South Africa’s ruling party received a queer earful last week. The Joint Workers Group penned a letter demanding the African National Congress and its leaders take a more decisive – and effective – stand for gay rights.
In our collective and plural reflection, we concluded that in our daily lives, the promise of the Constitution is not a reality and that if this remains unchallenged, then that its aspirations will remain a pipe dream.
Therefore, we resolved to claim our rights as full and equal citizens of a democratic South Africa.
The queer coalition goes on to include a list of demands, including more gay inclusive HIV/AIDS policies, increased investigations of anti-gay hate crimes and provide party space for more homo-politicos.
The JWG’s letter comes before next week’s national ANC conference, when they pick their future leaders.
The most important thing to know about the African National Congress is that for decades it was a stepchild of the Stalinist Communist Party of the RSA (SACP). In spite of having some genuine heroes and radical members like Nelson Mandela the ANC and the SACP have moved sharply right since assuming power in 1994. Thatâ€™s not surprising considering that the neo-Nazi european SA Nationalist Party freely handed over power to the ANC.
In terms of GLBT rights the ANC has a mixed record. The new RSA constitution guarantees our rights and they legalized samesex marriage. However gays and lesbians, especially African gays and lesbians are subject to increasing violence, including police violence. Moreover the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS could easily wipe what gins have been made. The ANC leadership has refused to limit the spread of the pandemic by scientific means resulting in the paralysis and now the collapse of the SA medical infrastructure under the impact of the gigantic AIDS patient load.
The left wing of the ANC, trade unionists and GLBT activists will have to leave the ANC and go into open opposition to fulfill the goals of the SA revolution, which has been postponed on all fronts by the ANC leadership. Weâ€™ll have to do the same here in relation to the Democrats.
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