Monthly Archives: April 2009

Propagandhi – Dear Coach’s Corner

‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ A Denial of Human Rights by Michael Prysner

Michael Prysner is an Iraq war veteran and member of the Veterans and Service Members Task Force of the ANSWER Coalition. You can visit their website at www.ThisIsNotOurWar.org

Obama’s campaign promise to repeal discriminatory policy in question

President Obama’s campaign promise to repeal the bigoted “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is now looking less and less like a reality.

Prior to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, service members would receive “dishonorable” or “undesirable” discharges for their sexual orientation, barring them from VA benefits and the GI Bill and making it difficult to find quality employment. Former President Clinton enacted Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 1993, also after a campaign promise to lift the ban on LGBT people serving in the military.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell states that LGBT people in the military “create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline.” Service members are prohibited from speaking about their sexual orientation or past relationships. If there is the slightest suspicion that a service member has any homosexual inclinations, a full investigation can be initiated into that service member’s sexuality, leading to humiliation and a disciplinary discharge.

The policy is nothing more than a denial of human rights; a backwards prejudice that forces individuals—already oppressed and discriminated against in mainstream society—further into a state of fear and alienation.
Included in the Obama administration’s proposal for the new Pentagon budget, the largest in history, is funding to enforce the existing policy. This is the first sign that inequality and bigotry will continue to remain policy in the U.S. military.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made two public comments recently explaining that LGBT people serving in the U.S. military should not be expecting to see equality anytime soon.

Gates said to repeal the law and allow service members to serve openly would be “complex and difficult,” echoing the old homophobic rhetoric that homosexuality is so offensive that it has no place in public life, and any homosexual individual must live a life of secrecy and shame. The logic goes so far as to say that eliminating discrimination against LGBT service members is a threat to national security.

Secretary Gates: ‘push that one down the road’

He went on to say, “That dialog though has really not progressed very far at this point in the administration. I think the president and I feel like we’ve got a lot on our plates right now and let’s push that one down the road a little bit.”

The Obama administration has taken the position that human rights and ending discrimination can wait. It is the position that ending a legacy of prejudice and hatred can wait.

We say that it cannot wait. It is time that this injustice comes to an end. We demand that the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy be abolished immediately, along with any other discriminatory measure. The funds that are allotted to fund the continuation of bigotry should instead be used to fund an effective, mandatory military-wide educational campaign to eliminate homophobia from its ranks. Along with the creation of that program, new laws should be enacted to protect LGBT service members from discrimination and harassment. The military should adopt strict disciplinary measures to enforce those laws. We contend that similar measures are needed to combat racism and sexism in the military.

That is what is needed to achieve true justice and equality—and it is something that can become a reality. But this kind of change will not come from the top, as the Obama administration and its Pentagon generals have indicated. It must come through a fight-back movement of progressive grassroots organizations, and of the powerful force that exists within the military—gay, lesbian and bi-sexual service members and their allies, themselves. We call on all service members to take a stand for human rights by challenging this outrageous law and organizing within the military against it.

Real victories in the struggle for LGBT rights are within our grasp. We can see the right of same-sex couples to marry, the right of LGBT people to adopt children, and the elimination of every form of discrimination based on sexual orientation in the country. But this can only be reached through mass unified action. Service members can be a dynamic force in the movement for equality; a force that would no doubt be supported by the movement of students, workers and civil rights and social justice organizations demanding justice for the LGBT community.

As service members in the U.S. military, we should not be fighting these racist, profit-driven wars of aggression. We should be fighting for equality, for human rights and for progress—and that means fighting against the will of Washington.

Allies – Strike Anywhere

(Please this excuse this song being presented as a skate video, it’s the only descent audio one I could find…but I guess if you like skatebording this won’t be a problem!)

For the days to come watch out
They’re taking everything we die for
like the freedom from this world’s disorder
what did they murder you for?
born in gray eyes up but heads bowed
our comrades’ songs heard at Stonewall loud
for every day we’ll fight our way through
or we’ll drown in all our past mistakes
Searching not waiting
For our reaction
Don’t let them tell you
What you cannot be

all the silent nights you thought
the space between you and the mirror
telling all the things you couldn’t tell us
so afraid the world won’t listen
and the ministers fill up the skies
praying on our fears and lies
still Love is the last thing we’ve got left to lose
our we’ll drown in all our past mistakes

Searching not waiting
For our reaction
Don’t let them tell you
What you cannot be

Searching no longer
For our reaction
Don’t let them tell you
Who you cannot love

For all this
You wanted
Don’t fall
Names of the fallen
In the wall
Live on
So arm in arm
We’ll fight them down
With all our pride

Don’t let them tell you
Who you cannot love