[Marxism] A Strategic Study of Ecuador and CENSA's new web site

Greg McDonald sabocat59 at mac.com
Tue Aug 28 21:56:51 MDT 2007

Thank you Louis for posting the Ecuador material. I checked out the  
Burbach article, the historical background is pretty good as far as  
it goes. He touches on all the main points. There could have been a  
bit more background on Alfaro, but the short paragraph in Burbach's  
article encapsulated Alfaro's importance as a reformer.

There were, however, a few inaccuracies. He called the forajidos, or  
outlaws, "a vast unorganized popular mass". In reality, these people  
were part of a new citizen's movement among the newly emerging lower- 
middle and middle class urban mestizos who backed Correa. This  
movement did not just come out of nowhere. Beginning in the 90's,  
important sectors of the Ecuadorean left, for example small groups  
like MIR, and Alfaro Vive Carajo, were instrumental in organizing  
neighborhood groups into a movement for municipal communalism, much  
like what was going on in Madrid the previous decade. These are the  
groups which emerged in the streets, along with the students and  the  
indigenous sectors in the countryside, to force previous presidents  
from power, such as Gutierrez. Since the economic composition of the  
'industrial' working class is so small in Ecuador, this strategy to  
target the neighborhoods in the major cities, especially in Quito,  
made alot of sense, and it seems to be working as a way of providing  
a popular base for the constituent assembly.

Burbach also talked about the major demonstration in Ecuador in 1992.  
He said that 5,000 indigenous marched on Quito. There were many more  
than that, and it was not just a homogenous grouping of indigenous  
from CONAIE participating in the march. Students from the universtiy,  
in particular members of MPD, participated in large numbers. I  
marched with a group of MIRistas.  Many Quiteno citizens joined the  
march spontaneously because the city was shut down. There was  
absolutely no commerce that day, and Quito was heavily militarized,  
as Burbach rightly points out. Most people I spoke with that day and  
later agreed that the heavy military presence incited the people to  
rebel by marching with the indigenous from CONAIE. People were  
outraged at the heavy military turnout. People were throwing rocks  
and the occasional molotov from rooftops, and the students taunted  
the military in the plaza of San Francisco. It really did signify the  
beginning of a new wave and style of protest in Ecuador. Along with  
the traditional union strikes and indigenous blockades working in  
tandem to shut down the country in both urban and rural sectors,  the  
citizenry emerged as a major political force in its own right. High  
school and college students formed the vanguard of militancy, and the  
schools would be shut down on the eve of major protests to give the  
students free reign to lead the urban sectors in the streets.


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