5月16日Feminism and Sexual Politics

Global debates generated by feminist sexual politics have shifted from focusing on pornography, prostitution and gay rights at the end of the 20th century, to the sexual politics of empire (esp salient in European debates over Muslim immigration), and transgender recognition at the beginning of the 21st. All of these issues still shape debate and action. The overall shift, explored in this talk, reflects the decline of American empire and the rise of transnational modes of organizing.

5月19日Marriage and the Market: The Politics of LGBT Inclusion in Global Context

This lecture will outline the heart of LGBT equality politics—the push for inclusion in the institutions of marriage and the market. Though often appearing as an arm of progressive social justice movements, these efforts actually reinforce global inequalities. Political efforts for inclusion are illuminated in juxtaposition to queer grassroots organizing, both local and transnational.

5月20日Feeling Neoliberal: The Politics of Affect in the Age of Greed

Genealogies of neoliberalism generally trace the intellectual and institutional histories of ideas and policies from Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, through the practices of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, etc. But consent for neoliberal policies is generated as much through gendered invocations of libido, fantasy and feeling as through ideas and institutions. This talk will examine some of the sources for feeling neoliberal, including the novels of Ayn Rand and celebrations of Apple founder Steve Jobs.


After Neoliberalism? From Crisis to Organizing for Queer Economic Justice 新自由主義之後?從危機到組織建立酷兒經濟正義

As the global economy of neoliberal capitalism has emerged, grown, and ricocheted from boom to crisis over the past four decades, its logics have acquired the status of mainstream common sense and inevitability, as asserted by the slogan, “there is no alternative.” But resistance has nonetheless flourished, from the rain forests and nations of South America to the anticorporate globalization movement to the uprisings of the Arab Spring. In the United States beginning in 2011, the Occupy movement has spread from Wall Street to cities in the United States and around the globe, drawing from and merging with existing global protests. All of this resistance has opened significant ground for questioning politics and economics as usual. For those of us on the broadly defined political left, this is our time, our chance. During the next decade or two, we may be able to end the brutal reign of neoliberalism, and expand alternative forms of social, cultural, political, and economic life.
As queer leftists look toward our participation in building possible new futures, we need to attend to the most important thing: our constituencies need to become fully literate in economic policy. During the past two decades, mainstream lesbian and gay organizations have increasingly supported rather than opposed neoliberal modes of governance. But how can we provide an effective critique when many of us, in the United States in particular, don’t understand what neoliberalism is? We need to understand what the Federal Reserve is doing, how Wall Street works, how interest rates affect employment rates, how different health care systems really work, and so much more. Economic policy and basic vocabulary have been mystified—we aren’t supposed to understand it. We’re supposed to think that economics is a highly complex problem of technical management. It isn’t. The economy as such does not even exist as a fully concrete and discrete object of analysis. It is a historical invention, falsely abstracted from the operations of culture and politics more broadly. Under neoliberal dominance, more and more of the functions of collective life have been assigned or transferred to private corporate control, removed from the democratic accountability of the public sphere of our common life. As public life in the United States has been increasingly, deliberately impoverished by the underfunding of government agencies, we’ve been encouraged to believe that the private economy is more efficient and reliable than public action. We have seen the result of those policies, from Katrina to the 2008 collapse of the minimally (and badly) regulated financial industry. In the global South, Western support for neoliberal dictators from Pinochet to Mubarak has worked to identify the state with the racial imperialism of the West. But this support has also generated significant and increasingly widespread resistance. The legacy of empire has generated highly class-stratified, gendered, and racialized societies. Neoliberalism has extended that legacy to leave us with minimal social service and high national security states in much of the world, combined with low-wage and low-benefit economies. These legacies are increasingly being exposed. It is time for regime changes and for major transformations of our networked communities.
So what might we on the queer left do to participate in, shape, and create the new worlds that appear increasingly possible? Here are some suggestions:
  • Work to organize LGBT constituencies, by creating networks to link the grassroots organizations that are already doing astonishingly creative and productive work. Existing queer-of-color organizations, and those involved with poverty issues, are models for expansion and networking. Groups in New York City, including Queers for Economic Justice, The Audre Lorde Project, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and FIERCE, are expanding their communications and connections. The more these connections expand nationally and transnationally, through newly established networks, and via the Occupy movement and the World or US Social Forum and other sites, the more effective queer progressive voices can be. We need sites to circulate new ideas and to plan actions.
  • Underwrite research into and analysis of the needs and dreams of the LGBT/queer population, not only within the United States but also across borders. LGBT movement leaders and organizations have too often collaborated in some of the mistakes of the nonprofit world in general—emphasizing the practical skills needed to forward an already set agenda, while deploying an anti-intellectual discourse, denigrating the analytic and imaginative labor required to create and transform one. Right now, we need all of our sharp minds in full gear analyzing abstract concepts and vocabularies as they come at us, as well as our practical strategic and tactical sense. We need as much knowledge as we can collect, and we need to understand everything that’s being said and done in our name. Some data on the LGB population of California, collected and analyzed by Gary J. Gates and Christopher Ramos of the Williams Institute at UCLA (2008), is highly instructive.[1] The researchers creatively combined results from the 2005/2006 American Community Survey compiled by the US Census Bureau with data from the 2003 and 2005 California Health Survey to create a very useful and illuminating picture of the LGB demographic in California (they had no existing data on the transgender or intersex population). Though the data is interpreted to support the campaign for marriage equality, the numbers actually show that the majority of LGB individuals in California are not coupled, and that white and highly educated gay men and lesbians are the most likely to be partnered. If we take their data at face value, and derive a set of truly democratic policy priorities from them, we would come up with a very different vision for LGB and transgender, intersex, and other queer action—child care, health care, progressive immigration reform, more egalitarian and democratic employment practices, affordable housing, and social support provisions, for instance, would come out ranked highly. Creating and proposing forms of relationship and household recognition designed for diverse living arrangements (including nonconjugal households) might replace “marriage only” as a policy priority. Thinking of alternatives to neoliberal capitalist economic organization might even come up quite clearly on our to-do list.
  • Continue to generate and press forward with a friendly critique of the agenda of the mainstream LGBT organizations. The emphasis on the 3M’s—inclusion in the major neoliberal institutions of marriage, the military, and the market—reflects the priorities of a neoliberal era. During the 1990s, this agenda developed in direct relation to the rhetorical requirements of recognition in an economically conservative era. After neoliberalism, we need to emphasize transforming these institutions in ways that meet the needs of more of us, rather than simply plead or settle for inclusion in the status quo.
Our time is now. Let’s not waste it.
  • The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, Gary J. Gates and Christopher Ramos, Census Snapshots: California Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Population, October 2008 (PDF). Accessed November 13, 2011.
過去40年裡,新自由主義全球資本主義經濟興起成長,經歷了景氣的大好也崩跌到經濟危機,在此同時,其思考邏輯已經取得了無法挑戰的主流常識地位,就像目前流行的口號所言:「沒有別路可走」。然而抗爭仍然持續延燒,從南美雨林原住民族的抗爭,到反跨國企業、反全球化運動,甚至阿拉伯之春(Arab Spring)的起義。在美國,從2011年開始,佔領華爾街運動(Occupy movement)已經從華爾街蔓延到美國其他城市甚至全球,與各地原有的抗議行動合流,相互學習。這些抗爭打開了重要的空間,以質疑大家習以為常的政治經濟情勢,對於像我們這樣屬於廣義左翼政治的人,現在正是我們行動的時刻和機會。在下個10年或者是20年裡,我們或許可以結束新自由主義的蠻橫統治,擴大另類形式的社會、文化、政治、與經濟生活。
  • 著手建立LGBT的群眾基礎,串連網絡,連接那些已經做了許多令人驚豔的創造性與生產力工作的基層組織。現存的有色人種酷兒組織與涉及貧窮議題的組織正是擴大和連結的典範,在紐約的團體中,「酷兒經濟正義」(Queers for Economic Justice)、「羅德計劃」(Audre Lorde Project)、「李維拉法律計劃」(Sylvia Rivera Law Project)、與「有色人種LGBT少年領導者計畫」(FIERCE)都正在廣泛擴大他們的溝通與連結。這些連結越能夠在國內外建立新的網絡,透過佔領華爾街與世界或美國社會論壇及其他網站串連,酷兒的進步聲音就越能夠有效果。我們需要這些傳遞新想法與行動計劃的場域。
  • 支持研究分析美國本土和跨國LGBT/酷兒人口的需求與夢想。LGBT運動領導者與組織往往犯了和一般非營利組織一樣的錯誤,它們太過強調實現既定目標時所需的具體技巧,以致於採取反智的論述,蔑視在創造並改變上述目標時所需要的分析和想像工夫。但是此刻,我們需要所有人的腦筋全力開動,不但積極分析那些撲向我們的概念和字彙,也要分析我們自己的策略和戰術想法。我們需要盡可能的收集知識,越多越好,我們也需要理解所有以同志之名所做的發言。洛杉磯加州大學威廉學院(Williams Institute)的Gary J. Gates和Christopher Ramos,曾對2008年收集的LGB人口資料進行分析(當時還沒有任何有關跨性別或陰陽人的數據),他們很有創意的把美國人口普查局2005/2006年進行的美國社區普查數據,和2003與2005年加州健康調查的數據結合起來,得出了一個非常有用而有意義的LGB人口分布圖樣。雖然這個數據被用來支持婚姻平權運動,但是數據實際顯示,加州大多數LGB人口並沒有固定伴侶,最可能有固定伴侶關係的是白人與高學歷的男女同性戀。如果我們直接採用這個數據來設計一套真正民主的優先政策排序,就會得出一套對LGB、跨性別、陰陽人、以及其他酷兒人口而言非常不一樣的願景:育兒、健保、開明的移民政策改革、更為平等而民主的雇傭規範、價錢合理的房屋市場、以及各種社會服務措施大概都會排在前面;而創造並構想滿足多樣生活方式(包括非婚姻家庭)的各種關係模式和家庭結構,可能會取代「只要婚姻」而成為政策上的優先選擇。我們的待辦事項裡說不定還會出現:設計新自由主義資本主義經濟組織模式以外的可能另類安排。
  • 繼續生產並推進對主流LGBT組織行動方針的善意批評。主流同運強調要努力使同志被納入婚姻、軍旅、市場等三個新自由主義主要建制,這個決定其實反映了新自由主義時代的優先排序。這些行動方針在1990年出台,是為了回應經濟保守年代對「認可」的修辭要求,現在新自由主義即將成為過去,我們需要著重於改變這些建制以符合更多人的需求,而不是只要求或接受被納入現狀。
更多資料請參考:After Neoliberalism? From Crisis to Organizing for Queer Economic Justice

Beyond Marriage: Democracy, Equality, and Kinship for a New Century 超越婚姻:新世紀的民主、平等與親屬關係

A few weeks after September 11, 2001, I went with my ex-lover to register as domestic partners with the city of New York. We had never registered our relationship with any state agency during the 17 years that we had actually been partners. But we changed our minds nearly a year after we broke up, on September 11, as we searched for each other in the chaos of that day.
I had spoken to her on the phone that morning, but then lost phone service and all contact with her. She was teaching at Brooklyn Law School then, and I at New York University; we lived near each other only minutes from the twin towers. I did not know where she was, or how she would get home. I started to panic that she might have walked across the bridge right when the second tower fell. I imagined her hurt and me unable to find her, or unable to convince a city worker or hospital employee that she was my next of kin still, though no longer my lover. I worried that her Helms-voting mother in North Carolina might be able to take her away. When she finally came through my door late that evening, covered in grey dust and totally exhausted, we both grasped the significance of that term “next of kin” as we never had before. If anything happened to her, the importance of me being recognized as the one most responsible, the one most concerned, arose in my mind then as an absolute emotional and practical imperative.
As soon as the relevant city offices reopened, we made the trip to city hall to register—though given the requirements and assumptions of the domestic partner provisions, we had to lie and claim we lived together as a conjugal couple. We were not surprised that there was a long line of people waiting to register along with us. We were very surprised to find that nearly all were heterosexual couples. We asked the people around us why they were there, and their reasons were very much like ours. They did not want to be married, or they were not romantic couples, but their experiences since September 11 had convinced them that they wanted the basic legal recognitions that domestic partnership registration would provide.
This experience of mine resonates with many others—of caretakers and friends or ex-lovers with HIV/AIDS, of long time roommates with intertwined lives and joint property, of lesbian and gay parents bound to each other and to children in complex non-nuclear ways, of lovers who do not want the state contract with all its assumptions that is civil marriage. There are legions of people—straight and gay, bisexual or transgendered, and others—whose lives are intertwined in ways that do not fit with one-size-fits-all marriage. Yet the needs and desires we all have—emotional and material—are as real and compelling, as fundamental and as significant, as the needs that lead many romantic couples to want to marry.
I have therefore been shocked at the way lesbian and gay leaders and organizations have prioritized same-sex marriage. It is not just one issue on a broad list, encompassing the many needs of a diverse constituency. Marriage equality has become the singularly representative issue for the mainstream LGBT rights movement, often standing in for all the political aspirations of queer people. Over the past decade, the campaign for marriage has consistently garnered the lion’s share of movement energy and ideological push.
Of course, on the one hand, the pursuit of marriage equality makes some sense. It has been fueled by a wide range of overlapping priorities: a demand for equal rights under law, a need for access to the private health care system, a desire for inclusion in the elementary structures of kinship recognition. But, on the other hand, if we consider such priorities with a broad vision of economic and social justice in mind, the right to marry is a very narrow and utterly inadequate solution for the problems that most queer people face. Access to the state-regulated institution of marriage does not provide full equality, universal health care, or expansively reimagined forms of kinship that reflect our actual lives.
As the army of lovers and ex-lovers we often imagine ourselves to be, queer people, perhaps more than others, might be expected to see marriage as a much too narrow and confining status to accommodate our elaborate, innovative forms of intimacy, interconnection and dependency. But rather than continue to expand the forms of partnership and household recognition begun by the LGBT movement in the 1970s, the marriage equality campaign has resulted in a contraction of options. Whether through the substitution of marriage for other statuses where marriage equality has been won, or through the impact of “defense of marriage” legislation in states where that fight was lost, other statuses (including domestic partnership and reciprocal beneficiary) have been disappearing. Too often, such alternatives are represented as second-class marriage rather than as alternatives crucial to the lives of so many of us. Why not diversify and democratize the ways we recognize interdependencies, rather than enshrine the right to marry as a singular priority goal?
It’s puzzling, really. How did marriage equality come to represent the ultimate progressive goal of queer politics? Since the Reagan 1980s, the emphasis on the importance of marriage as a national political issue has been anything but progressive. Various efforts to “promote” marriage have been attached to welfare reform legislation since 1996. Government-supported marriage education projects run by conservative Christians have doubled as “moral” or “values” pedagogy, and as tax-saving initiatives designed to push marriage as an alternative to public assistance. Efforts are ideologically directed to poor women and women of color, assumed to be immoral and inappropriately dependent on the upright taxpaying citizenry. In the broadest sense, “marriage promotion” in welfare policy aims to privatize social services by shifting the costs of support for the ill, young, elderly and dependent away from the social safety net and onto private households. Women are encouraged to marry to gain access to higher men’s wages and benefits, while taking up the slack for lost social services with unpaid labor at home. For poor households, this requires more labor and responsibility with fewer resources, as employment based benefits shrink and disappear. In addition, poor single women with children are encouraged to rely on child support payments mediated by the state. They are encouraged, and sometimes coerced, into naming fathers on birth certificates, or on applications for public assistance, so that “deadbeat dads” can be located for legal action against them to collect funds. Surveillance, coercion, and pressure on people surviving on low wages and no benefits are the everyday realities of the “personal responsibility” advocated by welfare reformers. All the cost shifting is wrapped in the idealization of marriage, the “private” ideal deployed to replace public, collective social responsibility.[1]
In addition, a vigorous conservative “marriage movement” has arisen with a long list of goals for shoring up “traditional” marriage: restricting the grounds for divorce, punishing adultery, teaching abstinence, and bringing children and teenagers more tightly under the authoritarian control of parents. Marriage has been glorified not merely as the best way to privatize social welfare costs, but as the best way to exert social control generally, and to stem the “decline” in social discipline since the 1960s. Though the conservative marriage movement has generally opposed same-sex marriage in favor of so-called “traditional” marriage, some conservatives have endorsed gay unions for their contributions to good social order and discipline (e.g., the New York Times columnist David Brooks). Despite such conservative uses of idealizing rhetoric to support coercive policies on everything from marriage “promotion” in welfare reform to forced birth control for Black and Latina women, the marriage equality campaign has often echoed rather than attacked it. Same-sex marriage proponents commonly represent legal monogamy as an unalloyed social good, and as the basis for a stable, happy, “mature” adulthood. For instance, one marriage campaign document, the “Roadmap to Equality: A Freedom to Marry Educational Guide” published by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and Marriage Equality California, opined:
Gay people are very much like everyone else. They grow up, fall in love, form families and have children. They mow their lawns, shop for groceries and worry about making ends meet. They want good schools for their children, and security for their families as a whole. [...] Denying marriage rights to lesbian and gay couples keeps them in a state of permanent adolescence [...] Both legally and socially, married couples are held in greater esteem than unmarried couples because of the commitment they have made in a serious, public, legally enforceable manner. For lesbian and gay couples who wish to make that very same commitment, the very same option must be available. There is no other way for gay people to be fully equal to non gay people.[2]
Well, might the abolition of marriage be one other path to full equality of gay and non-gay people? Nonetheless and in the meantime, it is obviously discriminatory to exclude same-sex couples from marriage. But given the demographic reality—the diversity of our actual relationships and households—might de-centering marriage and multiplying options be not just another, but a better path to meaningful equality?[3] Might opposition to the conservative marriage movement’s entire agenda be more effective than trying to mirror their idealizations in order to gain inclusion? Might real separation of church and state require that “marriage” per se become a private or religious matter, while the state offers civil union, domestic partnership, reciprocal beneficiary, and other recognitions to all equally?
These are the questions that led to the formation of the group that produced “Beyond Marriage,” a statement with 250 original signatures from LGBT, queer and allied organizers, scholars, artists, writers, and educators (many more have signed on since the document was released on July 25, 2006). The publication of this document is just the beginning of an effort to widen the agenda of the marriage equality campaign to include a broader set of relationships and the goals of social and economic justice for more of us than marriage, as it exists in current law, can provide. Given the current political impasse—with a few states providing the right to marriage or civil union, with a larger number prohibiting not just same-sex marriage but a range of forms of recognition for “nontraditional” partnerships and households—organizing for democracy and diversity in relationship and household recognition, as well as for an expanded social safety net for us all, might not only be right, but also a practical way to improve the lives of people in a wide range of situations: elder companionate relationships, multigenerational immigrant households, nonconjugal caretaking arrangements, and more. We do not have to settle for marriage. We deserve more.
此外,一場保守而活躍的「婚姻運動」已然興起以鞏固傳統婚姻價值,其眾多的目標包括:提高離婚門檻、懲罰通姦、倡導禁慾、將兒童與青少年更徹底置於家長的權威控制下,並且大加讚揚婚姻是社會福利私有化的良方,是廣泛執行社會控制的最佳手段,可以阻止1960年代以來社會規訓的「衰退」。雖然保守的婚姻運動通常捍衛傳統婚姻,反對同志婚姻,但是有些保守份子(例如《紐約時報》的專欄作家David Brooks)也會為同志婚姻背書,認為它有維持社會秩序和規訓的作用。儘管這些保守派的理想化修辭常常被用來包裝國家的各種強制政策(從以社福改革「促銷」婚姻,到有色婦女被強迫節育等),但是婚姻平權陣營通常並不會攻擊這種理想化婚姻的修辭,反而往往同聲附和。事實上,同志婚姻的支持者通常視合法的單偶婚姻為純粹的社會良善,是穩定幸福「成熟」的成年象徵。例如,由加州Lambda法律及教育基金會〈Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and Marriage Equality California〉出版的婚姻平權文宣《平權路圖:自由婚姻教育指南》就說:
上述的思考促成了〈超越婚姻〉(Beyond Same-Sex Marriage) 聲明的出現,這份聲明有250個來自LGBT族群、酷兒及連線的組織者、學者、藝術家、作家、教育者的親筆簽名(2006年7月25日這份文件公佈後有更多人加入連署)。這份文件也開啟了擴大婚姻平權運動的進程以便包含比婚姻更為廣泛的關係形式,並以擴大普及社經正義,超越此刻法律的範疇為目標。有鑑於目前的政治僵局──只有少數幾個州提供婚姻權及民事結合權,而大部分的州除了禁止同性婚姻之外,更禁止任何異於傳統婚姻的親密關係或家庭關係──我們組織起來促進關係形式與家庭認可的民主化和多樣化,並且擴大讓所有人都能享受的社會安全網,這不但是正確方向,也將可以切實改善人們的生活處境,包括老年伴侶關係、多代同堂的移民家族、非配偶照護關係等等。更多關係都可以納入親密關係的想像藍圖,我們不必屈就婚姻,我們應該可以享受更多。