- The Queer Intersectional in Contemporary Germany: Essays on Racism, Capitalism and Sexual Politics ed. by Christopher Sweetapple
The Queer Intersectional in Contemporary Germany: Essays on Racism, Capitalism and Sexual Politics presents an intimate dialog between antiracist and queer politics with regard to Germany's current political and cultural debates. The book explores the leftist strategies in a radical fashion by challenging the political discourses that claim that the identity politics-oriented movements slowed down, if not damaged, the anticapitalist struggle in Germany. Departing from this critique, and drawing on political experiences and anecdotes, it impressively provides strong arguments that advocate, if it is rightly understood and not seen as a threat, that identity politics not only can contribute to the anticapitalist struggle but also can become a progressive driving force.
The book has a compelling introduction entitled "A German Chapter of the Queer Intersectional." In his introduction, Sweetapple explains that the title's phrase "A German Chapter" does not stand for uncritical "Germanness." Nor is it meant to give a patriotic tone to the issue. Instead, he argues that the antiracist and queer politics [End Page 443] in Germany should be seen in their locational peculiarities in conjunction with global social justice and the struggle for equal rights. In this respect, Sweetapple's "German Chapter" critically explains how the gay and lesbian movement in Germany benefits and "learns" from the antiracist and anticapitalist theories and struggles from the Anglosphere yet ignores them when it comes to their local political practices in Germany. Furthermore, Sweetapple calls attention to the "traditional" collaboration among antifascist, antinationalist, and anti-imperialist street activism in Germany that seeks their political drive in the past—in the good old days, so to speak—and forgets to take into account the current struggles occurring in Germany, such as racism against Black people and People of Color and migrants and increasing hostility against Muslims.
The book continues the debate on political collaboration with two very exciting chapters by Heinz-Jürgen Voß and Salih Alexander Wolter. Their contributions productively argue that there is already a strong link, at least theoretically, between Marxism, queer-feminism, and antiracism. These two essays draw on timely and relevant theoretical insights by analyzing important political events in Germany to explore the link between anticapitalist positionalities and antiracist queer feminist thoughts. Presenting the history of the coalitions between antiracist and queer activisms in Western Europe, for example, the chapters advocate that these alliances gave birth to many stable organizations that still create radical interventions into discriminatory political and cultural settings. The authors claim that these interventions were not only essential to create a political common ground against homophobia and xenophobia but were also incredibly necessary to challenge anti-Muslim and antimigrant racism within the mainstream gay and lesbian movement as well as institutions. However, as Voß and Wolter show in their chapters, despite their emancipatory rhetoric, the gay and lesbian scene in Germany has failed to distance itself from racist, antimigrant, and anti-Muslimism rhetoric and, to also some extent, transphobia.
In the chapter "The Dynamics of Queer Politics and Gentrification in Berlin," Zülfikar Çetin brings up examples of German homonationalism and its gentrification effects with a groundbreaking analysis. In his article, Çetin provides a critical and illuminating overview of gay and lesbian literature that casts Muslims and migrants as the new actors of homophobia, antisemitism, and sexism in Germany. Çetin's unique exploration lands interestingly on the question of gentrification. His article successfully demonstrates how the "white" and "middle-class" gay and lesbian communities, wittingly or unwittingly, became complicit with the gentrification of certain territories in Berlin, while looking for "safer places" in order to create for themselves livable neighborhoods.
Koray Yılmaz-Günay and Salih Alexander Wolter's essay "Pinkwashing Germany" extends Çetin's discussion on "German Homonationalism." The authors explore the debates on the Nazi execution of gays and lesbians in the current German queer movement. [End...