It arrives and settles down on the sofa in our house, and tries, nothing less, to define who we are and what are the struggles that we must fight.
One of the cultural battles of our time revolves around the so-called Queer Theory, a heterogeneous set of beliefs, attitudes and ideas, which, starting from the struggle of the so-called ‘dissident sexualities’, has been permeating laws, political programs, frameworks theorists and worldviews.
It has also strongly colonized the spheres of the libertarian movement,
informally, that is, without prior debate and reflection.
This way of arriving unannounced should already lead us to cautious reflection: this is almost always how power wins battles, by assuming that they are the result of reality itself, and therefore do not require an analysis and debate on the part of individuals and organizations.
… Queer theory is presented, from its very name, in an attractive way, especially for people who feel libertarian: it is the revolution of the rare, of the marginalized, of those who do not fit in, of those who refuse to be pigeonholed.
Born proudly claiming an insult, queer, weird. It comes, however, driven with enormous force by the universities, from the very center of the capitalist world, the North American ones, from where it has colonized the so-called ‘gender studies’, opening a huge gap within feminism and changing its order and priorities from top to bottom.
For example: there have been decades of struggle to get the language to explicitly name women, who have always had to guess whether or not they were included, since the generic masculine does not name them.
A couple of years have been enough for the ‘a’ to have been changed in favor of the ‘e’.
So men are explicitly named in the culture majority, and non-binary people, in the minority. The result can be a new, and double, invisibility of women, cis and trans.
What is happening with inclusive language serves as an example to show how this cultural movement is operating: it is presented as marginal but it is driven by American universities; she declares herself a feminist, but does not hesitate to blow up part of the agenda of the movement that she supposedly comes to enrich.
And with anarchism? Can Queer theory operate in the same way with the libertarian movement, changing its order of priorities and values from within and without prior debate, or is it compatible with libertarian ideas, its theoretical genealogy, and its fighting praxis?
Both theories share their heterogeneity, so that it is not easy, neither in one nor the other, to define their principles briefly and rigorously. They also share the theoretical and practical duality, since Queer aspires to change the world, like anarchism.
The latter, however, has never been adopted by universities as a valid theoretical framework to analyze the world, and rather has
been greeted as a naive utopia.
There is no doubt, however, regarding anarchism, which arises within the labor movement, within the framework of socialist ideas, and has anti-authoritarianism as its backbone.
It is a theory of social emancipation, which seeks a social solution to social problems, combining the defense of individual freedom with the common good.
It is a class theory, it aspires to dynamite the bourgeois and state order, and to build spaces that allow the development of all human beings fully and in harmony with nature.
It considers that it is possible to build human relationships without hierarchies, without exercising power, through free pact and mutual support
Queer theory is born in a very different order.
Its spine is the so-called ‘sexual dissidence’. It is part of the currents born in the bosom of postmodernism, with Michel Foucaultas one reference background.
It considers that the ‘normal’, in the statistical sense, that is to say, the habitual, the most numerous, is ‘normative’, and therefore contrary to freedom.
The ‘transgression’ is in itself liberating. With Foucault, he applies the theory of micropowers, which are exerted (according to his language) on and through bodies, in a complex tangle of forces and resistances in which each person can be both master and slave.
Sadomasochism, for example, would be in this context a liberating practice, since it is anti-hegemonic (1). It does not have an ethical frame of reference, since there is no human existence alien to culture or that can be
objectively measured. Gives individual answers to collective problems (2).
With these two brief sketches, one can already glimpse the enormous distance between one movement and the other, and the danger that the second, with all the force it is acquiring, (could) eclipse or replace (the) indisputable consensus within anarchism.
The first of the gaps is individual response to collective problems. If we are what we do, if identity is ‘performative’ and everything is mediated by language, it is enough to change individual practices to create a different reality.
Without denying the philosophical substance that these disquisitions may have, we anarchists are aware that there is an undeniable material basis in our exploitation; that there is no revolution if it is not collective, and that the individual solution to social problems is, once again, a siren song to deactivate the struggles and their potential for change.
One of the dangers that affect Queer theory and other identity movements is precisely this individual response to social challenges, since “being centered on the subject tends to develop individual practices that can compromise the political potential of collective action” (3).
It is in the frame of this dilemma between individual actions and collective struggles where, for example, the defense of so-called “sex work” is inscribed, which ignores the evident sexual exploitation of women of the popular classes by prostitutes and pimps in the prostitution system, indispensable institution of the patriarchy.
The majority of Queer theorists tend to define subjects by their sexual practices, ignoring “that these practices do not arise out of nowhere, but are the product of historical processes and specific social contexts” (4).
They also play with the ambiguity of presenting the fact of prostitution itself as a product of an identity (that of ‘puta’ in Spanish), which they present as a sexual orientation when it suits them, or as a job option and a job, when this approach is more favorable in their discussions.
They thus ignore, despite the sophistication of their theorizations, that whores emerge in the patriarchy as opposed to the ‘decent’, a division of the patriarchal culture that is distributed to women for private use (with the role of mother-wife) and for public use (with the function of guaranteeing the access of any male to the female body , anywhere in the world, at a price).
The identity of a whore is, like that of a wife, a patriarchal identity, imposed from outside and violent, which persecutes all free women.
Another example of the corrosive effect that Queer theory has on collective struggles can be seen in its claim to dissolve the category ‘woman’, making it more complex and problematizing its once diaphanous definition.
Women, trans and cis, have not managed, much less, to overcome the oppression and discrimination that we suffer. Eliminating the category that unites us, as women, hinders the struggle and the social and feminist consciousness, in the same way that the successful effects of neoliberalism by dissolving the working class into an undefined ‘middle class’ has given rise to the bleak panorama of lack of class consciousness that we suffer from.
We also disagree with the objective of the fight. Anarchism seeks emancipation, and although it has always attached great importance to human sexuality and free love, in the sense of freeing it from the cassock and the State, it does not make it the axis of its struggle, and focuses more on the material conditions of life.
Another insurmountable gap, in our opinion, refers to moral relativism. While for Queer theory transgression is liberating in itself, for anarchism there is an inalienable morality, that of social justice.
For an anarchist, the Marquis de Sade, for example, no matter how transgressive he was, could never be a reference. Ours is Prince Kropotkin.
There is, in addition, everything that Queer does not transgress: developmentalism, consumerism, the big pharmaceutical industry, sexual exploitation, urbanization and touristification of the world, and the complete devastation of human communities, everything that capitalism protects with laws, weapons and theories of colors.
1- Fonseca Hernández, Carlos and Quintero Soto, María Luisa. Queer theory, the construction of peripheral sexualities. Rev. Sociológica, April 2009.
2- López Penedo, Susana. The Queer Maze. Identity in times of neoliberalism. Barcelona: Egales, cop. 2008 3- López Penedo, S. Op. Cit page 8