The Aids Coalition To Unleash Power, better known as ACT UP, is one of the most effective social movements in American history. New York City author and activist Sarah Schulman has returned many times to the lessons and provocations of this radically decentralised, unapologetically confrontational direct action group, which was founded in 1987 with one goal: to end the Aids crisis.
Yet through her work on ACT UP, Schulman has documented not just the legacy of Aids activism and alternative queer culture but their gradual erasure. And the process of forgetting, she says, is intimately connected to the processes of gentrification that have captured our cities and our minds in the last three decades.
In this episode, Schulman expands on ideas from her 2012 memoir The Gentrification of the Mind and her recent political history of ACT UP, Let The Record Show, to speak to Eleanor Penny about activism, queer culture, urbanity, global health and how cities produce revolutionary ideas. For more on the history of ACT UP, visit the oral history archive.