Pride for people, not for profit

Working class sections and youth groups in Europe have resolved to fight both LGBTQ+phobia and rainbow capitalism in order to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ people worldwide

July 04, 2022 by Muhammed Shabeer
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(Photo: via KJO Styria)

LGBTQ+ rights groups and progressive sections across the world organized pride marches and other festivities throughout the month of June, raising the rainbow flag of LGBTQ+ emancipation and joining the fight against prejudices and witch hunting. This year marked the 53rd anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising by the gay community against police repression in the US. Despite homophobic hate mongering, repression, attacks and ostracization, the LGBTQ+ community has continued to organize and agitate for visibility, recognition and rights. However, dominant religious groups, totalitarian regimes, and conservative and far-right political groups and governments have continued their reckless assault on LGBTQ+ people and their organizations. In Europe, which claims to be the bastion in ‘championing’ democratic and liberal values, LGBTQ+ people face numerous hardships and discrimination. 

Left-wing groups in Europe are active supporters of the LGBTQ+ cause and have always expressed solidarity for the community in pursuit of their rights and dignity. As a class oriented force working for the emancipation of the downtrodden masses, the left-wing groups in Europe, after a critical evaluation of the popular tendencies in society, have now intensified a two pronged campaign towards the emancipation of LGBTQ+ people, which includes support to the LGBTQ+ community in their fight against right-wing homophobic assaults and propaganda, as well as liberation of the LGBTQ+ movement from the influence of rainbow capitalism and attempts at pinkwashing. 

With this view, several communist parties and youth groups across Europe participated in the pride marches and other festivities of the LGBTQ+ community this year.

Pride is class struggle

Cadres of the Communist Youth of Austria (KJO) formed a red bloc in the 2022 Pride Parade in Graz on Saturday, July 2, under a banner reading: ‘pride is class struggle’. KJO stated that “if corporations from Nestle to BlackRock are decorated with rainbow colors from June 1 and the Erste Bank sponsored the Pride March in Graz, then it means that we are not winning the LGBTQ+ cause here.”

“We should expose pinkwashing and rainbow capitalism – for real liberation and a society beyond this capitalist madness, which repression, exploitation and discrimination carries the rain like a cloud: that’s why we are in Graz today out on the street,” KJO said.

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Communist Youth of Austria (KJO) at the Pride March in the city of Graz. (Photo: via KJO)

Queer is beautiful – Red Rainbow 

Activists from the Communist Youth Association (Kommunistinuoret) and the Communist Party of Finland (SKP) also formed a red bloc in the Helsinki Pride Parade under the banner ‘Queer is beautiful-Red Rainbow’. They called on the Finnish people to “come join the Red Rainbow Pride-block to shake up conservative Finnish gender and sexual attitudes and to expose capitalism and its disadvantages such as queerphobia, racism, militarism, environmental crisis and human disunity assessment.”

JP Vaisanen from the SKP leadership stated, “queer means someone who identifies with gender and sexual minorities and conveys a mindset that questions norms related to gender and sexuality. Questioning goes well with the role of Red Rainbow and the content of Pride. In addition to gender and sexuality structures, we question society structures and the use of power. This is why we march.”

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The Red Rainbow contingent by Finnish communists at the Helsinki Pride. (Photo: via SKP)

No Pride in Pink Profit!

The Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) is an all-Ireland Marxist youth organization that fights for the aspirations of the youth and working class in the country. CYM is an active supporter of the LGBTQ+ cause and regularly participates in the pride marches across Ireland. This year on June 25, its members mobilized in Dublin City Centre to show support for the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate Pride. They also expressed anger at the pro-capitalist nature of Dublin Pride. CYM activists marched in Dublin behind a banner that read ‘No Pride in Pink Profit’. They also condemned the sponsorship of corporations like Amazon, PayPal, Sky News, Dell, BOI, Tesco, Wayfair, Carrols, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

CYM said: “marching in Dublin Pride were politicians who have neglected and discriminated against LGBTQ+ people across their career as well as large companies which have engaged in evictions, union busting and more. This clear departure from the origins of Pride is blatantly clear. Pride for people, not for profit!”

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Cadres of the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) at the Dublin Pride rally. (Photo: via CYM)

Not a minute in silence! but a lifetime in battle…

Despite some hard earned rights and recognition, LGBTQ+ people continue to suffer hate mongering and homophobia. In Norway, on the early morning of June 25, the scheduled date for Oslo Pride, a 42-year-old man opened fire at three locations in Oslo’s nightlife district, killing two people and seriously injuring at least 10 others. The police has started the investigation, deeming the incident as an act of terrorism. The authorities also canceled the pride march that was supposed to begin by noon. The organizers of the Oslo Pride called for a silent demonstration on that afternoon to pay tribute to the victims of the shooting. Thousands of Norwegians marched from Rozenkrants to London Pub in the city condemning the terrorist act. The procession turned into a massive parade filled with the pride spirit.

All major political parties in the country including the Rodt (red) party, Socialist Left (SV), and Communist Party of Norway (NKP) condemned the shooting. In its statement condemning the shooting and expressing condolence to the victims and their relatives, the youth wing of the Red Party stated: “Not a minute in silence but a lifetime in battle.”

The Young Communists in Norway said that “the events of June 25 have shown that the fight for LGBT liberation is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago when homosexuality was decriminalized in Norway. The young communists will continue to defend queer people and work with all vulnerable groups to end all oppression and violence against the working class.”

Watch: Activists from the Young Communists in Norway pay tribute to the victims of Oslo shooting. (Video via NKP/Facebook)

No Pride in Arms Dealers…

As part of the pride month, the Young Communist League (YCL- Britain) reiterated their LGBT+ political resolutions – written & submitted by its LGBTQI+ comrades, amended by its membership as a whole and voted upon at its 50th All-Britain Congress last year – which call to fight against LGBTphobia and discrimination in all its forms. The YCL also condemned the participation of arms dealers in the London Pride March.

In a statement on Saturday, July 2, YCL-Britain said that “a “conveniently” last minute addition to today’s London Pride has seen BAE Systems officially join the march, despite being a weapons manufacturer arming imperialist forces, and profiting from mass murder around the world. This includes trading with some of the world’s most homophobic regimes such as in Saudi Arabia. This isn’t the first time they have marched, and BAE Systems were even official sponsors of Portsmouth Pride last month”.

“As Young Communists we say that Pride events are no place for arms manufacturers, the military, or the Police. We call on our LGBT+ comrades & allies to stand firmly against the militarization of Pride, to let them know that they are not welcome as an organization to march alongside us in celebrating the victories and the continuing struggle for LGBT+ equality in Britain today,” YCL added.

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Posters by YCL-Britain. (Photo: via Facebook)

Protest with Pride…

Working class sections and youth/student groups in Belgium joined the massive pride rally in Brussels on May 21. The rally saw the participation of hundreds of thousands of people, including the cadres of groups like RedFox and Comac who joined the march raising banners with the theme ‘Protest with Pride’ for solidarity and against discrimination and division.

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RefFox cadres in Brussels Pride. (Photo: via RedFox)

Discrimination leads to greater exploitation

In a statement on June 28, the Communist Youth of Peoples of Spain (JCPE) said that “large multinationals try to take ownership of various struggles as a way to clean their image and turn those claims into something they can control. From various institutions today they will talk about tolerance and the rights of the collective LGBTQ+. But then they will say nothing when the rights of this collective are trampled on in countries like Morocco, Qatar, Israel or Saudi Arabia. All these allies and with whom you have innumerable commercial agreements, including military, from the Spanish State.”

“Despite this appropriation we must point out this hypocrisy and contradictions. And that all these fights against discrimination are tied to the class struggle.  Directly attacking the LGBTI collective is playing the game of capitalism. Because discrimination if added to your working class condition, it leads to greater exploitation,” JCPE added.