As DSA prepares to host a series of remote Pride events to celebrate queer liberation at a time when the spread of COVID-19 makes in-person gatherings potential vectors for disease spread, we want highlight our understanding that queer liberation can only be achieved through working class power and that any socialism that fails to fight for queer liberation is unworthy of the name.
As socialists we understand that our power comes from our position as workers and as tenants and that the homophobia and transphobia of present society is inseparability tied to existing property relations. Queer people are systematically discriminated against in the search for stable housing and experience disproportionate rates of homelessness. We demand a complete ban on any type of discrimination in housing and in our struggle against evictions commit to particularly combating homophobic and transphobic landlords that force queer tenants into the streets. These protections can best be achieved through the building of a network of tenants’ unions that give queer workers some measure of control over the buildings and neighborhoods we live in. Likewise, we seek to combat expressions of homophobia and transphobia in the workplace through the building of a militant union movement to address discrimination in hiring and firing practices and allow queer workers to stand up to abusive employers. A powerful base in tenant associations and labor unions would also allow us to fight for essential reforms like a universal healthcare system that makes trans affirming care free at point of contact and accessible to all.
No Cops at Pride
In the present political moment it is also necessary to emphasize the role of the police in enforcing systematic violence against queer people. As millions take to the streets to protest the brutal police murders of unarmed black people, more and more workers are realizing that the police are not our protectors, they are not peace keepers, and that they definitely do not have the safety of the working class people in mind. Police exist to protect and serve bosses and landlords, which means enacting violence against us.
As the number of people getting involved in protests and events against police brutality continues to rise it is important to keep this momentum going, to keep pushing back so we can enact real and lasting change. The ruling class is seeking to pacify our movement by making purely symbolic concessions, such as the renaming of streets, workers must demand more. In order to make a difference we need to speak out and organize, nothing will come about if we don't keep fighting back. As Frederick Douglass said, “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
We demand Cincinnati Pride break all ties with police and encourage everyone to sign our petition repeating this demand. Pride began as a protest against police brutality. Stonewall was a riot, an explosion of queer working class fury that sought to expel police from our communities. It is unacceptable that they be included now. The brutal police murder of Tony McDade demonstrates once again that the presence of police makes libraries, schools, and even Pride events unsafe for queer people. Trans people experience police violence at approximately seven times the rate of cis people and nearly half of black trans people have been incarcerated. Black trans lives matter, and Cincinnati Pride must recognize that by excluding the police. The multi-racial queer working class must take back Pride and make sure it is a space for us celebrate and exist in safety. Pride is ours and we refuse to have it handed over to the police or multi-national corporations. DSA demands queer liberation, not corporate assimilation!
Collective Liberation Requires Collective Power
We can’t separate queer and black liberation and we need a militant working class socialist movement to fight for both: the bosses and landlords want the working class to be divided along lines of gender, sexuality, and race- and police exist violently enforce this separation while protecting existing property relations. Transphobia and white supremacy are built into the capitalist system at its heart. Any socialism that doesn’t fight against every manifestation of violence and oppression will fail, and it is impossible to vanquish any form of oppression without the socialist transformation of society. Those who think capitalism can be fixed fail to realize it is not broken; it is running the way it is meant to, to keep the ruling class in power and oppress the working class. In order for our society to get any kind of equality we must overthrow capitalism and replace it with socialism. DSA stands for prison and police abolition, with the defunding and demilitarization of the police as immediate goals. To paraphrase the revolutionary Fred Hampton, we fight racism and capitalism with solidarity and socialism. Join us to fight for the collective liberation of the working class through socialist revolution.