Boston: No Cops, No Corporations, No Pride in Genocide!

Liberate Pride marchers confront cops, Boston, June 8, 2024. WW photo: Stevan Kirschbaum

Boston 

In the spirit of global solidarity with oppressed people’s resistance, from Stonewall to Palestine, over 70 queer/trans, pro-Palestinian and pro-working class organizations in the greater Boston area united under the banner of “Liberate Boston Pride,” demanding “No cops! No corporations! and “No Pride in Genocide!” (liberatebostonpride.wordpress.com/)

Endorsing organizations included Students for Justice in Palestine, United American Indians of New England, North American Indian Center of Boston, ACT UP Boston, BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Boston, Democratic Socialists of America Boston, the Dyke March, Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, Palestinian Youth Movement Boston, Trans Resistance MA, the Workers Party of Massachusetts and Workers World Party Boston branch.  

There were two significant blocs at Pride this year. One was Liberate Boston Pride, which boldly proclaimed its pro-Palestinan solidarity and its anti-capitalist, working class resistance to any corporate capture of Pride. Organized in the spirit of the courageous Stonewall combatants and early days of Pride militancy, the bloc was met with a heavy police presence from start to finish.  

The second bloc was the organized, progressive unions, some fresh from strike battles, who marched to voice their political demands and solidarity with the LGBTQIA2S+ struggle and Palestine. Labor organizations included Pride at Work Eastern Massachusetts, UNITE HERE Local 26, Boston Teachers Union, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Teacher Association, IBEW Local 103 and SAG AFTRA.   

Throughout the three-hour march, the crowd watching enthusiastically cheered and applauded contingents marching with Palestinian flags and messages of solidarity with Palestine.  

Sparked by the Stonewall Liberation Organization, the Liberate Boston Pride collective rallied a broad coalition of community forces to join a militant “liberated zone” protest along the pro-corporate “Pride for the People” (P4TP) march route. 

Liberate Pride marchers, Boston, June 8, 2024. WW photo: Stevan Kirschbaum

‘Pride 4 the People of Palestine!’

 A sea of class truth signs, flags, banners and chants linked the LGBTQIA2S+ and Palestinian liberation struggles together with slogans stating: “Queers for Palestinian Resistance!” “Pride 4 the People of Palestine!” “Boston Dykes Against genocide!” “Cops and Zionists Out of Pride!” “Queer Liberation means end occupation!” “Elbit bombs – State Street Bank pays!” “War profiteers out of Pride!”and “Queers of the world unite, Palestine is our fight!” 

Liberate Boston Pride’s demands were clear: 1) No collusion with the Boston Police Department, which conducts Deadly Exchange training with the settler colonial, terrorist Israeli Occupation Forces, and Cops out of Pride, period. As the group explained on its web site: “Cops do not make us safer. 

They enact violence against queer people, especially BIPOC, trans and disabled community members.” 2) No collaboration with the Israeli Zionist War-Crime consulate, and 3) No cooperation with finance capital’s vast network of banks, financial institutions and for-profit corporations such as State Street Bank, Fidelity, Delta, JPMorgan Chase and Raytheon, which hijack and suppress the radical roots of Pride for their blood money profits!  

The Liberate Boston Pride forces valiantly held their ground against squadrons of police, who harassed, surveilled and repressed queer/trans activists, students, youth and multinational workers for several hours. They violently attacked and arrested three queer, pro-Palestinian activists when the bloc moved into the street to protest the liberal, pro-Zionist, racist political establishment’s complicity with genocide at the beginning of the march.  

Liberate Pride marchers, Boston, June 8, 2024. WW photo: Stevan Kirschbaum

Liberate Boston Pride contingent in the streets

At the end of the pro-corporate march, the Liberate Boston Pride contingent took to the streets for its own spirited march, led by Palestinian, Pakistani and queer/trans activists chanting, “BPD, KKK, IOF – They’re all the same!” and “From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever!” 

After the Liberate Boston Pride march ended, the bloc held a closing rally at the Boston Commons. Burhan, a trans revolutionary leader from Pakistan, addressed the backers of pro-corporate Boston Pride, saying, “As a Muslim person, I have one message for you. If you ever list countries where being LGBTQ+ is a crime, do not forget to bring up colonialism. Otherwise, it just perpetuates the same racist gaze the West has for the Global South and East.”

Liberate Pride marchers, Boston, June 8, 2024. WW photo: Stevan Kirschbaum

They stated: “There is incredible work being done including in my home country, where hundreds and hundreds of women marched for Trans Pride, and the West is silent. When it comes to showing solidarity, Boston Pride is also silent. It is not okay for Boston Pride to list these countries and project a negative stereotype that the West has on the South. Free Palestine and Long Live the Revolution! Inquilab – Zindibab!” 

UNITE HERE Local 26 workers directed their Pride message at Fidelity “Charitable,” demanding it “Stop funding hate!” Leaflets and union banners alerted the community that since 2015 Fidelity has funneled over $13 million to anti-LGBTQIA2S+ organizations designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Fidelity, a key sponsor of P4TP, owns Boston’s Seaport Hotel and is a vicious union buster.  

Addressing capitalist opportunism at Pride and the importance of building anti-imperialist, united fronts in the working-class movement, Ed Childs, a long-time UNITE HERE Local 26 organizer and retiree, said; “The warmongers and capitalists say they support Pride, but it’s a disguise! They would easily make it illegal again, to be openly LGBTQ+. The U.S. ruling class is the enemy of all of us. Corporate sponsors have been oppressing the Palestinians and the LGBTQ+ community. They are the enemies of every worker in the world from Palestine and Cuba to Russia and China and here at home.”    

The first Pride marches in the U.S. in 1970 were rebellious protests honoring the Stonewall combatants who courageously fought back against decades of state-sponsored terror and racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQIA2S+ police violence and repression. “No Pride in genocide!” and “Cops and corporations out of Pride!” are clarion calls being embraced at Pride marches across the U.S.  

From Stonewall to Palestine, Resistance is Not a Crime!  

Maureen Skehan

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Maureen Skehan

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