Friday, December 13, 2013

Cleve Jones Exploits Mandela for Profit; OK Rainbow Flag Not Lowered?

(From Jones' Facebook page.)

There's been tremendous support among LGBT people and our allies in San Francisco and other locations to lower the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza to honor Nelson Mandela, but a leading supporter of MUMC's policies controlling the public flagpole is legendary activist Cleve Jones, who has not said a peep about paying respects to Mandela with flying the flag half-mast.

Just how committed is this progressive gay stalwart to embracing the Castro merchants never allowing community access to the flagpole? So much so Jones, an organizer with the Unite Here union of longstanding was proud to cross a picket line. From the October 17, 2012, Bay City New story via the SF Appeal:

Petrelis said MUMC needs to offer the Castro community more transparency with their decisions [regarding use of the flag]. “We are asking them to hold public meetings” and in the meantime asking customers to boycott Cliff’s, he said. [...]

Cleve Jones, a prominent LGBT activist who worked with assassinated San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk for human rights in the 1970s, walked through the store doors during the boycott to show his support for Asten Bennett and Cliff’s. 

What union organizer in his right mind do you know who would walk through a picket line like this? Shows you how deep in agreement he is with MUMC about no flag lowerings ever, not even for Mandela.

He had this to say in a February 23, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle hit-piece on my campaign to reclaim the flag. He sure does not sound like a peace and justice activist with an open mind about allowing the LGBT public to have equal access to the public space at, ahem, Harvey Milk Plaza named after his mentor! From the Chron:

Inevitably, controversy has sprung up around the flagpole. That's a shame because, as Cleve Jones, longtime gay activist, says, the solution is simple: "It should fly at full-staff, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year."

(From Jones' Facebook page.)

As more than a hundred people signed a petition to Mayor Ed Lee (signatures still welcomed here), Sidney Brinkley's San Francisco-based LGBT black news blog reported on MUMC not lowering the rainbow flag and Melanie Nathan from South Africa announces on her Facebook page that she is boycotting MUMC businesses, Cleve's been silent about the latest flap over the flag. He sure likes using Madiba's image as his Facebook cover photo and says the following empty words:

His memory will live on in the hearts of those who follow, wherever good men and women struggle together for justice and for peace.

Well, one place they're not gathering for justice and peace under a simple lowering rainbow flag, thanks in large part to Cleve giving activist cover to MUMC b.s., is in Harvey Milk Plaza.

As if all that weren't enough to make your blood boil, Cleve also uses Mandela's name and that of his country to profit personally. This is from one of Cleve's appeals to hire him as a paid speaker:

A dynamic and inspiring keynote speaker, Jones lectures at high schools, colleges and universities. He has met with Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela and [...] Jones was a keynote speaker at the opening of the Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town, South Africa.

Cleve's been integral to the Unite Here's effort to organize hotel workers with the Sleep With the Right People campaign. Good slogan. It also applies to how Cleve happily sleeps with MUMC and fully embraces their bullying control of the flagpole that prevented the flag from being lowered this week for Mandela.

It's a blot of shame on Cleve's resume that he's not seen fit to link Milk with Mandela with simply lowering a rainbow flag in the Castro.

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