Queer liberation means smashing the far right

By Enda Kelly 

Reports about a horrific homophobic attack in Phoenix Park in June, where three gay men were ‘hunted down’ with knives, unfortunately didn’t come as a surprise. In 2023, there was a 12% increase in hate crimes being reported with LGBTQI+ people being one of the top three targeted groups. Of course, this is nothing surprising, as noted by the ‘Being-LGBTQI-in-Ireland’ report one in four LGBTQI+ people have experienced physical violence due to their identity and half have experienced queerphobic bullying while in school. 

This increase in hostility has been aided and in some cases created by an emboldened far right. Worryingly, a number of explicitly far-right candidates were elected in the local elections. Aontú, the anti-choice, anti-immigrant, anti-queer party also moved up to eight seats from three. These candidates and parties are explicitly queerphobic and in most instances supportive of the protests that terrorised libraries over their LGBTQI+ literature last year.  

Rise in far-right votes 

Ross Lahive, one of the instigators of the library protests, nearly won a seat in Cork City – only beaten by Socialist Party Councilor Brain Mc Carthy. While his protests were firmly rejected through numerous counter protests, his rhetoric and that of his ilk unfortunately have garnered concrete support, particularly online. Whereas in the last general election 2% was the best result a far-right and racist candidate had, 70 reached that mark this time. 

Given this base and the precedent of the far-right parties in Europe, and the capitalist establishment’s use of divisive ideas like LGBTQphobia, they are not going to disappear. The European far-right parties have constantly attacked the rights of LGBTQI+ people, such as Poland’s LGBTQI+ free zone. This trend will continue in Ireland if they gain more power. 

Thus, just as when working-class people defended libraries from Lahive and his goons, the only defence to this threat to LGBTQI+ people is the solidarity and organisation of ordinary working-class people. In lieu of this, it is why this year’s Pride events cannot just be a celebration. The radical roots of Pride must be brought to the fore. We put no faith in the current commercialisation seen in the mainstream Pride marches. Any support from corporations is conditional on Pride being good business.  

Join the fightback

We’ve seen in the US that a right-wing backlash led the giant retailer Target to only have its Pride merchandise in select stores, and 30% of consumer goods companies are rethinking their strategy around Pride according to Gravity Research. Radical left-wing politics must be put at the forefront at every opportunity, to start the push back against right-wing forces trying to send us back to the past. It must be anti-fascist, anti-racist, stand in solidarity with Palestine, and oppose the capitalist system which breeds oppression.  

Just as in the Repeal and the Marriage Equality referendums, the only thing that has ever changed society is working-class solidarity and struggle from below, it is the only way to fight back against far-right forces growing stronger. Join the anti-fascist blocs at the various Pride and Trans Pride marches this year, and join the fightback. 

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