Queer Solidarity?

David Alderson


‘It seems to me,’ suggests Judith Butler recently, ‘that queer has to be part of a broadening struggle.’ The sentiment resounds through much, if not all, queer theory, and increasingly both the theory and the activism it has helped to inform have been preoccupied with the resistance to imperialism and neoliberalism. At the same time, however, that theory remains committed to the poststructuralist fetishization of difference and the idealization of movement through a positive valuation of all that is ‘trans’ (transnationalism, translation, transgression, transgender (especially in the sense derived from cyborg theory)). Queer’s theoretical energies therefore draw – sometimes self-consciously – on the forces at work in capitalist globalization. A Left that emphasizes limits, by contrast, is stigmatized as humanist, essentialist and reactionary. The persistence of neoliberal economic crisis and the intensification of ecological dangers, however, must surely force queers to question their indebtedness to favoured tropes. This paper consequently offers some alternative propositions for conceiving of a solidarity grounded in the common resistance to what Marcuse described as ‘the performance principle’: growth through alienation and exploitation. By contrast with the drive for innovation, it is time to emphasize the erotic appeal of satisfaction and routine.

Queer Marxism - trans - Humanism - marcuse