Thursday, August 6, 2020

Erin Mayo-Adam's "Queer Alliances"

Erin Mayo-Adam is an assistant professor in the Political Science Department and the Human Rights Program at Hunter College, CUNY.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Queer Alliances: How Power Shapes Political Movement Formation, and reported the following:
Page 99 of Queer Alliances features a quote from the former leader of an LGBTQ organization describing how opponents assisted in the formation of political movement coalitions by convincing different groups that they were allies. In the quote, the former organization leader explains how labor organizations became more supportive of LGBTQ rights as they came to realize that the labor and LGBTQ movements shared the same opponents. According to the former leader, labor organizations used to not be on board with “what they called the 3Gs: Guns, Gods, and Gays.” That is, labor organizations generally held more conservative positions on these issues in the past. However, through a series of campaigns, labor organizations started to see the same opponents fight against pro-LGBTQ and pro-labor issues. Under the belief that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” labor organizations shifted positions and ultimately became some of the strongest LGBTQ allies.

The passage is an illustration of the one component of the book’s central argument, that coalitions can form when groups realize they have common opponents and a shared social movement past. However, Queer Alliances also argues that these coalitions are often volatile and fragile, that they are prone to breaking apart as groups that compose them come to see themselves as part of different political projects. This is especially true of organizations that are beholden to the cyclical nature of campaigns. Thus, in the concluding chapter, Queer Alliances argues that groups must also commit to an expansionist vision of movement in order to avoid the dissolution of alliances.
Visit Erin Mayo-Adam's website.

--Marshal Zeringue