Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cleve Globalizes DC March;
Mixner Trying to Attend; Ault Opines

Here are two interesting nuggets of news about the LGBT march on Washington this October, regarding two of the key organizers. The blog reports on Cleve's visit to Copenhagen this week:
Cleve Jones gave a 10 minute plus moving speech before the audience. He started off on a rather somber note. Remarking that he had thought Europe lagged behind United States in terms of gay rights. However this was in his youth. Today though things are different in America where Proposition 8 has been passed, banning same sex marriage even in liberal California. He urged Europeans to march in front of U.S Embassy´s on National Coming Out day.
I'm all in favor of more USA gays participating in global solidarity actions, but I wonder if urging Europeans is enough to actually make a vigil materialize at an American embassy. We'll see if the attempt to globalize the march on Washington is successful in October.

After I heard word related to David Mixner and the march, I sent him an email:
a little canary just sang to me. chirped about you supposedly saying on the radio back east this week that you're not going to be in DC for the october march. is any of this true? you are going to be there, i assume. lemme know. thanks.
David sent this reply:
Each October I do work in Africa...attempting to change that long held commitment to be there.....don't know yet.....originally had hoped the March would be in November when I wrote about but they wisely changed it October.
I had no idea David performed work over in Africa and am sure it's a fascinating project that draws him there. Really hope he adapts his travel plans for the fall and is at the DC event.

Over at Gay City News, Steve Ault, longtime gay progressive organizer and writer shares his thoughts about this year's march on the capital. Here's an excerpt, and be sure to read the full article:
I checked out David Mixner’s website where the “National Equality March” was announced, ostensibly for and by the LGBT community, although the name of the event was devoid of any such reference. The date was set, as was an overarching statement of purpose, but unlike the earlier actions, there would be no specific demands.

Despite rhetoric invoking the “grassroots,” it appears the leadership already had been decided: Mixner, and a few self-selected others. The whole package was signed, sealed, very neatly wrapped, and then delivered to the LGBT community as a fait accompli ...

Organizers of the current march may claim we’re at a critical moment and just don’t have time to do it any other way. This response won’t wash. In 1987, the Supreme Court had recently decided that our sexuality could define us all as criminals; our very existence was challenged. Meanwhile, we were in the depths of a devastating epidemic with a president who wouldn’t even utter the word AIDS. Yet, we took no convenient or facile shortcuts. Building a community-wide mandate was too important.

Coming up with an idea, promoting it, and then testing it is all well and good. Self-selecting leadership for an event that purports to represent and speak for an entire community is not. A leadership style or process that makes raising community issues akin to petitioning Caesar is simply not acceptable. Earlier generations of LGBT activists would not have tolerated this power grab. We must make our voices heard now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The march and Campaign Courage leadership seem to be fascinating topic here. It crossed my mind that with the AIDS funding crisis precipitated in California this week, some people might consider the last weeks blog topics here a scenic tour through beef, basketball and the fine points of leadership while being at least as frivilous as you're painting David Mixner and Cleve's endeavors to be. The comment about Cleve's 'folly' only having 476 views actually only related to one of several videos, and discounted the 20,000 facebook fans of the march. We love you, but the real story this week is the AIDS funding slashes, really.