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Accepted Paper:

The quotidian of the extraordinary: blockades in Kayambi territory during the Ecuadorian national strike in 2019  
Larissa da Silva Araujo (Graduate Institute Geneva)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses the challenges in the employment of direct actions’ tactics, in the form of blockades, in the national strike in Ecuador, in October 2019. It was implemented for 11 days in 30 places in the territory of Kayambi people, raising dilemmas for the strikers and the public in general.

Paper long abstract:

During the national strike in October 2019 in Ecuador, the Kayambi people adapted their lives to take part in the marches and blockades in their territory and in the capital, Quito. This paper discusses the challenges raised in the employment of direct action’s tactic, in the form of blockades, in more than 30 places in their territory, over a period of 11 days. It narrates the reflections that emerged among the participants about this practice of direct action, based on an ethnographic approach that describes deeply the before and after the strike and based on interviews with strikers from different communities of Kayambi territory. The practice of blockades, well spread among indigenous peoples in the Americas (Graeber 2009:247), has also been used by the indigenous movement in Ecuador at least after the 1990s (de la Torre, 2006). Since then, the Ecuadorian state has also been using the Security Law to criminalize the social protest, considering blockades and other tactics as acts of terrorism (Salazar Marin, 2010). Despite that fact, indigenous peoples continued using this tactic in the national strike in 2019. However, the protesters faced several dilemmas while employing blockades during the 11 day of the strike, such as the ir/responsibilities of maintaining it, its impact on the local and national economy, the use of violence by the strikers against police repression, the participation of women, the care work that is necessary in the streets and within the houses, and the effectiveness of the tactic for achieving the strikers’ objective.

Panel Irre03
Blockades and the politics of ir/responsibility
  Session 1 Monday 29 March, 2021, -