Thursday, 19 April 2007

Tory MP worried by polygamous gay immigrants

Conservative MP Mr Davies has warned that human rights laws and equality regulations could open the door for gays to demand similar recognition for multiple partnerships, with groups of men or women presenting themselves as polygamous 'families' according to the Mail.

The old fear of the promiscuous gay male has reared its head again, this time articulate by this particular backbench Conservative MP. The point is entirely baseless because, as noted within the article by Stonewall: "In all countries that have legalised gay marriage or any other form of same-sex recognition, polygamy is illegal" - so essentially this is a bit of a non-news story with little actual legislative relevance. What is interesting however is the language used to convey the fear of such an occurrence ever happening.

The way Davis phrases his points may be familiar to many: the fear of accepting a "pretended family relationship" (Sychin) as normal in law. What this story tells us in part is that good homosexuality requires bad homosexuality, Davis utilises the imaginary scurge of the polygamous gay immigrant to illustrate this point. Many of the arguments that have been made criticising same-sex civil partnerships also recognise this fact, suggesting such pairings effectively render those partnerships (such as polygamous pairings) that are not recognised by law - 'queer'. Many of the debates surrounding Section 28 involved an implicit acceptance that by articulating or codifying the gay male and female in law they may be subject to greater scrutiny ("By amending the law, we will make them part of a civil and civilized society" as one Labour MP once up it - Stychin 2003).

The progression towards acceptable forms of partnership and activism has been elsewhere acknowledged and commented upon (Warner 2000). It's not hard to find example within a UK/US political context; Stonewall, started as a riot, and is now a fairly servile state-depentent pressure-group participating in Pride events with corporate-backing that would rival the Olympics. Stonewall speak out, if only to assuage the fears of the 'confused' Member of Parliment.

Stychin: Governing Sexuality, 2003
Warner: The problem with normal, 2000

Monday, 16 April 2007

Hyper-activism & Theory

The Socialist Unity Blog notes in reference to a piece by Gregor Gall the propensity of the far-left to wax lyrical about the the endless potential of the "coming period";
"Every new period is more favourable and exciting than the last. The size and strength of the opportunities, especially for party building, are exaggerated to motivate members and supporters."
It's in this context that I read one of the latest Respect communiques titled "Respect anticipates nationwide progress in local elections". The general gist is best summarized by the following paragraph;
"No other party in the history of British politics has made such huge advances in such little time. The Respect Party is set to make yet more gains in this year's local wonders what difference Brown will make. There is little wonder what difference Respect makes." Respect Unity Coalition
My first thought was one of sympathy for those cadres who may take this at face-value without the prerequisite truckload of salt required. I'm sure many ex-swp activists will have been in similar situations, told about the "great gains to be expected just round the corner", how to "build for the next demo", to make sure it's "bigger than the last" in what can easily seem like an endless secession of some what aimless hyper activism. The conclusion Gall draws from this fact is partially true, this kind of activism does fail to learn the lessons in its rush to capitalise on the shifting moods of whichever movement it's currently seaking to capitalise on, but it relates to a wider misconception about the role of theory. Without a necessary understanding of the reasons we involve ourselves in the rigors of activism - through a concrete appreciation of the theoretical grounding that relates to every political action we undertake - activism becomes unsustainable and we lose sight of our long-term aims. Relative to this is a fundemental severing of practice from theory, the reasons principled Leninists involve themselves in organisations like STWC gets lost in the endless drive to "build the movement".

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Jarvis Cocker in Mayday Shocker!!

Mayday fasts approaches, it seems to have become a bit of a damp-squid with few bothering to make the journey up to London for the (fairly dull) event. However, an organisation calling itself 'Space Hijackers' who seem to have ties to the Wombles have released a mysterious communique with ideas to jazz up Mayday, so far they include;

A) Mayday Dress up Shocker

The suggestion is that we dress up like business men on Mayday to infiltrate "the heart of the Corporate Financial Centres of London" - oh dear, seems fairly obvious where that's going to be. Why dress up I hear you cry? Because "It's time to pull your finger out and realise that your individuality isn't challenged with a bit of dressing up." Who'd have thought.

B) Mysterious Celeb Appearance (And we don't mean Redgrave)

The Space Hijackers tell us that we (or they) will be treated to a singalonga with Jarvis Cocker himself, because 'Cunts are still running the world' as his latest single declares. If you aren't cringing at the thought of the SH-bloc getting chummy with a celeb with more money than sense right now, chances are you will be by Mayday.

see: the article for details or visit the Space Hijacker website