The Marxist Student Federation will be at the Pride parade on Saturday 7 July in London. If you’d like to join us see here for the Facebook event, or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The big names at Pride this year feature Barclays, Tesco, Delta, AA and NBC. Ironic – distasteful – tragic. Every year we see an increase in commercialisation of Pride. Having promoted LGBT+ oppression for centuries, the Establishment now wants to make profit out of the LGBT+ “franchise”. What was once an anti-Establishment, progressive march is now a showcase for corporations that want to give themselves and their products a good image.
The fact that Barclays, Smirnoff & co. wear a rainbow flag for a month changes nothing for the working class majority of the LGBT+ community. For these companies, Pride represents a golden opportunity for brand promotion and “pinkwashing”. For us however, things remain the same: exploitation, unemployment, low wages.
The famous 1980s “Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners” group therefore had the right idea in linking up the political struggle of the workers to the struggle of the LGBT+ community. In the era of Thatcherite attacks on LGBT+ rights, it was solidarity and united, political struggle that actively fought prejudices and discrimination, whilst finally putting LGBT+ rights on the political program of the British working class, within the Labour Party constitution.
Today, Theresa May, a politician who repeatedly opposed the abolition of “Section 28” which infamously prohibited “the promotion of homosexuality”, shares power with the rabid homophobes of the DUP whilst she and her party claim to be friends of the LGBT+ community. This government, which rest on homophobia, racism and xenophobia in order to carry out vicious attacks on the working class must be opposed on every front, and Pride should be part of this fight for justice and equality!
Nor can we look only at the struggle in Britain. In countries where those conditions are made worse by these imperialist gangsters, the big monopolies like Unilever and Amazon, we see the direct effect on LGBT+ oppression. About 200 suffer violent deaths in Honduras every year on grounds of sexuality; and that is one island in a sea of such Latin American, African and Asian countries. The poverty inside the worker’s family causes violence and authoritarianism which are a threat to youth discovering their orientation.
As soon as a profit is to be made, the corporations will be the first to turn a blind eye to oppression. We see this with Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, those great promoters of inclusionary policies for LGBT+ employees who invest in Saudi Arabia and support its régime. Given their silence on the issue, maybe they have forgotten that the Saudi Monarchy tortured two transexual individuals to death last year and places a death sentence on homosexuals.
The 1969 Stonewall riots erupted as a violent break in LGBT+ activism, when years of oppression could not be taken anymore and thousands took to the streets to shake the Establishment in New York. By 1970 the first Pride marches – marches, not “parades” – rose up all over the world, opening up the struggle to millions and kickstarting the gay liberation movement.
We too can expand this fight in a revolutionary way.
Let’s therefore restore the pride of this march. We must attack oppression at its roots and overthrow the entire capitalist system.
WORKERS OF ALL SEXUALITIES, UNITE!