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Iraq Veterans Against the War/Civilian-Soldier Alliance, SF Chapters Respond to SF Pride
by IVAW & Civilian Soldier Alliance of SF
Monday Apr 29th, 2013 10:55 PM
Iraq Veterans Against the War/Civilian-Soldier Alliance, SF Chapters Respond to SF Pride’s Rebuff of Bradley Manning: Grand Marshall NOT Court Martial!
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Adele Carpenter +503-860-5168, yesyesready [at] gmail.com
Josh Shepherd, +415-819-1045, josh.l.shepherd [at] gmail.com
Becca vonBehren,+518-222-3834, bvonbehren [at] stp-sf.org
Michael Thurman, +916-202-6060, michael [at] couragetoresist.org

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco

The beginnings of San Francisco’s gay liberation movement were deeply tied up with mass mobilizations against the Vietnam war, alongside thousands of GI resisters, like B. Manning. Iraq Veterans Against the War San Francisco is disappointed that the board of SF Pride has betrayed the strong anti-war roots of San Francisco’s LGBT community by deciding to unseat B. Manning as 2013 grand marshall, and to further publicly malign Manning.

SF Pride has broken with its own tradition of appointing controversial community leaders and freedom fighters as grand marshalls, and has instead capitulated to the interests of its funders and lowest common denominator politics by making the profoundly undemocratic decision to reverse Manning’s election. SF Pride’s recent statement also makes several false assertions about the nature and effects of Manning’s actions.

As veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (both queers and allies), we strongly object to the hyberbolic assertion made by Lisa Williams, president of SF Pride’s Board of Directors, that Manning’s election as grand marshall is an “insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country,” or that Manning committed “actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform.”

Indeed, US servicemembers are placed in harm’s way--not by whistleblowers and human rights defenders--but by the policies carried out by the Bush and Obama administrations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by the broken veteran care system we return to. As veterans, we have witnessed the effects of U.S. occupations on civilian populations in Iraq and Afghanistan. As violence racks communities throughout Iraq this month, we note with sadness that today’s Iraq is less safe for gay men--as well as women of all sexual orientations--than it was a decade ago when the U.S. invaded.

Like us, Manning saw the effects of years of U.S. occupation in Iraq. PFC Manning has been homophobically maligned by the mainstream press as having impulsively leaked documents in an attempt to “get back at” the Army following relentless homophobic harassment. In fact, Manning’s statements reveal an extremely sophisticated analysis of military racism and the U.S. military’s role in undermining democracy in Iraq and around the globe. If Manning is guilty of releasing wires to Wikileaks, then Manning is guilty of actions that have played a role in catalyzing some of the largest democratic uprisings in recent history. Meanwhile, these “crimes” pale in comparison to the laundry list of unethical and illegal activities perpetrated by a number of SF Pride’s funders, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and AT&T.

B. Manning is currently languishing in a military prison in conditions that the UN and Amnesty International have described as torturous. After nearly three years, Manning is facing a trial without basic tenets of due process. B. Manning has risked a great deal on account of the belief that information mattered--that we, as a public, would do something if we knew the truth about actions being taken by the U.S. government. Now, it is up to us to prove Manning right.

Publicly maligning Manning one month before what could be the biggest court martial proceeding our country has ever seen has broad negative implications for the future of truth-telling from within the military ranks, and accordingly for the US population to be informed on the actions of our nation.

We would like to respectfully call on members of the wider LGBT community to demand Bradley Manning’s reinstatement as a 2013 SF Pride Grand Marshall [info [at] sfpride.org], to take this time to renew commitments to anti-war politics and solidarity with political prisoners, and to visibly support B. Manning throughout the ensuing court martial, as well as the upcoming Pride season.

Sincerely,

San Francisco Chapter of
Iraq Veterans Against the War and
Civilian-Soldier Alliance

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Dan Waterhouse, Newslink, Fresno
Tuesday Apr 30th, 2013 5:46 AM
I support SF Pride withdrawing his being a Grand Marshal of this year's Parade. Manning is a terribly diversive figure who is considered a traitor by many in the LGBT community. Whistle blower he may be (and that's debatable), but he revealed highly classified intelligence and the methods used to gather it to our enemies.
by PS
Tuesday Apr 30th, 2013 8:40 AM
What did he directly contribute to the LGBT community? Not a damned thing. What he did is a divided issue that has nothing to do with the community. People need to take this political grandstanding out of this and look at what is used to determine what a grand marshal canidate entails.
by Support Bradley Manning
Tuesday Apr 30th, 2013 8:56 AM
There must be a Bradley Manning Contingent in the gay parade. Please tell us where you are gathering to enter the parade. If you cannot afford to pay for your spot, probably the Harvey Milk Club or the Labor Contingent will let you join them as they are both well known for being all-inclusive. The entire SF Bay Area would like to show support for our hero, Bradley Manning, who did not harm anyone; he simply embarrassed people who should be embarrassed: the warmongers. Please also invite the entire Board of Supervisors to your contingent. It is inexcusable that no one on the Board of Supervisors is willing to comment on this outrage. The parade director sounded like a Hitler, which of course, anyone who defends the military is. The gay parade is using our taxpayer funded streets and all emergency services so the taxpayers and their alleged representatives must comment and must join the Bradley Manning Contingent.
by a TG person
Tuesday Apr 30th, 2013 8:58 AM
I personally feel its a bigger deal that SF Pride does not have one single Trans person on their staff or Board of Directors. They had an opportunity to hire a Transgender veteran. Historically SF Pride has always given the TG community a hard time. I say this because it is alleged that Bradley Manning is Transgender.
by certainly
Tuesday Apr 30th, 2013 10:46 AM
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And there was a time when Pride (which once had the word "gay" in the title) was edgy, divisive, and controversial, and proud of it.

Now, it's just a big corporate don't-rock-the-boat parade, a chance for big money to pink-wash itself before the liberal masses. "Hey, we're not so evil as we foreclose, pay our workers shit, fight regulations and pollute, all the while shifting ever more wealth upward to the already affluent. Look, we like gay people and we put rainbow colors in our logo." But without using the word gay any more.

The corporate types, gay or straight, have no problem celebrating gay folk who have done nothing significant for the community other than being famous, and gay. Manning is a brave and gay hero, that simple.

Boycott "Bud Light presents SF Pride" until it stops cowering and once again shows some backbone and pride.
by Dan Waterhouse, Newslink
Tuesday Apr 30th, 2013 10:15 PM
...government can taketh. Certainly, Pride events exist because government allows them to. Many people in the LGBT community don't like them because they feel these events are freak shows. That's been the opinion of more than a few in Fresno's LGBT community for many years. If Fresno's event named Manning as a grand marshal, there would be a huge outcry and backlash. The more conservative members of the gay community would help the city shut the event down, likely permanently. These folks have a track record of doing this-they've worked with the city government to close down gay-owned businesses they found embarrassing.
by Stephen Funk
( sefunk [at] gmail.com ) Thursday May 9th, 2013 12:34 PM
10 years ago, I was an openly gay Marine who publicly spoke out against the war and was punished with military prison, fined, demoted, and given a Bad-Conduct Discharge. There where naysayers who believed the controversy would set back the repeal of Don't Ask, Dont Tell. These same people - the types who would rather play nice and forgo their 1st Amendment Rights so they can marry & join the military - are undignified spineless cowards. Period.

Try to name one person - gay or straight - who has put more on the line than PFC Manning to advance truth and transparency in how our government is waging war today. What Bradley did, he did for all of us - gay, straight, Iraqi, American, soldiers, & civilians. SF Pride is parroting lines from the military that his actions somehow put his fellow soldiers in harms way, but the real danger is government policy that chooses to wage endless wars of aggression - and punishes anyone courageous enough to dissent and tell the truth.

Bradley Manning is true American hero, is the T, and speaks for me!
by Stephen
Saturday May 11th, 2013 4:32 PM
There was last year, and there will be this year. I'm not sure how to find out about it other than to check Pride listings closer to the date and perhaps also look at the web site of the Bradley Manning Support Network: http://www.bradleymanning.org/