2015 Xenofeminist manifesto [EN]

Xenofeminist manifesto

http www laboriacuboniks net

Laboria Cuboniks

2015

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A POLITICS FOR ALIENATION Laboria Cuboniks

ZERO

0x00 Ours is a world in vertigo

It is a world that swarms with technological mediation interlacing our daily lives with abstraction virtuality and complexity

XF constructs a feminism adapted to these realities a feminism of unprecedented cunning scale and vision a future in which the realization of gender justice and feminist emancipation contribute to a universalist politics assembled from the needs of every human cutting across race ability economic standing and geographical position

No more futureless repetition on the treadmill of capital no more submission to the drudgery of labour productive and reproductive alike no more reification of the given masked as critique

Our future requires depetrification

XF is not a bid for revolution but a wager on the long game of history demanding imagination dexterity and persistence

0x01 XF seizes alienation as an impetus to generate new worlds

We are all alienated but have we ever been otherwise

It is through and not despite our alienated condition that we can free ourselves from the muck of immediacy

Freedom is not a given and it s certainly not given by anything natural

The construction of freedom involves not less but more alienation alienation is the labour of freedom s construction

Nothing should be accepted as fixed permanent or given neither material conditions nor social forms

XF mutates navigates and probes every horizon

Anyone who s been deemed unnatural in the face of reigning biological norms anyone who s experienced injustices wrought in the name of natural order will realize that the glorification of nature has nothing to offer us the queer and trans among us the differently abled as well as those who have suffered discrimination due to pregnancy or duties connected to child rearing

XF is vehemently anti naturalist

Essentialist naturalism reeks of theology the sooner it is exorcised the better

0x02 Why is there so little explicit organized effort to repurpose technologies for progressive gender political ends

XF seeks to strategically deploy existing technologies to re engineer the world

Serious risks are built into these tools they are prone to imbalance abuse and exploitation of the weak

Rather than pretending to risk nothing XF advocates the necessary assembly of techno political interfaces responsive to these risks

Technology isn t inherently progressive

Its uses are fused with culture in a positive feedback loop that makes linear sequencing prediction and absolute caution impossible

Technoscientific innovation must be linked to a collective theoretical and political thinking in which women queers and the gender non conforming play an unparalleled role

0x03 The real emancipatory potential of technology remains unrealized

Fed by the market its rapid growth is offset by bloat and elegant innovation is surrendered to the buyer whose stagnant world it decorates

Beyond the noisy clutter of commodified cruft the ultimate task lies in engineering technologies to combat unequal access to reproductive and pharmacological tools environmental cataclysm economic instability as well as dangerous forms of unpaid underpaid labour

Gender inequality still characterizes the fields in which our technologies are conceived built and legislated for while female workers in electronics to name just one industry perform some of the worst paid monotonous and debilitating labour

Such injustice demands structural machinic and ideological correction

0x04 Xenofeminism is a rationalism

To claim that reason or rationality is by nature a patriarchal enterprise is to concede defeat

It is true that the canonical history of thought is dominated by men and it is male hands we see throttling existing institutions of science and technology

But this is precisely why feminism must be a rationalism because of this miserable imbalance and not despite it

There is no feminine rationality nor is there a masculine one

Science is not an expression but a suspension of gender

If today it is dominated by masculine egos then it is at odds with itself and this contradiction can be leveraged

Reason like information wants to be free and patriarchy cannot give it freedom

Rationalism must itself be a feminism

XF marks the point where these claims intersect in a two way dependency

It names reason as an engine of feminist emancipation and declares the right of everyone to speak as no one in particular

INTERRUPT

0x05 The excess of modesty in feminist agendas of recent decades is not proportionate to the monstrous complexity of our reality a reality crosshatched with fibre optic cables radio and microwaves oil and gas pipelines aerial and shipping routes and the unrelenting simultaneous execution of millions of communication protocols with every passing millisecond

Systematic thinking and structural analysis have largely fallen by the wayside in favour of admirable but insufficient struggles bound to fixed localities and fragmented insurrections

Whilst capitalism is understood as a complex and ever expanding totality many would be emancipat tory anti capitalist projects remain profoundly fearful of transitioning to the universal resisting big picture speculative politics by condemning them as necessarily oppressive vectors

Such a false guarantee treats universals as absolute generating a debilitating disjuncture between the thing we seek to depose and the strategies we advance to depose it

0x06 Global complexity opens us to urgent cognitive and ethical demands

These are Promethean responsibilities that cannot pass unaddressed

Much of twenty first century feminism from the remnants of postmodern identity politics to large swathes of contemporary ecofeminism struggles to adequately address these challenges in a manner capable of producing substantial and enduring change

Xenofeminism endeavours to face up to these obligations as collective agents capable of transitioning between multiple levels of political material and conceptual organization

0x07 We are adamantly synthetic unsatisfied by analysis alone

XF urges constructive oscillation between description and prescription to mobilize the recursive potential of contemporary technologies upon gender sexuality and disparities of power

Given that there are a range of gendered challenges specifically relating to life in a digital age from sexual harassment via social media to doxxing privacy and the protection of online images the situation requires a feminism at ease with computation

Today it is imperative that we develop an ideological infrastructure that both supports and facilitates feminist interventions within connective networked elements of the contemporary world

Xenofeminism is about more than digital self defence and freedom from patriarchal networks

We want to cultivate the exercise of positive freedom freedom to rather than simply freedom from and urge feminists to equip themselves with the skills to redeploy existing technologies and invent novel cognitive and material tools in the service of common ends

0x08 The radical opportunities afforded by developing and alienating forms of technological mediation should no longer be put to use in the exclusive interests of capital which by design only benefits the few

There are incessantly proliferating tools to be annexed and although no one can claim their comprehensive accessibility digital tools have never been more widely available or more sensitive to appropriation than they are today

This is not an elision of the fact that a large amount of the world s poor is adversely affected by the expanding technological industry from factory workers labouring under abominable conditions to the Ghanaian villages that have become a repository for the e waste of the global powers but an explicit acknowledgement of these conditions as a target for elimination

Just as the invention of the stock market was also the invention of the crash Xenofeminism knows that technological innovation must equally anticipate its systemic condition responsively

TRAP

0x09 XF rejects illusion and melancholy as political inhibitors

Illusion as the blind presumption that the weak can prevail over the strong with no strategic coordination leads to unfulfilled promises and unmarshalled drives

This is a politics that in wanting so much ends up building so little

Without the labour of large scale collective social organisation declaring one s desire for global change is nothing more than wishful thinking

On the other hand melancholy so endemic to the left teaches us that emancipation is an extinct species to be wept over and that blips of negation are the best we can hope for

At its worst such an attitude generates nothing but political lassitude and at its best installs an atmosphere of pervasive despair which too often degenerates into factionalism and petty moralizing

The malady of melancholia only compounds political inertia and under the guise of being realistic relinquishes all hope of calibrating the world otherwise

It is against such maladies that XF innoculates

0x0A We take politics that exclusively valorize the local in the guise of subverting currents of global abstraction to be insufficient

To secede from or disavow capitalist machinery will not make it disappear

Likewise suggestions to pull the lever on the emergency brake of embedded velocities the call to slow down and scale back is a possibility available only to the few a violent particularity of exclusivity ultimately entailing catas trophe for the many

Refusing to think beyond the microcommunity to foster connections between fractured insurgencies to consider how emancipatory tactics can be scaled up for universal implementation is to remain satisfied with temporary and defensive gestures

XF is an affirmative creature on the offensive fiercely insisting on the possibility of large scale social change for all of our alien kin

0x0B A sense of the world s volatility and artificiality seems to have faded from contemporary queer and feminist politics in favour of a plural but static constellation of gender identities in whose bleak light equations of the good and the natural are stubbornly restored

While having perhaps admirably expanded thresholds of tolerance too often we are told to seek solace in unfreedom staking claims on being born this way as if offering an excuse with nature s blessing

All the while the heteronormative centre chugs on

XF challenges this centrifugal referent knowing full well that sex and gender are exemplary of the fulcrum between norm and fact between freedom and compulsion

To tilt the fulcrum in the direction of nature is a defensive concession at best and a retreat from what makes trans and queer politics more than just a lobby that it is an arduous assertion of freedom against an order that seemed immutable

Like every myth of the given a stable foundation is fabulated for a real world of chaos violence and doubt

The given is sequestered into the private realm as a certainty whilst retreating on fronts of public consequences

When the possibility of transition became real and known the tomb under Nature s shrine cracked and new histories bristling with futures escaped the old order of sex

The disciplinary grid of gender is in no small part an attempt to mend that shattered foundation and tame the lives that escaped it

The time has now come to tear down this shrine entirely and not bow down before it in a piteous apology for what little autonomy has been won

0x0C If cyberspace once offered the promise of escaping the strictures of essentialist identity categories the climate of contemporary social media has swung forcefully in the other direction and has become a theatre where these prostrations to identity are performed

With these curatorial practices come puritanical rituals of moral maintenance and these stages are too often overrun with the disavowed pleasures of accusation shaming and denunciation

Valuable platforms for connection organization and skill sharing become clogged with obstacles to productive debate positioned as if they are debate

These puritanical politics of shame which fetishize oppression as if it were a blessing and cloud the waters in moralistic frenzies leave us cold

We want neither clean hands nor beautiful souls neither virtue nor terror

We want superior forms of corruption

0x0D What this shows is that the task of engineering platforms for social emancipation and organization cannot ignore the cultural and semiotic mutations these platforms afford

What requires reengineering are the memetic parasites arousing and coordinating behaviours in ways occluded by their hosts self image failing this memes like anonymity ethics social justice and privilege checking host social dynamisms at odds with the often commendable intentions with which they re taken up

The task of collective self mastery requires a hyperstitional manipulation of desire s puppet strings and deployment of semiotic operators over a terrain of highly networked cultural systems

The will will always be corrupted by the memes in which it traffics but nothing prevents us from instrumentalizing this fact and calibrating it in view of the ends it desires

PARITY

0x0E Xenofeminism is gender abolitionist

Gender abolitionism is not code for the eradication of what are currently considered gendered traits from the human population

Under patriarchy such a project could only spell disaster the notion of what is gendered sticks disproportionately to the feminine

But even if this balance were redressed we have no interest in seeing the sexuate diversity of the world reduced

Let a hundred sexes bloom

Gender abolitionism is shorthand for the ambition to construct a society where traits currently assembled under the rubric of gender no longer furnish a grid for the asymmetric operation of power

Race abolitionism expands into a similar formula that the struggle must continue until currently racialized characteristics are no more a basis of discrimination than than the color of one s eyes

Ultimately every emancipatory abolitionism must incline towards the horizon of class abolitionism since it is in capitalism where we encounter oppression in its transparent denaturalized form you re not exploited or oppressed because you are a wage labourer or poor you are a labourer or poor because you are exploited

0x0F Xenofeminism understands that the viability of emancipatory abolitionist projects the abolition of class gender and race hinges on a profound reworking of the universal

The universal must be grasped as generic which is to say intersectional

Intersectionality is not the morcellation of collectives into a static fuzz of cross referenced identities but a political orientation that slices through every particular refusing the crass pigeonholing of bodies

This is not a universal that can be imposed from above but built from the bottom up or better laterally opening new lines of transit across an uneven landscape

This non absolute generic universality must guard against the facile tendency of conflation with bloated unmarked particulars namely Eurocentric universalism whereby the male is mistaken for the sexless the white for raceless the cis for the real and so on

Absent such a universal the abolition of class will remain a bourgeois fantasy the abolition of race will remain a tacit white supremacism and the abolition of gender will remain a thinly veiled misogyny even especially when prosecuted by avowed feminists themselves

The absurd and reckless spectacle of so many self proclaimed gender abolitionists campaign against trans women is proof enough of this

0x10 From the postmoderns we have learnt to burn the facades of the false universal and dispel such confusions from the moderns we have learnt to sift new universals from the ashes of the false

Xenofeminism seeks to construct a coalitional politics a politics without the infection of purity

Wielding the universal requires thoughtful qualification and precise self reflection so as to become a ready to hand tool for multiple political bodies and something that can be appropriated against the numerous oppressions that transect with gender and sexuality

The universal is no blueprint and rather than dictate its uses in advance we propose XF as a platform

The very process of construction is therefore understood to be a negentropic iterative and continual refashioning

Xenofeminism seeks to be a mutable architecture that like open source software remains available for perpetual modification and enhancement following the navigational impulse of militant ethical reasoning

Open however does not mean undirected

The most durable systems in the world owe their stability to the way they train order to emerge as an invisible hand from apparent spontaneity or exploit the inertia of investment and sedimentation

We should not hesitate to learn from our adversaries or the successes and failures of history

With this in mind XF seeks ways to seed an order that is equitable and just injecting it into the geometry of freedoms these platforms afford

ADJUST

0x11 Our lot is cast with technoscience where nothing is so sacred that it cannot be reengineered and transformed so as to widen our aperture of freedom extending to gender and the human

To say that nothing is sacred that nothing is transcendent or protected from the will to know to tinker and to hack is to say that nothing is supernatural

Nature understood here as the unbounded arena of science is all there is

And so in tearing down melancholy and illusion the unambitious and the non scaleable the libidinized puritanism of certain online cultures and Nature as an un remakeable given we find that our normative anti naturalism has pushed us towards an unflinching ontological naturalism

There is nothing we claim that cannot be studied scientifically and manipulated technologically

0x12 This does not mean that the distinction between the ontological and the normative between fact and value is simply cut and dried

The vectors of normative anti naturalism and ontological naturalism span many ambivalent battlefields

The project of untangling what ought to be from what is of dissociating freedom from fact will from knowledge is indeed an infinite task

There are many lacunae where desire confronts us with the brutality of fact where beauty is indissociable from truth

Poetry sex technology and pain are incandescent with this tension we have traced

But give up on the task of revision release the reins and slacken that tension and these filaments instantly dim

CARRY

0x13 The potential of early text based internet culture for countering repressive gender regimes generating solidarity among marginalised groups and creating new spaces for experimentation that ignited cyberfeminism in the nineties has clearly waned in the twenty first century

The dominance of the visual in today s online interfaces has reinstated familiar modes of identity policing power relations and gender norms in self representation

But this does not mean that cyberfeminist sensibilities belong to the past

Sorting the subversive possibilities from the oppressive ones latent in today s web requires a feminism sensitive to the insidious return of old power structures yet savvy enough to know how to exploit the potential

Digital technologies are not separable from the material realities that underwrite them they are connected so that each can be used to alter the other towards different ends

Rather than arguing for the primacy of the virtual over the material or the material over the virtual xenofeminism grasps points of power and powerlessness in both to unfold this knowledge as effective interventions in our jointly composed reality

0x14 Intervention in more obviously material hegemonies is just as crucial as intervention in digital and cultural ones

Changes to the built environment harbour some of the most significant possibilities in the reconfiguration of the horizons of women and queers

As the embodiment of ideological constellations the production of space and the decisions we make for its organization are ultimately articulations about us and reciprocally how a we can be articulated

With the potential to foreclose restrict or open up future social conditions xenofeminists must become attuned to the language of architecture as a vocabulary for collective choreo graphy the coordinated writing of space

0x15 From the street to the home domestic space too must not escape our tentacles

So profoundly ingrained domestic space has been deemed impossible to disembed where the home as norm has been conflated with home as fact as an un remakeable given

Stultifying domestic realism has no home on our horizon

Let us set sights on augmented homes of shared laboratories of communal media and technical facilities

The home is ripe for spatial transformation as an integral component in any process of feminist futurity

But this cannot stop at the garden gates

We see too well that reinventions of family structure and domestic life are currently only possible at the cost of either withdrawing from the economic sphere the way of the commune or bearing its burdens manyfold the way of the single parent

If we want to break the inertia that has kept the moribund figure of the nuclear family unit in place which has stubbornly worked to isolate women from the public sphere and men from the lives of their children while penalizing those who stray from it we must overhaul the material infrastructure and break the economic cycles that lock it in place

The task before us is twofold and our vision necessarily stereoscopic we must engineer an economy that liberates reproductive labour and family life while building models of familiality free from the deadening grind of wage labour

0x16 From the home to the body the articulation of a proactive politics for biotechnical intervention and hormones presses

Hormones hack into gender systems possessing political scope extending beyond the aesthetic calibration of individual bodies

Thought structurally the distribution of hormones who or what this distribution prioritizes or pathologizes is of paramount import

The rise of the internet and the hydra of black market pharmacies it let loose together with a publicly accessible archive of endocrinological knowhow was instrumental in wresting control of the hormonal economy away from gatekeeping institutions seeking to mitigate threats to established distributions of the sexual

To trade in the rule of bureaucrats for the market is however not a victory in itself

These tides need to rise higher

We ask whether the idiom of gender hacking is extensible into a long range strategy a strategy for wetware akin to what hacker culture has already done for software constructing an entire universe of free and open source platforms that is the closest thing to a practicable communism many of us have ever seen

Without the foolhardy endangerment of lives can we stitch together the embryonic promises held before us by pharmaceutical 3D printing Reactionware grassroots telemedical abortion clinics gender hacktivist and DIY HRT forums and so on to assemble a platform for free and open source medicine

0x17 From the global to the local from the cloud to our bodies xenofeminism avows the responsibility in constructing new institutions of technomaterialist hegemonic proportions

Like engineers who must conceive of a total structure as well as the molecular parts from which it is constructed XF emphasises the importance of the mesopolitical sphere against the limited effectiveness of local gestures creation of autonomous zones and sheer horizontalism just as it stands against transcendent or top down impositions of values and norms

The mesopolitical arena of xenofeminism s universalist ambitions comprehends itself as a mobile and intricate network of transits between these polarities

As pragmatists we invite contamination as a mutational driver between such frontiers

OVERFLOW

0x18 XF asserts that adapting our behaviour for an era of Promethean complexity is a labour requiring patience but a ferocious patience at odds with waiting

Calibrating a political hegemony or insurgent memeplex not only implies the creation of material infra structures to make the values it articulates explicit but places demands on us as subjects

How are we to become hosts of this new world

How do we build a better semiotic parasite one that arouses the desires we want to desire that orchestrates not an autophagic orgy of indignity or rage but an emancipatory and egalitarian community buttressed by new forms of unselfish solidarity and collective self mastery

0x19 Is xenofeminism a programme

Not if this means anything so crude as a recipe or a single purpose tool by which a determinate problem is solved

We prefer to think like the schemer or lisper who seeks to construct a new language in which the problem at hand is immersed so that solutions for it and for any number of related problems might unfurl with ease

Xenofeminism is a platform an incipient ambition to construct a new language for sexual politics a language that seizes its own methods as materials to be reworked and incrementally bootstraps itself into existence

We understand that the problems we face are systemic and interlocking and that any chance of global success depends on infecting myriad skills and contexts with the logic of XF

Ours is a transformation of seeping directed subsumption rather than rapid overthrow it is a transformation of deliberate construction seeking to submerge the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy in a sea of procedures that soften its shell and dismantle its defenses so as to build a new world from the scraps

0x1A Xenofeminism indexes the desire to construct an alien future with a triumphant X on a mobile map

This X does not mark a destination

It is the insertion of a topological keyframe for the formation of a new logic

In affirming a future untethered to the repetition of the present we militate for ampliative capacities for spaces of freedom with a richer geometry than the aisle the assembly line and the feed

We need new affordances of perception and action unblinkered by naturalised identities

In the name of feminism Nature shall no longer be a refuge of injustice or a basis for any political justification whatsoever

If nature is unjust change nature