Socialism and Homosexuality

by Thomas Harrison
  1. Augustine, for example, believed that original sin entered the souls of unborn children literally through their fathers’ semen. Paul reluctantly recommended marriage only for those incapable of chastity. Even Clement of Alexandria, one of the most positive advocates of marriage among the early Churchmen, said: “Our ideal is not to experience desire at all. . . . A man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practice continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife.” See Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve and the Serpent.
  2. Actually, on this point Engels may have been wrong: possibly, sexual inequality predates class antagonisms. Its great antiquity does not prove that it is hard-wired into the human species, but does suggest that the subordination of women may prove harder to eradicate than class exploitation itself.
  3. The Cambridge-educated Carpenter, a poet, writer and political activist (he was one of the founders of the Independent Labour Party), lived openly with a work-ing-class man, George Merrill. Their partnership was the inspiration for Maurice and Alec, the gamekeeper, in E.M. Forster’s novel, Maurice. Less flatteringly, George Orwell apparently had Carpenter, and others like him, in mind when he denounced, in The Road to Wigan Pier, the “fruit-juice drinkers, nudists, sandal-wearers and sex maniacs” that were attracted to socialism.
  4. Wilde, a great admirer of Morris, wrote “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” worth reading for its trenchant analysis of the ways in which economic necessity stifles the cultivation of personal excellence. The heroine of Wilde’s first play, Vera, was modeled on Vera Zasulich, whose attempt to assassinate a brutal Tsarist official launched a series of assaults by Russian socialists that culminated in the killing of Tsar Alexander II. Zasulich escaped to Switzerland, where she was one of the three founders in exile of the first Russian Marxist group.
  5. The SPD press had a field day with the Eulenburg Affair in 1907-09, in which several members of the Kaiser’s cabinet and personal entourage were accused of violating Paragraph 175.
  6. It is still widely believed that the Reichstag Fire was a Nazi plot, but most historians agree that van der Lubbe acted alone.
  7. That a gay man, Röhm, could order raids on gay bars is no more inexplicable than the relentless persecution of gays carried out by the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover, a closeted, cross-dressing homosexual. This may also be the place to mention the persistent myth that Hitler himself was gay, for which there is as much evidence as there is for the even more widely held belief that he had Jewish ancestry — zero.
  8. This purge — the “Night of the Long Knives” — actually had little to do with Röhm’s sexual orientation, although that had always been a scandal to most Nazis — especially Göring and Himmler — and to their “respectable” supporters. Röhm was leading the cry for a “second revolution” against big business, the Junkers and the rest of the old elites. He also wanted to get rid of the Army officer corps and replace them with SA men. The Reichswehr was alarmed, and the generals promised Hitler that if he would eliminate the radicals they would give him their full support on the death of President Hindenburg, who was gravely ill.