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Commentary :: GLBT/Queer
Reponse to "Queer Liberation and Anarchist Communism"
27 Jun 2008
Parts of this article I would agree with or appreciate as a queer and trans person, though other parts are simply offensive.

I am glad NEFAC can show solidarity for queer liberation struggles (read as struggles based in sexuality, gender identity or representation). I feel social justice struggles are inevitably connected and working towards an analysis which embraces this is beneficial, nurturing and necessary for any revolutionary movement to occur.
"We also feel that queer liberation is only fully possible with anarchist communism."

The quote above pretty much tears apart anything encouraging you said in the whole article for me. It is undermining of queer liberation struggles that have happened historically and are happening presently without the help or even recognition of anarchist communism.

I can respect that queer liberation is not the primary focus of NEFAC (as long as you are building a queer analysis). I can also agree with the quote below.

"This doesn't mean that we all must individually fight every struggle on every front in order to fight any; as individuals we don't have time." But in response to this quote: If your organization is not directly working with queer liberation shouldn't you let those of us who are define our own struggle?

You also state: "Unlike authoritarian revolutionary tendencies which seek to gain support for their party so that they may gain power and rule in everyone's name. We, anarchist communists, argue that systems of domination and control must be destroyed not captured."

This seems a bit inconsistent to me. Are you not seeking to gain support for your political organization with this article? I would say you are trying to "capture" support by queer folks with this article through showing solidarity.

Telling me that queer liberation is only possible through anarchist communism feels a lot like domination to me. Keep working on an anti-oppression analysis without subjecting your own views onto to other struggles.

Queers for the abolishment of prisons!
Queers for environmental justice!
Queers against racism, sexism, ableism and all other forms of oppression!
See also:
http://boston.indymedia.org/feature/display/204959/index.php

This work is in the public domain.
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To Clarify...
27 Jun 2008
Modified: 05:36:50 PM
I can appreciate and respect the response to the article. But I think that maybe you're misunderstanding the intentions and statement of the article. Also, you seem to be making assumptions that are not true about the organization.

First, although our organization isn't a soley focused on queer liberation, there are queer folks within our organization, there are folks focused directly on queer liberation, and in our respective struggles opposition to queer oppression remains a unifying principle of the organization.

Second, the purpose of the article wasn't to "capture" the support of queer folks. It was written to pass out both at the Boston Dyke March that we were invited to and to distribute on various anarchist sites to:
1) explain how anarchist communism and queer liberation were interelated struggles in our view to folks unfamiliar with anarchist communism
2) to reaffirm our commitment to queer liberation as an organization (which remains one of our unifying aims and principles) to other anarchists and anarchist communists.

This second intention seems particularily important given what you seem to be implying by this statement:
"It is undermining of queer liberation struggles that have happened historically and are happening presently without the help or even recognition of anarchist communism."

It seems like maybe you meant "anarchist communists" or "anarchist communist groups" instead of anarchist communism. If that's the case then I agree with the sentiment: anarchist communists, their groups and their movements don't have a strong history - though there certainly are exceptions- of acknowledging or actively supporting queer liberation that I'm aware of. That makes the second intention of the article, which was distributed on anarkismo.net, anarchistnews.org, infoshop.org, nefac.net, one of our members sites Queers Without Borders: http://queerswithoutborders.com/wpmu/ and other anarchist and anarchist communist sites to make the argument of the importance of queer liberation as a necessary part of anarchist communist struggle. The summary of the articles stated this argument:

"As anarchist communists, it is only logical and consistent with our principles in the struggle for a free humanity that we support the personal, cultural, and institutional fight against patriarchy, hetero-sexism, the gender bi-nary system and all other struggles for queer liberation both in themselves and in their intersectionalities with capitalism, the state, white supremacy, and all other forms of human oppression.

Last, I think that maybe you've misinterpreted the line

"We also feel that queer liberation is only fully possible with anarchist communism."

We're not saying that until there's an anarchist communist revolution, there will be no queer liberation. Like any struggle for liberation, there will be gains before fundamental change. It was simply a statement which affirmed what you seemed to be implying:

"I feel social justice struggles are inevitably connected and working towards an analysis which embraces this is beneficial, nurturing and necessary for any revolutionary movement to occur."

Which is why immediately after arguing that point we continued with the "none are truly free unless we're all free" idea... of course there are always advances of freedom and gains in any liberation struggle without fundamental change in all, but there's always a risk them resurfacing. Anyway, here's the rest of that paragraph after that statement that you found offensive expanding on that point:

"...we also feel that queer liberation is only fully possible with anarchist communism. Systems of domination and oppression are too interconnected to ignore one and not all others. To end any form of human oppression we must end them all."

Again, we're not making claims that gains won't be made in respective struggles without making gains in others, but are simply suggesting that racism, patriarchy, heterosexism, capitalism, the state and all forms of human oppression are always at risk of coming back or bringing back other forms of oppression unless all are abolished. We're also not suggesting in any way that a revolution in one or two areas will end the others, but just that they're interlinked and support each other as was stated in the article:

"we see queer liberation as an important struggle in and of itself, we feel that systems of domination and oppression depend upon and support each other. So, the elimination of one form of oppression is necessarily tied into the elimination of all forms of oppression."

Since you state that you are an anarchist, you support the abolition of the state, capitalism and all other forms of human oppression. Maybe it's the communist part that disagree with? Instead of replacing capitalism with communism, maybe you see another classless economic future as a possibility. But I don't think that us arguing that that we feel that a non-state communist economy- a classless economic system which ensures that all get according to their need and give according to their ability as a goal in the economic sphere- is complementary and necessary to ending all forms of oppression FULLY is oppressive or trying to dominate a movement. It's just reaffirming our belief that none are FULLY free unless we're all free... that capitalism would find a way to reassert queer oppression, patriarchy, racism all other forms of human oppression despite massive gains in these areas. Again, the article argues that the struggles are necessary in and of themselves... but is arguing for that to abolish any COMPLETELY, we must ultimately abolish them all. If you disagree with that idea, that's fine. But I don't think it's dominating to suggest it.

I think that it's more likely that the article wasn't clear enough with what it was stating and that some of your criticisms are based on misunderstanding?
"Queer Liberation and Anarchist Communism"
27 Jun 2008
You make some interesting points anrcha-queer.

However, one thing you saw as offensive I read differently:

"as we feel that anarchist communism is only possible with queer liberation, we also feel that queer liberation is only fully possible with anarchist communism."

Anarchist communism is a free stateless social system absent of hierarchical structures where contribution is based on ability and distribution based on need. Though anarchist communism is not a widely used term, it is NEFAC’s understanding of what constitutes a free society. With this perspective one could re-word the offending phrase like this:

"as we feel that a free society is only possible with queer liberation, we also feel that queer liberation is only fully possible with a free society."

After I read your response I saw how Thomas’s essay could be seen as an attempt to appropriate queer liberation struggles for NEFAC. I am certain however that this was not the intention.

Thank you for your comments. As a NEFAC member they help me understand better how we are perceived and the risks of coming across as sectarian by the movements we wish to participate in and support.