Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Bible Belt Maoists Rant at “Deviant Sexual Behavior”

First Published: Young Spartacus, #47, October 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On the American left the self-styled “macho” Maoists of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and its youth group, the Revolutionary Student Brigade (RSB), have become notorious for their reactionary position that homosexuality, or even heterosexuality which “deviates” from Stalinist puritanical norms, is “sick.” Two years ago these Maoists adopted the swinish line that homosexuality, even among subjectively revolutionary youth, “is anti-working class and counterrevolutionary” (see “Malicious Maoist Bigotry,” Young Spartacus, November 1974).

To students unfamiliar with the politics of the RSB, however, the article in the September issue of Fight Back, entitled “General is As Sick As System He Served,” might have appeared at first glance to be an attack on the war crimes of some imperialist jackal. Quite the contrary!

This article is a hyped-up and lurid account about the “long line of people who have been exposed recently for their deviant sexual behavior.” Begins the article:

“Even in retirement Major General Edwin A. Walker can’t keep his hands to himself. Walker was recently arrested in Dallas for ’fondling the genitals’ of a cop in a city park men’s room ... G. Harold Carswell, a nominee for the Supreme Court, was caught with a man in a car – and they weren’t taking driving lessons either. Congressman. Hays and his cronies have turned the Capitol Building into a house of prostitution.”

What is so disgusting about this puerile puritanism is that the RSB condemns these capitalist henchmen not for their monstrous crimes against the American and international working class, but in effect for their “crimes against nature”! Fight Back mentions not one word about the record of Wayne Hays, who as kingpin of several Congressional committees during his career was responsible for legislating funds for the murder of unknown thousands of workers and peasants around the world. Hays also “distinguished” himself for driving Adam Clayton Powell of Harlem out of Congress in a campaign laden with character assassination.

Likewise, Fight Back prints not one word about the racist “justice” meted out by the “honorable” Carswell. On the contrary, Fight Back condemns Walker for one and only one “crime”:

“Deep-Throat Walker should get all the scorn he deserves. Nobody knows how many men under his command were propositioned by him. We do know that the cop actually is as sick as Walker – letting the general get his hands into his pants ... Walker should be locked up in solitary for the rest of his life along with Carswell, Hays and the rest [the “weirdos, pimps and prostitutes”] so that nobody can hear his politics and so that nobody can get in the way of his wandering hands.”

To be sure, revolutionaries welcome exposures of the moral hypocrisy and “business-as-usual” corruption of capitalist scoundrels like Hays; at the same time, we point out the vicious character of the homosexual entrapment laws, which are not intended for nor usually enforced against “prominent” and “respectable” individuals like Walker, Carswell and their ilk.

But the entire position of the RSB only serves to cover up the real crimes of Walker, Carswell and Hays. Despite all the tough-talking rhetoric the RSB position is no different than the fingerwagging moralism of liberals who maintain that the misdeeds and crimes of capitalist officials (when caught) involve above all ”moral delinquency.”

The anti-homosexual bigotry of the RSB can only fuel the most conservative, socially backward attitudes, especially during this election year when both candidates are attempting to whip up a reactionary hysteria around controversial and explosive questions such as abortion and busing.

As revolutionists we have nothing but contempt for self-proclaimed “communists” who rival the Vatican in puritanical prejudice. Marxists recognize that capitalist society is based on the nuclear family and persecutes homosexuals precisely because their sexual orientation and life-style do not conform to the sacrosanct nuclear family and the entire edifice of morality which has risen to justify it.

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose all discrimination against homosexuals and demand the abolition of all “crimes without victims.” The Marxist program and world-view of scientific socialism, however, do not take a position in favor of any particular sexual orientation or practice. For example, we sharply differ with the petty-bourgeois utopian conception prevalent in the “gay rights” movement that by challenging the nuclear family homosexuality is “revolutionary” per se. However, we vigorously condemn the position promoted by the RSB that homosexuals are incapable of rising above the “muck and mire of bourgeois decadence” to become communist cadres.

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose The gross anti-homosexual bigotry of the RSB is completely alien to Bolshevism. The Soviet Union under Lenin and Trotsky in December 1917 annulled all laws which discriminated against homosexual acts, and a campaign was undertaken against anti-homosexual prejudice as part of the broader and more fundamental struggle for the liberation of women and children from the stultifying prison of the nuclear family.

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose Despite its economic devastation and cultural backwardness the Soviet state in this period declared war on the chains of material want and religious stupefaction which fetter, deform and debase human relationships. Pioneering first steps were taken to emancipate women from the drudgery of domestic galley slavery and to integrate them into productive work and cultural life; these measures included establishing communal nurseries and dining halls and legalizing abortion.

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose The reactionary position of the RSB on homosexuality and the family is rooted in the Stalinist political counterrevolution which destroyed the direct political rule of the Russian proletariat through its vanguard party and soviet institutions. In the Russian degenerated workers state, as well as in the bureaucratically deformed workers states, the Stalinist ruling caste glorifies the nuclear family, which instills respect for arbitrary authority and conservatizes the working class, especially women and the youth. In sharp contrast to the liberating measures undertaken by the Bolsheviks, the Maoist regime in China regards homosexuality as an “illness,” warns against masturbation in the mass-distributed hygiene manuals, makes pre-marital sex punishable by jail terms up to six months, restricts birth control to married couples, bureaucratically renders divorce proceedings difficult and stigmatizes abortions for unmarried women.

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose So asceptic and austere is the “moral code” for the “new socialist man” in China that the Chinese press never even mentions sex or even individual romance. Quite revealing was an article last year in the Shanghai Study and Criticism bitterly complaining that party cadres were avidly reading the 19th-century work “The Dream of the Red Chamber” not for its admitted literary value but for its sensuous descriptions of romantic love (Los Angeles Times, 29 June 1975).

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose In addition to its political subordination to the Stalinist bureaucracy misruling China the RCP/RSB also apes the backward consciousness of the working class. Consistent with its trade-union economism, the RCP/RSB opposes the Equal Rights Amendment, arguing with reformist “logic” that any gains in formal bourgeois-democratic rights for women would only come at the expense of hard-won protective legislation. Thus, the RCP/RSB capitulates both to male chauvinist prejudices within the working class as well as to the labor bureaucracy, which refuses to fight the special oppression of women.

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose The most despicable capitulation by the RCP/RSB to the perceived backward consciousness of the working class has been on the busing question. When busing was instituted in Boston two years ago, the RCP/RSB came out against this measuse enforcing the democratic right of black people to equal access in public educational facilities. Pandering to the white racist anti-busing sentiment, the RCP/RSB eve n has hailed as “progressive” certain “as pects” of the racist mob mobilizations in Boston and Louisville!

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose At least in part this article in Fight Back is the response of the RSB to the “Democrats’ Watergate” – the recent rash of “sex scandals” involving Democrats Wayne Hays, John Young, Kenneth Gravel and Allan Howe. It is condemning in the extreme that especially in the midst of the presidential election campaign the RSB can offer no political alternative to the deeply discredited government and the bosses’ parties except indignant sermonizing about the “deviant” sex lives of the few capitalist lackeys who have been called on the carpet.

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose Yet even at the time of the Watergate crisis, the RSB offered no political program other than calling on “the people” to “Throw the Bum Out.” But in the absence of the demand for new elections and the call for the formation of a workers party based on the trade unions which could field a labor candidate, the RSB line when stripped of its “fight back” rhetoric was indistinguishable from the “solution” of the liberal wing of the bourgeoisie. It was the bourgeois establishment which sought to focus popular disgust on the individual “low-life” morality and “dirty tricks” of Nixon, rather than the crimes of his class. Indeed, the bourgeoisie “threw the bum out” and brought in Gerald Ford.

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose However, when the Chinese Stalinist bureaucracy called “the bum” to Peking in February for a triumphal reception, the RSB suddenly dropped all mention of its empty slogan, “Keep The Bum on The Run.” In its article attempting to “explain” the cynical Chinese maneuver promoting the mass murderer of Vietnam and the reactionary foreign policies he pursued, Fight Back (March 1976) shame-facedly referred to Watergate merely as a “mess” and to “Citizen” Nixon merely as the “scapegoat” of the scandal!

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose Behind the repulsive bigotry of the RSB toward homosexuals and other sexual non-conformists lies a deeply reformist political perspective and appetite for “respectability.” The RSB accepts the backwardness and present consciousness of the working people, lacking the program and revolutionary fiber to struggle to change that consciousness.

In contrast to the Maoists, we oppose As Lenin declared in What Is To Be Done?, communists must be “in, but not of” bourgeois society. Communists must seek to become the “tribune of the people,” championing the cause of all the victims of bourgeois oppression and exploitation. Foolish superstitions and vicious bigotry are the odor of decaying bourgeois society. With its shameless capitulation to anti-homosexual prejudice the RSB acts as the tribune for the Vatican.