Gay Shame is one of the most interesting and relentless queer political groups to be making noise in the United States these days. They have consistently deployed some of the fiercest political satire, unmatched theatricals feats, and a commitment to making their political critiques accessible through offline print media. This week while the blogger-heads and tech geeks are mutually masturbating in Las Vegas at the Netroots Nation Conference, Gay Shame has once again released a fantastic piece of work that can still reach our queer and trans friends caught in the prison industrial complex as well as those without regular access to high speed internet.
Creating Change or Creating Chains? A Fierce Look at the Non-Profit Industrial Complex
Creating Change or Creating Chains? is reminiscent of those old school queer papers where you get information, sass and sex appeal without the clutter of irrelevant corporate advertising. The target of Gay Shame's most recent publication: the non-profit industrial complex.
This paper takes a short journey through the historical context during which the non-profit sector exploded thanks to the dismantling of the welfare state via Ronald Reagan. Once the trillion dollar industry context is set, the paper goes on to describe the many ways we can self organize to take power back (direct action!) from the careerist, professionalized class of gays and lesbians that now present Gay Inc. as the only channel through which to make change.
The paper touches on consensus process, queer aesthetics, how to plan actions, making propaganda/props, strategy, logistics, press conferences, arrestability, jail support and my personal favorite, post-action depression syndrome (PADS). All of this information is delivered with a good dose of humor, from talking about being "survivors of dude-bro hetroinsurrection" to encouraging readers to steal as many photocopies from their non-profit's photocopier.
The paper is filled with great suggestions as to how the reader can assemble their own direct action group with more than a decades worth of Gay Shame's own try-fail-try to back up its recommendations. And on top of it's thoughtful thoroughness, the centerfold doubles as a fierce broadside calling for a new wave of AIDS activism that isn't mired in the non-profit industrial complex.
If you don't happen to come across one in your local queer book store or other queer & trans activist hub, you will be able to access it online as a .pdf in the coming months on the Gay Shame website. I also hear the folks at Against Equality will be touring the US with their book soon and should have a stack of them to share (that would be me)!