THE FUCKIN’ LOUDEST ASIANS received the message below from students organizing to take back ECAASU. Pass it around. -HTT
We have to start somewhere. In response to events that transpired during and after the 2011 East Coast Asian American Students Union (ECAASU) conference in mid-February at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW) in Boston, Massachusetts, has taken the lead to develop a petition directed at ECAASU leadership to address concerns about the direction of the organization and its annual conference. Please join us in solidarity by signing the petition here.
At the 2011 ECAASU conference, two speakers noticeably raised their concerns about ECAASU funding sources. Instead of encouraging dialogue to address these concerns, ECAASU leadership immediately chose to disassociate itself with the outspoken individuals. This petition was created with input from various members of the East Coast Asian American community, including ECAASU attendees and presenters, to galvanize support from participants like you around issues that need to be addressed within the ECAASU organization. The petition urges the ECAASU leadership to:
Cease using any source of military funding for ECAASU activities, which includes its annual conference, and to seek funding sources that share the progressive values upon which ECAASU and the Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA) Movement were founded;
Develop an organizational structure for ECAASU that a) is transparent with its leadership structure, decision-making activities, operations and funding and b) actively engages and includes its conference participants and members of the APIA community for constructive feedback on improving the annual conference and the organization; and,
Issue a public apology for the email sent by the ECAASU Board of Directors that alienated and disenfranchised guest speakers Lai Wa Wu and Professor Vijay Prashad.
You can find detailed reasons for each request in the petition. Until these requests are met, we pledge to continue organizing for an ECAASU that is aligned with the progressive values upon which it was founded. CLICK HERE to view and sign the petition.
In addition to signing the petition, please distribute the petition widely within your APIA networks and send your thoughts and feedback directly to the ECAASU leadership.
ECAASU has recently created a survey to obtain feedback from the community. While it is unclear how the survey was created and how survey data will be analyzed and/or reported, petition supporters are highly encouraged to send any thoughts or concerns about the ECAASU structure and leadership directly to members of the ECAASU Board of Directors. ECAASU seeks to be an inclusive and representative organization; critical feedback from community members like you is needed to initiate the changes that are necessary.
The email addresses for members of the ECAASU Board of Directors are publicly available on their official website. For your convenience, they are listed below:
Nancy Liang: email@example.com Calvin Sun: firstname.lastname@example.org Allen Pan: email@example.com Andrew Lee: firstname.lastname@example.org Michelle Horikawa: No email address available on the official ECAASU website
Thank you for your time and support. We should all have a voice in shaping a conference that is aimed to “inspire, educate, and empower those interested in Asian American issues.”
C.N. Le, ECAASU 2011, and the Politics of Accommodation
C.N. Le’s essay, “ECAASU 2011: Lessons in Mis/Understanding Different Levels of Analysis,” posted originally on Asian-Nation and reposted on the official ECAASU blog, is a good example of the dominant perspective in asian amerikan politics in our time: the perspective of accommodation and assimilation into white society.
Reflected in the vacuous appeals for “inclusion” now emanating from the ECAASU Board of Directors and in C.N. Le’s boring attempt to put on the airs of a learned professor counseling young people to change institutions “from within,” the main trend in asian amerikan politics today encourages collaboration with the white supremacist ruling class and fears autonomy, even while engaging in empty talk about “social change” and “racial justice.”
“A group of American veterans have publicly acknowledged for the first time that they machine-gunned hundreds of helpless civilians in the early days of the Korean war. The massacre took place under the No Gun Ri railway bridge in the South Korean countryside, and the soldiers said that as many as 300 South Koreans could have been killed … Yang Hae-sook, who was 12 at the time of the massacre in July 1950, said she thought she was safe under the bridge. ‘Then the shooting came. Bullets ricocheted off the concrete and hit the people like popcorn in a frying pan. Mother wrapped me with a quilt and hugged me.’ … Yang Hae-sook lost several relatives, including two brothers.”—"US veterans confess Korean War atrocity," BBC News, 29 September 1999
In response to our piece on ECAASU, Anon asks, “Really, we shouldn’t celebrate or even show respect to veterans?” In that spirit, here’s some respect and love for the veterans. Veterans for the people, not veterans for US imperialism. Our veterans, not their veterans. -HTT
P.S. Dig the Mao quote from Huey.
P.P.S. Richard Aoki appears for a second at 3:24 min into the clip. To the Asians in the military who are attending ECAASU: don’t be a PR prop for US imperialism. Learn from and be like Richard Aoki (ex-military).
In fact, the 1960’s breakthrough of ‘ethnic studies programs’ at universities has been dialectically turned around and used against us. We are getting imperialist-sponsored and imperialist-financed ‘Asian studies,’ ‘Black studies,’ ‘Puerto Rican studies,’ ‘Indian studies,’ ‘ethnic studies’ pushed back down our throats. Some of the most prominent Third-World intellectuals in the U.S. Empire are getting paid good salaries by the imperialists to teach us our histories. Why?
U.S. imperialism would rather that all Third-World people in their Empire remain totally blank and ignorant about themselves, their nations, their cultures, their pasts, about each other, about everything except going to work in the morning. But that day is over.
So instead they oppose enlightenment by giving in to it in form, but not in essence. Like ju-jitsu, our original demand that our separate and unique histories be uncovered and recognized is now being used to throw us off our ideological balance. The imperialists promote watered-down and distorted versions of our pasts as oppressed Third-World nations and peoples.
The imperialists even concede that their standard ‘U.S. history’ is a white history, and is supposedly incomplete unless the long-suppressed Third-World histories are added to it. Why?
The key to the puzzle is that Theirstory (imperialist Euro-Amerikan mis-history) is not incomplete; it isn’t true at all.
An important essay by Him Mark Lai, the pioneering scholar on the history of Chinese people in the US, who did not need some (dis)honorary certificate, a.k.a. a degree, from white academia to research and teach in the field.
A point to the Asian American studies / ethnic studies majors and grad students out there: what did our people do before these departments were created? Where did figures like Him Mark Lai (or John Henrik Clarke who did not even have a high school diploma) come from?
In comparison, why do many of us believe today that we need validation from white and/or ineffectual “poc” professors who are on some critical race theory nonsense, who are detached in academia and have no ties to our peoples’ national struggles, to research history and develop living theory for our movements? Where is the initiative to create new things (publications, distribution-publishing houses, conferences, associations) outside of and in opposition to the ruling institutions, as generations before us had to do?
And, sorry, but prefacing “ethnic studies” with the word “critical,” as some are trying to do, isn’t going to rescue its revolutionary character, when the entire ideological framework and vocabulary that one operates in is alienating to the people. Next, we’ll have critical critical theory … like, really critical, you know.
We need to use and develop the concepts of historical materialism, national oppression, and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, which will never be academically acceptable and never should be, because they are the negation of the university and the mental-manual labor divide. We can take as a model the shipyard workers of Shanghai studying Wage Labour and Capital and Critique of the Gotha Programme during the Cultural Revolution.
In any case, the piece begins: “The history of the left among the Chinese in America is a neglected chapter in the history of the Chinese community. This is a preliminary survey of the left movements until the end of the 1950s.” -HTT
likethefruit re-blogs our analysis on the neocolonial ECAASU conference at UMass-Amherst and says, “A conference I will be attending and opposing.”
In an earlier unrelated post, someone from an Amherst-based company that sells Japanese stationery and other products expresses similar apprehensions about ECAASU 2011, which no doubt cross the mind of any non-comatose thinking person upon glancing at the conference website:
"As great as the conference sounds, I also have to admit some hesitancy. What is up with the sponsorships? Heavy, heavy, heavy on the military and related agencies … Looking at the variety of workshops that are available, I think they are as varied as the Asian American population and I would hate for the sponsorships to undermine that reality. Was this the only set of options for sponsorship? If so, that’s kind of sad and there has got to be more."
(via Japanistic/Blog). Jury’s still out on whether many Asian students these days are “non-comatose” and “thinking.” The dope of white supremacy, assimilation, and self-hatred is a helluva drug, man.
Our piece was also re-blogged at SELUCHA, which by the way has some wonderful revolutionary tunes from Latin America, where the people are well familiar with US militarism and why it is bad.
Write your own thoughts on the assbackward politics of ECAASU and the Uncle Tomization of the Asian student movement - or reblog ours - and hit us up by email. -HTT
Update (2/13/11 1:30 AM): The API Movement website is now running the piece. Keep reposting it on Facebook and listservs, passing it on to the youth, the movement elders, and anyone who has had ties with the conference in recent years. A protracted effort is needed to take back ECAASU, but it can begin by creating a groundswell of opposition and public opinion.
ECAASU HAS BECOME A NEOCOLONIAL INSTITUTION! ASIAN PEOPLE MUST TAKE IT BACK!
a.k.a. why is Vijay Prashad speaking at a conference funded by the US military?
ECAASU today has become a neocolonial institution that betrays the legacy of the Asian American movement, especially its principles of anti-imperialism, autonomy, and Third World solidarity. Asian students need to take the conference back from the opportunists and comprador traitors within ECAASU who have sold out our people.
The East Coast Asian Student Union (ECASU) held its first conference in 1978, a product of the long sixties (60s-70s), two decades of intense struggle by Third World people in the US against the forces of imperialism and white supremacy. Asian students founded ECASU as a political and cultural instrument for our liberation.
Asian American Political Alliance (AAPA) rallies against the Vietnam War in 1968.
Through ECASU, Asian campus groups got together to protest the Bakke ruling, a Supreme Court decision giving legal cover to the spurious claim that affirmative action policies constituted “reverse discrimination” against white men. Campus groups got together to defend the Asian American Studies Department at CUNY’s City College, at the time the only one on the East Coast and under attack by administrators. They got together to demand justice for Vincent Chin, to protest racist anti-Asian films, to speak against the removal of working-class tenants in Chinatown, and to organize cultural events as sustenance for our people.1
ECAASU today (renamed in 2004) is funded in large part by the US military. It allows the US military to participate in its career fair to sign up Asian youth to kill other colonized-oppressed people elsewhere in the world and to die for the US Empire. It features workshops that celebrate service to US imperialism, such as “Duty, Honor, Country: The Asian-American Experience at West Point” at this year’s conference.
ECAASU today is also funded by big white-owned corporations, such as Target, who are allowed essentially to buy workshops and turn them into advertising space for their companies, such as the Target Corporation’s workshop “Taking the Lead: Leadership Skills from Campus to Career” this year. Yet, no apparent ties are made with Asian-owned small businesses as sponsors and workshop facilitators.
At the same time, panels are held on topics such as “Solidarity: The Concept in Practice” (discussing “anti-colonial, international solidarity among student leaders”) and workshops are held on student, labor, and community organizing.
The contradiction cannot hold. Keynotes, cultural workers, workshop presenters, and attendees who participate in the conference and fail to speak against the sources of funding and the participation of the US military and the white monopoly bourgeoisie only lend legitimacy to the betrayal.
There needs to be creative exposure, protest, and disruption at every ECAASU conference until the politics of anti-imperialism, autonomy, and Third World solidarity are put back in command. All students who disagree with the current direction of the conference, both outside ECAASU and on its leadership body, need to step up.
1. See the articles “ECASU: Strength through Collective Action” and “A Look At Today’s Asian Pacific Student Movement” in East Wind Magazine, Vol. 2 No. 2 (1983).
THE FUCKIN’ LOUDEST ASIANS got our hands on this leaflet from students in CUNY, a 23-campus system in NYC where women and oppressed nationalities form a large majority of the student body. Very few people know that Asian students took over a building for three days at CUNY’s City College (renamed Harlem University by activists) in March 1971 to demand Asian American Studies, following on the heels of the system-wide Open Admissions strike in Spring 1969. City College also had the first Asian Studies program on the East Coast. We look forward to the day Asian students in CUNY, and everywhere, reclaim our legacy of militant struggle. -HTT
ORGANIZE A GENERAL ASSEMBLY! OPEN CUNY TO THE PEOPLE!
Students and Youth of CUNY, prepare for the long-haul, prepare for the struggle!
We’re faced with the states’ new round of assault on us, another attack on the higher public education system. It has found a new bulldog enforcer in newly elected goon, Gov. Cuomo. It is aiming its sights right on the people, to smash their gains, eliminate our rights, all in the effort to make New York economically viable for Wall Street business. Since 2003, CUNY’s tuition has increased by 44%, it slashes our budgets by the tens of millions, it hammers away particularly against all the gains won by our struggles after decades of strikes, occupations, and organizing.
This is all happening within the context of world crisis, where throughout the globe there is the same basic struggle for the reorganization of society between different sections of the masses and the states of each country. In Europe, students and workers are rising against cuts and austerity measures proposed by their ruling classes; in the Philippines students unite with the broad democratic struggle for both the right of education, but also the human rights abuses of a despotic state; in Puerto Rico, the people are fighting the colonial administration’s police state measures against the students and workers. The bold policy of New York state, in its attacks against students and youth, occurs in this world moment of crisis. All this occurs at the same time, while many state governments - from sea to shining sea - are actively trying to enact the same measures.
CUNY students have courageously fought against these cuts in recent years by organizing walkouts, demonstrations, filing lawsuits, etc. However, these are not enough. We must mount an insurgency, we must foster a movement of tens of thousands of students and young people united with our communities against these attacks. The current organization of students in New York City lacks what the masses need and demand from us. The current parameters of our fighting organization are also in deep malaise and the worth of their transformation through their own mechanisms is not worth the time of day considering the need to develop deep ties to the social bases of our campuses and communities.
We propose a solid break, a new process, one which would enable the fighting spirit of one and all to move forward and foster the insurrectionary potential of the masses in and around CUNY.
We’re proposing the first General Assembly of CUNY Students and Youth. We’re proposing this to happen on Sunday, March 6th and depending upon your response to this call - we will prepare such an assembly with an agenda, a program, and a platform forward with you. Those responding to this call can help us develop this idea forward and contribute to the building of a mass movement at CUNY.
Power to the Students and Youth! All Power to the People!
Jane Kim is the first Korean-American elected official in SF and former civil rights attorney. I’m sure we at THE FUCKIN’ LOUDEST ASIANS disagree with her on many things, but I’ll just say this: Asians need a little more of her righteousness and a little less of the widespread patriotic kowtowing. -HTT
I was reading Yuri Kochiyama’s memoir, Passing It On, when I came across one of her son’s articles that he wrote when he was in the seventh grade. It is extremely telling of how much education has changed since then. Jimmy Kochiyama’s article is entitled “The Chinese in America”. It was published in a junior high school newsletter:
In the 1850s when all the racism and violence focused on the Indians and Mexicans, when a government inspector stated that the ‘great cause of civilization must exterminate Indians,’ a new dark-skinned foreigner had reached the United States coast, the Chinese. Violence found a new victim.
In 1857, a newspaper the Shasta Rep., said that ‘thousands of Chinamen have been slaughtered in cold blood by desperadoes that infest this state, yet we heard of but two or three instances where they were brought to justice.’ This was not surprising, for California had passed a law prohibiting Chinese from testifying in any case involving a white man.
In Los Angeles, in 1871, a white man was shot in a Tong war. A mob stormed the Chinese community, killed six and hanged fifteen, including women and children, from handy awning and lamp-posts. Anti-Chinese feeling and violence spread through San Francisco in 1877. Tacoma’s Chinese community was burned that year. Members of ‘anti-Coolie’ clubs drove the Chinese out of fifteen towns. Discrimination was no longer a little thing. It was now organized.
Politicians saw advantages to this. Parties rose to power with anti-Chinese slogans. Politicians were extremely interested in the labor vote, and no party platform was complete without a strong anti-Chinese plank. The Democrats were ahead in the demand for the exclusion of Chinese. Discrimination soon become a general practice. A number of discriminatory acts were passed at all levels.
Finally California turned to Washington. In 1882, with the support of the southern Congressman and Senators, the West Coast legislators put over the Chinese Exclusion Act. This effectively halted Chinese immigration.
How many of you learned this when you were in school? I’m one of those that didn’t read any of this history throughout my years in school… until I found it myself.
This is dedicated to all Asians who claim that they are apolitical. Your day will come. — MAMAGUNZ
One day the apolitical intellectuals of my country will be interrogated by the simplest of our people.
They will be asked what they did when their nation died out slowly, like a sweet fire small and alone.
No one will ask them about their dress, their long siestas after lunch, no one will want to know about their sterile combats with “the idea of the nothing” no one will care about their higher financial learning.
They won’t be questioned on Greek mythology, or regarding their self-disgust when someone within them begins to die the coward’s death.
They’ll be asked nothing about their absurd justifications, born in the shadow of the total lie.
On that day the simple men will come.
Those who had no place in the books and poems of the apolitical intellectuals, but daily delivered their bread and milk, their tortillas and eggs, those who drove their cars, who cared for their dogs and gardens and worked for them, and they’ll ask:
"What did you do when the poor suffered, when tenderness and life burned out of them?”
Apolitical intellectuals of my sweet country, you will not be able to answer.
Yellow fever, also called Asian fetish or orientalism, is an (oftentimes exclusive) attraction non-Asian people have towards Asian people, typically women, and/or cultures. Since the phenomenon complicates the common understanding of racism, less-informed folks tend to think of it simplistically, as merely an “attraction” or “preference” and thus perceive it to be a positive dynamic. At most, if people who support yellow fever are called out, they erect a wall around it, calling it a personal issue that others have no right to comment on. By the way, that is how patriarchy often works—oppressors hide and individualize their problems, such as in cases of domestic violence. Thus, an occurrence of violence is made to seem like a one-time issue, not a reflection of a larger systemic problem, so that abusers can keep up their abuse.
Yellow fever is a difficult subject to broach for me because I react viscerally when I see it. Not only am I tired of my direct experience with this oppression, but I am also tired of explaining it. To be fair, this is tricky business. It is not immediately obvious that racist desire is still racist and often patriarchal. Yellow fever reduces Asian women to just their race or nationality, attributing all attractive aspects about them to their race. Asian women are stereotyped to be submissive, exotic, and shy yet sexual objects to be dominated. Thus, the connection between the stereotype and the fantasies of sexual violence is apparent once you explore the implications of these ideas. If Asian women are sex dolls who do not know any better, who is all the better to rape them than racist non-Asian patriarchs?
The objectification also reduces women’s nationalities to something static and uncivilized, which is central to the idea of orientalism. Asian women are supposedly products of the mysterious “Orient,” which is a savage, one-dimensional land of patriarchal samurai and dancing women in hijabs who need to be freed from these patriarchs. Yes, I purposefully mixed up the different cultures because to people who actually subscribe to these notions, there are no differences among the various Asian cultures. Neither are there complexities to the manifestation of patriarchy in Vietnam, for example, as opposed to that in the Philippines. To those with yellow fever, the solution to ending patriarchy in all of Asia is to enforce their own version of patriarchy.
I dated a white man briefly and noticed that he had an inexplicable attraction towards East Asian women and cultures. Since he was a self-proclaimed radical, I decided to take up the issue with him. Okay, I admit that his arrogance also annoyed me, so I wanted to bruise his ego at the very least.
He did not deny that he had yellow fever, although he said he was not an orientalist. As an aside, I do not see the difference between the two. For more on orientalism, check out this YouTube video, “On Orientalism,” which explains Edward Said’s position on how the stereotyping of Arabs and other Asian peoples justifies imperialism.
Edward Said is pissed about orientalism
The white man gave the classic defense that he could not control who he was attracted to and tried to divert the conversation numerous times, saying, for instance, that white worship is hard on him, too. (Sorry, boy, that’s a tough sell!) When he found that I was not easily distracted, he asked me, what was he to do, not date people who attracted him?
Finally, as the kicker, he was angry about the way I phrased the problem, instead of engaging with the content of my argument. He said, “I wouldn’t even be defensive if you said to me, ‘90% of the desires you have are complete bullshit,’ but you’re like, ‘I don’t like people.’” For the record, the discussion started when I said that I like it when people don’t have yellow fever. During the conversation, I advised that “it helps to fight yellow fever if you deconstruct your desire and read good racial analyses, especially as they link to patriarchy, imperialism, and the like.” I never said I hated anybody. And even if I did, how does that negate the validity of my argument? How smart of him to throw down all the defenses that people typically use to avoid self-criticism!
I have been uncertain that yellow fever can be cured, but what is racist desire and hatred but two sides of the same coin? They are both dehumanizing, rooted in the desire to control and consume the minds, bodies, cultures, and resources of the oppressed. If racial hatred can be torn down by humility, open-mindedness, good analysis, and practice that feeds the analysis, such as when people of different nationalities struggle together to win workers’ rights, so can racist desire. I had told this guy that it helps to deconstruct his own desire and read good racial analyses. I am now more convinced that it is not only a good starting point but it can end the yellow fever as well. But oppressors have to start by breaking their silence and admitting their faults. Guilt does nobody any good. We have to move beyond that and truly fight for the self-determination of the oppressed, starting with addressing our own complicity.
I was at my first demonstration a few months ago when I met a male activist through a friend. He was one of the leading organizers. I was new to everything — how to organize, activist lingo, political discussions outside of the classroom, and other activists. This guy that I met – let’s call him Allen – knew this and volunteered to “take me under his wing.” I did not hesitate and gladly welcomed his help.
As a womon — and an Asian Amerikan womon at that — I was vulnerable to men hitting on and harassing me. The stereotype of Asian womyn as submissive is pervasive and leads men to think “she can’t say no to me.” Naïve as I was, I thought that male activists would know better than to fetishize Asian womyn. How wrong was I to assume that! My illusion was quickly smashed when Allen spoke to me online soon after I met him.
He would be very flirtatious with me even when I did not reciprocate. For men, this should be a clear sign that the womon that you are speaking to is uncomfortable. Eventually, Allen asked me if it was a good idea if he asked me out. Without hesitation, I said no, I think it is a bad idea.
It was a bad idea for the following reasons:
(1) The power dynamics of the relationship is similar to that of a teacher and a student. He knew that I was new so he could take advantage of me in any way that he wanted to. His eagerness to want to “help” me should have been a warning sign. Not to mention, he is at least 10 years older than me. After speaking to some other activists about my experience, they told me that it was a common thing that womyn activists generally face — getting hit on by male activists. Tell me how you can go out there and protest about a big cause and NOT be critical of your own practices!
(2) It was obvious that he had Asian fetish. He had a “particular” type of womon that he was fascinated with: North Korean traffic guards. (Those were not the only pictures he showed me.) When he showed me those pictures, I felt objectified. After that, I tried to avoid having other conversations with him. However, I realized that shutting him out was not the best thing to do for me. Instead, I should have confronted him and heavily criticized him.
For Asian womyn, I think speaking out against yellow fever is empowering. You have to tell those bastards to back the fuck off! How else would you have control over your space and body?
The few exchanges that I had with Allen led to me an important conclusion: male culture in activist circles is no different from male culture outside of activist circles. It needs to be overthrown and replaced with a new culture that respects womyn.
I think Asian womyn can initiate this new culture by speaking more about our experiences with Asian fetish and coming up with ways to obliterate the problem. Concretely speaking, what we can do is to organize among ourselves. You know how guys gather together and cat call sometimes? Well, we can pull that shit on a guy who has yellow fever and is unwilling to change. Gather together and embarrass the shit out of him in public together.
However, if a guy realizes that yellow fever is wrong and wants to change, then a discussion might be helpful. These kinds of discussions, especially those initiated by Asian womyn, need to be public because it can help other Asian womyn.
But for starters, we need to flip the finger at those horny pricks who think that they can fuck with an Asian womon! Who said that Asian womyn are quiet and submissive??
Was just on MRZine reading Vijay Prashad’s plenary address to the American Studies Association, titled “Crisis, Chains, Change: The American Exception to Marxism.” It repeats a few ideological notions that appear routinely in revisionist “left” narratives of u.s. history and need to be challenged.
This isn’t surprising given Prashad’s ties with the revisionist left in India and his past apologetics for their state repression and killings of poor peasants at Nandigram. In India, it is clear where Prashad stands. However, among asian amerikan activists, there is still an absence of ideological clarity and political lines of demarcation (e.g. Prashad was chosen to be the keynote speaker at the 2008 NAASCon and this year’s ECAASU). This is reflective of the general lack of political consciousness among asian amerikans.
Contrary to Prashad, what is most significant about the 60s-70s are not social movements (Civil Rights, student, women’s liberation, gay liberation), but the development of rev organizations. And, like in many other places in the world, the drawing of the line against the revisionist left.
Even the use of these categories themselves (Civil Rights, student, etc.), that read like some high school history textbook, fail to capture the living dynamics of the decade: from Civil Rights to Black Liberation, the endogenous formation of rev organizations among different oppressed nationalities inspired primarily by the BPP (and not the white left), how the white student movement developed into the New Communist Movement spilling out of the constraints of the student sector, and the revolutionary trends within the women’s and gay liberation movements.
The notion of the social movements also serves the easy and incorrect narrative that “the 30s were about the working class movement” and “the 60s were about the social movements.”
Further, is it true that “Marxism in America didn’t have much of a tradition to begin with”? Perhaps there is another way of looking at this familiar argument - what about the writing of Marx and Engels on the Iroquois Confederacy? Can’t we say, in this sense, that Marxism actually has some very deep roots on this continent? We just need to know where to look: not to white amerikkka, but to the indigenous nations.
Prashad’s analysis of u.s. history is just very … white. In his view, the significant “popular upsurges” in the 19th and 20th centuries centered on: the Socialist Party (had segregated branches in certain locales, contained openly white supremacist leaders) and the Knights of Labor (participated in anti-Chinese lynch mobs); and resulted mainly in FDR’s New Deal (which, based on the exclusion of agricultural and domestic workers from social security, functioned like yet another white privilege).
Racism, skin color divide of the working class, blah blah, the usual liquidation of the national questions.
Also, perhaps more can be said about the Tea Party and its historical roots. Right-wing populism goes back as far as Bacon’s Rebellion, based on settler-colonial land grabbing (contrary to those who depict the event as a glorious plebian rising where black and white bondsmen united against the ruling class).
We need to reanalyze the history of this country based on: the oppressed nations, and the lower/deeper strata of the class. We need to point out why figures such as Prashad are not legitimate voices for the exploited and oppressed.
why chinese mothers teach obedience and submission to authority
Women of the May 4th Movement break with feudal traditions.
There’s a lot of truth in Amy Chua’s depiction of Chinese parenting and asian amerikan progressives are having a hard time taking her honesty.
Asian amerikan progressives, many of whom dream of assimilating into the white nation, who bristle at any reminder they and their families are not “from here,” are offended not because Chua’s parenting practices are fucked up (true), but because she says Chinese culture is different and transplanted.
As a result, progressives try to bring the discussion back to the more familiar and comfortable terrain of US inequities and model minority stereotypes:
“‘Tiger Mothers’ Are Driven by U.S. Inequity, Not Chinese Culture” (Colorlines); or, “[F]uck you, Amy Chua, for reinforcing that tired old model minority stereotype" (Resist racism)
We should appreciate how Chua’s piece reinforces the racism associated with the model minority stereotype, but at the same time the responses here are entirely one-sided. They prevent us from critically examining feudal Chinese culture, shedding its reactionary tendencies (those that promote obedience and submission to authority figures), and uprooting any remnants of Confucianism.
As the youth of the May 4th Movement recognized nearly a century ago, we need to create a new democratic Chinese culture and develop ourselves into a New People, a process that often began for the generation of May 4th with the individual’s revolt against the family.
The Family is not necessarily a site of warmth and refuge in this society. More likely, it functions as a link in the social hierarchy, an institution that prevents political struggle against the existing conditions (including racism and white supremacy). I’m reminded here of a statement by Lorena Barros on the role of the family (quoted in “The Women of the First Quarter Storm of 1970: Women ‘Fully Engaged in the Making of History’”):
Conservative wives and mothers perform the very important social task of perpetuating the values of the old corrupt order… . [T]hey produce nice little girls who never dare to question what anyone in authority says, who themselves believe that women should be seen, not heard, in short, … nice little girls who will be exactly like their mothers: quiet, obedient, passive and suffering their husbands’ philandering and saintly acquiescence to the status quo.
In the rush to repudiate Amy Chua (for good reason), let’s not shy away from engaging in the much needed criticism of our own culture.