Progress Being Made in Ecuador

Given President Rafael Correa’s huge victory last night, it is worth drawing attention to the statement published yesterday on Liberal Conspiracy, showing their support for the social progress underway in Ecuador .

Over 70 figures from the world of culture, politics, NGOS, trade unions and academia have backed the statement that describes Ecuador’s Citizens Revolution as “offering an inspiring alternative to the failed policies of neo-liberalism”.

The statement, which is below in full, congratulates the Citizens Revolution for “tackling the deep crisis caused by years of extreme neo-liberal policies forced on Ecuador under the Washington Consensus”.

Some of the most prominent signatories include Shadow Government Minister Chris Williamson MP, Baroness Sue Miller, Liberal Democrat Peer in the House of Lords and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

From the cultural sphere, music producer Brian Eno and film maker Ken loach backed the statement alongside author Tariq Ali and Owen Jones, declared Britain’s Best Young Writer at the recent Total Politics Political Book Awards.

Two of Britain’s most famous human rights lawyers, Louise Christina and Michael Mansfield supported the statement as did leading social justice campaigners. These included economist Anne Pettifor and Lindsey German, founder of Stop the War Coalition and peace campaigner Bruce Kent.

Support also came from most of Britain’s major trade unions. This included Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, Europe’s largest trade union and Roger McKenzie, Assistant General Secretary of the UK largest public sector unions. From the student movement, signatories included Aaron Kiely of the National Union of Students, the largest student union in the world with over seven million members.

Prominent academic signatories included Professor Ernesto Laclau, Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of Essex, Professor Doreen Massey, Emeritus Professor (Geography), The Open University and Professor Bill Bowring, Barrister, Director of Human Rights at the School of Law in the University of London.

Celebrating the achievements of Ecuador’s Citizens Revolution

Ecuador is today being transformed by radical social and economic reforms known as the Citizens Revolution. Led by President Rafael Correa this process is tackling the deep crisis caused by years of extreme neo-liberal policies forced on Ecuador under the Washington Consensus.

President Correa first came to office in 2007 in the aftermath of huge economic, social and political turbulence in Ecuador. Seven different Presidents were replaced in a decade. A massive banking collapse caused income per head to fall by one-third. Unemployment rocketed and one in ten Ecuadorians was forced to emigrate to escape the crisis.

Today, in contrast, the Citizens Revolution offers Ecuador a new development model that has already delivered major achievements. A tripling of social investment in just five years has significantly boosted economic growth and meant that Ecuador never entered recession despite the global slowdown. One million Ecuadorian households have been lifted out of poverty and 450,000 children have been taken out of child labour. The right to decent work means that unemployment has almost halved and is now at its lowest ever levels, the minimum wage has doubled and outsourcing has been made illegal. The huge increases in social spending are guaranteeing free education, including at university level, free healthcare and better public services for all.

These tremendous advances are all the more impressive given that they have taken place against the backdrop of the global economic crisis.

At the same time a new constitution, backed by popular referendum, now guarantees human rights and equality for the once-excluded as well as granting rights to nature. Ecuador is also at the forefront of ground-breaking environmental measures.

In achieving all of this in South America’s third poorest country, the Correa government has had to challenge the previous elites that dominated Ecuador for decades. Sovereignty over the country’s oil and other natural resources has been recovered from the hands of multinationals. Ecuador has repudiated the punishing debt owed to international financial institutions that meant three times as much was being spent on debt repayment than on social services. Tax collection from the very wealthy has increased in order to fund social projects and Ecuador has shut down the USA military base in the country.

Fierce opposition to all of this has come from the old elite and its international allies. A coup d’état was even attempted in 2010. Fears of external intervention to affect the likely outcome of the coming election have been recently expressed by President Correa. At the same time media misrepresentations about Ecuador have increased, with much of this disinformation stemming from those opposed to Ecuador’s progressive new direction.

The Presidential election will be the 8th free and fair nation-wide electoral process in the past 6 years. There are seven candidates but polls indicate that the main contest is between President Rafael Correa and Guillermo Lasso, a former head of one of Ecuador’s largest banks. Correa is polling firmly in the lead.

We believe that, as with other developments in Latin America, Ecuador’s Citizens Revolution, offers an inspiring alternative to the failed policies of neo-liberalism. We are certain that a further victory for the Citizens Revolution will allow the Ecuadorian people to continue expanding social justice. We believe that it is the right of the Ecuadorian people to pursue this path if that is their wish and that any external intervention should be condemned.

SIGNED
Ken Livingstone, former Mayor of London
Chris Williamson MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government and Communities
Ian Davidson MP
Virendra Sharma MP
Katy Clark MP
Grahame Morris MP
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Baroness Sue Miller of Chilthorne Domer (Liberal Democrat Peer)
Elaine Smith, Member Scottish Parliament
Denis Skinner MP
Paul Flynn MP
Jeremy Corbyn MP

Tariq Ali, author
Richard Gott, author
Owen Jones, author
Robin Blackburn, author
Hugh O’Shaugnessy, author

Brian Eno, musician
Ken Loach, filmmaker
John Pilger, filmmaker
Linton Kwesi Johnson, poet

Louise Christian, award-winning British human rights lawyer.
Tim Potter, Barrister
Michael Mansfield QC, barrister
Imran Khan, human rights lawyer

Professor Ernesto Laclau, Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of Essex,
Professor Doreen Massey, Emeritus Professor (Geography), The Open University
Professor George Irvin, University of London, SOAS
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, Department of Management, London School of Economics
Dr Peter Lambert, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Bath
Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Chairman, International institute for the Study of Cuba
Dr Thomas Muhr, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol
Professor Bill Bowring, Barrister, Director of Human Rights, School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London
Dr Julia Buxton, Department of Peace Studies, Bradford University
Professor Mike Cole, Emeritus Research Professor in Education and Equality, Bishop Grosseteste University
John Weeks, Professor Emeritus SOAS, University of London
Diana Raby, Senior Fellow, Latin American Studies University of Liverpool
Professor Peter Hallward, Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University
Dr Francisco Dominguez, Head of Latin American Studies, Middlesex University
Dr Lee Salter, Senior Lecturer in Journalism, University West England
Dr Michael Derham, Programme Leader Spanish and Latin American Studies, Northumbria University, Newcastle -upon-Tyne
Dr Julie Hearn, Lecturer, Department of Politics, Philosophy & Religion (PPR), Lancaster University
Dr. Mehmet Ali Dikerdem, Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University,
Dr Steve Ludlam, Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield

Len McCLuskey, General Secretary UNITE (Europe’s largest trade union)
Billy Hayes, General Secretary, Communications Workers Union
Manuel Cortes, general Secretary, TSSA Union (Transport union)
Bob Crow, General Secretary, RMT Union (Railway worker’s union)
Mick Whelan, General Secretary ASLEF (Railway worker’s union)
Ronnie Draper, General Secretary, Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union
Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federation of Trade Unions
Luke Crawley, Assistant General Secretary, BECTU (Broadcasting Worker’s union)
Roger McKenzie, Assistant General Secretary, UNISON Union (Public Sector union)
Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer, GMB Union

Tony Burke, Unite the Union Assistant General Secretary
Steve Turner, Director of Executive Policy, Unite the union,
Tony Kearns, Senior Deputy General Secretary, Communication Workers Union
Andrew Murray, Chief of Staff, Unite the union,
Martin Mayer, UNITE executive council member, Chair United Left, & Labour NEC delegate
Moz Greenshields, UNISON NEC
Bernard Regan, Chair of SERTUC International Committee and Secretary of the CSC
Jose Vallejo Villa, Regional Coordinating Officer, Unite the UNION
Joe Mann President General Federation of Trade Unions
John Fray Vice President v

Ann Pettifor, Economist
Bruce Kent, leading peace activist
Neal Lawson, Chair, Compass Thinktank
Lindsey German, Founder of Stop the War Coalition
Rob Miller Director, Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Colin Burgon, Chair Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Luke Daniels, President of Caribbean Labour Solidarity
Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign
Matthew Willgress, Convenor Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Sam Gurney, Labour Party National Policy Forum
Zita Holbourne, National Co-Chair BARAC UK
Cat Smith, Convenor, Next Generation Labour (PC)
Michael Burke, Socialist Economic Bulletin
Lee Brown, researcher on Latin America
John Haylett, Morning Star Political Editor
Aaron Kiely, National Unions of Students, Black Students’ Officer
Chris McLaughlin, Editor TRIBUNE newspaper
Pav Akhtar, Director, UK Black Pride

6 comments on “Progress Being Made in Ecuador

  1. the victory is good news but we do have to find a balance between defending ecuadors democracy from us neo-liberals and of offering some practical solidarity to ecuadors indigeonous peoples. i understand this was the first election in which ecuadors indigieonous people felt they had to remain neutral rather than back correa. still at least with the usa kept from controlling ecudor there is now space to have that discussion.

  2. james?,

    That’s a very good point.

    During the attempted coup in 2010, I remember that the indigenous movement, while denouncing the police nevertheless took the opportunity to strongly criticise Correa.

    Indigenous people’s organisations should probably take a more sensitive view as to the potential for (arguably valid) criticisms of a left-wing government to give space to the right, who would be far more dangerous to the interests of indigenous communities, and who consider the politics that Correa’s government AND the indigenous forces represent to be antithetical to their interests.

    But equally, the divergence between Correa and indigenous people, over supporting extractive industries but perhaps more importantly downplaying of the importance of social movements considered central to indigenous identity and mobilisation, as opposed to more traditional party systems, is a danger for the government’s long-term popular support and stability and should be addressed.

  3. redbloodblackflag on said:

    Here’s an interesting headline: “Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa says citizens will be in charge, not money”

    “Leader of the ‘government’ says the people he bosses around will be in charge!”

  4. The Toilers Will Rise on said:

    #3 and #4: Good grief – anarchism.

    redbloodblackflag, the state withers away.

    Long live Correa.