The shipwreck is one of the central metaphors of Western Literature. Deriving from Homer, a destiny of drift and loss became one of the pivotal figures of the modern (male) individual, the agent of Empire who submitted his unruly desires and expectations to the higher ends of the State. As I defend, the endless extension of Empire demanded, as a side effect, a narcissistic economy of drift and loss on the side of the (male) individual, who was a participant in, but not made “responsible” of the colonial massacre.
The pirate was the only radical alternative to that model, as originated in the same historical process. This Western narrative of the shipwreck, which intimately connects the “isolated” (male) self with the conquest of others by the Empire - and still inspires the discourse of much European Left - should be definitely overcome if any common ground with the victims of both past and current shipwrecks can be built.
Pirate feminism is proposed as a position from which to join that common front.