11 November 2016
Book Review: Smash the Church, Smash the State!
Smash the Church is a collection of short autobiographical accounts of queer activists who came of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They include a range of classes and races.
While the subtitle of the book is "The Early Years of Gay Liberation", it may have been more apt to say "The Years of Gay Liberation." I say that because these activists are recounting the part of history when the dominant paradigm was "liberation" as opposed to assimilation.
I came of age when American capital used the AIDS epidemic to consolidate and concentrate the gay media around a few national political items -- same sex marriage being the number one. LGBT activism increasingly became dominated by anti-poor and anti-sex ideologies. The dance club/bar scene as conduit for political organizing because the end point for re-privatizing gay life. The journey because the destination.
Smash the Church allows activists to tell of their early adult life under other dominating cultural conditions in which LGBT activism was liberation activism. A few stories are biographies of those didn't make it to 2009. This is a definite read for those who remain perplexed by the national elite agenda of privatizing and assimilating same-sex desire into heteronormative and patriarchal frameworks.
The version I read was a 256 pagepaper published by City Lights Publishers on June 1, 2009. ISBN: 978-0872864979. Lowest price seems to be abebooks.com and amazon.com