Larry Kramer's latest speech at the standing-room only LGBT Center in commemoration of the 20th year anniversary of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) seems to be sending a few shock waves among those who were around during the seminal activist organization's glory days - and miss the good ol' direct action demonstrations that literally changed national and international policy on HIV/AIDS and saved or extended hundreds of lives. It might also be reverberating among a small group of nascent activists, including - hm - Jim McGreevey (!?).
The keepers of the flame, among them Eric Sawyer (pictured above), Ann Northrop and John Riley, had recently activated the ACT UP phone tree to gear up for the anniversary. An initial brainstorming meeting in January drew more than fifty people but the number had dwindled at recent meetings (the group had apparently had settled on "healthcare for all" as their main focus for their 20th anniversary action, which might be a laudable issue but not necessarily a sexy one).
The speech itself, christened "We are not crumbs, we must not accept crumbs" was pure Kramer if only a bit more hopeful than the last time he opened his mouth and chastised the gays (the less-well received "The Tragedy of Today's Gays" which he unveiled at Cooper Union on November 7, 2007).
You can read the text of both speeches at the above links but I'll point out that on Tuesday's speech Larry quoted Eric and said:
My friend Rex actually has a link to the video of Larry Kramer's speech here as well as updates on upcoming ACT UP actions fed to him by Andy Humm here. But for up to the minute stuff you better keep your eye on the Queer Justice League. The Queer whats-a-magibit you say?
In the age of the internet we can do much of what we did in our meetings and on the streets, on the world wide web. The information technology available today could help end the need for those endless meetings. Creating a blog could, in fact, incorporate even more voices and varieties of opinions and ideas than any meeting ever could. Where ACT UP once had chapters in many cities, we could now involve thousands more via simple list-serves and blogs. We can draw in students and schools and colleges all over the world. It is the young we have to get to once again. Creating a blog would allow for expression and refinement of ideas and policies, like a Queer Justice League for denouncing our enemies. A well organized website could function as an electronic clearing house for sharing information, for posting problems, for demanding solutions, for developing and communicating action plans
A new blog is born: Queer Justice League
Anyway, going back to McGreevey, does anyone else find it really funny that it took the former New Jersey Governor to try to get specifics from Larry? Left Behind, who was there, reflects on the moment and remembers "what it was like being a queer newbie, all excited about your first gay protest" as he more than welcomes McGreevy into the fold.