Why solidarity? Why organize?


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There are many aspects to the US Supreme Court's major decisions on gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act. Let's keep the complexity in mind while cutting to the chase on the racist dimension. Here we will follow Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun Magazine .

First, on the power of organizing:

For the past twenty years with deep commitment, and for ten years with growing intensity, the gay and lesbian communities have relentlessly pushed forward their convincing arguments that it is a morally indefensible double standard to allow heterosexuals to marry and to deny that same legal right to homosexuals. That such a double standard has been part of the legacy of the human race for thousands of years made no difference. The key point is that largely thanks to the successes of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, our society has embraced the notion of equal rights with self-congratulatory enthusiasm, and in this light the unequal treatment of gays and lesbians could be seen as inconsistent and hurtful.

Then, how our class-based culture trumps race:

Why has the gay community had such victories during this period, even as racial equity has worsened so sharply? One part of the answer lies in how much more difficult it is to build a movement around struggles for legal equality rather than substantive equality in a neoliberal society. In movements for legal equality, like the gay marriage struggle, an instant cross-class solidarity is generated by the realization of an oppressed group that due to a shared identity, all members of the group will face the same discrimination unless they come together through a mass movement to demand a legal change. Legal equality does not necessarily translate into substantive equality, as has been clear in the experience of communities of color following Civil Rights victories, but once legal equality has been won, it is much harder for a community to maintain a coherent mass movement and not become splintered along class lines, giving in to our society’s dominant narrative that exhorts us each to look out for our own self-interest and see other’s misfortunes as a result of individual bad decisions rather than proof of structural injustice.

Finally, how "crazy wisdom" creates reality:

And there was another important lesson...marriage equality advocates refused to be realistic, and instead pushed forward on why marriage equality was desirable. Contrast that with the Obama administration’s typical behavior over the course of the past years...

There's more here

(Hat tip to Truthout.)

 

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