"Not-so-strange bedfellows": Considering Queer and Left Alliances in Poland
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It is often taken for granted that there exists a more or less "natural" link between left-wing politics and the progressive social movements referred to as "cultural," such as feminist, ecological or LGBT struggles. This article argues that if an alliance between the Left and the LGBTQ movement is to be real and operational, it must be worked out, rather than pressupposed, via a thorough rethinking of the political as such, of its axioms, goals and ethical frameworks. The authors see a parallel between the dissatisfaction that recent grassroots left-wing movements feel towards more established parties and institutions, and the dissatisfaction that a new wave of queer actvism feels towards more traditional policies of mainstream LGBT organizations. Much of this dissatisfaction can be derived, in both cases, from the perceived neoliberalization of the political and social spheres and the subsequent cooptation of leftist / queer politics and activism to the neoliberal, or even neoconservative, agenda. This moment of shared dissatisfaction should be used creatively to devise common strategies, rather than maintain the artificial and disadvantageous division (which only seems to work to the benefit of the neoliberal hegemony) between the so-called "economic" and "cultural" lefts. Regrettably, at the moment there is very little understanding of queerness on the Left, just as there is little dedication to countering the disastrous effects of capitalism among LGBT activists. The New Left and the queer movement have much to learn and gain from each other, but to make this happen new leftists must rethink the political through the sexual, whereas the queer movement (seen as separate from LGBT or uneasily attached to it) must rethink the sexual through the economic, to put it simply. The article ends with an outline of a new comprehensive ethical and political model from which an anti-exclusionary and pro-social ethics could be derived as a common ground for a workable queer and left alliance.
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