Students Representative Council, University of Sydney

Hope Through Fear

Optimism should be sought through radical negativity

The future looks bleak to me. Fascists on one side, spouting vitriolic and hateful rhetoric about me and mine, about queers and immigrants, about Jews and Muslims, about women existing and anything else they happen to take issue with.

On the other, we’re faced with liberals. Small l, that is, the adherents of the ideology of liberalism. While I’m not quite comfortable with endorsing a Social Fascism style view of liberalism, I do believe that liberals will choose their own comfort over change, and choose fascism over an alternative that threatens capitalist property relations.

Perhaps, in another era, this would not be of such great concern. We could work at slowly reforming the system, at making incremental gains decade by decade. Sure, countless millions would die before their circumstances could be improved, but that’s a small price to pay for stability in many’s eyes.

It will not, however, suffice. It will not suffice because it is immoral, and unprincipled, and it will not suffice because we are staring down a climate apocalypse.

We are facing down a challenge that will require human co-operation on a global scale beyond any project ever attempted before. We have but a decade until the damage spreads far beyond our ability to curtail it, if that long. That’s not for a perfect world, but merely a habitable one.

This, unfortunately, is the situation we are in. The political challenge is greater than ever.

Some may be questioning how this relates to queerness. Well,  firstly, as I’m fond of saying, I and every other queer person I know lives on Earth. I’ve looked into alternatives, but the atmosphere just doesn’t suit me.

Secondly, it is plain to see in the words of reactionaries how we fit into their world. Degenerates and aberrations, at best considered mentally ill with the disease of postmodern Marxism and at worst intentional deviants set on destroying everything they value: whiteness, strict gender roles, patriarchal heterosexuality and class itself.

They’re mostly right about my intentions, but that’s because those changes are necessary if we want a better world.

Radical negativity accepts that there is conflict in the world. Forces, and the people shaped by those forces, are set against each other, and the liberal delusion that we need only discuss matters enough to discover the root of our problems does naught but aid the right.

It’s darker, scarier world if we accept that conflict is necessary, even an essential part of politics. It brings into question much of how we’re told to be good people – by compromising, by de-escalating, by seeking accord.

Regrettably, however, I think many will understand the impossibility of some compromises. I will not waver on my right to be considered a full human being, equal to any other. Furthermore, I will not waver on demanding the same rights and respect for my friends and comrades, regardless of exactly why they’ve been marginalised by our society.

I’m not going to tell people how they can make radical change happen. There are dozens of groups active in Sydney alone around myriad issues, with differing strategies and methods all being employed. I merely want to take this opportunity to say that you’ll know you’re somewhere where you can do good when they’re not trying to appease our enemies.

Because in the seemingly miserable fog that a belief in the inevitability of conflict brings, there is a beacon shining through.

A light of hope and promise, that we can have a better world, a more free world. Some people will have to give up some, and it’s only achievable if we recognise that, but it can be done. We can succeed, and we can get through this.