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19 1 Queerness as Horizon Utopian Hermeneutics in the Face of Gay Pragmatism for John I be g in t h i s chapter on futurity and a desire that is utopian by turning to a text from the past—more specifically, to those words that emanate from the spatiotemporal coordinate Bloch referred to as the no-longerconscious , a term that attempts to enact a more precise understanding of the work that the past does, what can be understood as the performative force of the past. A 1971 issue of the gay liberation journal Gay Flames included a manifesto by a group calling itself Third World Gay Revolution. The text, titled “What We Want, What We Believe,” offered a detailed list of demands that included the abolition of capital punishment, the abolishment of institutional religion, and the end of the bourgeois family. The entire list of sixteen demands culminated with a request that was especially radical and poignant when compared to the anemic political agenda that dominates contemporary LGBT politics in North America today. 16.) We want a new society—a revolutionary socialist society. We want liberation of humanity, free food, free shelter, free clothing, free transportation, free health care, free utilities, free education, free art for all. We want a society where the needs of the people come first. We believe that all people should share the labor and products of society, according to each one’s needs and abilities, regardless of race, sex, age or sexual preferences. We believe the land, technology and the means of production belong to the people, and must be shared by the people collectively for the liberation of all.1 When we consider the extremely pragmatic agenda that organizes LGBT activism in North America today, the demand “we want a new society” 20 Queerness as Horizon may seem naive by the present’s standards. Many people would dismiss these demands as impractical or merely utopian. Yet I contend that there is great value in pulling these words from the no-longer-conscious to arm a critique of the present. The use of “we” in this manifesto can be mistakenly read as the “we” implicit in the identity politics that emerged after the Third World Gay Revolution group. Such a reading would miss the point. This “we” does not speak to a merely identitarian logic but instead to a logic of futurity. The “we” speaks to a “we” that is “not yet conscious,” the future society that is being invoked and addressed at the same moment. The “we” is not content to describe who the collective is but more nearly describes what the collective and the larger social order could be, what it should be. The particularities that are listed—“race, sex, age or sexual preferences”—are not things in and of themselves that format this “we”; indeed the statement’s “we” is “regardless” of these markers, which is not to say that it is beyond such distinctions or due to these differences but, instead, that it is beside them. This is to say that the field of utopian possibility is one in which multiple forms of belonging in difference adhere to a belonging in collectivity. Such multiple forms of belonging-in-difference and expansive critiques of social asymmetries are absent in the dominant LGBT leadership community and in many aspects of queer critique. One manifesto from today ’s movement that seems especially representative of the anemic, shortsighted , and retrograde politics of the present is “All Together Now (A Blueprint for the Movement),”2 a text written by pro-gay-marriage lawyer Evan Wolfson that appeared on his website, freedomtomarry.org. Wolfson’s single-minded text identifies the social recognition and financial advantages offered by traditional marriage pacts as the key to what he calls “freedom.” Freedom for Wolfson is mere inclusion in a corrupt and bankrupt social order . Wolfson cannot critique the larger ideological regime that represents marriage as something desirable, natural, and good. His assimilationist gay politics posits an “all” that is in fact a few: queers with enough access to capital to imagine a life integrated within North American capitalist culture. It goes almost without saying that the “all” invoked by the gay lawyer and his followers are normative citizen-subjects with a host of rights only afforded to some (and not all) queer people. Arguments against gay marriage have been articulated with great acumen by Lisa Duggan and Richard Kim.3 But it is Wolfson’s invocation of the term...

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814759516
Related ISBN
9780814757277
MARC Record
OCLC
676695829
Pages
240
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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