gays in Russia

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Fred
gays in Russia
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Other comrades with access to newspapers and the like will probably know more about this than I do.  But this morning, by chance, I happened to catch the end of a film clip on CNN about the awful life of gays in Russia, and their appalling persecution.  A couple with partially shaved heads, shaved in a manner to cause cruel ridicule and embarrassment, not just for them but for anyone still human enough to understand what they were seeing,  were shown being forced to dance together for the cameras and to the amusement of their mocking torturers.  The scene was immediately reminiscent of other such films  one has seen of the Jews  being mocked and persecuted in  Nazi  Germany, in the early thirties before the  Holocaust  really got going.  People forced to climb trees and imitate bird calls for the amusement of mainly non-Jewish observers, for example, was merely the prelude to more atrocious and grossly inhuman things to come.  Later on, as things got going, Gays were torn apart by starving dogs in Nazi prison camps to the supposed amusement of guards and horror of other "perverts," gypsies and the like, forced to watch the entertainment.  This was not on the scale of the later attempts by the Nazis at Jewish  annihilation of course, only an indicator of what the future held. 

 

So what is the future for people in a Russian regime apparently just longing to follow the Nazi example? Gays go first: but who goes next?  Non- whites; political dissenters; communist minorities; or even the Jewish people again?  That this is starting to happen in a country which parented the first try at a proletarian revolution,  with its promise of a release for the whole of humanity from the filthy behaviour towards  any other person deigned to be "different" and thus "undesirable" by pathologically insane bourgeois rulers with unlimited power, only makes it seem worse. But then the Nazis also fed on the carcass of the revolution did they not?  Russia is merely catching up late in the day.   

 

The bourgeoisie presents itself today in the West as the great champion of gay liberation; and bestows the privileged entry of now acceptable gays into the deadly  arms of a tolerant and forgiving capitalism, and even capitalism's churches - as long as you don't have sex!     But don't  be altogether fooled!   Gay hatred is still alive and kicking and you don't have to go to  Uganda to find it.  There's probably some in your local neighbourhood pub.  

 

The Western bourgeoisie is able now to "cash in" on its love of gays by using its new found tolerance as a means to bash Russia and raise a storm about the Winter Olympics shortly to be held there.  What'll happen to queers who make their presence felt at this auspicious event, they disingenuously enquire?  Will they be publicly humiliated; have their heads shaved into absurdity? Or will they along with many others, just fall victim to terrorist bombings, as those still longing for national liberation from the Russian bear make their nauseous bourgeois presence felt in competition with homophobists,  racists, child abusers, gangsters, oligarchs and all the other trash thrown up by decaying  capitalism world wide? 

baboon
There was a Newsnight

There was a Newsnight programme last night that looked at the question of gays in Africa and it found that Nigeria, the most populous and poorest country in Africa, had enacted anti-gay legislation that meant fourteen years in jail for same-sex relations and ten years for visiting a gay venue - one can imagine the jail-time for anyone convicted under these laws brought in by Britain's favourite, Goodluck Johnson the president. Britain's imperialist concerns take precedence here. Similarly for Tanzania, Ethopia and South Sudan, regimes all backed by British imperialism and all with similar anti-gay laws as well as viscious and humiliating "vigilante" actions. Two-thirds of African countries now have similar legislation to Nigeria, including Uganda and Zimbawbe. In the first four countries above British "aid" has increased, even doubled, and hypocritical calls from Cameron about human rights only provokes a backlash against "neo-colonialism" and makes the position of gays that much more difficult and dangerous. Despite calls from affected bodies, British "aid" continues to the regimes and their militaries, while nothing goes to any sort of local gay rights issues.

Fred
What are you saying baboon?

What are you saying baboon?  That all the anti-gay stuff in Africa is really anti-British resentment finding an eccentric mode  of expression; or that it's just a more vicious pushing forwards of the anti-homosexual agenda actually introduced and enforced by the diktats of British Imperialism?  I don't get it! 

On another note, I suddenly remembered the agonies Justin Fashanu went through in the nineties when he came out as gay, and was the first millionaire soccer player so to do, and of course was black as well.   Perhaps he thought, wrongly as it turned out, that the strength he  must have built up in facing the Western world as a black man would carry him through his emergence from the closet.  How wrong could he be?  To be a black, gay celebrity sportsman....and admit it publicly....it beggars belief!  He committed suicide eventually accused of illegal sex ie. homosexuality, in the USA with a 17 year old.  This was not a matter of sex with a minor, for the age of consent was 16, just that the type of sex involved was illegal. 

And then there's Alan Turing now celebrated as a mathematical genius, famous for decoding German messages in World War 2,  inventing the computer say some, and outrageously and chemically castrated in the 1950's by the eternally grateful British establishment for homosexual acts.   He is credited with saving many lives  in the Second World War through his deciphering of German messages.  Perhaps that was his undoing!  Surely a major aim of the war was to kill off as many folk as possible, not save them, particularly working folk? Maybe Churchill was against him?  Who knows?  But anyhow, Alan Turing has recently been "pardoned" by the Queen and has become a hero for nationalism!   But "pardoned" for what?  For being castrated?  For committing suicide?  Though some say MI 5 poisoned him for being a mad queen himself and thus a threat to the keeping of bourgeois secrets.  

 

So perhaps African States, and Russia. have learned from all of this.  Not that queers are all really lovable and home-loving creatures at heart, just longing to marry and settle down like everyone else; but that you can't trust them, they tend to blab, they're only out for revolting intimacies with others of the same sex.  Ugh! How can they do it?  It makes us straights feel sick.  Well, not all of us. But some of us. And anyway all respectable bourgeois societies need scapegoats for distractions.  Its the bread and circuses syndrome!   Its what helps make society tick. 

Fred
Somebody's stolen my post

Somebody's stolen my post again!  It began: what are you saying baboon?  

Oh! They've given it back again. Thank you. 

baboon
you don't get it?

You don't get it Fred? Can't I comment on a news report about gays? I thought that you and others might be interested in it. A more or less verbatim  report from a news programme about the suffering of homosexuals in Africa plus my observations about the hypocrisy of British imperialism - What is there not to get? I'm not getting into any phoney argument with you about gays Fred.

Fred
I'm sorry baboon.  I

I'm sorry baboon.  I shouldn't have said "I don't get it" I should have said "I don't understand" which is what I meant. I wasn't being funny or sarcastic or anything like that, and I didn't intend  any offfence. And I certainly had no wish to open up any phony arguments about gays, or even any genuine ones.  I suppose "I don't get it" has acquired some negative connotations over the years?  

 

Its just  that I'm  puzzled by the huge contradiction between the new found love for gays in the West and the outpouring of the opposite in Africa and Russia.  In your post you appeared to be offering some sort of explanation, especially with regard to to Africa, that linked a resurgence of gay victimization with former colonial policies and Imperialism. You wrote:"British Imperialist concerns take precedence here" referring to Nigeria, and I wondered what you meant.  But never mind! It isn't so important. Life goes on. And I only wrote my post about gays because its a subject that's easy for me to write about without having to read lots of references, newspapers and the like, and it gives me something to do.  Is this permissible? 

 

( I am though left feeing vaguely curious as to what "phony arguments about gays" might be exactly, but you don't need to tell me. ) 

Fred
I'm sorry baboon.  I

I'm sorry baboon.  I shouldn't have said "I don't get it" I should have said "I don't understand" which is what I meant. I wasn't being funny or sarcastic or anything like that, and I didn't intend  any offfence. And I certainly had no wish to open up any phony arguments about gays, or even any genuine ones.  I suppose "I don't get it" has acquired some negative connotations over the years?  

 

Its just  that I'm  puzzled by the huge contradiction between the new found love for gays in the West and the outpouring of the opposite in Africa and Russia.  In your post you appeared to be offering some sort of explanation, especially with regard to to Africa, that linked a resurgence of gay victimization with former colonial policies and Imperialism. You wrote:"British Imperialist concerns take precedence here" referring to Nigeria, and I wondered what you meant.  But never mind! It isn't so important. Life goes on. And I only wrote my post about gays because its a subject that's easy for me to write about without having to read lots of references, newspapers and the like, and it gives me something to do.  Is this permissible? 

 

( I am though left feeing vaguely curious as to what "phony arguments about gays" might be exactly, but you don't have to tell me if you don't want to.) 

jk1921
Dichotomies of Neo-Liberalism

Fred wrote:

Its just  that I'm  puzzled by the huge contradiction between the new found love for gays in the West and the outpouring of the opposite in Africa and Russia. 

This very dichotmomy exists within the West itself Fred. In the United States, many states are moving to legalize gay marriage, while others try to restrict it. The more that homosexuality gains acceptance in certain social, demographic, geographic and cultural quarters the more vigorously it is opposed in others. Supporters of gay rights think the "arc of history" is on their side though and it will only be a matter of time before gays are fully accepted as part of the human community. Young people don't care about sexual orientation anymore, just like they don't care about race or ethnicity and religion is a relic of the past.  Pretty soon we will all be polysexual, multi-racial, mellowed out pot-smoking, urbane hipsters. Utopia is just around the corner and we don't need a revolution to get there. We just need to wait for demography to do its work. 

Meanwhile, young people are increasingly burdened by overwhelming student debt, protracted un/under employment, forced to either live at home with their parents or share a squalid apartment with multiple roomates. Many can't start families and pretty soon they are going to have to pony up even more cash to fulfill their OBAMAcare obligations. But at least they might be covered for medical expenses in the off chance they get hit by a truck.

How do we explain these dichotomies Fred? Why are so many people content to celebrate these supposed cultural and social victories, while their material circumstances decay in front of them? Is the move to legalize gay rights, marijuana, etc. just a political ploy of the ruling class to distract people from their material plight (in which case, it seems to be working) or is there a more materialist explanation for this, something in the nature of the neo-liberal social arrangement that is emerging from the wreck of Fordism?

But maybe the "arc of history" points in a different direction in Russia and Africa?

baboon
Thanks for putting me straight

Thanks for putting me straight Fred. I think that this is a question that's absolutely "permissable" and I hope you write more about it - as I've said to you before. Again with jk there is a dichotomy; in the case of Britain and Africa the "gay" issue is used in the former to get votes and in the case of Africa, it's the demonisation of a minority in order to shore up the state. What I meant by British imperialist interests taking precedence was that while the Tories (or Labour) can be "gay-friendly" these considerations amount to nothing when propping up the most vile African regimes in the interests of British foreign policy. You did imply in your original post that you would be interested in any news about this issue and that is mainly what I responded to.

While in parts of Africa, or in regimes with a strong right-wing, it's relatively easy to whip up anti-homosexual pogroms and violence, it's a lost cause in Britain for example where, most generally speaking, sexual orientation is  of no concern to the working class.

 

Fred
sex as a prison

Doesn't the bourgeoisie love and thrive on false dichotomies?  Why?  Because they keep people divided up and locked in separate prison cells. Sex is an example.  There's straight and gay and bi-sexual.  And even though bi-sexual appears to bring together the straight and the gay it still remains itself a separate category.  As a human living commodity in class society you have to be labelled as one of these three, and can't escape; and the tendency is for people to live up to and stick to the label they get early in life. This happens a lot to kids in schools, where an important lesson learned is that you have limitations and should learn to accept them, and learn to accept your labelling. This applies to everything, not just to sex.

The bourgeoisie can't allow that there's something we call human love, of which human sexuality is a vital part but not everything, but needs us all to accept certain limitations on our personal inclinations and creative possibilities and stayed locked within those limits. This helps the imposition of social control and submission to the ruling ideas. 

I suspect that the institution of the family "The Holy Family" has something to do with this.  After all, there's nothing more limiting that being born into a family, where you immediately fall the hapless victim to all the constraints this family consists in, and can't really escape till much damage has been inflicted.  An obvious constraint is the financial one, but there are others not so obvious.  Like marriage itself.   Children quickly learn that marriage is the way we live, and there isn't really anything else.  Marriage consist of a man and a woman being landed with each other for the rest of their lives. Like it or not.  Find it forever fulfilling or not. It's another prison, and god help the kids.

 

Children also discover that whatever sexual expression is allowable, it's that which is expected to take place in a "respectable" manner, within the marriage restrictions themselves. Within the prison. Within the straight sexual prison!  Today of course, in some places, marriage has been extended to include the gay sexual prison.  Better that gays should be committed lifelong to one sexual partner, just like straights, than roaming around the city looking for adventure. Having everyone locked in the marriage prison, and the family prison, reduces threats to bourgeois relations of production, by working against human solidarity, and putting chains on the wider extension of human interaction and communication. 

I don't know how much of what I've just tried to say may be correct; I'm only working on hunches.  But having all my life insisted on being queer - even if I've tended, wisely, to keep it to myself - suddenly I wonder whether that wasn't foolish: to accept bourgeois labeling uncritically. Whether it wasn't to fall head first into a bourgeois prison cell, and insist on staying there!  Insist on accepting their bourgeois way of seeing. I am now indignant about this; don't wish to perpetuate bourgeois sexual categories any more; and now  I agree with baboon that "sexual orientation is of no concern to the working class."  

Not so sure though about the term "sexual orientation" though!  And the suppression and punishment  of people in Russia, Africa and elsewhere who currently want to find sexual expression with others of the same sex still continues unabated.  Don't forget that! 

Perhaps, as the ICC wrote some time ago, we will have to wait for communism before we can really begin to understand and appreciate the wonderful possibilities contained in human sexuality. I can't hardly wait. 

 

Rowntree
That was an interesting post.

That was an interesting post. We all live in deformed way, gay or straight. Future generations will evolve to live in a better way, not in a nuclear family - not gay or straight.  I hope the next generation is less repressed!

Fred
Thank you for your response

Thank you for your response Rowntree. Fred.

Fred
Does the bourgeoisie in the

Does the bourgeoisie in the liberalized countries have a new tactic?  Rather than pursuing cannabis smokers and traders at great expense for the police,  the drug can be legalized and money saved.  Entrepreneurial folk can also then cash  in on the money-making aspect of the now respectable business and aid the economy too!  Problem solved!  Cannabis smokers are thus "neutralized" in their cosy compartmentalized prison. 

 

Same with homosexuality. When legalized these folk can happily settle down in their new found respectability and will be safely cordoned off  and "imprisoned" in their selected  way of life.  Struggles of a compartmentalized kind - for gay liberation,  for cannabis use etc - can thus be avoided and society become a more peaceful and happy domain. 

Leftists who used to enjoy these particular compartmentalized struggles are also thwarted; and left communists who used to thunder against them as "dead ends" will have something  less to complain about!  There's nothing like rendering capitalist society a happier place, with less inhibitory rules and regulations, less criminal activity because criminality is being legalized and so abolished,  for the silencing of all those who doubt the innate and beautiful nature of capitalism and its ability to thrive for a thousand years, like  the Third Reich might have done if it hadn't kept punishing and brutalizing folk.

Perhaps when the middle-classes have all been reduced to earning the same pitiful wage, so-called "workers struggles", which in essence are of criminal intent too (in so far as they threaten society's peaceful and contented nature) will also be abolished as everyone will be truly equal (completely impoverished!) and so  there'll be nothing left to complain about.  

Backward bourgeoisie's in Africa, Russia, Alabama and elsewhere have yet to learn this approach to the harmonization of capitalist society. They should attempt to wake up and catch up. Neo-liberalism is the way out and the way forward. 

jk1921
Well, I thought that "partial

Well, I thought that "partial struggles" were a great distraction for the working class and therefore fostered by the bourgeoisie as a way of keeping workers off of the class terrain? Why would parts of the bourgeoisie then see fit to remove several of them today? I mean was there really a possibility of the gay rights struggle transforming into a class struggle or the fight to legalize dope? Of course, there is still a lot of tinkering around the edges left to do on these issues, but isn't it the case that several distractions are in the process of being removed? Why would the bourgeoisie do this unless it fit some functional need of society at this particular historical moment? What is it?

As far as workers earning the same wage: I think this is one of the main features of captialist society that allows it to reproduce itself. Workers are never all paid the same wage. Some are paid below the value of labour power, some are paid above it and some are paid at a level that more closely approximates that basket of subsistence commodities Marx talked about. But the point is that because prices differ from labor values (or labour power values) as a necessary feature of the inefficiency and anarchy of the market, workers who earn more are terrified of falling and those who earn less can be tamed by aspirations of earning more. Is it the case that the crisis eventually levels this out? I don't know.

Fred
Hi jk.  Perhaps the

Hi jk.  Perhaps the bourgeoisie thinks the quiescent class no longer needs these particular distractions. And these kind of liberal  "concessions", which don't cost any money, can show the bourgeoisie off in a new kindhearted and open-minded way and juxtapose their Western liberality against the cruelties imposed on society by backward bourgeoisie's like those in Russia and parts of Africa.  If the ruling class can no longer afford  wage rises, or health care and the like, then allowing pot heads to smoke and gays to marry is supposed to be appreciated by these recipients and others, as the gentle and warm hearted side of capitalism and become its own satisfaction.  Whether the working class falls for all this sugar remains to be seen. 

 

 But as I said before, it's just tarting  up certain aspects of our international prison life.  And the bourgeoisie has realized that what prisoners do in the privacy of their own  cells is contained to the privacy of that cell.  It's the isolation and privacy that matters.  After all, you can distract people by telling then they're not allowed to do something - in which case they may fight a limited and partial struggle to be allowed to do it.  However, you can also distract them, in certain circumstances, by telling them they are now allowed to do something  previously forbidden.  In which case struggle is unnecessary because they are fooled into contentment.  The bourgeoisie is a Machiavellian class.  

Surely, for the working class, struggling to survive at all under increasing austerity, is a sufficient distraction in itself these days?  To say nothing of the civil wars in Syria and the Ukraine; the epidemic of the raping of women in India; the troubles in Egypt; the escalating gun crime in the US; the increasingly disastrous weather round the globe; the collapse of the Argentinian currency; the forthcoming  Olympics in  Russia and Brazil - both potentially pandora's boxes of disasters waiting to be opened up  and so on.   Just turn on any tv news channel and the appalling variety of  "distractions" on display can beggar belief.  Perhaps some of the "distractions" of earlier decades have worn out their usefulness?  

baboon
us fundamentalists

From a news report on Channel 4 (I think) a couple of nights ago came the information that US evangelicals were the main force behind the anti-gay movement raising its ugly head in parts of Africa. The tired and corrupt regime of Uganda's Museveni has jumped on this bandwagon of supporting "family values" and "children" with its new law outlawing homosexuality and inviting vigilante mobs to murder and mayhem. US imperialism is making a renewed push in the African scramble particularly against its Chinese adversary. Religious fundamentalists (they used to call themselves "fundamentalists", but the term became a bit dubious), as well as the Scientologists have been used before in the interests of American imperialism. But even if they are not being used openly by the administration they are nevertheless useful for a US presence - look at the role of Christianity in the colonisation of Africa, Latin America, etc., in the past.

In the US itself, Arizona has just passed a law making it legal to refuse to serve gays in shops, restaurants, etc. And for all Britain's "hug a gay" politics, customs police interrogating gays fleeing for their lives are putting them through the mill and sending them back.