Communism may have fallen in Russia, but Idaho state Rep. Curtis Bowers seems to think it got the last laugh here in the United States.
His piece in Wednesday’s Idaho Press-Tribune begins with a recollection of a 1992 Communist Party USA meeting Bowers attended, which apparently gave him a good look into the left’s proverbial “agenda”:
They had a three part agenda. They would use their manpower, influence and funds to back anything that would destroy our families, businesses and culture.
At the time they laid out this strategy, I wasn’t overly impressed. It seemed very unrealistic and certainly not something to worry about in my lifetime. Yet as I sit in my office, recall their plan and consider where America is today, I am shocked.
Our first woman presidential candidate talks about how degrading it is to be a stay-at-home mom. Businesses are closing down or moving daily to other countries because environmental regulations are too excessive to make a profit. And legislation is being considered in Washington, D.C. that makes it a crime to discuss in public any opposition to the homosexual lifestyle. As the old advertisement said, “You’ve come a long way, baby!”
Apparently not all of us…
Weird, though, that communist countries are uniformly pretty unprogressive and unpleasant when it comes to the homosexual comrades. I think this guy is confusing the communists’ agenda with that of a different international totalitarian movement: the christian fundies.
Really, though, does anything scream “self-loathing closet case” more than being a conservative republican rep from Idaho?
Extremely ignorant: the early Communist totolitarian regimes and organizations are notorious for being very intollerant of invention and even intellectual investigation. They were a “worker’s movement” and tended to appeal to the lower class, boring sensablities like traditional family codes.
Modern Democratic Socialists respect and encourage non- exploitive decisions that people make-like who they chose to love.
hells kitchen guy
Well, we have a pretty good idea these days of the kind of ignoramuses who constitute the poiltical class in Idaho.
Oh those commies did suck. On the other hand, it is rather fun to be a communist homosexual menace in the USA. I’m rather torn.
They did have awesome posters, I’ll give them that.
Mark, you’re wrong … It was the Bolsheviks who immediately revoked antigay laws. A very large part of the early leadership of the Red Army and the Checka were gay. Stalin reintroduced antigay laws after he murdered the Bolshevik leaders.
It took the Social Democrats/Labour 60 years plus to do what the Bolsheviks did instinctively and immediately. In the USA the origins of the Mattachine Society are linked to leaders who were former members of the CPUSA who left because of Stalinist homobigotry and other betrayals. Many of the early Mattachine leaders were also returing WWII vets unwilling to accept discrimination and violence.
Bowers is like many Republicans and Democrats in search of a new bogeyman not that their reactionay and racist concept of the ‘yellow’ menace and the ‘red’ menace are history. They torn between promoting racist islamophobic pigs, gay bashers and racist attacks on immigrant and imported workers.
What an idiot.
Senator Clinton is not the first woman to seek the presidency. The first was Victoria Woodhull in 1872 and the most recent was Elizabeth Dole in 2000. In fact, Senator Clinton is the 12th woman to run for president.
Bill, sources? The Cheka? Please. The bolsheviks were ruthless dickheads. What are you a Trot or something?
The Bolsheviks were ruthless with Tsarists, the church, the rich, the Tsarist police and secret services and other reactionary vermin. They executed a lot of them for their crimes against national minorities, working people, soldiers and farmers and for leading the country into war.
That severity was defensive and prevented the return of the Tsarist system and helped defeat the US-British-Japanese invasion of Soviet Russia. We did the same from 1775 until 1783 or so when the Minutemen and other militias executed Tories and confiscated their property. Revolutionary France used Dr. Guillotines invention to good effect and for similar reasons. The Cubans, after fair trials, executed the Batista supporters and American pimps and gangsters. When the ayatollahs are overthrown in Iran theyâ€™ll face the same fate. These defensive measures are necessary and correct.
kel777, you can check this stuff out yourself you know, but it you don’t know history or how to Google check out Ten Days that Shook the World by John Reed, The Russian Revolution by Leon Trotsky and Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent by Dan Healey. Could it be youâ€™re a Democrat or Republican ahistorical dunce? If that’s your awful reality you can remedy it by learning to do research for yourself.
Here is a brief and extremely interesting history prepared for The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, 2nd Edition, Garland Press.
“Medieval Russia was apparently very tolerant of homosexuality. There is evidence of homosexual love in some of the lives of the saints from Kievan Rus dating to the 11th century. Homosexual acts were treated as a sin by the Orthodox Church, but there were no legal sanctions against them at the time, and even churchmen seemed perturbed by homosexuality only in the monasteries. Foriegn visitors to Muscovite Russia in the 16th and 17th centuries repeatedly express their amazement at the open displays of homosexual affection among men of every class.
The 19th century historian Sergei Soloviev writes that “nowhere, either in the Orient or in the West, was this vile, unnatural sin taken as lightly as in Russia.”
The first laws against homosexual acts appeared in the 18th century, during the reign of Peter the Great, but these were in military statutes that applied only to soldiers. It was not until 1832 that the criminal code included Article 995, which made muzhelozhstvo (men lying with men, which the courts interpreted as anal intercourse) a criminal act punishable by exile to Siberia for up to 5 years. Even so, the legislation was applied only rarely, especially among the upper classes. Many prominent intellectuals of the 19th century led a relatively open homosexual or bisexual life. Among these were the composer Peter Tchaikovsky.
The turn of the century saw a relaxation of the laws, and a corresponding increase in tolerance and visibility. In 1903 Vladimir Nabokov, father of the writer and a founder of the Constitutional Democrat party, published an article on the legal status of homosexuals in Russia in which he argued that the state should not interfere in private sexual relationships. The period between the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 was the Silver Age in Russian literature, but something of a golden age for Russian homosexuals. Many important figures led open gay lives, including several members of the Imperial Court. Sergei Diaghilev and many of the members of the World of Art movement and the Russian ballet were gay.
Scholars disagree about the effect of the Bolshevik Revolution on homosexual rights. Some argue that the Soviets were at the forefront of humanity in decriminalizing gay sex; others that the Bolshevik asceticism and distaste for sexuality of any kind set the movement back. In fact, the October Revolution of 1917 did away with the entire Criminal Code, and the new Russian Criminal Codes of 1922 and 1926 eliminated the offence of muzhelozhstvo from the law.
Unfortunately, decriminalization in the early Soviet period did not mean an end to persecution. The modern Soviet fervor for science meant that homosexuality was now treated as a subject for medical and psychiatric discourse, an illness to be treated and cured. Furthermore, in the popular mind, homosexuality was still associated with bourgeois and aristocratic values, with the pre-revolutionary bohemian elite.
The sexual liberation that accompanied the Revolution was to be short-lived. The egalitarian and pro-women policies that had liberalized divorce and marriage laws and promoted abortion gave way by the early 1930s to Stalinist pro-family policies. It was in this context that the Soviet Union recriminalized homosexuality in a decree signed in late 1933. As an article by the writer Maxim Gorky demonstrates, it was also a context in which homosexuality was connected with Nazism at a time when German-Soviet relations were strained; Gorky writes, “eradicate homosexuals and fascism will disappear.” Of course, the Nazis themselves criminalized homosexuality only a year later.
The new Article 121, which punished muzhelozhstvo with imprisonment for up to 5 years, was followed by raids and arrests at the height of the Stalinist terror. The numbers of men arrested are not known, but by the 1980s there were about 1000 every year. The Soviet Union had the largest population of incarcerated men in the world, and given the importance of prison culture for Soviet culture as a whole, it is likely that prison homosexuality played a part in forming Soviet gay culture. In Soviet prisons there was a class of men called opushchennye (degraded) who were required to fulfill the sexual needs of the rest. On the one hand, they were at the lowest rung of the social ladder, but they were sometimes protected by their lovers. And not only men charged with Article 121 were opushchennye: any prisoner could be degraded by ritualized rape — for losing at cards, over an insult, or even because his beauty made him an attractive sex object.
Article 121 was often used throughout the Soviet period to extend prison sentences and to control dissidents. Threat of prosecution was also used to blackmail homosexuals into informing for the police and the KGB.
Needless to say, gay men in Russia kept a low profile in the Soviet period, many restricting their gay activities to small circles of proven friends. Still, there were some public cruising areas in the larger cities and one or two bars known to be popular with gay men, though the threat of arrest or blackmail always loomed. Another threat by the 1980s was the gangs of gay-bashers who robbed and beat gay men, often with the encouragement of the police. They knew that if they were brought to court, it was their victims who would be put in prison.
In 1984 a handful of gay men in Leningrad attempted to form the first organization of gay men. They were quickly hounded into submission by the KGB. It was only with Gorbachev’s glasnost that such an organization could come into existence in 1989-90. The Moscow Gay & Lesbian Alliance was headed by Yevgeniya Debryanskaya, and Roman Kalinin became the editor of the first officially registered gay newspaper, Tema. Organizations and publications proliferated. The summer of 1991 saw the first international conference, film festival, and demonstrations for gay rights in Moscow and Leningrad. This was followed almost immediately by the attempted coup.
Reversion to a more conservative regime would clearly have threatened their recent gains, and legend has it that many gay activists manned the barricades protecting the Russian White House and that Yeltsin’s decrees were printed on the xerox machines of the new gay organizations.
The collapse of the Soviet Union that soon followed the failed coup only accelerated the progress of the gay movement. Occasional gay discos were held, more gay publications appeared, gay plays were staged. In 1993 a new Russian Criminal Code was signed — without Article 121. Men who had been imprisoned under the article began to be released. Gay life in Russia today is in the process of normalization. Capitalism has brought the first gay businesses–bars, discos, saunas, even a travel agency. While life in the provinces remains hard for gay men, Russian gays in the cities are beginning to create a community.”
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