Ecuadorean General Strike Wins Concession on Fuel Subsidies; Workers, youth and indigenous communities lead the struggle to overturn neo-liberal energy policy

By Abayomi Azikiwe

After days of mass demonstrations and work stoppages, the Ecuadorean people have illustrated their revolutionary tradition in the ongoing battle against the imposition of austerty.

Beginning on October 3, people responded angrily over the withdrawal of fuel subsidies which had been in place for four decades.

The government of Lenin Moreno, adhering to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionality, announced the new economic program which resulted in the sharp rise in the price of diesel by 100% and petroleum by 30%. These price increases happened over night making it impossible for many working people and farmers to pay for their household expenses.

These hyperinflationary trends also resulted in the rise in food prices and the cost of transportation. The Moreno government initially rejected the demands of the unions and mass organizations saying that fuel subsidies had cost the country over $60 Billion.

An additional series of labor and tax measures were specifically designed to make Ecuador eligible for a $4.2 Billion loan from the IMF. As part of the austerity package, a 20% cut in salaries for public sector workers was enacted along with the reduction in vacation time from 30 to 20 days annually.

These huge price increases and reduction in pay proved to be the spark which ignited broad sectors among the working class and peasantry into action. With a minimum wage of only $394 per month, the material impact of the IMF imposed policy would drive many more people into abject poverty.

On the first two days of the austerity program, October 3 and 4, unions representing workers in the taxis, buses and trucking sectors went on strike blocking roads and consequently paralyzing the entire country. After talks with the government, the transport unions called off their strike after October 4.

Nonetheless, hundreds of thousands of others representing the Indigenous people, students, mass organizations and local transportation workers, entered the streets demanding that the IMF imposed measures be revoked. These demonstrators blocked traffic prompting clashes with police resulting in the deaths of eight people, 1,300 injuries and the arrest of over 1,100 others.

The mass resistance continued during the week of October 7 even after Moreno had declared a national security emergency. The administration was forced to move its operations outside the capital of Quito to Guayaquil due to the intensity of the clashes between the workers, farmers and youth against the security forces.

Members of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) led the demonstrations in Quito where they blocked streets along with the entry into key government buildings therefore choking off the ability of the state to conduct its normal business. After intense confrontations with the police, there was extensive property damage and arson.

Moreno was forced to hold direct talks with CONAIE. The alliance of Indigenous nationalities refused to negotiate until the government reinstated the fuel subsidy program.

Indigenous groups have grievances which extend beyond the recent price increases. They are opposed to the extraction of natural resources from their traditional lands which have created tensions with successive governments over the last decade….


Media Whitewashes Neoliberal Repression in Chile and Ecuador

Santiago (FAIR) – Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, people are rising up against right-wing, US-backed governments and their neoliberal austerity policies.

Currently in Chile, the government of billionaire Sebastian Piñera has deployed the army to crush nationwide demonstrations against inequality sparked by a subway fare hike.

In Ecuador, indigenous peoples, workers, and students recently brought the country to a standstill during 11 days of protests against the gutting of fuel subsidies by President Lenin Moreno as part of an IMF austerity package….

Police in Chile blast protesters. Flickr | Carlos Andrés Gamero Esparza (leondeurgel)




UAW International Union

Longest National Automotive Strike in Nearly 50 Years Ends

Detroit  ̶  UAW General Motors members ratified the 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement this evening ending the longest automotive strike in 50 years.

“General Motors members have spoken,” said Terry Dittes, UAW Vice President and Director of the UAW-GM Department. “We are all so incredibly proud of UAW-GM members who captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Their sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the two-tier wages structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working class Americans.”

With ratification of the contract, the UAW members strike has ended, and workers will begin to report to work as instructed by General Motors.

The ratified contract includes an economic package of an $11,000 per member signing bonus, performance bonuses, two 3% annual raises and two 4% lump sum payments and holding the line on health care costs.

“We want to once again thank our members’ families and their local communities for their outpouring of support,” said UAW President Gary Jones. “Our members not only joined together in solidarity but felt the support of their whole community throughout this important stand.”

The UAW will announce the next pattern bargaining company, FCA or Ford shortly.

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Milwaukee, November 9, 2019: Internal Organizing

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Internal Organizing

Reinvigorate your union with successful strategies and fundamental principles for membership engagement. Change the “What’s the union done for me lately?” mindset into a more comprehensive sense of collective strength.

This class is hosted by the Young Workers Committee of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and open to all union members. Participants are asked to to bring $50 cash or check (made payable to Milwaukee Area Labor Council) to the class. Pre-registration is required and a pizza lunch is provided.

WHEN: November 9, 2019 | 10:00am-2:00pm
WHERE: Milwaukee Area Labor Council (633 S Hawley Rd | Milwaukee, WI 53214)
REGISTER BY: NOV 5 at or calling 608.262.2112
COST: $50 cash or check made payable to Milwaukee Area Labor Council brought to the class

Milwaukee, November 11, 2019: #ReclaimArmisticeDay

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Reclaiming Armistice Day

639 N 25th Street, Central United Methodist Church, Milwaukee, 7 P.M. 

Free and Open to the Public

Annual Armistice Day observance to celebrate peace, not militarism. Two nationally prominent and highly knowledgeable speakers are on the program:

*** SUZANNE GORDON, award-winning author and journalist whose latest book is “Wounds of War: How the VA Delivers Health, Healing, and Hope to the Nation’s Veterans.”

*** GERRY CONDON, national board president of Veterans For Peace, a Vietnam era veteran and war resister who has long been active in the veterans peace movement.

Suzanne Gordon has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Nation, The American Prospect, The Washington Monthly, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, The BMJ, and others. She is the co-editor of The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work series at Cornell University Press.

Suzanne is the author, co-author or editor of 19 books including Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines and Beyond the Checklist: What Else Healthcare Can Learn from Aviation Teamwork and Safety. and The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Policy For her coverage of VA Healthcare, Suzanne has received the DAV’s 2017 Special Recognition Award.

Gerry Condon has a long history in the veterans peace movement. In 1983-84, he organized the first two veterans delegations to revolutionary Nicaragua, and in 1987, he was a co-coordinator of the Veterans Peace Convoy to Nicaragua. From 1993-96, Gerry worked for IFCO/Pastors For Peace, organizing humanitarian aid and political solidarity caravans to Cuba. Since 2004, Gerry has been on the front lines of supporting Iraq and Afghanistan war resisters in Canada, Germany and elsewhere.

The Pardee Boys, an acoustic trio who got a warm reception at last year’s event, will perform before and during the program. They will begin at 6:30.

Save the date and watch for more details. The program is at 7pm at Central United Methodist Church, 25th & Wisconsin. There is a church parking lot and plenty of on-street parking. The event is free and open to the public.

Joining us as co-sponsors:: Peace Action of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Milwaukee DSA, 1st Unitarian Society pf Milwaukee, Wis. Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals Local 5000, Greater Milwaukee Green Party, Wis. Bail Out The People Movement, United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Central United Methodist Church, Milwaukee Turners, Inc., Wis, Network for Peace, Justice and Sustainability, Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Milwaukee National Lawyers Guild, Wis. Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba, Grassroots Northshore, Milwaukee County Progressives No Palestine Exception and Nukewatch. More are pending.

Chicago teachers strike to improve education system

By Jerry Goldberg

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is leading the way in the fight for a decent quality education in major cities. In addition to demands for a fair wage increase beyond the 3.2% yearly hike being offered, the 25,000 teachers, on strike since October 17, 2019, have put forth demands benefitting the entire community, including:

  1. Smaller class sizes with hard caps;
  2. Hiring social workers, counselors and other clinicians; more class managers’ full-time librarians, and a restorative justice coordinator in every school;
  3. Comprehensive measures to ensure adequate time for clinicians and counselors and appropriate workloads;
  4. Hiring 1000 additional teaching assistants to achieve equity for women, Black and Latinx counselors;
  5. Hiring more Special Education teachers;
  6. Development of early childhood programs inside Chicago Public Schools;
  7. Focusing on culturally relevant curriculum instead of focus on testing;
  8. That the CPS declare support for expansion for affordable housing for educators, students and parents;
  9. Continuing the moratorium on the expansion of charter schools.

While the Chicago city administration claims it has no funds, in fact the city has paid $1.2 billion in termination fees on crooked interest rate swaps to the banks, $449.4 of that amount on Chicago Public School bonds. In addition, the City has used tax increment funding to divert hundreds of millions in tax dollars that are supposed to be earmarked for school funding to stadium developers and gentrifiers. The CTU has been in the forefront in challenging these tax giveaways to the banks and developers, and the Public School Teachers’ Public Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago has filed a historic class action lawsuit challenging the swaps (Case No. No. 16 MD 2704 (PAE) in federal district court for New York).

CTU on strike

Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)