Thursday, October 8, 2015

Same sex marriage: The triumph of neo-liberalism


The recent legalization of same sex marriage was a triumph of neo-liberalism in the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer (LGBTQ) cultural/social stratum of the US because the genesis of the movement was top down, benefited a very small percentage of LGBTQ community members, and responded to none of the concerns of the working class and poor who comprise the vast majority of the LGBTQ community. 

And after the wedding ceremony, they will still be two "homos" in AmeriKKKa.

Neoliberalism is loosely defined as an ideology that advocates for the privatization of everything, the subjugation of everything to market forces, and the denial of the commonweal. Marriage--same-sex or otherwise--is about access to resources. Society has decreed that the condition of marriage should be subsidized and encouraged by the state, hence the 1000+ benefits marriage makes available. Sexual minorities used to provide an alternative, a living example of life outside the stultifying tedium of bourgeois marriage and child-rearing. Now that marriage is a dying institution for straight people, collapsing under the weight of abuse, abandonment, alienation and alcoholism, capitalist society vampirically looks to the LGBTQ community to make marriage seem relevant. The high divorce rates mean that people are living in different family formations that suit their needs--not the state's. The primacy of the nuclear family is long gone as is the idea that the family unit is the best way to have human needs met. Whereas sexual minorities once provided an example of different ways of organizing family life, the legality of same sex marriage  now comes with the presumption that marriage is the best way to create families and take care of loved ones. Few people are challenging that presumption.

KIM DAVIS: Hillbilly county clerk who won her
15 minutes of reactionary fame and even tea time with the Pope for refusing to license a gay marriage in Kentucky this year.
The laudatory coverage in the mainstream media should be a red flag that we are being tricked. US corporate-controlled media is wholly committed to Neo-liberal ideology. If marital status is an acceptable means of distributing money, access to health insurance, housing, or immigration status, more people have been diverted from the idea that access to these things is a human right, not a privilege conferred by the state to manipulate people into conforming and organizing their personal lives in ways that that are socially acceptable. The freedom to marry becomes the compulsion to marry. What happens to those who do not wish to marry for whatever reason? 

Wrote William Pleasant of Barack Obama's cynical, pre-election 2012 epiphany of support for same sex marriage: 'The glitterati of the "lesbian/gay community (whatever that means, except as a luscious advertising market and donor base to the DP)" has soiled its panties in joy, according to the NEW YORK TIMES. Obama said he has no problem with TWO LADIES or TWO GUYS getting married. So what?

"That is not revolutionary, continued Pleasant, "Tactically speaking, it isn't even progressive. Same-sex  marriage  operatively means that more county registry offices will collect more marriage license fees. We can expect Men's Warehouse to add bridal gowns to its stock. And, likewise, divorce lawyers will reap a new market for their brand of court room mayhem. Right? Think about it."

How does marriage address anti-gay discrimination in housing, employment, educational, and policing policy? Or the right to raise children? What protection does same sex marriage offer to a working class LGBTQ person who does not have a large estate to worry about?

In the face of people like Kim Davis--who obviously has never heard of the concept of separation of church and state--it might be difficult to think same sex marriage advocates sharing the same world view as conservatives; however the promotion of marriage as a way to have access to resources and care is a profoundly conservative position that leaves out single people and people who have their personal relationships organized in different ways. 

The Against Equality Collective critiques the same sex marriage issue from a radical queer perspective. They call into question the process by which same sex marriage--which only benefits wealthy LGBTQ people-- was imposed on a community reeling from a new level of precarity, which gay marriage does not solve. 

Radicalism versus LGBTQ assimilationist tendency

The assimilationist tendency craves respectability. The radical tendency can be summed up, according to Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, by the slogan "We don't want to marry. We just want to fuck smash the church/smash the state" Members of the Against Equality Collective represent a multiplicity of radical queer voices. Sycamore is a proud anti-lmperialist who finds it absurd that the mainstream gay movement has invested its money and political energy into gaining access to the two most conservative institutions in the world-the military and marriage. Sycamore also criticizes the mainstream LGBTQ for its identity politics, saying identity should be a beginning point, not an endpoint.

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