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Abstract

Abstract

Liberalism as a historical mode of the political is the context in which the movement and ensuing struggle for queer justice emerged in most Western countries. The terminology, practices, tendencies, beliefs, ethics, laws, and patterns of political and social life which have been determined by this mode of the political, it is argued, are inimical to queer justice and render its achievement impossible. Liberalism as a mode of the political is approached from below, from knowledge gained in practical experience in queer groups which considered themselves revolutionary at least to some degree, and from the effects on such groups and on the lives of queer persons of liberal tropes and processes. The liberal mode of justice is contrasted to the revolutionary mode across five elements of the liberal idiom of gay and lesbian justice which have found their way into the thought and nomenclature of much of the gay leadership of the U.S., and even into queer organizations that purport to be radical or revolutionary. These idiomatic elements are, the liberal-religious idea of nonviolence as a means to justice, the idea that gay and lesbian persons have made great progress since 1969, the idea that academic liberalism in its various forms serves queer justice, the discourse of 'hate', and the discourse of rights. In this examination, elements of a specifically queer revolutionism are brought forth. The essay argues that queer persons must take up the revolutionary mode of justice as our political template, and it adopts a revolutionary style of conveyance of ideas which repudiates, in its rhetorical character and out of necessity, the disastrously false civility and false objectivity of liberal discourse, adopting the revolutionarily appropriate character of a manifesto.