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Read "Sixteen Propositions" by Michael Denneny in our online-Library!
 http://library.gayhomeland.org/0003/EN/index.htm

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Author Topic: Denneny 10: We have no natural allies  (Read 2165 times)

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Feral

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Re: Denneny 10: We have no natural allies
« Reply #5 on: Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 07:23 »

Although technically the US has a multi-party system and over a dozen parties, it is true that there are only two real players in American politics. These two parties are best understood as uneasy and desperate coalitions. What in any other democracy would be three or more parties has, in the US, permanently allied themselves to form one large "umbrella" party on either side of the political spectrum. They gain certain economies of scale by forming such co-operatives. It is generally the view that if any group abandons their major party affiliation, the victory will promptly go to the opposing party. The Republicans would dance at the prospect of an enlarged Green Party, for such growth could only take strength from the Democrats. Similarly, the Democrats would like nothing better if a bloc of the Republican Party were to adhere to the Libertarians. I think it is also in the American character to view politics not as a choice between a number of candidates, but as a contest between two inherently opposing viewpoints. In the US our coallition governments are formed before the elections, not after.

The overall conservative character of US politics cannot be overstated. "Liberal" IS, in a great many people's minds a clear societal deficiency. Oddly, the ingrained habits of the right in leveling that particular charge have become almost quaint. It is no temptation for most presidential candidates to deny being a liberal -- none of them are (at least not by the standards in use elsewhere in the world). It is an honest denial. The last reasonably liberal US president was Lyndon Johnson, though some might say it was actually Roosevelt.
Stonewall was a riot.

Mogul

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Re: Denneny 10: We have no natural allies
« Reply #4 on: Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 06:29 »

There is little need to confront these parties on their hypocrisy -- the error is more often ours for believing their rhetoric in the first place. Tactically, they make good allies, and care should be taken to cultivate these alliances. We should never mistake a tactical ally for a natural one however. According to Denneny, there simply aren't any natural allies for us.

Practically, such alliances are of short duration and must be re-build with avery new legislative period. This is not the fault of politicians, but simply is based on the fact that any particular politician seldom stays in responsible position for very long. After German elections 2002 - when social democrats and greens stayed in government for an additional term - many gay activists complained that despite the victory they were left without allies once again: all contacts in the social democrats party were simply not re-elected and there was nobody of competency available. Politics are a daily struggle for powers and alliances, and most people who have participated in politics have lost significant part of their health nervous in politics.

The 2-party system in the US seems to cause severe demages to the American democracy and should be rethought as soon as possible. This system stiffles any true opposition, as both republicans and democrats are often funded by the same rich people who expect some benefits for their support. A particularly ridiculous developement is that being a "liberal" becomes a kind of societal deficiency and a democratic presidential candidate is almost tempted to deny such an offensive label if directed towards him in a television debate.
"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right!" Salvor Hardin

Feral

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Re: Denneny 10: We have no natural allies
« Reply #3 on: Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 06:08 »

In North America at least, it would appear that some positive movement has been achieved on this score in the last 20 years. Younger men of my acquaintance very frequently have (or at least claim to have) very cordial relations with their families, something which most certainly was not very often the case in the 80s. PFLAG was a rarity in those days; now it is quite common. When I say "some positive movement" I mean only that -- some. There are still gay teenagers left homeless in the streets of American and Canadian cities, still men who may have no peaceable contact with any of their relatives. As a group, gay men have always exchanged the friends and family of their birth for a new, "chosen" family. It is not surprising that these new systems of support involve, by and large, other gays.

Politically, little has changed. There does from time to time appear the occasional politician who (after his own fashion) truly and sincerely takes the needs of his gay constituents to heart. On the whole however, no political party can honestly claim to be a friend of the gay people. When elections are close and they need every vote they can get, certain parties are quite lavish in their promises regarding gay rights. When re-election is more certain, those promises are quickly swept under the carpet. "It is too much, too soon," they will say, "You have to pick your battles."

There is little need to confront these parties on their hypocrisy -- the error is more often ours for believing their rhetoric in the first place. Tactically, they make good allies, and care should be taken to cultivate these alliances. We should never mistake a tactical ally for a natural one however. According to Denneny, there simply aren't any natural allies for us.
Stonewall was a riot.

Mogul

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Re: Denneny 10: We have no natural allies
« Reply #2 on: Wed, Jan 25, 2006, 05:29 »


On the personal level, it is generally unlikely that one’s straight family or friends will easily learn genuine acceptance; luckily it would appear that they can, notwithstanding, often learn love. For our part, the paranoia that this situation tends naturally to generate should be rigorously controlled.


An appeal which is very difficult to follow by times. As most of our straight friends and families seldom restrict themeselves in airing their views on one's "lifestyle" and sexuality, one is inclined to seek new friends and partially a new family. Certainly, with advanced age we learn to reconcile with our former friends and parents, but it's often just a "Burgfieden" (= temporary peace in a castle during the besiegement).
"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right!" Salvor Hardin

Feral

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Denneny 10: We have no natural allies
« Reply #1 on: Mon, Jan 23, 2006, 20:36 »

Denneny’s tenth proposition is: “We have no natural allies and therefore cannot rely on the assistance of any group.”

We have only tactical allies—people who do not want barbarous things done to us because they fear the same things may someday be done to them. Tactical allies come into being when there is a perceived convergence of self-interest between two groups. One can accomplish much in politics with tactical allies, as witness the long alliance between blacks and Jews, but there are limits that emerge when the group-interests diverge, as witness the split between blacks and Jews over school decentralization in New York City.

A natural ally would be someone who is happy we are here, rather than someone who is unhappy at the way we are being treated. It would seem that the most we can expect, at least in the immediate future, is a tolerance based on decency. No one, no matter how decent, seems glad that gays exist, even when they may be enjoying works inspired by our sensibility. As far as I can see, even our best straight friends will never be thankful that we are gay in the way we ourselves (in our better moments) are thankful we are gay. This is nothing to get maudlin over. It does, however, sometimes seem to limit communications—the sharing that is the essence of friendship—with straights. It is a rare straight friend to whom one can say, “I’m so glad I’m gay because otherwise I never would have gotten the chance to love Ernie,” and not draw a blank, if not bewildered and uncomfortable, reaction. It is understandable that they do not see it as something to celebrate—but we should.

On the personal level, it is generally unlikely that one’s straight family or friends will easily learn genuine acceptance; luckily it would appear that they can, notwithstanding, often learn love. For our part, the paranoia that this situation tends naturally to generate should be rigorously controlled.
Stonewall was a riot.
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