Law and Family: Not in Our Name

Law and Family: Not in Our Name

Author: Stanimir Panayotov


I begin with a question: Is not the present situation of one particular governmental attack against one particular uprotected minority the radical consequence of the (non-protective) discriminatory Anti-Discrimination Bill voted with much fanfare back in late 2009? Are not we witnessing the government’s campaign because the state itself cannot be legally charged with homophobia? Yes. In what position do we find the ruling party because of this? In the heroic one. Why? Because the progressive and “external” EU legislation is against the “domestic”, ”our” values; because traditions are only ours; because perversion is traded for equality, according to VMRO. They will scandalized to know that there are already married gay conservatives all around Europe; but not before declaring that Alexander had Hephaestion.


In some sense the ruling party is right to claim its heroic pose of militaristic moralism. We will not be able to criticize its radical banalization of progress and modernity if we do not question our own understandings of the latter. (This is why little do we have to care about their version of what a “tradition” is. Derek Jarman, one of the leading intellectuals back in the 80s in the UK was so scandalous for both authorities and the gay liberation movement because he was a radical avant-garde traditionalist). In this text I am interested to provide a position which allows us to radically criticize the present civic discousre: and I suggest that we do this by “squatting” back what is ours – our relations, our loves. The only way to do this right now is to get rid of the very isntitution of the family, which is to say marriage. And I am dealing with this not because we want to marry, but because we have to leave the framework of legitimizing ourselves through civic recognition by the state. In this sense even registered partnerships – of they happen to be legalized one day in Macedonia – cannot help us.



In itself, the family and the marriage – both the cause and effect of the present para-militarist and quasi-legislative circus, both of them the endless two-in-one of traditionalism – are inseparable in the eurocentric project of modernity. They are inseparable just the way the state and the church are inseparable (this is an old thesis whose time span lasts since tomism to Simon Critchley recently). If we do not realize their isomorphism and the way it subjugates us in the good old liberal framework of “natural equality” and the social contract, our battle for eqality (be it on moralistic, legalistic or anti-social grounds) is lost.


Why? Because as soon as we detach the family from marriage we delink the state from the church and we become free individuals: from now on what the state and the church does is not in our name. (This explains the significance, of course, of the escalating intimacy between the government and the Macedonian Orthodox Church, with an anti-communist touch). Our gain in this delinking is the following: we are freed from the obligation to both reproduce the institutionalization of our relations and loves and we are liberated from our obligation to reproduce ourselves in the name of power. (Alexander Lambevski’s text already elaborated the psychological profile of self-repressive individuals desiring authority; I only need to add here that our theoretical weapon in such analyses and further actions is Wilchelm Reich).


This is not a gay issue: this is a general social problem that is inherited in the post-Enlightenment times we still live in, this is invested in the very structure of European Enlightenment and its attempt to bring us all in the the Great Platonic One of politics and mutual life. To the extent to which we follow the European federalist project, to the extent to which this government manages to both lie that it wants it too and at the same time does everything to subvert that, everything is logical: because the bilpolar behavior of this ruling party concerning Macedonia’s European future is merely a particular mirroring of Europe’s/Enlightenment’s bipolar tragedy: the impossibility to divide the state and the church.


In this sense the European institutions that criticize the Macedonian government officialy in circular reports – especially when it comes to civil rights – are just as inadequate as VMRO (and this criticism of mine is not only about Macedonia’s sitation with LGBTIQ people; it’s a larger argument i cannot develop here). The impossible division is not entirely healed in the oldest EU democracies. This is why VMRO and its analogues in the region are able to present European constitutionalism as anti-modernizing project as well. To sum up, the alibies of both the present government and the EU monitor reports are very much similar. They both want to protect the same; they just want to protect it in different ways. The ruling party wants to delegitimize the EU as “insulting the feelings”of the traditionalist Macedonians (thus insulting the non-traditional macedonians, etc, to the banal bad endlessness). The EU and the liberal-progressives want to legitimize a reformed version of a heterosexist institution all through Europe, including non-EU countries (thus insulting the traditionalist Macedonians by calling them, well, what they are: heterosexist and thus insulting the non-traditionalist Macedonians who realize that they will sooner or later fall prey of heterosexist institutions such as marriage and parenthood itself).


Of course, the two process have different weight as the first is negative, and the second is not. The Anti-Discrimination Bill was a good chance were it not for its discriminatory character, of course; as we all know by know, the LGBTIQ community in Macedonia and its allies do not pledge for conjugal happiness and its attending pose of heroic rejection (or acceptance, as is the case in the Western world already). What is being asked for from this state, from this government – to the extent to which the asking happened in the form of defensive pleas, which does not suppose even a dialogiue – is equality before common sense, and not merely the law.


The call is: let us live a life in way that is just as social as yours. This is what the contents of the so-called “registered partnership” (or “cohabitation”in some countries) is in essense. This form of living together is not a negative project. Unlike the pledge towards same-sex marriages: you cannot reform the institution of marriage without claiming that society is homphobic and hetetrosexist, because Western societies are built on mysoginism, heterosexism and homophobia. The very concept of happiness – not to mention marriage – of European Modernity involves a boiling concoction of these three ingredients, with a tinge of racism here and there. They are all isymorphic and this is why the fight against one of these ingredients is against al the other ones.


In this sense any campaign for same-sex marriages – and the Western gay liberation can prove this pretty well – is paradoxically an anti-social project which leads to just the same effect of alienation as capitalism – or should I say feudalism… the mother and father of conjugality). You need not morally delegitimize anyone by calling him or her homophobe or heterosexist when what is sought for is registered partnership: the form of mutual living that organizes itself its civic decorum without asking the state for any help; a form of living that can even pass without such decorum – what an unbearable idea for the regular anilingus-traditionalist. What the ruling party now does is not allowing both LGBTIQ and straight people live a life that does not need the state recognition of their love and feelings for each other. (I won’t deal here with the concept of the couple for obvious reasons; suffice it to say that polygamy and polyamory – what VMRO and MOC would call sodomism and orgies quoting Levithicus till they faint – is the next step towards this autonomization of our love as citizens of one and the same society).



I have already explained the problem about the indivisability of church and state. If we want to reform and subvert it from the inside, we are doomed to reproduce its bipolarity as a society. In fact this endeavour can only lead ourselves to individual forms of civic bipolarity: both wanting a form of reciognition that opresses us and fighting against oppression. The way outside this is to think about ourselves beyond the rationalist terror of marriage (and – perhaps one day – even outside the frame of registered partnerships; for even registered partnerships are about a certain form of recogniton – the economic one; of course, we can do without it in cases like Star Trek or in a fullly realized communist utopian project; and we are very from this now).


In this sense what we need to think about today is: what is to be done with the ways the state have to recognize us so that we all live like a society? For certainly society needs some authority and recognition. This is a very hard question for every society and Macedonia is far from alone in its solving. It is as old as Hegel’s patriarchalist philosophy and as young as Iceland’s lesbian presidency.


In order to do not succumb to the logic of this particular political blizard – its hysteria already set us up, to our regret – we need to realize that there is no much sense in prooving that we all are equal by birth (Gaga makes this sound cool and fun, but that is about it), that we are entitled (sic!) to happiness, etc. There is also all the less sense in claiming that we are “born this way” and then proving this biologically and scientifically. (Scientific apologies and legitimations of homosexuality are just as oppressive as the religous defamations of homosexuality). There is no “natural situation”. Before the promotion of such essentialist arguments we need to address the question of the family itself (not the marriage), and with it – the question of what family do we need and do we like. This is not a gay issue, this is an issue that belongs to the area of the “general intellect” (per Marx). It is in this way that we will positively address first ourselves and then deal with the somewhat boring – at least for those of us not interested in politics per se – legalism of happiness. And even then with VMRO’s systemic anal retention.


An example: Why had the Coalition apologize for the wording “primitive forms of families”? Not because certainly there are such primitive forms, and certainly not because the unlegalized forms of registered partnerships are clearly more democratic, since they really are, but because we are also threatened by the prospect that we too actually want to be part of such primitive, conservative family. What we have to question today, and the present campaign against us is the best condition for this, is: do we even want a family? Do we want children really (no matter gay or straight)? Do we need a family if we cannot reform its content? (The prospects of doing so is unlikely: even in countries that legalized same-sex marriages, that content remains absolutely unreformed). The anal retention issues of VMRO are not ours. Ours involve pleasure.


We do not have to ask: what kind of family do we want, then? And answers such as “normal” – and even “equal” – serve the agenda of the conjugal VMRO blizzards. Because normality is the index of every authority. We do need authority if we live and want to live in a society; but we do not live in a society if the authority is not a subject of deliberation. Clearly, the VMRO flexion of authority is one-sided show off of power. Not only this: this authority is not even social. This is why it is very easy to claim that Macedonian society is from the contents of that concept.


When Benjamin speaks about law-preserving and law-founding violence he addresses one such conundrum. VMRO clearly do not read Benjamin; but i guarantee that there is at least one strategyst in this party that promulgates to us Carl Schmidt.


The present situation will not get any better if we fight for the mere institutionalization of our love, relations, emotions. (Just observe the passivity of marriage equality in Eastern Europe where there is one). Delink the institution of marriage=family=love=happiness from the form of recognition and you will see that the state apparatus will crumble before our pleasures. First our pleasures, then the institutions. Not because we do not want society with equality for all of us; the prioritization of pleasure is, after all, a civic virtue for all of us. But because the equality of either the family (be it registered partnership etc.) or the marriage that is today promulgated to us is not a project in our name. It is a project in the name of the state radically alienated from its citizens. And one day this state will ask you to celebrate your goody-goody equal weddings in the city hall, when you are happily alienated. But we will have no names forever.