We find ourselves in Ireland facing a imminent referendum on marriage equality, which the hardline religious right are opposing as part of their program of maintaining multiple oppressions.
A No vote in that context would be disastrous, serving only to entrench homophobia. Therefore anarchists are campaigning for a Yes to Marriage Equality vote but beyond the need to ensure the referendum is not defeated this session of the 2015 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair asked what else needed to be said?
1. The WSM Constitution’s core point of unity number 7 states:
“We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers' movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period. The methods of struggle that we promote are a preparation for the running of society along anarchist and communist lines after the revolution.”
As class-struggle anarchists dealing with the relations between gender, race and class, we must, in theory and practice, pick a path between two pitfalls. On one side is economic reductionism – the reduction of all political questions to the social relations of production – which erases the perspectives and struggles of women, queers and people of colour; submerges their voices within an overly generalised class narrative, in which the idealised Worker is implicitly white heterosexual and male; or consigns their struggles to a secondary importance compared to the “real struggle” of (economic) class against class. On the other is a stultifying and inward-looking liberal-idealist identity politics, concerned fetishistically with the identification of privilege and the self-regulation of individual oppressive behaviour to the (near) exclusion of organised struggle, which, while amplifying the voices of the marginalised, consigns them to an echo chamber where they can resonate harmlessly.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Celebrations have recently been seen all over the world, as a celebration of sexual diversity. It's worth remembering the history of Pride celebrations, of their origin in a homophobic and repressive culture, and their challenge to a world that refused to recognise sexual freedom. In this article, Paul McAndrew discusses the origins of Pride as a moment when the queer community in New York stood up and fought to be proud of their sexualities.
May 22nd offers an opportunity for many of us in Ireland to strike a blow against homophobia in voting for Marriage equality.
In the last 24 hours anti-equality campaigners have been setting up fake Yes to equality Facebook pages and then posting links around to large groups like the 26,000 strong anti water charges group. The intention being to trick people into voting No by trying to give credence to the fevered imaginations of homophobes.
On Friday Ireland goes to the polls for a referendum to introduce Marriage equality, when it is passed Ireland will be the first country to introduce Marriage equality by popular vote. In the final days of campaigning the reactionary anti-equality crowd are becoming increasingly open about their homophobia as they become increasingly desperate in the face of defeat.
Marriage as an institution has no great appeal for anarchists. Its primary role in capitalist society is to regulate property ‘rights’ and to promote social norms. But we also know that in our current society marriage has a social standing to which many people aspire. To tell a significant section of the population that they should be denied access to marriage is to ask them to accept a secondclass position vis a vis their straight family members, workmates and friends.
“Marriage equality” represents a victory for conservatives within the LGBT movement in nrrowing and limiting the horizons of ur politics, and for conservative and homophobic social forces in diffusing and recuperating the potential for radical transformative change opened up by the gay liberation movement.
Fionnghuala is calling for a Yes vote but she also argues from an anarchist feminist perspective against the institution of marriage. It is a bourgeois, patriarchal tool which has been used to trap women, our sexualities, as well as to force reproduction and to force a woman to enter into reproductive labour.