Malicious Maoist Bigotry
Revolutionary Union On Homosexuals:
Malicious Maoist Bigotry
[First printed in Young Spartacus #26, November 1974. We are appending a 1992 IBT statement on the Revolutionary Communist Party, which the RU renamed itself.]
A scandalously revealing document entitled “Position Paper of the Revolutionary Union On Homosexuality and Gay Liberation” is presently circulating somewhat selectively within the left. Consistent with their trade-union economism and shameless adaptation to backwardness in the working class, the Revolutionary Union (RU) in this document follows through its capitulation on the struggle against the special oppression of women by embracing and promoting the most swinish prejudices against homosexuals as “Marxism-Leninism.” The document is to inform and assure pejudiced workers and lumpens that “homosexuals cannot be Comunists”, that is, belong to communist organizations, which of course means the RU. To the extent that the RU philistines provide some semblance of a political justification for this anticommunist position the document cannot be ignored.
Although the sexual phenomenon of homosexuality has existed in the most diverse cultures and social systems, the RU document begins by claiming homosexuality to be a response of alienated, anxiety-ridden escapist individuals, “particularly the petty bourgeoisie,” to “the pressures of capitalist society” and “the intensification of the contradictions brought about by decaying imperialism. ” Thus, it is the capitalist “system that drives them to homosexuality.” For these Maoists homosexuality is a disease of capitalist society, like “exotic religious sects, mysticism, drugs, pornography, promiscuity, sex orgies, trotskyism, etc.,” and those who choose homosexuality as a sexual preference are “like all people caught in the mire and muck of bourgeois decadence.” We have come to expect from an organization unable to politically defeat our program such unprincipled verbal violence as the defamatory association of Trotskyism with drugs, mysticism, and so on.We only demand that the RU come out and openly state what they so nauseatingly imply: that homosexuals are “perverts.”
In order to be “at one” with even the most backward workers, these “communists” willingly accept prevailing bourgeois morality and “deal concretely with homosexual relationships as they exist in our [!] society today.” From this perspective homosexuals “are in relationships which necessarily place them outside the mainstream of our society and thus puts enormous strains upon the relationships.” But, “concretely,” inter-racial relationships also are “outside the mainstream” of this racist society and certainly involve “enormous strains.” Will the RU dare to label these couples deviants? If homosexuals are anti-social deviants because they show an “unwillingness to struggle with the opposite sex in very important relationships,” then marriage between people of the same race surely must be an impermissable capitulation to racism.
From the social ostracism and persecution of homosexuals, the RU concludes that “therefore such relationships can be only individual solutions to the contradictions of imperialism.” Here is where these “dialectically” – endowed Mao-Thinkers clumsily attempt to attribute a class basis to an historically manifested expression of one form of human sexuality:
“In posing an individual solution to the contradictions of monopoly capitalism, homosexuality is an ideology of the petty bourgeoisie, and must be clearly distinguished from proletarian ideology.”
While certain petty-bourgeois radicals in the Gay Liberation movement may pose some utopian cultural-sexual “liberation,” homosexuality per se is objectively no more “individualist” than heterosexuality. The bourgeois state hounds homosexuals because their sexual choice rejects the sacred nuclear family upon which class societies have evolved and flaunts many of the ingrained norms of bourgeois propriety and morality which have been developed to justify it. While certainly not the threat to the existence of capitalist society claimed by some Gay Ltberation politicos, homosexuality, like many other expressions of non-conforming social behavior, is an irritant. Marx and Engels realized that the nuclear family constituted the primary unit of socialization in capitalist society and called for the socialization of child rearing and domestic work and the integration of women into the work force, so that the social and economic constraints on human relations might be removed.
Unlike Marx and Engels, the RU believes that the social unit corresponding to “proletarian ideology” is -the nuclear family! The document states:
“We feel that the best way to struggle out such contradictions in our personal lives is in stable monogamous relationships between men and women based on mutual love and respect… In reality, gay liberation is antiworking-class and counterrevolutionary. Its attacks on the family would rob poor and working class people of the most viable social unit for their revolutionary struggle against the imperialist system.”
Like the Communist Party and Progressive Labor, who long ago proclaimed the family to be “a fighting unit for socialism,” the RU excoriates homosexuals for the same reason the bourgeoisie treats them as pariahs.
Under Lenin and Trotsky the Soviet Union annulled all laws discriminating against homosexuals and women and made real inroads into liberating women and children from the prison of the family. These gains were among the first to be wiped out by the emergence of the counterrevolutionary Stalinist bureaucracy, which based itself upon the political expropriation of the working class. The bureaucracy climbed to power in part by mobilizing the most backward masses, still under the influence of Great Russian chauvinism, antisemitism, male supremicism and anti-homosexual prejudice, against the remnants of the politically conscious vanguard. The Stalinist bureaucracy, having turned its back on proletarian internationalism, bent all social relations to building “socialism in one country.” The family was enshrined over the ashes of the important, liberating social measures of the October Revolution. The reactionary policy of the Stalinist regimes, from China to Cuba, on the homosexual question flows from the state maintenance of the family.
Based on its Stalinist “two-stage” theory of revolution (which means no revolution), the RU concedes that while homosexuals can never be communists, some may lift themselves far enough out of their “selfishness, self-indulgence and decadence” to be “anti-imperialist fighters.” Apparently homosexuals who wish to dedicate their lives to the struggle against capitalism should be grateful for being granted the same status as the Shah of Iran, Bandaranaike of Ceylon and NATO!
These “anti-imperialists” presumably would be permitted to join the RU’s “anti-imperialist” student front group, the Revolutionary Student Brigade (formerly the Attica Brigade) and function in the petty-bourgeois radical movement, where homosexuality is less covert and even somewhat fashionable. Clearly the viciously anti-homosexual position is for the workers, since the RU does “not feel that the Attica Brigade has to take a stand on this question.”
The program for socialist revolution does not take any position on the value of any particular sexual orientation. We are opposed to all forms of discrimination and persecution of homosexuals as well as all laws which curtail the democratic right of privacy and sexual freedom for consenting adults. We have only disgust for the position that homosexuals are incapable of coming to communist consciousness and functioning as cadres in a communist organization.
On this anti-homosexual bigotry and political sanctification of the family and monogamy the RU stands closer to Puritanism than Marxism.
Defend The RCP!
[First printed in 1917 West #1, Spring 1992]
July of 1991 the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Demonstrations Committee decided it would no longer defend the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) because of that Maoist group’s reactionary position on homosexuality. The decision does not forbid individual NLG lawyers from defending RCP members nor will the NLG screen RCP members when they are involved in demonstrations in coalitions with other groups. However the NLG Demonstrations Committee as an organization will not provide lawyers or legal observers for events sponsored solely by the RCP.
The BT strongly condemns the homophobia of the RCP, which maintains that homosexuality is fostered and perpetuated by capitalist decay and that after the proletarian revolution a struggle would be waged to eliminate homosexuality. This position is inherited from that great butcher of revolutions, Josef Stalin, who termed homosexuality “bourgeois decadence” and whose consolidation of power in the Soviet Union in the 1920s laid the basis for the debacle which is now unfolding in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Homophobia is totally contrary to the spirit of Bolshevism, which stands for the broadest possible human liberation.
Nevertheless we disagree with the decision of the NLG Demonstrations Committee. The RCP is a part of the workers movement and therefore must be defended when necessary in spite of its bad position, for any refusal to defend any part of the workers movement against the bourgeois state eventually weakens everyone involved in the fight against oppression. We call for nonsectarian defense of left, workers and oppressed groups in the tradition of the International Labor Defense which was established by James Cannon and the then revolutionary Communist Party in the 1920s. An injury to one is an injury to all!