Incredibly excited and honored to have “What Are We For: Harry Hay and the Left” appear today on the incredible LGBT historical archive/site OutHistory in honor of what would have been Harry’s 103rd birthday.
The balance of the time I spent in combing the annals of History attempting to find answers to the Great Questions…WHO ARE WE? WHAT ARE WE FOR? HOW DO WE RELATE TO OUR PARENT SOCIETY RESPONSIBLY AND AS A GROUP?”
I argue in this article that Hay’s reading of Marx’s ideas about the contours of labor in family and social institutions, and Engels’ writing about family dynamics and matriarchy in Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, are a unique, queer contribution to the history of same-sex loving people and relationships…The epigraph to this article presents two essential questions: who are we (same-sex-loving people), and what are we for, societally speaking? Marxist thought about social and family institutions further condenses those into one question: in a happy and productive society, who we are and what we are for will be one and the same. In other words, Hay was saying to queers everywhere: we have a history. We have a role to play. We are what we do, and we can do great things. All we have to lose is our chains. We have a role to play. Powerful stuff. What, though, would that role be?