segunda-feira, 2 de junho de 2014

Desenvolver uma nova esquerda requer um processo de "queering"

By Alan Sears*

Developing a new left requires a process of queering. For an individual, "coming out" involves a re-envisioning through engaging with a new political community. We are raised to be straight, but begin to recognize we are something else. Over time, this means developing capacities to see the world in new ways. Rather than seeing ourselves as a flawed version of the straight person we thought we were supposed to be, we begin to see and live new possibilities. As our vision is queered, we actually see more, as the oppressive character of heterosexual dominance is relatively invisible to those who participate in it and take it for granted.
Socialist-feminist perspectives on standpoint remind us that our view of the world depends in part on where we stand in it. This does not mean reducing politics to a set of fragmented and mutually incomprehensible identities, but rather understanding that those who experience oppression and exploitation see those relations from below with special clarity. Anti-capitalist organizations rightly aspire to a big picture view of the overall terrain of struggle, but this does not come through a single all-seeing perspective. Recognizing the limits and partiality of the politics we have developed does not mean simply tossing them out, but recognizing that like all human knowledge they are products of particular times and places.
Part of getting a broader view, then, is liberating our analytical tools, learning through engagement with queer, feminist, anti-racist, and anti-colonialist perspectives. Queering also means developing deliberate strategies to counter the dominant power relations as they get echoed within our organizations. If we don't work consciously against the dominant power relations within our organizations, they are all the more likely to re-emerge, since activists are people within this society.
The complex relations of comradeship can often nurture sexism, racism, heterosexism, transphobia, and settler colonial perspectives if organizations don't work deliberately against reproducing them. Comradeship is a crucial dimension of anti-capitalist organizing, marked by shared experiences, passions, dreams, trust, and pain. It can be an incubator for beautiful and supportive human relationships that sustain us through the struggle, but also for relations of assault and abuse that reflect dominant power structures. It requires work to keep different forms of oppression from distorting relations of comradeship, as people will draw upon the ways of behaving and attitudes they developed in their everyday lives in capitalist society.
Queering is not a one-time action, but an ongoing process of learning from the world and challenging what we thought we knew. It does not mean simply rejecting the experience anti-capitalists have amassed over the past 150 years as it is crystallized in theory. Nor does it mean confining ourselves within the limits of historical frames without acknowledging their limitations. Queering offers the joy of discovery as well as the challenge of recognizing we still have a lot to learn.

*Alan Sears is a member of New Socialist Group in Toronto.

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