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Jeffrey Escoffier, Queer Socialist Pioneer, dead at 79

basquebromance

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the geniuses at wikipedia still haven't listed his death...even though the world has lost a great thinker who took sex as seriously as politics and never lost sight of their intimate connections. Farewell to a titan of the queer socialist left

 
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basquebromance

basquebromance

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you two probably prefer watching pro-wrestling, because that's not gay at all!
 

Calypso Jones

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no wonder NYC is in the mess it is.
 
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basquebromance

basquebromance

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he's literally touching his manboobs!

ChqjhnYUgAAQsuB
 

Calypso Jones

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bromance said:
i would feel more threatened if someone in A MAGA hat walk toward me than someone who is a queer socialist

please. lolol
 
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basquebromance

basquebromance

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EXCERPTS:

Born in 1942 and raised on Staten Island, Escoffier’s dyslexia prevented him from reading until the age of ten, but books and sex marked his teen years. He was just in time to ride the waves of the ’60s, and he did so with gusto. High on Kerouac, Burroughs, and amphetamines, he hitchhiked to Mexico in the summer of 1963 and then enlisted, bodily and intellectually, in the cause of the sexual revolution after discovering the work of Herbert Marcuse and Norman O. Brown.

Coming out was a process. He began graduate school at Columbia and, by 1967, recalled “roam[ing] the East Village holding hands with a man,” but only after the June 1969 Stonewall rebellion did he publicly adopt the word gay (“I had long known that I was queer — that is, a homosexual,” he wrote). Moving to Philadelphia in 1970 to study economic history, he brought with him a great deal of theoretical knowledge but little practical activist experience, which didn’t stop him from stumbling into the presidency of the local Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) chapter.

Jeffrey helped found the Gay Alternative in 1972, and in the paper’s opening editorial, he declared coming out “an essential political act.” Its rich coverage included everything from politics to sports to a 1974 cover featuring John Waters’s film star Divine, but his most sustained theme was always socialism and sexual liberation. A long 1975 article on Oscar Wilde’s politics — “The Homosexual as Artist as Socialist” — passionately argued for the need to include Wilde in the history of the gay left, even as it criticized his reductive vision of politics as a matter of aesthetics.

As the feverish burst of post-Stonewall radicalism subsided in the face of a more reformist gay and lesbian politics, being a gay Marxist could be lonely. Escoffier cobbled together one issue of Gay People in the Labor Force in 1974, and it might have been a landmark periodical, had anyone read it. By 1976, when he put up a poster for a gay Marxist study group, only one person attended.

Jeffrey had always maintained an inside-outside relationship with academia, teaching everywhere from Berkeley and Barnard to Rutgers-Newark at various points, but always as contingent faculty; he primarily supported himself as an editor, literary agent, and, after moving East in 1993, director of health media and marketing at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, from which he retired in 2015. So he saw OUT/LOOK as a public sphere connecting the academy and the community, and it was careful to include diverse multiracial voices from across the queer spectrum. Its first issue bore a cover image of Gladys Bentley, the black Harlem Renaissance–era “bulldagger who sang the blues,” and the opening editorial statement declared, “OUT/LOOK is committed to building a bridge between worlds which have often been quite separate.” (A valuable digital archive allows us to experience the vibrant text and layout of the magazine).

Escoffier’s call for a more democratic intellectual culture was “gossiped and grouched about,” making him persona non grata in some circles. Even the usually gracious Sedgwick belittled him as “anti-intellectual.” But his critique was in good faith and still reverberates. By focusing “too exclusively on the discursive aspects of knowledge or power and not enough on political and economic domination,” as Jeffrey wrote, queer theory risks profoundly misapprehending the actual historical operations of power — and indeed, at its most glib, when it examines cultural representations without attention to the labor behind them, inadvertently sets the stage for today’s noxious neoliberal intersectionality-minus-class.

Indeed, I am certain that Jeffrey would agree that the best way to honor him is to dig into his writing and find something to debate, or something that moves you to action. His final years were a flurry of productivity, spurred on by the sustenance he took from what he called “the company, the intelligence, and the beauty” that his companion Hector Lionel brought to his life.

The vision animating all of this, from the early 1970s through works not yet published, was his belief in the necessity of a “radical democratic coalition” that is “open, pluralistic, and practical,” where identity politics coexist with mass movements and intellectual work with community practices. It’s the only way we will ever achieve a just society, and Jeffrey Escoffier’s life and work ensured that socialism would be just a little more queer, and queerness more materialist.
 

whitehall

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Where do they find this stuff? Beware of socialist "thinkers" who confuse sex and politics.
 
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basquebromance

basquebromance

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Escoffier's ally Harvey Milk might have turned 92 today. As one of the first openly gay elected officials in the country, his impact stretches far beyond the people he represented in San Francisco. He served with a passion for public service that’s hard to match and he made his community a better place because of it.
 
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basquebromance

basquebromance

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Where do they find this stuff? Beware of socialist "thinkers" who confuse sex and politics.
i'm a regular reader of jacobin, a left wing publication. i also read breitbart. i'm fair and balanced. what are you?
 

whitehall

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How many deaths are old San Francisco political queers responsible for? According David Horowitz, the San Fran queers kept the filthy "bath houses" (that offered anonymous sex through a hole cut in plywood among other perversions) open even when AIDS infected people were dying in the streets. That's what you get when politicians are more interested in sexual perversion than the welfare of citizens. Not so much different today when you can't walk down the street without stepping in human shit or dirty needles.
 

Bootney Lee Farnsworth

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the geniuses at wikipedia still haven't listed his death...even though the world has lost a great thinker who took sex as seriously as politics and never lost sight of their intimate connections. Farewell to a titan of the queer socialist left

Glad he is dead. He's being a good commie.
 

Orangecat

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Queer and socialist? Sounds like a fucked up dude to me. Hope he finds contentment in the afterlife.
 

Bootney Lee Farnsworth

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So, basque used this dead idiot's homosexuality as a shield against criticism of this dead dude's FUCKING STUPID support for a COMPLETELY failed ideology. Good job, basque.
 

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