Gay bashing and laws

Chris Burford cburford at
Fri Oct 23 16:01:22 PDT 1998

At 01:36 AM 10/23/98 +0100, you wrote:
>In message < at>, Chris
>Burford <cburford at> writes
>>As far as (bourgeois) democratic rights are concerned we should not
>>absolutise them, but decide which ones to support and campaign for
>>according to the context and the balance of advantage for working people.
>>No platform for homophobia! I really am surprised at the extent of the
>>defence of rule of bourgeois law, *as a matter of principle*, on this list.
>I don't see it as a question of absolutising the particular forms of law
>and rights as formalised under capitalist rule. But in principle we
>ought to move ahead of these limited ideas of liberty rather than
>falling behind them.
>What was a positive gain in the idea of the sovereign subject in
>bourgeois law, was the idea that authroity stemmed from the free will
>and consent of such subjects, rather than being imposed from an
>arbitrary authority. In practice that was denied by the dull compulsion
>of the market. That is not a reason to make light of freedom and rights,
>but to give them more content than present circumstances will allow.
>Jim heartfield

This is is difficult area in theory and practice.

I have expressed my reservations that I feel your position is one of intensifying the demands for bourgeois democratic rights. (At least I am referring to impressions I have got from several issues of Living Marxism/LM.) I would be interested therefore if you could say what you mean by giving "them more content".

I agree with the point you make in the other post on gay sex stats:

"it is worth bearing in mind the argument of John D'Emilio that the possibilities of homosexuality only really open up with market cosmopolitanism and the emergence of a non-familial sphere of life."

The controversies about whether priests in the Church of England may be practising gays, are not as bizarre as they seem, and I would suggest have a fundamental logic in the intensified atomisation of monopoly capitalist-led commodity society. It is logical.

So how would progressive people give the struggle for bourgeois democratic rights more content?

Chris Burford


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