"The Social Plague"
Group 5 of the F.H.A.R.

"A queer takes care of himself," my concierge whispers in the absent-minded ear of the building's doctor. Takes care of himself. Does not conform. What to do? One could hide this bowlegged citizen away or inject him with a few fallacious hormones. One could even castrate him, as is practiced in the USA upon volunteers (!): "satisfying results" is the scholarly affirmation of a psychiatrist at San Quentin, who will cut your dick off as one removes a recalcitrant tooth. Hypnosis didn't provide spectacular results; prefrontal lobotomy demands an expert hand (the patient rarely emerges intact); and electro-shock does nothing. As for sacrosanct psychoanalysis, it only profits the consultant who cashes-in on the phantasm with great pleasure and for nothing. . . .

Criminals become mentally ill, shameful hermaphrodites again find themselves oppressed. Queers who are content with being weak and unhappy, gloomy underneath their make-up, crazy and impulsive, hiding it by laughing in the presence of children, but who bellow, explain themselves, demand and require the right to dispose of themselves [as they see fit]: we have encountered Group 5 of the F.H.A.R. [Front homosexuel d'action revolutionnaire], non-sectarian types who have clear ideas.


Actuel: In 1971, after the May First demonstration and issue #12 of Tout,[1] which was devoted to queers, the FHAR saw its effects multiplied by ten. From 30 members at the beginning, you are now 300.

Group 5: We are in the process of discovering something fantastic: coming out [la sortie de] from clandestinity. There are a lot of shameful guys who all dare to declare themselves to be homosexuals. Already there is some confrontation, but they do not attach any importance to it. Five minutes later, one is hugging someone. During the [summer] vacation, we separated, and the euphoria completely receded. . . . We splintered, but our problems did not. We put off actions, committees, etc for three or four months. And then, this past spring, things became completely chaotic. Personal attacks began against the small group that made the decisions; tendencies were outlined more clearly; and the crazy ones became completely delirious. Female impersonators, provocateurs, revolutionaries and irrecuperables, they aggressively parody the queers of vaudeville. . . .

Actuel: Do the people who join FHAR have lots of family problems, social problems. . . ?

Group 5: At the beginning, yes. And they leave when they realize that one must find the strength to deal with these problems oneself. This isn't an external movement that can aid you: it can hardly furnish you with a platform on which to repose. And no one has the same problems. . . . One begins with one's friends a kind of SOS-Amitie intended for "sympathizers" with the FHAR . . . those who haven't found what they are seeking in the general assemblies of our movement. OK, this was a little like advice to the lovelorn, but it also occasionally stopped the guys from gunning each other down. Often they sought personal contact, to be able to speak, to liberate oneself. . . .

Actuel: And the general assemblies intimidated them?

Group 5: They feared being seen, and didn't dare attend. For example: someone came across an announcement from a guy who wanted to found a community. He was 16 years old and he had run off. His father had found amongst his papers a letter from me and he wrote to me, asking if I had seen him. I telephoned the father and he told me: "I am going to the cops, I have given them the [FHAR] bulletin." The cops insisted: "Would you like to bring charges against the newspaper that published the announcement?" The guy told me: "When I saw that they expected it and that it pleased them, I said 'no, I will not file charges, I want to try to find my son by my own means'." Which he'd already tried. But the cops were hot; they expected the complaint that would allow them to sink the newspaper.

Actuel: Do you think that the FHAR can bring changes to the laws concerning homosexuality -- lowering the legal age of consent, for example?

Group 5: On the day when the laws concerning homosexuality are abolished, there will no longer be anyone in FHAR, because three-quarters of the guys aren't revolutionary at all. Capitalism needs to liberalize itself in its own interests. Look at Norway, where the legal age is now 16, people no longer care. . . . This is total recuperation and it isn't worth the difficulty of battling against it. In our analysis, the majority of the Leftists still refuse to do it. They haven't understood that one must battle on terrain that will be chosen by the adversary tomorrow, and not ceaselessly refer to the past.

Actuel: Everyone doesn't reject you . . .

Group 5: One doesn't like us, unanimously. One tolerates us in the hope that we will one day sing 'Ave Marx, Ave Trotsky, Ave Mao.' But in the main, they are pains in the ass. Take for example the letter [from FHAR] published in Rouge: they kept what suited them, and published it. Everything that bothered them, [for example] the comparisons between the [Revolutionary Communist] League and the Communist Party, they sweetened up. Occupy the spot left vacant by the French Communist Party?! I don't give a fuck. Nevertheless, they have realized that a homosexual can be a militant; thus, we interest them. The League has tried to catch us. One could even dream of a "homosexual" section in the League. . . . A priori, nothing prevents a guy from FHAR joining the P.S.U. In reality, from the moment one tries to develop an 'ideology' that largely surpasses Leftism, I believe that double-membership in a Leftist movement and the FHAR becomes impossible. You understand? The crazy ones, the Gasolines, are totally irrecuperable. . . .

Actuel: [Who] ???

Group 5: They dance, they sing in the streets, they get made-up. Delirium for delirium's sake, total rupture, which isn't nothing! A phase, perhaps . . . At a meeting with Duclos, it was a crazy one who succeeded while someone else would have been thrown outside by the goons of the Communist Party if they'd asked Duclos what he thought about homosexuality. Another crazy one, on May First, took the banner of the P.S.U. [Socialist Union Party], a banner two or three meters high, to wipe his ass in front of the P.S.U. militants. . . One must see that there is a great difference between the crazy ones one sees in FHAR and those of the [ghetto] dumps. In the FHAR, when the guys get made-up, it isn't to resemble women, but to provoke, to be aggressive. . . . To attack the powerful. There is an organization, the World Organisation for Mental Health,[2] composed of extremist psychiatrists who practice brainwashing at a high level. They have the pretense to take psychiatry's fate in hand, and politicize it, to try to pass laws that authorize psychiatrists to intern someone according to a simple opinion. In the Soviet Union, this system already functions, and now they are trying to bring it to the USA and France by camouflaging it behind the jargon of psychoanalysis.

Actuel: And Group 11, what about them?

Group 5: They act in the same way that we do. They have the same problems we have, the "serious ones" have been overtaken by people who want to go crazy. The only difference is that all the "serious ones" among us are in the process of joining Group 11, and I expect the most delirious among them will leave us. . . . There is also great derision. There are Stalinist Gasolines, and Leftist Gasolines, Camping Gasolines. . . .

Actuel: And the women? How do they situate themselves with respect to FHAR?

Group 5: They don't situate themselves. They claim to have different and [more] personal problems! Among many the hatred of men persists, and debate isn't facilitated by this. We in Group 5 love that there are as many young women as guys, but they [the former] go in for the Red Dykes. . . . Today, the M.L.F. [Mouvement de liberation des femmes] limits itself to the pill and free and available abortion. And it is totally recuperated because the government, if it isn't too fucked-up, will end up in accordance. Lesbians are the most radical [feminists], but for the majority of the brave mothers of the M.L.F., lesbians are the devil.

Actuel: And what are the relations between FHAR and international movements, such as FUORI, MHAR, IHWO, IHR. . . ?

Group 5: The MHAR in Belgium and the FUORI in Italy are influenced by the FHAR. We keep in constant contact with them, and we are politically of the same opinions. When they fucked shit up at the congress on repression of sexual deviances in San Remo, the guys from FUORI made themselves known, but we knew of them even earlier: they had already published a newspaper. From this was born the more or less clandestine Revolutionary Homosexual International in Brussels. And, all together, the European revolutionary homosexual movements organized a conference with women's liberation movements on 15 October [1972] in Milan.

Actuel: What direction is Group 5 now taking?

Group 5: We would like so-called heterosexuals to come work with us, in the same direction, and not remain confined in a ghetto. We would like to try to develop an 'ideology' that departs from the purely homosexual problem, about which no one gives a shit. . . . Homosexuality must emerge into a much larger political awakening. When an idea is in the air, its spreads everywhere, even if nothing precise takes place. Of course this wouldn't be an 'ideology' in the traditional sense of the word. It would instead be an ensemble of ideas and actions. It isn't a question of providing the guys with a theory. . . . We used to have the intention of propagating the idea of sexual liberation among the Leftist groups. We had to renounce them.

Actuel: In the editorial notes for your newspaper, The Social Plague,[3] you propose to entirely redefine the concept of class struggle.

Group 5: It is obvious that the struggle such as it is currently fought in the factories, for claims concerning salaries and other reasons, considerably suits power. Everything is programmed in advance! One had heard: "This is a negation of two centuries of class struggle!" And it's true! It is no longer a matter of ceaselessly cavorting behind the struggle. The young women of Thionville stopped working because they were fed up. And the guys told them, "You could demand this and that." They had not even thought about it! The struggle of the homos is the struggle of the young women of Thionville and that of the Metro ticket-punchers. The problem is rendering this link obvious. Sexual poverty is the same everywhere and for everyone, homos, women, Blacks, Indians, immigrants, proles, high-schoolers, young people, crazy people . . . .

(Remarks collected by Yves Fremion and Daniel Riche.)

Published in Actuel, #25, November 1972. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! 1 June 2008. All footnotes by the translator.

[1] Tout! Ce Que Nous Voulons: Tout ("What We Want: Everything") was the newspaper of the "Vive la Revolution!" Group. Issue #12, dated 23 April 1971, was seized by the police.

[2] English in original.

[3] See Patrick Cardon's essay The Social Plague (1972-1974).

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