I am Larissa da Silva Araujo, a PhD candidate and Teaching Assistant in Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland. I am also an activist of GRITO Collective, based in Geneva. A Brazilian researcher-activist, with passion for integrating academia and activism. I have experience within social movements and with research about human rights, feminist economics, economic anthropology and indigenous peoples. My current research focus on the praxis of life alternatives among indigenous-peasant communities in the Ecuadorian Andes, interrogating how the idea of good living (sumak kawsay) stated in the Ecuadorian Constitution emerges in practices of daily life.
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Remembering the 1990’s: national strike in 2019 and the economic alternative of indigenous-peasant movement in Ecuador
In view of the 2019 national strike undertaken by the indigenous peasant movement (IPM) in Ecuador, this paper argues that the IPM still matter as a counter-hegemonic social force in Ecuador, capable of proposing an economic alternative. Over decades, the IPM has built a communitar ian and autonomist organizational structure, a “vernacular state architecture” (Colloredo-Mansfeld 2015), constituted of “ordinary daily practices of resistance” (Scott 1985, Scott 1990) that made it possible to mobilize again against neoliberalism. In this sense, this case provides relevant insights to challenge the current critical analysis of the indigenous-peasant movement as a coopted social force (De la Torre 2013, Trujillo 2010, Novo 2010), that was debilitated by the considered authoritarian populist government of Rafael Correa (Tilzey 2019). According to the Kay ambi people, the movements’ power stems from the unity and solidarity between a multiplicity of actors from the rural sector and other sectors of the Ecuadorian society. Additionally, the indigenous-peasant communities retained a know-how and a know-when of resistance that emerges from daily life practices. Indeed, remembering the neoliberal era and the struggles of previous generations during the 1990’s was an importan t driver for the emergence of this uprising. Therefore, there are continuities between the IPM’s uprisings in the 1990s and in the 2019 national strike, and their respective economic alternatives. As a result, this paper aims to contribute to reignite a critical perspective in academia, and among social movements, of indigenous-peasants’ role to struggles for life alternatives, adding on the debate about Emancipatory Rural Politics.
Key words: social movements; good living; direct action; indigenous people; peasants; Ecuador.
Affiliation: Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland