San Francisco’s Gay Pride organizers disinvite Bradley Manning

It was initially announced that Bradley Manning would be one of the honorary Grand Marshalls at San Francisco’s annual LGBT Pride parade on June 29-30, with Daniel Ellsberg standing in for him since Manning is still in jail. But there were protests and The Guardian has an article that says that the parade leadership summarily reversed course.

Glenn Greenwald says that what was disturbing was the authoritarian language and reasoning used by the head of the SF Gay Pride group in explaining the reversal, which showed that it was more interested in not offending Obama supporters and the many corporate sponsors of the event, even though many of them have been engaged in repeated and massive wrong doing, from illegal wiretapping to fraudulent foreclosures.

Even at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, once an iconic symbol of cultural dissent and disregard for stifling peities, nothing can happen that might offend AT&T and the Bank of America. The minute something even a bit deviant takes place (as defined by standards imposed by America’s political and corporate class), even the SF Gay Pride Parade must scamper, capitulate, apologize, and take an oath of fealty to their orthodoxies (we adore the military, the state, and your laws). And, as usual, the largest corporate factions are completely exempt from the strictures and standards applied to the marginalized and powerless. Thus, while Bradley Manning is persona non grata at SF Pride, illegal eavesdropping telecoms, scheming banks, and hedge-fund purveryors of the nation’s worst right-wing agitprop are more than welcome.

What we see here is how even many of the most liberal precincts in America are now the leading spokespeople for and loyalists to state power as a result of their loyalty to President Obama. Thus do we have the President of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade sounding exactly like the Chairman of the Joints Chief, or Sarah Palin, or gay war-loving neocons, in depicting any meaningful opposition to the National Security State as the supreme sin. I’d be willing to bet large amounts of money that Williams has never condemned the Obama administration’s abuse of Manning in detention or its dangerously radical prosecution of him for “aiding the enemy”. I have no doubt that the people who did all of that would be showered with gratitude by Parade officials if they attended. In so many liberal precincts in the Age of Obama – even now including the SF Gay Pride parade – the federal government, its military, and its federal prosecutors are to be revered and celebrated but not criticized; only those who oppose them are villains.

One of the depressing features of political life is that when formerly marginalized, excluded, and even victimized groups start to gain mainstream acceptance, they have a tendency to start identifying with the authoritarian leadership that once was considered their adversary. And when that leadership is perceived as ‘liberal’, the temptation to ignore its underlying authoritarian nature becomes even stronger.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    I have no doubt the SF GP leadership would still welcome the participation of torture and war-crimes -abetting Nancy Pelosi. [Ptui!]

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    There does seem to be a trend;

    1) Banks; too big to fail, too big to prosecute.
    2) Whistleblowers; not so much.

    And as you say, too much silence, or feeble excuses, from “the left”.

  3. Mano Singham says

    I too have heard the reports that Manning is transgender and has a different name. But issues of gender identity are very personal decisions that should be left completely up to that person. Until someone can point me to some place where Manning has unequivocally stated what his gender is and what he wants to be called that is different, I feel obliged to stick with the current name.

  4. VeganAtheistWeirdo says

    Try here.

    (1:13:10 PM) bradass87: i just… dont wish to be a part of it… at least not now… im not ready… i wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me… plastered all over the world press… as boy…

    (1:14:11 PM) bradass87: i’ve totally lost my mind… i make no sense… the CPU is not made for this motherboard…

    (1:14:42 PM) bradass87: s/as boy/as a boy

    (1:30:32 PM) bradass87: >sigh<

    (1:31:40 PM) bradass87: i just wanted enough time to figure myself out… to be myself… and be running around all the time, trying to meet someone else’s expectations

    And I didn’t necessarily mean to single you out for misgendering her, Mano. I’m pointing it out because I felt like someone should. Even google hits for Breanna Manning are mostly hits for Bradley. I realize she says she doesn’t want transgender issues to add any further hostility to her case, but in a situation where she’s been rejected by a huge (nominally-) LGBTQ organization, I think the disregard of her identity is relevant.

  5. says

    To my current knowledge, Manning asked to be called Breanna at first, but does not right now. I’m not very sure, and obviously he or she is prevented from making an unobstructed statement, but I’ve gone back to saying Bradley again.

  6. Mano Singham says

    Actually Manning could make a statement through the lawyer but has so far refrained from doing so. It may be for tactical reasons given all the other things Manning has to deal with but I feel it would not be appropriate for me to jump the gun on this.

  7. Jeffrey Johnson says

    This is depressing. I think it’s interesting as a kind of barometric check of our political climate to compare the Ellsberg, Times/Post Pentagon Papers case with the B. Manning/Julian Assange/Wikileaks case. We are in the post 9/11 era and it shows in the extent to which people are willing to tolerate unacceptable government exercise of power in exchange for security. So much for the “land of the free and the brave”. When we fear terrorism, the terrorists can celebrate “mission accomplished”. That’s why it’s called “Terrorism”.

    Of the diplomatic cables and military field reports I’ve seen, which admittedly is a tiny fraction of the total, I haven’t noticed any that endanger the lives of troops or US foreign agents of intelligence. It appeared to me that Wikileaks was careful to redact names. I may be wrong, but I don’t know of any case in which personnel were placed in danger because of any of these leaks. So this objection seems to be mostly theoretical, and predicated on the assumption that the government can be entirely trusted to only use national security as a reason to classify information when secrecy is literally necessary to protect sources and methods, or to avoid compromising actual operational plans or aiding an enemy in attacking us. The objection that Manning has endangered troops seems to me to be largely posturing by people who are affecting behavior they believe makes them appear to be morally and politically correct.

    In a democracy, freedom of information is lifeblood. The people own the government and all of its information and data as public property. The exceptions to this must be truly the minimal set that is actually necessary on national security grounds. This veil of secrecy is not supposed to be extended to covering embarrassment, hiding weakness and incompetence, or otherwise providing for the comfort, convenience, or political cover for our leaders. I have no way of knowing, but I’ve heard estimates, which I believe are fair representations of current practices in government, that 90% of information labeled as classified has no justification for being kept secret. Instead of a rigorous process that ensures secrecy is only used when absolutely required, bureaucrats routinely label information as classified as a reflexive defense against providing hostile political rivals ammunition to manufacture bogus attacks, as we witnessed for example in the shameless Benghazi grandstanding engineered by the GOP propaganda machine. This is why I consider the GOP to be more threatening to freedom and democracy than Manning ever could be. Their politics has become corrosive to the Republic. Their character is more Confederate than Republican these days.

    Manning’s actions should serve to remind us that we have allowed the deep sickness at the core of our political process, and the fear of terrorism, to corrupt our democracy. One of the freedoms of the people has to be the freedom to know what our government is doing in our name, which is the fundamental basis for having freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly in the first place. These are the reasons I see why those who regard Manning as a traitor are deeply wrong, and that Manning has to be seen as a liberator of information and a patriot of American democracy. One may find some fault in his methods, but that is merely a symptom of the corrupt and inadequate system in place for managing secrecy vs freedom of information. The spirit behind his actions is one of patriotic loyalty to serving the people as government should, not one of subversion and treason as so many are passively willing to assume.

  8. jamessweet says

    I’ve got to come to Mano’s defense here and say that I think the most appropriate thing for now is to consider using the male pronoun (or gender-neutral pronouns, which I am going to use for the remainder of this comment) and using the name “Bradley”. Until Manning publicly makes hir wishes clear in this regard, I think it’s better to do nothing than to be presumptuous.

    By way of thought experiment, imagine someone who had transitioned many years ago, and then a private chat log of hirs was publicized in which ze expressed misgiving about hir transition, and stated that ze was considering de-transitioning. Would it be appropriate to immediately start using the gendered pronoun of hir birth as well as hir birth name? Of course not, that would be profoundly disrespectful, especially if it turned out that the thoughts of de-transition hadn’t been as serious as they sounded in the chat log.

  9. VeganAtheistWeirdo says

    Folks, I apologize if I was that unclear, but as I said above, I wasn’t specifically complaining against Mano. My concern is primarily this prominent LGBTQ group and whether they, or those trying to support Manning with public action, are disregarding her identity. I agree that she has not (as far as I am aware) made an official statement as to gender, and have no problem with anyone in a discussion choosing to stick with male pronouns and name until they feel Manning has made other preferences public. I don’t know that she still identifies as Breanna; it’s just that I haven’t heard otherwise since then.


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