Jorge Enrique Forero

Kurzexposé zur Promotion von Jorge Enrique Forero

Class struggle and productive transformation policy during the Ecuadorian citizen's revolution 2007-2017

The economic crisis of 2008 generated a broad set of interpretations about its nature and implications. Beyond the usual calls for austerity frequently made by international organizations in these kinds of situations, some scholars pointed to the structural causes of the crisis and its links to the accumulation model developed in the middle of the 70s –neoliberalism. Some of them even suggested interconnections with other crises, particularly in the liberal democratic system and global environmental sustainability. The progressive deterioration of the social arrangements that made this accumulation model possible has been considered by authors, like Demirovic, Alvater and Brie, as a beginning of a postneoliberal cycle.

These perspectives have found an empirical field for debate in the Latin American leftist governments of the new century. Emerging as a result of the social contradictions generated by the early implementation of the neoliberal policies of the Washington Consensus, the policies and political discourses of these governments appear to be a response to some of key contradictions of the current historical moment. In particular, the political processes of Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela, seem to be a result of the confluence of antineoliberal -or even anticapitalist, anticolonialist and antidevelopmentalist struggles, all of them with different levels of success and intensity, condensed in what some have called “national-popular” projects.

One of the most interesting cases is the Ecuadorian one. Like other Latin American countries, Ecuador began the implementation of neoliberal measures from the beginning of the 80s, but they were intensified during the 90s. The deregulation of financial sector drove the country to a deep economic crisis at the end of the 90s, which led to the adoption of the US dollar as its official currency. Inflation, unemployment, inequality and corruption generated crisis of legitimacy of the political system increasing political conflict, to the point that in one decade -from 1996 to 2006-, the country had 8 presidents. In that context, the 2006 political campaign of Rafael Correa was focused on three issues: first, the end of the so called “long Neoliberal night”, second, the fight against the partidocracia, a reference to the traditional parties of the country, and third, as a result of a mixture of economic and environmental concerns, “the change of the productive matrix”, which would imply a radical turn in Ecuador's insertion in the global economy,  reducing its dependence on oil through its replacement with more sustainable activities.

Using the institutional devices developed to expand democracy, Ecuador has nationalized its main natural resources, cutting northward capital flows, and redirecting the extractive surplus to strengthening their State apparatus, providing health, education and focalized subsides to specific sectors of the population, As a result, this country has reduced its levels of poverty and inequality.

But, on the other hand, Ecuador, as the other countries of the so-called 21th Century Socialism -Venezuela y Bolivia- has sustained the predominance of the capitalist mode of production, maintaining an economic structure based on the production of commodities for the world market, generating social and ecological conflicts, and stirring radical opposition from the main social movements; all this, in spite of the fact that both, the electoral platforms and planning documents off the so-called “Citizens' Revolution” propose radical reforms.

Most of the researchers who deal with these Latin American political processes, conceive the State as a coherent and unified organization, understanding its actions as if they were totally controlled by the government. Debating with that interpretation and using the Ecuadorian case, I want to contribute with empirical evidence to the knowledge of the nature of the State, bringing back the discussion of this topic from the critical theory, though which it must be understood more as a field of dispute between social classes and fractions. In this context, my research question is: How have the disputes between classes and fractions determined the administration of the State during the first seven years of the Citizens' Revolution?