Review: The Politics of Some Bodies - On "Feminism, Queer Theory and Marxism at the Intersection"
Publisher: Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières
Date Written: 01/03/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20568
At a time when Marxist politics is struggling more than ever against the current, queer Marxist scholarship is enjoying a slight, startling, heartening resurgence. Holly Lewis' The Politics of Everybody is a major contribution to the trend.
I do have a real difference with Lewis, however, around the concept of "homonormativity." Lisa Duggan coined the term in 2002, defining it as a mindset that does not "contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions but upholds and sustains them." Since then, the idea has become central to radical queer activism, theorizing radical queers' anger notably at the mainstream movement's focus on same-sex marriage and equal rights in the military. In Warped I used it as a global description of the antithesis of a queer anti-capitalist politics.
Lewis rejects it. She has many criticisms of the way radical queers use it, most of them well taken. "When queer subculture is raised to the level of political principle, it becomes an elitism that ultimately can be inhabited only by financially secure white people," she writes. Lewis tells the story of how an alternative queer and trans pride march in Austin, Texas, quickly dropped its anti-capitalist planks because it "was never anti-capitalist -- it was merely anti-corporate and anti-consumerist." It fit into a postmodernist agenda of "little ways of resisting Power": "buying local, reusing and recycling, promoting 'fair' trade, and eating organic." This kind of middle-class, individualizing and moralizing politics exists among queers as among others. In Warped, I insisted that an anti-homonormative politics should not focus on judging people's personal choices.