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….
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)
ANALYSIS FROM THE RANK-N-FILE: Autoworkers Caravan
FROM THE UAW:
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.
1001 E Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee, 5-7 P.M.
Join the Coalition to March on the DNC 2020 at our November organizing meeting! More details to come.
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 schoolforworkers.wisc.edu or calling 608.262.2112
COST: $50 cash or check made payable to Milwaukee Area Labor Council brought to the class