Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
The only way I know to work my way toward an informed way to do my own thinking includes paying attention to context and connections. If I don’t see the ways, for example, the LGBT equality movement and the Occupy movement and the Two Corporate Party Electeds are all interrelated, something’s missing from my thinking.
A specific example of what I’m talking about: the connections between protests at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and an Obama campaign fundraiser.
At the CPAC gathering in DC, Occupiers, union members and more protested at the site of the convention, the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel. Salon described it as “two Americas clashing.”
The OWS Twitter feed included this:
‘Occupy Wall Street is irrelevant’ says the #CPAC Tea Party panel who just spent an hour talking about them.
I keep hearing TParty ppl claiming #OWS signs printed by unions. Ha!
#CPAC speaker claiming #OWS is un-American because they are protesting against the law. Um, just like American founding fathers.
Reporting on something that’s become almost normal, Mediaite, “DC Police Threaten And Detain Reporters At CPAC Occupy Protest.”
From the Salon article:
As (the several hundred protestors) were turned back by police and hotel security, conference participants watched, often with disdain.
‘Get a job,’ shouted one conservative. ‘I’ve got a job,’ one long-haired demonstrator fired back. ‘I’m a farmer. I grow the food you eat.’ The demonstrators, responding to an email message from the D.C. Metropolitan AFL-CIO Labor Council, came from a wide range of unions including the United Auto Workers, the Service Employees International Union, and the Sheet Metal Workers Union. They marched with members from the Fight for Philly community group, the New York Committee for Change, and veterans of the two now-evicted Occupy D.C. sites.
About the Obama campaign fundraiser in DC, via Keen News:
About 40 gay and lesbian supporters of President Obama’s re-election raised almost $1.5 million at a private fundraiser in Washington, D.C., Thursday night (February 9).
You can read a “snapshot portrait,” as seen by the Federal Election Commission, of the donors via Petrelis Files. See a transcript of Obama’s speech at America Blog Gay. And for some thoughts and analysis, see John Aravosis’ What gay leaders should have said after last night’s $1.4m Obama fundraiser.
Chris Geidner’s High-Dollar Dem Donors Talk With Obama, Celebrating LGBT Successes But Looking for More includes comments from several of the attendees. He got most after the event; the media wasn’t allowed to stay during the Q & A segment.
Laura Ricketts, the first openly LGBT owner of a major-league baseball team … introduced the president … , telling the group that the night was ‘to show the president that the LGBT community stands strongly behind his re-election.’
From everything I’ve read, that about sums up the attitude of attendees. There was no “ask,” no pressure; the recent Prop 8 decision wasn’t mentioned. That doesn’t mean those who could afford the reported $35,800-per-person donation don’t want more. But the attitude and the vision from the, if not at the 1% level definitely at the Insider level, is very different from that of the huge majority of us. Some of the best non-Insider LGBT advocacy being done now, in my opinion, is by GetEqual. Joe Sudbay has several pieces up about the fundraiser that are well worth reading. This one from earlier today:
GetEQUAL’s back story on the $1.4m Obama LGBT fundraiser
Note from Joe: Heather Cronk is the managing director of GetEQUAL and has recounted, below, the ‘back story’ behind Thursday night’s $1.4 million Obama LGBT fundraiser. …
By telling the backstory about what happened with the Obama LGBT fundraiser this week, GetEQUAL will likely continue to be black-listed among the donor community. Given what we know about how things roll, the people who work for some of those donors who attended the high dollar event will likely do everything possible to ensure the group doesn’t get any resources at all. So if you appreciate this post, head over to www.getequal.org/donate and show them some love.
Cronk’s backstory needs to be read in full, though I’ll provide a snippet below. First, this Insider fundraiser is clearly connected with Occupy / 99% and with the political / governance system that dominates our lives. CPAC has the same kind of connections. Not that all or even most of the attendees are likely in a “bracket” that allows them to donate $35,000+, but the same Two Party Electeds – beholden to Elites and telling us what we should think – are playing their role, and assuming they can assign us ours.
For those who don’t understand our role in the movement, let me be clear – our role is to always, relentlessly advocate for full equality on behalf of the LGBT community, no matter how inconvenient it may seem or feel to others, and no matter what election season we are in or what other crises we may be facing.
That attitude, and the actions to back it up, do not make GetEqual popular with many LGBT Insiders. It’s the kind of peaceful but “inconvenient” actions that most Occupiers / 99%-ers advocate. And the context and connections for understanding both GetEqual and Occupy includes the fact that they aren’t willing to allow Insiders to tell them what and how they “should” think or act. It’s about making connections, looking at context, thinking for ourselves.
( Uncle Sam poster via Occupii
GetEqual Log via GetEqual )