Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bastille Day

Today I was part of a fine mob that strode the streets for the sake of citizenship, respect, human rights and land rights. Instead of truckking in down to CAPITAL - we decided to all catch an extra 3 hours post-kooky sleep and head over to the block.

Inner west trains weren't running so I took shanks pony through the sunny barrio down to redfern - and stood around nervously waiting for the posse to show, wondering why the only other honkies were rag weilding trots and sleep deprived deviants....

OK - I know about the latter - I've waxed lyrical on the discrete powers of a mrginal life - a contingent slippery impossible existence - how it promotes a move towards the life affirming desires and death defying activism.

I don't want to define kooris and queers according to some negative slave-like 'alterity' type blanket. I don't think we are 'united in our oppression' and I don't believe that our 'oppression' can be compared - in fact I think it is obscene to do so. sitting in bed with my ADSL, angsting over my PhD - waxing lyrical about my funky friends I met either at university or on a university funded international research tour - REALLY cannot be compared to the monstrous state of affairs experienced daily by aboriginal australians - either as fukked over members of the stolen generations or as currently being fukked over members of remote communities.

Also the ontology of queerness is about individual movement, social mobility (or motility) - the basis of being able to move through and remake space according to desire and connection - whereas the ontology of indiegeneity is about having access and connection to LAND - a specific relationship to very specific spaces that link blood, bodies, memory and desire - and how that is constanty fought for against the colonising push to evacuate land from people, history and memory and turn it into a free floating speculative signifier: mining 'investment' or tourist dollars or 'real estate' - all as slippery and seductive as my own fantastic flights between genders, bodies and becomings.

so i don't want to pretend that I can evade the problematic condition of my own whiteness, my own social privilege and the type of subjectivity in which I, as someone socially mobile, sexually fluid and and intellectually active am implicated.My position, however crusty and critical - is still 'avant-garde' -and I am part of the thin edge of the beige wedge that gentrifies areas like Redfern and Spewtown and disperses the 'marginal' or non recuperable populations... like indigenous people... who belong to and are and own the land.

Im interested in how my own condition of mobility, movement, of blighty diasporic becoming can engage with the condition of fixity, belonging, custodianship of space. i'm interested in how my own mad psychogeographies of NEVER being here Of marching on bastille day - not in 1789 but in 2007 and not in paris but in redfern, and amongst people still unable to deal with the events of 1788, but using the language of 1789: good hold humanitarianism 101 - to stare down neocapitalist monstrosity in the face - can actually produce something DIFFERENT, and maybe better.

so - what I'd say - or guess at what united me today was hearing the brilliance and power of the aboriginal speakers. Of hearing really cogent political analysis, really well researched FACTS and sympathetic engaged analysis of the 'little children are sacred' report and how it is being used as a political football by Howard (and Rudd). And witnessing the fact that for the many indigenous people that are fukked over and fukked up - there are many who continue to be brave and wise and brilliant.

And you won't see any of it in the herald, or on the ABC or anywhere mainstream - that seems to delight in giving bad news that makes people feel even more powerless and isolated and silent than we actually are.

so this is a funny segueing link between the personal and the political - because I WENT along - not only as part of a civic gesture of solidarity and of protest - but to be reminded that indigenous australia is still alive, kicking dancing, speaking, acting and thinking critically about land, sovereignty, human rights and whatever it is this nation could be apart from an increasingly viscous little penal colony.


Carolyn said...

Dear Mayhem,
I found your blog by typing Mark Goodcamp's name into google, because I've lost track of where the protests are happening and thought that his name might be a good lead. I've got to say I find your analysis pretty amazingly beautifully insightful, on many levels.
I spent Saturday at an Alliance Francaise breakfast in Canberra, then on to the protest march from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy to Civic. I hope you don't mind if I use your blog to keep in touch with the Sydney I lost 10 years ago. Also Jan 26th is always a good day at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. I can let you know when other events come up if you like. Say hi to Mark if you see him, regards, Carolyn.

mayhem said...

Dear Carolyn
thanks for the comments.... dunno who you are but i'll pass your regards onto the good camper at the next rabble rousing... he's one of those people who combines humanity and anger with an enormous amount of grace - bit of an inspiration really.