- Making Sense of Complexity by Sarah Firth
- Why does it take black trauma for you to believe us? by Nayuka Gorrie
- Trouble at the Intersection by Celeste Liddle
- The Bird Keeper by Vince Rouston in Scum Magazine
On the Marriage Survey by Omar Sakr
I’m going to say this very simply: the organising principle of my life is not queerness, it is kindness. I want to do good not just for myself but for others. If it doesn’t harm you or others directly, for any issue, just ask: am I being kind? For my part, I’m ashamed that I haven’t stood up more directly to my family, even those who threaten violence. I will always advocate for justice, I will always stand up for the marginalised who face structural barriers to equality, across genders and nationalities, but I am too often unwilling to stand up for myself because I love even the most homophobic members of my family.
For many queer people of colour, this is immaterial. A majority yes result or even the actual legalisation of same-sex marriage won’t make a big difference to their lives, given so many of them are too afraid to come out in the first place. Too many of them don’t want to give up the comfort of family, or can’t risk the violence, or have nowhere to go; it’s such a big part of our lives, our cultures, and it can also be the other way around with our parents relying on us economically. Of course we love them, even and sometimes especially the most abusive ones, so we stay closeted. I have done this before, for these reasons.
I don’t have these excuses anymore. I can take care of myself, and I struggle to see a way forward for young queer people of colour if those in my position — which is one now of relative economic privilege — don’t stand up for them, and take on these difficult conversations in public. I have been doing this already in my poetry, my published writing, and online, but I confess I haven’t done it enough in my personal life. It’s time for me to change that. I truly hope those who are able to will join me and we can begin to make material changes at the community level which will impact lives much more directly than this superficial, faulty survey could hope to do.
- Saliva made airborne will not be ignored in The Lifted Brow
Everything is violence except that which is not. Giving and receiving love. Thinking clearly and deeply. Making and consuming art. But these soft pleasures hold the least resistance to violence: you find them, always, nesting in foundations carved out by the hand of violence. Reason fetters love to moral goodness; marriage binds it to capitalism; procreation chains it to the state, to gender roles, to domestication. You find ‘thinking clearly and deeply’ in lukewarm Nespresso office cultures, repackaged as thinking soberly and proficiently. Art is the greediest pleasure of all, housing itself as it does in the courts of kings.Everything is violence except that which is not. Giving and receiving love. Thinking clearly and deeply. Making and consuming art. But these soft pleasures hold the least resistance to violence: you find them, always, nesting in foundations carved out by the hand of violence.And when you think about these connections, you don’t look at individuals. You don’t think of them as free agents making free choices; you think of them as acting in ways that history has made it possible for them to. You name it, and the words you use resemble “the system” and your sentiments are suddenly mad.
How are these fractions connected? How does the image of law itself embody violence? The homeless present an affront to the ideological promise of liberal economics: that ‘innovation’ and pure accumulation are inherently tethered to the betterment of human lives. So too are the presence of bodies that don’t conform. The promise that liberalism—the belief in individual equality and sovereignty—are the fundamental terms of exchange in Western democracies, that equality is guaranteed at birth, is called into question when non-conforming bodies, bodies that resist assimilation into white (straight, etc.) ideology, become visible. This liberal vision of equality needs to remove the visible obstructions to its premise. It responds to provocations against its fiction in fear, and with violence. “If you do bad things to people, you do not feel safe,” writes Deborah Levy.
Torn between my personal inclinations (I don’t want to do violence) and the facticity I bear (my female body is an object of state and interpersonal violence), I can’t afford to offer a moral position on violence. It is ingrained in every social relation. You can’t talk about politics without talking about violence. As an integral part of political processes, protest is the arm which dramatizes grievances felt. Violence or its threat is part of that. “In one sense, to speak of violence in the political process is to speak of the political process; the ultima ratio of political action is force,” writes Bruce L.R. Smith.
Hierarchies of violence are drawn against an individual’s own belief in their security. The safer your body is, the clearer the distinctions between forms of violence are.
The problem with protesting the suspension of a positive right like democracy is that you have no value to withdraw from the body you are protesting. You have no leverage. When you’re a labourer, you can withdraw your labour; the value of your body’s potential gives you something to trade on. When you have sexual or reproductive value, you can withhold—though with less security—your sexuality and chores: women have used sex strikes against male partners in all cultures to influence their own and others’ political conditions. In institutions where your body has no value, though, where your body is seen, maybe, as a burden, the power of your body as a tool of insurrection is neutralised. Asylum seekers’ hunger strikes in detention are largely ineffective because in detention they are given no productive or potential value: they have no value to withdraw. This reduction of human value, of course, erupts in chaotic violence – anyone can see that.
Maybe you still have your voice. But voices, unless they are backed by real material power, are flimsy and easily discredited. You stand in a place and you shout what you like – that’s what you’re entitled to. Theatrical dissent. And if there’s more that you want than to shout and be ignored, there is a line, and you choose or choose not to step over it.
The history of social change is made with violence. Show me a bloodless revolution, a bloodless civil war, a bloodless anti-colonial movement. Show me a nation whose borders aren’t dug out with graves.
Yet nonviolent actors from every movement are cherry-picked and celebrated to appease the liberal sense that history is always moving in the right direction, that there is a legitimate process for each and every political grievance, that no-one has been left out. There is no modern democracy without a civil war; no liberalism without the reign of terror. No Black Liberation without the Panthers. Even feminism—in the first, third and fourth waves—call on the legitimising force of laws to protect the female person from misogynist violations. Windows are broken in some form or another, and when they are, crocodiles shed tears.
I’m part of the world’s oldest living culture, but could I kill a zombie with a boomerang? by Tyson Yunkaporta in The Guardian
- There is no right way to be a writer by Giselle Au-Nguyen in Writers Bloc
- On the Town by Alex Gerrans in Overland
- White Fragility, White Supremacy and Waleed Aly by Heritier Lumumba
- Why you should read literary magazines Writing is often an individual, distant activity. Literary magazines are a community of contents. Writers scattered across states and countries who share the same space.
Literary magazines exist on the periphery of the literary world, and as such, are free to publish work that captures that periphery. Writers and ideas from the margins. Often the same writers swallow the oxygen of each book publishing season. Look to literary magazines for writers who slip between the mainstream cracks.
Literary magazines are a slow world. The world of larger magazines is swift — and while there are clear benefits to swiftness, there’s something to be said for waiting. To learning that literature has rarely been instantaneous.
Literary magazines are where writers publish the work of their hearts and souls — the work they refuse to compromise. This is as true now as it was back in 1836, when Elizabeth Palmer Peabody wrote “I am perfectly willing to take the trouble of writing for money to pay the seamstress; but I am not willing to have what I write mutilated, or what I ought to say dictated to suit the public taste.” Literary magazines are worth our time for the gifts they offer.
- Review of Apocalypse in Blak by Stephen Pham in un magazine
- Six Feet Over Fremont by Bobuq Sayed in Peril