Pride Month: Corporate hypocrisy and the need for a broader LGBT movement

The DiEM25 Coordinating Collective discussed a wide range of topics regarding the current state of the LGBT movement

With Pride Month in full swing, corporations are taking to social media to signal just how ‘progressive’ they are.

But just how interested they are in creating diverse and inclusive societies is a matter of serious debate, given that they posture with rainbow logos in Western markets while failing to do so in regions where homosexuality is illegal.

The DiEM25 Coordinating Collective sat down to discuss this hypocrisy in our latest episode but, as ever, a mutli-faceted debate about the movement as a whole ensued.

Dusan Pajovic highlighted the need for the LGBT movement to be something far wider encompassing – a class issue, rather than solely focusing on gay rights.

“I think that the LGBTQ+ movement needs to go back to its roots. And that means intersectionality with class as a base for social activism,” he stated.

Regarding corporations, “they are just using this for the profits,” Dusan said. “As you can see, by not putting LGBTQ+ flag in the markets where it’s not a profitable, like in Saudi Arabia.”

Johannes Fehr concurred, saying that the aim should be “total liberation for everyone” and that “if someone is not liberated and free and [doesn’t have] the same rights as someone else then we’re not there yet.

“So this is something we are struggling for. I think, additionally, to looking at the topic superficially, I think we are trying to connect all the different issues.”

Yanis Varoufakis insists that one form of discrimination should not have precedence over another.

“It’s not bad that there are corporations that wax lyrical against racism, against homophobia, against discrimination and so on,” he said.

“I think that one of the big mistakes that the left has made is to say that discrimination on the basis of class, discrimination of labour by capital should have priority over discrimination of sexual orientation.

“That’s a big mistake because if you had a 16-year-old trans kid, you really don’t give a sh*t about the way in which capitalism treats proletarians. What they care about is that they go to school and they’re scared and they get bullied.

“So to say to them that there is a hierarchy of discriminations: first comes class discrimination, and then comes race, then come sexual orientation, then at the bottom comes discrimination on the basis of whether you’re left-handed or right-handed… that’s complete and utter rubbish to the person who’s suffering the discrimination.”

Erik Edman provided a sobering yet necessary perspective, believing that many of those with good intentions end up unknowingly harming the wider cause. Yet, as was a common theme throughout the discussion, Erik feels that a holistic approach is necessary to achieve true liberty for all.

“I’m one of these really tiresome self-hating leftists, and I’m going to use this opportunity to also lash out once again at some fellow leftists who are involved in the LGBTQI movement,” Erik began.

“Very often, people in the LGBTQI movement and in the left in general are guided by this major sense of moral superiority towards society and community and in general about their positions and the superiority of their positions, vis-a-vis the positions and their opinions of others, which very often results in the complete alienation of any possible future ally and the polarisation of debates rather than this sense of community.

“And of course there are plenty of liberals and conservatives in the LGBTQI movement. So it’s also due to them, but often instead of really aiming for true emancipation, the movement instead aims for the right to be abused on an equal footing to everybody else,” he said.

“So instead of really aiming for true freedom and true emancipation from patriarchy, from capitalism… we are simply trying to get the same rights to be abused by the capitalist system as our straight colleagues. And that’s really missing the point in to, for example, flying with Ryanair because they put a rainbow flag on their logo or because of their policy to to not discriminate who they hire while at the same time being a company that completely abuses and walks over the dead bodies, metaphorically, of its employees.

“So the point here is that, by missing this point, by watering down the goal of the movement, not only does it do the people that it tries to help an injustice by not truly emancipating and liberating them, but it also misses an opportunity to connect with a much broader ecosystem of other political movements that are also fighting for this true emancipation from different perspectives.”

Watch the full episode below

 

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