No Pride in Genocide! 

By Éilis Gallagher

It’s that time of year when the most evil corporation you know pink-washes their feed with an endless barrage of cynical rainbow posts. Every year during Pride month we are subjected to the same nauseating displays from the corporations that exploit working-class people, destroy the environment, and rule over every aspect of our lives. 

The transparency of it all is laughable, however this year the emptiness of ‘rainbow capitalism’ is frankly even more nakedly disgusting, as the corporations that profit from the Israeli state’s genocidal slaughter in Gaza are attempting to present themselves as allies of the LGBTQ+ community.

London Pride this year will be sponsored by Coca Cola. The poster-company for corruption; Coca-Cola has factories in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, built on land stolen from Palestinians. To add to their charge sheet, Coca-Cola hired far-right militias to murder at least ten trade unionists fighting for worker’s rights in Colombia, and the company is the world’s foremost plastic polluter. Along with numerous Pride events and campaigns, they are a proud sponsor of Cop City, a large-scale militarised police training facility in Atlanta.

The world’s second-largest military company, Raytheon Technologies (now known as RTX) is a corporate sponsor of Pride events in the U.S. It makes missiles, bombs, components for fighter jets, and other weapon systems used by the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians. Its stocks have increased massively throughout Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Its surveillance technology is also used to monitor the US–Mexico border.

In June 2024 the new CEO of BT Group, which is a sponsor of Belfast Pride, said, “the relationship with Israel is good for BT because it means making money”. This is exactly what the genocide in Palestine offers big business: an opportunity to capitalise from slaughter. BT is also axing hundreds of workers in Enniskillen, while their bosses are raking in millions.

No to ‘rainbow capitalism’

Pride is not a marketing opportunity for arms dealers and exploiters. 

Pride was born out of a series of rebellions and protests in response to a violent police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a Queer bar in New York, that lasted for several days in June 1969. Police raids on gay spaces and oppression of LGBTQ+ people was widespread in society. Same-sex relations were illegal in all but one US state, and gay and trans people were regularly discriminated against in all areas of life. The patrons fought back, many of them working class, trans, and people of colour. This explosion in defiance and strength was not random. The 1960s was a decade of radical struggles against racism, gender oppression, poverty, militarism, and war.

Today, in the midst of an ugly right-wing backlash against LGBTQ+ people, with a particularly stark rise in transphobia, we once again need Pride to be a rebellion. We must reclaim the radical roots of Pride and use it as a day to help build a movement against all forms of oppression – in our workplaces, schools, communities, on our streets, and in our unions.

Solidarity with LGBTQ+ people in Palestine

This Pride season, we are going to be marching in solidarity with queer Palestinians, whose pain is used as a pawn in the genocide perpetrated against  them. We stand against the myth that Israel is a beacon of progressive democracy. The same state forces that have for decades persecuted, blackmailed and abused queer Palestinians also oppress queer Israeli people. We have seen despicable pink-washing and rainbow-washing which Israel and its backers have engaged in. Photos of IDF soldiers holding the Pride flag as they stand among the rubble of Gaza, using queer people as a cover for horrific violence.

We cannot allow any corporations or companies which have ties to the Israeli state to be present at our pride events. Nor should we allow any political party which has committed themselves to upholding this rotten, capitalist, profit driven system at the heart of all exploitation and oppression to cynically attend.

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