The Utopian/Dystopian American Dream: Immigration and Labor in Latina/o Science Fiction

Labor Practices in Dystopia

“Your life depends on a random stranger who could kill you, will probably disrespect you, and will most likely pay you much less than you deserve. But even those prospects are better than the ones you used to have. This is the life of los jornaleros – the day laborers.”
― Gustavo Arellano, Ask a Mexican

In addition to the enclosures and removals of marginalized populations, dystopian elements exist in the form of exploitation and abuse through the type of labor that is performed. The utopian dream to entrap these populations with false promises is a way to also ensure a limitless supply of cheap labor. These practices can be traced back to the 20th century and are illustrated through Don Chipote’s story; however, they become increasingly neoliberal and globalized with Lydia in Cali-Texas and Memo in Mexico’s near future. The type of labor performed is always dystopian, and the concept of wealth is meaningless since it does not equate to liberation, but rather, imprisonment and dehumanization in order to survive. For marginalized people, survival and labor become interchangeable – in a world that offers little opportunities, some of the most unfavorable jobs must be taken in order to make a living and hopefully, have a future. 


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