Surviving the Future: Abolitionist Queer Strategies
Editors: Edited by Scott Branson, Raven Hudson, and Bry Reed • Foreword by Mimi Thi Nguyen
Series: PM Press
Subjects: Social Science / Future Studies, LGBTQ+ Transgender Studies
Surviving the Future is a collection of the most current ideas in radical queer movement work and revolutionary queer theory. Beset by a new pandemic, fanning the flames of global uprising, these queers cast off progressive narratives of liberal hope while building mutual networks of rebellion and care. These essays propose a militant strategy of queer survival in an ever-precarious future. Starting from a position of abolition—of prisons, police, the State, identity, and racist cisheteronormative society—this collection refuses the bribes of inclusion in a system built on our expendability. Though the mainstream media saturates us with the boring norms of queer representation (with a recent focus on trans visibility), the writers in this book ditch false hope to imagine collective visions of liberation that tell different stories, build alternate worlds, and refuse the legacies of racial capitalism, anti-Blackness, and settler colonialism. The work curated in this book spans Black queer life in the time of COVID-19 and uprising, assimilation and pinkwashing settler colonial projects, subversive and deviant forms of representation, building anarchist trans/queer infrastructures, and more. Contributors include Che Gossett, Yasmin Nair, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Adrian Shanker, Kitty Stryker, Toshio Meronek, and more.
“Surviving the Future is a testament that otherwise worlds are not only possible, our people are making them right now—and they are queering how we get there through organizing and intellectual work. Now is the perfect time to interrogate how we are with each other and the land we inhabit. This collection gives us ample room to do just that in a moment of mass uprisings led by everyday people demanding safety without policing, prisons and other forms of punishment.
—Charlene A. Carruthers, author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements
“Surviving the Future is not an anthology that simply includes queer and trans minorities in mix of existing abolitionist thought. Rather, it is a transformative collection of queer/trans methods for living an abolitionist life. Anyone who dreams of dismantling the prison-industrial complex, policing, borders and the surveillance state should read this book. Frankly, everybody who doesn't share that dream should read it, too, and maybe they'll start dreaming differently.”
—Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution
“Surviving the Future is an essential text for this moment. This anthology is the toolbox we need right now, filled with contributions that show the conditions and the stakes of the crises we're facing through the lens of queer abolitionist resistance. Reading this book raised urgent questions for me that I had not even thought to ask yet. Surviving the Future is a much-needed resource for our movements , as we simultaneously face worsening crises and grow queer abolitionist resistance.”
—Dean Spade, author of Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)
“Surviving the Future is a stunning compilation of cutting-edge queer thought. Cross-cutting discipline and genre, this irreverent and powerful collection refuses the poisoned politics of assimilation, demands we remember our radical roots, and offers a compelling but necessarily incomplete map not merely for surviving, but thriving in the future we create that we must insist is abolitionist, Black, Indigenous, trans, anti- capitalist, anti-colonial, anti-ableist, feminist, and unapologetically fucking queer.”
—Karma Chávez, author of Palestine on the Air and Queer Migration Politics
“Fierce and fabulous—Surviving the Future: Abolitionist Queer Strategies—is necessary reading for revolutions past, present and future. Incorporating a wide range of contributions—analytics, demands, pleasures, losses, testimonies, campaigns and tools—this polyvocal abolitionist project is already making our world queerer and more free, now.”
—Erica R. Meiners, coauthor of the Feminist & the Sex Offender: Confronting Harm, Ending State Violence
“Surviving the Future adds substantial fuel to the fire, stoking the radical queer political imagination at a time when so few dare to imagine that another world is possible. May each chapter be a spark that lights yet another fire as we burn the prison industrial complex to the ground, including the prisons in our own heads.”
—Ryan Conrad, editor of Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion
About the Editors
Scott Branson is a queer/trans anarchist, writer, translator, community organizer, and teacher, based in western North Carolina. They were one of the organizers of the two UNC Asheville/Davidson College queer conferences that inspired this book. They have translated Jacques Lesage de la Haye's The Abolition of Prison (AK Press, 2021) and Guy Hocquenghem's book of essays Gay Liberation after May ’68 (Duke University Press, 2022), for which they also wrote a critical introduction. Scott is the author of Practical Anarchism: A Daily Guide (Pluto Press, 2022) and is also working on a book about the institutionalization of queerness for Duke University Press.
Raven Hudson is an activist, writer, and researcher with a BA in English and Gender & Sexuality Studies from Davidson College where they cofounded the Asian American Initiative (AAI), coedited the student literary magazine Libertas, and helped create and host AAI’s Coalasian: A Southern Podcast. Their recent work centers on wounds and the melancholic subject within contemporary queer, Asian American poetry.
Bry Reed is a queer black feminist from Baltimore, MD, currently pursuing doctoral study in American Studies at Purdue University. She is committed to prison abolition, pleasure, and care work as tools for black liberation. Beyond her doctoral study, she is a writer, educator, and radical troublemaker.
Mimi Thi Nguyen is associate professor of gender and women's studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her first book, called The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages (Duke University Press, 2012), focuses on the promise of “giving” freedom concurrent and contingent with waging war. Her following project is called The Promise of Beauty. She has published widely, including in Signs, Camera Obscura, Women & Performance, positions, Radical History Review, and ArtForum. Her papers have been solicited for the Feminist Theory Archive at Brown University.
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