The fight for equal love
The advertising revenue my site earns has collapsed – from a pittance to nothing. In fact that of all the sites in the Domain group has plummeted since December.
The date may be significant.
The Domain group has a variety of writers – for example from Larvatus Prodeo to Clubb Troppo to Jennifer Mahorasy as well as me.
The National Forum runs the Domain group and also produces a very popular online political forum called Online Opinion. This gets thousands of hits on the five or so political articles it runs daily. Here is how the website explains it:
In our first years of operation we have concentrated on building a community through our publication, On Line Opinion. In the last 18 months we have built our legislature – the iParliament; our speaker’s corner – The Domain; an area for conversations – On Line Opinion Forum; – an area for deliberative democracy – On Line Focus; and the first volume of our library has been put on the shelf – Issues Briefs. We have a lot more interactivity planned for the next 12 months.
I am part of the Domain, the speakers’ corner, and have been for over two years. My readership averages about 1500 a week, making me one of the less well read of the Domain’s contributors. Respectable, but not exactly challenging Murdoch or Fairfax for mass working class readership.
In times of class peace in Australia it is not surprising that revolutionary analysis receives little attention. That will change when the masses enter onto the stage of history in Australia.
The revolution in Egypt has seen people around the globe looking for better analysis than the pap the mainstream media offers turn to alternative media, including my site.
In late November Online Opinion ran a muddled article by conservative Christian Bill Muehlenberg called ‘Dismantling a homosexual marriage myth’ which basically seemed to argue that gays wanted to change the world and were all promiscuous.
The gay and lesbian movement does want to change the world – they are fighting to be treated equally, just like everyone else and not be oppressed because of their sexuality.
Oppression is an important part of the glue that binds us to the capitalist system and its extraction of value from us as workers. That oppression takes many forms – sexuality, gender and race are the main three.
There have been magnificent movements against various forms of oppression - the equal rights movement in the US, the women’s liberation movement and the gay and lesbian liberation movement.
In Australia at the moment there is a great struggle for equal love going on. The next demonstrations are scheduled for March across Australia.
So what has this got to do with advertising? Well, it seems some gays and lesbians were upset by the Muehlenberg article and the end result has been a collapse in advertising on all sites associated with the National Forum.
Actually, comments below by Ringil give an entirely different view about the reasons the gay and lesbian movement were upset. It is not about the article but the moderation of comments on OLO and vilification. Here’s what Ringil says:
Just one comment: it’s very annoying that no-one has questioned Graham Young’s claims on this matter.
Young has repeatedly asserted that the objections of the “gay activists” were were to his publication of Muehlenberg’s article, when in fact the objections were to the moderation of comments on the article. This response to Young’s December blog post on the issue makes the distinction quite plainly. Far from being an attempt to stifle free speech, this story is about protection from vilification.
While all “The Domain” blogs moderate their comments, only at OLO does there appear to be a backlog of unheeded recommendations for deletion. If you, Jennifer Marohasy, SkepticLawyer, Larvatus Prodeo and Club Troppo want to align yourselves financially with OLO, then it would seem a simple matter of due diligence to ensure that OLO’s moderation values also line up.
As I pointed out in response to Ringil, I don’t align myself financially with OLO. I have no control over that site or any other site, other than my own.
Christopher Pearson is a conservative Catholic who writes for The Australian newspaper. He is evidently poised to use this drop in advertising as an argument against the gay and lesbian movement. No doubt free speech will get a run too.
This is not about free speech. It is about gays and lesbians withdrawing their dollars and the opportunity to make dollars form someone who has published the views of the oppressor.
Now I have been critical of the pink dollar and its essential conservatism. Changing spending habits is a poor substitute for actually challenging the oppressors, as the equal love campaign does much more successfully.
But it is not for me to tell the oppressed how to organise their fight. In any struggle between the oppressed and the oppressor I stand with the oppressed.
Further, free speech is not a universal right, as those demonstrating in Tahrir Square against the Western backed dictator know and are finding out when the tyrant’s rocks and fires rain down on them and they get hit with tear gas canisters labelled made in the USA.
Free speech has to be fought for and won. The history of capitalism is the history of the struggle by workers and others for free speech, justice and democracy. It is the struggle against the bosses and their oppression.
That struggle has now broken out across the Arab world, demanding food and freedom, justice and jobs.
As part of the magnificent tradition of fighting back against oppression the gay and lesbian movement in Australia has organised equal love demonstrations to pressure the Gillard Labor government to recognise same sex marriage. Join us in those demonstrations.
The next rallies will be held in March across Australia. Some early details include:
March 26: Rally 1pm, State Library of Victoria (cnr of La Trobe & Swanston sts, Melbourne).
Facebook page here.
March 19 Rally, 1pm in Queens Park (opp Treasury Casino, cnr George and Elizabeth st, Brisbane City). Email firstname.lastname@example.org
19 March1 pm Sydney Town Hall.
Update: Pearson did indeed write on this. It’s called Oversensitivity can only compromise the debate and it does as predicted use the fake free speech argument.
Kim at Larvatus Prodeo has also written about this in an article called ‘Online Opinion and the advertising and ‘free speech’ controversy.’
Further update: Larvatus Prodeo have now issued a statement distancing themselves from Graham Young, Online Opinion and Christopher Pearson and saying they, like me, reject homophobia and vilification.