Texas elections are in full swing, along with a parade of capitalist candidates draping themselves in the rainbow colors of our pride flag. Promises of democratic rights for LGBT workers speak to our hunger for a better and dignified existence, but they only build up and squander our hopes and energy. All the promises are buried beneath the ongoing reality of harassment, assault, police violence, and poverty. In the rare scenario of an achievement like gay marriage, most working LGBT people are left wondering “to what end?” Politicians still debate and challenge even our small number of hard-won democratic rights.
The rainbow and “gay-friendly” candidates are busy shoring up the devastation of capitalism, watering down our sense of justice, and deflating the fighting spirit of LGBT workers and those who want to stand by them:
– In Austin, Danielle Skidmore talks about her supposed concern regarding displacement, but then turns around and sit on panels with Oracle (the same monsters driving displacement in the historically working class East Riverside neighborhood)! Her concern? Ensuring that Oracle has “progressive representation” in their ranks.
– In San Antonio, Lupe Valdez has her eyes on seizing the governor’s office as a lesbian Latina. But we should also remember the other components of her identity too! She’s also an ex cop who assisted ICE agents in detaining and deporting immigrants, and oversaw her department murdering at least 11 inmates by neglect or use of force. The horror was so undeniable that it led to a federal investigation into her department of Dallas PD.
– And then there’s Robert Francis O’Rourke running for senator, who panders to the LGBT community while leaving a trail of displacement behind him in El Paso! For him, displacement isn’t just a domestic endeavor, either. He vows to support the Israeli state’s occupation of Palestine, calling this brutality a “shining example of democracy”.
Even if there were LGBT candidates who weren’t gentrifiers and pigs… even if there were candidates who tried to run on “revolutionary” platforms… the fact is, they would never be able to end the oppression and exploitation of the working class broadly or LGBT people specifically. And why should we settle for anything less? How can we hope to find dignity in trying to elect even the best person imaginable to a position of servitude to the parasitic ruling class? How can we take steps forward by campaigning for people to stand on the wrong side of history for a living?
The promise of representation in the capitalists’ government is an insult to LGBT workers. We have watched as “woke” rainbow capitalism results in benefits for gay bosses and queer media personalities off the backs of the rest of us here and around the globe, and we are sick to death of the bullshit. We reject the whole of capitalist elections. In the name of pride we reject the commodification and confinement of our rage into pins, parades, and polls for the approval of pigs and politicians.
Our feelings were summed up accurately by the local communist organization Red Guards Austin in their call for a boycott of these sham elections:
“Dignity means not having to treat our friends as enemies (by voting for people who will harm our friends) and not having to suffer our enemies as friends (by not having to vote for scum).”
We seek to unite with LGBT people of the global working class, and to ignite a revolutionary pride here in the belly of the beast. We want to end the subjugation that rainbow capitalism tries to cover up through its “progressive” gentrifying businesses that are invading the hood, and its “gay pride” swag being produced on poverty wages. “Gay-friendly” capitalists foist blame for our suffering on “uneducated” or “backwards” workers. Meanwhile, they exploit our labor, rely on police violence against us, and bomb our siblings around the globe! Building real power is the process killing capitalism and imperialism, and building a world that actually serves the long-term interests of working class LGBT people.
Real power means the organized ability to destroy those who profit from our misery. We start small and work together, using our voices, our art, our numbers, and our fists to overcome the forces of bigotry. The capitalists try to convince us they care about our mental health, the physical and psychological assaults, the hunger, and homelessness we face, but all they really care about is keeping us quiet. Pride means not begging for handouts at the ballot box, but taking what we need by any means necessary.
Building real power means that when the capitalist state decides to enforce homophobic policies, we will have the organization and discipline to take up arms to defend ourselves and defeat the guns and bombs of its cops and military.
We destroy our feelings of alienation, isolation, hopelessness, and disempowerment by taking this fight up and marching together. The meaning and purpose we get from the struggle is why we can’t be bought by hollow participation in a democratic process never meant for everyday working people.
We want to represent our pride in the streets! True pride is revolutionary pride, and it is disciplined and dangerous. We will find it together, taking action against those who question our humanity and dignity. Doing whatever it takes to end our oppression is not only an act of pride, it’s the ONLY way we will find pride under capitalism.
There is no pride without power!