[Eight years ago,] around five thousand people gathered in Cronulla on December to ‘Take Our Beaches Back’ or, as it was put less obliquely in other circulating leaflets and SMS, ‘bash wogs and lebs’. Slogans such as ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘Aussies fighting back’ were prominent enough, on placards, posters and scrawled on skin, given force with punch and kick. Draped in Australian flags, singing Waltzing Matilda, large parts of the crowd rampaged around the suburb beating anyone they assumed to be a ‘wog’ or a ‘Leb’, including one woman whose parents migrated from Greece and a Jewish man. Such is the populist version of racial profiling – officiated more recently by the phrase ‘of Middle Eastern appearance’ – that has become standard in Sydney and at a time of a global biowar. It might be noted here that the women who were raped in the most prominent of recent cases in Sydney would not so easily have ‘passed’ as Australian in Cronulla that day, and yet their attackers would not have been given such unprecedented sentences if they had not been identified in court and the media as a ‘Lebanese gang’ targeting ‘Australian women’. Indeed, given that migration officials have deported or interned over a hundred people whom they incorrectly assessed to be ‘illegal non-citizens’ – such as Vivian Solon, a permanent resident deported to a hospice in the Philippines from her hospital bed after being hit by a car – suggests that this moment in Cronulla was, despite all the denials, continuous with the normative inclination of public policy and the racialising demeanour of the rights-bestowing, and rights-denying, state.

 As border policing became central to the conduct of elections and government policy throughout this period, the border was bound to proliferate across social relations and spaces, and in circumstances both casual and administered. This is why the worst of the attacks occurred in the train station. That train takes people from Sydney’s Central railway station to the nearest beach and, given the composition of Sydney as a whole, this includes people from the suburb of Lakemba, which has a high proportion of migrants from the Middle East. Cronulla, for its part, is notable for being the most Anglo-Celtic of suburbs in Australia. The Prime Minister once described the area as ‘a part of Sydney which has always represented to me what middle Australia is all about.’ Responding to the events at Cronulla, he would quickly deny that it was racism at work, adding: ‘I do not believe Australians are racist,’ and going on to propose that those who did believe such a thing lacked a cheerful disposition.

Over the subsequent three nights, there were retaliations. Hundreds of cars were smashed, people beaten and shops destroyed, as Cronulla and surrounding beachside suburbs were made unsafe for those whose belonging there had never before been threatened. One of the calls to retaliate declared:

"Our parents came to this country and worked hard for their families. We helped build this country and now these racists want us out. […] Time to show these people stuck in the 1950’s that times have changed. WE are the new Australia. They are just the white thieves who took land from the Aboriginals and their time is up."

In the midst of this, the NSW Police Commissioner remarked that the Cronulla rally to ‘Take Our Beaches Back’ was a ‘legitimate protest’. It was, according to him, born of a ‘frustration’ with the failure of the police and the state to do their job, which is to say, to ensure the Australian border remained secure within Sydney. The Prime Minister insisted that the problem of ‘ethnic gangs’ – which he unequivocally denied those at Cronulla might be regarded as – should be left to ‘policy’, ie, the state. On the third day of rioting, the NSW Premier announced emergency laws to give police, among other measures, the power to ‘lockdown’ those beachside suburbs under threat. This was, he declared, a ‘war’ and the state would ‘not be found wanting in the use of force’. And so the task of the Cronulla pogrom was more smoothly accomplished by the police acting as border guards, refusing entry to the beaches to those who could not prove that they belonged there. [more]

(Source: border-ctrl-delete)


New Comic!
There’s not much to say here, I think a lot of us know what this feels like.
it’s cold and dark out there, now. I’m thinking a lot about hiding and never ever ever ever coming out.


New Comic!

There’s not much to say here, I think a lot of us know what this feels like.

it’s cold and dark out there, now. I’m thinking a lot about hiding and never ever ever ever coming out.

PASI 101 - Three Browns written and performed by Ruci Tueli_ awesomeness!


Harmless War: Illustrations by Tang Chiew Ling

Using ordinary objects and combine them with some drawing to create images. Leaves and chocolates/dessert signify the nature and the children. Fighter aircraft dropping leaves instead of bombs ; spray out leaves instead of tear gas from the tear gas grenade; leaves as the bullets of the gun ; a hand grenade made by leaves and flowers.

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(Source: faithistorment.com, via nolandwithoutstones)

The dilemma of feminist researchers working on groups less privileged than themselves can be succinctly stated as follows: is it possible—not in theory, but in the actual conditions of the real world today—to write about the oppressed without becoming one of the oppressors? 

In an absolute sense, I think not. In addition to the characteristic privileges of race and class, the existential or psychological dilemmas of the split between subject and object on which all research depends (even that of the most intense participant observer) imply that objectification, the utilisation of others for one’s own purposes and the possibility of exploitation, are built into almost all research projects with living human beings.(Patai, 1991, p.139). 

Gluck, S. B., & Patai, D. (Eds.). (1991). Women’s words: The feminist practice of oral history. New York: Routledge. (p. 139) 

“…feminists imagine that merely engaging in the discourse of feminism protects them from the possibility of exploiting other women, while their routine research practices are and continue to be embedded in a situation of inequality” Daphne Patai 

"It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors."

—Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed 42

To intervene in the name of transformation means precisely to disrupt what has become settled knowledge and knowable reality, and to use, as it were, one’s unreality to make an otherwise impossible or illegible claim…. when the unreal lays claim to reality, or enters into its domain, something other than a simple assimilation into prevailing norms can and does take place. The norms themselves can become rattled, display their instability, and become open to resignification (Judith Butler 2004, 27-28). 

“To make trouble was, within the reigning discourse of my childhood, something one should never do precisely because that would get one in trouble. The rebellion and its reprimand seemed to be caught up in the same terms, a phenomenon that gave rise to my first critical insight into the subtle ruse of power: the prevailing law threatened one with trouble, even put one in trouble, all to keep one out of trouble. Hence, I concluded that trouble is inevitable and the task, how best to make it, what best way to be in it” (Gender Trouble, Judith Butler xxvii). 

While laudable in its efforts to educate both teachers and students about the violent effects of various isms that impact LGBT people, I have always found myself at odds with the very notion that the classroom can or should be a safe place. In my early years of teaching I recall conversations with colleagues who identified as allies and spoke of the ways in which they establish their classrooms as “safe spaces”: places LGBT students could expect to be free from anti-gay bias and homophobia. I was always taken aback by these conversations, in part because I espouse Stuart Hall’s (1996) sense that there are “no guarantees” in either hegemonic or counter-hegemonic struggles for power, and in part because such an approach suggests that the teacher can single-handedly mold the fluid, dynamic nature of a classroom into a safe space for those who might be identified as queer or identified as marginalized in other ways. Heteronormativity is partially constructed through a dichotomous logic, where heterosexuality is considered normal, natural, and inevitable and homosexuality is constructed as its binary opposite: abnormal and perverse. Elsewhere, I have argued that discourses of safe spaces for LGBT students too often reproduce this dichotomy through an inclusion model that focuses on homophobia (Fox 2007). Suggesting that allies give, provide, offer, and secure safe space for LGBT people reinforces the normative authority and power of an ally to be the agent configuring what these spaces might be. While the inclusion model has been an important part of development towards queer studies over the last thirty years, it tends to focus on visibility and countering homophobia and often revolves around how to help LGBT people feel comfortable within existing frameworks rather than disrupting them. The display of safe space signs, however well-intentioned, often operates through a transactional rather than transformative logic that serves protect the social safety (or comfort) of allies, thereby occluding genuine reflection, dialogue, and struggle about what might constitute safety for marginalized peoples. 

A great read from: 

Fox, Catherine O. (2013). Neither Bitch Nor Mother: Queering Safety in the Classroom. Socialist Studies/Études socialistes, 9(1).