Thursday, May 09, 2013

Video: SF Pride Meeting Over Manning Debacle

Peter Menchini is a San Francisco based videographer who operates as Maya Media on YouTube, and he's created a terrific video about the SF Pride board meeting on May 7th at their office on Market Street. Many thanks to him. Full disclosure: I'm interviewed in the video and provided still photos to Peter. He has made good use of the images.

Peter's intro from YouTube:

Includes the only photos from inside the meeting! "They say court martial! We say grand marshal!" Why did Pride cancel making Bradley Manning Grand Marshal of Pride 2013? Why did they ban the press from their meeting? 

Sure looks like the corporate sponsors want a nice, squeaky clean party with no reminders that Pride is about fighting for human rights and that the celebration honors a RIOT. 

Forget the Pride committee. The community has spoken: Bradley Manning IS Grand Marshal.

Former SF Pride board president Joey Cain, who was not at the May 7th protest and meeting, offers up this spot-on critique of the current board and what an inept crew they are:

It's either shameful, incompetent or deliberate, perhaps a combination of all three. Earl Plante and the SF Pride Board knew well in advance that there would be a large number of people wanting to attend this meeting. 

They had ample time to secure a larger venue to create a safe environment to accommodate all those who wanted to address the board. Instead, they spent money on security and lawyers and set up a situation that they must have know would be a potential powder keg. 

Did they purposely piss off everyone to provoke an angry response in order to divert attention away from the real issue, which is reinstating Bradly Manning as grand marshal? 

I certainly hope they do hold the promised follow up meeting in a larger venue, let the press in and let people speak for longer than one minute.

My central message to the SF Pride board during my one minute of public comment was, the queer chickens have come home to roost. The years of pandering to liquor companies and banking services, kissing corrupt politicians' butts, excluding all social justice issues and forcing only guns and gowns (the military and marriage) down our throats as the political issues of SF Pride, have produced this uprising by a lot of fed up queers.

Memo to SF Pride: We're not going away. Get used to it!


Rusty Mills said...

Yay Michael !! You're the greatest!

Glenn Stehle said...

The first order of business is this:

I just want to take a moment to congratulate San Francisco LGTB activists.

Sitting here thousands of miles away (Queretaro, Mexico), from what I believed was my Archimedean point, I falsely believed that the US LGBT community had thrown Bradley Manning, along with everything he has become a symbol of, under the bus. But how wrong I was!

The fact of the matter is that American LGBTs have not thrown Bradley Manning under the bus. LGBT activists have not become just another narrow, special-interest lobby. And Americans in general have not abandoned the old and the weak, despite all the millions upon millions of dollars Pete Peterson has spent trying to get them to. These are the lies told by what Reinhold Niebuhr called The Children of Darkness, those “who know no law beyond their will and interest,” those who assert “some self-interest without regard to the whole.”

John Pilger too has challenged the official lie. The world is not as dark a place as the Children of Darkness would have us believe. There is hope after all. His comments begin here and are followed by those of Chris Hedges, and this is Chris Hedges at his very best:

Glenn Stehle said...

Justice or Just-us? That seems to be the question.

Is LGBT activism to be about “the Brotherhood of Man,” as Martin Luther King put it, or about narrow, special-interest advocacy for “the LGBT community”?

It’s not an idle argument. The jury is still out.

That is, of course, if we ignore conservatives. Conservatives, immersed in the predeterminism and predestination of Calvin and Hobbes, tell us the verdict’s already in. As Susan Neiman notes, conservatives

believe the mass of humanity is driven by crude desires. Perhaps, they argue, a few great souls act on moral principles. But most of us have nothing more noble in view than bread and circuses. Our appetites for refinements of gluttony and varieties of entertainment remain nearly insatiable, and nothing else really moves us. If our lives revolve around consuming the objects of these simple passions, a benevolent despotism which manages those passions is the best form of government. We care about getting stuff, and distraction from pain; they care about getting it to us. Who could possibly complain?

This argument was used to defend despotism in the 18th century, and then as now it depended on the premise that people don’t want to be challenged, but happy.

Martin Luther King and the other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement challenged this notion. As part of the good life we want all kinds of pleasure, but we want something else as well: a sense of our own dignity that allows us to deny pleasure itself if it violates something we hold higher. If each of us can imagine a moment in which we want to show our freedom by standing on the side of justice, each of us should work towards a world in which freedom and justice are paramount. King thus called for a more transcendent and universal morality which went “beyond the calling of race or nation.”

There’s a sense of loss amongst us older queers, a feeling of nostalgia. The spirit of the Civil Rights Movement is slipping away, or so we fear.

A couple of quotes from the last few days capture this sense of loss, of how Pride has transmogrified from being about fighting for human rights to being about fighting for LGBT rights. One quote is in Peter Menchini’s video:

That’s what we stood for. We stood for a coalition with all the struggles because we knew that we were part of a bigger struggle. And I think pride lost that a long time ago.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca also put everything into perspective most succinctly:

I know it's 40 years ago and I'm old, but I was at the first Gay Freedom march in Philadelphia in 1972 -- and we were officially protesting the war in Vietnam. How did we come to this -- standing outside the corporate offices of Pride and shouting for them to let a military protestor, from the military itself, into their parade -- into our parade?

How did it come to this? Could it be that the new American imperialism has finally come home to roost?

Henry Steele Commager warned that blowback isn’t the greatest danger of imperialism, but the much-feared boomerang effect: “If we subvert world order and destroy world peace we must inevitably subvert and destroy our own political institutions first.” Imperialist rule by violence in faraway lands would end by affecting the home government: the last “subject race” would be the English themselves.

“To substitute violence for power can bring victory,” Hannah Arendt cautioned in On Violence, “but the price is very high; for it is not only paid by the vanquished, it is also paid for the victor…, especially when the victor happens to enjoy domestically the blessings of constitutional government.”