- Category: Kasama
- Created on Sunday, 08 January 2012 20:02
- Written by kasama
From the pamphlet introduction:
One of the most remarkable events on the Kasama site during the summer of 2011 has been the outpouring of discussion over the treatment of gay people in the previous communist movement.
Libri Devrim opened the door with her piece “My life in a red closet” – a heartfelt remembrance written with deliberate restraint.
There was a heartening outpouring of interest, experience and discussion. Kasama published several different, unsolicited new posts.
Three of them detailed experiences with the red closet in the Revolutionary Communist Party (a relatively small communist organization in the U.S.) : “Working with the RCP, Opposing the homophobia,” “Rejected by comrades: My love was just love,”and“Suzie’s story: Queer, isolated, invisible.”
Other posts dealt with experiences and summations from outside the RCP, including “Closet Rules: My Story of Survival” and “The Cahokian: Homophobia & the value of thoughtful excavation.”
There were (all together) about 200 comments and over 6,000 page views of these threads.
In this pamphlet, we gather and reprint these posts and some of the comments that followed.
Excavation and Self-Criticism
For a number of reasons, the discussion focused largely on excavating the methods of the Revolutionary Communist Party,USA.
Previously, it has been widely known that the RCP (and quite a few other communist organizations before them) argued theoretically that gay people were inherently non-revolutionary or reactionary. But there has never previously been an open exposure of the methods this gave rise to and (in turn) justified: The pressure for gay supporters to live as heterosexuals, the shunning or expulsion of those who refused, and so on.
Each of the remembrances that appeared on Kasama contained new details of what this line had justified. And these essays also contained common features — that help sketch a larger picture of what were clearly generalized, national practices implemented over years.
A process of communist summation
This enables us to soberly confront and explore how things had gone so wrong — how this could happen in a communist movement that prided itself on revolutionary disdain for tradition, on a stand with the oppressed and on a supposedly objective form of analysis.
How had it been possible to be so wrong in the evaluation and treatment of gay people? And how could it have gone on for thirty years (through the AIDS crisis, through several program rewrites, through pretenses of theoretical re-evaluation)? For those who participated in this period, as members and supporters of the RCP, our Kasama discussions have been an occasion for self-examination, for self-criticism and a real sense of apology.
These Kasama threads have represented one collective contribution — in excavation, self-critical examination, and in seeking lessons for future forms of communist organization.