I’m heading home! The Labor Exchange Band Marches on
interview with Chung Yung-Feng
( interviewed and edited by Qin Kechun )
Our focus then turned to Taiwan in the 1990s, when a cohort of college graduates chose to leave Taipei for their rural hometowns and joined the growing social movements originating in Meinung, in particular the Anti-Reservoir Movement and the New Immigrant Women’s Movement. The Labor Exchange Band, born out of the former movement, was rooted in and committed to the local community, creating music out of materials collected from the scenes and soundscapes of rural life, and inspiring continued grassroots support for the campaign. The new immigrant movement shed light on the lives of Southeast Asian women who married into Hakka villages. The “Chinese Literacy Program for Foreign Brides” helped immigrant women overcome the language barrier and empowered them to challenge the social discriminationthat structurally disadvantaged them.
With two decades’ hindsight, te speaks with the Labor Exchange Band’s co-founder Chung Yung-Feng and the founder of the Chinese Literacy campaign Hsia Hsiao-Chuan on the symbiosis of theory and practice in social activism. How do we avoid slipping into grand heroic narratives, and whose voices should we amplify with the microphone of history?