Johanna, one of my favorite zine publishers, hadn't made a zine since issue 4 of Sisu came out in May 2006. For some reason, although I acquired No History, No Self from StrangerDanger back in November, I didn't get around to reading it until just now. (I have a serious cataloging backlog problem, which I hope to clear up by the end of the year!) I'm a fool for letting it go so long, but at least I finally read it. Like all of Johanna's zines, NHNS has strong political content, particularly regarding race, mixed race identity, and identity politics. She has put in her time as an activist and has plenty of cred in that arena (also in feminist science-fiction and vegan communities), so what is particularly affecting to me in this new zines venture is how personal and open she is, about missing New York, trying to make friends, being depressed and contemplating therapy. She lists some great self-care suggestions for dealing with depression, the top three being sleep, cats, and tea, things I can totally get behind. That emphasis on self-care I think in this case extends to the rest of the world. NHNS is gentler than its predecessors. Johanna, who doesn't suffer fools lightly, is more inwardly focused this time around, maybe because repatriated to the UK she's missing her friends from home around whom she can actually be herself. Reading this zine I wanted to give Johanna a hug. I also want to know when issue 2 will be out.
But at the same time I'm not ready to throw labels completely out. Look at the people in the US who want government to stop keeping statistics on race. What would happen? You wouldn't be able to point out, for example, that the worst-performing schools with the least resources happened to have predominantly students of color, or that police stop people of a certain race way out of proportion to their population in the community...because you wouldn't be allowed to keep track. Ignoring race doesn't make racism go away.
I also think the focus on getting rid of labels is part of a homogenizing "colorblind" approach to race that has liberals pretending there's no cultural differences between people, which is offensive & blatantly not true or helpful.