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WE ARE NOT JUST THE 99%:
Queering the Occupy Movement, Reimagining Resistance
Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Ignited by the Arab Spring, uprisings in Greece and Spain, and protests in Wisconsin, Occupy Wall Street has brought corporate greed and structural inequality into the spotlight while claiming public space and refusing hierarchical models of resistance. “We are the 99%,” the central slogan of the Occupy movement, has been crucial in rallying mass support. And yet, this slogan invokes a vision of sameness that stands in stark contrast to a queer analysis that foregrounds, cultivates, and nurtures difference. From Mortville, the queer camp at Occupy Baltimore, to the Feminists and Queers Against Capitalism bloc at the Oakland general strike, queers are playing central roles in Occupy spaces. But, what would it mean to bring a queer analysis to the forefront, going beyond the politics of inclusion to question the very terms of the debate?
For the first time in decades, perhaps there’s a possibility for a mass movement demanding radical social change in the US. Still, most Occupy spaces remain straight, white, and male-dominated: how do we prevent the power imbalances intrinsic to previous movements? What about accountability within the 99%? How have Occupy spaces addressed (and failed to address) homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism, ableism, imperialism/patriotism, police brutality, anti-homeless territorialism, sexual assault, and other issues of structural, personal, and intimate violence? As struggles emerge to confront the colonial rhetoric of “occupying” indigenous land (and to address this history), what can a queer analysis bring to this challenge? What do queer struggles have to learn from Occupy/Decolonize movements, and what can Occupy/Decolonize movements learn from queer struggles?
I’m interested in missives from queers involved in Occupy/Decolonize movements, as well as from those veering between skeptical and inspired. I would love to hear about queer challenges within Occupy encampments large and small, across the country and around the world. Bring me your explosive analysis, your rants, your manifestoes, your journal entries, your rage and rigor and hope and heartbreak. In addition to written nonfiction work, I’m also interested in art, photography, posters, flyers, and other forms of visual documentation queering the Occupy movement – its goals and aspirations, its impact, its perils and possibilities.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the editor of five nonfiction anthologies, most recently Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform (AK Press 2012), and the author of two novels, most recently So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights 2008). More info on Mattilda at mattildabernsteinsycamore.com.
Please send essays or written materials of up to 5000 words, as Word or text file attachments only, to email@example.com. Include a brief bio. Please send a query before submitting visual work. The deadline is March 20, 2012, although the earlier the better.