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Pride in San Francisco

Marches rock to anti-capitalist beat

By Brenda Sandburg
and Saul Kanowitz
San Francisco

Calling for an end to capitalism, war and racism, this year's San Francisco Dyke March made a bold alliance with people around the world who are under attack from the U.S. government and military.

As more than 10,000 women gathered in Dolores Park for the June 29 event, the organizers of the 10th annual march read a statement about its anti-war theme. "We march to oppose the ongoing attacks against Afghanistan, the devastation of the Palestinian homeland and the very likely future air strikes targeting Iraq, the Philippines, Colombia and Cuba."

The statement continued, "Tonight, we march for the complete and total eradication of capitalism, war and racism. We march for an end to the insanity of misogyny. We march for queerness and against assimilation."

Organizers of the march used signs from the International ANSWER--Act Now to Stop War and End Racism--coalition to express this anti-war message. ANSWER also had a banner in the march proclaiming, "From Stonewall to Palestine, people fight back. No pride in occupation--free Palestine." The banner included the black, green, white and red Palestinian flag merging with the lesbian/gay/bi/trans rainbow flag.

During the four-hour rally and celebration before the march--co-chaired by Zulma Oliveres of Comite '98 and performance poet Tina D'Elia--speakers repeatedly raised the struggle of the Palestinian people.

"I'm wondering why only a handful here are standing up against the racist apartheid state of Israel," said Palesa Bev Ditsie, a member of Sister Rise Up from Soweto, South Africa. "Why celebrate Pride without recognizing the brothers and sisters of Palestine?"

"We can't separate our struggle from the Iraqi people suffering from U.S. sanctions," said Bintlal Thawra of the Arab Women's Solidarity Association of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "I rise up with my Colombian sisters, my Afghani sisters, my Palestinian sisters, my Indigenous sisters, my undocumented and incarcerated sisters."

Pride in being pro-Palestinian

On June 30, tens of thousands of people lined Market St. from the Embarcadero to Eighth St. to watch the 32nd San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Trans Pride march. Among the 300 contingents was the "No pride in occupation" anti-war contingent that marched in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Initiated by Queers Undermining Israeli Terror (QUIT) and supported by International ANSWER, Workers World Party, Committee for a New Colombia (CNC) and others, this contingent brought a strong message of support for the Palestinian people and opposition to the U.S.-Israeli war of occupation.

Onlookers clapped as the contingent passed with its multi-colored banners.

Hundreds of flyers with an anti-war message from transgender lesbian activist Leslie Feinberg were distributed along the route. Feinberg called for the LGBT movement to put war, racism and attacks on civil liberties on its agenda as it did after the Stonewall Rebellion in 1969.

A flyer from QUIT explained why the LGBT community should be concerned about the Palestinian struggle: "Because the same U.S. government that engages in police brutality against the LGBT community and communities of color engages in imperialism and racism in other parts of the world and we must stand against all of these."

Making the links between struggles around the world, the CNC banner read, "No pride in occupation or intervention. U.S. out of Colombia. Israel out of Palestine."

Contingents protesting Bush's imperial war drive and attacks on civil liberties and in support of Palestinian liberation also were a part of Pride marches in Boston, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Contingents of lesbian, gay, bi and trans Muslims also planned contingents in the Philadelphia, Washington and New York Pride marches.

Reprinted from the July 11, 2002, issue of Workers World newspaper

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
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