Subject: LL:Fighting Words for Gay Pride

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From: Freedom Socialist Party/Radical Women>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 97 17:50:53 +1000
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Hello everyboy

I really liked this speech delivered by Guerry Hoddersen at the Seattle Gay/Lesbian/Bisexusal/Transgender Pride Rally in Seattle.

So (with the authors permission) I am submitting it for publication in the Australian lesbian, gay, bi, radical and. student press.

I'm sure it will be of interest to Australian readers. So go right ahead and publish it if you are interested.

Please send copies to Freedom Socialist Party, PO Box 266 West Brunswick Vic 3055.

Alison Thorne

Melbourne Freedom Socialist Party Organiser

About this speech: Guerry Hoddersen is a member of Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party and a co-founder of the United Front Against Fascism. She delivered the following speech at the Seattle Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Pride Day Rally this year, evoking an enthusiastic audience response.


The Struggle for Liberation is Not Over: Fighting Words for Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Pride Day 1997

by Guerry Hoddersen

We who started off this century reviled, hounded, lynched, and excluded have much to celebrate today.

Despite every obstacle--from legal discrimination and social segregation to terrorism and violence--we have prevailed. We have prevailed to win rights and respect as women, people of color, gays and lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals, the disabled, and workers.

But are we free? Is it time to hang up the placards and hang out the diapers in their place? To nuzzle into family life and declare the struggle for gay liberation over? I don't think so. Somebody is setting off bombs at abortion clinics and gay bars, and torching Black churches. And they want us dead.

Last year, 30 percent of the women's health clinics in this country were targets, not just of picketers, but of acts of political terrorism by the far-right.

From Grants Pass to Kansas City, from Houston to Pensacola, these women-haters shot at, invaded, torched, and painted swastikas on clinics. They stalked the staff, robbed banks of three-quarters of a million dollars to bankroll their movement, and poured acid into air vents. They even formed the "Justifiable Homicide Fellowship", which advocates killing abortion doctors. So far this year, there have been 11 arsons, one of them in Portland at the Lovejoy Clinic.

But women's health clinics are not the only target of these fanatics.

An Atlanta abortion clinic was bombed in January and the next month, a second bomb exploded at a Lesbian bar there. The Army of God, a well-known anti-abortion network, claimed responsibility for both attacks.

We in the Northwest do not have to look to the Deep South to see the threat posed to our hard-won freedoms by the Nazi movement.

Last July, the Phineas Priesthood sent an armed paramilitary squad to bomb Planned Parenthood in Spokane, while their comrades robbed a nearby bank of $100,000 dollars to finance the Neo-Nazi movement. A few months later, they distributed flyers in Idaho advocating the murder of gays, abortion doctors, and interracial couples.

The Phineas Priesthood, the Army of God, and the Aryan Nation are simply the most violent expression of a rightwing movement that is virulently anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, racist, anti-Semitic and anti-labor.

They want to turn the clock back to the last century, to bring back closets and slavery, book banning, pogroms against Jews, exclusion laws against immigrants, and anti-labor laws.

The gay community is one of their most powerful and important adversaries and they know it. It is not just irrational, emotional hate that motivates them to attack gays and lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people. It's military logic.

Lesbians have been on the frontlines for decades in the fight to win abortion rights, and now to save them. And it was the gay community that stepped forward to help found the United Front Against Fascism to take on the Aryan Nation and Nazi skinheads on Whidbey Island in 1988. Until then, people were frightened of Nazi skinhead violence, especially because of Mugleta Sweraw's murder in Portland. But after Whidbey Island, people were ready to march, and the established civil rights organizations had to take violence against lesbians and gays seriously.

Ever since then, bigots have been confronted and run out of town in the Northwest--from Nazi skinheads and the Populist Party on Capital Hill, to the KKK recruiter in Auburn, and, just the day before yesterday, Radical Women organized a picket line that took on Operation Rescue in downtown Seattle.

But the forces of violence and bigotry come sneaking back, brought on the tide of woes that capitalism brings to all of us. For the Nazis are born in the misery, uncertainty, and cutbacks of this decade and past decades. They offer up scapegoats for a system that is pauperizing more and more people. With President Clinton's welfare reform about to cut off millions of recipients in the next few years, the situation can only get worse.

So we cannot close our eyes to the threat. The far-right is building a movement to smash our victories, to goose-step us across the bridge into the next century. If we want to be the architects of our own future, we must build a counter-movement, a united front of labor of all colors, nationalities and sexualities, of both sexes working together in equality to fight for everyone's rights.

Will that be a revolutionary movement? I think so. Because human liberation is a revolutionary demand in a society based on inequality and stolen wealth. I have been an organizer for the Freedom Socialist Party for the last 20 years and I look forward to a new century of socialist peace and civil rights, where love is free instead of the market, and workers make the necessities of life--including art and culture--available for all. It is possible, but we are not there yet.

I would like to close with a quote by Frederick Douglass, a former slave, theoretician and organizer of the Abolitionist movement. In 1857, he wrote these words about the fight to end slavery:

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one; it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

Here's to victory for Initiative 677! Freedom for us all!

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