A utopian kitsch coated with xenophobia and chauvinismPosted by Yuling Yao on Dec 18, 2019.
I received an email from the Columbia Student Union regarding some specious statement, so I wrote a quick reply as follows.
(I made some self-censorship and replace some certain words by **. I will not tell the reason why I did so.)
To whom it may concern,
Re the letter you sent earlier.
With all due respect, many of the student workers including me, might not completely agree with you on this letter. We are worried that a potentially biased and overconfident conclusion on behalf of the union would rather undermine the solidarity of our community. From a strategic perspective, it is not clear to me why it is beneficial to either the union or all university workers it claims to aid, via diversifying the propaganda focus towards international affairs, which does not seem to be the particular expertise of UAW in the first place.
More ideologically I do notice there is an irreconcilable contradiction for the union regarding international relationships. As an analogy, I am occasionally equally shocked by some apparently progressive figure like Senator Warren condemning US manufactories for investing in foreigner countries so as to have compromised the woking family in Detroit. From my standpoint such tone is not less xenophobia than a physical wall. International workers must have been confused: it is so difficult to figure out when they belong to innocent victims of the immigration policy and a reminder of social injustice, and when they are suddenly guilty for threatening the vulnerable labor movement by volunteering to become the hostages of Apple or Uniqlo. That said, xenophobism is xenophobism, no matter coated with a caucasian supremacism, or a seemingly-progressive popularism, or even when it is companied with a chauvinistic salute towards another group of straw men in the Southeast Asia.
I could understand why the union chooses to condemn ** affairs, among others, at this particular moment. If it is the bill that essentially both her honorable AOC and Mr. Cruz can agree upon, then there is little reason, why the union should not exploit the topic to appeal to folks on a bipartisan background. However – if the truth might matter – narratives in ** are complicated by multiverse confusions, at least from my understanding. What we have heard in various channels is a total mess that is constituted of certain appeal to democracy, and as well as, if not much more, fundamentalist separatism, street violence and organized crimes, conservative pro-colonialism, and rumors of anti-**-hate-speech from local residents, let alone the socioeconomic development pattern in east Asia. Without a thorough fact check, it is irresponsible to post an official statement by taking any of these arguments for granted. It is therefore, hardly convincing that an emotional and ideological conclusion could be made appropriately in a few lines in your email list. Even if the letter was originated from a most harmless utopian socialist enthusiasm, it might have, and indeed has, resulted in unnecessary conflicting tensions due to the tone of an ignorant kitsch.
All that being said, I am less worried on the straw man argument on this particular issue; I am more concerned about— by viewing the issue in a broader context—the overwhelming approval in the senate and the house and indeed across all mainstream society including a not-even-relevant UAW. In the brighter side, it does manifest a united solidarity, to the level that even the founder of this country had never achieved. On the other hand, a populism loathing and pretentious prejudice are also looming in the conner. Even during the very era of McCarthyism, there were always dissenting opinions both in the establishment Capitol and around the media, which fortunately or unfortunately, have totally disappeared or been suppressed in this AOC w/ Cruz w/ UAW case. Is that the curse of the simmering US-Sino rivality that we have to face? Is that the resurgence of Sen.McCarthy, in a Dem version? Is it the prophecy of the new iron curtain that separates not only ideologies and beliefs but also what is supposed to be the truth?
Although I appreciate the public discussion it provokes, I still feel bad for receiving this email. I would wish the Union could contribute to the community in a more constructive manner.