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San Francisco | U.S. | Anti-War | LGBTI / Queer

The SF LGBT Pride Committee Has Nothing to Be Proud of Over Bradley Manning
by Adam Richmond
Tuesday Apr 30th, 2013 8:06 PM
Glenn Greenwald’s article in The Guardian titled “Bradley Manning is off limits at SF Gay Pride parade, but corporate sleaze is embraced” (4/27/13) has internationally publicized the cowardly decision of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee to rescind its election of political prisoner U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning as a Grand Marshal of the annual Gay Pride Parade. Manning is the gay service member charged with giving WikiLeaks thousands of classified documents exposing U.S. atrocities in Iraq, along with other materials.
The decision to rescind the invitation was made in less than 24 hours after the president of the American Military Partners Association (AMPA) made the request to reverse the invitation. The amazing election of Manning and subsequent and scandalous renunciation of that election, however, may prove to be the galvanizing point of the left of the LGBTQ community, which has become increasingly vocal in criticizing the conservative bastion that promotes a pro-corporate atmosphere of the Parade and Festival. Indeed, there is the beginning of a struggle and a political revival of the SF Pride Parade as a vehicle for raising awareness of progressive political causes because of the latest Manning decision.

On Monday, April 29, 2013, a demonstration of about 200 supporters of Bradley Manning outside the offices of SF Pride Committee demanded that the Board of Directors of SF Pride reinstate Bradley Manning as a Grand Marshal. Chanting, “You say court marshal, we say Grand Marshal,” demonstrators heard over a dozen speakers from a variety of groups and organizations. The possibility of a public rebuke of the SF Pride’s outrageous decision was evident. Speaking at the event was Daniel Ellsberg, who in the 1970s revealed the secret bombings by the U.S. of Cambodia and numerous other atrocities in his famous Pentagon Papers leak. Ellsberg is a prominent supporter of Bradley Manning and a cofounder of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Following Ellsberg in speaking out was famed Iraq war conscientious objector Stephen Funk, a gay former Marine and co-founder of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Funk put the blame for the Iraq/Afghan wars not only on George Bush, its originator, but Barack Obama, its continuator. John Caldera, President of the SF Veteran’s Affairs Commission and longtime activist for Veterans Services in San Francisco echoed the criticism of the SF Pride’s acceptance of Wells Fargo and Bank of America as corporate sponsors, who have both put hundreds of veterans and their families out on the streets, having foreclosed on their homes. He called for the resignation of SF Pride board president Lisa Williams and pointed out that while the Board rescinded the election of Manning as Grand Marshal, placating the wishes of the AMPA, it did not consider the gay and lesbian Veterans in San Francisco, who support Manning as Grand Marshal. A number of other critical speakers were present representing the World Can’t Wait, SF Gray Panthers, Citizen Soldier, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, Veterans for Peace, Libertarian Party as well as members of a group of emeritus SF Pride Grand Marshals, the body which put Manning forward as a Marshal. The event was counter-protested by a handful of supporters of Lisa Williams and the Log Cabin Republican Club activist Chris Bowman.

The San Francisco Pride Event is one of the largest grassroots events in the world and attracted approximately 1million attendees in 2012. Reinstating Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal will not only put the facts of his case directly in front of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, but in front of the rest of the world as well.

Manning is a political prisoner of the Obama administration. His crime was to reveal the truth about the U.S. war and occupation. His revelations put no U.S. service member at risk. They were put at risk by the imperial war policies of the U.S. government, enshrined by both the Democrats and the Republicans. The struggle for justice for Bradley Manning will cause all to take a stand on these wars and occupations. This may very well be the Dreyfus affair of our generation.

Adam Richmond is a writer and graphic designer for Workers Action, and a Teamster. He is a long time political activist and lives in San Francisco. He may be reached at sanfrancisco [at] workerscompass.org.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by LibIntOrg
Wednesday May 1st, 2013 10:24 AM
Thanks for the article. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues worldwide, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://www.Libertarian-International.org ....

Whistleblower protections are long overdue.
by Pampilia Diotima-Beatrix
Friday May 3rd, 2013 11:20 AM
According to what you yourselves say: Bradley Manning retaliated against the entire country, like Ellsberg, because he was gay. And we should support people who leak "thousands of classified documents" on the grounds that they were "exposing U.S. atrocities in Iraq" and at the same time neglect to notice that those document came "along with other materials."

There was nothing ethical in Ellsberg's oppostion to the bombings of the Cambodian sanctuaries for the PAVN and nothing heroic in leaking what came to be known as the Pentagon Papers.

Nixon made it clear in his autobiographical writing that the Pentagon suggested bombing two bases, he resolved to bomb them all because that was what was going to break the intransigence of the North Vietnamese at the Paris Peace talks.

It was clear in his mind what was in store for South Vietnam, citing the so-called Cambodian Holocaust where hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese were run into the sea and drowned.

Manning, like Ellsberg, like Hiss are really just nothing more than piss poor excuses for angry little men who become the enemies of the nation out of spite for their personal problems.

I don't need to go into detail how I've been oppressed, by Gays, for being transgendered, but if it's any consolation I was punched and kicked night before last for being homeless.

Still, though I am often angry with those who have oppressed me in my life, I have not cooked up schemes to commit either espionage or terrorist attacks, nor have I concocked excuses or feeble defenses for those who have done them.

Instead I use the words for Bradley Manning, and I am also a vet, that Eisenhower used for Hiss: "That son-of-a-bitch, he betrayed his country. That son-of-a-bitch, he betrayed his country."
I'm not exactly wrtiing a dissertation on it but I mean what Truman said about Hiss, not Eisenhower. But recall what else Truman said about him. He called Alger Hiss "a red herring."

In other words, Manning's crimes, like Ellsberg's, like Hiss' crimes could, in a manner of speaking, be said to be of such greatness to the "revolutionary left" that they could just about be smeared on something the size of a saltine.

But consider the undemocratic nature of taking revenge on the entire country like that. Usually the military has a way of refering to problems like Manning's: "That sound's like a personal problem, don't let your personal problem become a problem for the military." Insensitive, but nevertheless true.

Don't let them become a problem for the entire nation either.
by Aaron Aarons
Thursday Jun 13th, 2013 12:16 PM
To be patriotic in an imperialist country that lives high off of the labor and resources of much of the world, and defends that privileged position with the world's by far most powerful military, is to be a bloodsucker or, in the case of a person on the bottom who doesn't actually get the material benefits of imperialism but still supports it, a victim of brainsoiling.