Lucero, Struggles of Voice, n Will Kymlicka and Keith G. Banting Oxford: Oxford University Press, , — Keith G. Lynn A. Marxist Anthropology, ed. David Brown and Jonathan A. Its leaders spoke of four revolutions: ethical, socioeconomical, educational, and ecological.
Nevertheless, some grassroots activists wanted to engage in electoral campaigns. They failed to understand why they should not avail themselves of all tools at their disposal to challenge elite systems of domination. It was time for them to make their own politics and to make good politics that would benefit everyone rather than just select individuals. This grassroots pressure forced national leaders to rethink their hesitancy to enter the electoral realm. Regional divisions in Ecuador affected Indigenous movements as much as the rest of society.
CONAIE emerged in the highlands as an antielectoral political force in opposition to existing political parties, whereas Pachakutik emerged out of the Amazon, where activists were much more willing to engage in such political games. Subsequently, highland activists created a parallel political movement they called Unidad Plurinacional Plurinational Unity. The two efforts merged to create the Pachakutik Movement for Plurinational Unity.
Debates regarding engagement with electoral politics have long raged through the left. Jeffrey Rubin notes that while in theory activists rejected the idea of participating in elections, in practice they did run candidates.
The key question was how a local grassroots movement would engage with national politics. An important factor is whether Indigenous peoples engage the political process as individuals or in a collective manner. For the most part, those victories were personal achievements for an individual rather than a response to the needs of a broader community. In contrast, the efforts of Indigenous movements at the end of the twentieth century to engage the electoral process tended to be much more of a collective undertaking with the goal of making a new and different type of politics.
Commonly these initiatives emerged in the context of a crisis of representation in traditional party political systems that created a vacuum that increasingly powerful social movements occupied to their advantage. Pachakutik took advantage of that legislation to structure itself as a political movement rather than a political party, organizing itself in a horizontal, democratic, and inclusionary fashion. It explicitly identified itself as part of the new Latin American left that embraced principles of community, solidarity, unity, tolerance, and respect.
Pachakutik emerged directly out of social movements, and this fundamentally influenced its ideological and strategic orientations. It worked closely with CONAIE, agitating for the interests of the underclass in the halls of power while civil society kept pressure on the government out on the streets. In part, this was due to an intentional political decision to move from specific and narrowly defined Indigenous demands to promoting broader concerns to build a new country that would benefit all Ecuadorians.
Given that Indigenous peoples were numerous but still a minority and by no means homogeneous presence, it would be difficult for them to gain high political office without cultivating deeper alliances with and support from non-Indigenous sectors of the population. Unstated but explicit was the requirement that citizens be white males. Citizenship and voting remained overwhelmingly a minority and exclusionary affair.
Socialists were the only ones who challenged exclusionary notions of citizenship. After the formation of the PSE in , leftist candidates prominently featured Indigenous concerns in their campaigns. A journalist in the s described Indians who had learned to read and write, and thus were technically permitted to vote, hiding their identity papers at election time because police and landowners would confiscate the documents in order to control the ballot.
Sociologist Angel Modesto Paredes complained that Indigenous peoples were indifferent to politics and did not participate in elections, but he did not acknowledge that they were constitutionally excluded. Instead, many Indigenous activists made their political mark in the realm of civil society, organizing mass protests out on the streets. Because of lingering paternalistic and maybe even racist attitudes, Indigenous organizations often had a complicated relationship with the left and other outside forces.sanckagisttormo.tk
[PDF.83ku] Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador (Pitt Latin American Series)
As Indigenous activists became better organized and more assertive, they increasingly ran into conflicts with their traditional allies on the left, who expected them to play the role of a junior partner in a coalition. Leftist parties resisted forwarding the names of Indigenous activists as candidates. Even while Indigenous activists struggled to build alliances with broader popular movements, they had a sense that existing labor unions and political parties feared them as a competitor. The parties were opportunistic, only taking measures to improve their electoral strength but refusing to use their positions to defend Indigenous rights.
Rather, the leaders wanted to be treated as equals in the struggle. Even with the presence of certain tensions with the left, it was clear that Indigenous movements would logically be allied with progressive movements. They could never support conservative forces given their roots in and ongoing close alliances with precisely those forces historically most directed against marginalized peoples.
These criticisms commonly came from the political left. Many Indigenous intellectuals and activists also criticized ethnicist tendencies that separated Indigenous struggles from broader popular movements. Sociologist Mario Conejo condemned the idea of an Indian Party that advocated a racial struggle between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and promoted the reconstruction of Tawantinsuyu. Such idealized constructions of the past would inevitably led to failure, Conejo said.
Rather than separating ethnicity from structural issues, he advocated for the need to engage in a class struggle on behalf of historically marginalized, discriminated, and exploited sectors. Even though in recent decades Indigenous activists had a sometimes-conflictive relationship with the left, the left would still be their natural ally because the right refused to advance Indigenous concerns, instead reducing them to folkloric images. In Chile, the first Indigenous person was elected to parliament in , but a attempt to form a Mapuche Party met with little success.
Nevertheless, recognizing the strategic opportunity, leftists soon jumped at the chance to ally with a strong and well-organized social movement.
They criticized the ideological project of mestizaje that sought to exclude Indigenous peoples, and instead encouraged the development of a new political orientation that encompassed the ethnocultural diversity of the country. It elected eight deputies including six Indigenous peoples to Congress as well as two Indigenous mayors.
Most significantly, longtime CONAIE leader Luis Macas won a congressional post as a national deputy, becoming the first Indigenous person elected to a nationwide office in Ecuador previous Indigenous deputies had been elected on a provincial level. The significance of Indigenous players in national politics had become undeniable. For example, he was an urban Indian who won support from rural communities. This would subsequently become a highly contentious issue. Even though Indigenous movements had made significant gains in the aftermath of the levantamiento, they still faced significant racism that would limit their political appeal in the dominant society.
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Much of this racism was also internalized, with people in rural Indigenous communities often seemingly trusting white outsiders more than candidates from their own midst. Was Ecuador ready for an Indigenous president? The answer seemed to be quite clear: no. While Indigenous leaders could not be viable candidates on a national level, they still remained a significant political force in the country as the most organized segment of civil society.
Campaign stops glittered with rainbow-colored wipala flags as a multicultural symbol representing the unity of women, men, Afro-Ecuadorians, Indigenous peoples, and mestizos.
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Later, activists would accuse Ehlers of racist and sexist sentiments, and denounce his alliance with Indigenous movements as an opportunistic move to enhance his own prestige rather than to advance the agenda of popular movements. Indigenous support for the Pachakutik ticket was by no means unanimous. Not only did political divisions exist between various leaders and within the Pachakutik party, but a gap also emerged between the leadership and the grass roots.
If anything, entering the electoral realm seemed to polarize rather than unify Indigenous movements. Ehlers placed a close third in the first round of the elections; this was a significant showing, but not one strong enough to enter the runoff election between the top two vote getters that the law dictated if no candidate won a majority of the vote. In the second round, Bucaram won the presidency thanks largely to campaign promises of aiding the poor. During the campaign, Bucaram announced his support for the formation of a new cabinet-level Ministry of Indigenous Affairs.
CONAIE officially took a stance against creating such a ministry, arguing that the office would do more harm than good, ghettoizing their concerns into a separate ministry rather than recognizing their broad social, economic, and political concerns. Nevertheless, Pandam and Grefa quickly accepted positions as minister and subsecretary in the new ministry.
Subsequently, several Indigenous leaders were implicated in corruption scandals. Most notably, Pandam was charged with and convicted for the sale of visas. The tactical alliances leaders had made with the Bucaram government compromised Indigenous organizing efforts and led to splits within the movement.
In the context of this deeply fractured situation, CONAIE held a congress to select a new president to replace Macas, who had resigned his post to assume his position in Congress. As the movement was barely ten years old, entering the electoral realm threatened to destroy a social movement that through a series of uprisings had brought Ecuador to its knees. Despite campaign rhetoric of helping the poor, once in office Bucaram implemented neoliberal policies, including raising transportation and cooking-gas prices, which hurt the poor but benefited the wealthy elite.
Congress declared him mentally incapable of governing even though they did not have a medical exam to back up their charges. For a period of several days, Ecuador had three people who presented competing claims to the presidency. Some commentators thought that Bucaram had intentionally selected her as his running mate, recognizing that the machista culture would not accept a female president and that this would provide a certain amount of insurance against his removal. During this period, four of nine presidents in the Americas who were removed through irregular procedures were in Ecuador.
Mobilization of mass support based on cross-class alliances often comes from above, and is led by personalistic and charismatic leaders who rely on nationalist and antioligarchical ideologies. Sometimes it alludes to a type of movement, and at other times to an ideology. Laclau argues that in conservative hands populism becomes a dangerous impulse that can curtail revolutionary action. A fundamental difference between different populists is whether their techniques advance the interests of the dominant classes or of the dominated classes.
As Laclau contends, the collapse of ruling coalitions, as happened in Ecuador, opens up the greatest opportunities for populism, whether it subsequently swings left toward socialism or right toward fascism. An alternative interpretation points to populist governments that implement far-reaching and permanent changes but stop short of socialism, and in fact undermine movements toward socialism.
Once in office they reveal their true colors and rule on behalf of the oligarchy. This phenomenon has led to a learned distrust of populist discourse.