Next month, you’ll be able to get your hands on a copy of Nicola Field’s Over the Rainbow and attend one of her exciting launch events. But, if you just can’t wait until then to find out what will be in store, here’s a sneak peek at the table of contents of this ground-breaking new edition of the book.
Table of Contents
Elly Barnes, founder of Educate and Celebrate;
Jonathan Blake and Gethin Roberts, Nicola’s fellow original members of LGSM.
A Chapter for the 21st Century
The reasons and context for republication; the impact of the film Pride and the real story behind it; the importance of class in understanding the roots of oppression and fuelling the resistance; contemporary conditions and questions within the LGBT+ movement; the urgency of building unity in the age of austerity, war and the refugee crisis.
Introduction to the original edition
Polarisations and contradictions within the movement. The rise of the pink economy as a political platform for consumerist approaches to LGBT emancipation and lobbying. The myth of a unified community and how it hold the movement back.
The personal and political. The origins and nature of the family; material roots of LGBT+ oppression; writings of Engels, Leacock and Winnicott; ‘the family’ as a site of political conflict and social control: ‘a haven in a heartless world’; the conservative and moral agenda behind promoting ‘family values’.
Love and idealism, the production of ‘alternatives’ to the heterosexual family in historical and contemporary utopianism and the LGBT+ consumerism/pink economy. Fantasy of LGBT+ ‘space’ as ‘safe’; alternative ‘heart in a heartless world’. Alienation. The construction of an illusory and fetishised ‘ shared sensibility’ as a basis for the politics of identity. The development of homosexuality as a practice into an identity. Emerging ‘queer’ politics and its contradictions.
Identity and the Lifestyle Market
Roots of ‘queer’ politics in pink economy. Labelling, identity, promotion and marketing as a distorted form of political expression. Identity politics which celebrate oppression rather than resistance. Cultural marginalisation and ‘radical consumption’ as accommodation to an unjust system. Myth of heterosexuals as the oppressor rather than potential ally. A critique of autonomy and an argument for unity. Forceful polemic against the conservative and commercial figures who demand political leadership in the LGBT+ movement.
Interviews with LGBT+ entrepreneurs reveal their motivations: profit, empire, exploitation, Tory politics, class organisation. Pink economy rising as a marketing opportunity. The fine line between commerce and politics. Being ‘liberated’ by LGBT+ commerce and being ‘ripped off’ by LGBT+ commerce. Gay businesspeople part of ‘the rich getting richer’ at the expense of the rest of society.
Politics of assimilation, lifestyle and the rise of ‘equality’ as a lifestyle choice. ‘Living the life’ to beat oppression – lack of class issues in bourgeois gay reformist movement. The reality of poverty v. ‘living the life’. Dangers of opening the door to conservative politicians with a liberal social attitude means progressive values on LGBT+ rights will be wrongly separated from the wider question of social equality and justice. The pink economy coming to have more influence and profile on Pride parades. Tory involvement in fudged ‘Age of Consent’ campaign in 1994, leading to the question of how to resist oppression: will it be ‘riot or regulation’? Betrayal by Labour MPs. Pitfalls of single-issue focus. The need to turn radicalism into revolutionary action which draws support from wider society.
Police: Strong Arm of the State
Role of the police in capitalist society and in LGBT+ oppression. Purpose, function and effect of consultation and liaison between police and ‘community. Collapse of 1990s liaison talks as police continue entrapment, surveillance, raids, arrests and attacks on demonstrators. Radical LGBT+ protest against policing: Outrage! Group and its bind over the issue. The fact that the police will always be the enemy of liberation.
The transition of LGBT+ activism from the streets is marked by a development of LGBT+ cultural activism. This activism reflects hunger for change and throws up new ideas. A warning against idealism and the false hope that you can change the world by making art. The manufacture and marketing of aesthetics in class society is a reflection of dominant ideologies: bourgeois ideas. Culture and counter-culture in class society. The myth of the artist as outside society. Fetishisation of depair in postmodernism. The political contradictions of radical art activism, especially the abandonment of unified and mass struggle in favour of stunts and antics for publicity. Alienated expression is not voluntary but a symptom of capitalist individuation.
Relationship of bisexuality and the question of bisexuality to being in the closet and adaptation to heteronormativity and homonormativity. The fluidity and changeability of sexual orientation. Applying the analysis of labelling and the market to the (unattainable) creation of bisexual ‘identity’. Anti-bisexuality in LGBT+ community and mainstream society. Bisexuality is seen as an interloper or intruder in the gay ‘body’, whether in a person or in the ‘community’. Pandemonium and self-policing of gay ‘space’. Link to the state and social regulation of gender expression and sexual desire. Forced and habitual categorisation in a system that relies on it. Struggle for bi visibility and ‘equal opportunities’ as another sign of loss of faith in class struggle to change society after 1980s.
The proof: stories of class struggle changing attitudes on sexuality: Miners’ Strike/LGSM, bus workers, teachers, voluntary sector workers, discussion of sexual regulation as part of class control. History of LGBT+ people in unions pressing for change. Resistance and revolution. The extraordinary progressive achievements of Russia 1917-23 on sexuality rights. The need to link all LGBT+ equality fronts (immigration, housing, welfare, etc.) to wider fights. LGBT+ liberation as part of what a future socialist society might be like.