An epic awkward moment in Outright history occurred today when Google Hangout software totally harshed our online meeting groove!! Chair and Secretary were in attendance, the link was distributed for all to join, annnnnnnd ... nothing. Attendees were messaging us from outside the Hangout, reporting that the link was taking them everywhere but the meeting. Interns in our San Francisco office were able to confirm that this was not "user error" but an actual failure of the link itself.
Meanwhile, from within the meeting, we were frantically attempting to figure out if we'd done something that was keeping them out. We looked for an "Invite" button ... nothing. We checked our privacy settings ... nothing. We clicked "Notify Google" and were assigned a random complaint number and given the option to click "OK". This accomplished ... nothing. One member tried accessing through an iPad app ... nothing.
For lack of any evidence stating otherwise, there is only one obvious conclusion. Our meeting was hacked by the FBI / CIA / Illuminati who hate us because we're so awesome, and Google Gremlins were implanted to our servers for the purpose of pissing everybody off!! We do want to apologize that our activities are so subversive as to bring this kind of attention, and assure everybody that it will not happen again.
After picking up the pieces of our shattered political careers, we lift our heads high with dignity and continue the search for hot pink lesbunnies and scruffy freedom-fighting studs. It is imperative that all Outright members have sassy, sexy spouses to gay marry in time for the impending Supreme Court decision!! While we're at it, we will be in touch with State Organizers about building those chapters up, and will be scheduling a follow-up meeting once a reliable technology has been found.
Thank you for your patience, and may the paranoia be with you!!
Recently, best-selling author Chris Hedges announced his resignation from PEN, a prominent international writers’ organization. That resignation was partially motivated by the fact that while PEN purports to speak on behalf of dissidents, it’s been completely silent regarding the US government’s imprisonment, torture, and abuse of military whistleblower Bradley Manning.
Hedges’ resignation was also in response to PEN’s appointment of former US State Department official and Amnesty International USA director Suzanne Nossel as its executive director. As Hedges explains, Nossel “had been one of the most fervent cheerleaders for the Iraq War, indeed had written in support of the war in Foreign Affairs, had embraced the administration’s policy, whether that’s drone attacks, the assassination of U.S. citizens, the curtailment of civil liberties, had not spoken out against torture.” Nossel is also often credited with coining the imperialist Newspeak phrase “smart power.”
At Amnesty, she spearheaded a campaign glorifying the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan, urging NATO to “keep the progress going” for Afghan women and girls. She evidently cared little for the human rights of innocents murdered by NATO’s night raids in Afghanistan, or for the opinions of women’s rights activists who actually live in Afghanistan. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, far from seeing the war as “progress” for women, sees it as aggression that exacerbates violence against women.
PEN and Amnesty aren’t the only human rights groups complicit in state aggression. “Mainstream” LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights groups have a sordid history of supporting war, empire and incarceration. Dean Spade documents [PDF] many instances of LGBT rights being used as propaganda cover for state violence and repression, a phenomenon known as “pinkwashing.”
Spade writes, “The term ‘pinkwashing’ is most frequently used to describe the explicit strategy Israel has undertaken in recent years to market itself as a human rights leader based on its stances on same-sex marriage and LGBT military service,” even as it institutes policies of apartheid, burns civilians to death with white phosphorus, steals land, imposes dire poverty through its Gaza blockade, and perpetrates a litany of other human rights abuses. But with a bit of “pinkwash,” the Israeli state re-brands itself as a beacon of freedom.
While largely associated with the Israeli state, pinkwashing has also been deployed in support of state aggression by the US, with the full complicity of mainstream LGBT rights groups. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) celebrated passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which added sexual orientation and gender identity to federal hate crimes laws. But this law was not passed on its own. Instead, it was an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2008 Department of Defense Authorization. As Spade explains, “The bill set aside the highest amount of money ever provided to the Department of Defense in U.S. history. The increase in funding to the Department was made to cover the expense of Obama’s 100,000-person troop surge in Afghanistan.”
HRC celebrated the financing of violence abroad to prevent homophobic and transphobic violence at home. But there’s little evidence that hate crimes laws actually prevent violence, and lots of evidence that they strengthen America’s violent police and prison systems, which disproportionately harm members of the LGBT community.
More radical LGBT groups like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project reject hate crimes laws. But for groups like HRC, expanding the prison-industrial complex is just fine, and not just in the name of stopping hate crimes. HRC gives “private prison” and immigration detention center investor [PDF] Wells Fargo top marks on its “Corporate Equality Index.” It presented an Equality Award to Jane Marquardt, Vice Chair of the Management and Training Corporation, the third largest operator of for-profit prisons in the country.
Human rights organizations shouldn’t be in the business of handing out awards, accolades and executive positions to human rights abusers. Kudos to Chris Hedges for dissociating himself from such behaviors. Resistance to war, occupation and mass incarceration includes opposing organizations that falsely claim to fight for human rights.
Reprinted by Outright via C4SS:
Sunday, April 21, 2013
1pm Pacific / 4pm Eastern
Google Hangout Address upon request.
Will be made available on Outrightusa.org
Contact 323-512-7095 for details.
1.) Dan Choi Case
2.) Remaining states to be organized
Peace & Pride,
Chairman, Outright Libertarians.
Last Thursday, a court found Lt Dan Choi guilty of failing to obey a lawful order and ordered him to pay a fine of $100. This fine was imposed for an act of defiance against a policy which no longer exists, largely due to his own efforts at calling attention to the issue. Dan stood up to face the enemy with courage, not only as an *active duty serviceman, but as an LGBT freedom activist - and for his trouble, he was dismissed from combat and subjected to enforcement.
It takes a lot of courage to speak truth to power. As libertarians and as queers, we face this battle every day. The institutions that hold us back are political and social, economic and religious. We fight them in every way that we can, on every front that we can, with all the strength that we have. The war for liberty is part of everyday life for us as individuals, sometimes working in groups. Outright Libertarians is one such organizing tactic. Dan's confrontation with the military establishment is another.
This constant exposure to conflict is not healthy for the mind. We know that soldiers exposed to battle face PTSD and a whole range of related disorders. And from personal experience I can attest that mental battle wounds happen on the home front too. I'm not saying I don't feel invigorated by a good loud confrontation, but it gets to me after a while. I can only imagine how Dan must feel after more than two years of fighting in the public spotlight. And that's why critics like this, and this, really need to think about the impact of their words on a man who is not just an object of controversy, but a real human being. A human being worthy of compassion and respect for his strength and conviction. A human being who has rallied the opposition to an institutional inequality which affected his own career path, in a way that was so inspiring it gained him national recognition.
We are living at a critical breakthrough moment for liberty in modern times. Not since the Jackson era has progressive outrage at the banking establishment had the potential to unite so many people behind the principles of classical liberalism. Though we have seen a series of sweeping movements achieve social change, including our own gay liberation movement, they have tended to move America in a direction that empowered the corporation-state. As outrage builds, more and more eyes are being opened to the realities of failed government intervention in nearly every part of our lives.
In March, Dan accepted an honorary board membership with Outright, and in a subsequent interview with Adam Kokesh, it is apparent that the philosophy of liberty has taken root in his worldview. As we all know, once that "Ah-ha!!" moment occurs, there is no turning back. Moderates become radicals nearly overnight. We have the potential to help a vast number of mainstream ideologues reach this critical mass in understanding. But it is strategically important to do it NOW while momentum is on our side. We can't afford to push allies away for ideological impurity ... the ideology will purify them in time.
As the Huffington Post recently observed regarding the marriage equality debate, mainstream LGBT's with gentrified and heternormalized attitudes of what constitutes "equality" are likely to turn their backs and consider the gay liberation movement a "done deal" upon the hopefully favorable verdict this summer. But from the sounds of this article, and the more critical libertarian viewpoints cited above, both hardcore liberal socialists and anarcho-libertarians alike are well aware that oppressive forms of social stigma have come nowhere close to being eradicated.
As queers and as libertarians, Outright has a primary responsiblity to get out in front of these issues and show leadership in moving the debate forward. This is going to require strategy in new ways of thinking, recognition of how to reach beyond the traditional "disenfranchised conservative" segments of the voting population, to the ones who are becoming newly radicalized from both the left and the right. Libertarians should consider ourselves blessed to have the kind of following that spawned this video inviting supporters to rally before Choi's court appearance last Thursday.
* Note : This article inaccurately describes Lt Choi as an "active duty serviceman". Dan was actually an Arabist who was responsible for translating Department of Defense intelligence information into English. The DADT controversy was sparked when a number of Arabists, including Dan Choi, were dismissed from service, creating an intelligence gap which arguably led to the events of 9/11.