Anonymous activist group ‘Queers Against Injustice’ have made a welcome addition to activism in NZ last week with their attack against ANZ pinkwashing and their criticism of the Pride Parade.
We targeted the Ponsonby GAYTM firstly to draw attention to the commercialisation of the Pride Festival. As queer subjects, we object to the representation of queer identity in terms of consumptive and wealthy citizens. Associating queer politics with personal banking within a gentrified area reduces the queer subject to a bourgeois, cis-gender, white, male subject, and in doing so reproduces many of the intersecting injustices by which queer subjects are marginalised. We sought to draw attention to the lack of representation of bodies that counter the racist, classist and cis-biased nature of Pride.
By renaming their ATM a GAYTM, ANZ reproduces the frequent sidelining of queer subjects who fall outside of the ‘gay’ sexual identification, and as a result are further marginalised by the politics of ‘tolerance’ practiced by institutions such as ANZ.
Secondly, we sought to draw attention to the way ANZ is using GAYTMs to distract attention from the treatment of their workers. The recent strikes by ANZ workers occurred in response to ANZ’s attempts to implement demands for ‘flexibility’, in the form of irregular rostering and frequently shifting labour demands. These proposed reforms attack workers’ rights to control their own time outside of their normal work hours, and constitute an assault on precious family time, time in the community, on religious or personal lifestyle choices, and the dignity of autonomy.
Those criticisms were born out by the horrific assault on a Trans Protestor who righteously was protesting against the NZ Police’s appalling record of abuse against Maori, Pacific islanders and the Queer community.
Queers Against Injustice have hit upon the depoliticisation of NZ culture to the point that even the Queer Community who have struggled and fought for civil rights have now succumbed to it. In Sport, Art, Culture, Student Unions, Public Broadcasting, Entertainment – 30 years of neoliberalism has eroded and dismantled any discussion of politics to the point that Key can roll up to a ‘yuff’ station like The Edge without one word of criticism from the hosts.
ANZ treat their workers appallingly yet want to pretend they are progressive with their support of Pride. The Festival itself has stopped being a movement of political progress and celebration of diversity and civil rights by allowing the Police and Israel to pretend they are.
As for agreeing to National Party MPs who actually voted against marriage equality to march in the parade, my god, what does Pride stand for if it allows that?
When a protestor pointing out this pinkwashing can be assaulted so badly they are seriously injured, the Parade has stopped being something to be proud about.
The depoliticisation of NZ Culture leads to a bland corporate vomit with all the creativity bled from it, the very opposite of what a Pride parade should be about.