Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unity and the Struggle of Opposites: The Evolving New York City Filipino Left
by Hanna, Karen Buenavista, M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013, 68; 1548245
Abstract (Summary)

My main research questions explore how contradictions of unity, organizing structures, gender, sexuality, citizenship, class, and ability are addressed within Filipino leftist organizations that utilize dialectical materialist theory. I also ask: How have US-based women of color feminist and queer of color theory impacted Filipino nationalist frameworks in the US? How do they also remain at odds with one another? I interviewed 21 NYC-based activists and organizers involved in anti-imperialist Filipino organizations the summer of 2012. I also used participant observation as an active member of study groups, educational workshops, and a town forum.

My central framework explores conflict as contradiction using Mao Tse-tung's "On Contradiction" and the Haitian concepts of balans and konesans. In doing so, I examine how hard-lined leadership has impeded dialogue. I also interrogate how sexism, transphobia, masculinist organizing structures, and neoliberalism impact women, trans, queer, disabled, working class, and undocumented organizers—particularly those with overlapping identities of marginalization. "The Movement's" familial dynamic, combined with the value of utang na loob, creates hierarchies that cause some members to feel both silenced and guilty. I name these feelings as indicators of invisible emotional labor "for the sake of the movement" that lead many members to eventually leave their organizations. Their departures raise questions of sustainability. Lastly, I ask how the Fil-Am Left can draw strength from its familial dynamic but still address hierarchical issues that mirror societal hierarchies of oppression.

Applying work by Patricia Hill Collins, Audre Lorde, and other women of color, along with feminist grounded theory and sociological movement theory, I highlight three strategies that New York City based Filipino organizations have taken within the past ten years. I argue that organizations have recognized problems with sustainability and are creating their own interventions as theory-producers. Organizers' relationships to the National Democratic movement in the Philippines shape both the creation of interventions and how they respond to new ideas. Drawing on Arlie Hoschchild's concept of "stalled revolution," individual behaviors lag behind organizations' formal ideological shifts. Thus, they are works in progress.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chang, Grace
Commitee: Boris, Eileen, Fujino, Diane C.
School: University of California, Santa Barbara
Department: Feminist Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 52/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian American Studies, Womens studies, GLBT Studies, Gender studies
Keywords: Activism, Filipino, New York City, Social movements
Publication Number: 1548245
ISBN: 9781303538773
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