Symposium on Gays and the Left (Part II)
IN THE LAST ISSUE OF NEW POLITICS, we published Part I of a symposium on gays and the left, with contributions by Bettina Aptheker, John D’Emilio, Martin Duberman, Jeffrey Escoffier, and David McReynolds, and a piece by Christopher Phelps on a 1952 document of the Socialist Party youth that urged the SP to support the decriminalization of same-sex activity. Below is Part II of the symposium, with articles by Peter Drucker, Marcia Gallo, Thomas Harrison, Doug Ireland, and Sherry Wolf. We invite responses from our readers.
—JOANNE LANDY and THOMAS HARRISON
In this symposium:
AS SEVERAL OF THE PARTICIPANTS in Part I of this symposium noted, the association between lesbians, gays, and the left was a constant through much of the 20th century. It is an open question whether that connection will amount to much in the 21st century. As in many countries, there is a push in the United States today to incorporate lesbians and gays into the prevailing sexual and familial order. Given how that order is structured under capitalism, probably the best it can offer us is second-class citizenship.
The Sweet Little Old Gray-Haired Lady in Sneakers
SAME-SEX DESIRE has always been a part of human life.There is much evidence, though not yet conclusive, that a predominant sexual attraction to members of one’s own sex is innate. But innate or not, we know that it is definitely formed early in life, certainly before the age of ten.
IN 1865, WHILE MARX, IN HOLLAND, was playing the Victorian parlor game “Confessions” with his daughter Jenny, when asked for his favorite maxim he replied, “Nihil humani a me alienum puto” or “nothing human is alien to me,” a dictum he had lifted from the second century B.C. Carthaginian slave-turned-playwright Terentius (Terence.)
ON THE EVE OF 2009, it is impossible to speak of a national gay liberation movement, as that would entail active groups of people mobilizing at the grassroots to achieve common aims.