The last several decades have seen tremendous political and cultural strides forward for the LGBTQ+ community with both the legislative and cultural recognition helping many secure a more safe and open lifestyle than possible just a short while ago. However, these advances have raised a number of criticisms and qualifications, and not just from stuffy conservatives either. Many on the radical left have argued that the advances of gay, trans and queer persons is part of a broader attempt by the powers of capital to present an increasingly brutal economic society with a friendlier face, one of diversity and inclusion. This critique has led to a counter-critique of class-reductionism, the treatment of every issue and person from a very basic class-perspective.
Diving right into this debate is my guest today, Peter Drucker, here to discuss his book Warped: Gay Normality and Queer Anti-Capitalism (Brill, 2015). Published as part of the Historical Materialism book series, Drucker's book is unapologetically Marxist in its orientation and presents a massive history of sexual orientations and identity throughout much of human history, with particular focus on gender formations under colonialism, industrialization, and the more recent cases of Fordist and Neoliberal capitalism. However, Drucker also sees things that Marxists could learn from contemporary queer theory and practice as they try to navigate a world that was not designed for them, and as they try to build a better one.
Rich in information and attentive to historical detail, this book is a fascinating combination of history, queer theory and political science that will be helpful to everyone who hopes to someday see a world where we all belong.
Peter Drucker received his PhD in political science at Columbia University. A lifelong activist on the radical left, he has published widely on socialist theory and history, and has also written extensively on LGBTQ+ issues.