who to reach

Gar W. Lipow lipowg at sprintmail.com
Thu Jun 11 23:35:15 PDT 1998

> Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 15:18:15 -0400
> From: Wojtek Sokolowski <sokol at jhu.edu>
> Subject: RE: "Who to reach?" vs "What is our program?"
> At 01:48 PM 6/11/98 -0500, Joseph Noonan wrote:
> >Are yoy joking? You can be fired from any job for being queer at
> >anytime and you have no recourse under civil rights law.
> Isn't that wrongful termination that is illegal?
> Besides, are there any stats supporting that?
> Regards,
> Wojtek

Woj. You are the one who has to be joking. How can anyone over the age of 12 supposedly active in the U.S. progressive movement not know that that you can be fired for being gay -- that for the most part it is completely legal to discriminate against people for being gay.

The courts have upheld in a lot of cases that: 1) you can be evicted from your apartment for being gay 2) your child can be taken away for being gay 3) you can be fired for being gay

Wasn't Jeffrey Dahmer caught months and victims later than he otherwise would have because when a naked bloody boy ran out of his apartment, he told the cops it was a gay lovers quarrel?

When you said that choice, affirmative action, and gay rights were not among your top three concerns, I should have realized that this kind of rhetoric is usually understatement for "completely off my radar".

To cite some other points you may not realize: (and if you already know this you've got to understand I can no longer take your knowledge of these things for granted)

1) women die each year because of EXISTING restrictions on abortion -- a lot of them teenagers. And what kills these young women is not often not the "radical" anti-abortion people but the "moderate" restrictions -- parental consent, "informed" consent (which often means a woman who wants an abortion has make a four hour trip twice -- once for her "informed consent" once for the actual abortion). There is also the "conscience clause" which the wonderful anti capitalist catholic church uses to restrict abortion and contraception choices for women whose HMO's contract with catholic owned hospitals.

2) Black people account for less than 19% of drug user -- but 40% of those arrested for drug offenses. Racism exists in this country -- and accounts for an overwhelming majority of the suffering of the black working class.

What bugs me so much is that you have one valid point; many left wing groups (however self congratulatory Carroll is about how working class we all are) are not that welcoming to people who work as waitresses, in factories, as receptionists, as data entry clerks, as janitors, as plumbers, as truck drivers, as elementary school teachers, as serfs in the bowels of government bureaucracy. This is not deliberate; it is as unconscious as the homophobia, sexism and racism which I see in a lot of would be left populists.

Dammit, I don't think it is masochism to admit that the left could do a better job of reaching people who are not academics, and journalists. But it is neither moral nor smart to think that throwing women, minorities, gays etc. overboard is the way to be more welcoming.

The problem with the U.S. left is not that it has paid too much attention to issues like abortion or affirmative action; the problem with the left is that it tends not to pay enough attention to issues of economic equality, of labor

By the way, for those who think it is self-flagellation to look for left problems:

A) We are losing B) Maybe we are losing just because historical circumstances are such that we can't win now. Maybe all we can do is hunker down and wait for the perfect crisis; as an optimist I prefer to believe that we have screwed the pooch somehow; if we just figure out what we are doing wrong we can beat the bastards.

Hey between self-flagellation, masochism and screwing the pooch I worked in a little kinky sex for Yoshie...

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