Che Gossett is a black trans femme writer whose work draws out the connections between blackness, animality and abolition. Their writing forces us to re-examine power’s machinations, most famously in their cutting critique of Zizek on trans issues in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
We started to discuss all this in relation to gender several months ago. Much has changed during the time that we have been emailing. 36 people were killed in the fire at the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, many of them queer and/or trans. Standing Rock Nation protesters fought against the planned 1,172-mile Dakota Access oil pipeline, which would poison the water they depend on. And Donald Trump won the US Presidential election on an openly fascist platform.
For these and many more reasons, the end of 2016 has felt apocalyptic. Yet this is perhaps not so much as a change, as a re-emergence of what was always already there. As the self-described ‘theory queen, para-academic, writer and trans-femme’ points out: “the white supremacist nation of America... is not broken – it was built this way.”
This interview is the first in an occasional series about gender and technology on the Verso blog, guest-edited by Ray Filar.
The Verso Book of Dissent: Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance is a compendium of revolt and resistance throughout the ages, updated to include resistance to war and economic oppression from Beijing and Cairo to Moscow and New York City.
To celebrate the release of the new edition - 50% off at the moment as part of our end-of-year sale - we've present a selection of key moments of dissent from the book.
Akwugo Emejulu, Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, examines the politics of whiteness central to Donald Trump's presidential victory.
Can you see it? Do you now understand its influence and importance? Will you finally realise what is at stake? Many people of colour already understand what is going on because of a learned knowledge that ensures our survival; as Patricia Hill Collins argues, “Black women cannot afford to be fools of any type for our objectification as the Other denies us protections that white skin, maleness and wealth confer.”
I am, of course, referring to whiteness: that political project to defend and enforce the racialised social order of white supremacy.
To celebrate both Black History Month and the 50th anniversary of Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale's founding of the Black Panther Party on October 15th, we present Newton’s ‘The Correct Handling of a Revolution’ from 1967. In this speech Newton compels the party to ‘show the people how to stage a revolution’. He is adamant that the function of the Party is, through demonstration, to teach an adoptable method of resistance. To spread the movement through the thirty million strong Black community in America, the Party must teach by experience. Newton puts forth both the importance of the Party’s relationship with the wider Black community, and that of internal relations, he compels for a united party against the oppressions faced, and still faced today, by the Black community. A succinct statement on the inner-workings and outward purpose of the Black Panther Party, Newton’s words still resonate today.