[WSMDiscuss] Please support Ecuadorian progressives contesting extractivist politics (from Quito to NYC) - an Open Letter sign on if you have a moment

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Feb 26 09:57:45 CET 2021

(This is a good letter to sign on to, so our close comrades in the U.S. 
left ezines /Jacobin /and /MR Online /get a sense of problems caused, 
when their writers take up a misleading line of argument that denigrates 
so many important activist struggles in the Ecuadorian Andes and Amazon. 
>From there, over the past few decades, we've all benefited from 
inspiring community-building, concrete work against extractivism and 
climate catastrophe, indigenous and eco-feminist - and eco-socialist - 
ideological advances, anti-racist politics, and ecological stewardship.

     For example, their mass protest in Quito on Wednesday - here's 
/AlJazeera's /report with stunning photos - keeps the democratic 
struggle alive, over concerns that votes for the Pachakutik party in the 
recent presidential election were not properly tallied in the majority 
of districts.

     Please click here 
to add your name, if you agree: 

     Thanks, muchas gracias!)

*Open Letter to Editors of Jacobin Magazine and Monthly Review:
*Stop Racist and Misogynist Attacks on the Emergent Indigenous, 
Eco-Feminist Left in Latin America, and Address the Crisis in Today's 

We, the signatories of this letter, have to come together to demand the 
retraction or clarification of two recent articles that smear political 
movements and leaders in Ecuador. The gains of Yaku Pérez and the 
coalition around the Pachakutik party in the 7 February 2021 elections 
represent an exciting and emergent new left comprised of Indigenous 
organizations, eco-socialist politics, feminist and LGBTQ+ activists, 
anti-racist movements, and anti-extractivist causes. On 24 February 
2021, these movements came together in the streets of Ecuador, to demand 
that every vote be counted.

Silencing and discrediting Ecuadoran voices as well as new popular 
movements—while demanding fealty to state capitalist leaders associated 
with the extractivist “left” in Ecuador and across the region—must end. 
Ben Norton’s “How Ecuador’s US-backed, coup-supporting ‘ecosocialist’ 
candidate Yaku Pérez aids the right-wing,” (republished by the Monthly 
Review on 8 February 2021) [1] and Denis Rogatyuk’s “Ecuador’s Election 
Was a Massive Repudiation of Neoliberalism” (published in Jacobin 
Magazine on 18 February)[2] do not reflect the traditions of Monthly 
Review—the “longest continuously published socialist magazine in the 
United States.” [3] Both articles contradict Jacobin’s founders goal to 
develop a “product of a younger generation not quite as tied to the Cold 
War paradigms that sustained the old leftist intellectual milieu.” [4] 
The editors’ openness to new generations is at odds with the sustained 
offensive against a new Indigenous eco-socialist and feminist political 
left in Latin America.

Rogatyuk’s article in Jacobin condemns the eco-socialist candidate Pérez 
and his partner, Manuela Picq, pointing out they “have for years 
attempted to portray Correa as an anti-Indigenous, anti-environment 
leader that pursues an ‘extractivist’ model of development.” Yes, they 
have, as have most independent social scientists who have looked at the 
wreckage of the Correa legacy. [5] There is a vibrant, Indigenous, and 
youth-led coalition of leftists who have critiqued Correa’s misuse of 
“el buen vivir” principles in his policies. These policies nourished new 
extractive industries. Under Correa, the state criminalized Indigenous 
groups,[6] LGBTQ+ populations, and exploited new mining resources and 
areas such as Yasuní.[7]

Rogatyuk mocks the new left in Ecuador as a “ragbag” and “surreal” group 
who “absurdly” make claims about the partiality of electoral 
commissions. Rogatyuk overlooks the extensive and historic struggles of 
Indigenous identity, genocide and sovereignty, as well as the multiple 
battles against extractivism and ecological devastation, gendered 
injustices, political/social misogyny, [8] and homophobia. The article 
willfully ignores the organizational and social momentum and innovation 
that fueled Pérez’s electoral success. It ignores these movements’ 
critiques of extractivist statism and monolithic personalism. Rogatyuk 
suggested that “Pérez’s political record suggests he is a Trojan horse 
for the left’s most bitter enemies.”

Similarly, Norton’s Monthly Review article disdainfully dismisses 
environmentalists, whose critiques of extractivism or racist policies of 
the statist left he portrayed as “opening up space for the right.” The 
author singles out “Extinction Rebellion” as a right-wing tool. He rages 
against the language of “decoloniality” and the eco-socialist left’s 
critique of statist leaders’ complicity with whiteness and 
colonial-economic and social legacies. In a typically authoritarian 
thrust, the article demonizes anyone who allies themselves with NGOs, 
branding them as supporters of imperialism.

Norton’s widely circulated Monthly Review article aimed at fracturing 
the left and eroding social movement support for Pérez as an 
alternative. The piece was published at a crucial moment in the 
Ecuadorian presidential election. Conventional media outlets have used 
it to discredit and damage a candidate of the 
eco-socialist/Indigenous/feminist left. Norton’s article wove together a 
series of Pérez’s tweets critiquing the statist and extractivist left. 
Of course, many members of the progressive left, including some of us 
writing this letter, disagreed with these proclamations as well as 
Pérez’s support of neoliberal candidates as a strategy to defeat 
authoritarian elements. But we contextualize these positions.

The Monthly Review article spotlights Manuela Picq, Pérez’s partner, in 
a misogynist and homophobic diatribe that mocks and attacks her 
feminist, queer studies, and eco-social politics. Generating absurd 
conspiracy narratives, this article designates her body as evidence of 
Pérez’s imperialist complicity. It stinks of rumor-mongering, noting 
that she took classes at Princeton in a building named after Ronald 
Reagan, as if this would prove that she was a stooge of the Reagan 
administration. At age 25, Picq was part of a civil society dialogue in 
the FTAA negotiation process where she organized critics of the FTAA. 
Instead of mentioning this history of radical praxis, she is accused of 
being a “CIA cutout” and an agent of “billionaire George Soros,” a 
familiar anti-Semitic accusation. She is also incriminated for teaching 
classes in queer studies and feminist theory. The author claims that 
because Picq teaches “Latinx Studies” and “Queering Notions of 
Modernity,” she is an enemy of global class struggle and complicit with 
imperialism. Norton does not acknowledge the long list of Picq’s other 
publications on queer theory, international relations, social movement 
struggles, or resistance to authoritarianism. Most tellingly, the author 
does not mention that Picq was arrested and deported from Ecuador by the 
Correa government for having participated in united Indigenous, 
feminist, and anti-extractivist protests.[9]

These two articles do not explore in detail the context of Pérez’s 
political momentum in the organization and revitalization of CONAIE—the 
Indigenous confederation that led the largest set of protests in 
Ecuadorian history in October 2019, uniting Indigenous groups, 
feminists, students, and workers movements to fight back against the 
imposition of a wrenching IMF accord and to demand the end to ecocidal 
plunder and land dispossession. This moment consolidated the leadership 
of a younger generation. CONAIE’s legacy, of uniting movements in 
October 2019, lent popular and movement support to Pérez’s candidacy and 
might bring him perhaps to second place in the polling. The article does 
not mention the historic October 2019 uprising or CONAIE and Pérez’s 
roles in it.

We are concerned that a significant number of today’s left-wing actors, 
across the Americas and the world, align themselves with extractivism, 
agrobusiness, authoritarian statism, [10] and stand against Indigenous, 
anti-racist, and anti-patriarchal movements, ideas, and leaders. We 
worry that the former is acting to eject the latter from the 
conversation by labeling them as right-wingers and allies of 
imperialism. We should not be distracted from the wave of violent, 
ultra-racist “populism,” and military and parliamentary coups that have 
swept the region in the past years. It is exactly these authoritarian 
developments that make it irresponsible and dangerous to brand those who 
critique the extractivist left as allies of Yankee imperialists or 
sympathetic to Bolsonaro-type populists who are encouraging genocide, 
femicide, racial exterminations, and homophobic assassinations.

We stand against authoritarian statism focusing on individual male 
populist figures and armed, militarized “machocratic” patriarchy. 
Against this model, a new progressive alternative for the left has been 
emerging—led by Indigenous, Black, and feminist as well as class and 
worker-identified justice movements—to advocate redistribution of 
wealth, land, and autonomies to forge new modes of collective, bodily, 
and eco-social participation and rights.

After Ecuador’s 7 February 2021 election, civil society groups across 
Ecuador raised concerns that an effort was underway to “find votes” 
needed to bring Lasso’s totals above Pérez’s. This would serve both 
sides of what Chilean writer Andrés Kogan Valderrama has labeled the 
“binary” political equation [11] of extractivist left and neoliberal 
right. Both sides saw Pérez as the most threatening opponent, for he 
might win and, more than that, dismantle the binary political equation 
that has been making true redistribution and eco-social justice 

The Ecosocialist Feminist Network stated, “We reject the role that 
‘Correismo’ [Rafael Correa’s regime] has played in this moment, 
exacerbating racism and delegitimizing social struggle through media 
campaigns…We know that the struggle continues and what will be the 
mobilization and unity of the popular field will permit us to sustain 
the gains accumulated in October [2019] and resistance against this 
system of death.” [12]

We deplore the demonization of both Pérez and movements that brought him 
so close to the run-off election. A left-wing global community deserves 
better, and we call on the editors of Monthly Review and Jacobin to 
reject these simplistic and dangerous analyses which feed right wing 
structures of hate in Latin America.


Paul Amar, Professor, Director of Orfalea Center, University of 
California, Santa Barbara
Sonia Correa, Co-Chair, Sexuality Policy Watch
Ghaitai Paul Males Castañeda, Comunidad Indígena de Compañía, Líder 
Espiritual Cristiano-Andino de Jóvenes
Macarena Gómez-Barris, Professor, Pratt Institute
Mara Viveros Vigoya, Profesora Titular, Universidad Nacional de 
Colombia, LASA President (2019-2020)
Lisa Duggan, Professor, New York University
Cristina Yépez Arroyo, McGill University
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Professor, Wesleyan University
William C. Smith, Professor Emeritus, University of Miami
Rita Laura Segato, Professor, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina
Pamela Martin, Professor, Coastal Carolina University
Mario Pecheny, Professor, University of Buenos Aires
Cruz Caridad Bueno, Assistant Professor of Black Studies, SUNY-New Paltz
Javiera Barandiaran, Associate Professor, University of California, 
Santa Barbara
Michelle Artieda, Florida International University
Mieke Verloo, Professor, Radboud University, The Netherlands
Lena Lavinas, Professor, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Sherene R Seikaly, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa 
Gita Sen, DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era), Fiji
Gloria Careaga, Facultad de Psicología, UNAM, Mexico
Rosalind Petchesky, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Hunter College &The 
Graduate Center, CUNY
Rina Pakari Marcillo, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador
Steve Stein, Senior Professor, University of Miami
Markus Thiel, Associate Professor, Florida International University
Dominique Chiriboga, Activista Feminista y LGBT, Ecuador
Flavio Carrera V., Project Coordinator, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Daniela Cabascango, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales 
(FLACSO), Ecuador
Kiran Asher, UMass, Amherst
Carolina Benalcázar, Concordia University
Fernando Luz Brancoli, Associate Professor, Federal University of Rio de 
Diana Coryat, Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, Ecuador
Bila Sorj, Professor, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Pablo Ospina Peralta, Docente de la Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, 
Quito, Ecuador
Antonia Carcelen-Estrada, Profesora investigadora, Universidad San 
Francisco de Quito/Northumbria University
Jennyfer Masaquiza, Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Claudia Sofía Garriga-López, California State University, Chico
David Paternotte, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Carlos de la Torre, Director, Center for Latin American Studies, 
University of Florida
Miriam Lang, Professor, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Ecuador
Carmen Diana Deere, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of 
Florida; LASA President (1992-1994)
Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Guilherme Leite Gonçalves, Professor, Rio de Janeiro State University
Johannes Waldmüller, Research Professor, Universidad de Las Américas, EPN
Sylvia Cifuentes, University of California, Santa Barbara
Larry Lohmann, The Corner House (Environmental and Social Justice), UK
Gareth Dale, Brunel University, UK
Patrick Bond, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


[4] https://web.archive.org/web/20190711101435/ 
[5]There is extensive literature that examines how the period of Rafael 
Correa's government as a time of impunity and human rights violations. 
See: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8675.12117 
[6] In 2017, CONAIE fought to get amnesty for all activists of the 
indigenous movement who had been prosecuted and sentenced for protesting 
Correa’s government and Chinese mining companies, and defending water 
resources. The government misused anti-terrorism laws dating from the 
1970s military dictatorship to incarcerate indigenous leaders protesting 
extractivism. At that time, 98 individuals faced criminal prosecutions 
for resistance to authority, terrorism, sabotage, etc. See: 
and https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-22656374 
[7] See: 
[8] Correa’s sabatinas, weekly speeches televised in different locations 
around the country on Saturdays, were spaces which could last up to 
three hours. There he presented his visions and proposals, and attacked 
citizens, journalists, human rights activists, academics, and 
environmentalists. The Media Observatory of Ecuador (OME) has counted 95 
grievances against women and for sexist language in the 152 Correa’s 
weekly speeches between 2013 and 2016.
On Saturday December 28, 2013, one of the last during Correa’s first 
administration, the former president criticized "gender ideology." On 
the same occasion, Correa affirmed “defending the traditional family” 
and declared opposition to abortion "has nothing to do with the left or 
the right," but are simple “moral issues.” See full video here: 
[9] See: 
[10] In 2013, Rafael Correa issued Executive Decree No. 16 to control 
NGOs and establish limitations on the independent and autonomous 
functioning of unions and social organizations. The decree was harshly 
criticized by local and international organizations. 
Correa arbitrarily punished journalists who did not agree with him and 
actively attacked indigenous environmental activists who opposed oil and 
gas extraction or open-pit mining on their lands. 
[12] https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7033 

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.openspaceforum.net/pipermail/wsm-discuss/attachments/20210226/15380fa0/attachment.htm>

More information about the WSM-Discuss mailing list