Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Dictatorship of Postfeminist Imagination

After a few dozen email conversations, grammatical and content edits by our beloved friends, and the addition of critical annotations, the IEF is proud to announce the release of The Dictatorship of Postfeminist Imagination.

from the preface:

This text is a sort of meta-critique of anarchist practices of feminism. It was provoked from this editor, generally, because of a certain absence of critical feminist theory within a milieu which adopts the assumptions and imperatives of identity politics. It was provoked specifically, because of the intelligence which the text “Is the Anarchist Man our Comrade?” and “Why She Doesn't Give a Fuck About Your Insurrection?” honed in on—of which many of us already know: the affects produced by our practices of consent, accountability, community and identity are weak. Moreover, because the forms, which mimic legal practices, that are taken up to combat internal gendered and sexualized oppression are empty of a consciousness of their historical development. Although this text is responding to particular texts and particular utterances which followed, as a sort of ethical practice, this text refuses the limitation of the milieu that speaks to itself in a particular jargon. By revealing the discourse that is taking place and staking a claim in it, this text intends to overflow its sad boundaries.

The text has multiple voices, contradictions; seams which exist as a threshold between this idea and the next. It always does. It is assembled merely as a temporary space which these bodies who are attached to worlds and their meanings communicate. Although it comes from an editing process which seeks to weave an amalgamation of intelligences and sensibilities into—at the very least—the raw intellectual materials to reveal a political position, this text is also only one such rudimentary position in a long history of feminist theoretical development. And although the voices which are put to use by this assemblage may very well scoff at certain feminist writers, it would be foolish not to examine this history.

The writers, or worlds, which inhabit this text are both infantile and full of a decade of scars. We've been experimenting with our lives, our bodes, spaces, and temporalities, and we've met similar and unique pitfalls. The theory we write is an extension of the theory we inhabit. We start from the horror that we are all potential perpetrators, because we are not sure we have developed the spoken language, or gestural vocabulary to articulate our experiences, and because we can't count past one in four—or was it one in ten? We love power, we even sometimes love to authorize, but we're terrified by the means which we must encounter our power. Because we know it's often at the expense of others.

Hating the irreversible time of daily miseries
and their repetition,

-Liam Sionnach | IEF | 2010

online reading
8.5x11 imposed for print PDF


  1. civil heart war

  2. Liam- The point of the writings you cite is to redirect/recreate the discourse and path of radicalism/anarchism by finally getting some socialized-female/non socialized-male voices out there! These voices haven't been heard enough and need to speak for themelves and their own experiences and desires! GET THE HINT! You need to stop trying to appropriate and direct things, including socialized female voices/writings like you are doing in this piece, take a step back and stop dominating the discrouse.

  3. Anonymous, In one fell swoop you fail to understand the importance of "the personal is political", conscious raising groups, and the main thrusts of this text i.e., the appropriation--making common of all asymmetrical power. You're talking about speaking truth to power, for fucks sake! And you think the only reason it hasn't worked yet is because the quantity of voices. But patriarchy knows what socialized-women and non socialized males think, and doesn't care.

    Let's pretend for a moment that patriarchal power relations were the total result of the choice of individuals. Even if this were the case, why would anyone make the choice after hearing "how it really is" from the voices of the excluded, to trade in their privilege?

    The men are talking too much...sure. I dig the critique, but critique, in order not to tell me how to be a better male authorizing voice, must also be a part of a critical practice. I think the feminist reading group in NYC is a good example.

    Seriously, do you really think that the Institute for Experimental Freedom, and its pure-form caricature, Liam Sionnach, is dominating feminist discourse? When was the last time you even saw this dumb shit in "the F-Word" magazine, much less "Bitch" or "Ms." We live in the world of the logo channel and performance art and shit. Think again.

  4. Its the authorizing "we" that is the problem, buddy. No one's saying you are dominating feminist discourse, I mean, really. what the fuck? Yes, there is a problematic to living the lie inherent in strategic essentialism, but don't you realize that that is exactly what you are doing by trying to encapsulate and reduce so many experiences under your own authorizing voice? The lady protests too much, methinks. GET THE HINT indeed, clearly what Anonymous is trying to say pertains to current anarchist discourse, not feminism.

  5. Furthermore, the condescension in your tone is exhibit A.

  6. Yes, Iceland, that is the author function. Better that a text that can be read across subcultures speak anonymously. But I think its cool, that within the limits of our milieu a position is revealed that can diffuse and mutate. Would it have been a practice to reveal to gendered location of the critical annotations, even those who would like to remain anonymous? Which lady's protest too much? Or is your main point that all collectivities conceal what is most singular in the bodies who speak from them?

    This "we" you speak of becomes real quite often; it has a substance too. I think the anonymous text is of course the way forward, but I think within the milieu its useful (maybe not imperative) to reveal: yes, we are elaborating a position and it may be different than yours and others; not only that, but we, like other "we"s, like other positions, want to dominate the anarchist discourse. And in such a discourse, with such material practices, anarchy dissolves the boundaries of anarchism. Your fear perhaps, is even if big-tent-anarchism anarchism accepts us as citizens then it has already accepted our main our main thesis: warlike practices, even not directed at the state, make a population less governable. Which means even to take us to task theoretically or practically, is to enter into the our disturbing logic.

    It should be noted, we are talking about the possibility of an insurrectional feminism, not about repairing anarchism's inherent flaws. This text does not critique anarchism in hopes that it will respond by strengthening itself as an ideology. Because of whatever misfortune, it acts from within an anarchist subculture, but the main thrusts of the text are practical feminist questions about power that face anarchism as an ideology with indifference, but face the dominant anarchist discourse with hostility. "How do we want to do power?" is a question a priori. How to be more horizontal, or how to spread "equality" are questions that conceal power...

  7. happy now, asshole?