Why did gay activists never embrace violence?

Ever since three masked men walked into the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, and methodically murdered the magazine’s staff along with two French policeman (one of whom was injured and already on the ground when the terrorist walked up and put a bullet through his brain, point blank), there’s been a subtle stream of “yeah but” from some on the left.

I admit to being slightly guilty of the offense myself. I wrote a piece intended to start a discussion on whether Charlie Hebdo wasn’t poking a rather dangerous snake with its sometimes (often?) over-the-top (read: racist) cartoons (though some of the cartoon, like the gay one below, were rather brilliant). My intent wasn’t to even vaguely excuse these terrorists in particular, or Islamic extremism in general. I did, however, want to get people talking about how best to defend freedom of speech and respond to threats like those from Muslim extremists.

The gay one.

The gay one.

Since then, I’ve read a number of things on Twitter that, while claiming otherwise, seem to be making excuses for the violence. A discussion of the French treatment of Muslim immigrants comes to mind, while others have chastised “white people” generally, including “white liberals in America.”

And a top liberal voice, for example, yesterday retweeted a seven-year-old story from the Washington Post about how most of France’s prisons are filled with Muslims. It was difficult not to hear a bit of a “yeah but” when reading all of this.

And it got me thinking. Gays have been rather oppressed too. And we never killed anybody in return. Why is that?

Screen-Shot-2015-01-08-at-4.13.25-PMI’m hardly being facetious. At the burgeoning height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and early 90s, gay men were dropping like flies. Our government wasn’t terribly concerned about addressing the obvious plague that was decimating the gay community, in large part because our government didn’t terribly like gays. So they let us die. A lot of us.

Way back in the 1990s, I remember asking myself how it was that the most radical gay activists never chose violence. Not that I thought violence was a good idea — I didn’t. The last thing a community begging for acceptance as “normal” needed was a “gay terrorist.” But boy did we face a lot of hate (and still do). Back in the late 80s and early 90s, especially, that hate was literally killing us (though it’s still killing gay and trans youth today). And someone months away from death doesn’t have a lot to lose.

But those activists, who understandably hated the likes of Jesse Helms and Jerry Falwell, to name but a few, never lifted a finger to hurt either one of them, or anyone else for that matter. And I find that interesting.

And before anyone claims that gay activists in America were all privileged white guys — gays, and people with AIDS in particular, we’re hardly privileged in Ronald Reagan’s America. They were treated by many as diseased pariahs. Not to mention, gay activists aren’t all American, and they aren’t all white. And in no country in the world can you point me to gay activists who have embraced violence.

So I rightfully bristle when some of my liberal brethren make slimly-couched excuses for the serial execution of cops or cartoonists, be it in France or America. A lot of people have it bad. And not everyone commits mass murder in response.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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171 Responses to “Why did gay activists never embrace violence?”

  1. barada says:

    I can’t think of much, aside from the possibility that, violence, is decidedly NOT fabulous.

  2. Kristen L. Horvath says:

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  3. Kristen L. Horvath says:

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  5. Kristen L. Horvath says:

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  6. BigGuy says:

    Why didn’t gays suffering from Aids violently protest during the height of the Aids crisis?
    People suffering from illness rarely act violently or unite with fellow sufferers to act violently, even if they have the energy to do so. Why do so few people attack doctors? Some severely disturbed people kill their psychiatrists, but that’s rare. Why do so few athletes who have lost their skills because of poor medical treatment not attack the persons who mistreated them? They may sue the doctors and medical facilities, but you hardly ever read or hear a story about a jock breaking the arm of an incompetent orthopedic surgeon.

    In China, mobs have been attacking doctors and hospitals where people have died from faulty medical treatment, but have stopped their threats of violence when the medical bills have been cancelled or when the money paid has been returned. Mob violence by the friends and relatives of the deceased can get results in less than ten days versus over ten years for the nascent medical malpractice system.

    Why didn’t healthy gays violently attack individuals and institutions that were not helping us to fight Aids? I think healthy people thought that violence would make things worse, not better.

  7. Bill_Perdue says:

    Ask RealAquaBuddha, who introduced the subject with a pro-American definition of terrorism.

  8. Blackbird says:

    Having been one of the survivors that came through the AIDS holocaust unscathed… I can easily recall the feeling of complete helplessness during that very black era. I lived in California, my partner and all my friends were either dead or dying and no one gave a s***. No one. Ronald Reagan and his entire administration ignored it all – he was seven years into his presidency before he would even muster enough courage to formally say “AIDS” publicly (and only because Ryan White, a young haemophiliac, was dying due to an evil homo-tainted blood transfusion).

    It all seems a blur today but believe me there were plenty of times we sat through ACT-UP meetings contemplating violence. Probably the closest we ever got to that was during the occupation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) building in Washington DC in 1990 – I would testify that if it hadn’t been for some real cool heads among us – we would have burned the NIH down.
    George Bush senior wasn’t much better… when I was done burying all my friends and colleagues and was well fed-up, drained and tired of the stench of death and futility of it all – I picked up stakes and moved to Europe and in 20 years have never looked back or returned… and why would I?
    I’ve suffered enough personal violence for three lifetimes.

    Homos may have not turned to violence, apart from White-Night in San Francisco, but it’s not like we’ve not had plenty of opportunity and anger not to.

  9. Blackbird says:

    What the f*** does this have to do with the subject at hand?

    (Why did gay activists never embrace violence?)

    I’m sure you have some bee in your panties or some political stance you’re trying to make – all of which, are really poignant points – but it has nothing to do with the subject matter.

    By the way, something very important to me I’d like to ask you?
    How do you feel about late winter bedding plants? Our region in this part of Europe can really tolerate either primroses or violas… which do you prefer?

  10. Kristen L. Horvath says:

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  11. Moderator3 says:

    Technically, this is spam. It seems like a great idea. I’m not going to mark it as spam, but I encourage you to ask John Aravosis for his permission.

  12. Kristen L. Horvath says:

    I encourage you to read into this. If this a cause you can get behind then make a contribution, and pass it along and share as much as possible. Pandora Scooter is a talented, and more importantly, fantastic human being and her poetry is incredible.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/end-suicides-of-lgbtq-youth/x/9577699

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    Totally wrong. Denial of the fundamental nature of American state terrorism is in a league with holocaust denial. It’s a lie. From the time Wounded Knee to My Lai, the history of warfare by the US is basically a history of terrorism against civilians.

  14. RealAquaBuddha says:

    Yes you missed the point of the article. The LGBT leadership never told gay activists to use violence as a means to achieve their political ends. There were two incidents of gays retaliating using violence. The first was Stonewall, where gays and trans people defended themselves against the cops coming to arrest, beat, kill and rape them yet again in a gay bar. The second was the announcement that Harvey Milk’s killer was given a slap on the wrist for his murder. The response to Stonewall was gay people coming out of the closet, starting organizations and a movement, not engaging in more riots. The original response to Milk’s assassination was a peaceful vigil. The anger that ensued after the court announcement was in the heat of the moment. It hasn’t been repeated since. Its not a tactic that is advocated by gay activists or leaders.

  15. RealAquaBuddha says:

    Terrorism by its very definition is a surprise attack on a civilian population for political means. Equating foreign policy of the U.S., even bad foreign policy of the U.S. with terrorism is intellectually dishonest and purposely muddies the waters so that it renders any definition or criticism of terrorism mute. Its the worst kind of “whataboutism”. The U.S. government (outside of drones) isn’t engaging in sneak attacks of civilian populations. The U.S. government gives full warning we are coming to attack you.

  16. RealAquaBuddha says:

    I’ve pondered this question myself. Not just in terms of the gay community, but people of color (minus a few exceptions) and women in the U.S.

  17. Daryl Lawton says:

    Somewhat irrelevant to my comment.

  18. Guest says:

    @Daryl Lawton: Muslims in France (and here in Quebec) are not integrated into society. These places say “Welcome, as long as you speak French”. Most of North Africa speaks French as a first language, but the people are black or brown and Muslim… not ‘real’ citizens. So doctors from Algeria end up driving cabs, etc.

    On the other hand, some Islamic cultures refuse to assimilate. They self-ghettoize in the heart of their debauched secular Godless colonizing ‘Western’ enemy and stew in resentment….

  19. chris10858 says:

    I have no scientific evidence to prove this but I want to think it has something to do with the successes we have seen by the likes of Gandhi and MLK. They showed us how to effect change through protesting and non-violent resistance.

    Of course, that begins another debate about why radical Muslims turn to violence rather than more peaceful ways to protest and try to affect a change. I’ve read where some of us on the Left have claimed it is due to their lack of freedom of expression in their homelands. That seems to ignore the fact that many of the radical Muslims who have committed terrorist acts (along with current ISIS/ISIL fighters) are from western countries where they could much more easily protest and commit acts of pacified resistance in order to accomplish their goals.

    It wasn’t easy for MLK or Gandhi and his followers to protest and push for change but they did it very successfully and they did it only through acts of non-violence.

  20. FLL says:

    There might only be a confusion with terminology. John’s post is in the context of the Charlie Hebdo attack. There is a difference between general violence and terrorism. A riot (which can begin as a peaceful demonstration and turn violent later) results mostly in property damage. That was the case in the Stonewall Riots (1969), the White Night riots (1979), the King assassination riots (1968), the Los Angeles riots (1992), etc. You can still conclude that gay Americans and black Americans never resorted to terrorism. If riots are spontaneous mass uprisings that result in property damage, then are they different from terrorism? I believe there is a difference. Terrorism (including KKK activity) is planned action by a small, coordinated group whose aim is to kill people, often large numbers of people. That is something that gays and blacks did not do.

  21. Mike Mouse says:

    Am I missing the Point of this Article?

  22. AbnerBha says:

    ANY assault and battery or murder cases including gay bashing cases, unless there is a plea bargain (which happens in most criminal cases) juries decide after hearing both prosecutor and defense lawyer. Juries decide what is reasonable & excess because each case is different and must be judged individually. As known with murder cases, there is Murder 1, Murder 2 and Manslaughter which is a jury topic. If a defense lawyer in a gay bashing case wants to raise a crime the gay did such as harassment, indecent exposure, etc. before man reacted violently, then that must be regarded in deciding verdict. Prosecutors can argue why they think it was excess force and defense lawyer can argue why it was justified force. Jury decides if it’s justified or excess force. A jury can acquit or if they convict, they can convict a person on lesser charge.

    Gay bashing victims will face the same public opinion court as gay bashers. If there are ugly truths about a homosexual which the media omits as they most media did with Methew Wayne Shepard, then we will use our free speech rights to tell the ugly truths about the homosexual even if others dislike it. & there is nothing the any1, be it media or cops can do to legally stop us from telling the ugly truths. Gay bashing victims will face the public opinion court as gay bashers do and ugly truths will be told about a homosexual if it’s found though it offends homosexual groups.

    No, I don’t think Methew W. Shepard should have been killed but Methew W. Shepard molested 8 year old boys and got counseling for this when he was 15 years old-that is verified information and Stephen Jimenez incidentally mentioned this near end of book-he interviewed a Casper Wyoming cop and a relative of 1 of victims. The 2 boys who Methew W. Shepard molested is verified by Natrona County Juvenile Court records, the Cody Woming bartender who was victimized by Methew W. Shepard in August 1998 and which is backed by Cody Wyoming police reports.

  23. UncleBucky says:

    Yep, SHOULD BE people are way different than LET ME BE people, no? :)

  24. UncleBucky says:

    AND, if we try (not that I recommend) we can PASS. ;o)

  25. Bill_Perdue says:

    I made my point because my view is different than yours.

  26. BeccaM says:

    Yep on all counts.

  27. FLL says:

    Bill has expressed some hope that leftist and secular leaders in Gaza have a chance of replacing Hamas, and I share that hope. On that point, Bill and I agree. I just don’t see the use in trying to shut down any criticism of Hamas until then. Although being gay is officially punishable by death in Hamas-controlled Gaza, it is not illegal at all in the West Bank, which is not controlled by Islamic fundamentalists. So why doesn’t Bill suggest that Gaza follow the political lead of the West Bank instead of attacking any commenter who criticizes Hamas? Just my suggestion because I don’t always disagree with the points that Bill raises either.

  28. BeccaM says:

    That’s your point, Bill. It’s not mine.

  29. BeccaM says:

    *shrugs* It’s why I don’t usually get into discussions with Bill, because the communication isn’t a two-way street. If certain information doesn’t fit his desired narrative, it’s dismissed or ignored.

    This isn’t to say I always disagree with him, because sometimes he posts stuff that makes sense.

  30. Bill_Perdue says:

    The point is that one society is totally backward – capitalist, racist and homophobic – and that it’s backwardness, manifested in the murder of secular leaders for the last 50 odd years, created the room for the festering homophobic backwardness of Hamas and Hizbullah to grow. That’s the reason that Palestinian gays flee to the zionsit colony.

  31. BeccaM says:

    Once again, you’re totally missing my point. But that’s okay.

  32. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s not the other side of the coin, it’s more information on the depth of the backwardness of zionist colonial society, ie, and a challenge to the idea that their colonial society is in any way progressive.

    I might add that one of the reasons that right wing islamists are so powerful in Palestine and elsewhere is that secular centrist and leftist leaders have been killed by the US and it’s allies. http://www.globalresearch.ca/israeli-terror-the-final-solution-to-the-palestine-question/5313258

  33. FLL says:

    …the reason the gay Palestinian men are fleeing to Israel in the first place…

    The Hamas-controlled Gaza strip has declared homosexuality punishable by death. Hamas cofounder Mahmoud Zahar has said, “You in the West do not live like human beings. You do not even live like animals. You accept homosexuality. And now you criticize us?” Hamas supporters, like Bill, only embarrass themselves.

  34. BeccaM says:

    Not seeing the other side of that coin there, are you? As in the reason the gay Palestinian men are fleeing to Israel in the first place?

    We have gay people caught between two sides, two poles of political expression — Palestinian and Israeli — both of whom have nothing but persecution in mind.

  35. FLL says:

    Guess who else just blamed the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack for their own deaths? Bill Donahue of the Catholic League, the fringe, anti-gay outfit which has campaigned against both same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples. (The link to Donahue’s statement is here) Here is the money quote:

    Stephane Charbonnier, the paper’s publisher, was killed today in the slaughter. It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death.

    It’s the sexually repressed on parade. They’ll say any number of things: Islamic fundamentalists who kill are not so bad or they are justified or the victims are to blame for their own deaths. Bill Perdue, make room for Bill Donahue.

  36. Bill_Perdue says:

    The worst terrorist offenses have been committed by the Bushes, the Clintons and Obama (and their allies and client states) afflicted by the disease known as toadyism – they service the rich, the banksters, the MIC and Pentagon and the oil barons.

    Their violence takes the form or murdering a million Iraqis, including half a million children and mass murder of tens of thousands of civilians from Libya to Pakistan.

  37. kladinvt says:

    The type of terrorist’ acts that have been committed over the past 40 yrs, have been conducted by people afflicted with the mental illness known as “Fundamentalism”. It comes in many varieties, but fear, absolutism and hyper-violence are its’ trademarks. The “Gay rights movement” of the last half of the 20th Century, never had any of the elements associated with “Fundamentalism”.

  38. Bill_Perdue says:

    There are no examples becasue what he says is simply not true.

  39. John Doe says:

    I am Ali. Never heard that cry.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naji_al-Ali

  40. John Doe says:

    Yes because France has such a clean record on colonizing and oppressing brown and black people. gotta luv the crowd that completely ignores the imperialist atrocities of a country simply because back home in the capitol they have democracy for their citizens.

  41. Bill_Perdue says:

    The socialist perspective is different and based on a growing body of information. .

    The Jewish Forward has more information:“When gay Palestinian men run for their lives into Israel, they do not seek — and they cannot get — “asylum,” which is a special status under international law available to those who can establish a “well founded fear of persecution” in the country of their nationality or “place of habitual residence.” Israel has never granted asylum to Palestinians, gay or not, says Anat Ben-Dor of the Refugee Rights Clinic at the Tel Aviv University Law Faculty — even those who can credibly claim they will be killed if they are sent back to the West Bank or Gaza. … The new law, and the new reality, has led to a crackdown on gay Palestinians in Israel, according to Shaul Gonen, a former board member of The Aguda, the largest of the Israeli lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations. … (There is an exception for people who “identify with the State of Israel and its goals” and who “performed a material act to advance the security” of the state — in other words, collaborators — thus validating the common suspicion among Palestinians.)” http://forward.com/articles/1125/for-gay-palestinians-tel-aviv-is-mecca/

    And there’s this from YNET New survey challenges Israel’s gay-friendly image Survey by American research institute reveals Israel might be gay capital of Middle East, but lags behind western countries when it comes to accepting its gay brethern: only 40% of Israelis think LGBT community should be accepted, versus 88% in Spain. Huge gap exists between secular (61% support), religious (26%) http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4391274,00.html

    The truth is that gay palestinians are treated with the same extreme racist (and in our case homophobic) violence from the right and the government as African immigrants.
    Violent Anti-African Race Riot Rocks Israel, Black Men and Women Beaten
    http://atlantablackstar.com/2012/05/26/violent-anti-african-race-riot-rocks-israel-black-men-and-women-beaten/

  42. Bill_Perdue says:

    Jackson State and Kent State were examples of murder by police and the military and there were thousands of incidents of police and military brutality during that period.

    The occasional ultraleftism of the Panthers can’t be compared to that or to the
    lynch mob mentality of Tea Party and Dixiecrats during the upsurges for an end
    to Democrat LBJ and Republican Nixon wars and the fight for voting
    rights.

    The biggest difference is that Tea Party members are not routinely murdered, persecuted or even prosectued by Democrats or Republicans, even when they threate the lives of everyoen from Obama to federal wildlife agents as they did here in Nevada at the ranch of Cliven Bundy, who has refused to pay for grazing on Federal lands for over twenty years. The cowardice of the Obama DoJ in this and related cases is astounding.

  43. Bill_Perdue says:

    That’s inaccurate.. “… On both occasions, Lebanese, regional and international factors overlapped to shape Syrian behavior. …The assassination of Hariri on February 14, 2005 set in motion a train of events ultimately leading to Syria’s hurried departure from Lebanon. US, French and Saudi pressure on Damascus was overwhelming and effective. Crown Prince ‘Abdallah refused to discuss Hariri’s assassination with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Sharaa, summoning Bashar to Riyadh instead. In their brief meeting on March 3, 2005, ‘Abdallah handed Bashar an ultimatum to withdraw the Syrian army and intelligence apparatus from Lebanon forthwith.” The Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) is the best source of information on the region because US government and zionist sources are lettle more than crude propaganda.
    http://www.merip.org/mer/mer236/syria-lebanon-brotherhood-transformed

    The Lebanese people had very little to do with it. The history of armed struggles in Lebanon between rightwing christer and islamist groups, the Syrians, zionist invaders and other US client states has always been extremely violent.

  44. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Well, alrighty then. You didn’t mention kittens. How’s Sasha going to take the news about you hating puppies?

  45. The_Fixer says:

    “Amen, Sister.” ;)

    I have a couple of dear friends who define themselves as “Pagan.” I think they borrow a bit from Wicca and the nature-based religions. In the end, Pagans of any stripe seem to be a hell of a lot more benevolent (and don’t force a moral code on others) than a lot of the mainstream religions.

    As you note, there are a lot of followers of religions who truly are decent people, even ones who follow the mainstream religions. However, they are sensible and don’t go for the fundamentalist stuff.

    Absolutism, whether it involves religion, philosophy or politics is limiting and most often, not correct.

  46. Blogvader says:

    They were severely outnumbered?

    And the courts were actually putting victims on trial for their gayness?

    Thank you for a very thought-provoking post. I’d honestly never considered that information before, and it’s not as if the gay community hasn’t had plenty of motivation to revolt in a violent fashion in the US. (Heck, a mere eleven years ago I was a college student fighting for the rights of LGBT people to be included in my university’s nondiscrimination policy)

  47. Daryl Lawton says:

    After talking about people who have been causing harm you said “And it got me thinking. Gays have been rather oppressed too.”
    “Too”? I fail to see how muslims have been oppressed, extremists being oppresed due to the whole being an extremist thing, but muslims as a whole?

  48. I thought you were being the “you’re an Islamophobe” police. Actually, now that I re-read your comment, I’m not sure what you meant. What exactly did you mean?

  49. BeccaM says:

    I concur. We haven’t resorted to violence because LGBT isn’t a religion, nor is it a political or economic policy (such as capitalism or socialism) that depends on depends on the exclusion (or destruction) of other competing systems. Being gay doesn’t require heterosexuality to be outlawed, yet that’s the position of most of the homophobes: They demand homosexuality to be outlawed…and they’re the ones who back up their demands with violence towards gay people.

    You bring up another good word, which I’ve also seen John bring up, in the context of winning the DADT repeal: Fairness. How even for those people who ambivalent about gay people, even they can see the fundamental unfairness that was inherent in DADT, and most especially how it was implemented. (“You’re gay… okay, we’re at war so you can stay. Oh, look, we don’t need you anymore, you’re out with a dishonorable discharge, and by the way, pay back all those bonuses you were given for signing up in the first place.”)

    I’m with you as well on refusing to blame all religion for the actions of the radical fundamentalists because I’ve seen dozens of examples of peaceful religious practices and non-violence. I didn’t live through it myself, but my wife tells many stories of her experiences with the draft-resistance Sanctuary movement, which wouldn’t have happened at all if not for brave Christian clergy opening their churches. Then there are the Unitarians, the Mennonites and the Quakers, who were performing same-sex marriages decades before it was legal.

    I was and still am (informally now) a follower of Wicca, also a religion of peace and non-violence. This moment, I’m also remembering the anti-war Buddhists who set themselves on fire in protest. And in the time my wife and I spent in India at an ashram, violence of any sort would’ve been the absolute polar opposite of what we were learning there; in fact, it was a non-stop lesson of “You have a moral duty to help others, not as you would choose to help them, but as they would wish to be helped.” Tolerance and acceptance are the ideals.

    Having spiritual beliefs is NOT a ‘disease’ nor is the outcome of religion always harmful. It’s what people do with them and whether those beliefs extend to perceived permission to harm others, for any reason.

  50. FLL says:

    The New York Times today reports that the French prime minister has declared war on radical Islam at a speech he gave just south of Paris (link here)

    “It is a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity,” Mr. Valls said during a speech in Évry, south of Paris.

    I was wondering about the undoubtedly large numbers of French citizens of North African and Middle Eastern descent who are secular. I was also wondering about the problems we have here with hateful fundamentalist Christians. Well, guess what else Prime Minister Valls said in his speech?

    “There needs to be a firm message about the values of the republic and of secularism,” Mr. Valls said in Évry. “Tomorrow, France and the French can be proud. Everyone must come tomorrow.”

    How about them apples? Vive la France.

  51. Houndentenor says:

    You should perhaps educate yourself on the history of that era and it’s impact on relations between Christians, Muslims and Jews up to the present day.

  52. Daryl Lawton says:

    I wasn’t trying to find a fault in your grammar, I’m not even aware of one in your sentence I just found the phrasing a little odd. Did find your comment amusing though.

  53. To quote Ayn Rand, but I don’t think of you ;-) Yes, you do drive me batty sometimes, but I was referring to bigger commentators than you or I.

  54. It’s secret grammatical code that means I hate the baby Jesus and puppies.

    PS I use the word “the” a lot too. Just want to confess all my grammatical sins up front, since we all know that this story really is all about me.

  55. The_Fixer says:

    I stand corrected on that fine point. I am aware of the “Womyn’s Movement”, but didn’t give it much thought when composing my comment. Which may say something about them, me, or both.

    You do make some other good points about assimilation, it’s a debate that has intensified since we’ve seen the recent social progress that has inched us (albeit very slowly) toward some form of equality.

    I guess that the point I was trying to make is that there is no “big book of gay”, no ordered philosophy and no belief system to interpret and coerce people into believing through violence. We deal with what is, and what should be in this life, not the afterlife. Demands made by gay people involve civil rights and basic human fairness – that’s our motivation, not adherence to doctrine put forth by a prophet claiming to speak for a god. We’re also not trying to coerce people into being gay, unlike religious fundamentalists. The group that you point to as an exception is really a very tiny minority, and generally speaking, nearly everyone who stands under the LGBTQUIA umbrella (sorry for the alphabet soup) considers them outliers, for better or for worse. (Here’s a funny aside – I typo’ed “umbrella” as “unbrella”, which is another discussion entirely.)

    Yes, you’re right about the details. I do still stand by my opinion that the struggle for gay rights has seldom resorted to violence as a tactic because we don’t have a religion that can be “fundamentalized”, to coin a phrase.

    In that sense, asking why we haven’t resorted to violence the way that fundamentalist religious zealots (of any stripe) have is kind of an apples-to-oranges comparison. And blaming all religion for the actions of the fundamentalists is painting with a very, very broad brush.

  56. FLL says:

    Your research skills are always a good resource. Thanks.

  57. BeccaM says:

    You might find this story interesting, FLL:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3211772.stm

  58. FLL says:

    How about another example, cambridgemac? Does a “like” on Disqus count as expressing your opinion? I’m sure everyone would agree that it does. Here is the truly loathsome comment that Max_1 made trivializing the AIDS deaths that John Aravosis mentioned in his post from two days ago, the post in which John was asking why gay people didn’t resort to violence in the face of the Reagan administrations intentional withholding of government funding and resources in the hopes that lots of gay men would die:

    Perhaps the LGBT community didn’t wage war was because they weren’t being bombed and occupied by bruital forces paid for by taxpayers in a so called free part of the world?

    Does Bill’s “like” count as a statement of what he discounts as insignificant and trivial? Most people would think so.

  59. BeccaM says:

    Interesting to note that we don’t have fundamentalist gays, as there really is no such thing.

    Wellll…. actually we do. It’s the lesbian separatist movement, and trust me there is some major radicalism going on there. Not to delve into all the details, but let’s just say that a basic tenet is the belief among many that having a Y chromosome is in itself a predisposition towards evil and violence. These are the Ls who’d just as soon have nothing to do with G, B, or T in that acronym (And ‘Q’? Fuggedaboutit). And as the name might imply, a common theme is this notion of setting up lesbian-only communes, away from everything and all patriarchist influences.

    However (just my opinion here), this impulse towards separation and rejection of non-separatist allies has undercut their ability to lobby for reforms and change, in large part because they reject the existing cultural constructs. And in some respects, the successes in repealing DADT and with the rapid expansion of marriage equality provides a stark contrast in those goals — because freedom to serve in the armed forces and to participate in civil marriage are both steps towards assimilation, participating in the social order as it already is, rather than a rejection of all of it as too damaged, too irreparable to be part of.

    On the other hand, despite being radical/fundamentalist in nature, the lesbian separatist movement still eschews violence… primarily because it’s seen by them as a male trait.

    All of which brings me around to note that there really are different flavors of fundamentalism. I’d say that if the rhetoric includes the language of violence, that’s when they’re the real danger to others. Things like Christians talking about murdering doctors or committing genocide against non-Christians. Or fundamentalist Muslims advocating the killing of all non-Muslims. The common theme among fundamentalist lesbians, on the other hand, seems to be more along the lines of, “No, we don’t want you all dead, we just want you to leave us entirely alone.”

  60. FLL says:

    @ cambridgemac. Here is your request from downthread:

    I challenge you to cite two specific examples of “liberals” or leftists – or indeed any gay activists – who find oppression of gay people in Islamic societies or any other to be “amusing or useful.”

    Well, that would be pretty difficult indeed, and also irrelevant since I’m discussing people who are misrepresenting themselves and lying about their real motives. Those people, by definition, will not admit to finding oppression of gay people in Islamic societies amusing or useful even if they really do. Why? Because they’re lying. So now you’re congratulating yourself, cambridgemac, on making a request which is, by definition, impossible to comply with. Not so fast. Your request might not be as impossible to comply with as you think. Suspend your disbelief, Americablog readers, but I do have a specific example of a self-identified “left-winger” who would be happy to see basic civil rights indefinitely withheld from gay people (which you could also describe as oppression of gay people), and the self-identified “left-winger” states it in his own words. Who is this mystery person? None other than our very own crazy uncle in the attic, Bill Perdue. I’m taking excerpts from one of John’s posts of August 8, 2013.
    (http://aravosis.wpengine.com/2013/08/russian-jew-museum-director-beaten-fired-sochi-olympics.html

    From my own comment: Bill Perdue’s comment did not occur in a vacuum. His never-ending narrative is that countries where civil rights have succeeded to a large degree are “the bad people,” and he always describes those countries as “much worse” than places where civil rights are horrendously ignored, which are “the good people.”

    From Bill’s reply: ‘Civil Rights’ and all political rights in the absence of economic democracy – socialism – are not a solution.

    So, cambridgemac, Bill would be content and please (or amused, if you want to use my original word) if gay people were afforded civil rights only after the establishment of economic equality or socialism or marxism or whichever phrase you prefer—which, of course, means never. “Not a solution” is what Bill thinks of civil rights, which he even puts between sarcastic quote marks. I’ve never seen anyone but a homophobe refer to civil rights for gay people by using quote marks in that way, have you?

    And you were just so pleased with yourself, weren’t you, cambridgemac. You were convinced that you had given me an impossible request. After all, what liar would let the truth about their opinions occasionally slip out? I would caution you, cambridgemac, to think about a well known of trial lawyers: Never ask a witness a question that you don’t know the answer to. You made the mistake, cambridgemac, of doing exactly that.

  61. quax says:

    Seems to me you are answering this yourself: The last thing a community begging for acceptance as “normal” needed was a “gay terrorist.”

    Seeking acceptance doesn’t lend itself to the tribal pitfall and demonization of the “others”.

  62. John Doe says:

    Let me take a stab at this. I’ll do so by challenging the premise and
    seeing if I can figure out the difference amongst different marginalized
    groups.

    For starters, it is not true that other marginalized
    groups do not resort to violence. The Jewish terror group Irgun
    resorted to many acts of terrorism such as the bombing of the King David
    Hotel, which killed hundreds of civilians, as well as mass executions
    of Arab civilians while ethnically cleansing towns. Mass graves have
    been found as recently as this past fall. Similarly, settler groups
    continue to kill civilians and even assassinated a prime minister –
    Rabin. In addition, Catholics in Northern Ireland bombed military and
    economic targets in their efforts to drive the British out of Northern
    Ireland. Kurdish rebels invented the suicide bombing tactic as they
    attempted to separate from Saddam Hussein’s Arab Nationalistic Iraq.
    Basque’s in Spain, Hindi rebels in India fighting the British and Tamils
    in Sri Lanka are all groups that used violence and “terrorism” as a
    tactic to achieve political goals.

    The notion that violence
    and/or terrorism being relegated to Muslims is simply inaccurate. The
    belief that it is only a tactic of Muslim’s is part of the problem in
    ever being able to tackle this difficult issue.

    It does seem to
    be generally true though that gays as a group have not resorted to mass
    coordinated violence. As some commentators have accurately pointed out,
    gay rights activists have in the past resorted to some violence, but
    generally speaking not nearly on the level of the groups i described
    early. To allude that gay rights riots are in line with the Tamil
    Tigers would be just silly. But, facts are facts and to say that there
    has never been any violent acts in the gay rights movement would also be
    untrue.

    Now, on to the “why.” Why might the gay rights movement
    be different? I think, although certainly not positive, that the
    answer might lie in the nature and length of the movement. One could
    argue that the movement started with the beginning of time. People have
    been gay since there have been people. While the movement certainly
    took different forms and degrees of openness, people and groups have
    been struggling with this issue forever. And notably, they have been
    struggling with this issue in every single geographic area and religious
    group. There are gay Christians and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and
    gay Chinese and Africans and Russians and there are gay men and gay
    women and….. Get the point? This issue is one that truly transcends
    ethnicity and religions.

    To understand the issue we also have
    to look at what marginalized groups are seeking. They are most often
    seeking power. Some might say equality, but achieving equality is in
    reality achieving power, just to a different degree. Virtually every
    struggle in the history of the world has been about power and money.
    Again, they just take different forms and degrees. When some groups
    achieve equality, they stay there. Others, once they achieve power or
    equality, use that power to suppress and oppress others. But it is
    always about the eternal struggle for power.

    The gay rights
    movement is somewhat different. Again, remember that there are gays in
    all groups. So, a gay person, even though in the closet and
    marginalized, can still be in a position of power. Let me explain. The
    ruling family, even though Christian, can give birth to a gay son.
    That gay son could be in the highest position of power in that
    particular state. He might even pretend to be straight and marry and
    have kids. He may push the gay rights agenda in private or he may
    suppress it. But, he is gay and in power. The same could happen in any
    other society. Contrast that with the fact that in colonial North
    Africa the British monarch doesn’t one day have a baby and that baby
    happens to come out brown and Muslim or black and Zulu. The Russian
    Tsar or Prime Minister does watch to his surprise as his Muslim Chechyn
    baby girl somehow is born. The point is that most marginalized groups
    are different culturally, ethnically and religiously from those that
    oppress and suppress them. While, usually (not always) gays are exactly
    (generally speaking) the same as those in power in whatever part of the
    world they come from except sexual preference. They are not on the
    outside looking in. One could argue they are on the inside looking
    out. This just creates a very different dynamic.

    I might argue
    that this gives gays a very unique ability to appreciate and fight for
    marginalized groups. In every single case in history marginalized
    groups were not thought of as “marginalized” by the oppressors. They
    were labelled as terrorists or animals or unworthy or whatever
    descriptors we want to use. We have this false sense today that every
    felt bad for the blacks of Africa when the British colonized them but
    just didn’t do anything about not. Not true. There was a very
    deliberate and effective PR campaign to make the public believe that
    colonization was not only justified but good for the natives.

    That
    brings me to the final point. Marginalized groups use violence because
    it works. I am not justifying it so please don’t stoop to that level.
    I am just arguing that as a tactic it generally works. It doesn’t work
    in the sense that cartoonists will now be afraid (although that might
    happen and would be a travesty), but that it works in that it gets
    people to ask questions. Take the example of colonization. The idea
    still applies today, but to make the point lets go back in time. If you
    were the British public during the colonization of Africa or India you
    really had no idea what was going on in those two parts of the world.
    You would never have traveled there or known much about those cultures.
    All you knew was what you read in the newspaper, IF you even did that.
    And even if you did, it would have been very little information and
    filtered by the elites that were certainly benefiting from
    colonization. Slowly but surely your government was taking land,
    killing people, disrupting rebellions and taking over the entire
    structure of the place that was being colonized. Everyone once in a
    while there would be a rebellion in the place that was being colonized,
    but it would be brutally put down. The local press back in London would
    describe it as a bunch of animals killing the peaceful trade mission of
    the benevolent Crown that was bringing infrastructure and trade to
    India or Africa for the benefit of all that lived there. And you as a
    good an uniformed Londoner would roundly agree with that assessment.
    You wouldn’t know anything different and perhaps more importantly, YOU
    DIDN”T CARE TOO MUCH. You quickly went on with other business because
    it really didn’t affect you, other than the interesting new items that
    were showing up in shops around London and the profit coming back to the
    Crown treasury that was financing new projects in England.

    Then,
    one day a bomb goes off in London or maybe Canary Wharf. Maybe some of
    those African subjects decide to take the fight to London. Rightly so,
    people are appalled. How could someone target innocent civilians? The
    act would be labelled as barbaric. But then someone would happen.
    While the condemnations are coming down and proclamations from leaders
    about crushing the terrorists are being shouted from on high, something
    else happens. People start asking questions. They start being
    interested in the issue. They want to know who these people are. What
    makes them tick. Why did they do this? That leads to questions about
    what Britain is doing in India or Africa. It then becomes the focal
    point of the day. It might take a long time, but eventually the general
    public in a democracy (and even in dictatorship, although suppressed)
    gets it right. They start to understand the issue and then change
    happens. It might not be exactly what the terrorists want, but things
    start to change and people become aware. It works and that is why they
    do it.

  63. heimaey says:

    Hmmm seems to me it really doesn’t matter because Christians and Jews find a lot of things to justify their actions as well and it basically comes from no real reason other than taking what you whatever you want from some text written thousands of years ago. It’s mostly arbitrary.

  64. Daryl Lawton says:

    What is with you saying “too” in your sentence on oppression? How is a group being protected while it carries out vicious attacks oppressed?

  65. Bill_Perdue says:

    That’s the understatement of the year.

  66. Bill_Perdue says:

    Wrong. It’s been attempted seveal times. I suggest you read books about Wounded Knee, Sand Creek or in India at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_India. The history of South Africa is rife with the mass murders of innocent and non-violent workers and protesters.

    RIF

  67. caphillprof says:

    Republicans were for gun control before they were against it stemming from efforts to arm the black community for self protection/preservation.

  68. caphillprof says:

    I believe the impact of the Crusades was rather negligible

  69. The_Fixer says:

    It’s not religion, rather fundamentalist religion – the stuff that never moved beyond the dark ages.

    It matters not whether it is Islam, Judaism, or Christianity. Any fundamentalist religion (and the only ones I can think of all seem to be of the Abrahamic variety) seems to be the problem.

    As has been pointed out in other comments, there are over a billion followers of Islam. It’s a relatively small percentage that actually carry out these acts of terrorism.

    It’s interesting to note, however, that a lot of the mainstream Muslims support draconian Sharia law punishments, even if they don’t personally carry them out or participate in terrorist activities. That is worrisome to me (and more than a little disappointing).

    You see similar things happening with fundamentalist Christianity. Terrorism is perpetrated in the form of killing doctors who perform abortions.

    Look at Israel – the fundamentalists have great influence over the government and it shows in their desire to virtually wipe out the Palestinians.

    Interesting to note that we don’t have fundamentalist gays, as there really is no such thing. We have had, over the course of the years, radicalized gay people, but they primarily chose demonstration and disruption as their methodology to attempt to reach the goal of equality.

    In essence, fundamentalism is going over the edge. We didn’t do that, as there is no gay bible (or Koran or Torah), consequently, no way to interpret it in a fundamentalist way.

  70. Don Chandler says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4PqLKWuwyU

    thanks for the heads up on the driving miss daisy soundtrack. It’s on youtube ofc.

    Here’s some famous soundtracks on the debate between Malcolm X and Dr King. For what it’s worth, they both sounded good to me but Dr King won the day. Malcom X…like a rhetorical trick played by a very smart person. The Rocky Soundtrack? Meh.

  71. GarySFBCN says:

    Thanks – I’ll edit my comment.

  72. GarySFBCN says:

    That’s small change. 140 protesters injured, 60 police injured, 21 cars destroyed (13 of them police cars), City Hall damaged, etc.

    White Night Riots, 1979:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Night_riots

  73. Hue-Man says:

    This item caused me to check into the death toll and destruction that resulted from the riots following the Toronto police gay bath-house raids on February 5, 1981, AKA Canada’s Stonewall.

    “At the end of the night, the toll was 11 arrests, one injured police officer, one damaged police car, and four smashed windows in a streetcar.” http://torontoist.com/2011/06/historicist_raiding_the_bathhouses/

    The link quotes one marcher:

    “I know that something got into people, because it got into me…Friday night was different. I screamed and chanted until my throat was raw. I wanted to destroy, to injure, perhaps to kill. What got into me last Friday night was my own anger, anger which I’ve become accustomed to thrusting away from myself because it’s too big to deal with, too frightening to acknowledge…What got into me was my own anger over living in a society which finds my existence inconvenient. What got into me was my own anger over harassment on streets that are never safe for me. What got into me was my own anger over the unrelenting stream of taunts and insults from the media, coolly calculated to undermine my self-respect with every passing day…”

    It’s ancient history but it happened at the right time just as AIDS began its slaughter. It’s also a reminder of what millions of lesbians and gays are having to tolerate TODAY around the world. Finally, my take-away is that violence wasn’t necessary to effect change – standing up, confronting the hatred head-on, and maintaining that pressure was what changed the status of gays and lesbians.

  74. Eebadee-eebadee-thatsallfolks says:

    What the gays and lesbians have been fighting for since the days of the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis is the truth (the end of the closet) and visibility. This is fundamentally different from other struggles. The closest parallel to “gay liberation” (I’m shocked myself at how quaint and outdated that term sounds nowadays) is feminism. Women’s rights and LGBT rights move roughly in tandem in different societies; the more homophobic a given society is, the more sexist it also tends to be, and vice versa. Race is the great American bête noir (pun unintended, but I can’t think of a good English term), so it’s understandable that there is an American tendency to reduce all prejudice or injustice to a kind of “racism” and to try to equate all liberation struggles to African-Americans’ struggle for civil rights. But though they may be equally valid, they are not really equivalent.

  75. Houndentenor says:

    The Lebanese people successfully got the Syrians to withdraw through peaceful protest. (And rather moving one, at that.) You can’t claim that it can’t work in the middle east. What it obviously takes is a lot of people participating.

  76. Houndentenor says:

    It’s invalid to say that a tactic wouldn’t have worked when it wasn’t attempted.

  77. Houndentenor says:

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that nonviolent protest isn’t more effective. You are exactly right about Dr King winning over white people. The speech (given to a predominantly white audience) that we hear int he soundtrack to Driving Miss Daisy is an excellent example of how to win over the fence sitters.

  78. Houndentenor says:

    Yes, but the point is that it would be far easier to commit acts of violence anonymously (bombings, arson, etc) that to publicly protest and yet that hasn’t been our community’s MO.

  79. Houndentenor says:

    A lot of what’s wrong with the middle east is indeed the fault of the West. First the Crusades, then colonialism and then the carving up of that part of the world in ways that made no sense at all based on the cultural and ethnic groups there. Iraq is a very fine example of the mess the British Empire walked away from. Kurds divided between 3-4 countries and groups that hated each other within one country with the minority group in power abusing the rest. Is it any wonder that there are so many problems there. And the US did plenty too like overthrowing a democratically elected government in Iran and installing the unpopular and tyranical shah. What could possibly go wrong. That’s all true. It still doesn’t explain why people think it’s okay to murder cartoonists.

  80. Hue-Man says:

    I understand the clothing laws to require modesty which has been interpreted culturally in each different locale. Thirty years ago, my Muslim dry cleaner/launderer, his family and workers were indistinguishable from any one else with a “Mediterranean” complexion.

  81. Houndentenor says:

    Because at the moment the problem does seem to be coming from Muslims. I’m not saying that all Muslims or even most are terrorists. That’s obviously not true as there are over a billion Muslims worldwide! But most of the terrorism at the moment is being committed by one group and it’s not at all unfair to ask what about the religion allows some of its members to feel justified in these acts.

  82. Bill_Perdue says:

    Non violence is a tactical confirmation that the cops out gun demonstrators or pickets. It becomes less important in periods of extreme radicalization and for individuals, it becomes totally unimportant if they feel trapped in a society controlled by bosses, warmonger and racists.

    Putin moved into Crimea in response to the US backed fascist coup in Ukraine.

    Ask Chelsea Manning if it’s OK to say that the Bushes, Clintons and Obama are warmongers and then to prove it.

    The US is now a police state. Pretending that it’s not an be very dangerous as the people of Cleveland, Fergeson and New York, among many others, are finding out.

  83. Don Chandler says:

    Well, if you really have to say non-violence is a tactic, not a strategy, I’m okay with it. But another way to view it: think of non-violence as a positional approach to achieving your goals. For gays, violence was not necessary because we could win in court and in the court of public opinion because our arguments were much stronger and the opposition’s arguments were totally pathetic. Nobody had to die on either side because of the benefits of civil discourse. So citizens were willing to listen to gays because they knew gays and liked gays….as for the the anti-gay opposition, not so much. They proved to be authoritarian nannys and also illogical. Now in Russia, nobody in government and not enough people in society are listening and standing up for gays. So, maybe The US is not quite as bad as you think or lead people to believe. So you’re not a lesser evil kind of guy–fine. We have the same goals, different tactics and our strategies need not be mutually exclusive.

    I liked Obama’s comments about Putin not being a very good chess player. I think Obama was just saying that Putin didn’t look very far ahead when deciding to invade Ukraine. Today, Putin could be receiving world assistance to help bail out the plunging Ruble but he wanted Crimea so much that he conveniently forgot who his friends were. Like an effective dictator, he chose to make an enemy of the US to rally his people from a supposed outside menace. On the inside of Russia, he chose to make gays and transgenders a pariah class for which he could rally his people against. Textbook fascist. He picks his opposition. He controls everything. At least In our country, you can say anything you want about Obama and I know you will ;)

  84. Mike F says:

    I don’t know about that. I mention this only as a counter-argument, and therefore it contains not a whit of snark, malice, or anger (though perhaps some ignorance), but I’m wondering if conspicuously dying from AIDS (Kaposi’s sarcoma, wasting, etc.) removes the ability to conceal oneself from such scrutiny. As for Muslims wearing particular garb, I used to work with an Iranian immigrant, and but for his somewhat dark complexion, and facial features (I hate even going here), one wouldn’t guess that he was Muslim, or Iranian and “Middle Eastern”, for that matter. I also must say that I worked with him in the early 90’s, so the scrutiny of “those people” was at a heightened level, as in “NUKE IRAQ!” (or Iran; hatred is an equal opportunity employer, after all). His name was Ali.

  85. Macbill says:

    We have too much compassion to kill our oppressors.

  86. nicho says:

    They’re part of the black mainstream. In fact, many of them are on the down-low. Many of them are not even visible, never mind violent.

  87. nicho says:

    It’s just like when the cops start to assault someone. If he tries to defend himself from police brutality, he’s charged with resisting arrest.

  88. Richard Thompson says:

    Definitely can’t deny that gays have been oppressed, but there is one clear difference between “them” and most of the other groups you mentioned. Blacks (skin color), muslims (clothing types mandated by their religion), can be identified on sight, in general, gays cannot. The ability to “hide” from oppression just might take off enough of the edge to forestall the violence.

  89. Bill_Perdue says:

    I agree and said so above. And so does the Civil War. The difference is that the Revolutionary war was fought to create a state that could steal the lands of native peoples and keep slaves enslaved. It was a very mixed event.

  90. SanFranGuns says:

    Wanting power and wanting equality are different, I’d gather

  91. Richard Thompson says:

    If that counts as terrorism, so does the American Revolutionary war. Both “sides” were fighting for freedom.

  92. Bill_Perdue says:

    Non violence is a tactic, not a strategy, and it has limited value. It had no value for the Vietnamese or the Iraqis, and it has no value for the Palestinians who face periodic ethnic cleansing campaigns of the zionists during which they murder thousands of Palestinians.

    Who asked anyone to pick up weapons? Russia is a polcie state in the making just like the US.

    We have support in Russia but at the present time Putin is cracking down on all leftist and trade union opposition.

    Lively is as much a danger to us as he is to Russians, and he’s a terrible threat to Ugandans and other Africans, along with Robertson and Obama boyfriends Warren and McClurkin.

  93. Richard Thompson says:

    Could part of that be in the countries you are referring to admitting to be gay could be an instant death sentence?

  94. Richard Thompson says:

    Well said, except it’s thousands of radicals mucking it up for hundreds of millions of Muslims, not just millions. There are over a billion Muslims in the world.

  95. heimaey says:

    Well John’s sort of saying why didn’t gays do what these extremists did so. When John says that he’s automatically comparing all of Islam along with these nuts because this faction does not represent most of Islam yet it is lumped with all of Islam.

    A lot of the media has been depicting Islam as “more dangerous” than other religions and so there’s all this lumping together and it’s really not doing anyone any good. These are the same people that seem to completely brush off France’s racist history as no big deal, and forget about US atrocities in the ME.

    These things are not happening as we mind our own business and are completely removed from Islam – they are happening while we blow up hundreds of thousands of innocent Middle Easterners (the vast majority Muslim), put drones everywhere and keep a constant and annoying eye on them, displace Palestinians and refuse to recognize their sovereignty, entrench an entire class and generations of people into second class citizenship with no olive branch of equality in sight ( and at least gays are getting more civil rights – French’s Muslim community has no such thing).

  96. Don Chandler says:

    You need to look at each one of these events and measure it against the non-violent approach nationally. I think in Lowndes County, self defense is justifiable and a great argument. And the zero-sum game also applies since there were 4-1 Blacks to Whites in the county. And Blacks were also the laborers and with that comes power. And don’t forget the civil rights act of 1964 which gave Blacks a much stronger hand.

    Going back to Russia, Medevnev just signed into law some crazy rule prohibiting Transgender people from driving. Are Transgender suppose to pick up weapons? Russia is a brutal dictatorship. I think I would own a gun in Russia–maybe i’d be dead there. I’m afraid that gays/transgender will need support from within Russian society before things can change for the better. From outside, we have to keep pointing out how Scott Lively’s bring influence to Russia’s hate government.

    The best argument in support for the Black Panthers is how they highlighted the threat of violence to move society toward a peaceful solution. It’s a contrast that might have given Martin Luther’s peaceful approach more credence. And his death helped martyred the cause: The Opressor’s Guns vs Our words. It won the day.

    ISIS is way past the threat of violence. Glad Obama helped the Kurds.

  97. FLL says:

    I agree with you that Gary’s stated concern is legitimate:

    …my concern that the actions of a few thousand extremists are being projected to an entire group that includes millions of non-extremists…

    You’ll get no argument from me here. So if we’re following Gary’s stated concern, Gary should only complain if, in the article above, John Aravosis is actually projecting the actions of a few onto all Muslims. I read John’s article and he doesn’t do that anywhere. So why the complaint on Gary’s part? Or is it just an innocuous feud between Gary and John?

  98. heimaey says:

    They’re also not religions, nor are they as organized, powerful or as numerous as radical Islam.

    Here is a fun movie about a gay radical faction:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390418/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_11

  99. FLL says:

    I’ve always felt that where the modern world and the not so modern world meet, big problems follow.

    You’ve put your finger on the root of the problem. India was in the same “post-colonial” status after WWII as were the Arab states. India is increasingly a success story, both technologically and in terms of a solid 70-year record of functioning democracy. For a long period of time, the Arab states didn’t go that route, with the exception of more or less democratic Lebanon. I hope things in the region develop in a democratic direction. If they do, technological progress always follows.

  100. GarySFBCN says:

    Yes, hurl firebombs in your comments and then claim ‘drama’ at the responses.

  101. heimaey says:

    Nothing compares to what happened in Brazil – the Quilombos were former slave colonies that basically butchered and massacred any white person who came near them well into the late 19th century.There was also a Muslim uprising in Salvador in the mid 1800s.

    The US had a much lower slave population than Brazil which is why it didn’t happen as much here. I also didn’t realize we were going back this far.

  102. GarySFBCN says:

    “So I rightfully bristle when some of my liberal brethren make slimly-couched excuses for the serial execution of cops or cartoonists, be it in France or America. A lot of people have it bad. And not everyone commits mass murder in response.”

    Given how you are dismissive of me and my posts, I’m assuming that you may be including me in that group who makes excuses, etc.

    So let me put it back on you:

    I rightfully bristle when some people (I won’t accuse you of being ‘liberal’) assume that my concern that the actions of a few thousand extremists are being projected to an entire group that includes millions of non-extremists is in any way a defense of the use of violence, terrorism and the treatment of women and gays.

  103. Bill_Perdue says:

    Read about the Lowndes County Black Panthers. They armed themselves and intimidated the rarcists. They won with armed defense, and guns. So did the Union Army and so did the Continental Army.

  104. FLL says:

    I’ve copied all of it in case you decide to edit what you wrote.

    No edits on my part, but really way too much drama on your part. Your writing would be better if you skipped the drama and explained to the reader why you think my summary just above your reply is outrageous. All name-calling and drama, but no substance.

  105. Don Chandler says:

    But not with guns.

  106. Don Chandler says:

    fair enough. Blacks in the US have met with a great deal of success through peaceful resistance. Unfortunately, The Middle East is all fucked up and I really don’t remember when it wasn’t. I’ve always felt that where the modern world and the not so modern world meet, big problems follow. An open society and secularism are essential to human rights and peaceful resolution. I don’t subscribe to the theory that religion is the root of all evil–more likely, greed. You can reach a balance between secular and religious concerns if you have debate.

  107. GarySFBCN says:

    I never provided my thoughts on the “meaning” of your sentence, so your own reading comprehension is the problem.

    What you wrote is outrageous, worthy of Hannity. I’ve copied all of it in case you decide to edit what you wrote.

  108. Bill_Perdue says:

    The early slave revolts and the fighting by groups of CSA deserters, USA escaped POWs and rebellious slaves and somtimes native peoples were very bloody and exacted a heavy toll on slave owners and their allies.

    From Wiki “Nat Turner’s Rebellion (also known as the Southampton Insurrection) was a slaverebellion that took place in Southampton County, Virginia, during August 1831. Led by Nat Turner, rebel slaves killed anywhere from 55 to 65 people, the highest number of fatalities caused by any slave uprising in the American South.” There were dozens of other slave revolts that featured the killing of slavers, their families and their employees.

    you can read American Negro Slave Revolts by Herbert Aptheker

  109. FLL says:

    I’m posting links to your idiotic, reactionary post as an example of just how demented and hateful some people are.

    No problem.

  110. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s never wise to give the cops an opening for mass murder. But, it remains true that in this country all violence originates with the Democrats and Republicans their police state.

    No one makes progess by taking bullets and no one respects tho9se who don’t fight back. Your thesis is wrong. G’s, the LGBT communities, students and above all people of color did fight back.

  111. FLL says:

    That’s not a criticism of the sentence you quoted. Here, I’ll make it easy for you. The clear meaning of the sentence is that if people were thought to be supporting Islamic fundamentalists because they thought it was chic, it would sound less damning than if they were thought to be doing it because they approved of the murderous activity of al Qaeda et al.

    Does that summary logically follow from the sentence you quoted? It should. Reading comprehension is a problem here. So you resort to name-calling? Concentrate on reading comprehension.

  112. GarySFBCN says:

    No, they are your words and what you wrote. I’m not complaining and John should enjoy more web traffic. I’m posting links to your idiotic, reactionary post as an example of just how demented and hateful some people are.

    No guilty conscience here.

  113. I do think religion might be the tipping point.

  114. heimaey says:

    Black isn’t a religion. And we had a HUGE civil rights movement here in the US – something that they don’t have in France.

  115. Black gays aren’t part of the mainstream. Trans people aren’t either. No violence.

  116. Was there African-American terrorism in the US? Not really. And you’d be hard-pressed to claim that Muslims in France are more oppressed than were American slaves.

  117. But you dont’ find gay activists terribly violent in Africa, or Latin America, either. Take the Middle East. Muslim gay activists don’t embrace violence, even extreme ones, if they even exist, don’t. So even the “other cultures” argument doesn’t quite work.

  118. And they weren’t terribly “violent” on our end.

  119. FLL says:

    Bullshit. Please provide examples of liberals excusing terrorism.

    That is a question for John Aravosis, not me. What you quoted from my comment was simply a reference to what John wrote. Since it’s his writing, I’ll let you ask him and let John defend his own writing. Make sense?

    And wouldn’t it be you that complains. Guilty conscience?

  120. That’s a good example. Though it’s an example of a riot, not organized violence. We had riots in the black community as well. But they’re sporadic at best, and violence overall is not accepted as a political tactic by even the fringe of the gay or black communities.

  121. Yeah, but Stonewall involved girls in high heels kicking police. It was hardly Entebbe. Even our most “violent” moment was rather non-violent.

  122. FLL says:

    although there are plenty of examples of ‘homosexual’ reactionaries and rightists who temporize with bigots and bigotry.

    Nice example of hate speech. As for my reply, complain to the Moderators.

  123. Don Chandler says:

    But we didn’t answer the cops violence with violence. And that won the day.

  124. GarySFBCN says:

    “I think it would be generous to say that some “liberals” are adopting al Qaeda and the Taliban because they think it’s chic.”

    Are you a right-wing plant? Now that I think about it, your posts so outrageous that they are pretty funny. Thanks for the laugh.

  125. FLL says:

    Yes, I do compare U.S. Blacks with the Islamists in my reply, but I didn’t claim that you were wrong about anything. The reason I included a comparison of the two is because John’s article is a comparison between American gay people and Islamists.

  126. GarySFBCN says:

    FLL’s post is so inflammatory and so full of lies I hardly know where to begin.

  127. GarySFBCN says:

    “What about your “liberal” brethren who think that Islamist terrorism is understandable or excusable?”

    Bullshit. Please provide examples of liberals excusing terrorism.

    “You’ll notice that many of the same people who excuse Putin. . .”

    While I disagreed with THE HANDFUL of people who did not support Ukraine because of whatever, I never saw ONE opinion supporting Putin.

    “. . .but it’s increasingly obvious that many of them (not all of them, but many of them) simply find Islamist oppression of gay people either amusing or useful. ”

    WTF is wrong with you? You actually believe that?

    You should apply for a job at Fox News.

  128. Bill_Perdue says:

    All violence originates with the right, the police state and the politicians who created it.

  129. Indigo says:

    Oh, my. Well, Boston isn’t really on the West Coast, is it?

  130. Bill_Perdue says:

    The worst state sponsored brutality and terroism in recent months occured in occupied Palestine last August when over two thousand Palestinians were murdered, many in attacks on UN shelters.

  131. nicho says:

    Saying that it’s religion is true, but a little too simplistic. As Andre Vltchek points out, Islam used to be secular, moderate, and socialist. But the West took care of that, overthrowing moderate governments and installing fascist government — meanwhile giving aid to the most extreme forms of religion — the Wahhabists.

    Islam is not only a religion; it is also an enormous culture, one of the greatest on Earth, which has enriched our humanity with some of the paramount scientific and architectural achievements, and with countless discoveries in the field of medicine. Muslims have written stunning poetry, and composed beautiful music. But above all, they developed some of the earliest social structures in the world, including enormous public hospitals and the first universities on earth, like The University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco.

    The idea of ‘social’ was natural to many Muslim politicians, and had the West not brutally interfered, by overthrowing left-wing governments and putting on the throne fascist allies of London, Washington and Paris; almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders.

    And

    “It is very clear from the historical record that without British help neither Wahhabism nor the House of Saud would be in existence today. Wahhabism is a British-inspired fundamentalist movement in Islam. Through its defense of the House of Saud, the US also supports Wahhabism directly and indirectly regardless of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Wahhabism is violent, right wing, ultra-conservative, rigid, extremist, reactionary, sexist, and intolerant…”

    Worth reading:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/09/who-should-be-blamed-for-muslim-terrorism/

  132. cambridgemac says:

    Puh-leeze. I lived with lesbians in the 70s. The rhetoric was militantly anti-capitalist and here in Massachusetts, lesbians were supporting Weatherpeople (women) who had gone underground. Supporting them as women and feminists and activists who were targeted by the FBI, which had already assassinated a number of black people.

    I am not criticizing lesbian activists, I am praising them and trying to rescue history from the memory hole. Lesbians were active in the leadership of the community (Gay Community News was not a gay male outfit, it was totally inclusive) and their analysis of power politics in the US was not based on “love.”

    It is a myth – a rightwing myth – that leftists and dissidents foment violence in hopes of sparking an uprising. Along with the rightwing myth that unions are full of thugs who do the same. The truth is, violence has overwhelmingly been used the elites and the right wing against marginalized communities. Resistance is rare. And the violence of the oppressors is tossed down the Memory Hole. How many people know that the nation’s largest race riot killed 300 black people in Tulsa Oklahoma. The richest black community in the country. The whites rioted for DAYS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsa_race_riot

    On the other hand, lots of whites think they remember riots in Harlem in the late 60s. Only there was no riot in Harlem. John Lindsey walked the streets and talked to people and no riots.

    Anyway, I was somewhat involved in activism in Boston starting in 1975 and I don’t remember people talking about love as an organizing principle or method. At all.

  133. Don Chandler says:

    Cambridgemac, I remember them taking over student unions and brandishing rifles. Kind of teapartyish.

  134. Don Chandler says:

    unfortunately, fll, you are he one comparing the blacks with the islamists. Ethnic strife has a very long and violent history reaching into Today’s events. Well, consider Jewish people: they are religious folks too and a minority in the US. They have had synagogues set on fire by hate groups. They also endure ridicule all over the internet. But they don’t seem predisposed to violence in the US. Maybe Jewish folk are also influenced positively by secular concerns: unlike Islamic folk. Or maybe people in the US: Black/Islamic/Jewish/and gay know on which side of the bread is buttered and commonsense prevails. You’re going to have to find someone else to fight with concerning Islamic terrorists–I can’t stand them.

  135. Bill_Perdue says:

    I was referring to the criticism of Obama when he met with our Russian brothers and sisters and according the them had little to offer.

    “Blacks made progress In the US in their fight for civil rights when they
    found support among the white population” The opposite is true – people of
    color and working people as a whole make progress only when we stand up and fight for their rights.

    All violence originates with the right – Democrats and Republicans and the police state they’ve crafted out of FISA, the Paytriot Act, Obama’s NDAA, the militarization of the police and Obama’s penchant for committing extra legal murders of Arab American citizens.

    Even before that, during the radicalization of the 1960’s and 70’s the cops and the military murdered large numbers of people and engaged in extensive rioting at places like Chicago in 1968. They murdered students at Kent State and Jackson State as well a number of leaders and members of the Panthers, MalcolmX and members of his organization and a number of civil rights workers in the South. When SNCC (the Student National Coordinating Committee) formed the armed Black Panther Party of Lowndes County much of the violence buy racists subsided.

  136. Bill_Perdue says:

    He can’t answer you becasue there are no examples, although there are plenty of examples of ‘homosexual’ reactionaries and rightists who temporize with bigots and bigotry.

  137. Bill_Perdue says:

    Exactly correct. The Panthers were the victims of the racist Johnson and Nixon regimes and of racist police.

  138. cambridgemac says:

    “many of them (not all of them, but many of them) simply find Islamist oppression of gay people either amusing or useful. ”
    I’m a pretty well-read queer leftist, age 62, and I well recall the community – especially the left – organizing to protest oppression and executions of gay people In Iran and elsewhere. I challenge you to cite two specific examples of “liberals” or leftists – or indeed any gay activists – who find oppression of gay people in Islamic societies or any other to be “amusing or useful.”

  139. cambridgemac says:

    First, The Black Panthers argued for self-defense. There was very little violence committed BY them and a lot – including government assassinations – committed AGAINST them. They were no more theatrical than the Tea Party and made fewer threats. I don’t ever remember a Black Panther threatening to shoot the President, for example, which a number of Tea Party members have done.
    Second, the riots were spontaneous eruptions. They were not an organized project by political groups. They were less violent and less extensive than, for example, the Frondes in medieval France. And when you say the black riots were “quite violent” I assume you are referring to the burning of cars and stores. Because there wasn’t a lot of violence against people.

  140. cambridgemac says:

    Also, we never thought that we could rule. Monotheistic religions are hegemonic. Their sky god gives them the right and the obligation to rule. Gay people expect to be a minority and not to be rulers. Our assumption was ALWAYS that inclusivity was possible and desirable.

  141. cambridgemac says:

    In San Francisco, after the disgraceful verdict in the case of Harvey Milk’s murderer, Dan White, the gay community rioted and burned over a dozen police cars. To Americans, this counts as violence, although only property was targeted. I believe it was an appropriate response and motivated then-Acting Mayor Diane Feinstein to take LGBT concerns about safety, human rights, and civil rights more seriously.

    ( (During the weeklong youth uprising in the immigrant quarters around Paris a few years back, cars were targeted by rioters, but there was no personal violence. The US media were unanimous in describing the riots as violent, because property rights. Or something.)

  142. Don Chandler says:

    Well, I’m sure it was an empty gesture when Obama sent a gay contingent to represent the US Olympic team in the opening ceremonies that gave no solace at all to Russian Gays. Perhaps he should have sent an armed contingent.

    All sarcasm aside, Blacks made progress In the US in their fight for civil rights when they found support among the white population: support that wouldn’t have been there with violent resistance. Gays also listened to Martin Luther King and saw the logic of peaceful assembly.

  143. FLL says:

    The Black Panthers displayed weapons, but there were only two murders ascribed to them: a traffic cop when Huey Newton was stopped and a member they considered a police informant. Compare that with al Qaeda’s stated intention of killing civilians (e.g., the attack on the World Trade Center and many other instances of killing civilians in the Middle East). The riots in American cities were not murder sprees, but resulted mostly in property damage in Black neighborhoods. I think the Islamists are in a completely different category, quantitatively and qualitatively, than the Black Panthers.

  144. FLL says:

    Well said. I think it would be generous to say that some “liberals” are adopting al Qaeda and the Taliban because they think it’s chic. That’s stretching it a little because radical chic in the 60s/70s involved, for example, adopting members of the Black Panthers, whom many people still have sympathy for. There’s a big difference between the Black Panthers on the one hand and Taliban members who shoot school girls in the face for trying to get an education or ISIS members who murder any known or suspected gay men in the territory they control.

  145. Bill_Perdue says:

    I don’t think we ever felt defeated. There was a profound feeling of demoralization that swept the communities in 2004 after the passage of a wave of state DOMAs copycatting Democrat Bill Clintons federal DOMA, but it was not a pervasive feeling of desperation.

    I don’t thnk that Russian gays feel defeated. On the contrary there a still demonstrations, ofter brutally put down and still community political groups and a sense that they are not alone given the support they get in Europe and elsewhere from our communities, and even a few governments and NGO’s, although not from the US.

  146. Houndentenor says:

    Agreed. It has been notably rare. I laugh when right wingers claim all these death threats from gay people. One asshole in the comment section of a blog does not equal serious death threats. (And some of those are trolls trying to make us look bad.)

  147. Blackout says:

    Oh, I totally agree. But when the author of this article says that our “activists…never lifted a finger to hurt either one of
    them, or anyone else for that matter,” that simply isn’t true.

  148. DonewithDems says:

    I agree with Mark in Toronto. It’s religion that’s driving the violence. Economic hardships, political movements, marginalization, and hopelessness are all motivators, yes. But only religion tells you that some imaginary sky bully will reward you in the “afterlife” if only you will fight for the divine cause. If you are killed in battle, then you receive paradise. Killing others in the name of the sky bully is A-ok because you’re on the righteous side of things. Religion is as powerful and dangerous as it is irrational.

  149. heimaey says:

    Yep and yep to FLL below. That’s a huge difference.

  150. Houndentenor says:

    The Stonewall riots were a defense against violence inflicted upon gay people by the police. The gays in those riots, as well as earlier ones in San Francisco and Los Angeles, did not instigate that violence.

  151. Blackout says:

    Though I’m not aware of anything even remotely approaching the terroristic brutality of what we’ve seen in France over the last several days, it isn’t true that the lgbt movement has always been peaceful and non-violent. Heck, the modern movement started with the Stonewall RIOTS, and there were most certainly leaders in the Gay Liberation movement (and particularly in the Society for Individual Rights and Mattachine Society), that called for and participated in violent resistance efforts. I’m not really comparing those actions in any meaningful way to the acts of terrorism that we’re seeing in the news today, but it is important that we not white-wash our own history. By and large, the LGBT movement has adhered to the principles of non-violence, but there are notable exceptions to that as well.

  152. Houndentenor says:

    One of the thing that infuriates me about the western Muslim apologists is that much of the violence committed by Muslims in Europe is against women and gay men. The growing radical Muslim communities there undermines the social progress made in those countries and inexplicably it is the very progressives who fought so hard for that progress who are the first to excuse such violence. There is no excuse for violence and justifying it is revolting. there are other ways to protest and many of those have a history of winning over people to your cause. Violence tends to have the opposite effect.

    Side note: is this trend related to the “radical chic” meme of the 60s/70s?

  153. Don Chandler says:

    Actually, I thought of the Black Panther movement and how they had weapons displayed. There were also riots which were quite violent. Martin Luther King advocated peaceful marches. edit: it’s the irrationality of Black vs White.

  154. Houndentenor says:

    Yes, and the civil rights movement grew out of the churches. Of course, there was no other option as in much of the south black people were not allowed to congregate anywhere else.

  155. Houndentenor says:

    I’m going to offer up a couple of hypotheses.

    1) MLK. Or rather Thoreau-Gandhi-King. (I’ve always been fascinated that Thoreau’s ideas of nonviolent protest had to travel halfway around the world before coming back to America. The gay rights movement grew out of the civil rights and women’s rights movements of the 60s and 70s respectively. In fact there were gay men and women involved in both and that set the tone for the kinds of protests we would have.

    2) Most of the gay rights activists grew up middle class and the violence we find in other cultures never occurred to them as an options.

  156. heimaey says:

    It’s hard to choose violence when you’re at the mercy of the government and the health care industries. Blowing them up would have slowed down treatment options for a community that was already desperate to find any kind of medicine that would at least slow down their friends from dying.

    Stonewall was violent(ish) but the decade that followed was all about protests and grass roots organization. The police were still shutting down gay clubs in NY, LA & SF for much of the 70s and gays were still viewed as outcasts to a large degree.

    So why didn’t gays get violent? I think it was a combination of things. First, the gay community leaders were primarily well-educated white men from fairly stable backgrounds. These people are more likely to seek alternative solutions to violence. Second, they were social outcasts with no organized force to back them up. These radical fundamentalists have money and a whole lot of supporters behind them.

    The two groups were also brought up in two completely different environments. Again, white middle class men who were wrestling with internal demons and trying to just live a normal life in American society. This is hard to compare with an oppressed minority who are typically less educated and are whipped up in a religious zealotry.

    It’s also interesting to me how people take issue with the fact that some call France out on its xenophobia and racist environment as part of the cause. Does this excuse these murders? No. But when you have a bifurcated society that oppresses religious zealots then you can hardly not expect violence to erupt. France needs to take some responsibility for this in that they have done little over the years to remedy the situation. When you have a problem and you don’t address it – it will come to bite you in the ass. The US is not very different. We are breeding generations of zealots and terrorists with our activities in the ME. It’s biting us in the ass in different ways, and it’s not going away and it’s likely to get worse. I’m pretty shocked nothing has happened here yet in the US and am expecting it any day now.

  157. FLL says:

    Ethnic strife, however, is very different: highly violent. Like religious strife: highly irrational.

    You still need to explain why African-Americans and indigenous Indians, both American and Latin American, did not resort to terrorist violence in recent decades (or ever). Those are examples of ethnic strife. I suggest that the missing, and necessary, element in violent terrorism is fundamentalist religion, as is the case with al Qaeda.

    Now look at Bill’s answer, which you replied to, which is that people resort to violence and terror when they feel defeated. Do you think that’s an inadequate explanation?

  158. FLL says:

    Agreed. Some younger African-Americans are secular, but most (especially middle-aged or older) are not.

  159. 2patricius2 says:

    Maybe we’re generally not violent.

  160. Don Chandler says:

    Doesn’t reflect on why gays are not violent in combating malice and overbearing authority. Look at Russia Today, I don’t read about calls to violence in Russia. Same with gays in the twentieth century US; there was never a call to violence. But gays certainly felt defeated in the US and now in Russia. It’s something that distinguishes us from the … rabble, the violent rabble. Definitely thought about violence but rejected it. It’s a zero-sum game that favors the violent majority. Besides: gay men do not hate men–they really don’t. I don’t think women were violent in their fight for equality. Violence is self contradiction in gay and women’s rights. Ethnic strife, however, is very different: highly violent. Like religious strife: highly irrational.

    Maybe in an open society, with free speech and open press, we can discuss things and appeal to logic and commonsense and win arguments without violence…and find some level of mitigated resolution.

  161. nicho says:

    One thing could be that in the US, many gays — not all — are part of the mainstream in many other aspects, including — and especially — economic status. Don’t forget, we were raised by and with straight people. I realize that there are many gays and lesbians who are struggling financially and I’m not minimizing that, but there are many, many gays and lesbians who make good salaries, own businesses, have more than one home, drive nice cars, etc.

    The violent movements appeal to people who are marginalized, have no job prospects, have no future, IOW, have “nothing to lose.” This is why you’re seeing so many European youth — who are crushed by neoliberal austerity — being attracted to ISIS. When your most attractive career option is part-time pizza delivery guy (if you’re lucky), you gravitate toward someone or something who will, you think, provide some meaning in your life.

  162. nicho says:

    But the church is very powerful in the African-American community.

  163. dcinsider says:

    I love this post because I’ve often wondered the same thing. Most civil rights movements have a radical fringe, and some commit violence. The worst thing we did was toss condoms at priests.

    If I had to guess, speaking for myself and my friends and colleagues, we tended to believe in the system, even though the system was screwing us. We believed that if we fought within the system, through legislature and in the courts, we would eventually prevail. We were right.

    Violence would have set us back, as tempting as it was back then. There probably is not a gay man or lesbian who was an adult in the 1980’s who did not fantasize about dismembering Falwell and his crew. But we didn’t do it.

    One of the best answers here was Mark in Toronto; because “being gay is not a religion.” As strongly as we felt about our rights, and as angry as we were about our friends dying, we never thought some divine spirit gave us carte blanche to destroy those who disagreed with us or hated us. And that made all the difference.

  164. Bill_Perdue says:

    That’s a simple question with a simple answer. People opt for violence when they feel
    defeated and think they can’t make any real changes.

    It occurs on the right and the left.

    After the subsidence of the 1905 Revolution in Russia a number of groups, mostly anarchists and others who thought they could ‘spark’ revolutionary action by example opted for terrorism. After the defeat of imperial Germany ultra rightists formed a number of execution squads and began killing leftists, Jews and trade unionists. Hitler tried to spark an uprising with his 1923 putsch and it failed miserably. In the 1950’s leftists in Cuba tried to spark an uprising by attacking the Army’s Moncada Barracks on the On July 26, 1953 and it failed for lack of mass support. Three years later they were back, landing a military force and this time mass support began to pour in from students and workers in the cities and campesinos in the countryside. On January 1 1959 the Rebel Army
    entered Havana and Batista fled to Franco’s Spain.

    In the US a vast wave of terrorism from the right took place after the Civil War and coalesced
    around the KKK, the baptist cult and the Democrats. They murdered tens of thousands and, with the cooperation of northern Republicans reinstituted a form or slavery known as Jim Crow. Another wave of violence began after the Supremes struck down anti-abortion laws. Violence against the LGBT communities escalated after the passage of Democrat Bill Clintons DADT and DOMA and a whole series of state DOMAs promoted by the Bush regime.

    A sense of hopelessness used to be a big factor promoting terrorism by Palestinian groups but that feeling of hopelessness disappeared last August and September after 2000 or more were murdered by the zionists, large numbers in deliberate attacks on UN shelters, and the Palestinians
    emerged undefeated. The same is not true for immigrants from French colonies in north and central Africa. They very much feel isolated and desperate and unlike the previous generations
    that help defeat the French in Algeria, this generation has very poor options for fighting limited to religious groups like Al Qaida and right wing governments
    like ISIS.

  165. AndyinChicago says:

    It was to our benefit that the LGBT community never became violent. People learned about LGBT rights through family members and friends coming out, not through reading reports of murderous lesbians. So many traits have been hung on LGBT people, and I think violent and dangerous are two of them that was thrown out in the past, but that’s been refuted by the community taking the non-violent approach.

  166. FLL says:

    Excellent answer. And I would add that being African-American is not a religion either.

  167. mark_in_toronto says:

    The answer is simple:
    Being gay is not a religion.

  168. FLL says:

    Black folks in the U.S. have always faced discrimination, as have Blacks in Brazil. Indigenous Indians have been horrendously persecuted, not just in the U.S., but throughout the countries of Latin America. None of these groups have ever resorted to terrorism. The missing ingredient, of course, is the modern mutation of fundamentalist Islam.

    What about your “liberal” brethren who think that Islamist terrorism is understandable or excusable? It varies from one individual to another, but it’s increasingly obvious that many of them (not all of them, but many of them) simply find Islamist oppression of gay people either amusing or useful. Their excuses for Islamist terror are pretexts because they’re not willing to reveal their genuine motivation. This should come as no surprise. 1600 years of more or less uninterrupted persecution of gay people in the West is falling apart in front of our very eyes, amounting to the most profound societal change in 1600 years. It’s expected that a lot of people who liked things the old way are freaking out all around us. Now that they’ve lost in the U.S. and throughout the West, they are looking abroad for a standard bearer. You’ll notice that many of the same people who excuse Putin also excuse fundamentalist Islam, even though Putin and the Islamists are enemies. Now that Putin is faltering in popularity in Russia, the “liberals” who would like to see “the queers” put in their place are rallying around the Islamists as their new standard bearer. How simple is it to connect the dots?

  169. Indigo says:

    True enough but, through the 70s and well into the 80s, mainstreaming took a back seat to separatism. By the mid-90s, here in the Orlando area, the gay community was beginning to make such a large economic impact on the tourist industry (Orlando Gay Days and the whole DisneyWhirl thing) that the local socio-economic mainstream quickly reversed engines. Money doesn’t just talk in this town, it shouts.

    I’m not trying to say it’s an exclusively financial thing but I do think that the economic impact on our local economy has had a major influence on a shift in public policy. But the Millennial Innocents who don’t see our community as a community but as a gaggle of diversified interests and activities imagine themselves already fully integrated into the larger society. They don’t see further back than 2013 nor do they fear the future. That’s lovely. Who knows what the future will bring? History does not teach us to pretend that Utopia is just around the corner but fantasy advertising teaches us exactly that.

    Back in the 70s, though, when the gay community was pulling itself together into a Post-Stonewall image, there was plenty of talk about using love as the basic engine of our social advancement. It’s working pretty well, even now, and I think continues to be the valid engine of progress. And, as I’ve already pointed out, the economic factor swells larger and larger in this post-liberal world where we find ourselves today.

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