Socialist message kicks off LGBT Pride week
Published Jul 3, 2006 3:12 PM
More than 500
people showed up June 18 for a sold-out event in Toronto, Canada, to hear Workers World
Managing Editor Leslie Feinberg kick off Toronto’s Pride week.
Toronto Women’s Bookstore—which also serves as a multinational,
multicultural lesbian, gay, bi and trans community center—hosted the event
at an auditorium at the University of Toronto. Many diverse community-based
organizations, university groups and departments co-sponsored.
Significantly, so did many Canadian labor unions. Union sponsors included
the Canadian Auto Workers; Canadian Union of Public Employees, Locals 3903 and
4400; Canadian Women in Science & Engineering—Ontario Institute for
Stu dies in Education; Ontario Public Service Employees Union; United
Steelworkers Toronto Area Council and Steel Pride. Fein berg is herself a member
of Pride At Work/AFL-CIO, a national steering committee member of the LGBT
Caucus of the National Writers’ Union/UAW, and an asso ciate member of
the Steelworkers’ Union.
Struggles by Canadian unions have led to
court decisions in Ontario and other provinces that require employers to provide
equal benefits to same-sex spouses, including bereavement leave and medical,
dental and pension benefits. (www.uswa.ca)
The website of the Canadian
Auto Workers states: “We have proven that fighting back does make a
difference and Pride season is one of those times that we can fight back. This
year will be no exception to that history, we intend to not only celebrate Pride
but politicize it. This is your opportunity to join the LGBT community and be
part of the struggle for equality.” (www.caw.ca)
injury to one is an injury to all!’
Dan Irving—a contract
faculty member at York University, a trans male and a Marxist—introduced
Feinberg as a revolutionary organizer, a theoretician and a comrade, and thanked
her for consistently and courageously speaking as a socialist.
cheered when Feinberg’s first words expressed solidarity with Arab, South
Asian and Muslim immigrants in Canada and the U.S., support for the Haude
nosaunee (Six Nation) people struggling to defend their land against Cana dian
state repression, and a salute to Toronto transportation workers for their
recent wildcat strike.
Feinberg said she thought the thing most
appropriate for someone from the U.S. to raise was the need to build a militant
movement against the imperialist war in the Middle East.
She warned that
big-business propaganda makes imperialist wars seem like
“humanitarian” interventions, “but they are wars of conquest
by the fused power of the banks and corporations—the same bos ses we are
battling on the domestic front—who are trying to expand the domination of
their capital in order to squeeze every drop of profit and secure global
Feinberg said that in the early 1990s, U.S.
imperialism drowned in blood the Afghan Revolution against feudalism that was
liberating women, yet in 2001 it characterized its invasion as an attempt to
liberate women there. Anti-Soviet attitudes amongst those who view themselves as
progressives in the U.S. kept them from supporting the Afghan democratic
revolution of 1978, Feinberg emphasized.
Similarly, anti-communism holds
back the working-class struggle in the United States and Canada, she said.
“We cannot fight for economic and social justice if we accept that
capitalism is the end of history. Look around at all that we have built with our
work, and that of our laboring ancestors. We have to collectively tear up the
deed that says a few families own it all.
“We need to bring the
anti-capitalist struggle out of the closet. We are on the eve of momentous
struggles. We need to put a movement-wide discussion about socialism and its
higher stage, communism, on our agenda now in order to position ourselves in
this battle,” Feinberg stressed.
She concluded that we can’t
wage an effective fight against our bosses unless we are fighting oppression,
and that means that fighting racism, sexism and LGBT oppression have to be
critical components of the agenda of labor and the progressive movement.
“An injury to one is an injury to all—that’s the granite truth
the labor movement is built on,” she said.
The audience gave
Feinberg’s message a prolonged standing ovation. No opposition was
expressed during the long question and answer period. In fact, one person in the
audience said she came to the event with doubts about what she thought Feinberg
was going to say, but left with an attitude of openness and admiration for the
An event organizer stated, “We heard what we needed to hear
After the event, organizers and participants expressed
great satisfaction in the fact that the large audience contained a broad
representation of workers and oppressed peoples’ organizations and other
activists, including from the anti-war movement.
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