Thursday, August 03, 2017

Queering the State



I just finished reading Dennis Altman and Jonathan Symons book Queer WarsTheir book interrogates the problems of queer movements in an international arena. They look at the rise of queer rights across the Western world and the concurrent rise in anti-gay movements in other parts of the world to understand how the issues of colonialism, nationalism and imperialism are intertwined. The raise interesting questions about how the queer international operates and how as a colonial force it creates opposition. 

I have written before how I have always been wary about nationalism. A relatively new historical phenomena, the basis of the nation-state has always been its own propagation. This includes  paternalist and protectionist policies implemented to ensure its own survival. Because nation-states seek to continue their existence from one generation to the next they strive to ensure that heterosexuality and heteronormative behaviours are 
enshrined in the ideals of the state to ensure the citizens of the state reproduce themselves in order for the state itself to survive. 

Thinking about nation-states in this way makes them seem almost alive. Like giant hives created by the citizens that are at the state's beck and call. In this way citizens serve the state and not the other way around. Indeed, a lot of dystopic fiction looks at states this way and maybe they are alerting us to an inherent problem in the concept of nationalism. Too often the survival of the state, its future results in policies which deny those who do not live up to its ideals the right to continue. All one need think of are the homophobic policies enacted during the Cold War. 

We need a way of organizing ourselves that is not contingent on the flaws idea of the nation-state. They have run their course and need to be shelved leaving space for a world in  which each of us can determine our own fates, challenging norms without risking our lives. We need to dismantle not only the idea of nationalism, but all the -isms that go along with it and support it. We need a queer politics that embraces diversity in all its forms. 

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