poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The love that dared to speak its name
By Leslie Feinberg

The love that had dared not speak its name raised its voice in the 1860s in Germany. As its demands rose, they were amplified by support from the revolutionary groundswell of workers who were organizing and fighting to win basic democratic rights.

From the first challenges to sexual oppression in the 1860s, the left wing of the emerging socialist movement--those revolutionaries who were fighting to shatter the manacles of capitalism as well as the mental shackles of ideological reaction--supported this strug gle against state repression and for sexual liberation.

In 1862, a young lawyer named Jean Baptiste von Schweitzer was convicted of a homosexual act in a city park. Von Schweitzer was a member of the socialist German Workers Association, headed by Ferdinand Lassalle. Some in the group wanted to expel Von Schweitzer. But Lassalle defended him, arguing that sexuality "ought to be left up to each person" whenever no one else is harmed.

Not only wasn't Von Schweitzer expelled; he became president of this socialist workers' organization after Lassalle's death.


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