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Remembering the Pulse Massacre in 2017 June 12, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Queer politics.
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I’m sharing this 2016 post from Ali A. Rizvi to highlight how ex-Muslim voices matter and how all Abrahamic scriptures are antiqueer. Various prominent ex-Muslims offer of a compelling critique of the Islamophobia discourse that appears dominant on the Western left at present. We anarchists in particular need to do better in this regard. It’s a difficult issue to navigate and ex-Muslims like Rizvi and Sarah Haider have meh politics overall, but fundamentally our sympathies should lie with apostates, blasphemers, and so on.

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Pride 2017 June 10, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization, Queer politics.
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I took this during Pride events in Albuquerque today. Let’s simultaneously oppose antiqueer violence, borders, and xenophobia.

In Washington, DC, radicals disrupted the Pride celebration with banners calling attention to various forms of oppression: the police, colonial oil pipelines on Native land, and deportations.

I’d love to see more actions like this. I wish there’d been one here. There was an alternative Pride event calling out the main Pride event for being corporate. A few radicals marched in the main one, myself included, but it wasn’t like what went down in DC. We didn’t disrupt. It’s usually correct to disrupt.

Unlike last year, I refrained from disruption. I put up anarchist stickers and mostly kept my mouth shut. Despite all the hype around Donald Trump’s election and what you’d hope would be an era of intensified resistance, life goes on. Everyday concerns remain dominant for most of us.

Here’s to ever-increasing queerness in all the senses of the word. Expect the future to be even weirder than the present. If you think we’re freaks now, just wait!

On the Merits of Refusing Saints and Sacredness: The Vegan Trolling of Chelsea Manning May 20, 2017

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Chelsea Manning Go vegan

Twitter user (((mikayla))) has made rounds in radical circles for telling Chelsea Manning to “Go vegan” in response a pizza post Manning made after eir release from prison.

Obligatory virtue-signalling: Of course Manning deserves the status of radical saint if anyone does. Ey’s an inspiration to revolutionaries across the United States and the world. Hell, even Richard Spencer gives props.

I initially reacted to the “Go vegan” comment with the expected scorn, interpreting it as disrespectful to Manning and woefully out of place. Upon further reflection, I don’t know that comment was wrong. It violated social norms, definitely. It wasn’t cool/hip/proper/tactful/etc. But I’m all about smashing norms.

I sympathize with the act of making a legitimate ethical claims at an inopportune times, of ignoring the implicit sacredness of Chelsea Manning right after release. It’s kind of like calling out Louise Rosealma for their dreadlocks after seeing them get punched by Nathan Damigo. Assuming you agree with cultural-appropriation arguments about the racism of dreadlocks on white people, it’s a fair critique to make even if bringing it up is arguably a jerk move in context.

Personally, while I eat vegan and more or less hold vegan ethical principles, I don’t talk or write much about it. I tell myself I do this because I care about humans more than other animals and because focusing on veganism doesn’t accomplish anything under most circumstances. In terms of self-interest, nonhuman animal suffering doesn’t directly affect me as a human and veganism isn’t super popular in my local radical scene, so it’s convenient to put it on the back burner.

My point here is about the dynamic of disregarding sacredness. I perceive potential in that model. In all (most?) human social systems I’m familiar with, certain folks have an inviolable aura. You’re not supposed to mess with these people, which typically forbids anything that could be interpreted as critical. Sometimes it’s your grandparents. Sometimes it’s your boss, a distinguished scholar, or a pillar of the movement. As with all social power, this lends itself to abuse, inefficiency, and other bad outcomes.

Anarchism, science, and critical theory alike reject such sacredness and encourage asking questions. If taken too seriously, this principle threatens the foundations of society. What’d be the point doing anything if any random jackass with a decent argument could still criticize you without your fans/family/friends/colleagues slapping them down? Isn’t it fundamentally human to both give and desire to receive deference? Incessant rational critique stands out as downright alien and monstrous.

Maybe so. I feel the pull of social capitalism, of prestige, of increased status, and so on. I virtue signal to my ingroup(s) regularly. Regardless, I ultimately want to abolish or at least radically transform  current webs of social power. Refusing the sacredness of a radical saint like Chelsea Manning leads in that direction.

Against All Authority May 14, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Ageism, Anarchism, Feminism, Queer politics.
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¡Sin excepciones! No exceptions. Regardless of sentimentality, freedom means unmaking parental authority along with all other social hierarchies. The nuclear family serves as a practical and conceptual basis for oppression. I remain drawn to Shulamith Firestone’s thought in part because of how ey identified this dynamic.

Happy Anarchy Day May 1, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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On Decolonizing the March for Science April 22, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism, Anti-imperialism, Decolonization, Epistemology, Technology, Transhumanism.
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Today’s March for Science unsurprisingly prompted critiques of science from an antiracist and decolonial perspective. This one, from the Seattle group Women of Color Speak out, came across my social media. The post describes unsuccessful attempts to reach out to the local March for Science and make the event less “less racist/elitist/colonialist/sexist.”  Women of Color Speak Out’s first three points to the “Western White Cis Male Scientific Community” come much recommended:

1. We need a great deal of healing before the scientific community can be credible to the general public in terms of equity and “inclusivity” (inclusivity is a white supremacist term, implies that they are doing minorities a favor instead of simply doing the right thing).

2. In order for the scientific community to begin regaining trust of POC and marginalized people, they need to openly acknowledge how they have failed us for decades with their inaction on climate change. They must openly acknowledge that they have failed the Global South, POC, poor people, Indigenous peoples, and Womxn.

3. The scientific community must acknowledge that by staying silent for decades they have served the White Colonial Empire before the needs of humanity and nature.

Overall, the scientific establishment indeed served, and often continues to serve, colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, ableism, heteropatriarchy, and other forms of oppression. Disentangling science a method, as a principle, from these pernicious systems of thought and action will take some doing. Women of Color Speak Out’s first points trace part of this long-term process.

Point four, by contrast, strikes me as misguided:

4. In their values they say ‘Science is the BEST method for understanding the world’. This will greatly offend Indigenous communities, POC, and faith communities. This divisive messaging should be muted to ‘Science is an EXCELLENT method to understand the world’.

While I can see the logic behind lumping Indigenous communities with faith communities here, the addition of POC as well make it curiouser and curiouser. Though not necessarily always accurate or helpful, the narrative of indigeneity as entailing a worldview or worldviews distinct from and presumably at odds with the “Western” scientific one stands firmly established. But why exactly are people of color as a whole prone to taking offense to privileging scientific epistemology? Unlike Indigenous communities and faith communities, there’s nothing definitional to the category “people of color” that implies some epistemology or epistemologies in tension with science.

The fact that science offends faith communities (and other communities) strikes me as one of its beneficial social effects rather than something to avoid or minimize. As argued by Meera Nanda and William Gillis, anything-goes epistemological pluralism and situated knowledges rarely lead toward freedom.

Nanda’s argument from “The Epistemic Charity of the Social Constructivist Critics of Science and Why the Third World Should Refuse the Offer” merits quoting at length:

It is my contention that the epistemic charity of the postmodern and the postcolonial science critics lies in the constitutive role they assign to social relations and cultural narratives in providing the norms of truth. Because they see nothing—not truth, not beauty, not goodness—that is not fully social, they see the free play and autonomy of local webs of meanings as the supreme priority, not to be constrained by any ‘transcendent’ goal. But such a view of knowledge is problematic on at least three counts: (1) It allows social relations and cultural meanings, as they exist today with all their inequities and oppressions, to set limits on what we can know about the world. (2) Simultaneously, it disables any critique of the existing relations and meanings based on knowledge not derived from these same social relations. (3) Last but not the least, it delegitimizes and denigrates intellectuals and movements that bring modern science and scientific temper to bear on local knowledges. As we see in the following scenarios, under the prevailing contexts in most of the Third World, such a logic ends up strengthening those upholding the status quo, be they traditional cultural elites or the modern state. The losers in all these cases are the internal critics—people’s science movements, human rights, and democracy movements—that attempt to challenge the existing cultural mores by using the ‘alien’ worldview of science.

Now, Nanda’s generalization of the Third World (with the valuable qualifier “most of”) obscures important complexities and may not apply to Indigenous peoples in North America and elsewhere. The core logic remains sound nonetheless. Knowledge about our shared material and social world matters. Insulating situated local knowledges from outside engagement, including challenges, facilities abuse.

I hope the growing movement to decolonize science can avoid falling into this trap. I hope transhumanists, especially without a background in antiracism and similar, take seriously critiques of science from Women of Color Speak Out and others.

Transgender Day of Visibility March 31, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Queer politics, Transhumanism.
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Here’s to the struggle against gender norms and for universal morphological freedom. Despite what some radfems claim, we ain’t even near peak trans. The future promises to be weirder than any of us can imagine.

Anarchist Super Bowl Ad February 5, 2017

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Anarchist Groupthink: Yours Truly Banned from /r/Anarchism February 5, 2017

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So now I’m banned from the whole /r/Anarchism subreddit, of course without explanation.

They can’t justify it, so they don’t even try.

That’s what happens when you ask questions about violence, challenge bodyshaming, and criticize groupthink. That’s what happens when you add “queer loser | expropriate social capital” to your flair. /r/Anarchism, as many anarchists groups, exists as a club for cool kids, a popularity contest. The moderators zealously guard their social capital.

It’s good example of how anarchist unity ain’t a thing and probably shouldn’t ever become a thing, barring some hivemind.

Edit: And now I’m unbanned. Maybe it was all just a mistake. Curious.

The Time Is Ripe for Rebellion February 3, 2017

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anarchism.
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professional-anarchists

Some day—and I greatly fear that day is not very far distant—some professional anarchist (for there are professional anarchists as well as professional thieves) will consider that the time is ripe for rebellion, and, raising the fraudulent cry of “Labor against Capital,” instead of his legitimate cry, which is “Rapine, Murder, Booty!” will lead this army of degenerates, composed of anarchists, socialists, nihilists, sexual perverts, and congenital criminals, against society.

James Weir, Jr., 1894