[Marxism] Re: Ecuador Protesters are Optimistic over Oil Deal

rrubinelli rrubinelli at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 24 20:36:58 MDT 2005

The situation in Ecuador is not so rosy as Fred paints it, and the aid
Chavez is offering is not at all being used  to counter imperialist
pressure.  On the contrary, the opposition to imperial, capital pressure
is found solely in the actions of those seizing the oil facilities,
blocking the roads. Chavez's free oil is to Petroecuador, which was
forced to suspend exports due to the workers actions.  The initial
proviso about
"for domestic uses only," has about as much weight as the supposed
embargoes on Iranian, or Iraqi oil in years past.   Ecuador produces
approx. 528, 000 barrels of oil a day and consumes app 144,000.  The
rest is exported.  50% of the exports go to the US.

Of this 528,000 barrels, 200,000 is produced by Petroecuador, the rest
by international compaies, Occidental , EnCana, Repsol YPF. The action
by the workers, mainly indigenous people, in Sucumbios and Orellana
provinces has reduced Petroecuador's production by 60% and that of the
foreign oil majors by half.   So obviously domestic needs could be met
without Venezuelan assistance. And of course, as announced later,
Venezueala's assistance will allow Ecuador to meet its export
commitments to  the US.

But let's not forget the immediate prelude to the workers' actions:
that is the abrupt refusal of the World Bank to deliver the $100 million
loan it was obligated to provide Ecuador.  And the reason for the Bank's
refusal?  The change to Ecuador's oil stabilization fund, which was
reorganized to  so that only half the amount would secure Ecuador's debt
and debt servicing, and the other half for social development.

Rafael Carrea resigned from the government, and the oil workers struck
shortly thereafter.  And what do the workers demand?  That the oil
companies contribute 50% of their profits to a fund for the social
development of the provinces and the people; and that the oil companies
undertake construction of approximately 200 miles of roads.  Sound like
Bolivia?  It should.  The 50% factor is what provoked Mesa to resign.

And the government's response, the government that Chavez is "helping"
meet the demands of the strikers?  Military occupation of the oil
fields, and refusal to meet with the worker organizations in the field.

So all the theories and banner waving about "continental integration,"
"main enemies," "possibly somewhat perhaps progressive bourgeoisie and
their foreign policy,"  "national leeway," boil down in practice to
supporting the actions, or supporting the support of the actions of a
bourgeois government against the independent movement of the workers and
poor. Supporting the army against the workers.

During the Jaruzelski reign in Poland, Polish coal miners went on strike
against extended work hours, mandatory 6 and 7 day work weeks, and
generally unsafe mining conditions.  Quick to extend a helping hand was
Margaret Thatcher, providing British coal with lenient financing terms
for capitalisms's little helper in Poland.  That was scabbing.

And of course, it wasn't long before the favor was paid back, when
British miners went on strike, and Poland was more than happy to provide
coal to Britain.  That was scabbing too.

So this in Latin America is not so different, and it marks the limits to
the "Bolivarian Revolution," a revolution that failed to emancipate the
labor of the indigenous peoples 180 years ago, consolidating instead the
legacy of colonialism within the advancing world markets.

In Ecuador, all  the talk about "continental integration," etc. is
meaningless when confronted by the real question posed by all class
struggles:  "Which side are you on?"

All Marxists, young and old, better ask and answer that question.  Josh
already has.  And correctly.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Fred Feldman" <ffeldman at bellatlantic.net>
To: <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 9:14 AM
Subject: [Marxism] Re: Ecuador Protesters are Optimistic over Oil Deal

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