximately a year and a half. During a house party, she was revealed to have been more a male. After this revelation, at least three individuals allegedly beat her, dragged her into a garage, and strangled her, before disposing of her body in a remote location 150 miles away.

Yesterday the NYTimes ran an article with the title:

18 TRANSGENDER KILLINGS THIS YEAR RAISE FEARS OF AN ‘EPIDEMIC’
The killings, many of them against transgender women of color, have deeply disturbed groups already familiar with threats to their safety.
According to this article, the AMA is declaring the alarming rate of Trans Murders an epidemic. In the United States this year, at least 18 transgender people — most of them transgender women of color — have been killed in a wave of violence that the American Medical Association has declared an “epidemic.” The killings, which have been reported across the country, have for some prompted a heightened sense of vigilance.

And of course we must note that statistics do not capture the full list of Trans murders since many go unreported, dismissed as a murder of a sex worker, not to mention the many hate crimes other than the ultimate crime of murder. A well known example is the highly probable murder of Marsha P. Johnson. (per wiki: Shortly after the 1992 pride parade, Johnson’s body was discovered floating in the Hudson River. Police initially ruled the death a suicide, but Johnson’s friends and other members of the local community insisted Johnson was not suicidal and noted that the back of Johnson’s head had a massive wound.)

I had never thought that on that day of November 20th, 2002, that we would be remembering AT LEAST 18 brutal US Murders in 2019 ~ Twenty Years after the first Official Remembering Our Trans Dead!!!! We need to continue to remember each year, if not each day, and say Presente! for each of our trans comrades who have been brutally murdered simply for being who they are. BUT we must do more than just remember, since for far too many years, even preceding 1999, we continue to loose our families due to Hate and insensitivity to sex/gender fluidity. I recall that after Gwen’s murder, we had discussions that the community needs to work with our youth to empower them to learn how to be Out and assure they maintain safe surroundings, especially when having sex. Though we know the issue is much deeper and more complex than that simple view. I do view this in two lenses: (more…)