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Wrap-Up Anti-Capitalism

1 Queer spaces, and queer time facilitate ongoing engagement in subcultural participation in opposition to the heteronormative, homonormative, and yes transnormative, imperatives of consumerism. Materialism is central to the intelligibility of heteronormative subjects, and the straight engagement of time dictates that as "grown" folks, people must be good producers of capital, in order to be providing procreators. Similarly reinforcing the capitalist agenda, mainstream gay activism is populated primarily by class privlidged white gay men, focused on an assimilationist agenda that stabalizes a gay identity ripe for marketable exploitation. in Material/Queer Theory: Performativity, Subjectivity, and Affinity-Based Struggles in the Culture of Late Capitalism Rob cover talks about a repressive tolerance in which some queer subjects are co-optable, and commodifiable as a targeted market. Marginalized queer subjects are coherent as a necessary part of labor and consumption practices that strengthen the binary that privlidges heterosexuality over homosexuality, and often locates queers people at the margins of the economy. The temporality emerging from queer usages of time however, enables queer people to participate in subversive communities and activities that can undermine the capitalist hegemony beyond youthful rebellion, and into a sophisticated critique of economic exploitation. Temporalities like the D.I.Y. punk culture, urban gardening, the anarchistic gift-economy are have liberated some queer people from the trajectory of capitalist "progress," however Judith Halberstam critiqued the pitfalls of mainstream co option of subcultural production as a queer economic practice. The subcultural artists, by attempting to secure income, allow the subcultural style to something marketable, deprived of meaning, and detached from the gay and lesbian liberation cultural legacy from the 1970s in which the theory that the only way to disrupt the hetero/ homo binary is a complete overthrow of the capitalist project emerged.

2 Judith Halberstam's discussion of what queer is resonates really well with my tracking of my term, she defines queer as "an outcome of temporality, life scheduling, and eccentric economic practices." In this sense queer is inherently anti-capitalistic and in opposition or rejection the heteronormative teleology of birth-marriage-reproduction and death. She is particularly urging us to look beyond queer as an identity category, or sexual minority, but as a way of life. Queer has also been understood as oppositional to the heteronormative matrix, that queer is always this site of resistance. Early in the semester we discussed queering, as a verb, more so than as an identity. It was really interesting to think about our direct participation and engagement in queering, and just what is in need of it. Queering spaces, including the academic world, queering time, queering the weather, and opening up the possibilities of endless queering potentials was a really fun way to dramatically alter my world view, and it made me so much more personally invested in this really complicated and interesting question of what is queer. Queer is also a site in which the celebration of the abject is possible. Queer can be a joyous rejection of the sanitized, deodorized norms of decency. As Mary concluded, the terms queer and abject are in not synonyms, but mutually important. The campy celebration a=of abjection within the queer community is really liberating in a way, and locates queer far from a place of viitmhood which I think is really important. Puar's discription of queer as an assemblage really resonated with me as well. Thinking about the queerness of combining the organic body with inorganic tactile parts, like the ballistic body, or the turbaned Shiek had a very visceral effect, and visual impact on our blog. She breaks down the problematic escatation process of "outing," or delimiting what "queer" is and defining who or what constitutes queer, by exposing the inherient "unqueerness" of the binary construction. She pushes us rather, to look for the queer that already exsists. She took me back to the case that Cohen laid out in Punks, Dulldaggers, and Welfare queens, in which the call for collaboartive activism between the queer community, and other marginalized groups failing heteronormative subjectivity.

3 Tracking the term Anti-Capitalism this term has been really satisfying for me, as it's something that is very personal to me. Growing up poor and queer, I've always been very resistant to our consumer driven society, the vapid messages of our mass communication, and the dehumanization of labor production. I've always know, but now thanks to this project i am able to articulate the connections between queerness, subcultural practices, and anti-capitalism. I lived in an anarchist collective for two amazing years, where we practiced a queer economy, engaged in queer uses of time and now to have the theoretical background I appreciate the experience on a new level. Personally I believe that there is no true liberation for queers or any one with out the dramatic dismantling of capitalist oppression. The true cost of economic upward mobility is the exploitation of the mass proletariate class. My term is so intimatly connected to other tracking terms, like the abject and youth because subcultural living is unappologetically dirty and often populated by young people. It is closely related to ideas of nation/ citizen, as rejection or refusal of queer subjectivities as good citizens opens the potential, and desire to refuse to participate in the oppressive dominant economic structures. I felt like anti-capitalism encompassed a lot, but I wish I had pulled out more explicit connections to my term from the readings through out the semester, rather than being overwhelmed by the interconnectedness of such themes. I found all our reading challenging in some way, and as I returning student I was really invested in grounding myself in each reading, and the overarching themes and refamilarizing myself with theory.

Blogging was a great experience for me. I think that this format for opening dialog, while problematic, can be really important. It was great for our class, as we have such interesting and brilliant minds. So often in the academic setting, we don't utilize each other enough as resources. Reading how everyone else processed these themes and theories, really did help me to engage with them well after class discussion ended. The commenting, and this assignment to empowers us to view our own and each others work, input, ideas, and analysis as important and academically viable. I was already a believer in the power of blogging as a potentially subversive tool, but I had no idea how it would queer my work as a student. To push the forum, and your idea even further, I think it would be cool if you could go totally paperless with it. I really like how much the blog was tied into class discussion, and how carefully and thoughtfully approached the commenting process was, at least from people i the class, and most outside participants. The blogging process has ignited my desire to learn graphic design, because there was a lot potential for visual processing of information that were bipassed to due to time constraints, and my personal lack of computer savvy. My advice on blogging to future students is to just jump in head first, because it's super fun.

Annotated Bibliography #3

Dan Irving explores the transnormativity of the early trans activism in "Normalized Transgressions: Legitimizing the Transsexual Body as Productive." The historical exclusion of trans bodies and trans issues from the mainstream gay and lesbian movements, is begining to be addressed, but still groups like the Human Rights Campaign are still more interested in assimilationist petitioning for for rights based on citizenship, rather than humanity. He looks at the ways in which transexual people have also pleaded for intelligiblity through the frame of establishing their worth as citizens, and productive bodies motivated to be exploited by the capitalist project in order to pay for expensive transitioning. Trans people are often pushed to the non-rationalized spaces of work, and time. Not just queer time, but into the night time economies of the entertainment, sex, and service industries. The argument stems in part from the lasting legacy of the medicalization of trans bodies ,where influencial doctors "assessing their transsexual patients in terms of their aptitudes, earning potentials, education, and class backgrounds, medical professionals also strengthened hegemonic discourses of citizenship and productivity that buttressed the economy." While the article does a really good job disecting the problematic discourses of transnormativity, it ends on a strangely overly optimistic note about a rich history of resistance to systemic power and the neo-liberal capitalist project, and I guess I would have like to hear a little more about that, or how the trans activist can overcome the problematic medaicalized legacy.

In the Hlaberstam piece that i read, the queer slam poets Staceyann Chin and Alix Olson are highlighted as part of a dyke subculture that is carving out spaces to talk about the overlap of generation, class, race, sexuality, community, but really Staceyann Chin screams about how "the faces that now represent us have become to look like the ones that who used to burn crosses, and beat bulldaggers and fuck faggotts up the ass with loaded guns." Her use of language here seem to shock with rather than celebrate the abject. She screams her opposition to he church controlled state and, and the neo liberal political system. She connects fag, dykes, trannies, single black women, imprisoned latino boys, unionist and terrorist to capitalist exploitation. I think she express the political power of her anger well, and her call to end the passivity of the assimiltionist gay movement that was once so energized by the HIV/AIDS epidemic is really invigorating, angry, and dare I say hopeful in the way that I seem to find dark thing hopeful. The enthusiasm present in the piece for recognizing the collaboartive, anti-establishment collaboartive potential between a diverse group of non-normative subjects is great.

So, both of these things have my mind circling over what a queer economy would look like. I'm thinking of the free sale in Powderhorn park, and Food not Bombs, squatting, shoplifting, dumpstering, and just plain D.I.Y. politics. The book Recipes for Disaster has a chapter outline the joys, and realistic possiblities of unemployment, or as they say a guide for those radical who believe that life is supposed to actually be fun. Not working, in the sense of wage earning, is not at all the same thing as being lazy or unproductive. In fact dropping out of the exchange economy can be just as demanding, bt there are so many good reasons not to undersell your labor on the market. The book instructs to first think about what you can do without, and then limit your exposure to advertising that will clout your new found freedom from frivilous things. I like to utilize the gift, trade economy notions whenever dealing with friends and other members of the queer subculture, because I don't want to take part in our own exploitation at the hands of the heteronormative, homonormative, and yeah even transnormative capitalist project.

Docile Patriot

So as I've already mentioned both the Puar pieces we read for class gave me some very intense visualizations, because her powerful imagery was so tied to the bold articulations of her arguments. I am not done with this piece, (it's like 4' by 4') but i'm working out the pictures she put in my head. I'm going to add assorted limbs into the explosion and work out the ballistic body far off in the distance from the foregrounded body of the docile patriot. I'm also going to paint in a masculine hand holding her to symbolize the heteronormativity of the figure and within the boundary of her body i'm going to write out the following quote from "Monster, Terrorist, Fag":

"...The space of the national family, inhabited by the plurality of subjects who find their proper being in the heterosexual home of the nation: these subjects call forth, given being even, by the very figure of the monster, and they are called upon to enact their own normalization- in the name of patriotism. These docile patriots, committed to the framework of American pluralism, are themselves part of a history of racialization that is simply assumed. "

I plan on posting the finished product after about 11pm tomorrow, thursday, please come back and check it out.

Punk'd Theory

I found Tavia Nyong'o's discussion on the film "Scared Straight," really interesting. How the slang, and profane language is utilized on the youth as the only thing that can get through to them. In reality if some one were able to have a real conversation with the allegedly troubled teenagers about the reality of their non-normative lives, and the stress impressed upon them by the failures of heteronormativity and the citizenship encompassed therein would probably be more productive. That would not be a spectacle worthy of television scandal loving voyeuristic television audiences. The prisoners, marked by race, class, and gender, are broadcast relatively uncensored, and boisterously breaking the six words you can't say on television standards of propriety, and why is that allowed? Though the language is what some may deem offensive, it is employed in policing/ punishing deviants of the heteronormative capitalist project.

"The spectacle of street talk masks the surveillance of the penal apparatus. Prison guards are hardly depicted. At a key moment, an inmate histrionicaly yells at the camera, as if it were not his performance's occasion. Street talk is enlisted to the work of penology. The street theorizing of the Lifers-don't come to jail or you're going to get punked-is rendered supplemental to disciplinary power, which is allowed to operate behind the scenes as a silent partner."

The unarticulated option in opposition to the come to prison to get punked and most insultingly be "made a faggot" is to literally striaghten up and by a good wage earning, law abiding citizen. The nonsensical conflation of rape victimization and homosexuality, is sort of similar to Puar's discussion of the incorrect branding of abu ghraib tortures as homosexual acts. It also makes me think of the ways in which desire is policed within the prison system, in that any actual homosexual consensual sex is stopped, which shows that rap could be stopped. Rape is a tool, utilized by prisoners to reproduce and strengthen the power of the prison industrial complex.

The title of Judith Halberstam's article that was my additional reading is funny, because in my first annotated bibliography i utilized the article "Ten Reasons Capitalists Want Your to Wear Deodorant," and attempted to articulate a connection between queer and embracing one's funk. The subcultural lifestyle is not sterilized or deodorized, or overly invested with commercial beauty and all the polluting products that accompany the heteronormative beauty ideals.
Queer uses of time and space do not have the end goal of maturity, adulthood, or procreation within sight, and therefore queers are able to reside in the temporality of subcultural participation as long as desired. Queer time allows us to redefine adulthood. While the capitalist project with it's many arms (universities, prison-industrial complex, ect.) push bodies not only into intelligible subjectivities; but also into particular brandings (lawyer, welder, ect.) In Hetero time one becomes a product of how they are going to make money. Halberstam offers a definition of of queer as an outcome of temporality, life scheduling, and eccentric economic practices." Looking at queer as more than just a sexual minority, but a way of living. I feel like the temporality and life scheduling parts were well fleshed out in the essay, but i was hoping for a larger discussion of the eccentric economic practices. While queer's resistance to the purchasable trappings of heteronormative domesticity are pretty anti-capitalist, I would like to look at was in which queers can work to actually dismantling the capitalist economy. While the punk D.I.Y. culture has been liberating for a lot of people, queers often find themselves trapped as unwitting cogs in the system, because queers have to pay rent too, and alternatives like squatting or community gardening are policed. Property rights often outweigh human rights according to the law, and the social order. Even if escape from capitalism is possible, uninterrupted by the patriarchal state, for individuals in a subcultural context, the structures of capitalism and globalization are devastating places, and oppressing bodies where ever possible and profitable. In fact there seems to be some necessary pessimism within the articulation of queer economic practices.

"The mainstream absorption of vogueing highlights the uneven exchange between dominant culture scavengers and subcultural artists: subcultural artists often seek out mainstream attention for their performances and productions in the hopes of gaining financial assistance for future endeavors. Subcultural activity is, of course, rarely profitable, always costly for the producers and it can be very short lived without the necessary cash infusions (in the words of Sleater-Kinney: "This music gig doesn't pay that good, but the fans are alright....")" I would like to think that we can imagine a queer economy that is far more radical than turning our beautiful subculture itself into a style marketable for capitalist consumption. Perhaps an anarchistic gift economy that replenishes rather than exploits queer cultural production. The third section of the article "Subcultures: The Queer Dance Mix," discusses the need to study and record queer subcultures and makes a strong case for a collaborative theorizing on how to articulate, so as not to diminish into historical obsecurity, the products of queer time and queer spaces in order to write a queer history. Is Judith Halberstam saying here, as Emma Goldman famously had "If I can't dance-I don't want to be part of you revolution" ?
In our discussion of this article in class Sara troubled my notion of the privlidge of academia, and began to break down the distinction between theorists and subcultural producers. Judith Halberstam also articulates this destabilization:

"...In subcultures where academics might labor side by side with artists, the "historical bloc" can easily describe an alliance between the minority academic and the minority subcultural producer. Where such alliances exist academics can and some should participate in the ongoing project of recording queer culture and interpreting it and circulating a sense of its multiplicity and sophistication."

Visual Butler

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In reading the selection Bodies that Matter in Gender Trouble I thought about how to vsualize some of her ideas of performativity and bodily inscriptions, and also kept thinking of her explantion of gender as being a copy of a copy with out an original and I tried to do that with my representations as well.scan001001.jpgscan002001.jpg

Annotated Bibliography #2

So, in writing and discussing the limitations, and problematic deployments of ambivilant drag in the subversion of gender norms I was thinking a lot about other ways in which drag is done. There are drag performers that utilize a sort of trash camp, not at all unlike Divine, aware within their performance that they are in fact queering gender. There is a drag troupe from Portland, Or called sissy boy. 5492_1178811000507_1535118539_30472296_379256_n.jpg Their shows are really an experience in the absolute celebration of the abject with like shit covered fairies ,lost of nudity, and punk drag outfits that have nothing to do with passing, or achieving class status through reproduction of heteronormative desires. I think Punk drag is Anti-capitalist not only because the performers self-identify as white trash, but because their shows are a lot more about encouraging the audience to disidentify than they are about making money. What they do make, they basically blow on the after party. A few of the performers talk about how drag is not about being a novelty to them, but dealing with the reality of their lives in the art of it. I really like the way they talk about their own auidence, "We have a large fan base of freaks geeks and fags, gender unidentified, raunchy, cum guzzling peeps... SISSYBOY is a punk rock, back-hand slap in the face, explosive reaction to the ever prevalent need to bend gender roles until they break. Taking the torch from our sisters before us,SISSYBOY has transcended traditional drag by welcoming all gender queer and radical thinkers into a world where anything and everything goes." That's right gender unidentified. Being at a Sissy Boy show is an open invitation to undo a little gender, to come unidentified in an atmosphere similar to a Rockey Horror Midnight showing. I like the interactivity of what they do, creating a transformative space that oozes for outside of the border of the body. Material/Queer Theory: Performativity, Subjectivity, and Affinity-Based Struggles in the Culture of Late Capitalism appears in the Journal Rethinking Marxism, 16: 3, 293, 310. The author Rob cover attempts to make epistemological connections between Marxian and Queer Theories, beyond their opposition to identity politics. He explains how Butler's explanation of performativity complicates the marxian model in which the fixity of identity stabilizes the homosexual identity to a site for marketing and commodification. He says that gay and lesbian identities were made coherent within capitalists structures. Intelligible sexual subjects are a necessary part of labor and consumption practices that strengthen the binary that privlidges heterosexuality over homosexuality. The heteronormative social organization of our capitalist society haswhat Cover calls a repressive tolerance, in wich subjecs are "free" to buy what you want, but only participate freely in certain sectors of labor, such as the exploitative sex and entertainment industries. The "queer bloc" style of antiglobalization protests and their critique of the "pink dollar" is built partially on the gay and lesbian liberation movements of the 1970s that theorized the only way to dismantle the hetero/homo binary was to overthrow the capitalist, industrial project wholly. Cover further argues that lesbian and gay identities and communities emerged from the capitalist project, and that the free labor market opened ontological space or gay and lesbian urban spaces and identification in ways that weren't possible in the family-oriented economy. The increase of open non normative sexual identification in the market also reestablished moral homophobia in the social order. Queer Theorists of the 1990s note the shift from industrial and production based economy to the current consumption and niche marketing modes, in which we now see queer as a commodifiable market. "Exploitative repression occurs also in the categorization of a market identity whereby subjects are encouraged to consume in order to ''fulfill'' their ostensible identity.(Cover 5)." He basically wants a materialist queer theoretical stance, which builds on the queer theories understanding of subjectivity not only in the social order, as Butler focuses on, but in the materiality of homophobia as employed by the late capitalist culture, The commodification of queer culture, in which the capitalist project target markets products, venues, and assimilationist lifestyles to gay consumers is in need of much 5205_bookpage.jpgqueering. A documentary called Market This!: Queer Radicals Respond to Gay Assimilation that began after the 1999 Queeruption gathering in New York tries to look at ways in which the queer community can support itself without supporting the structures that oppress. Cultural constructions of identity are so closely related now to branding, and this film urges queer people to be unsatisfied with popular representation as some form of liberation as it is in fact stratifying, diving the community.

Unqueer and Genderqueer

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In Jay Prosser's "Judith Butler: Queer Feminism, Transgender, and the Transubstantiation of Sex" he troubles the the centrality of transgender phenomena in queer theory, employed by Judith Butler to exemplify the performativity of gender, and subsequently iconized within the academic discipline. Given the Foucauldian denaturalization of categorical citations favored in Queer theory, the idea the copies, citations are in fact employed lacking a true original. Gender Trouble investigates transgendered bodies, like that of Venus Xtravaganza, for their potential to destabilize gender identity. What Prosser says gets lost in the queer deployment is a certian materiality of the bodies becoming a particular gender, transitioning, which he claims is oppositional to "the performative of effecting one."

"Gender Trouble cannot account for a transexual desire for sexed embodiment as telos. In this regard Gender Trouble serves to prompt reading of transsexual subjects whose bodily trajectories might exceed its framework of the theory of gender performativity.
If Gender Trouble enables the syllogism transgender= gender performativity=queer= subversive, it stabilizes this syllogism through suggesting as constant its antithesis nontransgender= gender= constativity=straight=naturalizing (Prosser p. 265)."

With the construction of this new binary demonstrated in the syllogism, it seems as though queer spaces could be demarcated another ring in the intelligibility doughnut, if this is indeed a regulatory operation. If the boundaries of what is considered queer and what is not are policed. I'm interested in the assumption of the first syllogism that says queer=subversive, an interesting place to delve into the investigative question of what is queer? Where Butler questions queer's ability to expand and be elastic enough to speak for all "sexual minorities," Prosser wonders if that inclusivity should be a goal at all. I think he is arguing that transgender is not necessarily queer, utilizing the example of Venus' ontological and heterosexual desires. She wants to become a woman, and to be married with all the material trappings of heteronormativity. Butler too is critical of what she termed ambivilant drag and its potential to simply reinforce the power structures by heeding existing identity categories, and reproducing the subjectivity of the the gender binary. In this reading of transgender it does not fit the syllogism, and therefore is not fully encompassed by the term queer according to Prosser; he also call "To resist queer's incorporation of trans identities." While I understand the call for a critical look at how trans bodies are deployed in order to study the failure of embodiment, and the complications implicit in the theoretical structuring of a binary subversive queer/ naturalizing straight under the surface of Judith Butler's arguments. While I appreciate the critique of Butler and the push to be critical of the academic co option of trans bodies, I still wonder if this heterosexual desire must necessarily exclude some transgendered people from queer inteligibility. If queer does in fact equal subversive (which I think it does), what then is Genderqueer, and is it not particularly unqueer to draw that boundary for others?

In her essay subtitled: the radical potential of queer politics, Cathy Cohen argues that organizing for political change based on identity politics is problematic because it can reify the hetero/ homo binary. This type of organizing often engages assimilationist based liberal strategies, which legitimize the power of heteronormativity too. Cohen queers the static categories of collective identities in order to imagine more broad coalitional work. She criticizes the fact that, "much of the politics of queer activists has been structured around the dichotomy of straight versus everything else, assuming a monolithic experience of heterosexual privilege" (37). She makes the case for a more nuanced understanding of operations of power and the intersectionality of modes of oppression. Specifically the radical potential of persons with nonnormative heterosexual identities to be engaged in queer political organizing. She proposes coalitions built of a common identity but a shared positionality and restricted access to power. The heteronormative hegemony is supported by capitalist exploitation, and institutional racism, their operations are not independent. As the structures of oppression interact and conspire to marginalize us as oppressed subjects, so should we coalesce to fight back.

Annotated Bibliography


I think that love is central to queer anti-capitalism because it is often the only thing that compels us act "foolishly" enough to reject our subjectivity that has been produced through cultured norms. It is often the first space in which we allow ourselves to act willfully, making decisions unbiased by conventional morality and reject the rigidity of ritualized sexual and gendered norms. Queer loving relationships don't simply reinforce the power of the heterosexual hegemony, or help to maintain the manufactured sense of alienation and apathy of the masses. Because the act of loving itself can be radically transformative, to love others can build community. To love yourself, builds self esteem and the ability to reject the material culture which preys on insecurity and group think. Like how beauty products are literally toxic and standardized, where as pheromones are sensual and unique. Allowing love to guide you, weather that be loving a person, a smell, a song, or yourself can compel changes in consumption habits. I recommend we start by refusing to buy deodorant, and then move on from there to reject the things marketed to us that costs money but lacks value.

Language as the imprinter of ideology

I find Judith Butler's desire to complicate language, and write in a difficult manner fascinating. Language not only ascribes ideologies, but in fact has been built upon them. Words have histories, and multiple meanings, and ramifications, and exclusions. But language also packages ideology into something that can be consumed, and as the picture so clearly illustrates these words can have a profound and painful impact on us.Photo 30.jpg