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Friday, September 24, 2010

Queer(y)ing Anarchism (1995)



Of course an Anarchist Conference is said to be what the people attending make it; yes this is fundamental to Anarchism. And while no conference, convention, meeting, discussion, book or bachelor and spinsters ball that the Anarchist movement produces can cover everything it must in principle be open and respectful of all the differing complex aspects of the people dedicated and caring enough to come (despite the well-founded warnings of their friends too fed up these days to attend.) It must reflect those peoples lives and the struggles for justice, freedom, fun and fruit loops (organic and homemade though they be!) that they bring with them to inform why it is they seek a vision of freedom that Anarchism might almost provide. BUT people are people and certain people are the same people making the same nauseating noises wherever you go and so this Anarchist conference has finally turned this writer into an Anasarcasticist of Anarcaustic proportions and thus asked most earnestly over and over to put pen to paper I instead snuck into someone's office and stole the following which I now reproduce in the interests of `free thought':
OFFICE COPY
VISIONS OF FREEDOM CONFERENCE 95
REQUIREMENTS FOR ATTENDANCE
Appendix: page 307 , Category Z : QUEERS. BEFORE PROCEEDING:
We would like to make ourselves clear. All of the following rules and regulations do not paint a particular picture of reality, they do not designate borders of analysis and discussion across which you must not cross, they do not validate, legitimise and perpetuate the amplification of voices already working hard at silencing anyone who politically, culturally, racially, sexually, or through the vast mass of gender-oriented barriers and constraints, is an `other', a deviant, a whingeing social work case. There are special workshops for people suffering these tiresome delusions. These are just basic guidelines for the smooth running of workshops and the quick completion of the plenary sessions. You don't have to read these rules, remember in Anarchism nothing is compulsory, not even listening to or respecting other people and their differences. So grab your clipboards, tousle that hair, practise those quizzical frowns and lets go. (n.b.: `queers' refers to those designated as discussable in the section of extraneous workshops for groups deemed `other' such as those also for women, aboriginal peoples, etc...) Rule 1) Don't wear a dress, boys or girls or neither. Anarchists have no dress sense and no sense of humour .If you're a boy then you're either parodying women in a derogatory way or along with anyone else in a frock you're dressed impractically for the revolutionary riotting scheduled at lunch break.Rule 2) Arse fucking is a filthy non-procreative waste of resources (lube and condoms) and energy(calories). The same can be said of vaginal fisting, but dykes don't have sex, bisexuals just talk about it and trannies are stuck in their fish-nets for life... Neither do anarchists, so don't mention it as relevant to any analysis of the operations of dominant culture. Except if people are put in jail or shot by the army for doing it then sex has no place on our radical agenda, but since there are very few instances of this for heterosexual male pursuits in history then if you must bring it up save it for the appropriate group's workshop. If, however,you are a prime time presenter of some big time anarchist issue feel free to make off the cuff derogatory remarks about the practitioners of SM or prostitution or those that raise anything relevant to oppression due to missing out on membership to the angry anarchist boys brigade. And if you can't possibly say anything insightful or productive about an issue such as East Timor then feel free to defer to homophobic, hung-up jokes about arse fucking. Rule 3) From this you can see that power is a one dimensional concept and thus too is injustice. Which makes everything easy then. It's all about factories and working and growing vegies in Utopia, oh and newspapers and lots of books, books and bookshops. It's not really about the way people relate to each other and rescue each other with love or sex or sharing drugs or shoplifted lollies just to get through this hell hole of industrial culture, but here I digress. (So the rule here is if you can't see it but it makes you feel pain or scared or invisible or worthless or misunderstood and alone, then it is not real, you're just queer or something, take some Anarchism and you'll feel better. Violence or power or oppression do not operate on levels that involve your mind, your heart, your sex or sexuality or your desire to defy either. They were just joking then; `no one is free till we are all free' has become `when we win we'll be more tolerant than they were' of what we're not sure though. Or maybe this is just the recruitment catchcry of a revolutionary movement that needs as much fucking support as it can get but will not, can not, or just plain won't, regard with any seriousness the issues of people who toil just as hard for change that they discover excludes them.) Rule 4) Don't say anything about any of the things I've just talked about, don't respond to other peoples exclusion of your reality, don't defy anything that perpetuates any of these already prevalent notions that you may see plastered to the walls or sprawled on the desks cos this will be called CENSORSHIP.(Self-censorship is an acceptable form of anarchistic expression however). Rule 5) Don't talk about coming out cos this is very 70s, and flares and flicks might be coming back but coming out isn't. It's daggy and obsolete. This should also counteract any of the problems people not yet out might confront by seeing homophobic stuff on the walls of an anarchist conference. Stay in, keep quiet and don't rock the boat sailing to its glorious horizon of visionary dreams. This is a conference about politics not some cosmic personal growth chat session. If you thought that the social, political, cultural context you grew up in operated in its most basic ways by invading the private domains and most vulnerable places of people just enough to make them the agents of their own and each others oppression , and if you thought this central to any dismantling of the operations of power, and if you for a moment imagined that this was an issue necessary to any concept of revolution, then you were wrong and you must want the Oprah Winfrey show down the road, cos we'll have none of that tedious, unmanly, daytime-TV nonsense at this serious, big time conference!? You big sook, we're here to talk about cops and bombs and did I mention books already, yeah lots of books, and bigwig American lecturers too. Rule 6) Social and personal identity; the fact that power is not something carried out solely by the machines and institutions of the state, but by the people and the societies in whose hands these operate is NOT part of our rhetoric alright, keep this to yourself and your pooncey little social theory books. Remember that the violent, stormtrooping, beige, briefcased, badly dressed, overly-brylcreemed, bile-belching, oh-so-butch blundering that is the western world's passage through history is NOT inextricably, inescapeably (and imperceptibly to some) interwoven with the legitimised and disguised privilege of white heterosexual male self-interest. This is just a boring, monolithic, out-moded load of whingeing by women and queers and blacks and all those OTHER obstacles to a neat revolutionary agenda that isn't too confronting for those who came here not to learn or listen to anything except there own already over-represented voices. Or have I said this already in the previous rules, oh well, not one to worry about going on too much in the same old tired, tested, tried and re-fried deep toned, lisp free vocal tunes. (Repetition and regurgitation is the true trademark of an anarchist; what else are all those old world, european, princely pontifications and formulae for revolution filed away on bookshelves next to the boys own adventure stories for if not this.) Rule 7) PUT SIMPLY THEN, THE FUNDAMENTAL CLAIM BY FEMINISM THAT `THE PERSONAL IS THE POLITICAL' IS YET TO BE TAKEN ON BY ANARCHISTS, and until such a time as it is we will hear only what we want from those we've already heard. We don't want any integration of ideas and anlysis into the meaning of what Anarchism is and how it needs to be relevant to EVERYONE desiring freedom. We will maintain the currently well-walled, working definitions and values we have and deflect any critiques to the aforementioned appropriate workshops. We will add what we can cope with to our pot of revolution and stir but NO, WE AIN'T CHANGING THE EXISTING RECIPE IN ANY WAY. We want to hear about practical, idealistic, sane, sanitised ways of getting by in this world in an independent , anarchistic way that are relevant to the experiences of the social reality that the men writing what anarchism is know to be true. And a safe, respectful context of discussion will only be granted to these types of things... -i.e.: If you don't feel comfortable discussing the police by reference to raids on beats and streets, where you might make money or fun and run the risk of violence, rape, harassment, prosecution and the basic psychological intimidation the police give to poofs and women and trannies who need or want to earn money in this way, this is because you aren't meant to bring it up. If you want to talk about the ghettoisation, mafia control , corruption and extreme commercialisation that reigns over many of the only public places queers have for timeout from an otherwise entirely heterosexual world save it for the designated workshop. If you want to challenge male anarchist control of women's access to erotic, political, lesbian material in anarchist bookshops keep it for the workshop. If you think being kicked out of your home when you came out to your parents and trying to get by on the streets or in squats or parks or on the well-spent earnings of the numerous married men like your father who are looking for an economically disenfranchised boy or girl, with flesh like your own to pay for, is relevant to any discussion on the nature of the christian, patriarchal, worker-breeding, nuclear-family-factory-line. If you are pissed off and insulted by sweeping remarks about all sadomasochism made in the major plenary sessions of the conference by a man who knows nothing about underground queer SM culture and its value, practices and meaning, keep it for the queer workshop. If you got arse fucked this morning by your lover before alighting from bed to get to this conference only to find out that Gareth Evans can be ridiculed as weak and pathetic and plundered by portraying him as arse-fucked and you thought you were suddenly back in the high school playground (or at a punk gig of `anarchistically-enlightened', hung- up, hetero- boys who perhaps need a good prostate poke to activate their brains and sensitivity) then once again keep it to yourself and out of the way of activists using `a well recognised working class colloquialism' to make their point. And if you feel ripped off by a large, national, funded student body using fringe, radical, unfunded, queer literature and appropriating it by removing its queer references and using it to their own ends and wonder what kind of Anarchism can do this then you are overreacting and suffering a paranoid, persecution complex. And the fact that a disease wiping out so many of the people you love or fuck or befriend may be less devastating compared to the millions of people suffering daily for no reason other than their race or geography or the agenda of First World industry, but nonetheless it still devastates and isolates and cripples a hardened queer like yourself and remains unmentioned at a conference on Anarchism except by those queers whose lives are riddled with dead friends and the shame, silence and ignorance a state tries to inflict, then this is because it should also be kept to the appropriate workshop. Rule 9) AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: all of the above issues made reference to are NOT relevant to big issues, to the real work of an anarchist conference or movement. Masculinity, homophobia, misogyny, racism and the basic social, sexual and emotional hangups of those whose interests dominate and rule this world have no part whatsoever in the military-moralistic-macho-muslim-christian-judaeo-job-obsessed -junk-heap-of-machinery of war or rape or cultural genocide and imperialism or exploitation. The fact that impotent, fucked up, sexually repressed, shit scared, sold out, soul less, brain dead, boring people also happen to be those in control of this suicidal mess we call a culture is pure coincidence and don't you forget it.
Well that's all me and my little camera hidden in a stilleto could catch from the files for now. Now if I can smuggle a movie camera into my platforms next year I can get all the unwritten rules out to you all before the next conference. Until then remember that Silence=Death, so don't get dead bored by Anarchism, it is a living thing that wants to grow, feed it your own radical spirit, your own queerness, not your continuing silence but your voice, lest it remains somewhere on a dark bookshelf being fed only the suffocating manure that stifled it this year.And remember what all good anarchists know: rules are meant to be broken.
Yours since clearly,
Sis. Mary Anunymous O.P.I.
July 1995

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