In Slingshot #74 we printed a letter deriding ACT-UP SF for their stance on HIV-AIDS. Boy, did we step in it! Slingshot was flooded with email and letters critical of us for printing the letter and our response to it; way too many to print in our little paper. We are going to print excerpts from some of the correspondences we received, for the full text please go to our web site. Also please note our policy on listing groups in the organizer in the organizer update on this page.
I don’t agree with everything that ACTUP-SF stands for and think that they have some of their facts wrong, but people have a right to know that they exist. You’re not doing the people who buy the organizer a favor by censoring ACTUP-SF. Shouldn’t your readers be intelligent enough to make up their own minds on the matter? Rupert Murdoch would be proud of your decision. It should at least be clear that ACT-UP is sincere. They have a number of HIV positive people in their group — These people aren’t suicidal; they think that AIDS drugs aren’t the answer and their survival rates would indicate that they might be on to something.
I think it reflects negatively on Slingshot that when you approach a complex and controversial issue like AIDS treatment/prevention, you ask “what is the acknowledged politically correct position on this?” rather than “What’s actually going on here? Perhaps I should try to find out for myself instead listening to PR flacks and other establishment lackeys.” What if Greenpeace thought that biotechnology and genetic engineering was the solution to world hunger? Would you go along with that too? So much for independent thinking, eh? Who needs it anyway when the “left” (whatever that is) already has a pre-packaged opinion for you to pick up off the shelf and take home. Let’s hope for better judgment in the future.
Dear Folks at slingshot.
I was just informed that you have decided to remove ACTUP SF from your listing of radical community groups on the whim that someone has decided that because they don’t like them the easiest way to get rid of them is by slander. It is a common practice in radical left/ anti-authoritarian circles that if someone or their ideas are disliked we can purge them by using slanderous language. We’ve all heard it done before… “He’s a misogynist”… “she’s really classist”… “They’re racist”… “Homophobes”…etc. Even when there is no supportive evidence proving their heinous guilt we all jump on the shunning band wagon because the language appeals to our lefty sensibility of defending the perceived victims. This is a self destructive practice we all need to think about and try to avoid. Before the accusation is made–be right!
A better way for the radical left to deal with the AIDS debate instead of slandering it would be to simply acknowledge that the debate exists and that people be encouraged to learn as much as possible about both sides of the debate before deciding where they stand. I’m sure there are people of many political persuasions who are challenging the HIV=AIDS=death paradigm, just like there are people from every political persuasion who believe that HIV does cause AIDS. The AIDS debate is not a left or right issue it’s a scientific debate and a public health issue, and it’s the general public who will ultimately decide the outcome.