political

All posts in the political category

Rag Tag Army

Published June 27, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

On the 28 June 1969, a rag tag queer army of accidental heroes when confronted by the NYPD during a public morals raid at the Stonewall Inn, in New York City’s Greenwich Village struck back. The Stonewalls’ patrons at that time mostly drag queens, transgender community, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth, the most marginalised of us from within our community and without. This iconic battle known as the Stonewall Riots touted as the birth of the modern gay rights movement ironically was fought stiletto to billy club but not by the homophile organisations but the undesirables demanding the respect and dignity due them as human beings.

In the 1960s and 1970s a time of grassroot political action dominated by calls for liberation or ‘root and branch’ social reform, saw many confrontations between the people and authorities. Times were a changing fast, earlier movements included the homophile organisations whose aim was social respectability through integration and later through the Gay Liberation Movement we voiced demands for social reform.

Today

As we enter the 2nd decade of the 21st century, we see gay rights organisations inheritors of the homophile perspective campaign for marriage equality, while kids kill themselves because of homophobic bullying. It seems unclear how a trip to town hall will change the norms underpinning this discrimination and persecution experienced within and by our communities.  The question here does marriage equality represent for some the opportunity to reconcile with patriarchal institutions in providing them a sense of social acceptance, while us undesirables still suffer the reality of social sanctions.

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NY 4 Marriage Equality

Published June 25, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Today, NY Senate passes Marriage Equity Act 33 -29, which enables long overdue recognition of same-sex civil marriages in New York State. I congratulate the many advocates for their commitment in prosecuting this hard fought battle for marriage equality and applaud these politicians for showing some leadership on this matter. On this day, New York leads America in taking another step forward towards full recognition of LGBTIQ Civil and Human rights. However, while buoyed by the Albany outcome the Rainbow Nation may want to take a moment to reflect on the journey from Stonewall to the present success.

Some 42 years ago, a rag tag army of the most marginalised members of the Rainbow Nation stood up to authorities and said through their action enough is enough. These heroes drag queens, transgender community, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth gave life to the battle for change. This event occurred at a time when the Nation sort change through the Gay Liberation Movement however it seems over time in seeking social respectability, the middle-class have sanitized our fight for change. Today, these marginal groups face the same discrimination from within the nation and wider community It is unclear how things have really changed.

As tomorrow and in 30 days, people will wake and the biases underpinning this discrimination will not have changed while challenged bigotry remains strong.  I do not believe marriage equality is the panacea for the discrimination experienced by people who identify it is but more window dressing in the campaign for social respectability. Admittedly, many would disagree with this view however, as a queer I feel strongly that contemporary activists while well meaning have missed the reason so many have spilt blood in this battle for change and not tolerance.

Circus

Published June 5, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Barnum & Bailey have nothing on the three-ring circus that is Australian politics in a recent piece titled Courage and cowardice in politics the@rainbowreporter shares some commentary on how the greatest show in Canberra may shape Queer Oz.

In ring 1, bring on the bumbling or was that brawling clowns Abbott, Hockey and Turnbull vying for centre ring with some subtle and not so subtle pie throwing or are they grenades. This trio seem looked in some to the death competition for the Conservative leadership while putting on the mask of party unity which often slips in showing their real intent. The Clown Posse has no real leadership other than that motivated by personal interest this is a policy free zone obsessed with oppositional politics for its own sake.

In the centre ring, it is the PM trying to manage a team of prancing ponies with competing interests her intent is not that obvious in its execution. Her words and actions seem not that coordinated, leaving the audience somewhat bemused by her intent. Standing there in the middle it seems the ponies have the whip and a bridled Gillard endeavours to perform a range of tricks. Gillard does not seem to have the political skills and fortitude to manage these competing interests being dependent on the factional powerbrokers, regional independents and Greens to retain government.

In ring three, you have the Queers caged by historical persecution and institutional discrimination roaring out for these politicians to address our needs and basic rights. It is not as if the Rainbow Nation is unable to articulate these needs or reticent in doing so because we do this well. However, these calls fall on deaf ears of politicians concerned more with their own power struggles and in retaining privilege rather than dealing with issues faced by their constituents.  The question here is where there is a lack of leadership and political intent where do we turn now.

Hand in hand

Published May 29, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

“My father always used to say; don’t raise your voice, improve your argument” ~ Desmond Tutu

Why Gay Rights and the Greater Progressive Agenda Go Hand in Hand

Posted May 25th, 2011 by Evan Hurst @truthwinsout

No matter the brand, mainstream or main street politics does not deliver a truly progressive politics and any advances are limited. My argument if you are to advance Gay rights then it is by looking to Green politics in its embrace of universal diversity in moving forward. The article that inspired me provides a relatively interesting argument but is confusing in comparing and contrasting two conservative political philosophies. While I may or may not agree with the key points, it is nonsense to pretend that there is a difference between the two. Liberalism and Conservativism by their very nature are both cheeks of the same arsehole; in Australia, this is more evident.

 The Rainbow Nation is socially and politically progressive because traditional or conservative institutions question our very existence in taking every step possible to marginalise us. The idea of gay conservatives seems to be counterintuitive, when our culture stands in stark opposition to the worldview of conservatives.

This is where I become confused what is the point of argument here, as any political theory is a broad church of thought. Conservatives have a well-proven economic theory and often Liberals might be socially progressive while holding a conservative economic position. If you are talking economics, all mainstream politics worship capitalism on both sides of the aisle. If you are talking social then mainstream politics tends to sit somewhere around the centre of the political spectrum this is where you find legislation like DOMA, and  DADT  the right to be treated as an equal citizen is traded for maintaining the lie of the status quo. Please note both these pieces of legislation where signed off on during the Clinton Presidency. A social centralist and economic conservative from a supposedly Liberal-progressive party.

Amanda Marcotte  in tying together all the different arms of liberalism

Economic justice This is labour movements, anti-poverty initiatives, fair taxation, health care reform, social services, government that is functional, etc. Anything that helps secure the middle class, bolsters the economy, and lifts people out of poverty.

  • Strange proposition the example is a real ice cream sundae, socialist foundations with a liberal topping of no tax reform and a middle class cherry on top. Our lot is not with the middle class but the working/poor, to achieve true economic justice we need to seek tax reform. So those who can pay their share rather than gorging themselves on the tax returns of the worker.

Social justice. Feminism, anti-racism, gay rights, anti-colonialism, things like that—anything that divides people against each other on the basis of identity hierarchies.

  • The underpinning principle is fair however, poorly articulated the example, social justice is about social equity or fairness.

Environmentalism and rationalism. Preserving the planet, promoting science, using the now to work towards a better tomorrow

  • It is about sustainability, risk management and the application of the sciences to keep our home Earth viable in the face of rabid capitalism, which seeks profit for its own sake. Many philosophical perspectives and discourses go some way to explaining the interconnectedness of life including green politics, socialism and Black Feminism but neither Liberalism nor Conservatism.

Insightful

This seems like a good time to point out that gay conservatives tend to be upper-middle class white men, or those who dream of one day being so, and are willing to overlook where they actually are in service of who they might be, maybe one day, if things go well for them.

  • Here the author is talking about class and class conflict, where gay conservatives as members of an elite sell their cultural identity for perceived personal gain. This situation may lead to the individual being conflicted between their individualism and cultural root.

The Rainbow Nations rights might go hand in hand with a progressive politic however, can mainstream parties really deliver anything but a centralist agenda because of them trading off justice for maintaining their privilege.

Australia

Australia has an atheist unmarried woman PM who comes from a left- faction of her supposedly socially progressive party the contradiction lies in

Her defence of the Marriage Act 1961 as amended by  Marriage Amendment Act 2004 in which marriage not previously defined is stated as being between a man and woman. Hence, she is denying marriage equality in any form to same-sex couples for an institution she does not believe in herself.

Her support of rebranding and extension of  Northern Territory National Emergency Response or Intervention a package of changes to welfare provision, law enforcement, land tenure and other measures including exemption of NTI under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)

Vote Radical not Progressive

The Rainbow Nation has no friends in mainstream political parties they are more interested in maintaining their privileged position or attaining a privileged position. .It is not our rights they campaign their aim to appeal to the majority with pie in the sky fairytales. Until we stand up and demand our rights by holding these politicians to account they will sit on their laurels and fat bank accounts believing they do not have to answer for their words and deeds.

Stop being nice become politically active

Reject the rhetoric of politicians filled with good intentions, hot air and bullshit

It is the 21st century it is now or now

Bibi does Washington

Published May 28, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Peace

We can achieve peace

I will not listen to you

I will not talk with you

I will not walk with you

We can achieve peace

You will listen to my words

You will do what I say

You will walk alone

We can achieve peace

Bibi does Washington

In this last week, Israel and President Obama have seemingly had a falling out over remarks made by the US President on 19 Mat during his US Middle Eastern policy (CSPAN Video) speech. These remarks related to terms relating to future negotiations on the Israeli – Palestinian peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took exception to these remarks seemingly causing the President a few uncomfortable political moments.  However, what is strange is that the speech simply restated the existing US position on this matter with no obvious changes.

Then on May 20 Obama and Netanyahu met  at the White house after their bilateral meeting the pair posed for the obligatory photo op and give some commentary on the meeting. During this event, the President seemed perturbed by the whole experience, while the PM restated his oppositional position. The evident sticking point seemed about observation of the 1967 borders proposed by the President in his speech and Israel’s manic obsession with national security.

Subsequently, the President addressed  (CSPAN Video) the American Israel Public Affairs Committee ( AIPAC) 2011Policy Conference a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to government on May 22. Where he engaged in a major political fence-mending exercise, indicating that the meeting with the PM had bearing although he also restated his position of the 19/05/11 leaving no doubt, where he stood. This did not deter the PM from prosecuting his case both at AIPAC and in his address to a joint meeting of Congress (24/05) later in the week.

It sounded like Obama’s aim here to re-start the stalled Israeli – Palestinian negotiations by outlining some general principles in moving forward. The outcome for the President a definite diplomatic/political ‘slap on the wrist’ by Israel and its US allies, Netanyahu proved himself the consummate diplomat /politician. In achieving his goal to effectively, neutralise any threat to his plan from the administration with the support of allies. he Palestinian Authority shunned the PM’s position for its limited parameters for peace. Where to from here, the peace talks remain stalled, Netanyahu ensured that outcome by asserting such rigid terms that he knew the other stakeholders could or would not agree to a progression of this process.

Checkmate

Critical Decade

Published May 23, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Climate change

Today, Australia’s Climate Commission  added another chapter to the climate change debate in Australia with its release of The Critical Decade report.  The commission reiterates a message for urgent rather than real action it seems the political dithering over this issue during the past decade has not put us in a good place.  After a decade or more of indecision, this debate has degenerated into a farce reflecting a limited vision dominated by ideological driven partisanship. The narrow vision of this debate sees participants focus more on short-term political gains rather than long-term sustainability, a case of rhetoric over substance. The question here is not whether climate change is real or not, but how to manage effectively the risk.

The message here is clear get on with the job.

The Critical Decade report

Key message (PDF 307kb)

  1. There is no doubt that the climate is changing the evidence is overwhelming and clear
  2. We are already seeing the social, economic and environmental impacts of a changing climate.

Full Report (PDF 8mb)

Political positions on environmental issues

Labor  Liberal Greens

News

Climate report affirms need to ‘get on with it’

Sea levels could rise a metre by 2100 (Sky Au)

Commission questions ‘direct action’ (Sky Au)

Key themes

Climate Change Climate Warming Global warming controversy

Climate Change in Australia

We are many but We must act as one

Published May 16, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

The reality of the Rainbow Nation

The B of LGBT

The B in LGBT is a blog entry by @tcwaters reflecting on a story about perceived biases against people who identify as bisexual titled Lady Gaga Is Not an Ally to Our Community on The Bilerico Project. @tcwaters does not deny that people who identify as bisexual are not members of our community it just he has never thought about it previously until he read the Bilerico Project article. The author makes two interesting observations that Lesbian and Gay men may or may not really consider the bisexual experience and that we are not really one big homogenous “community.

The Personal

I use many different labels to define my identity including Queer, Gay & Bisexual but never heterosexual discounting it as a nonsense. In my early teens, I often thought of myself as bisexual, however, I could not say that I really was but it gave me comfort. Therefore, I can comfortably say that bisexuality is no alien concept to me it is a reality that your love is not limited by arbitrary gender divisions.

The Rainbow Nation

The dream, that one day the diverse communities of the Rainbow Nation will sit down together in an open and frank conversation to address strategically the discrimination we all experience. In a hostile heteronormative world, even with all the advances over time we still fight everyday to defend our right to be who we are. Our greatest barrier it seems is the lack of leadership to breach our internal biases, which see us discriminate against our own. This situation sees us construct, maintain, and reinforce politically convenient divisions, which in turn perpetuate the sameness that imprisons us. We like other marginalised people sit on the back stoop of the Master’s mansion fighting over scraps from his trashcan while trying not to be shot.

The greatest threat to our rights is ourselves

Only United shall we overcome