Economic Aspects of "Love"

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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:25 pm

Anacaona: the Woman Chief Who Stood Up to Christopher Columbus
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It’s more or less universally acknowledged these days that Christopher Columbus was terrible. Like, the cut peoples’ hands off if they didn’t give him enough gold, pretty much start the transatlantic slave trade kind of terrible. But despite the despicable behavior of Columbus and his cronies, many of the indigenous people they oppressed tried to push back and rise above, including the remarkable Taíno cacica—woman tribal chief—Anacaona.

The story takes place in Hispaniola, which is the Greater Antilles island that is split between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. But before Christopher Columbus’s arrival, the Taíno people called it Ayiti. Anacaona—meaning “golden flower”—was the sister of Xaragua territory chief Bohechío and the wife of Caonabo, the Maguana territory chief. Though initially leaders were friendly with Columbus and his entourage when they first traveled to Xaragua in 1496 (or as friendly as you can be with known murderers), the relationship soured what with Columbus enslaving their people and generally taking whatever he wanted.

When Anacaona’s brother died, she succeeded him, and when her husband was captured by Columbus’s men and sent to Spain as a slave, she succeeded him, too. But despite her personal loss, she continued to work with her oppressors in order to keep her people safe. In addition to her roles as a leader and diplomat, Anacaona was also apparently very beautiful and skilled at creating songs, poems and dances. Washington Irving wrote of Anacaona in his History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus:

[She was] remarkable for her native propriety and dignity. She was adored by her subjects, so as to hold a kind of dominion over them, even during the lifetime of her brother; she is said to have been skilled in composing the areytos or legendary ballads of her nation, and may have conduced much towards producing that superior degree or refinement remarked among her people.

But all of that power attracted some attention, and despite the kindness, integrity and generosity she showed the Spaniards, the new governor Nicolás de Ovando decided she was a threat and must have some secret plot to overthrow him. In a bid to rid himself of the threat and gain control over the entire island, Ovando rounded up all of the area’s lesser chiefs (during a feast Anacaona was throwing for him no less) and locked them in a building, which he then ordered to be set on fire, burning them alive. Anacaona was spared this due to her rank and instead prosecuted on trumped up charges.

To add insult to injury, it is said that Anacaona was offered clemency in exchange for her loyalty to the Spaniards in the form of either a marriage to one of them or as a concubine depending on which account you believe. She refused, which earned her not only a death-by-public-hanging sentence in September of 1503, but also a spot in the history books. She has inspired many songs, poems (including ‘Anacaona’ by Lord Tennyson) and works of art, but above all, Anacaona is known today as a fearless, dignified Caribbean icon and symbol of resistance against tyranny.





**



Anacaona. Fania All Stars (Our Latin Thing)




Anacaona, captive-bred Indian
Anacaona, from the primitive region.

Anacaona, captive-bred Indian
Anacaona, from the primitive region.

Anacaona I heard your voice, as I cried when I groaned
Anacaona I heard the voice of your anguished heart
Your freedom never came, and Le le le le le le la la.

Anacaona, captive-bred Indian
Anacaona, from the primitive region.

Anacaona, india, captive race india
And Anacaona, from the primitive region.

Chorus:
Anacaona, Areito of Anacaona.

India of captive race,
soul of white dove ... Anacaona.

But Indian who dies crying,
dies but does not forgive, does not forgive.


Anacaona, india de raza cautiva
Anacaona, de la región primitiva.
Anacaona, india de raza cautiva
Anacaona, de la región primitiva.
Anacaona oí tú voz, como lloró cuando gimío
Anacaona oí la voz de tu angustiado corazón
Tu libertad nunca llegó, e Le le le le le le la la.
Anacaona, india de raza cautiva
Anacaona, de la región primitiva.
Anacaona, india, india de raza cautiva
Y Anacaona, de la región primitiva.
Coro:
Anacaona, areito de Anacaona.
India de raza cautiva,
alma de blanca paloma...Anacaona.
Pero india que muere llorando,
muere pero no perdona, no perdona no.
Esa negra negra que es de raza noble y abatida
pero que fue valentona ¡Anacaona!

Oye, según la historia lo cuenta
dicen que fue a la cañona, Anacaona.
La tribu entera la llora porque fue buena negrona.
Y recordando, recordando lo que pasó
la tribú ya se enfogona.
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:41 am

The New Abolitionist Model

BY
LAURA AGUSTÍN


Julie Bindel’s The Pimping of Prostitution puts sex workers in its crosshairs.


Entry for an encyclopedia of feminism: The Sex Work Wars: Decades of acrimonious debate about the meaning of exchanging sex for money. Near-total disagreement about terms, definitions, causes, and effects, and how to measure the involved phenomena. Mutual incomprehension on cultural meanings of sex, sexual identity, and gender relations. Laws backed by politicians based on the supposed truth of one or the other view. Little improvement for those being discussed. Outgrowth of the Lesbian/Feminist Sex Wars of the 1980s.


A new shot has been fired in the Sex Work Wars. Julie Bindel’s The Pimping of Prostitution calls for a return to more authentic beginnings, when, as she tells it, everyone involved in the 1960s women’s liberation movement was in thrall to a few shining leaders.

This version rings no bells for me. We were revolting against 1950s domestic ideology that told women to be quiet, feminine, and satisfied with making homes for men. The meaning of liberation was to figure out how to live on our own terms, and if we did read mimeographed newsletters from activists, we didn’t think we had to agree with them. We didn’t feel anyone was our leader. We talked together on the streets, in classrooms, in cafés. Everyone’s experiences counted.

In those conversations, prostitution was considered neither a central issue nor a terrible thing — or not more terrible than everything else we were coming to recognize as oppressive. We wanted to know why housework wasn’t paid and women were supposed to do all the childrearing. We wanted to define our own ways to enjoy sex. We used a new word, ”sexist.” I don’t recall attending a single formal meeting, but I have identified since that time as a feminist.

In this book, Bindel offers two things: cheers and brickbats. Those who agree with her get cheers, everyone else gets brickbats. Less subtle than boxing commentary that recognizes all good punches, this is a bitterness born of thwarting: prostitution still exists. Millett and Dworkin have been betrayed. Someone must pay.

Nowadays in conversations about women’s rights, there’s widespread agreement about the need for more education, equal salaries, and better job opportunities. But bring up women’s physical bodies, and ideologies of femininity and patriarchy flash like wildfire. Intransigent conflict pursues contraception, abortion, surrogacy and, perhaps above all, how women can and may consent to have sex. For radical feminists like Bindel, the insertion of money into a sexual relationship signifies no women can ever consent, even when they say they do.

News about women who sell sex has changed tone since publication in 2000 of the UN Protocol on Trafficking, although legal definitions are even now not fully agreed on. Media reports routinely confuse or use all available terms. Human trafficking is not distinguished from people-smuggling, borrowing money to migrate is called debt bondage, awful working conditions and child labor become modern slavery, and selling sex is renamed either sex trafficking or sex slavery. All sociocultural contexts are eliminated in favor of universalizing definitions. No interest is shown in considering how to improve working conditions. The result is to define women as victims in need of rescue, especially when they are selling sex.

In this context it’s not surprising that abolitionism should reemerge into the mainstream. Bindel calls hers the new abolition movement, misleadingly linking to Josephine Butler’s nineteenth-century campaigns to abolish government regulation of prostitution (not prostitution itself). Bindel rejects the aforementioned proliferation of terms: “Trafficking is merely a process in which some women and children are prostituted. Prostitution itself is the problem.” Which at least confirms a long-standing activist complaint regarding anti-trafficking campaigns: that the real object is prohibition of any woman from selling sex, anywhere, anytime.

Fear of trafficking is now used to justify a variety of repressive prostitution-policy regimes, including a law that bans the purchase of sex. First called the Swedish model, then the Nordic, this law, according to Bindel, can now be called the abolitionist model. The idea of this ban is to “End Demand,” on the theory that, if men were stopped from buying sex, women could not be exploited and would never sell sex. It is a ludicrously simplified market theory of supply and demand. Abolitionists claim the law decriminalizes the sale of sex by women (appropriating the central demand of the sex workers’ rights movement), failing to address what would happen to women’s income if there were no clients.

The book’s subtitle, Abolishing the Sex Work Myth, suggests it will prove there are no sex workers. Bindel names many countries she visited. She details the personal sufferings of women who hated selling sex: these are her heroes, and they come across as individuals. Representatives of the “pro-prostitution lobby,” on the contrary, are treated as a series of puppets, quoted to demonstrate their cynicism. Those who recognize the concept of agency as one reason to accept the existence of voluntary sex work are ridiculed as “choice” or “fun” feminists. We hear nothing from women who may not like sex work but continue doing it for their own good reasons.


Continues at: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/12/sex- ... ion-review
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:13 am

Image

Tithi Bhattacharya, editor of Social Reproduction Theory, discusses what makes ‘SRT’ distinctive from other feminist theory, and answers the question of ‘who produces the worker under capitalism?’

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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:50 am

Remembering the Black Triangles


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I was able to find out that in 1938 mass arrests of anti-social individuals accounted for 10,000 people 2,000 of which were sent to Buchenwald, and that other camps such as Auschwitz, Ravensbruck and Dachau had black triangle populations

The Black Triangle badge was for prisoners who were deemed to be Antisocial, the official name was Arbeitsscheu which literally translates as work-shy. But long term unemployment wasn't the only criteria for imprisonment, you could also be declared Arbeitsscheu for refusing or being found unfit for compulsory labour such as digging trenches for the Autobahns or working in armaments factories. You could also be branded with the triangle if you were suspected of being of poor moral character, common targets for the anti-social category included the homeless, alcoholics, drug users and sex workers.

Victims also included the Roma4 and people with behavioural abnormalities and disabilities that were deemed not serious enough to warrant euthanasia were also rounded up, hence the current associations with the struggles against Department for Work and Pensions. In Ravensbruck there were four women given the Black Triangle who specifically noted as suspected lesbians, and there were cases of people being categorised as Arbeitsscheu for having relations outside of their "race".

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You could also be black triangle for having a criminal record even if you had not committed a crime recently, which would have moved you into the Green Triangle category instead.

Hitler in Table Talk actually argues that all citizen with a serious offence on their records should either be executed or condemned for life in the Concentration camp system.


https://libcom.org/blog/remembering-bla ... s-16012018
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:19 pm

PLAY ALL
live without dead time


http://www.ADBUSTERS.org 2002 CD "live without dead time"

1 THE PLEDGE Saul Williams / INTRO DjSpooky --2:18 2 INTERLUDE: JOURNEY INTO SOUND DjSpooky -- 1:04 3 GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT Adbusters -- 0:40 4 COMING UP AniDiFranco -- 2:24 5 MUSLIM CHANT Bhagdad Live! / BUY NOTHING DAY Adbusters -- 0:56 6 BASIC BEAT Tino / DYNAMITE FRESH Meat Beat Manifesto -- 3:44 7 THAT SUBLIMINAL KID AND THE LAST MOHICAN DJS. vs DjGoo -- 3:34 8 WHY IS THIS COMMERCIAL? Negativland -- 1:53 9 INTERLUDE DJSpooky / GIVE BLOOD (DJS.REMIX) Saul Williams -- 3:40 10 RE:VOLUTION (FEAT.G.W.BUSH) Coldcut -- 3:14 11 THE FIRST CONSPIRACY (DRUM SOLO) The (International) Noise Conspiracy / LET FREEDOM RING Martin Luther King, Jr. -- 0:54 12 RELUCTANT WARRIOR DjS. feat. Mad Professor / AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS (SYMPTOM ONE) Mista White -- 2:00 13 RIVERS OF DUB Asian Dub Foundation / AMERICAN PSYCHOSIS (SYMPTOM ONE) Mista White / ADS AND PHONE CONVERSATIONS Adbusters -- 4:31 14 DUBTOMETRY INTERLUDE DjS. feat. Mad Professor -- 0:31 15 STATE EXTENSION EBN -- 1:13 16 VAJRA KILAYA MIX Intrinsic Sky Sound System -- 1:04 17 STARBUCKS Mathew Herbert / VARIOUS EXCERPTS Mario Savio and Malcolm X -- 1:02 18 ROCK THE NATION (THE DAWNING) M. Franti and Spearhead -- 3:11 19 DEEP SPACE - 9MM El-P ??? EI-P -- 2:20 20 REVOLVERLUTION Public Enemy -- 2:04 21 SATISFIED? J-Live -- 2:30 22 FAMOUS ANIMAL Honey Barbara [+ Franquin's Marsupilami] -- 2:40 23 ASYLUM FOR DUB Mad Professor -- 2:04 24 AS YET UNTITLED Alter Ego / LACK OF IDENTITY Marshall McLuhan -- 2:50 25 LEAVING BABYLON Bad Brains -- 3:19 26 NUCLEAR WAR Sun Ra & His Arkestra -- 2:37 27 NEW WORLD ORDER Stephen Smith -- 2:18 28 END THE VIETNAM WAR (DJS.REMIX) Allen Ginsberg / DRUMS AND BREAKBEATS illyB -- 4:56 29 PINK FROSTY DEMO Fugazi -- 3:15 30 BUY NOTHING DAY IN JAPAN Adbusters -- 0:13 31 HUMAN BEINGS WANT TO BE HAPPY King Britt feat. Ursula Rucker -- 1:02


Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir2ZGfq ... 68916047DC
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:32 pm

TW: Rape, Murder, Racism, Violence

Recreation

The female android and the trafficked girl, the laboratory and the sex slave camp: where technoscience, affective labour and horror converge. Also: pop music's sometimes unbearable emancipatory call.



https://vimeo.com/58675654
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:24 am

Down with Love: Feminist Critique and the New Ideologies of Work

Kathi Weeks draws on 1970s feminist critiques of romance to investigate the contemporary management discourses of love and happiness at work.

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The Mysteries of Love and Happiness
Moving on to more significant ways that feminists have approached the ideology of romantic love and happiness, its mystification function was a crucial point of focus. At least two material realities are obscured according to these critics. First, and most notably, the ideologies of heterosexual romance mask the operations of patriarchal inequality. “Radical feminism,” according to one 1970s group, “believes that the popularized version of love has . . . been used politically to cloud and justify an oppressive relationship between men and women” (New York Radical Feminists 1973, 381). This insight can be usefully adapted for application to our present study, as the discourses of love and happiness at work are remarkably effective at concealing the class hierarchies that subtend the ostensible equivalence of the parties to the employment contract and the power relations that govern work’s daily grind. Indeed, the language of romantic love promises an exceptionally tight fusion of interests between the two parties. This bond can then deliver eager obedience on the part of managerially identified subordinates who, as part of their reward, can revel in a version of that “delicious ‘we’” of legible belonging that Simone de Beauvoir — a favorite of 1970s radical feminists — so brilliantly discerned within the figure of the woman in love (2012, 678). Indeed, the literature on love and happiness at work is remarkable for its insistence on the identity of interests that will be generated, that both employers and employees will profit equally from its recipes for emotional reform and affective discipline. In what is perhaps a way to make good on the claim about mutual advantage, the health benefit of love and happiness — a benefit that seems to be offered to the reader as an unassailably neutral value — is typically emphasized alongside productivity gains, as if to ensure the argument in the event that some come to see those lauded productivity gains as accruing more to an organization’s bottom line than to its human resources. 2

Besides fulfilling the classic ideological function of mystifying relations of inequality, feminists have explored the ways that the discourses of love and happiness also mask the role of economic motives and utilities. Romantic love in its more traditional role as the provenance of the private family has been understood as the veritable opposite of the public sphere of economic interest and competition. This romantic narrative has long served to present marriage as a noneconomic relationship and to code unwaged domestic work as nonwork, a labor of love that helps maintain the integrity of the home as a compensatory ideal and haven in a heartless world (Firestone 1970, 131, 201). The unwaged but happy housewife that Friedan sought to expose as a fantasy figure is, as Sara Ahmed notes, a representation “that erases the signs of labor under the sign of happiness” (2010a, 573). The way that the ideology of romantic love serves as a disguised mechanism of work-recruitment is nicely summarized in a radical feminist slogan from the 1970s: “It starts when you sink into his arms and ends with your arms in his sink” (cited in Jackson 2001, 255). In this way, romanticism functions, as Firestone describes it, as a cultural tool to re-enforce the division of labor that is fundamental to the sex-class system (1970, 131).


Read more: https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3614-d ... es-of-work
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:11 pm

<3 of a Heartless World

Image

By Maya Andrea Gonzalez and Cassandra Troyan |

Of the political-economy of romance under capitalism, Eva Illouz describes the “paradox of the romantic bond” — that “although it can be motivated by self-interest, it is fully convincing only if at a certain point the individual proves his or her disinterestedness.” As Illouz adds, “Once the choice has been made and the romantic bond established, what people view as the most loving acts are those that are ostensibly indifferent to their ‘market value.’” [1] We ask: what then becomes of the romantic pact once the perceived “beloved” is paid for her services? Today, a savvy career woman gone professional-girlfriend exploits the socialization of her gender by deploying her “inherent” skills learned through a lifetime of compulsory heterosexuality in order to procure a handsome living. What is known by those in the trade as “Girlfriend Experience” (or online as GFE) has established the real “market value” of romantic bonding. Essential to this form of work, unlike that of the generalized prostitution of wage-labor, is the fact that the relations of exploitation are consciously and deliberately disavowed in order to produce and consume the experience of hooking-up, dating and falling in love.

In Illouz’s work, as well as in more recent theorizations of postmodern dating, we have seen the experience of love, romance and coupledom revealed in its naked splendor: as unpaid labor, or complicit mutual-exploitation, inscribed within the capitalist unconscious and libidinal economy of reproduction. [2] However, the romance industry has now expanded to include in its repertoire the ready-made companion — and in doing, has objectified her affective activities in the transmogrification of “love” into wages. The romance of homo economicus has now been fully realized in the reification of the Girlfriend Experience as the consumption of feminine labor-power in the guise of a love object, “the beloved” commodity is circulated, exchanged, and at last consumed.

As a form of socially validated labor, “a young woman” or in other cases “a mature woman” can harness the craft that she long nurtured in her by social conventions as girlfriending has now become, objectively, a skill. Although it is still gendering and naturalizing, it can also be exchanged for wages. However, the “natural” performance of the girlfriend is redoubled in its consumption as that which still appears as if it is uncommodifiable, authentic and extra-economic. Though, as Illouz correctly observes, “true love” is always already foreclosed under capitalism — and its apparent immediacy situates it transhistorically a priori, in contrast to modern life. However, the particular history of romantic attachment under capitalism, in fact emerged alongside the rise of modern relations of property and exploitation.

Romantic love — that which is historically specific to modern property relations — appears as extra-economic affective attachment organized by pre-capitalist forms of bondage. At the heart of true love is a pseudo-refuge from the heartlessness of modern competition, separation and generalized dispossession. This imagined preservation of transhistorical bonding, with its moralizing lover’s discourse, is in fact high-modern and aristocratic. Yet in its one-dimensional mass appeal it was first democratized in the 20th century, and is now privatized under Neoliberalism. Most importantly, however, the naturalized banality and apparently transhistorical “authenticity” of courtly love, was necessarily fabricated through the violent destruction of all other forms of non-capitalist and communal experience.

This phenomenon extends to the totality of social relations. As Giorgio Agamben argues in “An Essay on the Destruction of Experience,” modernity sounds the death knell of authentic experience. Agamben’s proposition that “the question of experience can be approached nowadays only with an acknowledgement that it is no longer accessible to us” is the point of entry into our exploration of the Girlfriend Experience. [4] If experience in and of itself is impossible, then it is only within the context of its impossibility that “experience” as a commodity can exist. Girlfriending as a form of commodified pseudo-experience entails a discreet work relation between a “provider” of romantic experience — or “sugar baby” — and its/their consumer, the “hobbyist” or “sugar daddy.” Over the duration of an individual encounter or throughout an ongoing engagement, this work-relation appears as the non-consumption of an experiential commodity, whilst taking place in an actual labor process of providing intimate services.The product (the use-value in question) is the consumer experience of authentic consumption itself (a contradiction par excellence), outside of the direct domination of market forces.

For a professional girlfriend, the workplace is both nowhere and everywhere — everywhere, that is, that her smart-phone can get reception. The boundary as to where her work ends and her actual life begins is altogether blurred. The true particularity of her “pop-up” boudoir is what goes on inside– whether in plain sight or on the down-low. This particularity is the productive-consumption of an apparently un-commodifiable commodity: love. Hence, the door to her heart can and must reside on the fringes of direct domination while simultaneously folding into the patterns and circuits of everyday reproduction and her own self-maintenance as feminine labor-power.

Image


Continues at: https://blindfieldjournal.com/2016/05/2 ... ess-world/
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:04 am

The Wife, the Whore and the Single Girl: On the Intersection of Sex and Housework within the Couple Form

POSTED ON OCTOBER 13, 2016

By Vanessa Parent |


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“Move in with me” he said, “Don’t accept that teaching job, don’t leave town. Live with me, you can just finish your dissertation and I’ll take care of you. I just want you with me. Let’s do this.” Without diminishing the genuine love and good intentions behind the offer, my only thought in the face of what was a very ‘romantic’ moment was “what’s the catch?” I knew the price of admission would be high; I would feel indebted and obligated, participating in my own servitude out of gratitude for the meeting of my material needs. While he wasn’t aware of it, I was fully conscious of the transaction implied by his suggestion. Love and support are crucial currency within any partnership. However as a Marxist and a feminist, I consciously understood the transaction implied by the traditional couple form, that is cohabitation or marriage. Historically, in the West, what was a means to secure political/economic alliances and ensure patrilineal transfer of property, became with the rise of capitalism a means to discipline the individual worker body and ensure the reproduction of the labor force. It is a patriarchal, heteronormative construct in which a female exchanges her liberty for her means of subsistence. In my white, heterosexual, middle class context, the transaction implied by the proposed couple dynamic would be the securing of my material needs in exchange for the unwaged labor that I would be unconsciously expected to perform and which, if not performed to my partner qua benefactor’s expectations, would necessarily cause a considerable strain on the relationship.[1] This dependence would necessarily imply that my role as romantic partner would become intertwined with the one I would take on in the household; unpaid housework and sex would become the unacknowledged currency for keeping a roof over my head.

The value-relation which exists between a man and a woman within the couple form is entwined with the development of the nuclear family in relation to and in support of the rise of capitalism. When considering his offer, I became fully conscious of this relation. This, of course, is old news. Silvia Federici in her 1975 article Wages for Housework states:

“capital (created) the housewife to service the male worker physically, emotionally and sexually… it is precisely this peculiar combination of physical, emotional and sexual services that are involved in the role women must perform for capital that creates the specific character of that servant which is the housewife, that makes her work so burdensome and invisible.”[2]

One of the factors which contributes to the housewife’s labor being invisible is simply the fact that it exists outside the social relation of the wage and is confined to the domestic space of the home. It is therefore privatized rather than occupying the space of ‘free labor’ represented by the factory floor. The problem of unwaged reproductive labor is one which has been considered at length since the 1970s and the revolutionary potential of demanding wages for housework as a political act has been theorized by the most dedicated women in the struggle. However my realization within the previously outlined situation was that receiving payment for that labor would not eliminate the core of the problem: that is the fact of the transaction itself.

Because of the conditions in place, any task performed, whether sexual or not, would be performed within the context of an exchange or a power dynamic set up by financial dependence. Without an income, would I have to ask for an allowance if I wanted to have a night out, or buy tampons? Would my unpaid intellectual labor (writing my dissertation) even count as work and would my working day be lengthened because I would be expected to get dinner ready or clean or do laundry since, naturally, I would be the one who’s home all day? Would I even want to have these conversations knowing that I would be in a subordinate position due to the simple fact that he would be the bread-winner? Would sex be as good as cash? Would a blow job be the veiled labor power behind a pair of new winter boots? When would sex for love and sex as part of an unconscious and even self-imposed ‘obligation’ or exchange for securing my material needs end and begin?[3]

The entanglement of sex, domestic labor, and financial dependence could not be resolved with a demand for ‘wages for housework’ in this situation. When would sex for love and sex as part of a veiled and even self-imposed ‘obligation’ or exchange for securing my material needs end and begin? Sex can take on the conditions of labor when placed within a couple form in which one partner is financially reliant on the other. Although ‘Love’ is present, the fact is that entering into this power dynamic converts intercourse into currency and labor in exchange for the material needs for subsistence. The veil of love conceals the value hidden in the sexual service, its very condition as sexual service as well as the expectation of fulfilling that service.

These gendered forms of labor vested in the couple form have been and still are, by and large, expected of women within a patriarchal capitalist society. The rise of capitalism required the confinement of women to the household and the labor they perform to go unpaid. Its most cunning and oppressive tactic has been convincing women that it is a condition which validates them as women. In other words, by blinding women to their own oppressive condition, capital has made women contributors to their own oppression. Regardless of legal marriage, the trickery of capital has turned domesticity and fairytale scenarios of coupledom into a ‘natural’ female desire, a seemingly instinctual drive to ‘couple up,’ whereas for men, it has been instilled as a condition of which to be suspicious. Today, the burden of housework for coupled women is exacerbated by the pressure to have a successful career while maintaining the household and still finding the energy at the end of the day to provide sexual satisfaction to one’s partner. [4]

While sexual liberation has come a long way in terms of equality and forging a place for women outside the home, viewed critically, this state of unfreedom has simply reshuffled the female worker within an already existing exploitative system. Borrowing the language of the oppressor does little to eradicate an inequitable political economy or dismantle the conditions which allows it to thrive. As the ground zero of capitalist accumulation, ‘prerequisite’ to the nuclear family whose rise was part of class based economic development, the couple form creates the conditions for the unequal distribution of unpaid reproductive labor on which capitalism relies.[5] The traditional heterosexual couple form, whether within the patriarchal and oppressive confines of marriage or simply ‘shacking up’, is an outmoded form of existence, a transaction and power dynamic that sets up the conditions for feminized and thus unwaged labor.[6] [7]

While the call for wages for housework was a productive strategy to open up a conversation about the exploitative conditions women face under capital[8] and having housework actually considered as ‘work’, I argue for the dismantling of the couple form, that is of the conditions which support the creation of feminized labor and of a power dynamic rooted in patriarchal ownership concealed by the promise of everlasting monogamous love which ultimately maintains a capitalist political economy on life support. I would like to suggest, following up on the demand for wages for housework, the revolutionary potential of resisting the traditional heterosexual couple form.[9]


Continues at: https://blindfieldjournal.com/2016/10/1 ... uple-form/
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:34 am

Family Matters

Melinda Cooper and Ben Mabie March 19, 2018

BM: Now a year into the Trump presidency, would you say that the family remains that key reference point for the organization of Republican Party politics?

MC: Trump remained somewhat protean during his campaign; he was a lightning rod for very different tendencies on the right but has settled into something more recognizable now he is in power. As it now stands, the Trump presidency (and by implication the Republican Party) is defined by the same alliance between neoliberal and social conservative tendencies I analyzed in the book. Except it has moved further to the extremes on both sides. My book focuses for the most part on the alliance between neoconservatism and Chicago school/Virginia school neoliberalism. The rise of Trump was accompanied by an alliance between paleoconservatism and a peculiar American translation of Austrian neoliberalism, represented by someone like Murray Rothbard. The aristocratic and anti-government tendencies in Austrian neoliberalism find a new home in the American South. Paleoconservatism was rejected by the neoconservatives because of its overt racism, its opposition to Civil Rights and its anti-Semitism. The alt-right have moved back to paleoconservatism and so have revived the fortunes of the Ku Klux Klan and a myriad of other white nativist formations on the far right. Austrian neoliberalism has had little direct impact on policy or economics in the US but has flourished as a political movement, in the guise of Ron Paul and various libertarian gold bugs.

So the conservative/neoliberal alliance that defines Trump in power takes the specific form of paleoconservatism and Austrian neoliberalism. Someone like Hans-Hermann Hoppe – a student of Rothbard – embodies this alliance. I think this is truly a fascistic phenomenon, although one with distinct American characteristics. We are used to thinking of the far right within the template of European history but this cannot account for the anti-federalist, anti-central bank tendencies on (at least part of) the American far right which is at polar opposites to the state fascisms of 20th century Europe.

Much like the Chicago and Virginia school neoliberals, Hoppe assigns an absolutely central role to the family as the primary source and locus of economic security. But unlike Friedman or Becker or Posner, he is committed to a radically traditionalist and patriarchal view of the family. He sees no contradiction between his libertarianism and his ultraconservatism because radical economic freedom requires some kind of foundation in property and in his conception of things, it is the family not the state that must serve as the ultimate guarantor of property. This is where libertarianism becomes very gendered and seemingly hypocritical and why you find someone like Milo Yiannopoulos espousing a radical libertarianism for and among white men while also complaining about women for being whores and murdering fetuses. It is this particular alliance between economic libertarianism, moral ultraconservatism and white nativism that seems to have triumphed after Trump’s election.

Of course, it could have gone another way and someone like Steve Bannon represented a much more nationalist, workerist far right – nativist, protectionist, ranged against the globalizers and the nefarious elites. Bannon’s politics is much more recognizable within a traditional fascist template and interestingly, it is Bannon’s economic nationalism that has been most seductive to certain authoritarian currents on the left. Bannon, with his pro-life Catholic affiliations and economic nationalism, stands for an option that was on the table for a while and if anything seemed more dominant within the Trump machine during the election campaign. It could certainly come back as a reaction against Trump’s obvious concessions to the American ultra-rich. But Bannon was also feeding into the networks of far-right libertarian resentment via his work at Breitbart.

What you see in the alt-right is the expression of a white masculine libertarianism that wants to free itself from all imagined statist, feminine and maternal moral prohibitions (the left being associated with infantilization) while at the same time pursuing a relentless campaign of moral vigilantism against women. The libertarian and puritanical impulses are not incompatible. It’s a familiar feature of misogyny – libertarianism for men and purity for women. It’s also a familiar feature of historical fascist movements, especially in their militia-led, direct action phases. We forget the orgiastic and terroristic dimension of fascism when we only consider its settled state formations, which are far from accounting for the full historical spectrum of fascist movements.

You also have the longstanding neoliberal/evangelical alliance playing a major role in bringing Trump to power, with massive support from white evangelicals. This is a longstanding component of the Republican voting base since Reagan but the willingness of evangelicals to vote for a Republican party outsider also expresses their desire to push further to the right on issues like abortion and “religious freedom.” The presence and dominance of evangelical Christians within the Trump administration goes further than under George W. Bush and reflects the consequences of his (and Obama’s) heavy investment in faith-based welfare. Mike Pence is the truly significant figure here. His opposition to planned parenthood in Indiana and his efforts to pass an extraordinarily homophobic religious freedom bill are all indicative of the kind of politics that evangelicals would like to see implemented at a federal level.

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Heather Benning, Dollhouse

BM: In the book’s first pages you advance an acute criticism of social democratic nostalgia for the Fordist family wage, either in the overt anti-feminism of someone like Wolfgang Streeck, or a more subtle valorization of the security afforded by the Fordist family in people like Luc Boltanski, Eve Chiapello, and Nancy Fraser. What do you think accounts for the popularity of these sentiments in left theory and politics?

MC:
I think a lot of organized left wing politics entails some kind of attachment to reproductive order. It might be the working class family or left nationalism or some kind of ethnic/cultural/racial nationalism or minority fundamentalism. It might be a kind of queer nationalism that makes all kinds of trade offs with white militarism and imperialism. The investment might be upfront and personal or it might express itself by proxy – someone who can spin a radical critique of white nationalism or homonationalism might have no problems romanticizing third world nationalism or religious fundamentalism if it can be rationalized as anti-imperialist. It might be a kind of reproductive maternalism that presents itself as anti-patriarchal but positions women as the guardians of nature or the earth or something called social reproduction. This is a recurrent position on the left, although it can reshuffle itself in all kinds of ways. I think this is what people are getting at sometimes when they critique “identity politics” on the left and I’m sure I’ve used the term in this way, to refer to a kind of reproductive communitarianism. But the term “identity politics” is misleading and seems to suggest that only minorities can be afflicted whereas reproductive communitarianism very obviously takes majoritarian and minoritarian forms.

I think these sentiments are popular because they feel good. What I’m suggesting is that there is no false consciousness here. Perhaps the easiest way to critique some kind of dominant reproductive order is to latch onto an alternative one. It’s the easiest way out, psychologically and politically, and it facilitates political bargains with people who might otherwise find you suspect. The easiest way for any one class of workers to “resist capitalism” is to do something less ambitious – to assert a claim to special protections vis-a-vis other classes of workers by appealing to some imagined prior order of social reproduction, sometimes the nation or the race, sometimes, at a more intimate level, the family. Once you have made that move, you begin to think that what is wrong with capitalism is not the fact that it generates and feeds off all kinds of inequalities, but the fact that it threatens your favorite reproductive order. So capitalism is bad because it destroys the family, or the nation or the community. And you begin to think that if you make a bargain with the state to sustain and subsidize your reproductive order, and the natural hierarchy of inequalities that exist within it, then you can live with it. You start to believe that if you could just stabilize the family or protect your culture or community from predatory outside forces then you would be resisting capitalism.

What I am trying to argue in the book is that these bargains are part of the system we call “capitalist,” they are not outside, and that we need to understand the reassertion and relegitimation of reproductive order as one of the ways in which specific divisions of labor and specific regimes of accumulation are stabilized. Of course, capitalism as such is not reducible to any one particular reproductive order and this is the “creative destructive” element that theorists like Marx and Schumpeter brought to the fore. But even when new industries draw on and exploit the labor of migrants and women – even when a new phase of capitalist accumulation appears to aid and abet the undoing of the family or the nation – these reproductive orders remain operative in a prospective and retrospective fashion. Women were paid less and assigned to the newest, most volatile forms of factory work because they were not meant to be there, they should have been at home.

The history of working class politics reveals a longstanding commitment to the so-called “family wage” or male breadwinner wage, although such commitments by no means exhaust the actual multiplicity of passions and interests among wage workers, many of whom were women in the early stages of industrialization. Very early in the industrial revolution, you find male-dominated trade unions claiming their right to a “family wage” and trying to push women out of the factories. They could have fought for higher wages and better working conditions for everyone, but they chose the option of redefining women as economic dependents of men, and to do this, they needed to appeal to some prior (but presumed lost) order of natural relations between the sexes and some idealized vision of family order.

Marx and Engels were far from neutral observers in the campaign to push women back into the home. Marx frequently quotes the Tory factory reports verbatim, as if their moral outrage at the presence of women workers required no further comment. In his report on The Condition of the Working Class in England Engels went much further and complained that factory labor was reversing the proper order of relations between the sexes. It “unsexes the man and takes from the woman all womanliness”; turns the family “upside down.”1It’s interesting to read between the lines of Marx’s account of this process, to see just how the sexual division of labor was created and how the nineteenth century family came to be created. Women’s labor had first to be politicized as problematically unreproductive – a threat to the family unit – before it was disciplined into the work of reproduction. People like Janet Halley and her colleagues have done a lot of very interesting work to show that we can’t understand the rise of the commercial contract – the model of the free labor contract – without simultaneously paying attention to the legal constitution of the family, as a space of non-contractual obligations and unpaid personal services. Modern family law and labor law were co-constitutive, and yet Marx’s critique of capitalism has everything to say about freedom of contract and nothing to say about family law and the way it shaped our understanding of the production/reproduction divide. Much of his work assumes that the division between production and reproduction, work and the family was already in place at a time when there were massive battles being fought to confine women to the space of so-called “reproduction.” This already tells you that we shouldn’t be looking to Marxist-feminist concepts such as “social reproduction” as if they were a given.

Of course, much of Marxist-feminist work offers a highly critical perspective on the association between women and the work of reproduction, but the very use of the word “social reproduction” to refer to domestic, sex and care work forecloses the most interesting question: how were women workers relegated to certain kinds of labor and how were these kinds of labor assigned a reproductive or genealogical role in the ordering of social relations? Domestic workers and nannies are not only performing work for wages, they are also expected to contribute to the work of reproducing the family through a certain supplement of love or unpaid care. As non-members of the family, this places them in a precarious position, where their role as surrogate kin authorizes the most extreme forms of exploitation but also positions them as potential threats to the family, as representatives of venal, commercial forces contaminating the bonds of love. Conversely, sex workers, who are almost automatically seen as threats to the family, have in some countries been able to acquire a certain kind of legitimacy precisely by claiming the role of surrogate spouse for the ill or disabled. There is nothing automatically “reproductive” about domestic work or cleaning or sex work; rather when women engage in these kinds of work they are also being asked to shore up some abstract figure of reproduction, whether that be the family or the “social.” Women are constantly being asked to prove that they are not only working on contract but also participating in a familial economy of non-contractual obligation. This is a specific kind of discipline that doesn’t often apply to men. Before women’s reproductive work was devalorized then, women had first to be disciplined into the work of reproduction itself. The concept of “social reproduction” obscures this moment and so misses the most interesting part of the action. When you miss this moment, you can easily fall into the trap of simply reasserting the foundational role of reproduction and hence of women in any social order. You end up with a reproductive labor theory of value.

The argument that reproductive order has somehow been lost tends to amplify in periods where there has been a general increase in insecurity, so general that it also affects those who were once the beneficiaries of the prevailing economic order. So today there is a small publishing industry reflecting on the insecurity of white working class men in particular but simultaneously declaring that this is all about rediscovering class in general. This insecurity exists and is real, if only relative compared to those who were already relegated to the margins of the Fordist social contract, but because of the inchoate sense that this should not be happening to white men of all people, there is a tendency to assume that women or racial minorities are somehow responsible, that they have commanded too many special privileges and that they should be put in their proper place. Some kind of restoration of family and of men’s place in the family seems to be central to this plan.

There is also a feminist version of this narrative that you find in the work of someone like Elizabeth Warren, with her “two-income trap” thesis, the idea that women going out to work was really not a great idea and that somehow this fact in and of itself is responsible for the general insecurity of the “middle-class family.” You find a similar narrative in the recent work of Nancy Fraser, who blames feminism for having destroyed the security of the Fordist family wage, thereby laying the ground for neoliberalism. You also find echoes of this idea in the Marxist-feminist thesis that we are undergoing some kind of “permanent reproductive crisis” – however carefully the concept “social reproduction” is defined, I don’t think it escapes the valences of the term “reproduction” as Marx used it, with its reference to nineteenth century theories of biological heredity and legal inheritance. What the “crisis of reproduction” story often implies in practice is a revalorization of women’s caring role as distributed nurturers of the left and mothers of the common. In fact, it is entirely possible to imagine a better organization and subsidization of care work that would not reinscribe the overwhelming identification between women and care and that would not valorize the family as the exclusive institutional form in which care should take place.


More at: https://www.viewpointmag.com/2018/03/19/family-matters/
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:55 am

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American Dream » Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:01 pm wrote:Image

How The Irish Became White by Noel Ignatiev.

242 pages 14.3mb, now in pdf form.

http://jroan.com/HtIBWhite.pdf
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:35 am

One dimensional woman -
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Exposes the dark heart of contemporary cultural life by examining pornography, consumer capitalism and the ideology of women's work.


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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:58 am

Sandra Jeppesen


queering heterosexuality
friendship, sexuality, polyamory and other intimacies



non-normative sexualities

queer parenting and community

liberation, responsibility and intimacy

non-heteronormative desires



in this piece i will be considering the impact that taking on queer politics has had in my life, thinking through ways that queering anarchism might happen in the lives of anarchists and anti-authoritarians who society may identify as heterosexual due to the sex and/ or gender of the object of their desire, but who ourselves disidentify with all things straight, perhaps even with the subject-position of heterosexual. what does this mean? this means that we are working on queering straight-seeming spaces, that we are straight-ish allies of queer struggles, challenging heteronormativity in the anarchist movement, as well as in the mainstream spaces we inhabit, from workplaces to families, from classrooms to cultural productions. this piece itself is one intervention that attempts to queer the space of narrative and theory, through non-capitalization[1], on the one hand, and on the other hand, through mobilizing a personal narrative to think through or theorize the queering of heterosexuality and the de-heteronormativizing of ‘straight-acting’ spaces. through an examination of the queering of hetero-space from an anarchist perspective, a liberatory politics of sexualities and genders emerges that intersects with anarchaqueer liberation[2] in challenging dominant forms of social organization including the state, marriage, capitalism, parenting, love relationships, friendships, families, and other important sites of anarchist politics and struggle.

through a meeting of anarchist and queer politics, we have found alternative positions, actions and relationships that are more profoundly meaningful to us. this is not to stake a claim in queer theory or queer politics for “straight” people—that would be exactly not the point. rather it is to acknowledge an indebtedness to these spaces, places, people and movements, while at the same time acknowledging that, as people who might have partnerships that appear “straight,” we can pass as heterosexual, and accrue the privilege that our society accords this category. nonetheless as non-straight-identified heteros, we take on anarchaqueer issues by living as queerly as possible. in other words, queer practices and theories are important for the liberation of heterosexuals from normative standards of intimate relationships from friendships to sexualities. moreover, queering heterosexuality reveals that the categories homosexual and heterosexual are wholly inadequate to describing the vast array of sexualities available to us once we start exploring beyond the heteronormative.

where did this all start for me? i’ve never been “normal” as far as sexuality goes. but thinking of queerness as relevant to my own life started at a particular identifiable moment for me when i was volunteering at who’s emma[3], the anarchist punk infoshop in toronto. a (white gay male) friend took me aside one day and said that, while he admired my anarchafeminist, anti-capitalist politics, could i consider the possibility of including gay or queer issues in my conception of anarchism. of course, was my immediate response. i think i must have blushed as well, as i was a bit embarrassed, to be honest, to have to be asked something so obvious. but he didn’t criticize me for something i wasn’t doing, rather he opened up a space for something new—to move beyond heteronormative conceptions of anarchist politics. this was an incredibly important moment for me, though i did not know it at the time.

i am relating this as a series of narratives about conversations that i have had with many different people over the years, or experiences that i and my friends have had and talked about. as queer and/ or anti-heteronormative anarchists i think we value personal experience and interpersonal exchanges as an important site of political knowledge production. in other words, we learn a lot about a wide range of political ideas, about the oppressiveness of language, and about our own position in the world we live in through conversations. through sharing narratives and stories. i want to value and give credit to the people, experiences and collective spaces that have helped me to learn about queer politics. i also want to put together some of these stories in a kind of collection of narratives here, to preserve, at least to some extent, the form in which i encountered them. of course they are filtered through my own perspective, and the lessons i’ve learned from them. moreover, the things they made me think about may be very different than the things they might bring up for readers, and i want to acknowledge this. my knowledge and my perspective will of course have their limits. at the same time, i did not want to theorize these experiences, putting a kind of intellectual distance between myself and the ideas because that is not how i encountered them. nonetheless i will be engaging many concepts, ideas and theories. our education system teaches us to understand stories one way and ideas another (for example, we study literature or stories differently than we study philosophy or ideas). it is my hope that these narratives will be understood not as cute little stories about my life, but rather as a source of important ideas about sexualities that might be useful to straight people in becoming antiheterosexist straight allies. and one last hope i have is that many more people will tell their own stories, which will be taken seriously by anarchist and other readers in our struggles toward radical social and political transformation.

friendship, sexuality, polyamory and other intimacies[4]
anarchaqueer theories and practices start with the basics. how do we relate to people emotionally and sexually? how have these types of relationships largely been determined by oppressive systems such as patriarchy, heteronormativity, capitalism, families, culture, and the state, systems that we do not believe in, and which we are constantly rethinking and struggling to dismantle? while i had been a promiscuous feminist who, from a very young age, rejected gendered roles and stereotypes, up to the point when i was volunteering at who’s emma, my personal experience of non-monogamy had been pretty rocky. during my undergraduate degree, i struggled against the sexual double standard where women were not supposed to want sex, engaging in casual sex or short-term serial monogamous relationships, and taking a lot of flak for it. i then had a few nonmonogamous relationships in the punk scene. in one case, when the relationship became long distance, one of us was poly and one was not. we had bad communication in terms of disclosure and trust. eventually we broke up over it. in another, we both had other partners, and we communicated better at times, but not consistently so. we didn’t know anyone else who was having this kind of relationship. eventually we broke up for other reasons.

when i encountered the anarchist scene in toronto, largely at who’s emma and the free skool, it seemed like everyone was into polyamory, and people did not really distinguish among partners based on sex, gender, age, or anything else. i had many friends who were having non-monogamous (or non-mono as we called it) relationships at the time, so we were all talking about these things. it was a bit of a free-for-all in terms of hook-ups, which was really fun, and there were also many longer term relationships that were both fun and serious. we started to think about how the word nonmonogamy was a reification of the centrality or supposed “normalcy” of monogamy, and we wanted to have a different starting place, a multiplicity of amorous possibilities, so we started to use the word polyamory instead. poly for short. there was an important resource book at the time that we were all reading called The Ethical Slut[5].

also at that time, people said “treat your lovers like friends and your friends like lovers.” we have a lot more expectations of lovers, we do a lot more processing about where the relationship is going, negotiating space, articulating needs, setting boundaries, expressing disappointment, etc. and sometimes we forget to have fun and just really enjoy the time we have together. we can be really harsh toward lovers, perhaps because we feel so vulnerable. that’s where we need to be better friends to our lovers. with friends we’re more likely to cut them some slack, to let things be a little more fluid. no big deal if they’re late, or miss a hang-out once in a while, for example. on the positive side, with lovers, we tend to do lots of special little things for them, like cooking their favorite food, making DIY zines or bringing them some little thing when we meet, something that says, i was thinking of you, something that shows we love them. along these lines, we need to be more loving to our friends, do more special things for them, go out on dates with them, make little heartfelt presents for them expressing how much we care. be more attentive to their needs, be supportive in day-to-day ways. treat them more like lovers.

i think around this time, to take one example, a friend and i were both not in any sexual relationship, so for valentine’s day, almost satirically, one year she invited me over for a dinner date. she ran me a bath, handed me a glass of wine, and cooked dinner while i relaxed in the tub. the following year i did something similar for her. they were oddly romantic non-romantic, very caring friend-dates.

at this time in toronto there were a few long-term polyamorous “super-couples” who were held up as an example of the potential of polyamory to work. if they can do it, so can we, we all thought. they had good communication, and some interesting strategies that we learned from. one couple, when they were going out to a party, would decide ahead of time if it was a date or not. if not, they were free to hook up with other people. another poly couple i knew lived together, and had the guideline that they couldn’t hook up with someone else at their shared apartment. regardless of what the rules were, what was interesting to me was that any two people could make their own rules. you could say what you wanted, and listen to what the other person wanted, and then try it out, and check in with each other afterward and see how they felt about how it went. this for me was super different than heterosexual monogamy which had a bunch of rules, none of which made any sense to me, like the rule about how if you show how jealous you are, it means you really care about the other person. or if you hook up with one person, and then a second person, it means you don’t like the first person anymore, whereas in my experience, feelings for one person tended to have little bearing on, or perhaps even augmented, my feelings for another person. being able to incorporate this emotional experience into openly negotiated multiple relationships was awesome.

for me, this openness to building relationships from scratch, not entirely without rules, but negotiating guidelines as needed, makes an appearance in queer theory, in eve sedgwick’s first axiom, “people are all different.”[6] we all have different bodies, different body parts, different desires; we all want different things from relationships, whether they are intimate, sexual or otherwise. so why shouldn’t we negotiate our relationships ourselves instead of following a heteronormative set of scripts. this was also different for me than my previous open relationships in the punk scene where people sometimes practiced dishonesty or coercion and called it non-monogamy. i didn’t learn tools for negotiating toward meeting each other’s needs in the punk scene. it was more like, i can’t be monogamous, so you can either be non-monogamous with me or we can break up. there was no way to say, hey, what you just did hurt me—is there some way we can deal with this by communicating in ways that rebuild trust?

at some point i was lucky to participate in a class at the toronto anarchist free university[7] about polyamory. one of the best things the facilitator said was that, no matter how often or for what reason you have sex with a person, you still need to be honest and respectful with them. even if their motivations are different than yours (e.g. a party night hook-up or one-night-stand might be one person’s motivation, whereas an active polyamorous practice committed to alternative sexual, intimate, and community-based relationships might be the other’s). honesty and respect, appropriate establishing of consent among all concerned parties (including sometimes those who are not present i.e. the other person’s other partner/s), setting boundaries, and following through on what you’ve said are all critical elements of the encounter. to me this seems so far away from what heterosexual relationships are normally like, that it is actually something else. even if your partnerships are “straight.”

for me, the polyamory scene and the radical queer scene were connected. we would get all glammed up to go to vazaleen, will munro’s radical queer punk anarchist dance party in toronto. people who hung out at vazaleen included trans people, drag queens and kings, and queers of all kinds. some “straight” people went as well, but we were the kind of straight people who disidentified with being straight. we didn’t identify with our birth sex/gender, we avoided norms or stereotypes of heterosexuality, we were critical of the objectification of women, we denounced predetermined gender scripts and sexuality scripts which we saw as connected to capitalism and patriarchy. perhaps we identified with queerness, for example, being attracted to people of a particular subculture, such as bears or femmie boys or butch dykes or trannies or whatever. it was a place where lots of gender and sex subversion and play happened. a queer space full of queers of course, some of whom were anarchists, some of whom were non-straight-acting heteros. i loved vazaleen because there was no sense, for me at least, of a normative sexuality. certainly it was not heteronormative. but it was not homonormative either. it did not echo mainstream representations of “gay couples” such as we might see on The L Word, or Queer Eye, with assimilationist, consumerist norms. instead it felt like a space of many sexual resistances.

non-normative sexualities
non-normative sexuality means, among other things, that people ditch sexual norms, and just hook up with and have long-term relationships with whoever inspires them, doing whatever they are into sexually. for me, sometimes this is women, sometimes it is men. often it is with people who are not my age. when i was younger i dated older people and now that i’m a bit older i seem to date younger people. these are more or less the people i seem to find myself hanging out with. i don’t really see age as an interesting way of dividing people. my friendships have always been across ages and even generations. my current partner is more than ten years younger than me. when we got together we were polyamorous and, although we communicated well and had great sex, we weren’t taking the relationship too seriously. it was lots of fun. we both had other partners, but soon that kind of went away, and we made more of an explicit commitment to each other, first to be primary partners, and then to be monogamous. i’ve always felt a little ambivalent about this decision. recently i moved to another town, and we decided to be poly, although neither of us have acted on it yet.

this relationship is really amazing for me. he’s super sexy and we have a red hot sex life in which we do a lot of non-heteronormative things (whatever that means—i’m not telling you). i feel like this is particular to my own sexuality but also to the way i develop trust and caring or intimacy with a partner. he has the kind of emotional intelligence and empathy that is stereotypically not associated with men, and which is very important in keeping our relationship strong, perhaps because i do not, and so i am learning these things from him. today when someone called they said his voice sounds androgynous, and maybe that is part of the attraction, too. he doesn’t fit the gender scripts[8] any more than i do. for both of us, the non-normativity of the relationship is at least one of the things that keeps it alive and interesting.

on the other hand, i worry that our age difference means that there is a power imbalance, which we have acknowledged, and we work together to try to compensate and make sure it is more equalized. another thing that concerns me is that maybe in being attracted to younger people, i am somehow replicating ageism—both the ageism in the anarchist scene which is really a youth-oriented scene, and a kind of internalized ageism that mainstream society offers where youth is valued and age is something we are supposed to fight or disavow, rather than accept or even respect (as some cultures do). sometimes i think it is unfortunate that there is not a lot of age diversity in the anarchist “scene.” one thing that happens a lot is that when i tell people my age they say i look a lot younger. this is supposed to be a compliment and i don’t find it insulting. but at the same time, it sometimes makes me feel like there is something wrong with me being the age that i am. that somehow i would be better if i were younger. or conversely, that i am doing something age-inappropriate that makes people think i am younger. i wonder if this internalized ageism plays a role in partner choice as well, in terms of who i might find attractive. what is considered attractive in older men in mainstream representations makes me a bit nauseous. i think who i am attracted to is more connected, however, to my punk roots and that particular aesthetic.

queer parenting and community
i think another way that anarchism has allowed me to have a more non-heteronormative life is the acceptance of not reproducing children, in a community in which people’s choices are accepted. when i chose to be polyamorous, it was accepted. i find being monogamous is also generally accepted because there is the notion of radical monogamy, which interrupts gender and sexuality scripts. some people i know have expressed a hesitation to admit that they have chosen to be monogamous, because there is now, ironically perhaps, an expectation of polyamory among anarchists. not having children is also accepted, whereas mainstream society tends to look askance at women who choose not to have children, or who choose politics over children. for example, when ulriche meinhof, who was part of the red army faction in germany, decided to leave her children behind and become an active urban guerrilla, living underground and working to overthrow the german state, there were many newspaper reports that demonized her for this (not for her political actions in and of themselves), and said she was not just a bad mother, but somehow actually insane for leaving her children with their father.[9 ]for anarchists, though, there seems to be no presumption about anyone’s life pattern or direction, in terms of getting married, settling down, having kids, doing political actions, etc. there is a sense that you can do things the way you choose, and people try as much as possible to create new paths for themselves, with the support of other people in our communities.

instead of following a prescriptive path—marriage, kids, house in the suburbs—a long time ago i decided i would rather follow the path of collective living. this was a conscious decision, because i felt that i was unlikely to find, and did not want to succumb to, a happily married suburban life. in fact, that terrified me. it was such a relief to read a book called soft subversions by felix guattari where he talks about growing up in the suburbs and how alienating that was for him, how it made him feel kind of “schizo around the edges.”[10] i love that book. so i gave up on that whole dream, it was more of a nightmare for me anyway, growing up in the suburbs among the children of bureaucrats, people who were afraid of an active, gritty life in the city, so they moved to an area of carefully coifed lawns and polite conversation. dead time, as the situationists say.[11]

when i first wrote this piece, i was living in a crowded four-bedroom apartment in downtown montreal with three other people, one of whom happens to be my partner. it is a queer space and we tend to have queer room-mates by intention. our broader community includes the st. henri anarchist punks, student and academic anarchists, the radical queer and trans scene, anti-racist activists, and lots of different feminists. these loose groupings extend across canada, into the united states, and to places like korea, france and germany. our community also includes a lot of people who don’t fit into any of these identities, who are nomadic geographically and categorically.

some people in our community have kids, some don’t. some people think the current geo-eco-political situation is too unstable to have kids, but some are brave enough to do it anyway. eight years ago, i was living in a collective house in toronto with five other people. three of us wanted to have kids at that point, me and two other women. one of them was part of a super-couple who had been together in a polyamorous relationship for several years, about four years i think. in addition to her cis-gender male partner, the woman was starting to see a person who was a “non-bio-boy” (a term no longer used as it is rooted in biological determinism), a gender queer guy or trans man (in fact, all of these labels are fraught with complex histories and uses, and may also, like non-bio-boy, fall out of use as we invent new terms that work better). they all three moved together into a big collective house with several other people, and started planning how they would conceive and raise a child together. in the end, though, she broke up with the cis-gender guy, and conceived a baby with a sperm donation from an ex-partner of her trans partner. they are monogamous now and raising the baby together. we had a funny conversation a few years ago when we both confessed to being in monogamous relationships, like it was a dirty secret.

the other woman was strictly monogamous. she started dating a woman and they decided to have a baby together and live together as a couple. interestingly both women decided to have babies with sperm donors whom they knew and had long-term friendships with. the larger community living space becomes smaller when you have a baby, and more intensified. community works itself into your life in other ways.

in my case, on the baby project, i met several times with an expartner who has a current partner and two children, living in new york city. we were considering the possibility of having a baby together, and talked about how the future might be, with his current partner and their children. but then he mentioned that he thought it might be better if she didn’t know about it. i didn’t think that was a very good idea. it seemed like a non-consensual decision, in which all parties’ consent would not be obtained. i didn’t go through with it. i decided not to have a baby after all.

people make choices about having children in different ways, even people who may be in what appear to be heterosexual relationships. considering the consent of all parties, working around or against the legal sperm donor clinic method of conception (very expensive and medicalized), or even deciding to abstain from breeding. interestingly, for me, this decision has meant that i am trying to make deeper connections to people aside from my partner. i feel the need to have closer friendships, and to be more loving to more people, not in a sexual way, but in an intimate friendship way, developing creative collaborative partnerships, finding mutually supportive ways of interacting with people, and in fact spending more time, as i grow older, with nieces and nephews who are scattered all over the country, who are unrelated to the anarchist scene, but who are nonetheless of course an important part of my community.

liberation, responsibility and intimacy
in this context, liberation becomes a kind of odd concept. i still like spontaneous walks down by the train tracks, dérives, and nomadic urban wanderings as much as the next anarchist. taking off freighthopping across the country, or traveling wherever, no apartment, no money, but always finding places to stay, people who will take you places or take you in. this was always liberating for me, on the fringe of capitalism, against the way middle-class people travel, or live generally speaking, tied to house and job.

but then a year or two ago i was at an anarchist workshop where the facilitator had a very interesting take on the notion of responsibility. i feel like mainstream society has inculcated in us the value of irresponsibility, and in anarchism we seem to link this to freedom, to nomadology, to spontaneity, and liberation. whereas really it is a kind of trapping capitalist individualism that seems unsustainable.

for example, i had a conversation with a friend once who had broken up with a partner because he was going traveling. i asked if that was a bit selfish, in that he wasn’t really considering her needs or feelings. he countered that he had to put himself first. to me, this is a sentiment that i think a lot of people might agree with, anarchists or not, though by anarchists it might be couched in terms of a liberatory politics. but it seems more like a failure to be responsible to those people with whom we are engaged in intimate relationships.

at the workshop, the facilitator, who was an older indigenousidentified male, said that responsibility tells us where we belong in our lives. i have always been troubled by this notion of belonging, yearning for it in some ways, and yet unable to find it because i was charmed by the notion of spontaneity, freedom, the nomad life, new friendships and relationships everywhere with everyone who came along. at the same time, i was also perplexed by how i loved people who were always roaming, and that made it impossible to have a long-term relationship because we would break up or not see each other for long periods of time, and re-connections were difficult. i think i dreamed of finding a nomadic partner who would travel with me and we could be spontaneous together, and that this would be a sort of traveling set of roots that i could take with me.

now i think of responsibility differently, i think of it as a deep connection to another person, related to intimacy. it means that we think of their feelings and needs as equal to our own, and quite often, more important than our own. we can also think of our responsibility to self as, rather than being in conflict with responsibility to others, being profoundly connected with a responsibility to others, in the very anarchist sense that the liberation of one person is predicated upon the liberation of those around them. to take one example of how this works in everyday practice, this means that a person can ask people in their community for help when they have a health need, because there is an implicit understanding that we each need to take care of ourselves and be taken care of, and that when other people have health needs we will in turn be there for them. so taking care of other people is nurturing ourselves, our community, and the reverse is also true—asking for care is in a way nurturing other people, and developing in our community the capacity for nurturance. this feeds the fostering of intimacies in community with others beyond heteronormative coupled partnerships.

to tie this back to the notion of queering anarchism, what i think queer practices offer to anarchism is a language of intimacy. this language and its concomitant practice of intimacy is crucial for a revolutionary politics. radical queer politics and practices offer to non-normative heterosexual relationships a range of possibilities, including polyamory, intimate friendships, expressive communities, mental and physical and emotional mutual aid health care, and sexualities that are predicated on intimacy, respect and consent. of course it doesn’t always work out as perfectly as this all sounds. but that too is a lesson of queering anarchism. relationships are a lifelong process of negotiation and sharing, of putting mutual aid into practice in layers of more intimate and less intimate relationships. what i think anarchism offers to radical queer spaces, groups, networks and communities, is a way of putting consent, respect, nonhierarchical love, emotional nurturance, and collective living into relationships so that those communities can grow and sustain themselves/ourselves, with an anti-statist and anti-capitalist perspective, and bringing in anti-racism, anti-colonialism and other related or intersectional movements and ideas. so in addition to queering anarchist movements, we are anarchizing queer movements. what emerges is a vision of queer and anarchism not as two separate things that are starting to come together (certainly the history of the anarchist movement is full of queers and the history of the queer movement is full of anarchists!) but rather a mutual aid relationship in which the boundaries between the two bleed into one another and they become inextricable.

queering heterosexuality from an anarchist perspective takes place in this context, where relationships are no longer heteronormative, where we are also moving away from homonormativity (the capitalist, state-run, white-dominated “gay pride” model, for example), and indeed open up into non-normative sexualities, where the labels homo and hetero are challenged at a basic level. sexuality like gender is thus a narrative, as my room-mate said the other day, a fluid series of experiences that we can write and rewrite as we live through them, things we can invent or get rid of, as we see fit, in a kind of multiplicitous, inter-connected, non-linear, rhizomatic diversity of sexualities and genders that we engage throughout our lifetimes.

non-heteronormative desires
i had a conversation with a friend of mine last week about our nonheteronormative heterosexual relationships. he is dating someone new, and was having an odd experience, or at least he thought it was odd until he started talking to friends about it. and then it turns out that there are many people having a similar experience. among anarchist hetero couples, if i may generalize for a moment, it seems that the guys are doing a really good job of being soft and sensitive, of taking direction from women when it comes to intimacy, to sexuality, and friendship. there is a new kind of language where men have had to find ways of expressing desire without being direct or aggressive. a tentative language, a conditional language, a language of questions rather than demands: would it be okay if? what if i told you?

for feminists, for women who want to be respected in friendships, in intimate relationships, and in sexualities, this is sweet. it makes relationships wonderful and warm and open and caring and loving. it’s fabulous. so where is the odd experience in all of this, you may be wondering?

sometimes, as women, we want to feel passionately desired. we might want to be swept away with passion and desire. we might even want things to get a bit rough, you know, a bite on the neck, an uncomfortable position. sex on the floor under a table, or going at it so hard we almost fall off the bed before we even notice. (and this isn’t news to anyone into bdsm or other fetish sex that explores intentional power exchanges in sex). i could go on, but i’ll get to the point, which is this—we seem to be creating new norms, and in those norms, there are built-in things like respect and communication, gentleness and sensitivity, and these are all of course great things, and should be a key component in every relationship, from sexual ones to intimacies to friendships to parenting to teaching to work relationships and family. but, as with any set of norms, including polyamory and other forms of anti-heteronormative relationships, the risk is that we become fixed in a certain set of behaviors, and forget that we have the power and agency to say what we want, to negotiate through active listening and honest disclosure, and to achieve very fluid and lively relationships that do not stagnate or conform to previous expectations, or someone else’s idea of what is right or wrong for us.

dylan vade is a trans lawyer who has written about the gender galaxy, which is the idea that gender and sex are not configured as a binary (male/female or masculine/feminine) but rather there are thousands of different ways of living out our sex/genders, in a galaxy, where some genders may cluster together into constellations, and sometimes these constellations are perceptible, but sometimes they are not.[12] i’d like to think that sexualities are like this too. rather than the binary homosexual/heterosexual, there are thousands of different ways of living out our sexualities.

this leads me to one last thing that i have recently started having conversations about. we had a houseguest a few weeks ago, a woman who took advantage of the same-sex marriage rights in canada and got married a few years back. as her partner started female-to-male transitioning, their same-sex status became a bit more fluid. she said that now that he has fully transitioned, they are read by others as a heterosexual couple. she enjoys high-femme camp performance in everyday life, particularly when it is queer, and is now unsure how this will be interpreted by others, which is most often as straight. when a queer gender performance is misread as heterosexual, the risk is that the play with signifiers—the feminine dresses, the 1950s style and behavior, etc.—will be misunderstood by both queers and heteros as reinforcing gender role stereotypes rather than subverting them. it is also odd, she said, to suddenly be experiencing heterosexual privilege in her public[13] life, whereas her private relationship is still very queer and does not feel privileged. to put it another way, her narrative of sexuality is not one of privilege, and yet this is how strangers now engage with her and her partner. the narrative thus is becoming uncertain, or what bobby noble calls incoherent.[14 ]this is another way in which queering heterosexuality may take place in radical queer milieus and lives.

another FTM trans person has told me how he now struggles to be accepted as queer or trans, since people read him as a straight man, though he lived for nearly forty years as a woman and a lesbian. he almost feels like he can no longer be part of the queer community, unless he is among friends who have known him a long time. for example, he told me that he recently went out to a bar that had a reduced cover charge for trans men, and he had to really insist that he was trans. the door person wouldn’t believe him. he repeatedly thanked the person, because they were reaffirming his sex/gender of choice, but in the end, he had to show the dreaded ID that still listed his gender as “F” in order to be accepted as a trans man. oh, the irony. this is not an experience that any trans person wants to go through. it demonstrates how heteronormativity, which causes people to assume everyone is gender-straight and non-queer, seems to permeate even queer scenes that are attempting to privilege trans people. furthermore, it reveals how even in spaces committed to radical queer and trans politics and subjectivities, the notion that someone’s own self-identification should be accepted at face value, without having to provide coherent identification, is not always put into practice very well.

this is yet another one of the risks of queering heterosexuality. heterosexuality of course needs to be challenged, to be queered, to be wrested from its place of privilege. at the same time, we need to be very careful not to heterosexualize or heteronormativize queer spaces, subjectivities, identities, ideas, theories, and the like. there is a role here for heterosexual queer allies, even those of us who cringe at the word heterosexual and strongly disidentify with it. i believe and hope that we can queer our practices, without claiming queer as our own, or appropriating it. in other words, the idea is to support queer struggles, to integrate queer ideas into our practices, to be as queer as possible, in order to work as allies to end queer oppression. the idea certainly is not—and this is another risk—to perform queer identities when it is convenient and then return to our heterosexual privilege unchanged or unchallenged by the experience.

liberation means this. it means we keep writing the narrative of our lives, our desires, our genders, our sexualities. it means that, rather than having the kind of freedom janis joplin sang about (you know, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose) when my parents were exploring their open relationship (that is another story in itself!) we have liberatory experiences and relationships that are grounded in communities and long-term commitments to exploring what these relationships mean and how they can best be fulfilling to all involved. for me, to get to this openness, the queer and/or anarchist communities that i have encountered over the years have been crucial. crucial to who i am as a person, but more than that— crucial to revolutionary politics. the entire capitalist patriarchal white supremacy that structures our world unequally, and indeed preys on unequal relations of power, requires heteronormative relationships. break down those kinds of relationships, and we are also starting to break down patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism. as jamie heckert argues, breaking down micro-fascisms at the level of identities and intimate relationships is at the root of resistance to macro-fascisms at the level of institutions and structures of power.[15] queer practices, relationships, communities, scenes, and intimacies thus are making important contributions toward profoundly liberatory modes of being, doing, thinking, feeling and acting in the world that are intensely political. even for heteros.


[1] challenging standard orthography (writing systems) by not using capital letters, by using ‘improper’ grammar such as sentence fragments and the like, has a long history and a complex set of motivations. most importantly, it challenges the phallogocentric domination of textual representation i.e. the presumed superiority of phallic (masculine) logos (use of words, acts of speech) that underlies western traditions of philosophy, theory, literary studies and other logocentric disciplines, and that can lead to semiotic subjugation (Guattari, Felix. Soft Subversions. New York: Semiotext(e), 1996.)—the feeling that we are subjugated to language rather than subjects that can speak through language. second, it challenges the privileging of the written word over oral traditions. third, it challenges pedagogical norms that are imposed upon school children from a young age, norms called into question by anarchist educational approaches such as free skools. fourth, it disrupts the presumed relationship of the author being dominant over the reader, a binary ‘other,’ and instead allows the reader to intervene in the text she reads, to be an equal with the writer. fifth, through this deconstruction of the binary relationships between masculine/feminine, written/oral, correct/incorrect, writer/reader, etc., non-subjugated orthographies that refuse the use of capital letters and traditional grammar make space for the privileging of the collective, and co-operation in the construction of meaning, decentering the primacy of the individual writer, the supposed (rich straight white male) sublime genius who produces texts. this is therefore a radical, feminist, queer and anarchist strategy that disrupts the way texts are produced, valued, legitimated and circulated. bell hooks drew attention to these debates, for example, by changing her name, disavowing her ‘slave name,’ and writing her name without capital letters.

[2] Queerewind. London: self-published, 2004. http://www.queeruption. org

[3] O’Connor, Alan. Who’s Emma? Autonomous Zone and Social Anarchism. Toronto: Confused Editions, 2002.

[4] Berlant, Lauren, ed. Intimacy. Chicago: U Chicago P, 2000.

[5] Easton, Dossie. The Ethical Slut: a Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities. San Francisco: Greenery P, 1997.

[6] Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: U California P, 1990.

[7] Toronto Anarchist Free University. http://www.anarchistu.org/

[8] Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge, 1990.

[10] Guattari, Felix. Soft Subversions. New York: Semiotext(e), 1996

[11] Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. 1967. Detroit: Black and Red, 1983.

[12] Vade, Dylan. “Expanding Gender and Expanding the Law: Toward a Social and Legal Conceptualization of Gender that Is More Inclusive of Transgender People.” Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, V. 11 (2004–2005) 253–316.

[13] Warner, Michael. Publics and Counterpublics. New York: Zone Books, 2002.

[15] Heckert, Jamie. “Sexuality/Identity/Politics.” In Changing Anarchism. Ed. Jonathan Purkis and James Bowen. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2004.


https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library ... osexuality
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:13 am

Protoje - Blood Money


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etdnIFC4erw

Me nah watch no face, beg no more pardon
A nuff drugs money deh a Cherry Garden
Nuff individual society applauding
You can ask anybody where them get them start in
But nuff politician take the donation
So nuff criminal will never see a station
Never see a cell, not even a courthouse
But a every Sunday we see them take the boat out
North coast resort and car dealership
The construction company dem just don't legit
Use it wash the money, turn it 'round and hide it
When the kickback dem come in, the government delighted
So..


Police cancel operation
'Cause nuh real bad man nah go station
Now if you check the situation
A blood money run the nation
Come take a look inna Jamaica
Injustice in the place now
If what you see no really phase you
Then you a the problem that we face too


Was 'bout to buy an X6 you know
Maybe then I'd never have to be prisoner
Maybe then I coulda not turn in my firearm
Police couldn’t come remand
Come in like me run an army
Was 'bout to be a politician too
Maybe then I coulda make any decision, look
Maybe then I'd make a hundred million disappear
Then me act like me nuh care
Watch you vote me back in there
Because the sad reality
Inna Jamaica, say your status is your salary
Man deh road a carry one whole heap a felony
But them have a family a boost up the economy
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:24 am

“On the Risk of a New Relationality:” An Interview with Lauren Berlant and Michael Hardt

By HEATHER DAVIS AND PAIGE SARLIN


In May 2011, we sat down with Lauren Berlant and Michael Hardt to ask them about their use of love as a political concept. They each use the idiom of love to disrupt political discourse, as a means of thinking through non-sovereign social and subjective formations. Love, for both these thinkers, is transformative, a site for a collective becoming-different, that can help to inform alternate social imaginaries. But their notions about how this happens diverge. In his lecture at Banff, through a close reading of Marx, Michael Hardt proposed that substituting love for money or property as the means for organizing the social can open up new social and political projects. More generally, he begins from the position of love as ontologically constitutive, or love as a generative force. Lauren Berlant’s description of love has attended to the ways in which love disorganizes our lives, opening us to move beyond ourselves. And so, for Berlant, the concepts of love and optimism foreground the sort of difficulties and investments involved in creating social change, understood as the construction of an attachment to a world that we don’t know yet, but that we hope will provide the possibility for flourishing. Throughout the interview, Berlant and Hardt try on each other’s positions, organizing relationality through models of incoherence and multiplicity. In this, they speak to, reflect, inform, and inspire activist projects of social change from queer communities to neo-anarchist organizers. What follows is an excerpt from our discussion.[1]

Davis: What is it about love that makes it a compelling or politically interesting concept? What kind of work does love do politically that other concepts don’t do?

Hardt: One healthy thing love does, which is probably not even the core of it, but at least one healthy thing it does is it breaks through a variety of conceptions about reason, passion, and the role of affect in politics. There are a number of other ways of doing this, but considering love as central to politics confounds the notion of interest as driving politics. Love makes central the role of affect within the political sphere.

Another thing that interests me is how love designates a transformative, collective power of politics – transformative, collective, and also sustained. If it were just a matter of the construction of social bonds and attachments, or rupture and transformation, it would be insufficient. For me, it would have to be a necessarily collective, transformative power in duration.

When I get confused about love, or other things in the world, thinking about Spinozian definitions often helps me because of their clarity. Spinoza defines love as the increase of our joy, that is, the increase of our power to act and think, with the recognition of an external cause. You can see why Spinoza says self-love is a nonsense term, since it involves no external cause. Love is thus necessarily collective and expansive in the sense that it increases our power and hence our joy. Here’s one way of thinking about the transformative character of love: we always lose ourselves in love, but we lose ourselves in love in the way that has a duration, and is not simply rupture. To use a limited metaphor, if you think about love as muscles, they require a kind of training and increase with use. Love as a social muscle has to involve a kind of askesis, a kind of training in order to increase its power, but this has to be done in cooperation with many.

Berlant: Another way to think about your metaphor, Michael, is that in order to make a muscle you have to rip your tendons.

I often talk about love as one of the few places where people actually admit they want to become different. And so it’s like change without trauma, but it’s not change without instability. It’s change without guarantees, without knowing what the other side of it is, because it’s entering into relationality.

You asked your question in two ways: you asked why is love potentially interesting for politics and why is it potentially interesting in ways that other concepts aren’t. They are really different kinds of questions. One is comparative, and the other asks what does love open for you. I tend to think more about what a thought can open. Because we’re looking for something, some way of talking about the possibility of an attachment to a kind of collectivity that doesn’t exist yet. There are lots of things that can do that, like fascism, or the politically orchestrated forms of sociality that could do that. But we want the thing that includes a promise that you will feel held by relationality though not necessarily always good in it, as you are changing.

Unlike Michael, who is trying to think love as a better concept for suturing or inducing the social, I’m trying to think about what the affects of belonging are without attaching them to one or another emotional vernacular. We’re being formalist about this: we’re describing the conditions of the possibility of an orientation toward being in relation, which could be lived in lots of ways. We’re thinking of the affective phenomenology of these conditions, not how to do it.

The thing I like about love as a concept for the possibility of the social is that love always means non-sovereignty. Love is always about violating your own attachment to your intentionality, without being anti-intentional. I like that love is greedy. You want incommensurate things and you want them now. And the now part is important.

The question of duration is also important in this regard, because there are many places in which one holds duration. One holds duration in one’s head, and one holds duration in relation. As a formal relation, love could have continuity, whereas, as an experiential relation, it could have discontinuities.

When you plan social change, you have to imagine the world that you could promise, the world that could be seductive, the world you could induce people to want to leap into. But leaps are awkward, they’re not actually that beautiful. When you land, you’re probably going to fall, or hurt your ankle or hit someone. When you’re asking for social change, you want to be able to say there will be some kind of cushion when we take the leap. What love does as a seduction for this, and has done historically for political theory, is to try to imagine some continuity on the affective level. One that isn’t experienced at the historical, social or everyday level, but that still provides a kind of referential anchor affectively and as a political project.

In your talk, Michael, you spoke about love as two kinds of things, as a relation of property, and as a relation of exchange. But what about the kinds of dissolution within relationality that could happen under a regime governed by love?

Also, you say that love is collective in Spinoza because there is an external cause for it. I don’t think that’s accurate, but I think it’s interesting that you think it is. In Spinoza you’re visited by love; it’s a transcendental visitation. Love is not public. So, what does public mean to you? Is public just external to the subject? Or does it mean…what’s the relationship between that and public as a general concept that’s like love in that it’s referential, or the kind of love that’s a collectivity that feels itself?

Hardt: Let me start with the non-sovereign thing. I like that. If one were to think a political project that would be based on or include love as a central motivation, you say, notions of sovereignty would be ruptured. That’s very interesting and powerful. I assume we are talking about a variety of scales here simultaneously, where both the self and the social are not sovereign in love.

When we engage in love, we abandon at least a certain type of sovereignty. In what ways would sovereignty not be adequate in explaining a social formation that was grounded in love? If we were to think of the sovereign as the one who decides, in the social relation of love there is no one who decides. Which does not mean that there are no decisions but, rather, that there would be a non-one who decides. That seems like a challenging and interesting question: what is a non-sovereign social formation? How is decision-making then arrived at? These are the kinds of things that require modes of organization; that require, if not institutions, customs, or habits, at least certain means of organizing the decision-making process. In a politics of love, one of the interests for me is a non-sovereign politics, or a non-sovereign social formation. By thinking love as political, as somehow centrally involved in a political project, it forces us to think through that non-sovereignty, both conceptually, but also practically, organizationally.

In Spinoza, love is social in that it is external to me, that with which I have an encounter, but it’s not necessarily human. In book five of the Ethics, Spinoza proceeds to the most obscure and lyrical accounts of love. Here, it’s about the intellectual love of god, but that intellectual love of god, for Spinoza, is not the love of some anthropomorphic, ruling figure. It’s rather a way of both understanding and engaging a relationship with the world around us, with both humans and nonhumans, that consistently brings us joy and increases our power.


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