While going through Kottu.org I stumbled across a blog aligned to the Bakamoono movement. Within the use of conflation, emotional manipulation, and exaggeration I found this line that I found to be quite worrisome. This line worried me because it was more than just unionized rhetoric but rather socially divisive. “Patriarchy has done its job so well that those who are oppressed by it can count themselves among its greatest champions. Stockholm syndrome at its finest. “Why is conspiracy so integral to harmful unionization?
Unions are about power. They band together people with common interests to be able to lobby for the protection of said interests. Unions as we see in Sri Lanka with the GMOA are blind to the interests of nonmembers. Unions thrive on being systemically important. They are majoritarian and have very steep and undemocratic power structures. It is rare in Sri Lanka at least to see unions being polled before any form of action. Dissenting views within a union are also uncommon as it is rare for members to undermine union power and thereby undermine their collective interest. For instance, GMOA doctors like that the union protects the car permit scheme. The GMOA would however find it hard to advocate for the cutting of resources to those studying Mathematics.
Conspiracy is integral to a union as it allows the members to commit harm to nonmembers. Unions may be blind to nonmember interests, but it takes conspiratorial thinking to push forward action that would be detrimental to nonmembers. This is because it is unusual for a human to want over a prolonged period to commit harm to another human being. Armed soldiers in combat for instance are known to aim to miss rival forces. This human passivity is however overridden when it is that they are being attacked. This is where conspiracy comes in. The writer’s proclivity to obscure argument makes the reader believe as though they are being attacked. This then brings about the defensive instincts that allow a union to do something that is otherwise societally not well received.
The logic is as follows. The GMOA is being attacked by SAITM. The government was trying to reform the vehicle permit scheme. The GMOA’s interests are at stake. The GMOA can now attack the government. The GMOA calls on nationwide boycotts of education. Students at university do not study mathematics.
Someone should also explore the unions capacity to bring about acts like self-immolation. The title of this post is to draw light to the pernicious banding together of issues in a bid to consolidate power. I would think that I am broadly supportive of some of the initiatives branded as gender issues. I however do not see the need to unionize within everything that identifies as a feminist group. I do not agree with the mistrust of the male gender. Society can be pushed to act on individual issues using open discourse. Two wrongs do not make a right and being part of a harmful union is not an ethical solution to your problems.
Dinesh Anthony Perera