On Defending Raw Nerve Books: Or, The Stuff of Good Feeling

Stacy Douglas

In September 2009, Raw Nerve Books announced that the edited collection Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality(2008) was out of print. Edited by Adi Kunstman and Esperanza Miyake, the book was one of the first anthologies on queerness and raciality in Britain. The independent feminist press published the announcement on its website, along with an “Apology and Correction” to gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.1The two-page document claimed that “untrue allegations” were made against Tatchell in one of the chapters, titled “Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror’” by Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem.2A longtime gay rights campaigner in the United Kingdom, Tatchell is well known for his attempted citizen’s arrest of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in London in 1999, as well as for his leadership role in the gay liberation organization OutRage!3

The apology claimed that the chapter contained “defamatory untruths concerning Peter Tatchell and OutRage!” and that it “cast unjustified doubt on their character, motives and integrity, and [involved] a fundamental misrepresentation of their campaigns.” The second half of the document offers a series of “corrections” to the “untrue allegations,” denying the claims that describe his campaigns as Islamophobic and refuting claims that he was criticized by LGBTIactivists in Africa. In addition to listing a smattering of human rights work that Tatchell has done with particular Muslim individuals and communities, the correction states that “neither [Tatchell] nor OutRage!are racist,” and that “he is not Islamophobic and is not ‘part of the Islamophobia industry,’” as the authors allege. It claims that criticisms of his work from African LGBTIactivists – specifically, a letter signed in 2007 calling on activists elsewhere to stop working with Tatchell4– have been made by people “who did not know Mr. Tatchell and OutRage!and who had never had any connection with them.” These “corrections” re-brand Tatchell as an anti-imperialist, anti-racist defender of human rights.

Although Tatchell denies threatening Raw Nerve with a lawsuit, some have suggested that the apology is so deeply embedded in the language of law that it is difficult to argue otherwise. Moreover, others, including Ken Livingstone (the former mayor of London) and Scott Long (Human Rights Watch) – have spoken publicly about Tatchell’s dangerous liaisons with what they deemed to be Islamophobic sentiments, only to retract their statements with carefully worded apologies days later. While Tatchell denies using the threat of litigation, this strikingly similar pattern may suggest otherwise. Moreover, UKlibel law is remarkably supportive of complainants, putting the burden of proof on the defendant. In many cases, it is often smarter – both in legal and economic terms – to retract and apologize rather than risk going to trial. But I want to steer away from a narrow focus on libel law. What is pertinent about this story for activists is not Tatchell himself but the actions of and reactions to Raw Nerve’s apology and subsequent comment.

The Little Press That Couldn’t

Following their “Apology and Correction,” Raw Nerve faced accusations of censorship.5In reaction, the press claimed that the book was already out of print when Tatchell made his accusations. However, Raw Nerve released a “Publishers Comment” about the book in November 2009,6claiming that the chapter in question “contained inaccuracies.” As a result, the publisher claimed that “the debate [had] been skewed and the issues obscured” and that the authors’ refusal to retract or “fix” the inaccuracies, left the press with “no choice” but to refrain from reprinting the book. The statement expressed “great sadness” over the authors’ unfortunate position. Though Raw Nerve would have been “delighted” to reprint the book, the press maintained that the power was not in its hands.

Reactions have been varied. In conversation with activist friends, there have certainly been expressions of sympathy for the small press. One argument is that Raw Nerve – self identified as “an independent, not-for-profit feminist press publishing controversial, under-represented and experimental work” – was in a delicate position because legal action might have caused the press to go under. This argument supports Raw Nerve’s decision as a strategic gesture to ensure its own longevity and, consequently, the continued publication of the “under-represented” work it claims to produce. In this case, the publishing house is imagined to be vital to the sustainability of the larger feminist movement.

I argue that both attitudes ­­– the reaction ofand the reaction toRaw Nerve – stand as poignant analogies for the close relationship between racism and contemporary queer and feminist politics, as experienced through the deployment of a sense of “good feeling.”7In the first case, the small, independent feminist press deploys a seemingly objective appraisal of the situation through the language of good and bad feeling that allows it to avoid confronting the political significance of its decision. In the second, the protection of the press is justified because it will serve the longevity of the feminist movement. In this way, the argument for the endurance of the larger movement is connected with desires for stability and comfort that take refuge in a homogenous, and “happy” political agenda. I argue that the sense of “good feeling” in this case is more loaded than it appears. In both reactions, the experience of “good feeling” is deployed in different conceptual forms as an organizational force; the attraction to it underpins both the publisher and its supporters’ claims. Moreover, these feelings are shaped by power relations that are invisible and taken for granted, and thus rendered objective. Drawing on the work of Sara Ahmed, I argue that these happy and homogenous political agendas cannot be separated from legacies of racism, especially as they operate within activist organizing landscapes that have developed in and through cultures of racism and white supremacy.8

In response, I propose an endorsement of an anti-racist9agonism that includes a demand for resolve from the self-identified “alternative” publishing house, and more broadly, from activist organizations to resist the capitulating force of “good feeling.” The aim of this critique is both to i) point to the inseparability of legacies of racism and feelings of “comfort” in mainstream, white-dominated queer and feminist activism and ii) suggest that, for mainstream queer and feminist activist organizations, an anti-racist politic must also include a hostility to the organizing principles and objectives which have provided long-standing comfort and stability to its foundations. This hostility includes embracing a politics of anti-racist agonism within organizations, which not only includes interpersonal interactions but also interrogating relations with institutional sources of legitimation including funding bodies, media, and state-based legal regimes.

This article also responds to current conversations in the pages of Upping the Antiregarding the politics of friendliness and camaraderie, and the precarious balance between the two. In particular, it is in part a reaction to both the editorial in UTA9, and Lesley Wood’s response (“Difference, Identity, and Valorization”) in UTA10. As the editorial committee asks us to take “seriously the idea that truly effective revolt against [the cruel world we inhabit] is not going to be easy or comfortable,” Lesley Wood responds by cautioning against an organizing ethic that denies “the body, emotion and spirit” of individuals. In conversations with other organizers, comrades, and friends, there is much debate about how to conceive of this balance, and I regret that this article does not resolve these tensions. It does, however, make a claim about what might be at stake. I contend that an anti-racist politic includes a critical analysis of the production of good feeling in white dominant activist organizations and movements, and offer some considerations as to how this might be set out within and across left activist organizations.

The Stuff of Good Feeling

Raw Nerve’s original “Apology and Correction” to Tatchell is deeply imbued with a distancing language that in many ways passively accepts a narrative of his career as a human rights campaigner. The frequent repetition of terms like “we accept” and “we regret” followed by a series of direct quotations from the chapter form a melee of dispassionate strategies that allow the publisher to make the apology while distancing itself from the “corrected” account of Tatchell’s good deeds. In fact, it may be argued that the initial apology from Raw Nerve is so full of carefully constructed legalese and so devoid of original opinions that it actually functions as a political means of illuminating Tatchell’s litigious strategy. What is rather astonishing, however, is Raw Nerve’s subsequent “Comment” on their decision to stop printing of the book. Here, the publishers go well beyond the formalistic requirements of an “Apology and Correction.” They explain that they would be “delighted” to reprint a new edition of the book if the “issues of inaccuracy” could be resolved but, having “unsuccessfully encouraged the editors of the book (and thereby the authors of the article) to refute or retract the errors,” express “great sadness” at their inability to do so. What I want to focus on here is the deployment of “sadness” in contrast to “delight” and its entanglement in the production of a seemingly objective decision, free from legacies of racism or state-inculcation.

Sara Ahmed explores the way in which happiness has come to be synonymous with the glue that holds the social together in her essay “The Politics of Good Feeling” (2008).10In this process, “bad feelings” are pathologized as barriers to the achievement of happiness. Happiness, then, is not just a status to be achieved, but is also contingent on a temporal promise that is interrupted or dislodged by “bad feelings.” Ahmed goes on to examine how within this conception, “bad feelings” are attributed to the bodies that disrupt the “good feelings.” Citing Audre Lorde, she explains that, when women of colour point out white women’s racism in predominantly white feminist environments, it is the women of colour’s actions that are then treated as the source of the “problem.” As Ahmed states, “the exposure of violence becomes the origin of violence” (6). In this situation, the promise of the comfort of the organizing space for white women is disrupted by the instantiation of racism by the woman or women of colour. Rather than attribute the “bad feeling” to the practices of racism carried out by the white women, it is ascribed to the body of the woman of colour who has disrupted the comfort of the space by her utterance. For Ahmed, in the contemporary context, not only is the “bad feeling” associated with particular bodies, it is also pathologized as “bad,” “backward,” and “stubborn” in contrast to good feelings which are “happy,” “progressive,” and “future oriented.”

Sadness is the feeling Raw Nerve uses to describe a lack of alternatives – there was “no alternative but to refrain from republishing.” This sadness, they explain, has been produced by the authors’ refusal to retract “errors.” As in Lorde’s example, it is the authors’ actions that have produced the bad feeling, not Raw Nerve. In juxtaposition, the publishers would be “delighted” to reprint the book if the authors would agree to take action to meet the standards of “scholarly and honest debate” set forth by the publishers. This attribution of the “bad feeling” to the authors silently depoliticizes Raw Nerve’s decision while unburdening the press of all political responsibility. Since the concepts of “scholarly and honest debate” are not universally agreed upon, it is the definition of the meanings of “honesty” and “scholarly” which are politically significant here. By refusing to contest the meaning of these terms as they have been set forth by Tatchell, the press endorses the truth claims that are mobilized by his project.

The authors of the chapter challenged what they characterized as the Islamophobic practices of a contemporary queer organization and its leader. As a result, they were countered by the force of a defense campaign mounted by the mainstream white queer movement in London. Badmouthed on blogs, denounced at public events, the authors were the targets of an unofficially organized league of defenders, ranging from Green Party crusaders in Hackney to club-hopping boys in Soho. These custodians of the white gay movement assert that Tatchell’s efforts are well placed in warding off the “barbarism” of Muslims at home and “savage practices” of African countries abroad.11Similar to the position of Raw Nerve, supporters assert that their accounts of Tatchell are honest in contrast to the attempt of some to “smear” his name.12 Regardless of which characterization of Tatchell one supports (i.e., a purveyor of liberal human rights discourse that characterizes Islamic cultures as inherently homophobic, a stalwart defender of queer rights in the face of rising “Islamic fundamentalism” in Britain and elsewhere, or somewhere in between), I contend that his high profile and highly contentious activism cannot be disassociated from broader discussions about the relationship between queer movements and Islamophobia.

Jasbir Puar has referred to the proliferation of anti-immigrant and Islamophobic discourse in gay liberation events (i.e., pride parades, citizenship tests, and gay-friendly national tourism advertisements) as “homonationalism” (2007). Such an instance was the cause of what has been now dubbed the “Butler scandal”13– Judith Butler’s refusal of the Zivilcourage Award in Berlin after learning that Pride organizers in the city had a history of relying on xenophobic and racist caricature of immigrants as inherently homophobic.14Homonationalist programs work in tandem with imperialist, war-mongering, and neoliberal state-propagated agendas of securitization. Indeed, Butler herself pointed out in a June 2010 speech that gay, bi, trans, and queer people can be used to wage war. In the current political climate of a long-standing anti-Islamic and anti-Arab global “War on Terror,” these interlaced discourses strengthen the power of state-based and international laws that legitimize the use of violent detainment, deportation, and the tightening of borders as well as imperialist invasion and occupation – strategies which are disproportionally targeted at Muslim, Arab, and other racialized individuals and communities.

In London, homonationalist discourses circulate vociferously in defense of Tatchell. Consequently, it is unsurprising that the popular palatability of his project gains him a vocal following in liberal queer, environmental, and soft-socialist communities. These organizations, institutions, and people find “good feeling” in their support for Tatchell and express their great anger (“bad feeling”) at those who disrupt it. The “good feeling” comes from observing his many campaigns in the name of queer liberation which, I argue, cannot be separated from their resonances with discourses of “rampant Muslim barbarism” that have proliferated in Western media and government policy, especially since the commencement of the racialized “war on terror.” As Raw Nerve refuses to clarify the content of their amorphous terms “honesty” and “scholarly debate,” they elude the political responsibility of their decision. By burying its contestable decision in emotionally evocative fables about the broader interests of “scholarship,” the publishing house quietly endorses the truth claims that have been set out by Tatchell. Moreover, the lionization of these unqualified terms seems out of place for a press that claims to produce “controversial” and “under-represented” work. At the very least, Raw Nerve could account for their political decision instead of deflecting responsibility and cloaking their move in a shroud of supposed objectivity.

Solidarity as Good Feeling

The uncritical response by some of my leftist colleagues to support Raw Nerve’s actions also functions to depoliticize the palette of “good feeling.” Their automatic defense of the publishing house came as a result of what many saw as the more important political project – the maintenance of the press at the expense of Out of Place. This is a claim I have heard in other settings before; in the face of a seemingly catastrophic threat, save what we can. There are two significant elements at work in such a response. The first is the underdeveloped analysis of which political projects deserve such unquestioning support. Research into the broader publishing practices of the press may shed light on what is really at stake in endorsing the longevity of Raw Nerve. For example, a brief search through Raw Nerve’s publications will reveal that aside from a book on whiteness published in 1999, no other titles or descriptions explore issues of “raciality” nor mention the word “race” at all. Out of its 12 listed titles, only Out of Placedealt directly with such questions. Secondly, a response that relies on the logic of uncritical support as synonymous with the longevity of the movement conflates politics with agreement, or what I referred to earlier as a happy and homogenous political agenda. As these two elements work in tandem, they legitimize the stability of the undeveloped analysis, while perpetuating a notion that critical analysis or outright disagreement is tantamount to catastrophe.

Too often conventional ideas and theories of solidarity rest on notions of “shared feelings,” “agreement,” and unconditional support. Of course, many organizers are well aware of the importance of demonstrating solidarity with groups, communities, or individuals whom they wish to lend their support while retaining a critical distance. And yet, it is possible to see the ways in which the inability to confront racism within organizations and campaigns can lead to a form of uncritical mutual support, or agreement of action that protects and reproduces forms of feeling that allow the power of racism to go unchecked. Both the reaction of and the reaction to Raw Nerve fail to acknowledge and interrogate the racialized power dynamics that constitute their good feelings. In these instances, racism does not necessarily operate as an intentional program of white supremacy, but rather aligns with a self-legitimating logic that operates within white dominant activist cultures. When these self-fulfilling logics are left intact, they also leave intact the “unity or agreement of feeling or action” in the group – consolidating solidarity practices that protect legacies of white privilege.

It must be said that the palette of good feeling does not only belong to Raw Nerve and its supporters. Of course these feelings operate for the “opposition” too, as critics of Tatchell can take refuge in a happy and homogenous political agenda that castigates him as one-dimensionally racist. The “good feeling” in this case can come from a sense of self-satisfaction that one is on the morally right side of the divide and only need defend their justified position. Moreover, the critique of “good feeling” that I myself am drawing out can also be complicitous in the production of a happy political agenda – one of the detached observer who sits smugly on the sidelines “illuminating” contradiction from a safe distance. While the production of “good feeling” in each case should be interrogated for what it holds dear, the very real differences in the economy of their claims (i.e., their proximity to state-endorsed agendas of homonationalism) should also be noted.”

I want to suggest that a method of organizing that embraces an interruption of the good, or a politic open to “bad feeling,” could disrupt some of these logics. Drawing on – and strategically departing from – the work of Chantal Mouffe, I propose that an anti-racist agonism may offer a response to what the editors are seeking to achieve in their call for uncomfortable camaraderie in UTA9, while heeding the anxiety expressed by Wood in her response in UTA10. Mouffe’s call for a politics of agonism will help take up the role of the loaded concepts of “comfort,” as well as “emotions, hopes, dreams, and desires” that circulate within this conversation. Although I resist adopting Mouffe’s program here, I invoke her work to critique what I see as its shortcomings in the hopes of illuminating an agonism that better embraces the materiality of “good feeling”.

In “Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism?” (1999), Mouffe makes a distinction between “politics” and “the political.” She argues that while “the political” is made up of day-to-day antagonisms that are the product of human social relations, “politics” is the result of an attempt to quell and suppress these antagonisms into a uniform polity that can be expressed as a coherent whole. Mouffe contends that “politics” as such forms a false imagining of a unity without exclusion. For Mouffe, such a contention is impossible in a social context where conflict and diversity (rightly) exist amongst humans. As a result, “politics” necessarily creates an “us” versus “them,” as those who are hostile to the domesticated unity of the whole and threaten the very foundations of politics (the “them”) become the enemy of established order (the “us”). What Mouffe proposes is not an attempt to eradicate the “us vs. them” opposition (which she says is an impossibility), but to “establish this us/them discrimination in a way that is compatible with pluralist democracy.”15

I am not going to further elaborate on, nor do I endorse, what Mouffe calls “pluralist democracy.” Indeed, Mouffe’s concept goes on to hollowly postulate that a mere switch in a consideration of “enemies” as “adversaries” is a step toward “democratic politics.” She claims that, “an adversary is an enemy, but a legitimate enemy, one with whom we have some common ground because we have a shared adhesion to the ethico-political principles of liberal democracy: liberty and equality.” This politics of recognition hinges on an ability to have a shared interest in achieving the goals of liberal democracy. As such, this conception maintains and perpetuates the unarticulated power of the values of individualism, autonomy, and with an imperialist thrust, posits these values as the ground upon which we must all find our commonality. Consequently, Mouffe’s antagonistic pluralism does not consider the historical weight behind the construction of the categories “us” or “them.” While I am arguing for an embrace of agonism as an organizing principle, it is a politics of agonism in service of anti-racism. This form, different to Mouffe’s patronizing toleration of “the other,” seriously considers the formation and the content of the “us” – what historical, political, and economic factors make this category stable? What institutions of legitimation produce and maintain “our” comfort? Importantly, this framework goes beyond thinking of agonism as an inter-personal practice to thinking of agonism as a form of relationship with networks and institutions.

To summarize, what I wish to take from Mouffe’s postulation of “agonistic pluralism” is her critique of politics as it castigates threats to its imagined uniform polity as rancorous and thus, emanating from an “enemy.” Indeed, applied to the context of organizing, it is certainly possible to conceive of internal critique and dissent in a way that does not see the threat to stability as a stab at the arterial life-blood of politics. This transformation is vital, as it moves away from a hegemonic liberal order that vigorously attempts to assert a universally representative and inclusive order as the paramount configuration of contemporary politics. Ironically, however, what Mouffe’s critique also inadvertently helps elucidate is that the creation of the “us” – the stable group of activists that comprise any organization – has particular universal conditions already built into it. For example, in the conception of “politics” that Mouffe critiques, the unarticulated presupposition is that stability is key and that those who rock the boat are the enemy. In Mouffe’s own postulation of agonistic pluralism, the hidden universal is the common ground and shared desires for liberal democracy. The “us” in both instances is comprised of an unspoken culture or set of characteristics that it itself does not see. This is why the conditions under which the “us” is stabilized must be acknowledged as such and interrogated for what they silently hold dear.

An Anti-racist Agonism

Raw Nerve’s decision to stop distributing Out of Placeand its invocation of the empty rhetoric of “honest and scholarly debate,” as well as the reaction of its leftist supporters, should not be taken lightly. We can begin by demanding that Raw Nerve take seriously the resonances between a decision they endeavor to depoliticize and the discourses of homonationalism to which it is so intimately connected. This demand makes clear that politics cannot be hidden under seemingly objective terms or deflected through the deployment of “good” or “bad” feelings. Moreover, it means that we must hold the press to account, regardless of its size or stated intent to publish “under-represented” and “controversial work.” Secondly, we can interrogate the automatic response by some activists on the left to defend the actions of Raw Nerve. This argument needs to be challenged both for the political project it produces and maintains, as well as its incapacity to embrace disruptive critique as a productive organizing strategy. But what does this disruptive critique look like?

An anti-racist agonism must include embracing a relationship open to hostility with the institutions that maintain the stability of the “us.” These institutions of legitimation may include media outlets, funding bodies, or explicit state-based legal regimes that condone certain forms of “approved” activism. These sources of legitimation are also deeply involved in the production of the “good feeling” in organizing amongst white activists. Financial support, good press, and state-support are all ways in which it is possible for “good” feelings to stabilized. These conditions make it easier for legacies of racism and white supremacy that may lie at the centre of some organizing to go unchecked. Attempting to build an anti-racist agonism within organizations that hold dear to these institutions is inadequate, and will rarely bring about the kind of hostility and self-reflexivity required to challenge the composition of the “us.” While other calls for agonism focus more explicitly on interpersonal relations within activist groups, my emphasis is on the extension of an agonism that also sees the need for hostility between activist campaigns and institutions of legitimation. Consequently, an agonistic analysis might go so far as to find that under legal and financial threat to capitulate to the terms of the mainstream white gay movement and without the resources to defend itself, the loss of an independent press may be a perfectly acceptable outcome. Such a move would take seriously the political project that would be endorsed if the press was to concede (i.e., the reproduction of mainstream and distinctly notcontroversial work), and would challenge the cultural force of the equation that longevity equals production.

The folding of publishing houses, organizations, and campaigns, when done in the name of particular political agendas, can be productive for movements. Although such outcomes might be “sad” for some, these feelings should be scrutinized for what they maintain. To leave the sedimented logics of happy and homogenous political agendas intact would ignore the connections between such feelings and practices of racialized power and domination.

While it is certainly true and/or possible that some groups could embrace anti-racist agonism – a politic that embraces conflict because it sees its productive value – as an organizing principle amongst their own group members, it may be much harder to apply this method to inter-organizational campaigns and actions. Narratives of “positive thinking” as progress – and progress as good – are alive and well in modern Western culture and society. Indeed, Walter Benjamin’s assertion that the authoritative weight of this chronological thrust is the “strongest narcotic of the nineteenth century” continues to ring true.16The proliferation of this sentiment poses a real challenge to the adoption of an anti-racist agonistic framework outside of individual organizations and groups. Not only does it mean attempting to build agonistic models of organizing across networks of activist groups, but also developing and encouraging extra-organizational hostility to forces of institutional legitimation.

Concluding Remarks

The editorial in UTA9 claims that if we take “seriously the idea that truly effective revolt…is not going to be easy or comfortable, and that hard as we try (and we should try) we cannot always be friendly or loving or kind. There are very real barriers to us truly ‘being the change we want to see.’” My argument throughout is an elaboration of this point – that good feelings of “comfort” and stability in activist organizations should be considered and interrogated for what they hold dear. Such an interrogation includes an examination of the sources of legitimation for these feelings, which extend beyond, but are intimately bound up with, individuals’ feelings. This is not a call for an endless politics of disruption for disruption’s sake, nor a blueprint for a mean-spirited or sectarian war - certainly, there must be time for pleasure, laughter, and support. Rather, an anti-racist agonism takes seriously the composition of good feelings in order to excavate the sources of deeply sedimented power relations that are transmitted through feelings of happiness and discomfort, and in so doing, perpetuate legacies of racism. Such a framework comes exactly from a place that recognizes the importance of a different kind of “good feeling” – one that revels in anti-racist, anti-capitalist revolutionary organizing, and the possibilities that it holds. H

 

Notes

1See http://www.rawnervebooks.co.uk/outofplace.html for their apology.

 

2See http://www.islamophobia-watch.com/islamophobia-watch-files-secti/

 

3For a biography of Tatchell see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Tatchell

 

4See the “public statement of warning” written by African LGBTI activists in 2007: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2007/increse310107.html.

 

5See, for example, Aren Airzura’s open letter in MR Zineon September 23, 2009: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2009/aizura231009.html

 

6The “Publishers Comment” can be downloaded from Raw Nerve’s website: http://www.rawnervebooks.co.uk/outofplace.html

 

7Ahmed, Sara. 2008. “The Politics of Good Feeling,” Australasian Journal of Critical Race and Whiteness Studies. 4: 1.

 

8By white supremacy here I refer to the historical foundations and ongoing projects of both Canada and its colonial parent, the United Kingdom, both of which are rooted in programs of white nation building. These population management systems were implemented and continue to operate through violent colonial conquest and genocide, preferred immigration systems, and state-sanctioned surveillance and police violence.

 

9Although my emphasis is on “anti-racism” herein, it is possible to think of it in terms of “anti-oppression” as an agonistic framework holds the potential to disrupt comfort and stability as it has been sedimented around multiple formations of “good feeling.”

 

10This theme is elaborated in her recent book The Promise of Happiness(Duke University Press 2010).

 

11These sentiments can be found in articles and comments on most online articles written about Tatchell. For a selection see: Harry’s Place: http://hurryupharry.org/2009/11/01/defend-peter-tatchell; Socialist Unity: http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=4845; Raincoat Optimism http://raincoatoptimism.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/it-should-be-very-difficult-to-support-ken-livingstone-again/. See also Sara Ahmed’s comments on Tatchell’s “problematic proximities” to racist and Islamophobic language: http://www.alanalentin.net/2009/11/09/problematic-proximities-or-why-critiques-of-gay-imperialism-matter/

 

12http://www.petertatchell.net/politics/academics-smear-peter-tatchell.html

 

13Significantly, anti-racist queers of colour in Berlin have called for vigilance against turning the “Butler Scandal” into a de-politicized moment of “good feeling,” rather than an anti-capitalist, anti-racist movement against racist complicity in gay imperialism. See http://bullybloggers.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/where-now-from-pride-scandal-to-transnational-movement/).

 

14Butler’s speech can be found at http://nohomonationalism.blogspot.com/.

 

15Chantal Mouffe. 1999. “Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism?”. Social Research. 66. 15.

 

16                  Walter Benjamin. 1999. The Arcades Project. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 863.