Revolutionary Movements Must Include Trans People
"We stand for active ideological struggle because it is the weapon for ensuring unity within the Party and the revolutionary organizations in the interest of our fight. Every communist and revolutionary should take up this weapon." — Comrade Mao, "Combat Liberalism"
Within every class, gender, and nation, trans women are being oppressed and persecuted because of their trans disposition. This has been so within both capitalist and socialist societies, among revolutionaries as among reactionaries.
Many hallmark social/revolutionary movements in America's history had non-supportive regard for trans people. The consciousness was not there yet; revolutionary consciousness evolves by degrees, through years, decades, the same for such movements (and governments) in other countries.
In century 21, both political and revolutionary consciousness are at a much higher frequency. Trans political resistance is occurring across the country (and the world); trans people have become cognizant of the political aspects of their quality of life existence, and are getting politically involved in a revolutionary manner.
The political and revolutionary consciousness evolution of trans people is taking place in America's prisons. In California, the 36 Movement of trans women is politically active against the anti-trans oppression, persecution, and genocide of the prison system for their lives, livelihood and for political power. There is also the right-wing reaction they must contend with on the yards, and, as well, reactionary behavior towards them by left revolutionaries, and by presumed progressive media outlets on the left. People do not become progressive or revolutionary overnight. Anti-trans sentiment is deep among those so afflicted, because putrid bourgeois opinion predominates in American society, and is infectious.
How are the cadre to address such reactionary or quasi-reactionary tendencies within the revolutionary camp? For one, internal indoctrination can put light on the subject, so that new cadre are aware. But so must elder cadre become aware. For another, ideological discussion on trans issues are worthwhile — trans within society/prison, within the revolutionary ranks — discerning among each other and within oneself traces of reactionary inclination and weeding them out, aligning personal in line with revolutionary principles that guide attitudes towards the people, and propagating the new awareness.
By such ideological debate, properly practiced, broader unity will result. This is revolutionary. This is the revolutionary guidance of Mao Thought.
Across the wider spectrum, included is regard for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and gender nonconforming people.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The transgender question has come out of the closet in recent years. This is a necessary step towards ending gender-based oppression. The question is what bringing the issue to light under capitalist patriarchy will achieve.
We can look back at the gay/lesbian/queer struggles in this country and see how they led to integration of those once separate communities into mainstream Amerika. While white wimmin have always been allies to white men in national oppression, this relationship has only solidified with increasing power of wimmin in Amerikan society. Both of these examples inform our understanding of nation as principal to our struggle against all oppression.
If we look at nation, we also see integrationism though. Today the integration road is presented as a viable option in the United $tates, rather than something you have to fight for. However, with nation, that integration was not complete. The ghettos became more isolated, even though they have since become more dispersed, and the koncentration kamps of course expanded with oppressed nations filling the cages. With the integration of both the relatively gender and nationally oppressed in this country, we did not see improvements for wimmin or oppressed nations overall in the world. So there is a problem with looking just at U.$. society for measuring progress.
The fact that transgender issues have not been a public discussion for as long as other forms of oppression does create the sense that transgender people are the most oppressed, and need the most attention. And this is the conclusion by many advocates of identity politics. As this comrade says, they have faced oppression in all parts of society. However, with our understanding of society within the framework of dialectical materialism we can talk about why nation is principal under imperialism, look at the historical examples of gender struggles in this country, and predict that the transgender struggle is not going to move us toward ending oppression the fastest.
None of that discounts what the comrade says about struggling for the inclusion and acceptance of transgender prisoners, and people in general, in the revolutionary movement. In some ways the prison population was ahead of the curve on this one as the prominence of transgender wimmin in male prisons has made this issue part of daily life for prisoners before many Amerikans began grappling with it. Still, this has not led to an overall overall progressive attitude among male prisoners, in part due to the hyper masculinity that the prison environment engenders.
This is an example of how communists must try to address all issues holding back the revolution, while focusing on the principal contradiction. We join this comrade in calling for ideological discussions around trans issues in mass work. This will foster greater unity within the oppressed nations and among the revolutionary movement of prisoners overall.