Iraq Veterans Against the War/Civilian-Soldier Alliance, SF Chapters respond to SF Pride

by IVAW & Civilian Soldier Alliance of SF, Monday Apr 29th, 2013 

Iraq Veterans Against the War/Civilian-Soldier Alliance, SF Chapters Respond to SF Pride’s Rebuff of Bradley Manning: Grand Marshall NOT Court Martial!



Adele Carpenter +503-860-5168, yesyesready [at] 
Josh Shepherd, +415-819-1045, josh.l.shepherd [at] 
Becca vonBehren,+518-222-3834, bvonbehren [at] 
Michael Thurman, +916-202-6060, michael [at] 

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco 

The beginnings of San Francisco’s gay liberation movement were deeply tied up with mass mobilizations against the Vietnam war, alongside thousands of GI resisters, like B. Manning. Iraq Veterans Against the War San Francisco is disappointed that the board of SF Pride has betrayed the strong anti-war roots of San Francisco’s LGBT community by deciding to unseat B. Manning as 2013 grand marshall, and to further publicly malign Manning. 

SF Pride has broken with its own tradition of appointing controversial community leaders and freedom fighters as grand marshalls, and has instead capitulated to the interests of its funders and lowest common denominator politics by making the profoundly undemocratic decision to reverse Manning’s election. SF Pride’s recent statement also makes several false assertions about the nature and effects of Manning’s actions. 

As veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (both queers and allies), we strongly object to the hyberbolic assertion made by Lisa Williams, president of SF Pride’s Board of Directors, that Manning’s election as grand marshall is an “insult to every one, gay and straight, who has ever served in the military of this country,” or that Manning committed “actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform.” 

Indeed, US servicemembers are placed in harm’s way--not by whistleblowers and human rights defenders--but by the policies carried out by the Bush and Obama administrations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by the broken veteran care system we return to. As veterans, we have witnessed the effects of U.S. occupations on civilian populations in Iraq and Afghanistan. As violence racks communities throughout Iraq this month, we note with sadness that today’s Iraq is less safe for gay men--as well as women of all sexual orientations--than it was a decade ago when the U.S. invaded. 

Like us, Manning saw the effects of years of U.S. occupation in Iraq. PFC Manning has been homophobically maligned by the mainstream press as having impulsively leaked documents in an attempt to “get back at” the Army following relentless homophobic harassment. In fact, Manning’s statements reveal an extremely sophisticated analysis of military racism and the U.S. military’s role in undermining democracy in Iraq and around the globe. If Manning is guilty of releasing wires to Wikileaks, then Manning is guilty of actions that have played a role in catalyzing some of the largest democratic uprisings in recent history. Meanwhile, these “crimes” pale in comparison to the laundry list of unethical and illegal activities perpetrated by a number of SF Pride’s funders, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and AT&T. 

B. Manning is currently languishing in a military prison in conditions that the UN and Amnesty International have described as torturous. After nearly three years, Manning is facing a trial without basic tenets of due process. B. Manning has risked a great deal on account of the belief that information mattered--that we, as a public, would do something if we knew the truth about actions being taken by the U.S. government. Now, it is up to us to prove Manning right. 

Publicly maligning Manning one month before what could be the biggest court martial proceeding our country has ever seen has broad negative implications for the future of truth-telling from within the military ranks, and accordingly for the US population to be informed on the actions of our nation. 

We would like to respectfully call on members of the wider LGBT community to demand Bradley Manning’s reinstatement as a 2013 SF Pride Grand Marshall [info [at]], to take this time to renew commitments to anti-war politics and solidarity with political prisoners, and to visibly support B. Manning throughout the ensuing court martial, as well as the upcoming Pride season. 


San Francisco Chapter of 
Iraq Veterans Against the War and 
Civilian-Soldier Alliance


The SF LGBT Pride Committee Has Nothing to Be Proud of Over Bradley Manning
by Adam Richmond,  Tuesday Apr 30th, 2013

Glenn Greenwald’s article in The Guardian titled “Bradley Manning is off limits at SF Gay Pride parade, but corporate sleaze is embraced” (4/27/13) has internationally publicized the cowardly decision of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee to rescind its election of political prisoner U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning as a Grand Marshal of the annual Gay Pride Parade. Manning is the gay service member charged with giving WikiLeaks thousands of classified documents exposing U.S. atrocities in Iraq, along with other materials. 

The decision to rescind the invitation was made in less than 24 hours after the president of the American Military Partners Association (AMPA) made the request to reverse the invitation. The amazing election of Manning and subsequent and scandalous renunciation of that election, however, may prove to be the galvanizing point of the left of the LGBTQ community, which has become increasingly vocal in criticizing the conservative bastion that promotes a pro-corporate atmosphere of the Parade and Festival. Indeed, there is the beginning of a struggle and a political revival of the SF Pride Parade as a vehicle for raising awareness of progressive political causes because of the latest Manning decision. 

On Monday, April 29, 2013, a demonstration of about 200 supporters of Bradley Manning outside the offices of SF Pride Committee demanded that the Board of Directors of SF Pride reinstate Bradley Manning as a Grand Marshal. Chanting, “You say court marshal, we say Grand Marshal,” demonstrators heard over a dozen speakers from a variety of groups and organizations. The possibility of a public rebuke of the SF Pride’s outrageous decision was evident. Speaking at the event was Daniel Ellsberg, who in the 1970s revealed the secret bombings by the U.S. of Cambodia and numerous other atrocities in his famous Pentagon Papers leak. Ellsberg is a prominent supporter of Bradley Manning and a cofounder of the Bradley Manning Support Network. 

Following Ellsberg in speaking out was famed Iraq war conscientious objector Stephen Funk, a gay former Marine and co-founder of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Funk put the blame for the Iraq/Afghan wars not only on George Bush, its originator, but Barack Obama, its continuator. John Caldera, President of the SF Veteran’s Affairs Commission and longtime activist for Veterans Services in San Francisco echoed the criticism of the SF Pride’s acceptance of Wells Fargo and Bank of America as corporate sponsors, who have both put hundreds of veterans and their families out on the streets, having foreclosed on their homes. He called for the resignation of SF Pride board president Lisa Williams and pointed out that while the Board rescinded the election of Manning as Grand Marshal, placating the wishes of the AMPA, it did not consider the gay and lesbian Veterans in San Francisco, who support Manning as Grand Marshal. A number of other critical speakers were present representing the World Can’t Wait, SF Gray Panthers, Citizen Soldier, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, Veterans for Peace, Libertarian Party as well as members of a group of emeritus SF Pride Grand Marshals, the body which put Manning forward as a Marshal. The event was counter-protested by a handful of supporters of Lisa Williams and the Log Cabin Republican Club activist Chris Bowman. 

The San Francisco Pride Event is one of the largest grassroots events in the world and attracted approximately 1million attendees in 2012. Reinstating Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal will not only put the facts of his case directly in front of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, but in front of the rest of the world as well. 

Manning is a political prisoner of the Obama administration. His crime was to reveal the truth about the U.S. war and occupation. His revelations put no U.S. service member at risk. They were put at risk by the imperial war policies of the U.S. government, enshrined by both the Democrats and the Republicans. The struggle for justice for Bradley Manning will cause all to take a stand on these wars and occupations. This may very well be the Dreyfus affair of our generation. 

Adam Richmond is a writer and graphic designer for Workers Action, and a Teamster. He is a long time political activist and lives in San Francisco. He may be reached at sanfrancisco [at]