R.M. Schultz’s incoherent diatribe against the International Socialist Organization (Letters, November 24) would not warrant a response, except for the chauvinistic remarks against gays tacked onto its postscript. For the record, we in the International Socialist Organization are quite proud supporters of gay and lesbian rights and liberation, having marched in Chicago’s Pride Parade each year for over a decade, supported numerous other progay activities, besides sponsoring our own meetings on the subject.
When Schultz calls homosexuality “a bourgeois deviation,” actually he’s in fine bourgeois company, having joined the bigots’ club of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and yes, Bill “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Clinton. It’s unfortunate that there are some on the left who would prefer to parrot the right wing rather than attack it.
Posing as a Marxist against gay liberation, Schultz slanders genuine Marxism as demonstrated in the early years of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. For the record, Russia was the first industrial nation to remove all antigay laws from the books–something that undeniably bourgeois United States has yet to do. As one Grigorii Batkis, director of the Moscow Institute of Social Hygiene, wrote in 1923, “Concerning homosexuality, sodomy, and various other forms of sexual gratification, which are set down in European legislation as offenses against public morality–Soviet legislation treats these exactly the same as so-called “natural’ intercourse” (Die Sexualrevolution in Russland, Berlin, 1925).
By contrast, when Joseph Stalin established his dictatorship over Russia in the late 1920s, purging and murdering tens of thousands of Bolsheviks and others in the process, he introduced a whole series of “bourgeois deviations”: slave labor camps, ethnic cleansing of non-Russian national minorities, anti-Semitism, and yes, prohibition and vicious persecution of homosexuality.
Thankfully Stalin and all his heirs are corpses, if not physically, at least politically. Good riddance. In contrast to Stalin and the ravings of R.M. Schultz, genuine Marxism is about removing all human oppression and exploitation.