Monday, September 06, 2010

Gay Inc Endorses
Oct 2 March on Washington

One of the recommended diaries yesterday at the progressive DailyKos site, promoted an upcoming labor movement/Democratic Party constituencies October 2 One Nation Working Together (ONWT), march on Washington. This was the first I was learning about the march and the diary listed the big orgs behind the effort, including the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

Just as we saw last year with Cleve Jones' gay march on DC, there have been no public forums to debate whether gay orgs and gay activists should get behind the upcoming demonstration. If HRC or NGLTF have held any town halls to discuss the One Nation Working Together action, their endorsement of it, and potentially mobilizing the gay community to schlep to DC for it.

This action, in less than a month, may be the best thing for the gay community since we adopted the rainbow flag as our emblem, and I'm not necessarily opposed to the agenda and demands of the march, but I'm so tired of Gay Inc and big egos making decisions about such action without transparent community discussion first.

I followed the DailyKos dairy's link for more info on ONWT, and saw this image:

Is a photo of Charlie "Thirteen Pending Ethics Violations" Rangel the best political image to use, in order to recruit folks for ONWT? And what is with the product placement in the photo for Fox News? I doubt the organizers are fans of the conservative cable news outlet and wonder why they can't find a more suitable, motivational snapshot for their opening page.

To their credit, ONWT organizers do mention sexual orientation and gender identity in their combined Mission/We Are statement, but I'm not sure how this October march is expected to directly benefit ordinary gays.

HRC's latest news and blog haven't said anything in recent headlines about the org getting on board for ONWT, but Googling for anything relevant turned up a single hit. In her report from the Reclaim the Dream march on DC last month, HRC's diversity director Donna Payne made passing reference to ONWT:

The [August 29] morning started with a religious gathering given by One Nation Working Together and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR). [...] One Nation Working Together is a broad range of civil rights, labor, faith, immigration rights, and progressive organizations. They will be leading a march on the Mall on Oct. 2, 2010 and all of the LGBT organizations will participate. [...]

Isn't that special? Every gay group has joined up for the march next month. Someone, maybe in the HRC press office, should tell the community what Gay Inc orgs have decided on our behalf.

Over at the NGLTF site, a few more details emerge, but HRC is mysteriously not mentioned:

The Task Force, Pride At Work/ AFL-CIO, National Black Justice Coalition and National Stonewall Democrats are co-conveners of the “LGBT Table” for ONWT, and we’re working together to organize national LGBT groups around the Oct. 2 march and labor issues generally. [...]

Whatever happened to the days when national gay orgs in Washington would at least go through the motions of seeking community input, regarding participating in massive demonstrations on DC? Is Gay Inc certain their top-down approach to community organizing, in which the rank and file are disrespected and treated as extras in Democratic extravaganzas on the Mall?

On this Labor Day, I again call for real democracy in the gay political movement, staring with regular public meetings organized by HRC and NGLTF, that allow for sunshine and transparency. Gay democracy when?


Unknown said...

this is from allen roskoff in NYC:

Michael Dearest, please post

HRC says that One Nation Working Together is a broad range of civil rights, labor, faith, immigration rights, and progressive organizations. As they fall under none of the aforementioned, is there now a category for organizations that rip off their community to maintain real estate and pay themselves high salaries and deliver nothing in the area of civil rights? Just watch how they use this march to self promote and make believe they are part of the civil rights struggle. Isn't this the same organization that endorsed Alphonse D'Amato and Joe Lieberman?

Bob Schwartz said...

This is another rally for the Democrats, with gay organizations chiming in as if Obama and the Democratic party haven't betrayed us at nearly every turn.

Not until we declare independence from the Democrats and build a movement to advance our demands will be see any progress.