I disagree wholeheartedly with his political ideology, social agenda, and the (lack of) economic justice embedded within his movement. In fact, I’d say he set our Race back more than any other activist, or Black (puppet) leader in the last half-century.
I am in awe of his mass organizational ability, and his talent for articulating the (superficial) aspects of the movement to the masses. He is a great propagandist, he had a great mastery of the theater and nature of politics and mass movements. He had so many skills that would have benefited the Black Liberation Struggle, but he used them to derail the Black Liberation Struggle and replace it with a dead end Black Integration Movement, and we’ve yet to recover from that.
Some say that Rustin was aware that Integration was a dead end path for the African Diaspora, thus he’s one of the greatest traitors we’ve ever produced, some say that Rustin was a true beleiver that Integration would bring us justice and oppertunity, while humanizing White culture and bringing true democracy to the US, and by extention the world. I must admit, I don’t know as much about his personal thoughts and intentions as I do about his political and organizational efforts, so I can’t really say; but either way he really hurt us, as all Integrationist leaders have.
I think Rustin should be studied in the community, and his mass mobilization methods reworked to serve instead of subvert Black Liberation.
Rustin is experiencing a rebirth of sorts anyway; the Gay Rights Movement (which is another dead end Integrationist movement, as far as Black LGBTQAI are concerned) is seeking to put him in his proper place as a Civil Rights Icon, and I think he should be there, regardless if you see the CRM as a positive or negative thing, he played his role and the historical record should reflect that. Hell, I think King Day should be replaced by Rustin Day.
The Black Puritians are also using his sexuality to attack the CRM, but I think this is backfiring, it’s also stupid because the CRM can be understood and critiqued on it’s merits and its historical outcomes without peeking into Rustin’s bedroom (or the back seat of parked cars Rustin is getting busy in).
So we are wasting the learning and development opportunity surrounding Rustin’s remergence in our conciouness and discussions because people (on both sides of the GRM) are focuing on him being a gay man instead of evaluating him as a political strategist, a ideological leader, and a mass organizer, that’s were the focus needs to be. But sex is much juicier that political and histo4rical analysis.