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

Utopian Dreams Fulfilled by Enclosure & Removal

“A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” ― Ronald Reagan

In each text, the utopian dream that exists is constructed by the government and corporate systems and is achieved by some at the cost of segregating or removing marginalized communities from desirable areas. Closing off these populations from the rest of the world, or removing them completely in some cases through dispossession, is one way to carry out practices done in the name of utopia. This dispossession actually leads to the dystopian realities that those living on the margins must learn to cope with and survive in. For example, Don Chipote must face humiliation at the border by the immigration officials, while Lydia must live within the confines of the Reservation, and Memo and his family are barricaded from one of the most precious resources: water. In Fredric Jameson’s Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions, he explains that the Utopian program[1] has a commitment to closure (totality), and as a result, this totality and closure of a system becomes the source of “otherness” or “alien” difference (4-5). Moreover, Jameson explains that the Utopian space is an “imaginary enclave within real social space,” as a result of spatial and social differentiation (15). Therefore, each text depicts the utopian dream as being achieved by creating closed systems and totality, and as a result, segregates social classes from one another,  particularly the elite from the lower classes. Jameson adds that the misery caused by enclosure serves as a source for collective suffering (13). This shared suffering later transforms into a critical dystopia and for some, motivation to change the world as it currently exists, in the hopes of shaping a better future.
[1] Jameson’s concept of the Utopian program is important in my connection to how neoliberalism has progressed and evolved in future society. In fact, Harvey explains that neoliberalization can also be defined as a, “utopian project to realize a theoretical design for the reorganization of a international capitalism or as a political project to re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation and to restore the power of economic elites” (19). I believe this is especially important when thinking about Lunar Braceros 2125-2148 and Sleep Dealer’s globalized societies and transnational markets that ultimately exploit poor socioeconomic communities for labor in order to maintain power by dominant structures such as the government and large corporations. Harvey states, “While neoliberalization may have been about the restoration of class power, it has not necessarily meant the restoration of economic power to the same people” (31). 

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