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SHIFTING URBAN ECOLOGIES OF SAN ROQUE QUITO ECUADOR


SHIFTING URBAN ECOLOGIES OF SAN ROQUE QUITO ECUADOR MA Theories of Urban Practice and MS Design and Urban Ecologies Parsons School of Design, 2016 Mateo Fernรกndez-Muro Tait Mandler Gamar Markarian Masoom Moitra Maria Morales Sinead Petrasek Alexandra Venner


CONTENTS FOREWORD

Miguel Robles-Durรกn

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INTRODUCTION Framing Investment & Disinvestment

Alexandra Venner and Sinead Petrasek

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PROJECT 1

Grounded Coerciveness of Tourism & Nation Rebranding: Slow Violence Towards Large Traditional Food Markets in Quito, Ecuador Alexandra Venner

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PROJECT 2

Allied with the Antimaravilla: Arts-based Community Practices & Resistance to Authorized Heritage Discourse in Quito, Ecuador Sinead Petrasek

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PROJECT 3

(Re)Production of Urban Knowledge: ‘Schools of Hope’ in Quito & New York Masoom Moitra

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PROJECT 4

Red de Mercados: Representation and Meaning Making to Build Solidarity Across Quito’s Public Markets Tait Mandler and Gamar Markarian

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PROJECT 5

The Communes of Quito as a Collective Inhabitation of Territory: Imagining Self-Governance Tools for an Emancipatory Urban Production Mateo Fernández-Muro and Maria Guadalupe Morales

BIOGRAPHIES

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FOREWORD

Centering on critical urban issues such as gentrification, displacement, housing, property rights, crime, poverty, education, economy, informality and discrimination by race, gender and age, the San Roque Thesis Collective, composed of six students from the MS in Design and Urban Ecologies and two students from the MA in Theories of Urban Practice, dedicated a full year to research, theorize, critique and develop urban intervention strategies in relation to the imminent re-structuring of the urban ecology surrounding the Mercado San Roque, a traditional food market at the periphery of Quito’s historic center, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Together with our Ecuadorean partners from the Ministry of Culture of Ecuador, the Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado de San Roque, the Red de Saberes del Mercado de San Roque and the Centro Nacional de Estratégia para el Derecho al Territorio (CENEDET), I had the pleasure of directing the San Roque Thesis Collective, introducing the graduate students to Marxist dialectics as the project’s core methodology, and later tasking them with substantial team efforts to conduct secondary source, ethnographic, and open fieldwork research in order to produce a conceptual frame that translated to an operative agenda through design interventions, critique and theoretical arguments on the many different urban struggles that the students addressed: Sascia Bailer and Sinead Petrasek, both students from the MA in Theories of Urban Practice decided to team up to look into the new forms of socially engaged art practice that emerged with the uprise of political activism since Rafael Correa became

the President of Ecuador; the San Roque market, being one of the epicenters of these new cultural manifestations, provided a perfect platform for them to understand, critique and develop new perspectives on the shifting artistic practices, cultural policies and their effects on the most vulnerable members of its urban ecology. Mateo Fernández-Muro and María Morales from the MS in Design and Urban Ecologies worked together with members of the Pueblo Kitukara indigenous community and many other local activists, politicians and academics to develop economic and geographical tools that could aid in the search for more autonomy and self-management of the Comunas (where the Pueblo Kitukara and other indigenous groups live) inscribed within the urbanized limits of Quito. Tait Mandler and Gamar Markarian focused on the historical contradictions that surround the economic development of Quito’s traditional food markets by looking at the unequal distribution of landownership, food value chains and food monopolies; their project, rooted in traditions of critical pedagogy, was developed in conjunction with many different local actors, as an attempt to catalyze radical conversations about the need to expand the existing forms of urban activism into other larger and trans-scalar fields. Masoom Moitra, also from the MS in Design and Urban Ecologies, dedicated her full year to research gender relations and child rearing opportunities inside the Market’s ecology; through a sophisticated assembly of different local and NYC social relationships and networks, Masoom developed and piloted


with the support of the Queens Museum and their Immigrant Movement International, an alternative after school program for a bilingual school (Quechua and Spanish) in the San Roque market and in NYC. And lastly, Alexandra Venner decided to unpack the making of a world class tourist destination, the state and local government’s ambitions to capitalize on their UNESCO heritage status and the many socio-spatial contradictions that have emerged with the coming of this new industry; Alexandra, together with the our local partners Red de Saberes, decided to craft a visual narrative as a critical pedagogical tool to look into and revert the dire consequences of one-dimensional tourist policies that have been characteristic of the last decade of urban development of Quito. The San Roque Thesis Collective projects were presented in Quito at the Peoples’ Alternative Social Urban Forum that took place at the same time as the United Nations Habitat III conference in mid October 2016. Here, the graduates together with their local partners, structured workshops, dialogues and mobilizations that extend the work produced during their thesis year. After their presentations in Quito, the work will be exhibited in the Aronson Gallery at Parsons School of Design in Spring 2017. Here, the collective will present the complete thesis project as radically new directions towards more just forms of urban development. Prof. Miguel Robles-Durán Thesis Director

Acknowledgments The project is thankful for the incredible support of Ana Rodriguez, former Vice-Minister for Culture of Ecuador; Henar Diez, Senior Advisor of the Vice-Minister; the complete teams of Red de Saberes and the Frente de Defensa del Mercado de San Roque; the researchers at CENEDET; the Pueblo Kitukara; to Hector Grad, David Harvey and Rob Robinson for their constant presence and inspiration; to Miodrag Mitrasinovic, William Morrish, Gabriela Rendón and Evren Uzer for their assistance as core faculty of the graduate urban programs; and to Martha Rosler, Malav Kanuga, Mary Taylor, Sakiko Sugawa, Alejandro Echeverri, Lucas Alvarez del Valle, Luis Herrera, Joseph Heathcott, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Lydia Matthews, Jilly Traganou, Michael Cohen, Margarita Goodman, Lena Simet and Nitin Sawhney for the critical comments, support and belief in the project.

Book designed by Gamar Markarian and Tait Mandler


INTRODUCTION


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FRAMING INVESTMENT & DISINVESTMENT All of the research studies in this project have significant points of overlap. In their respective theses, both Alexandra and Sinead trace the pressures facing Mercado San Roque from global agencies through to state and municipal policy—particularly looking at tourism as a key force. This joint introduction provides a historical framework for the two studies that follow.

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Quito’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 occurred during a period when global agencies were focusing on the effects of increased urbanization. The first UN conference on human settlement, now called UN-Habitat, took place in 1976 in Vancouver and since then has become the largest global conference on urban issues. Habitat III took place in Quito in October 2016. This period also saw the acceleration of urban development through the emerging globalized economy. International agencies founded after World War II, such as the United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund became key players in debt restructuring and investment for states.

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Cities increasingly became sites for capital accumulation, and specific economic and cultural features emerged as facets for rehabilitation and were leveraged for investment.

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We can trace these global pressures throughout Latin America. In the 1980s and 1990s, neoliberal policies were introduced in states across the continent under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

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This has led to increased inequality, loss of land, and other forms of violence. Within this context, many states shifted from national development to the augmenting of “competitive� urban regions. Competitiveness is based on the attractive qualities that these cities bring to the global market, such as rich cultural heritage and ecological tourism.

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Ecuador’s unique combination of ecological and cultural heritage has been strengthened as part of an alternative model for development since the inauguration of President Rafael Correa in 2008. The Correa administration based this alternative model on the recognition of Ecuador as a plurinational state, as well as the nominal opposition of neoliberal privatization. This alternative model entails looking for new channels for investment and development, and in this climate, ecological and cultural heritage have become increasingly wielded as vehicles for tourism. However, this has translated into state-led capitalist development, and there are many contradictions in the administration’s progressive ideology. We look at these effects on Quito in particular.

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Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is a node for global heritage tourism with the historic center as a driver. This has increased the pressure for redevelopment throughout the city and peripheral urban areas. Since the late 1990s, rehabilitation plans at the municipal level have displaced the local population and initiated major efforts to sanitize the space, driven by preservation policies under the auspices of investment partners such as the Inter-American Development Bank.

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The historic center receives a lot of investment attention from local and international political actors. This stands in stark contrast with the ongoing disinvestment and speculation surrounding Mercado San Roque, a large traditional food market located a few streets from the center’s core attraction sites. Within this global historical context, the following projects focus on urban social movements anchored by the San Roque market.

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PROJECT 1 GROUNDED COERCIVENESS OF TOURISM & NATION REBRANDING


Grounded Coerciveness of Tourism & Nation Rebranding: Slow Violence Towards Large Traditional Food Markets in Quito, Ecuador

Alexandra Venner


This thesis contributes to an existing dialect between built urban form and living urban space when new tourism, branding, and development strategies explicitly make the formation of the future city that spatially excludes and governmentally prioritizes. One point of departure to understand and contribute to this dialect falls under an analysis of the making of a world-class tourist destination. The astounding forces that contribute to the city and nation becoming a “destination,” are related to the conditions of inter-urban competition; a process where governmental authorities work to sell their local and nation-wide assets to the global stage for international attraction, which includes tourism and foreign investment. This conceptualization of urban life is essential to frame because it offers clues as to which sectors become prioritized for (re)development and which sectors, urban forms and populations remain in the background and experience exclusion, disinvestment, and/or displacement. Thus, to see such contested macro and micro processes at play, a collective, year-long thesis project based in Quito, Ecuador, enabled a particular investigation to link how topdown inter-urban competitive strategies-based on tourism and (re)branding-produces an exclusionary city where low-income populations and marginalized districts are negatively impacted. One particular site to understand the macro, competitive, political and economic logic that works to actively undermine authentic sites of social activity and cultural and economic exchange is through the dynamic site of Quito’s large traditional food market. Out of Quito’s 52 large traditional food markets, Mercado San Roque is one particular market that is more impacted by current national and municipal plans and vision selling the capital city of Quito and the nation of Ecuador to the global stage. This market is threatened with displacement and perceived as a site of crime and disorder by the general public. Its general negative reputation in the city is mainly due to the surrounding neighbourhood of a class that is of lower-economic status, indigenous people, sex-workers, and also included an active prison until 2014. This stands in stark contrast to its neighbouring district, Quito’s UNESCO Historical Centre District, which receives significant investment attention from local and international political actors working to sustain its colonial heritage and status as a world-class destination site. Further, ongoing pressures of luxury development in the form of a five-star hotel envisioned for the neighbourhood of San Roque and city plans to modernize the market via a strong gentrifying vision is one telling sign of the city’s larger economic plans for increasing income from tourism, which involves sanitizing “informal” sectors of the city. For instance,

the municipality’s long term Land Management Strategy to invest in “attraction zones” in the form of profitable commercial, business and tourist sectors can be argued as a tool that promotes long-term, uneven, and market-oriented urban development and redevelopment that puts emphasis on the speculation for the prosperity of Quito’s future. This is one tactic that devalues other significant city spaces that do not possess profitable value(s) and who have limited recognition or validity in the city’s urban agenda; thereby triggering processes of devalorization, displacement and/or commodification. Fundamentally, the grounded coerciveness of tourism and (re)branding has extraordinary impacts on the future of Quito’s landscape. Thus, through active field work, a synthesis of onthe-ground knowledge, and an ongoing collaboration with an activist-based organization in Quito called, Red de Sabres, I have identified a design proposition to contribute to the market’s existing struggle. I am proposing a narrative-based pedagogical tool, called “The Future of Two Markets,” to enable Red de Saberes to engage the markets about exclusionary economic development plans via tourism and branding and their own spatial reality. Through the locus of Mercado San Roque as the heart of the story, “The Future of Two Markets” is an accessible, entertaining and politicizing narrative to catalyze a more controversial conversation about the macro and micro forces piercing everyday life. The underlying value of this narrative piece is to build awareness and capacities for the organizational structures of and related to the markets to understand the unforeseeable consequences shaping their future city and, ultimately, their future market(s). After all, in order to advance into any policy recommendations there needs to be a heightened awareness about exclusionary forms of economic development and there is a need to begin this discussion at the macro level.

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“As crafty architects bent on insurgency we have to think strategically and tactically about what to change and where, about how to change what and with what tools.� -David Harvey, Spaces of Hope

OUTLINE


SECTION 1 An Urban Investigation: InterUrban Competition as Exclusionary Economic Development

SECTION 3 Reframing Quito as a World Class Tourist Destination: Slow Violence Towards Traditional Food Markets

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SECTION 2 Quito and Ecuador: (Re)Building & (Re)Branding a ‘New’ City and a ‘New’ Nation

SECTION 4 A Design Contribution Towards an Ongoing Struggle: Critical Visual Narrative as a Pedagogical Tool

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Framework for an Urban Investigation: Inter-Urban Competition, Tourism, & (Re)Branding Pressures Towards Large Traditional Food Markets in Quito, Ecuador

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SECTION 1

AN URBAN INVESTIGATION: INTERURBAN COMPETITION AS EXCLUSIONARY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 1.1. Introduction: Making a World-Class Tourist Destination The desire to become a world-class tourist destination is a fascinating and critical point of inquiry for an urban investigation. It is one significant sign of urban change to situate the kind of future development of a city’s and/or a nation’s landscape. This change can be traced in the vision of a city or a nation on the rise, in a new place that is shedding light to advertise its potential future, as a guaranteed presence in the global imaginary of ‘destination’ oriented spaces. One principal geographical territory to situate the effects of tourism and branding as an economic development strategy is in Latin America. Significant public and private efforts have utilized the tourism sector as a source of economic activity and as a development strategy to aid economic recovery and boost growth. Under global pressures to become sites of worldclass tourist destinations, cities and nations in Latin America seek to project themselves utilizing their culture, political and economic references. From positioning themselves as cultural sites, economic centres or political capitals, there is a continuous struggle and battle over metropolitan visibility in order to capitalize investments, stimulate commerce, activate tourisms and fortify political ties. One point of entry to investigate the instrumental logic of the aestheticization and representation of a nation is to trace the geopolitical landscape of the Latin American country of Ecuador and its capital city of Quito, where tourism and branding have been rapidly accelerating since 2008. It is one successful and contested urban example of how public authorities have utilized specific tourism strategies and branding tactics to build ‘newness’ in order to meet the needs of temporary tourists and be a part of the global stage. To bring awareness and to prompt discussion about the exclusionary impacts of the making of Quito and Ecuador as a world-class tourist destination, I am interested in investigating the effects of tourism development in Quito in order to reveal the conditions that tourism brings to everyday lives. Tourism, as a national economic and political strategy in Ecuador, inserts Quito into global processes of commodification, and competition

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for funding and marketing. Specifically, local sites that privilege the international tourist class frequently revolve around notions of culture and places of visual consumption. This approach introduces a strong logic of city and cultural marketing, which operates locally as a force compounding existing urban hardship and inequalities together for the achievement of global status and economic wealth. Moreover, these are the sites that are most impacted during political movements that aggressively pursue the urban spectacle agenda where municipalities, private developers and other stakeholders favor profitable infrastructure to cater to the world-class tourist destination rhetoric, rather than people’s capacity and livelihood.1 This thesis in an attempt to contribute to an existing dialect between built urban form and living urban space when new tourism, branding, development strategies make visually explicit the formation of the future city that spatially excludes and governmentally prioritizes.2 This will be accomplished by presenting a comprehensive analysis of global financial capitalism and inter-urban competition–two interrelated and astounding forces that illuminate exclusionary urban logics between new urban development projects and the restructuring of political, social and economic power relations in the city. Tracing the ‘world-class tourist destination’ equation within the country of Ecuador and its capital city of Quito is through strategies, tactics, policies and trends that formulate the relationship between inter-urban competitiveness and exclusionary forms of economic development. Further, this urban investigation catalyzes the ongoing commentary about how the transformation of a city and or nation into becoming a world class tourist destination relates to the local economic restructuring processes based on global trends of transnational investment, deregulation and privatization.3 This is indeed part of a global struggle for the survival of the social-welfare state and poses to question how the hunger for a world-class tourist destination status spatially prioritizes and spatially excludes working-class populations and marginalized city districts.

1 Ananya Roy, “Urban Informality: Toward an Epistemology of Planning,” Journal of the American Planning Association, 71, no.2 (2005): 151. 2 Filip De Boek and Marie-Francoise Plissart, Kinshasa: Tales of the Invisible City (Belgium: Ludion, 2004); Filip De Boek “Inhabiting Ocular Ground: Kinshasa’s Future in the Light of Congo’s Spectral Urban Politics,” Cultural Anthropology 26, No.2 (2011):263-286; Ananya Roy, “Urban Informality, Toward an Epistemology of Planning,” Journal of the American Planning Association 71, No.2 (2005): 147-158; Michael Goldman, “Speculative Urbanism and the making of the world city,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 35, No.3 (2011): 555-582 3 David Harvey, “From Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism: The Transformation of Urban Governance in Late Capitalism,” Human Geography 71, no.1 (1989): 3-17; Eric Swyngedouw, Frank Moulaert, Arantxa Rodriguez, “Neoliberal Urbanization in Europe: Large-Scale Urban Development Project and the New Urban Policy,” Antipode (2002), 548.


1.2 The Becomings of Inter-Urban Competitiveness: Influences and Forces by Powers Far Greater Than the Local The making of a world class tourist destination entails a restructuring of cities and nations that positions them as rivalries and competitors between one another. Such a global-urban discussion also sits within uneven development, which has been powerfully framed by renowned urban geographers, such as Neil Smith and David Harvey, to describe the capitalist processes and liberalizing discourses that promote “competitiveness” for the sake of capital accumulation.4 This conceptualization of urban life is essential to frame the making of a world-class tourist destination because it offers clues as to which sectors become prioritized for development and redevelopment, and which sectors, urban forms and populations remain in the background and experience exclusion, disinvestment, and or displacement. Thus, I am questioning the socio-spatial economic and political restructuring processes that accelerate the fabrication for the newcity and new-nation as a world-class tourist destination in Quito, Ecuador. This mode of urbanization is confronted with dynamic pressures to raise ‘place identity’ in order to position the city and/ or nation competitively in the global context.5 One significant condition that fuels world-class making experiments is the desire to enter the global circuit to find new forms of commerce, culture and tourism strategies, putting cities and regions in competition with each other for funding and marketing. Becoming a “competitive” city is as much about the economics as about the vision of the future. Hence, tourism and nation-wide branding is a powerful tool to control and practice this vision. As geographer Luc Gwiazdzinski says, “once again, symbols replace reality and cliches conceal complexity.”6 This is the projected city image that drives market-model urban redevelopment processes, which deepens the landscape of existing uneven development for the people more affected by disinvestment plans.7 The city on the rise is the image that is not yet being inhabited but conceptually being re-created within a present 4 Neil Smith, Uneven Development, Nature Capital and the Production of Space (Athens:The University of Georgia Press, 2008) 5 Simon Anholt, “Beyond the Nation Brand: The Role of IMage and Identity in International Relations,” The Journal of Public Diplomacy 2, no.1 (2013): 6-12. 6 Luc Gwiazdzinski, “ Against Disposable Territories: A Preliminary Critical Approach to System of Territorial Identification” in Don’t Brand My Public Space, ed. Ruedi Baur and Sebastien Thiery (Zurich: Lars Muller Publishers, 2013), 276 7 Kevin Fox Gotham and Miriam Greenberg, Crisis Cities Disaster and Redevelopment in New York and New Orleans (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014)

living moment. Situating this lens within Quito and Ecuador’s growing interurban-competitiveness is one way to question the power of selling ‘newness’ that sets visual and spatial strategies of who belongs where and under what conditions. It is a question of what is being promoted and valued and what spaces and/ or people are left as ‘insignificant’ in the workings of the government and their image-making schemes. Thus, it become significant to investigate the spatial patterns and urban spatial structures that are proposed through plans and policies at the city and national level and to question those new developments materializing on the ground. As explained by urban economists, Peter Gordon and Harry W. Richardson, spatial arrangements of urban form matter because it hints to patterns of economic growth.8 In reference to Marx, David Harvey conceptualizes the dynamics behind urban-restructuring as one that favours the built environment because it secures investment for profit and ‘promises’ a rate of return.9 Thus, becoming a competitive city is one that is about trade-offs, which involves prioritizing physical infrastructure that are ‘secure’ assets as opposed to social infrastructure and everyday social relations. Certainly, key characteristics to ‘compete’ at a global scale involve economic and political logic that are able to restructure certain assets of a nation or a city for visibility on the world stage. One way to do so is through a city’s ‘competitive advantage,’ which, according to economist Anwar Shaikh, proves for globalization to be working as predicted because, “[globalization] generally favors the developed over the developing and the rich over the poor.”10 This is a significant factor about “competitiveness” because it reiterates the drive for profitability –a contested structure for public institutions who are not responding to the provision of public services and building a civil society.11 Significantly so, when the Mayor of Quito claims that the city’s competitiveness must be better taken advantage of, than a critical eye can question the Mayor’s direction to develop and prioritize the tourist sector.12 Economies that desire strategies to position themselves in interconnected and competitive global markets, find ways to formulate strategies and policies to build their economic 8 Peter Gordon and Harry W. Richardson, “ Urban Structure and Economic Growth”, in Nancy Brooks, Kieran Donaghy, and Gerrit-Jann Knaap, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Urban Economic and Planning (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 98-122. 9 David Harvey, Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism (Oxford: University Press, 2014), Chapter 10, 11 10 Anwar Shaikh, Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises (Oxford: University Press, 2016), 495. 11 David Harvey, “The Right to the City,” New Left Review, No. 53 (2008), 23-40. 12 “A City on the Rise,” Interview with The Business Year and the Mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas Espinel https://www.thebusinessyear. com/ecuador-2014/a-city-on-the-rise/interview

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Framing Inter-Urban Competition: World-Class Inter-Urban Competition:Tourism & Branding Tourism & (Re)Branding Processes Investments Surplus-Capital

Exclusionary Economic Development

Speculative Urbanization

Local Built Environment Land Buildings Infrastructure

Non-Profitable

Profitability

Non-Prioritized Areas

Prioritized Areas

Non-Commodifiable Neighborhoods & Sectors

Commodifiable Neighborhoods & Sectors

Civil Society

De-Valued Living Built Form

Phyical Assets

Tourism-based Competitiveness

urban and state entrepreneurial activities

Value of the Built Form

urban ‘restructuring’ & ‘revitalization’ projects

World-Class Tourist Destination Making National competitiveness

Global competitiveness Foreign Investors

Policy Reform

Institution Reform

Strategies & Processes

Global Positioning via international trade, finance, tourism City Branding & ‘Place-Marketing’ Arts, Culture & Heritage Strategies Investment Strategies Innovation-based Strategies Investment & Development Corporation Strategies Business-Oriented Renewal Relations b/w National & State levels of gov’t Increased Public-Private Collaboration Use of Ideas & Visions Utilizing “Windows of Opportunity”

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competitiveness. These strategies include, but are not limited to, innovation polices, image-building endeavours, place-marketing strategies and urban governance arrangements between private and public actors (PPP).13 Part of this toolkit are the tactics and techniques of tourism that serve to promote competitiveness and opportunities for urban (re)development and urban regeneration projected, based on an urban spectacle agenda.14 Thus, tourism and branding creates certain conditions that actively undermine the inherent rights and agency of the local residents and treats their inhabited spaces as a destination, rather than living spaces of social relations. This is what Henri Lefebvre, the philosopher, sociologist, and urban theorist, calls “lived space” as “the space of the everyday activities of users” as opposed to “the abstract space of the experts (architects, urbanists, planners)”.15 It is the materiality of lived space that is absent in city maps, statistics, measurement, ideology, and capitalism. Despite more images, slogans and brands, there is a need to reframe how a commercialized tourist space intensely focusing on serialized and distracted pleasures of leisure, undermine the populations that are affected by the ‘city on the rise’. Along with other scholars who pose a critical eye towards the construct of tourism-oriented spaces in Latin American and Ecuador, I equally question how tourism, a strategy of economic development, compounds existing urban struggles of marginalization and/or restructures vulnerable districts in order to justify a ‘new’ and attractive urban economy.16

branding strategies. After all, the pursuit of becoming a worldclass tourist destination is a strategy of urban governance to attract hyper-sources of national and foreign direct investment and tourists, which nonetheless guides cities to enter into competition with each other for capital investment, tourism, public funds and hosting mega-events, such as the Olympic Games, or World Urban Forums. For instance, given the fact that Quito is to host 40,000 people for Habitat III in October 2016, which is the largest global forum on urban issues that takes place every 20 years, is one clue to frame a particular lens to understand how national and municipal public authorities will utilize this mega-event as an opportunity to attain visibility on the world radar.17 Thus, to explore how tourism and re-branding processes evolve within the inter-urban competitive narrative, it is important to question the general strategy that sells cities, regions and nations for direct (often foreign) investment. By this I mean the privatization of municipal assets and public and social services for private benefits. I will take into consideration three practices in which a city and/or nation needs to embed itself in order to establish itself as a major world-class tourist destination: governmental transitional periods (i.e., windows of opportunity), material forms of new urban representations (i.e. urban regeneration projects), and city/nation branding and rebranding strategies (i.e. visionary campaigns). Specifically, how this is framed within a Latin American and/or Ecuadorian context will be discussed.

1.3 Inter-Urban Competitiveness: Tourism and Rebranding Strategies in Latin America for the Global Stage

I. Governmental Transitional Periods Cities-in-transition suggests an important linkage between urban productivity, urban development, and improvements in urban living standards. It suggests hopeful optimism to new beginning for nations and cities to shift away from particular moments of crisis including political corruption, economic down-turns/collapse, natural disasters and/or war. Seen in this way, an inquiry on cities-in-transition is useful for analyzing the “networks of concrete becoming”, as urbanist and sociologist AbdouMaliq Simone reminds us, because it allows for a particular lens to enter the present and future built urban form with great suspicion.18 Specifically, it gathers insights on the kind of new political, economic and cultural forces that materialize on the ground during political moments of transition. This ‘window of opportunity’ encourages and demands new urban reforms, but the question that remains is what are cities transitioning to and

There are multiple components to inter-urban competition. For the purpose of this thesis, I am concerned about the interrelations between inter-urban competition, tourism and re13 See Neil Brenner & Nic Theodore’s chart on the destructive and creative moments of institutional restructuring in “Cities and the Geographies of Actually Existing Neoliberalism,” Antipode (2002), 364-366. 14 Keller Easterling, Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerade ( Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005), 25. 15 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1991), 362 16 Rosemary Bromley, and Peter Mackie, “Displacement and the new spaces for informal trade in the Latin American city centre,” Urban Studies 46, no.7 (2009), 1485–506; Alan Middleton,“Informal Traders and Planners in the Regeneration of Historic City Centres: the Case of Quito, Ecuador,” Progress in Planning 59, no.2 (2003), 71–123; Eduardo Kingman, “Heritage, Policies of Memory and then Institutionalization of Culture,” City & Time 2, no.2 (2006):17-26.

17 Greg Scruggs, “How is Quito preparing for Habitat III?” Citiscope, February 19th, 2016, http://citiscope.org//habitatIII/news/2016/02/ how-quito-preparing-habitat-iii 18 AbdouMaliiq Simone, “The Visible and Invisible: Remaking Cities in Africa, “ in Under Siege: Four African Cities: Freetown, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos (Document11_Platforrm4, 2002), 24.

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under what conditions? I am questioning how cities utilize transitional periods as a window of opportunity to pursue inter-urban competition strategies, trends, and policies. A city’s role in inter-urban competition is one that projects and valorizes restructuring for urban economic growth. However, within this trend of transition towards ‘world-class destination’ making, the built environment and physical amenities are prioritized and emphasized rather than people’s capacity or livelihood.19 While there maybe considerable physical improvements in the city, what is also equally important is how inter-urban restructuring processes impact the social welfare state. Thus, this re-creation and restructuring of urban space for economic growth is not just a technical issue, but a political process that frames what type of urban productivity is being offered and who gets to benefit. In the context of Latin America, situating a transitional period can be identified through Latin American countries associated with what has come to be known as the Pink Tide Movement. Since the late 1990s and after decades of neoliberal neglect, military governments and extreme forms of violence existed. Additionally, Latin America has been at the forefront to experiment with alternatives to neoliberalism in order to re-discover social policy and new forms of humanistic and progressive forms of governance and development strategies. The diversity of Latin America’s Pink Tide movement stems from centre-left countries of government to left-centred countries on the political spectrum. For example, Peru, Brazil and Argentina are centre-left tide whereas countries like Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador are part of the current left-wing political tide. What is most significant within this transitional spectrum of a new political era calling for an anti-neoliberal platform are the contradictions that arise when Latin American countries began to create new national projects to embrace the vision of a 21st century socialism.20 Social forms of human-driven development become constrained within a capitalist agenda, which inhibits its enactment, and serves to strengthen the state by camouflaging certain controversial urban development projects at the expense of existing local settlements, cultures and ecologies.21 This is the art of governance that Latin American scholar, Fernando Ignacio Leiva, raises a number of urgent questions regarding 19 Ananya Roy, “Urban Informality: Toward an Epistemology of Planning,” Journal of the American Planning Association, 71, no.2 (2005): 151. 20 Marc Becker, “The Stormy Relations between Rafael Correa and Social Movements in Ecuador,” Latin American Perspectives 40, no. 3(2013):43-62. 21 Steve Ellner, “Introduction: Complexities of the Twenty-First-Century Radical Left in Power” & Roger Burbach, “The Radical Left’s Turbulent Transitions: An Overview” in Latin America’s Radical Left, Challenges and Complexities of Political Power in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Steve Ellner (Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).

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Latin America’s promising economic growth, social equity, and political democracy stemming from the Pink Tide Movement.22 This question is tied to the challenges that arise when alternative forms of development, which aim to transition away from resource-extraction, utilize other sectors, such as commerce, culture and tourism, to foster ways of urban growth and development to benefit the nation-state. This has been the case in Ecuador where the Alianza PAIS (AP) administration in 2008 declared a new way to diversify the economy through a post-neoliberal platform based on constitutional reform, antifree trade policies and nationalization of Ecuador’s petroleum industry. One means to approach this strategy was through the tourist sector since the public authorities understood the significance of Ecuador’s natural and cultural heritage wealth-worthy of a world-class destination status. In turn, this has become a catalyst for improving national and city images to the world by embarking on large-scale urban restructuring schemes to re-brand, modernize and sanitize specific territories deemed commodifiable. Thus, this particular need to implement a competitive and sustainable tourism sector--aimed towards inclusive and sustainable growth--should be highly contested when analyzing a political transitional development agenda arising from progressive governments. II. Material Forms of New Urban Representations In the writings about Spain and Latin America, scholars Michael Janoschka, Jorge Sequera, and Luis Salinas bring forth a significant discussion on the gentrification processes across a variety of Latin cities.23 One way that they contest urban regeneration projects is through the lens of symbolic gentrification, where the built form is transformed into spaces for entertainment and consumption for the audience of affluent users such as tourists. Moreover, this transformation creates a temporary experience for the visitor, but a permanent gesture toward urban development where municipal resources become prioritized for sectors that cater to tourist needs and desires over the needs and demands of local residents. For example, given that the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated many natural and cultural heritage sites across Latin America, a strong sense of control to keep these places attractive is utilized. In fact, a transformation of historic regions compliments the global trend towards the transfiguration of working class areas into sites of 22 Fernando Ignacio Leiva, Latin American Neostructuralism:The contradictions of Post-Neoliberal Development (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008). 23 Michael Janoschka, Jorge Sequera, Luis Salinas, “ Gentrification in Spain and Latin America-A Critical Dialogue,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38, no.4 (2013):1234-1265.


global consumption.24 It is useful to illustrate the urban interventions that transform urban space to serve the tourist city. One question that can be raised is, how does a city and or nation find ways to position itself in the global market by formulating strategies and policies that enhance their economic competitiveness? One significant tool includes place-making strategies, where governments identify, redevelop and, more times than others, exploit its place-specific assets that are considered competitive. Place-specific assets become essential in interurban competition because they allow for escaping from a level in the global market. Significantly, what this demands are political operations to visiblize, provide and promote information to the public and to generate strategic alliances in order to place nation-wide tourist attractions as world-class destinations. Thus, becoming a world-class tourist destination offers the opportunity to re-write previously negative connotations that a city or nation might have had through its existing urban forms that can be utilized as ‘positive’ image-building assets. The vision for a world-class destination in itself is an effective driver to expose visibility in a global arena since tourism can serve as a first step towards reversing negative stereotypes. David Harvey suggests that such strategies are part of the “urban spectacle” agenda, which operate as a key means for an urban territory to position itself as a competitor via spatial measures.25 This tangible, material base for the reformation of the city, such as re-developments, new developments, and commercial upgrading, serves as an essential platform for understanding the political and economic logic that prioritizes spaces of entertainment and consumption. In fact, tourism and cultural development strategies require massive global investments and are induced over a long period of time for the building of infrastructure to support tourist related activities, ranging from safety and security to large-scale developments, such as airports and hotels. As proposed by Janoschka et al., these are some of the mechanisms that cities utilize to channel urban makeovers into a play land for tourists and investors, which excludes long-established residents and can lead to extensive displacement.26 The manner in which a city and/or nation re-structures its economic resources towards activities based on profit and speculation for people, such as tourists and/or investors, ought to be problematized. Problematized in the fact that this strategy is used to accelerate economic growth and reinforces the structures 24 David Harvey, “Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism: The Transformation in Urban Governance in Late Capitalism,” Human Geography 71, no.1 (1989): 3-17. 25 Ibid., 9. 26 Janoschka., et al. 1234-1265.

and power relations that already compound unjust inequalities. Thus, a city that anchors itself to the world-class destination trend and works to position itself competitively in the global context is emblematic of a slow violence that disembeds the local population people from their everyday lives. Significantly, the “official urban politics” denies many urban residents from being apart of new reconstructions of material and social environments and in the end, denies them as out of place in the contours of this new, cleaner, “better” and more “modern” urban environment.27 As a result, processes of uneven development are at work, including under-investment, neglected services, and urban degradation, as public authorities search for profit niches, such as the amenities embedded in a tourist zone. Thus, an investigation of tourism related ‘urbanregeneration,’ ‘urban restructuring,’ and ‘urban aestheticization’ plans and strategies is needed to frame how left-leaning politics and the promises to achieve an ideological platform associated with “21st century socialism” in Latin America becomes constrained when operationalized in a capitalist mindset to cater to global interests. III. City and/or Nation Branding and Rebranding Strategies When a city/or nation has the desire to achieve a world-class tourist destination status, it opens up the opportunity to engage in campaigns of city and nation branding or rebranding strategies. The process of becoming a world-class destination awards cities with image-making strategies, which is a key mechanism for fostering “newness” on an international stage. After all, “to compete successfully in a cacophony of rival international destinations and entertainment facilities requires a distinctive local profile.”28 Under such conditions, it then becomes important to identify the rise of urban entrepreneurialism where authorities have sought to become an active promoter and managers of urban development. Significantly, in the backstage of this imagemaking production are the economic strategies that are inherently tied to on-the-ground social realities and everyday experiences of the city. In fact, the selling of ‘newness’ via campaigns and billboards also transforms a city by displacement and regulates the conduct of unwanted citizens, which targets people and places that are deemed to tarnish the new perception. This drives a paradox between who the branding and/or the rebranding of a country’s newness is for--an international tourism audience or the city dwellers? If we are to understand how the selling of the urban helps to de-politicize the city, then a revised conceptualization of the political economy of place must be 27 Keller Easterling, Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerade ( Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005). 28 Gordon Waitt, “Urban Festivals: Geographies of Hype, Helplessness and Hope,” Geography Compass 2, no. 2 (2008): 513-37. 31


In the backstage of this image-making production are the economic strategies that are inherently tied to on-the-ground social realities and everyday experiences of the city.

Image: Left, Google Image Matrix when “ Quito AND Tourism” are typed in the search bar. Right, Google image matrix when “Ecuador AND tourism” are typed in the search bar. Source: Google Images

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adopted.29 Branding a cityscape with iconographic architecture, unique historical features and attractive natural features often freezes the politics that hide the prevalent power dynamics inserted within that image of the campaigns. Thus, branding and rebranding campaigns, whether in the media or on billboards in the cityscapes, offers insights towards an understanding of the mechanisms that co-construct the relationship between space, power and social justice in the practice of selling places as world-class destinations.30 To become aware of such a spectral vision in an urban context, it is interesting to look for the new campaigns and billboards that announce the new city or nation geared towards the tourist or investor audience; they show the representation of soon-to-be constructions such as five star hotels, conference centers, skyscrapers, etc.31 How billboards announce the construction of hotels and luxury housing is emblematic of a highly speculative future that bears weight over any opportunities needed to build local capacity and livelihood. Significantly, it is the unforeseeable consequences embedded in the making of a world-class tourist destination that, unlike building of the welfare-state, targets the elevated standards of international viewers and consumers. By catering its urban development towards the creation of tourist-oriented spaces, both Quito and Ecuador are using the inter-urban competitiveness strategies of tourism and branding to meet the needs of temporary visitors, while redefining cultural heritage by delegitimizing the history and struggle of its urban poor and working-class population. Thus, remaining questions to be explored when analyzing their image-based campaigns are, “whose image is being represented, whose image is being denied and which sectors and/or services of the city, region and/or nation are being promoted and prioritized over others”? From above, it is as much about image making as about political and economic restructuring; in fact, it characterizes the power that is needed to restructure the urban landscape to cater to an attractive image worthy for the international stage. As investigated in New York’s rebranding and redevelopment strategies in the era of Mayor Bloomberg by urban and cultural sociologist Miriam Greenberg, the branding/re-branding of a city is a massive operation when cities and or nations reimagine changing their representation.32 According to Greenberg, it’s 29 Tim Hall and Phil Hubbard, “The Entrepreneurial City: New Urban Politics, New Urban Geographies,” Progress in Human Geography 20, no.2 (1996): 153-74. 30 Filip de Boek, “Inhabiting Ocular Ground: Kinshasa’s Future in the Light of Congo’s Spectral Urban Politics,” Cultural Anthropology 26, no.2 (2011): 263-286 31 Ibid. 32 Miriam Greenberg, “Branding, Crisis, Utopia: Representing New York in the Age of Bloomberg,” in Blowing Up the Brand, ed. Melissa

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not only about image making and campaigns and campaign launching and logos, but also new forms of governmental commodification that begin at the institutional level and trickle down and impact the neighbourhood scale.

1.4. Identifying ‘Competitiveness’: Ecuador Among Other WorldClass Tourist Destinations in Latin America It is no secret that Latin American destinations are popular sites for tourism, but what this popular perception demands is a critical eye. Reviewing recent statements, statistics and reports put forth by related institutions, organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), among others, is one way to challenge what is at stake when nations and/or cities are encouraged to pursue economic restructuring processes for the sake of being interconnected and competitive in the global market. The IDB has been a very strategic partner of Latin American and the Caribbean for the development of ‘sustainable tourism’ through financial and technical support and claims that “[their] member countries offer more competitive tourism routes in international markets.”33 Tourism projects supported by the IDB include upgraded and expanded airports, built or rehabilitated highways, conservation work on cultural heritage sites and efforts to conserve protected areas.34 In addition, the World Bank has recently claimed that Latin American cities are among the world’s most competitive locations as they have been able to ‘swiftly adapt’ to diversify into new sources of growth; thereby exploiting its natural advantages of location, environment, political stability and democratic traditions. Thus, in the context of the urban political economy that works to redefine city and nation through tourism, addresses a broader spectrum of political acts from imaging to gentrification to social coercion. One point of departure is to briefly investigate other Latin American cities that utilize the world-class tourist destination rhetoric in order to contextualize Latin American inter-urban competitiveness. Situating this short analysis in the present era, a few cities to consider are Medellin, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, and Buenos Aires because of their governmental acts and policies Aronczyk and Devon Powers ( New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2010), 115-144. 33 “Fostering Sustainable Tourism in Latin America,” Inter-American Development Bank, http://goo.gl/LNwPyh 34 Ibid.


that have taken tourism development and branding strategies very seriously as a means of economic growth. Doing so sets up a particular geo-political context to frame the world-class tourist logic in Quito, Ecuador as it is a capital-city and a nation embedded in highly competitive “destination” regional forces. Fundamentally, this also encapsulates a common local-regional concern for urban social justice struggles.

Medellin, Colombia For instance, in recent years, the city of Medellin, Columbia has been bathing in a new wave of media attention that’s been shining a ‘positive’ light on a country that, according to Time Magazine, went “from nearly failed state to emerging global player - in less than a decade.”35 In 2013, Medellin was also named the most “Innovative City of the Year“ by the Wall Street Journal, Citibank and the Urban Land Institute based on its economy, urban development, culture/livability, technology and research, among other measures.36 Known by Colombians as ‘The City of the Eternal Spring,’ Medellín was chosen for its progress, potential, “rich culture and impressive strides in urban development” in spite of a past of violence fueled by drug lord Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel. However, the idea of the success of the city that claims to bring its residents together to assure opportunities for all, is one that deserves to be questioned. In fact, historian Forrest Hylton provides a much more critical and provocative perspective towards Medellin’s makeover: “the democracy that Medellin’s neoliberal plastic surgery allows is a “weak” or “thin” citizenship, based largely on North Atlantic models of consumerism and electoral politics.”37 Thus, a few big questions can be raised: Who exactly is an “innovation” campaign for? What is being valued here? What idea of the nation do they privilege?

tourists through arguably stereotypical images of samba, sun, sea, and soccer. In fact, the Olympics was heralded as Brazil’s moment to gain reputation and influence beyond Carnival and the soccer pitch. For instance, the 2009 “Promise of Rio” promotional video represents a “new Rio,” which is emblematic and symptomatic of a “new Brazil.”38 A few years later this was followed by another mega tourism campaign for the promotion of the country as a tourist destination: “The world meets in Brazil. Come celebrate life.” This is the theme of the new international campaign for the promotion of Brazil abroad launched by President Rousseff in the summer of 2012. However, what needs to be acknowledged is how city marketing and image making continue to show the international, friendly competition as a masquerade that hides the prevalent power dynamics that govern the productions of drastically revamping nation perceptions. In the case of Rio, one can ask how the selling of nation and a city to the global stage, especially under pressures of mega-event hosting, will turn them into tourist traps and business ventures where the only way the Western world is encouraged to relate to these countries is through a process of exotification and commodification. Geographer Christopher Gaffney offers a more critical perspective on the beautification and aesthetization efforts of Rio. From his perspective, the Olympic process in Rio performs as a catalyst for improving Brazil’s and Rio’s image to the world by embarking on a large-scale urban restructuring scheme to modernize and sanitize the city.39 Thus, with growing competition for the attraction of visitors, the tactful process of camouflaging what would ultimately tarnish Rio’s international image is pursued. Significantly, this is the unjust procedure and practice of selling places in a developing economy.40

Lima, Peru

Another Latin American city to briefly highlight is Rio de Janeiro. Within Rio’s recent context of hosting mega-events, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the upcoming Summer Olympics, it is no surprise that Brazil continues to draw in

Furthermore, to briefly examine Latin America’s third largest country, Peru, and its competitiveness, is to look to at the capital city of Lima, which is often referred to as the “City of Kings” or the “Gastronomy Capital” of Latin American for its multi-faceted array of Peruvian cuisine. While most tourists come to Peru to see Machu Picchu or other Inca ruins, it is equally

35 Tim Padgett and John Otis, “The Columbina Comeback- From Nearly Failed state to emerging global player--in less than a decade,” Time Magazine, April 23rd, 2012, http://goo.gl/3u3qp7 36 Carolina Moreno,“Medellin, Colombia Names ‘Innovative City of The Year’ In WSJ And Citi Global Compeittion,” Huffpost Latino Voices, March 2nd, 2013, http://goo.gl/Ik0tdN 37 Forrest Hylton “ “Extreme Makeover”: Medellin in the New Millennium” in Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism Evil Paradises, ed. Mike Davis and Daniel Bertrand Monk (New York: The New Press, 2007):152163.

38 Rio Olímpico 2016, “Rio 2016 - Passion UNITY Celebration [HD],” YouTube, October 07, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xucJTdUTMzA. 39 Christopher Gaffney, “Mega-events and Socio-spatial Dynamics in Rio De Janeiro, 1919-2016,” Journal of Latin American Geography, 9, no.1 (2010):7-29. 40 Anne-Marie Broudehoux, “Image-Making, City-Marketing, and the Aesthetization of Inequality in Rio De Janeiro,” in Consuming Tradition, Manufacturing Heritage: Global Norms and Urban Forms in the Age of Tourism, ed. Nezar AlSayyad ( London: Routledge, 2001):273-297.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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as important to see additional competitive ways that put Peru’s places on the map in ‘attractive’ ways. Even a recent headline that announced “international chain to open 7 hotels in Peru before 2018” is a clue to the kind of neoliberal, privatization strategies ahead.41 This trajectory of infrastructure construction, along with the construction of Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport’s second runway that will cost US$1.2 billion, are structural upgrades to prepare the city and the county for a predicted increase in tourism.42 The municipality of Lima is also considering redeveloping its city centre for a “gastronomy boulevard” via a ‘recovery zone plan’ to create an attractive pedestrianized public space for tourists.43 However, as visionary plans set the stage for a ‘new’ district, an urban image that, “[reflects] Disney World values of cleanliness, security, and visual coherence” is one to be questioned for how it caters to include or not long term residents.44 In fact, it is the power of selling ‘newness’ that sets visual and spatial strategies of who belongs where and under what conditions. Moreover, what is promoted and valued and what is left as ‘insignificant’ in the workings of the government and their image-making plans ought to be scrutinized.

Buenos Aires, Argentina Finally, another significant city in Latin America that has mastered the craft of ‘selling’ place for the global stage is Buenos Aires in Argentina. As a country driven by the vision of becoming Latin America’s number one destination because of its enviable natural and cultural resources, including its nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, tourism has been one of the 41 “International chain to open 7 hotels in Peru before 2018,” Andina Agencia Peruana de Noticias, March 1, 2016, http://goo.gl/mCzvKk 42 “Lima airport new runway to cost US$1.2 billion.” Andina Agencia Peruana de Noticias, March 24, 2016, http://goo.gl/9Q6B65 43 “Centro de Lima podria tener un bulevar gastronomico en 2016,” El Comercio, Nov.3, 2014. http://goo.gl/hQWIDK 44 Sharon Zukin, The Culture of Cities (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1995), 67

nation’s drivers of economic growth and development. Together with Brazil, Argentina leads the ranking of international arrival and total tourist spending in the Latin American region.45 In 2010 an investment of US$500 million dollars was confirmed for international event organization and an significant portion of funds were dedicated to luxury hotels. Supporting this vision is the National Institute of Tourism Promotion (INPROTUR). They are responsible for implementing Argentina’s International Tourism Marketing Strategic Plan that promotes Argentina as a tourist destination. Such tourist-oriented macro-restructuring policies are evident within Buenos Aires’ urban heritage district in the city centre. However, this ongoing battle between the public and the authorities about the struggle to preserve its architectural and physical history, as some of its famous buildings and infrastructure crumble, is overrun by municipal investment that favour municipal expenditure in ‘newer’ districts, such as Puerto Madero, in order to create new urban forms for economic activity. However, this is not to underestimate the importance of municipal investment in city centres to support urban economic growth, but to consider whether development oriented towards building Argentina and Buenos Aires, as a world-class destination, is consistent with just and long term development plans that leaves no people and space behind.

Conclusion Although this contextual discussion on tourism in Latin America is brief, it assists in framing certain tourism development and branding strategies as practices that put such cities and nation in competition with one another, which creates certain conditions for the privatization of social welfare. In this context, it is one way to frame the external pressures that drive 45 National Insitute of Tourism Promotion and Ministry of Tourism, “Argentina Land of of Opportunities,” http://goo.gl/ke49Pp

How the local operates in response (and resistance) to the global tourist imagery serves to shed light upon the invisible displacement and social exclusion of marginalized communities and the multiple cultures and identities ingrained in everyday life itself. 36


Ecuador’s competitive processes with its own Latin American neighbors, who are also using municipal and state finances for grand visions of global attraction even though the social inequalities that are inscribed in these cities’ landscapes are visible among everyday life. What will follow this macro-framing of inter-urban competition vis-a-vis tourism and branding is a close analysis of how Quito, Ecuador became situated within this competitive lens. More closely, it will illuminate how certain macro visions translate to the level of the city and to local neighborhood sites via Quito’s large traditional food markets, which serve as an impetus to critically trace the relationship between global capital flows and local struggles for political recognition and political voice. Significantly, the struggles of the markets to resist the pressures of competitive urban development are emblematic of many struggles in cities all over the world.

Image: #Votaporecuador, Campaign to nominate Ecuador as the best destination in South America for 2016 Source: http://www.worldtravelawards.com/vote Image: Below, street vendors outside of Mercado San Roque, Quito, Ecuador Source: Photograph by author

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SECTION 2 QUITO AND ECUADOR: (RE)BUILDING AND (RE) BRANDING A ‘NEW’ CITY AND A ‘NEW’ NATION 2.1 Introduction: Tourism, Buen Vivir, and a New National Project The rise of Rafael Correa and the Alianza PAIS (AP) Movement coming into power at the end of 2007 provides one time frame to situate the nation’s more recent intense tourism and re-branding political efforts. Significantly, prior to Correa, Ecuador was defined by its political and economic instability, and seven presidents were forced out of office in a decade. Thus, it was important for the AP administration to dominate Ecuadorian politics with visions and goals oriented towards building a strong, independent, democratic socialist state in order to move away from the country’s export-oriented economy. One way forward, according to the AP political movement, was through developing a strong nation-wide tourism sector. However, as the process began to unfold in a capitalist context, preparations for worldclass tourist destination sites fundamentally began to prioritize capital accumulation over the interests of citizens demanding alternative models of development. Thus, this begs a need to bring awareness to a situation that ultimately accentuated ways in which citizen welfare was being shelved as a consequence of the prioritization and facilitation of tourism itself. From this perspective, it can be understood that new forms of capital, power and politics were harnessed in order to sell Ecuador as a newly left progressive nation. However, this process of selling a place becomes inscribed in a global competitive market as the AP administration began to rebuild the nation’s economy via new visions, plans and strategies through Ecuador’s Citizens Revolution (La Revolución Ciudadana)--the organizing principle to brand the “new” Ecuador.1 This proposed national project, beginning in 2008, embraced the vision of a 21st century socialism model - following the Bolivian project of Venezuela - which was reflected in the enactment of Ecuador’s new 2008 Buen Vivir constitution as well. Importantly, the constitution follows an indigenous conception of Sumak Kawsay, 1 Marc Becker, “The Stormy Relations between Rafael Correa and Social Movements in Ecuador,” Latin American Perspectives, 40, 3 (2013): 43-62; Alejandra Santillana Ortiz and Jeffrey R. Webber, “Cracks in Correísmo?” Jacobin, August 14th, 2015, https://www.jacobinmag. com/2015/08/correa-ecuador-pink-tide-protests-general-strike/

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“living well,” and forms the foundation for a new nationwide ideological development framework, which is based on ‘alternative’ and ‘sustainable’ models of generating productivity beyond natural resource extraction.2 Back then, the Minister of Tourism, Vinicio Alvarado, stated that Ecuador’s tourism sector would be key to implementing this change.3 Buen Vivir aims to negate and re-signify the traditional models of development by including strong notions of cultural and ecological consciousness, such as the concept of “rights to nature,” which states that the living forests, mountains, rivers and seas are legal subjects, and the “the right to a dignified city” as recognized in Article 31, which states that people can exercise their full enjoyment within the city while respecting the diversity of Ecuador’s cultures.4 Further, Article 281 of the Constitution distinctly states food sovereignty as one specific objective of the government: “food sovereignty is a strategic objective and an obligation of the state that persons, communities, peoples and nations achieve self-sufficiency with respect to healthy and culturally appropriate food on a permanent basis.”5 Taken together, Ecuador’s constitution is comprised of a very unique rhetoric that does not exist in other many other countries around the world. According to executive director of the Institute of Ecuadorian Studies in Quito, Ecuador, Alejandra Santillana, who is also member of the Feminist Collective Las Lorenzas, she marked that the new constitution truly did reflect the dynamics of the time and a true image that characterised Ecuador’s historical struggles.6 Overall, the constitution gained widespread enthusiasm across the country. The process of re-defining Ecuador’s newness towards a new political and economical agenda served to concentrate political power. The re-branding of a nation centered on ideologies of Buen Vivir ultimately restructured the nation’s political-economy towards capitalist modernization projects via matters of negotiation, compromising and adaption.7 After all, Ecuador has recently made some important gains in its tourism industry. For example, the capital city of Quito received the 2 Sara A. Radcliffe, “ Development for a post neoliberal era? Sumak kawsay, living well and the limits of decolonisation in Ecuador,” Geoforum, 43 (2012): 240-249; Catherine Walsh, “Development as Buen Vivir: Institutional arrangements and de(colonial) entanglements,” Development, 53, no. 1 (2010): 15-21. 3 “Ecuador Tourism Promotion Copes with Lower Budget,” Tourism Review, April 4th, 2016, http://goo.gl/6yzste 4 “Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador,” Georgetown University Political Database of the Americas, October 20th, 2008, http://pdba. georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Ecuador/english08.html 5 Ibid. 6 Alejandra Santillana, interview by author, Quito, Ecuador, January 13th 2016. 7 Raul Zibechi,”Ecuador: A Prolonged Instability,” in Territories in Resistance A Cartography of Latin American Social Movements, translated by Ramor Ryan (Oakland: AK Press, 2012):179-186


Calling attention to the visual conditions that sell a nation to the global stage serves to question the values and identities grounded in the coerciveness of world-class destination imaginaries.

top prize in the 2015 World Travel Awards as ‘South America’s Leading Green Destination,’ and was recommended by the New York Times as one of its “52 Places to Go in 2014.”8 USA Today Travel chose the Galapagos Islands as its number one place to visit, and the city of Cuenca was recognized as “the best city in the world to retire” by International Living.9 If President Correa continues to highlight the qualities that make Ecuador an ideal place to invest, then, I challenge the notion of selling Ecuador as a world-class tourist destination that turns everyday life into a spectacle, performed by (often marginalized) working-class population locals merely for the benefit of tourists.10 As the AP government works to provide tourists with what they seek--security, quality service, and an attractive environment--it is a symbolic gesture that binds public authorities to the service of private capital, rather than to the provision of public services and the protection and building upon constitutional rights. Thus, present-day social movements in Ecuador are revealing the realities attached to the rhetoric of the constitution and are claiming that the AP Administration is failing to deliver on promises of social programmes and income equality.11 Thus, Ecuador’s current model of governance and progressive development strategies forms a particular tension with the rhetoric of the left-government. Seen through this lens, the new national project of Ecuador is not just about appealing to a new international class of tourists, 8 World Travel Awards, http://goo.gl/ahLVSY; “52 Places to go in 2014,” New York Times, Septemeber 5, 2014, http://goo.gl/aTuI8p 9 “Why Cuenca is the best city in the world to retire in,” International Living, http://goo.gl/LpQ8LN; Nancy Trejos, “Travel in 2016: Hot destinations, top trends,” USA Today, January 4th, 2016,http://goo.gl/OAgrso 10 “Las Olas meets with Ecuador President Rafael Correa to discuss its investment in Ecuador and Ecuador’s future plans to grow Tourism and expand the Ecuador Economy,” Las Olas, December 8, 2014, http://goo. gl/QYl06Y 11 Alejandra Santillana & Jeffrey Webber “Cracks in Correismo,” Jacobin, August 14th, 2015, https://goo.gl/2LBc24; Alejandra Santillana, interview by author, Quito, Ecuador, January 13th 2016.

or the people of Ecuador’s social movements that drove the making of the Buen Vivir constitution. It is fundamentally about the restructuring of the political economy and governance; especially towards the restructuring of the nation-state towards private sector models of development. Inevitably, this drives a paradox between who the future of Ecuador’s promising vision of ‘good living’ is for: an international tourism audience or the city dwellers.

2.2 Promoting Inter-Urban Competition through Tourism and Branding: National Strategies, Trends Policies, and Plans The composition of tourism investment in Ecuador is highlighted in key national planning and strategy documents. It is emphasized as a strategic sector that can contribute towards a “sustained economic growth” because it is an industry that can develop very quickly over time if a territory already has existing unique cultural assets that can be capitalized on. Of importance, tourism is an industry that demonstrates clear and concrete changes of the material reality and brings forth strong implications to the changes of everyday lives. Thus, to investigate such material consequences on the ground, I ask, how have official authorities, from UNESCO to the AP administration to the Ministry of Tourism to the level of the municipality government, created immediate transformations to establish Quito and Ecuador as a world-class tourist destination? What follows is an examination of the ‘invisible forces’ of macro government plans, policies, budgets, tactics, and events in order to demonstrate how certain large macroeconomic visions and decisions are affecting the lives of everyday Ecuadorian people.

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A. National Branding Ecuador’s first official tourism brand, Ama La Vida, was unveiled in 2010 by the Ministry of Tourism. It has been used in international tourism advertisements and also to identify products made in the country. However, Ama La Vida is now a general national brand and has been replaced with a new tourist campaign called #Allyouneedisecuador, which was launched in March 2014. This can been observed as a response by the Ecuadorian government to take tourism development very seriously; the state administration quadrupled its budget since 2012 in order to reach international audiences through multiple media platforms. In 2012, the budget for the Ministry of Tourism was US$40 million, but starting in 2013 and until 2017, the national budget has been raised to US$150 million per year.12 However, this is also about the powerful role of appearance that because within the Ecuador’s global slogan, “Feel Again,” it aestheticizes, alters and distance the global perception of multiplicities in everyday life. Inherently, the visibility of these images launched for a global audience is connected to “the intersection of power with visual presentation” in the national imaginary of Ecuador.13 The All You Need is Ecuador campaign is part of an ambitious government strategy to diversify the Ecuadorian economy and place tourism at the heart of a long-term plan to transition away from oil-based dominance.14 Thus, with a state aim to double tourism growth from the United States in the next 5 years and expand its current 1.4 million international tourist base, the concentration of political power, capital and institutions will conceptually cater to this goal. Due to this, world-class-led development model re-orients government towards private sector models of development and spurs economically competitive urban makeovers to improve international linkages into the international circuits of capital flows and tourism.

B. National Plan(s) for el Buen Vivir Following the Buen Vivir constitutional mandate and the right of citizens to build a system of food sovereignty, the government engaged in a planning process to write a national development plan for four years (2009–2013). The National Plan for Good Living (Plan Nacional para el Buen Vivir 20092013) was passed on November 5th, 2009 by the National Secretary of Planning and Development (SENPLADES) with the 12 “Ecuador is Serious about betting on tourism development and quadrupled the budget for that Industry,” Andes Agencia Publica de Noticias del Ecuador y Suramerica, Sept.19th, 2013, http://goo.gl/7ttOd8 13 Nicholas Mirzoeff, “ The Subject of Visual Culture,” in The Visual Culture Reader, ed. Nicholas Mirzoeff (London: Routledge, 2002). 14 “Feel Again Project Documentary,” Youtube, January 6th, 2016 https://goo.gl/Udg0hD

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objective to outline strategic policy goals established by the new constitution.15 Highlighted in this new government strategy is the move towards a service economy, which includes the importance of the tourism sector. In fact, Ecuador’s national tourism push is further supported within SENPLADE’s next National Plan for Good Living for 2013-2017 where tourism is defined as a “productive structure and strategic sector”with great economic potential.16 Such terminology ultimately symbolically prepares Ecuador’s territories for the growing tourism sector. Some scholars argue that the broad use of the concept of Buen Vivir has come to “sustain post-colonial condition of development” and works as a “discursive tool” that caters to the strengthening of the State and its structures.17 Thus, unlike the building of Buen Vivir ideology for alternative development strategies, the Correa era can be understood as a period of government commodification since the AP government has committed themselves to investing in the promotion of tourism as a strategic sector for economic growth.18 If US$110 million is the total public spending by the national tourist sector,19 then how the Ecuadorian government utilizes “Good Living” within a sector that fosters commodification, should be more publically scrutinized by Ecuadorian policy makers.

C. Change of the Production Matrix As the tourism sector continues to be one of Ecuador’s most important sectors, it also brings immediate and visible representation to everyday life. This is documented in yet another nation-wide alternative economic development model, called the Change of the Production Matrix, where the country’s nation-wide tourists assets would be ‘key’ to new economic development plans. Led by the AP Administration since the presidency of Correa in 2007, the Change of the Production Matrix seeks to re-engineer the structure of the Ecuadorian economy by restricting imports and decreasing the dependency on the extraction of raw materials to finance the state budget. The key industries that the Correa Administration is investing in to 15 The Republic of Ecuador, “National Plan for Good Living, 2009-2013, Building a Plurinational and Intercultural State,” National Secretariat of Planning and Development (SENPLADES), 2010, http:// www.planificacion.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2016/03/PlanNacional-Buen-Vivir-2009-2013-Ingles.pdf 16 The Republic of Ecuador, “National Development Plan/National Plan for Good Living, 2013-2017,” National Secretariat of Planning and Development (SENPLADES), 106. 17 Radcliffe, 2012; Walsh, 2010 18 Charles Landry, Richard Florida are two key promoters for the “creative city” and both argue that culture is an important economic driver for cities to attain a “competitive” status 19 Ministerio de Finanzas,“Justificativo Proforma Presupuesto General Del Estado 2015,” November 2014, 34, http://goo.gl/n5eZph


achieve the change in the Ecuadorian production are refineries, petrochemicals, assembly of cars, bio-knowledge, hydroelectric dams and tourism.20 What is most significant about analyzing the non-energy sector associated with the Change of the Production Matrix, is the logic from political elites that see tourism as the country’s best renewable resource.21 Since 2007, the Ecuadorian government has been looking for ways to use its commodity resources, such as the country’s natural and cultural heritage assets, to end its struggling dependency on oil. More over, the Ecuadorian government is working even more creatively to promote tourism in light of the global decrease in oil prices since the country is currently functioning within a rapidly different economic environment compared to 2013. Thus, since Ecuador’s oil revenues were no longer able to fund alternative and diverse production means, an intense tourism promotion provided a visible perception to camouflage a ‘boost’ of the country’s economic growth. After all, the celebration of a country’s spectacle imagery is one way to mask the economic down-turns and decrease investments in public services and sectors affecting everyday life.

D. International Partnerships for Cultural and Heritage Development Plans

Ecuador and its attractive natural and cultural territories into global processes of commodification for funding and marketing. The World Bank calls this the “Economics of Uniqueness,” which aids in an urban boost of development schemes and contributions to a city’s service economy.24 It can also be argued that the symbolic appropriation of Ecuador’s cultural heritage is transforming the commercial landscape of cities by utilizing exclusionary policies to prioritize sites that cater to the global tourist agenda. This is also emblematic of a global trend targeting Latin American heritage cities to turn them into destinations for tourism.25 Significantly so, this process is symbolic as to which kind of model of economic accumulation Ecuador’s Alianza PAIS Administration is favoring to boost the national economy. This includes sites where capital can be accumulated, rather than sites of non-accumulation value, such as public services and non-institutionalized cultural sites of everyday social exchange. This further reinstates the power of a value system dictated by heritage and the role of tourismled gentrification in Ecuador and Latin America that favors and caters to a population far beyond local inhabitants, their needs and everyday citizen demands.26

2.3 Promoting Inter-Urban Competition Through Tourism and Branding: Municipal Strategies, Trends, Policies, and Plans and Everyday Life

In partnership with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Correa administration invested US$250 million in cultural asset development to invest in the relationship between the country’s national heritage and sustainable development to “reduce poverty.”22 The goal is to calculate the revenue contribution that cultural tourism has towards the national economy and its impact on creating jobs and economic development. In fact, UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme, who are both part of the institutional family of the World Bank, refer to the success of cultural development when it has a ‘transformational impact’ to attract consumers, entrepreneurship and business development, to name a few.23 Moreover, utilizing Ecuador’s strong cultural and natural heritage to attract international attention ultimately inserts

If Quito Turismo, the municipal public company that manages the municipal tourism budget and coordinates tourism strategies, designates Quito as “a tourism oriented city,” “a city for investment” and “a competitive city,” an understanding of how this operates at the city level is needed to assess how this form of economic development impacts the inequality of local residents.27 For instance, a recent article by USA Today states “[Quito’s] government has made efforts to boost tourism by redeveloping blighted areas into commercial districts and

20 Vice Presidencia de la Republica del Ecuador, “Estrategia Nacional Para el Cambio de La Matriz Productiva,” March 2015. 21 Latin American Trade & Investment Association, “Doing Business in Ecuador,” http://www.latia.org/doing-business-in-ecuador. 22 “The Republic of Ecuador; a comprehensive strategy for sustainable development and economic growth,” Foreign Policy News, August, 23, 2015, http://goo.gl/DFVbZp 23 UNESCO & United Nations Development Programme, “Creative Economy Report 2013 Special Edition: Widening Local Development Pathways,” (New York: United National Development Programme, 2013), 138.

24 The World Bank, “ The Economics of Uniqueness Investing in Historic City Cores and Cultural Heritage Assets for Sustainable Development,” ed., Guido Licciardi and Rana Amirtahmasebi, (2009), 125. 25 Rosemary Bromley, and Peter Mackie,“Displacement and the new spaces for informal trade in the Latin American city centre,” Urban Studies 46, no.7 (2009), 1485–506. 26 Alan Middleton, “Informal traders and planners in the regeneration of historic city centres: the case of Quito, Ecuador,” Progress in Planning, 59,2 (2003): 71-123 27 Quito Turismo, “Quito Investment Destination,” https://issuu.com/ quito_turismo/docs/nyu

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Image: Above, Ecuador’s Feel Again Campaign Source: ElCiudadano.gob.ec Image: Below, branding campaigns for Ecuador #Allyouneedisecuador & Ecuador Ama La Vida (trans. Ecuador Loves Life) Source: “All you need is Ecuador #AllYouNeedIsEcuador Campaña publicitaria del Ministerio de Turismo,” https://goo.gl/7IZNjz

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Image: August 13th, 2015 Indigenous march and people’s strike in the streets of Quito Source: Top left image retrieved from Jacobin https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/08/correa-pink-tidegramsci-peoples-march/ Source: All other images by author, Quito, Ecuador, August 13th, 2016

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increasing security in high trafficked areas.”28 This media statement is undoubtedly controversial. For example, the “blight” designation comes from an external, global media perception, which affects the lives of everyday people living within this label. This drive for an extensive revitalization of Quito for the achievement of a new local, national and global appearance is ultimately led by the visions and decisions of city officials, developed at the national level by the AP Administration, and influenced by global trends of tourism for economic development purposes. This intention is ultimately enhanced at the municipal level and is outlined in several recent metropolitan planning documents, strategies and objectives to sell Quito as a productive business fabric with a strong cultural and natural heritage. From this perspective, the re-imaging of Quito can be analyzed by looking at which sectors become prioritized for revitalization programs, development and redevelopment plans and which sectors remain in the background and experience devalorization, disinvestment or displacement. What follows is a sampling of tourism-encouraged development plans that promote the city of Quito to grow in a way that caters to large-private development and foreign needs (investors and tourists), which consciously or unconsciously fosters exclusionary policies and civic fragmentation.

A. Making a Capital City a World Class Tourist Destination Based on the political prediction that one million tourists will visit Quito by 2018, and with mega-events looming on the horizon such as the World Urban Forum UN Habitat III conference in October 2016, it is no surprise that Mayor Rodas is preparing to capitalize on Quito’s culture and colonial character of the city.29 For instance, how Quito will develop according to its productivity in sectors of tourism, business and commerce, is conceptualized and imagined in the “Strategic Plan for Metropolitan Development and Land Management 2015-2025” document, which is further supported by three other strategic development axes from the Mayor’s campaign to strengthen the city of Quito: 1) Quito: Intelligent People City, 2) Quito: City of Opportunities, 3) Quito: Solidarity City.30 The approval of these Municipal planning instruments serves to visualize the projected city and its transformations through the implementation 28 “Travel in 2016: Hot destinations, top trends,” January 4th, 2016, http://goo.gl/0AFnzk 29 Quito Turismo, “Tourism in Quito increased 8.5% in 2014,” http:// goo.gl/uPfYhX 30 Alcaldía Metropolitana de Quito, “Plan Metropolitano de Desarrollo y Ordenamiento Territorio,” February 13th, 2015, http://goo.gl/8OEPN9

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of various municipal projects in coordination with the private sector and other government bodies. Significantly so, the tourism sector is one of the common threads in all these documents and is highlighted as an “investment attractor” in order to speculate for the prosperity of Quito’s future. Overall, these municipal documents highlight that the very identity of Quito depends on the strategic importance to the city’s relation to the national and international scale through the attraction of natural, tourist, business, logistical and culture zones. The plan identifies “attraction zones” to demonstrate how the city envisions generating income and foreign investment in order to position the capital city within the international tourism circuit.31 Further, in recognition of the Metropolitan Development and Land Management 2015-2025 vision, government-based investments and funds towards the designated “attraction zones”, include the UNESCO designated Centro Historico District, the redevelopment of the old city-centre airport, the development of a new airport, and renovation plans for both big urban parks and major street boulevards. For the development of the old airport, the city plans to completely revitalize the 11.4 acres of land and transform it into the Conventions and Events Complex in Bicentennial Park.32 This is the city’s largest urban development project in recent years and will also include hotels and other related commercial businesses. The development of the New Quito International Airport (NAIQ) symbolically prepares Quito for the global stage as the municipality of Quito and the national government together put forth an immense effort in its construction, which began in 2006 and opened in 2013. Presently, the airport is considered to be one of the busiest in Latin America, bringing increased activity in the form of people, business, and opportunities. An additional US $87 million was located for the City of Quito at the end of 2014 for new hotel investments, along with US$1.4 billion for Quito’s first Metro Line, which is currentlybacked by the Inter-American Development Bank (US$200M), European Investment Bank (US$250M), and the World Bank (US$205M).33 Moreover, the Annual Operating Plan for the productive development sector of the Quito government states that the designed budget for Quito Turismo in 2015 is about US$7 million Dollars.34 Although a small operating budget for a 31 Ibid., see section Objetivo 1.B “Mejorar el atractivo de Quito como ciudad de negocios. Se habrá fomentado el usufructo del Patrimonio Cultural y Natural del DMQ,” 104-107 32 Quito Turismo, “Quito, Capital of Tourism Investments” https://goo. gl/CqLDrB 33 “Over $87 Million in New Hotel Investment Announced for Quito, Ecuador,” Market Wired October 22nd, 2014, http://goo.gl/5l4xhV; The World Bank, “The Public Work that Will Improve the Face of th Ecuadorean Capital,”, December 6th, 2013, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/ feature/2013/12/06/metro-de-quito 34 “Matriz Del Plan Operativo Anual-POA/Ejercicio Fiscal 2015,” Municipio del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito, Secretaria General de


Image: Quito’s UNESCO Historic District Source: Photograph by author

city, it is no surprise that the city is looking for foreign investors and international institutions to support their grandiose tourism visions to boost municipal productivity.

B. Quito’s UNESCO Historic Centre District The symbolic and substantive culture capital of Quito is vividly visible in the city’s Historic Centre District. This visibility is enacted through the ideology of cultural heritage as a strategy of economic development, which speaks to the ongoing role that public space plays in the “Latin” world as part of a global trend to target heritage cities and turn them into destinations for tourism.35 Addressing this spectacle in Quito’s historic centre is an essential step in realizing the role that urban renewal plays under the guise of urban heritage plans. As the urban anthropologist Eduardo Kingman reminds us in his work on equity, heritage, and development in the urban context, “what is at stake is something more than a mere nostalgic feeling for the past.”36 It is the impact this type of concentrated investment in the city’s prized historical core will have in the future. Overall, the valorization of the Planificacion 35 Michael Janoschka, Jorge Sequera, Luis Salinas, “Gentrification in Spain and Latin America– A Critical Dialogue,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, (2013): 15. 36 Eduardo Kingman Garces, “Heritage, policies of memory and the institutionalization of culture,” City & Time 2, no.1 (2006): 18

City’s historic centre is a measure of the exclusionary forms of economic development that prioritizes profitable urban forms, while devalorizing non-profitable and marginalized districts. Essentially, patrimonio, the concept of heritage, is the rationale for a certain type of urban ‘conservation’ that is particularly strong in Quito. As the first UNESCO World Heritage Site (1978), the municipal and state government view a particular imaginary of the Historic Centre as a profitable impetus for tourism. The ideology behind patrimonio is about “preserving” the character and aesthetic of the Historic Centre because it carries a certain memory that cannot be erased from history. However, this type of urban conservation is focused on physical attributes of a building, even more specifically their facades, which protects and maintains the urban character of the Centro Historico. Although patrimonio expresses an institutionalized perspective of the importance of culture, it is also a rationale of state power for budget allocations and cultural capital investment schemes. The symbolic and substantive culture capital of Quito’s Historic Centre is exemplified in strategic mechanisms for its cultural and economic powers. For instance, the 2001 “Recovery and Rehabilitation of the Historical Centre of Quito” Program was a demonstration of the city’s commitment to the generation of income and foreign investments in order to position Quito in the international tourism circuit. However, this led to the relocation of some 6,000 street vendors in 2003 and reconfigured

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the lives of sex workers.37 In addition, with over 50% of the established cultural attractions in the Centro Historico, Ecuador`s federal government and the Mayor of Quito have committed to an ongoing revitalization program for the Centro Historico.38 In the first phase, $83 million will be invested by 2017 and a total of $675 million is estimated to be invested in the project overall, with additional support by the Inter-American Development Bank at $8 million.39 This includes a completed revitalization project to a boulevard located within the Centro Historico district boundaries called Avenue 24 de Mayo, which was funded by the municipal and national government and UNESCO.40 Further, the municipal government also has recently prioritized a plan to move the embassies of several countries to the historic centre, and plans to relocate the United Nations Headquarters and the Organization of American States (OAS) Headquarters to the historic centre.41 The project has been allocated $20 million, but this budget can be scrutinized in light of the dramatic drop in the price of oil that has impacted the entire country’s 2016 deep budget cuts; hitting public services and social development projects and sectors the most.

2.4 Unforeseeable Consequences of World-Class Tourism: Processes of Devalorization & Commodification Towards Large Traditional Markets in Quito The astounding forces that contribute to Quito and Ecuador becoming a “destination,” are related to the conditions of interurban competition; a process where governmental authorities work to sell their local and nation-wide assets to the global stage for international attraction, which includes tourism and foreign investment. Thus far, this conceptualization of urban life has been essential to frame because it offers clues as to which sectors become prioritized for (re)development and which sectors, urban forms and populations remain in the background and experience exclusion, disinvestment, and displacement. 37 “Quito’s rebirth,” Inter-American Development Bank, Aug.1st, 2004, http://goo.gl/prPD5E; Sandra Alvarex and Mariana Sandoval, El Trabajo Sexual en el Centro Historico de Quito (Quito: Metropolitan District of Quito, 2013) 38 “Plan de Revitalización del Centro Histórico de Quito,” https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5uib7jktpk 39 Inter-American Development Bank, “Quito Historic Center Rehabitliation Program Stage II,” http://idbdocs.iadb.org/wsdocs/getdocument. aspx?docnum=554236 40 International Council on Monument and Sites Advisory Mission Report on the City of Quito, Ecuador, October 2013, http://goo.gl/xPzALJ 41 El Ciudadano, “Government is Promoting a Project to Revitalize the Historic Center of Quito,” November 23, http://goo.gl/VTLUkf

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To see such contested macro and micro processes at play, this collective, year-long thesis project enabled a particular investigation to link how top-down inter-urban competitive strategies-based on tourism and (re)branding-produces an exclusionary city where low-income populations and marginalized districts are negatively impacted. One particular site to understand the macro, competitive, political and economic logic that works to actively undermine authentic sites of social activity and cultural and economic exchange, is through the dynamic sites of Quito’s large traditional food markets. Thus, what follows is an understanding of how the making of Quito as a world-class tourist destination creates certain conditions for the devalorization of traditional market space. This is related to the unforeseeable consequences shaping the future city and, ultimately, their future market.

Large Traditional Food Markets in Quito The characteristics of traditional food markets in Quito, Ecuador embody infrastructures of social and cultural activity and economic exchange. They foster multiple values in the form of employment for indigenous and mestizo people, as a locus of connection between rural and urban processes between the flows goods and people, and as sites that feed individual buyers and large-scale commercial buyers in order to feed the city. There are 52 markets in the Metropolitan District of Quito. Three of Quito’s large traditional food markets, Mercado San Roque, Mercado Chiriyacu/“Camal” and Mercado Mayorista, are major wholesale markets, which supply all the other retail markets, including informal vendors.42 Specifically, a perspective on the importance of the metabolic role of the markets in the city is key to understanding the diverse conditions of Quito’s market spaces as essential urban anchors; especially when there are significant market sites that feed 34% of the city population and even supply goods to the other wholesale markets, like Mercado San Roque.43 Additionally, it is essential to reveal the multidimensional characteristics of Quito’s traditional markets as a public body of people, interests, products, and trade. They are a direct link between town and country, a national symbol of food sovereignty, landed territories for migrants from the countryside, and sites of cultural exchange and intercultural knowledge sharing practices. Although differences collide and competition is strong between market vendors and traders, of which who 42 See the wordpress blog Frente de Defenza y Modernización del Mercado de San Roque for their quantitative and qualitative analysis on markets in Quito, https://frentemercadosanroque.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/ desfile-de-los-mercados-de-la-ciudad/ 43 Ibid.


Image: Above, seafood market workers, Mercado Mayorista, Quito, Ecuador. Below, market workers, Mercado San Roque, Quito, Ecuador Source: Photographs by author, January 2016

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are largely mestizo, and the wage laborers, who are mostly indigenous, there is still a knowledgeable support network where indigenous solidarity and reciprocity is enacted. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge that markets act as an essential social infrastructure between wage laborers, sellers and buyers within and beyond the physical infrastructure of the markets themselves. One political opinion brought forth by the Marxist geographer David Harvey, who has spent time in certain market spaces in Quito, is to see Quito’s markets as spaces of hope.44 The markets are self-organized labor structures built upon shared networks of local goods and customs, which also have the capacity to neglect large authoritarian structures and global forces of tourism. In great favor of Harvey’s thought, the foundational practice of markets, as sites of diverse social relations, possess significant potential to oppose neoliberal economic practices and demonstrate what socially progressive politics and plurinationality actually looks like on the ground. Even Ecuador’s former Vice-Minister of Culture, Ana Rodriguez, emphasizes the intrinsic cultural value of Quito’s popular markets as sites that are just as important as the UNESCO stamp even though they are not as “distinguishable” as places like Quito’s UNESCO’s Historic Centre district.45 Still, the precarious and unique spaces of Quito’s large traditional markets that mix wholesale with consumer markets functioning on a traditional trading and producing system, remain unaccredited. In fact, indistinguishable spaces are less about physical space and more about social activity and economic exchange. In accordance with the combined investigations by anthropologist, Vyjayanthi Rao and urban planner and designer, Vineet Diwadkar, on their visual and ethnographic investigations on ‘informality,’ the indistinguishable characteristics of traditional market sites pertains to a certain value system unrecognized within the values of the regimes of state-government markets.46 These macro power structures predominantly respond to space that is highly visible and communicative and not towards dynamic spaces of everyday life.47 According to architect and urbanist, Teddy Cruz, and his work with indistinguishable spaces such as the communities between the San Diego-Tijuana border, highly diverse sites of social and cultural ecologies are untapped sites of social capital 44 David Harvey, Spaces of Hope (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004); David Harvey also spoke about the importance of market spaces in Quito at the Ministry of Culture’s “Spaces of Hope” workshops at Mercado San Roque in August 2015 45 Ana Rodriguez, in conversation with author, Quito, Ecuador, January 3rd, 2016 46 Vyjayanthi Rao and Vineet Diwadkar, “From Informality to Parametricism and Back Again,” in Informal Market Worlds Reader, ed. Peter Mortenbock, et al. (Rotterdam: nai010 publishers, 2015): 163 47 Ibid

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that amplify spaces of socialization and politicization.48 Thus, Quito’s large traditional markets need to be valued more than sites of economic exchange; they are sites of socio-cultural productivity and sites that are essential to resist the global trends of entering into an already homogenized, global tourist market. Fundamentally, the micro political, economic, and cultural situation of Quito’s markets are places of cultural activism and creative acts, where it takes multiple actors to work the economic transactions between small-scale and large-scale vendors, sellers and buyer operations. Yet, there is a cultural logic that makes Quito’s public markets a very rare place of cooperation and competition. For example, there are tacit ordinances, informal mechanisms and regulations that control the extent of competition and try to maintain some balance in the system. However, the multitude of diversity and pluralism that is needed to run everyday market life is often not valued nor legitimized within the domain of government institutions, planners and architects. This is argued to influence the negative perception of Quito’s market spaces from developers constrained in a capitalist context. The above information poses the question: are Quito’s large traditional food markets not significant sites to assume Ecuador’s plurinational constitutional rights, including food sovereignty, good living and rights to nature? In other words, how do you frame tourism as Buen Vivir where people can experience and learn the links of people and country without erasing the lives of the ordinary people, such as the market people, who struggle everyday to contribute to their city?

Markets as Contested Spaces At the core of the spectrum of market modernization forces like tourism, urbanist scholar, Ali Madanipour, emphasizes how contemporary cities have becomes sites of competing forces of social inclusion and social exclusion via spatial, political, economic and cultural realms.49 In the case of Quito, this refers to political exclusion as the workers of certain markets have been systematically blocked from decision-making powers that impact their neighborhood. Economic exclusion happens because the markets have been commodified or disinvested as Quito absorbs economic pressures to rapidly urbanize; cultural exclusion because the worker population of many of Quito’s markets are highly indigenous; spatial exclusion because their 48 Teddy Cruz, “Mapping Non Conformity: Post Bubble Urban Strategies,” Emisférica, 2007, http://hemisphericinstitute.org/hemi/en/ emisferica71/cruz 49 Ali Mandanipour, “Social Exclusion and Space,” in The City Reader, ed. Richard T. LeGates and Frederic Stout (London, England: Routledge, 1998), 186-194.


...the unforeseeable consequences of world-class tourism and rebranding: an urban wreckage of essential sites of anchorage, alimentation and civil society support networks

distinct characteristics set them apart from Quito’s colonial and modernizing urban settings. Unfortunately, the complex social spheres of the markets continue to compound their reputation as inefficient, unorganized and un-sanitized enclaves. Although Quito’s marketplaces are sites of commerce, socializing, and community, they are also spaces of contestation and inequalities, and have garnered systemic strong public and government negative perceptions. For example, out of Quito’s 52 large traditional food markets, Mercado San Roque is one particular market that is more impacted by current national and municipal plans and the vision selling the capital city of Quito and the nation of Ecuador to the global stage. The ongoing struggle of Mercado San Roque is threatened with displacement and perceived as a site of crime and disorder by the general public, even though it sits just on the border of one of Quito’s most prized and well invested districts, the Historic Centre. Its general negative reputation in the city is mainly due to the surrounding neighbourhood of a class that is of lower-economic status, indigenous people, sex-workers, and also included an active prison until 2014. In 2011, Mercado San Roque was publicly elected the number one “Anti-Wonder of the city.”50 This was an initiative led by the local newspaper Ultimas Noticias and speaks to the strong public and government perceptions towards spaces that could hinder the city’s economic plan of increasing income from tourism, which involves cleaning up the “informal” sectors of the city. Further, ongoing pressures of luxury development in the form of a five-star hotel envisioned for the neighbourhood of San Roque, and city plans to modernize the market via a strong gentrifying vision, are signs of the city’s larger economic plans for increasing income from tourism, which involves sanitizing “informal” sectors of the city. A market that is closely located to monumental landmarks in the Historic Centre district is Mercado San Francisco. Thus, it is no surprise that Mercado San Francisco received a $200,000 facelift from the municipality to create the city’s first tourist 50 “Y Las antimaravillas son…” Últimas Noticias, September 19th, 2011.

market, which is now the model that the Municipal government uses to replicate for other markets across the city. However, as a tactful place-specific development strategy, Mercado San Francisco is emblematic of an abrupt market transformation where there is no traditional market left, as it has been ‘socially cleansed’ to meet the demands of a commodified tourist-oriented market. This neoliberal trend that is oriented towards a structural and socially sanitized form of investment, stands in stark contrast with the ongoing disinvestments around Mercado San Roque and other markets confronting similar economic pressures and ongoing negative perceptions associated with places that encompass indigenous workers and degraded neighborhood infrastructure. Moreover, it is also about what happens when such marginalized dynamics become operationalized in tourismled urban development trends and plans. Thus, understanding how certain markets in Quito are more impacted by city policy dynamics and vested interests in flows of money is pertinent to unraveling the conditions that create a chronic marginalization for the people of and in market spaces. After all, as the market people continue to be excluded from being involved in political decisions that impact them most, their daily living and working networks will continue to be disrupted and severed by compounding trends of disinvestment.

Conclusion Quito’s large traditional markets face external pressures as

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the city drives towards sustaining itself as a world-class tourist destination. Thus, like many traditional markets around the word, they are increasingly under economic pressures with micro and macroeconomic policies enforcing commodifiable spatial forms, i.e. large-scale investment plans for real estate development.51 The strong gentrifying vision for the modernization for Mercado San Roque is a telling sign about the combination of world-class related pressures, including real estate, when cities allow prime sites to be redeveloped by the highest bidder. Further, these “urban regeneration” characteristics are prompted by powerful processes of image-making, city marketing and the aesthetization of social inequality. Such specific conditions are evident within the urban terrain of Quito’s large traditional food markets and work to undermine their traditional dignity. Larger questions still remain. I ask: what happens when Quito’s traditional market life and labor structures encounter these external forces of commodification and mass tourism and become even more dynamic to confront? How will they adapt to the neoliberal trend to resist structural and social sanitation forces in order to retain their traditional, dignified market space? Will they still be able to retain their productive and multidimensional assets as the city changes around them? Even if the markets are able to avoid forces related to tourism, will their precarious and vulnerable status quo remain the same? These are important questions that both the market bodies and institutional bodies driving these tourism-led processes need to be asking. Especially since it is Ecuador’s constitutional goal to create a plurinational society to address the right to the city and food sovereignty as constitutional rights. Image making, city marketing and urban aestheticization processes put immense pressures on Ecuador’s plurinational goals when the government prioritizes tourism development over local needs. However, by camouflaging complexities of large traditional food markets in Quito’s society and denying their representation to political power, this brings to the fore the unforeseeable consequences of tourism and rebranding; an urban wreckage of essential sites of anchorage, alimentation and civil society support networks. Thus, what follows is a need to investigate which of Quito’s markets are more impacted by the tactics of world-class tourism, and an exploration of how different markets and grassroots organizations are working to confront, contest and/or resist such dominating forces.

51 Informal Market Worlds: Atlas: The Architecture of Economic Pressure, ed. Helge Mooshammer, Teddy Cruz, Peter Mötenböeck, Fiona Forman (Rotterdam: nai010 publishers, 2015), 397.

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What happens when Quito’s traditional market life and labor structures encounter these external forces of commodification and mass tourism and become even more dynamic to confront? How will they resist the structural and social sanitation forces of neoliberal privatization in order to retain their traditional market space?

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Mercado San Roque

52

Mercado San Francisco


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SECTION 3 REFRAMING QUITO AS A WORLD-CLASS TOURIST DESTINATION: SLOW VIOLENCE TOWARDS LARGE TRADITIONAL FOOD MARKETS IN QUITO 3.1 Field-Work and City Stories: The Characteristics of Tourism’s Inter-Urban Competitiveness Through the Conditions of Diverse Market Sites Generating Insights On the Ground Tourism, a relational event, shapes the construction of space and encounters with implications for those who consume places, objects, and experiences and those who produce culture in tourist locales. Given that my thesis contribution sheds light on linking the discursive and structural forces of inter-urban competitiveness within tourism and branding, it was pertinent to gather field insights towards exclusionary aspects of competitive urban development that impact Quito’s large traditional markets. However, before I explored this focus on inter-urban competition and the world-class tourist destination theme, I first wanted to investigate how Ecuador’s two national concepts of plurinationality and Buen Vivir were establishing themselves locally. A brief summary of three field visits follows: August 2015 (2 weeks), October 2015 (1 week) and January 2016 (1 month). The first trip was an introduction to Quito and to the contested market site, Mercado San Roque, where the Ministry of Culture was hosting a workshop for artists, called “Spaces of Hope”. Myself and two other group members were invited to participate in this workshop. I saw my role primarily as an active observer, using the workshop to ask questions and to see the daily lives of people working and living in and around one of the most contested neighborhoods in the city. For me, curiosity was sparked when I was first introduced to an overarching organization that works to join the leaders of 26 organizations

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who represent more than 3000 vendor workers of the market. The organization is called Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado San Roque, and serves as a union of associations to fight against injustices and the modernization of the market, as well as a point of entry for dialogue with urban authorities. The Frente was a key organization to identify since they represent a series of urban and social justice aspirations for a large body of worker struggles. Further, this trip was an initial step in forming key institutional relationships with the Ministry of Culture and relationships with activist organizations working on the ground, such as Red de Saberes, which translates to Knowledge Network. Red de Saberes is made up of activists, artists, architects, political actors, cultural producers, economists, and anthropologists who are organized in defense of Mercado San Roque as a significant cultural site. Fundamentally, the Ministry of Culture and Red de Saberes formed a foundation for us--the collective thesis group-to pursue a trans-local partnership and to help us engage with the everyday life of the market from abroad and within. As a group, the trip in October was our first trip to Ecuador together. We aimed to collectively acquaint ourselves with the local, social, political and economic conditions, and identify collaborators and partners. Through daily excursions to the Mercado San Roque, the Ministry of Culture, Red de Saberes and their connected partners, we expanded our insights on the historical and present external and internal pressures against, alongside, and within Mercado San Roque. Pertinent to this knowledge was that it was a market threatened with displacement and perceived as a site of crime and disorder by the general public. The area in which the market is located has a strong history of crime and disinvestment, the nearby red light district and the recently closed jail have created a negative reputation in Quito’s public perception. This negative perception prevents the public and key political actors from recognizing the multiple values of the market, and instead, as explained by our partner, has threatened to dislocate it or even to close it down. What became clear to our research group was the urgency to join the defense of the ongoing struggle and advocate on behalf of the locals utilizing the contested site of Mercado San Roque. After evaluating the experiences from two trips, I had made two key observations that informed the future course of my investigation and my third trip in the field. First, it had been seven years since the making of Ecuador’s Buen Vivir constitution, however, indigenous groups, popular and social organizations are still questioning the character of Ecuador’s transitional period. This transformation is underlined by nationwide concepts: plurinationality and Buen Vivir / Living Well.1 1 Salvador Schavelzon, Plurinacionalidad y Vivir Bien/Buen Vivir Dos conceptos leídos desde Bolivia y Ecuador post-constituyentes ( Ediciones Abya-Yala, 2015)


There is a gap in awareness about the structural forces of inter-urban competition and tourismdriven urban development projects that affect socially constructed space—large traditional food markets in Quito—and contribute to everday struggles Thus, from observing a specific view of powerful tourist-oriented visions and projects materializing on the ground, I developed a further curiosity to link macro and structural components of interurban competition to the parameters of the struggles of Mercado San Roque. Further, I also developed an instinct to see which of Quito’s 52 markets are being more affected by inter-urban competition and world-class tourist destination processes. For instance, field observations in Quito’s Historic Centre certainly made visible how local residents working within the district and living around it were being affected by the district’s gentrification processes. After all, this UNESCO designated district is the locus where the onslaught of neoliberal pressures from government authorities, real estate developers, and property speculators intensely surface and are sold to the tourist eye. Mercado San Francisco’s dramatic transformation for a tourist market model, which sits within the Historic Centre boundaries, certainly speaks to the growing influence and future path of Quito’s urban economic development strategies. Moreover, after walking the streets of Quito, studying the maps of the city and projects associated with the building of Quito as a world-class tourist destination, I realized that the spillover effect of tourism-focused investments was radiating in the form of hotel projects, luxury campaigns by foreign developers’ beautification plans for large boulevards and parks, and clean public spaces for tourist activities.2 Thus, being suspicious of this urban development trend based on speculation, profit and predominantly designed for a foreign audience, I identified a gap to understand the localized, internalized urban processes that aim to support the reproduction of global interests, and to see how certain markets are more impacted by inter-urban competition and tourism-destination trends. This perspective was deeply developed in my longest visit 2 “Qatar Entrepreneurs interested in investing in the historic center of Quito,” Andes Agencia Publica de Noticas del Ecuador y Suramerica, October 25th, 2014, http://www.andes.info.ec/en/news/qatar-entrepreneurs-interested-investing-historic-center-quito.html.

to Ecuador over a course of 3 weeks. Over a three week time period, I predominately used exploratory research consisting of on the ground conversations, semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and a focus-group meeting to identify preliminary themes. Specifically, the work pursued during this trip included meetings with our Quito-based research partners (the Ministry of Culture and Red de Saberes) to get input and refine our thesis inquires, visiting specific sites to gather field notes and observations, interviews, and participatory ethnographic engagement with local populations, government officials, activists, organizers, designers, and researchers. From this, I was informed of how Ecuador’s and Quito’s exclusionary forms of competitive urban development schemes--in the face of tourism--were being influenced and driven at a continent, country, region, city, and neighborhood level. Through an arrangement of multiple interviews and dialogues to gather a range of insights about the contested role of the markets in relation to the city, the rural and the country, the city stories I gathered came from the Ministry of Culture, Quito Tourism, UNESCO Ecuador, The Metropolitan Institute of Heritage, scholars critically analyzing uneven development patterns, activists working with Ecuador’s social movements, activist organizations working in defense of the markets, and market leaders. Under the discourse of tourism and competitive urban development, these actors frame a dynamic spatial, economic and political terrain that reveal certain conditions pertaining to the disinvestment and commodification of market spaces in Quito. More over, the narratives between certain market leaders and market organizations revealed two important insights. First, there is an ongoing exclusionary decision-making processes between municipal and national authorities and the markets. Second, there is a gap about a certain awareness towards the structural forces of inter-urban competition and tourisms’ urban development projects that shape the spaces and struggles where certain market people live and work. I will briefly summarize a few stand-out and informative narratives that reveal the political,

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economic and cultural forces working alongside and against Quito’s multiple market spaces.

A. Culture & Politics In an interview with the previous Vice-Minister of Culture, Paco Salazar, he provided a critical national perspective of how to implement or integrate a ‘cultural’ agenda in the precariousness of Ecuadorian politics, as well as how to negotiate with the local politics when working on urban development projects.3 In context, Paco entered the Ministry in 2009 with a mandate to renew Ecuador’s culture front, including the complexities of adopting a Ministry of Culture and a Cultural Law. Curious about this significant political endeavour, I asked, “How did you use your political position to create strategies, or policies that could support non-institutionalized culture spaces and places, i.e. other forms of culture beyond patrimonio?” He explained that under his leadership, his administration developed territorial strategies to promote the generation of cultural content in the country. This meant that cultural content should emerge from the territory without outsiders generating content from them; the role of the Ministry of Culture was thus to provide resources and political direction to allow diversity. However, he was not afraid to acknowledge the difficulties that came with the political management of more progressive cultural strategies under a restricted budget and a narrow-minded administration, which continue to push for traditional concepts of arts and culture. In fact, when trying to support non-institutionalized cultural spaces, Paco emphasized that there was a severe lack of a ‘political battle’ and ‘political weight’ to support more progressive culture strategies beyond artists and entertainment districts, which was desperately needed to drive progressive ideologies from an institutional standpoint. Thus, Paco alludes to the limits of the Buen Vivir constitution and suggests that although the constitution ideologically has the potential to protect and build upon non-institutionalized, vibrant, yet vulnerable cultural spaces such as large traditional food markets, how this is integrated at the city level is not intuitive. Ecuador’s recent Vice-Minister of Culture, Ana Rodriguez, would agree; long before her prestigious political position, she was part of the ongoing struggling to give political and cultural recognition to non-institutionalized sites, like the markets. She argues that such significant sites that embody social value and economic exchange are just as worthy as the UNESCO ‘patrimonio’ standard.4 In fact, she emphasized that if spaces, 3 Paco Salazar, interview by author, Quito, Ecuador, January 12th, 2016. 4 Ana Rodriguez, in conversation with author, Quito, Ecuador, January 3rd, 2016.

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like Mercado San Roque, are to cut across these dominant cultural perspectives and confront these forces of capital-city branding, luxury developments, international forces of heritage, and the political economic strategies to turn traditional markets into tourism destinations, then there has to be a political will to collectively respond to such powerful conditions, both from an institutional and an on-the-ground organizational level by the markets themselves. Ana’s critical position to support everyday struggles is heralded in her political leadership to raise awareness about issues related to “the right to the city” through the current development of Ecuador’s Cultural Law, which she describes as “an unpaid debt” to the Ecuadorian cities.5 Thus, at the policy level and at the level of life of a ‘Quitodiana,’ her bold and refreshing political status brings in a ‘space of hope’ towards validating multiple non-institutionalized sites of culture emblematic of Ecuador’s plurinational constitution.

B. Tourism & Heritage Narratives Further, to understand the operational logic that successfully sells the highly attractive present and future vision of Quito and Ecuador, it was imperative to gather a spectrum of insights on the different levels working to preserve, sustain, enhance, and/ or critically respond to Quito’s development strategies stemming from tourism and heritage. This included interviews with institutional scholars and activists. Firstly, the director of Quito Turismo, which is the municipal public company that manages the $7 million dollar municipal tourism budget, provided her perspective on how tourism in Quito provides significant benefits for local level economic development and job opportunities. She further explained to me that tourism is a model that is very sensible and practical for Quito’s economy because it activates many other sectors that can take advantage of external visitors beyond resource extraction. She specifically spoke fondly of Quito’s heritage district for its cultural and historic powers that provide Quito with an international image. She also remarked how important it was to ‘clean up’ ‘infested zones’ of prostitutes that would tarnish the Historic Centre’s image.6 Hence, she noted that Mercado San Francisco, the traditional food market in the historic centre, is set up for an international tourist visitor since it is clean, friendly, safe and offers multiple languages, unlike the adjacent Mercado San Roque, “that has a lot of social problems: 5 “‘A cultural law is important, it is an unpaid debt,’ Ecuadorian Minister of Culture says,” Andes Agencia Publica de Noticias del Ecuador y Suramerica, April 10, 2016, http://www.andes.info.ec/en/news/culture-law-important-it-unpaid-debt-ecuadorian-minister-culture-says.html 6 Doris Penaherrera, interview by author, Quito, Ecuador, January 13th, 2016.


...to confront these forces of capital-city branding, luxury developments, international forces of heritage, and the political economic strategies to turn traditional markets into tourism destinations, then there has to be a political will to collectively respond to such powerful conditions, both from an institutional and an on-the-ground organizational level by the markets themselves. - In conversation with Ana Rodriguez, Ecuador’s Minister of Culture.

prostitutes, drunks and an old jail.”7 However, the director for the Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio, Angélica Arias, did mention the exclusionary aspects of heritage within the territory of the Historic Centre District.8 She recognized the need to create a balance for the social relations on the streets beyond the facades to preserve a colonial architecture image. However, she struggles to bring a more critical and progressive voice to the very strong and technical ordinances and laws that she, as the director, has to respond to and implement under UNESCO’s conditions. To trace the complexities of heritage responsibilities to the international level was revealed when speaking with a representative of UNESCO Ecuador, Alciea Sandovac.9 She explained that the counter-partner for UNESCO Ecuador is the national government where they are binded to certain responsibilities and international instruments adhered to UNESCO’s nodes of culture and heritage.10 Jumping geographical boundaries, headquarters in Paris develop the UNESCO heritage policy, but it is the city of Quito that implements their notion of culture on the ground. Although Alciea strongly emphasized that UNESCO Ecuador instills its mandate towards ‘sustainable tourism,’ the visual anthropology scholar, Lucia Duran, emphasizes how highly contestable this is. She speaks towards the lines that address how cultural heritage has become a commodity in Latin American cities.11 She believes that there is no possibility to analyze cultural heritage separate from mass consumption. In fact, there is a political agenda that is far beyond the control of Quito’s local politics that has to do with the dynamics of cultural heritage sites, but also with the binding international discourse of UNESCO politics that caters to tourist demands for nostalgic places. Duran’s political and scholarly vision is then to 7 Ibid. 8 Angélica Arias, interview by author, Quito, Ecuador, January 13th, 2016. 9 Alciea Sandovac, skype interview by author, New York, USA, February 1st, 2016 10 Ibid. 11 Lucia Duran, skype interview by author, Quito, Ecuador, January 14th, 2016.

challenge Quito’s heritage-based tourism agenda via the social discourse rather than the heritage discourse, in order to break away from hegemonic definitions as a means to confront the social struggles masked by the visual power of heritage itself. Hence, from a discussion with Paola de la Vega, the founder of an independent and interdisciplinary organization called Gescultura, it was refreshing to know that there is passionate activist body working to confront the uneven systemic issues raised by the tourism sector. Her biggest struggle when working on projects to reveal the politics of cultural management in Quito is to get the people driving public policy that affect tourism development to understand that their ongoing interventions are “killing” the living social fabric of the sector.12 For example, she says, “you see how the community in the Historic Center District is losing population, businesses are closing due to increases in property prices, and the vibrant noise on the streets is lost due to the removal of street vendors.”13 Unlike certain institutional sectors that are binded to implementing UNESCO’s criteria, such as the Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio, Gescultura’s work contests the idea of aesthetics and works to build a ‘patrimonio critique’ by working with small groups of people to reveal living social memory and living social networks. To her, Gescultura is more interested in the community process to address the coerciveness of culture sectors, like tourism; it’s a matter of producing social links between public policy and the people most impacted by unjust provisions projected by municipal authorities. Thus, at the core of this brief composite of tourism and heritage-based interviews, it was essential to synthesize a few narratives ranging from the most institutionalized (UNESCO Ecuador, Quito Turismo, etc.) to the activist social scholars and/ or organizations confronting traditional cultural and heritage values. This lens strengthened my research parameters to critically address the successive plans for tourism activating the city, especially in districts like the Historic Centre with actions that have ranged from the “relocation” of informal trade, the 12 Paola de la Vega, joint interview by author and Sinead Petrasek, Quito, Ecuador, January 14th, 2016. 13 Ibid.

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Image: Market workers of Mercado Mayorista Source: Photograph by author, January 2016, Quito, Ecuador

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“clean-up” of Mercado San Francisco, the “removal” of sex workers, and the gentrification of specific sectors within the Historic Centre itself, like La Ronda.

C. Quito’s Food Markets and their Ongoing Struggle The locus to this collective project is initially based in the highly contested site of Mercado San Roque because it is threatened with displacement and perceived as a site of crime and disorder by the general public. The market’s struggle to resist the pressures of urban development is emblematic of other market struggles across the city as well. Thus, pertinent to this collective project, it was important to make a contribution that goes beyond Mercado San Roque’s individual situation, and investigate how urban development schemes associated with tourist destination advertising discourse, national branding, visual imagery and their consequences multiply towards other markets. Hence, January’s field work ranged from visiting markets experiencing complete municipal disinvestment and neglect (i.e. Mercado San Roque, Mercado Mayorista) to markets able to retain their traditional qualities while catering to a new class (i.e. Mercado Inaquito, Mercado Santa Clara), to an almost completely commodified, tourist market space (i.e. Mercado San Francisco). Importantly, a portion of the field-work was also oriented towards becoming acquaintanced with other grassroots organizations working to support and defend the struggles and dignity of Quito’s market sites. First, I re-entered the field with Red de Saberes by visiting Mercado San Roque and the ongoing struggle of its umbrella organization, the Frente de Defensa (Frente). This was a significant entry point because the Frente holds a particular power position to influence and transfer knowledge about what is happening within and outside the refines of Mercado San Roque. Yet, the tensions and problems of the organization are ongoing since the leaders of the associations who are involved in the Frente are not unified on a shared vision and not everyone is involved. There is also a notable tension between the perspectives of the association leaders between the ‘formal’ part of the market (the inside of the structure) and the ‘informal’ part of the market (the vendors selling on the street outside of MSR’s physical structure). Thus, a surface-level understanding of the Frente’s organizational struggles and their agenda through which it defends, is key to understanding in order to search the broader context for clues that are affecting market tensions. Further, one vital interview that brought Quito’s diverse market transformations to the fore was an interview coordinated between myself and a leader of Red de Saberes (our activist group partner active in Mercado San Roque), Luis Herrera,

with Victor Sanchez, a leader of Federación de Comerciantes Minoristas de Pichincha ‘FEDECOMIP’ (trans. Federation of Minor Retail Traders in Pichincha) since 1997 and who is also a representative of CUCOMITAE (Confederación Unitaria de Comerciantes Minoristas y Trabajadores Autónomos del Ecuador; trans. United Confederation of Retail Traders and Self-employed Workers of Ecuador).14 FEDECOMIP’s fundamental action is the defense of the right to work with dignity for the retail workers in Quito and Pichincha (the province). His broad perspective on the struggles of multiple markets across the city as they confront urban plans, laws and regulations, provided a more holistic view while still respecting the situated struggles of Quito’s 52 popular markets. In conversation, Victor first revealed to us his frustrations with how the local newspapers make a big deal when municipal money is used to ‘fix’ the market infrastructure problem and then celebrate their ‘cleanliness’ and ‘improvement’ when it’s over. This was in reference to a local newspaper article that shot off the press the morning of our conversation, which celebrated the physical infrastructural improvements, in terms of pipes and water, but masked the ongoing oppressive work conditions that require political support and intervention far beyond physical repairs. Thus, to Victor, the main weapon that the market workers and traders have is to organize and mobilize to strengthen their position and build defense fronts against a system that sees the market structures as objects, rather than active forms. He remarks that, “we traders have seen mayors, presidents, commissioners, managers, passing by the associations. Each one as cocky, as brave, as arrogant and authoritarian as the next. And after a year there is nobody in the streets.”15 Thus, Victor’s vision is to fertilize a triangle of alliance between community, municipal and commercial, while also connecting Quito’s popular markets to other social movements in Ecuador. Significantly, what Victor’s conversation sparked between Luis and I, was the idea to organize a focus group meeting with other market leaders because they have a broad understanding of how their ‘own’ market works and the struggles within. This meeting aimed to connect our collective understanding of the negative perception of Mercado San Roque (MSR) to one that connects the struggle of MSR to other markets under the umbrella of uneven urban development forces. Thus, on January 15, 2016, a focus group was held with members of our thesis research team, Luis, Victor Sanchez and a small group of market leaders. Together, the meeting brought people who represented Mercado San Roque, Mercado 14 Victor Sanchez, co-interview by author and Luis Herrera, Quito, Ecuador, January 7th, 2016. 15 Ibid.

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Mayorista, and Centro Comercial Popular Ipiales del Sur, CUCOMITAE (Confederación Unitaria de Comerciantes Minoristas y Trabajadores Autónomos del Ecuador; trans. United Confederation of Retail Traders and Self-employed Workers of Ecuador), and Red de Saberes (an activist group active in Mercado San Roque). The goal of the conversation was to open up a dialogue to listen, learn and share views around the possibilities of how Quito’s popular markets can collectively bring their struggles to the table, organize and support each other. For instance, a representative of Mercado Mayorista shared their significant efforts, stemmed from a 20 year history of organization, to tackle government efforts that have worked to create competition between their workers via penalties and ordinances. For example, the municipal government says the workers, notably the 290 tricicleros who transport goods around the market, need to be more regulated with uniforms and identification. Hence, it is the municipal plan to implement a $950/year tax for each triciclero. On the other hand, according to the representative leader of Centro Comercial, she was greatly concerned about the city’s intense 13-year drive to clean the streets of Quito to make them ‘prettier,’ which includes new infrastructure in the form of malls. Centro Comercial is surrounded by the infrastructure of mall development, which she described as “killing the markets, little by little.”16 Further, during this dialogue, Victor Sanchez notably marks the bigger picture of the markets struggles as one that is part of a greater national network trying to deal with the country’s socioeconomic problems. For instance, he emphasized how Quito has successfully concentrated municipal investments to capitalize on Quito’s natural and cultural heritage for tourism, notably under the provision of Quito’s previous municipal administration under Augusto Barrera and the present municipal administration under Mauricio Rodas. A memorable, translated quote that collectively brought the differences in the room together was: “We struggle against the capitalization of Quito. Now it is a major tourist destination, but at what cost? Yes, Rodas gives us an audience but he doesn’t act on what we say.”17 Thus, there is certainly truth to the strategies of the municipal government that divide the people of the market, between strata, between merchants and between the markets themselves. Moreover, there was a clear frustration about a lack of engagement between city authorities and the market leaders to coordinate and negotiate demands, differences and concerns.

16 Focus group meeting held at Mercado Chiriyacu, Quito, Ecuador, January 15th, 2016 co-hosted by thesis team members (Tait Mandler, Gamar Markarian, and Sinead Petrasek), and leader of Red de Saberes, Luis Herrera 17 Ibid.

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Field-Work Summary After returning from the field for the third time, I was able to direct my suspicions for how inter-urban competition and the making of Quito and Ecuador as a world-class tourist destination multiplies across the city. However, out of the 52 markets that co-exist in Quito, there are certain markets that are affected more by these parameters than others. Thus, through multiple conversations, encounters with different markets, the support of my team and project partners, I came to frame how Mercado San Roque, Mercado San Francisco and Mercado Mayorista are more impacted by Quito and Ecuador’s economic development schemes of tourism and branding. For instance, Mercado San Roque is at the top of this list because of its strong relationship to the UNESCO Historic Centre district, which is the number one tourist attraction district across the city. The fact that the Historic Centre is a prioritized district in the city for funding, tourism and a marketing discourse puts external pressures of disinvestment and commodification alongside and against Mercado San Roque since city authorities prioritize sectors of capital accumulation over social relations. Thus, as municipal, national and international funds continue to be poured into improving this tourist-oriented zone, Mercado San Roque continues to experience disrespect from the municipal authorities, which further deteriorates and strains Frente de Defensa’s relation to negotiate and understand the politics and economic growth of the city. Moreover, Mercado San Francisco is an essential example that visualizes the consequences of what happens when a market in Quito fully transforms towards an audience beyond local residents. Although the physical infrastructure of the market improved, what was pursued to achieve this upgrade was a cleansing of the multiple social relations in and around the space and a significant loss of its traditional market dignity. Mercado San Francisco has lost its vibrancy, noise and multiplicities as it is now one of the quieter and more lonesome sites in the Historic Centre district. Further, Mercado Mayorista, one of Quito’s biggest markets, is also under threat of continuous disinvestment and lack of recognition for its perceived disorderliness by the municipal authorities and their constant battles against tax and laws. Moreover, Mercado Mayorista also geographically location sits in-between the “Strategic Plan for Metropolitan Development and Land Management 2015-2025,” “attraction zones,” meaning that the zones around the market will be prioritized to receive financial resources for urban (re)development schemes, while they will remain on the periphery; this suggests exclusionary forms of development. Significantly, as a tactic that pertains to multiple markets, in one metropolitan document, “Quito, A City of Opportunities,” it states the need to remove informality in all


Framing Theory With On-The-Ground Insights Inter-Urban Competition: World-Class Tourism, Branding & Everyday Life

Value Extraction

Competitve global drive to sell valuable urban assets for (foreign) attraction Concentrated urban investments in profitable sectors

Global Inter-Urban Competitiveness Speculative Urbanism

Power of speculative political scales over socially constructed space

Ecuador Inter-Urban Competitiveness Branded Nation

Deconstructing sites of uneven development

Quito Inter-Urban Competitiveness World-Class Destination City

Profitable

Non-Profitable

Invested Districts

Disinvested Districts

Non-Prioritzed Zones

Local grassroot struggles over non-community controlled change

Mercado San Roque Grassroots Organizations

Mercado Mayorista De-Valued Living Built Form

Mercado San Francisco

UNESCO Center Historico District

City’s Land Management Strategy to invest in “Attraction Zones”: Commercial, Business and Tourist Sectors

Prioritzed Zones of Attraction Value of the Built Form

Exclusionary Economic Development

Creates uneven growth & spatializes the class and race struggles of working-class and vulnerable communities

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sectors of the city since the municipal authorities are looking for ways to attract foreign investors, tourists, and capital relies via improved urban space. Unfortunately, a strong collective imaginary in Quito has centred large traditional markets within this informality lens, which contributes to their exclusionary territory as not being an important part of the political and urban agenda. Thus, such plans shed light on the discursive and structural forces that are powering this process of intense urban renewal and revitalization projects that surround and affect the territories of the markets themselves. Moreover, even with the support of other grassroots organizations in support of the market struggle, like FEDICOMP led by Victor Sanchez, the struggles are isolated and situated as some markets are dealing with commodification where there is no traditional market left and completely oriented to tourists, while other markets are being disinvested or threatened with non-community controlled upgrades. Notably, from the few market organizations we conversed with, it was made clear that they find it difficult to challenge the economic aspects that actively contribute to the decline towards their spaces. Thus, it isn’t to say resistance, independence, and self-management for Quito’s markets are the answer because that’s unfeasible within the powers of the current system fostering entrepreneurship and driving foreign and local investment. What stems is a need to navigate, mediate and ground the unforeseen consequences of the slow violence of the markets within a political terrain to bring to the fore the coerciveness of Quito and Ecuador’s new tourism structures and national branding strategies.

3.2 Within Tourisms’ Local Global Discourse: Towards Building an Awareness The struggles of Quito’s markets apply just as much on the neighborhood scale as the global scale. In a wider economic system that prioritizes the national measured growth of a restricted range of sectors, such as tourism, over local economic attributes, communities face huge struggles in holding onto and developing new and established local economies. While the pressures on traditional market spaces may be experienced locally, they are part of larger city-wide processes and have cumulative effects which are producing serious social, economic and environmental problems for Quito. Thus, the disinvestment and/or regeneration of traditional market spaces is one that represents a significant urban case to speak more provocatively too. For instance, when local or national authorities identify windows of opportunity to aid economic recovery and growth,

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plans, strategies and visions towards leisure, commercial, and business, tend to represent developers and real estate agents’ views of the potential for new commercial development, rather than an assessment of the existing diverse economic activities already taking place. Fundamentally, while new development may bring external investment, the financial values will quickly leak out of a local area if it does not generate the local supply chains that keep money circulating and multiplying for the benefit of the local economy. It is a common urban pattern of how municipalities aim to visualize their presence on a global stage, which inevitably corresponds to trends that capitalize investments, stimulate commerce, activate tourisms, and camouflage politics. Hence, from tracing the idiosyncrasies and ruptures in the political, legal, economic, social and spatial organization of the urban, facilitated by strategies of tourism development and rebranding and encouraged at the level of the global, prompts a need for an urgent discussion. Significantly, it is useful to understand how people are encouraged to confront and take part in the processes of political, economic, and spatial contestation. I briefly highlight three different organizations/people who I think successfully reveal, prompt and mediate contested spaces between public policy, organizations and everyday struggles to negotiate unjust structural plans.

A. Dialogue, Policy & Action: Women in Informal Employment, Globalizing & Organizing [WIEGO] WIEGO is an organization that helps to develop international, regional and national networks between organizations of informal workers, research and statistical institutions, and development agencies. At their core, “WIEGO seeks to bridge the ground reality of informal work and mainstream discourses and debates, to mediate between organizations of informal workers and mainstream institutions, and, together with those organizations, to use [their] credible grounded knowledge of the informal economy to leverage supportive policies, services, and resources for the working poor in the informal economy.”18 As an organization that works inbetween multiple institutional bodies and on-the-ground workers, I thought it was pertinent to reach out to the director of the organization to understand how WIEGO works across physical, social and political spaces to aggregate a wide range demands. She explained to me about how they work and connected a Latin American project with one of their projects in Lima, Peru where they are working with informal street market vendors, leaders of 18

WEIGO, http://www.wiegoinbrief.org/about-wiego-2/


What stems from this research is a need to navigate, mediate and ground the unforeseen consequences of world-class tourism making within Quito and Ecuador’s contested political terrain market organizations and municipal authorities guiding exclusionary policies that impact the perception and work of street and traditional food market laborers.19 For example, one of the forces that hinder vendors’ work is the fact that the city’s regulatory frameworks and planning policies have not included street vending or perceive street vending as a problem. Thus, the vendors also see the metropolitan government in a negative light because of restrictions within the legislative framework, failure to deliver licences and lack of control over the corruption of the municipal police. As part of WIEGO’s work, which is to raise awareness, build the capacities of workers, generate new knowledge, create bridges for dialogue with government authorities, and achieve policy progress for the working poor in the informal economy, they have helped to set up spaces for dialogue that were made permanent over time. This has been an important contribution of WIEGO’s work in Lima where they have brought representatives from the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion and City Government in organized conversations with the workers to improve their understanding about the issues of access to social protection by informal workers. WIEGO also assisted to organize collective platforms of demand and proposal of all sectors of informal workers to be shared with the candidates running for the position of Mayor of Lima, and President of Peru in the election of 2010 and 2014.20 One project success led by WIEGO over 3 a year process was in 2014 when the metropolitan Lima City Council approved a new ordinance that will regulate and protect street vending in the public spaces of Peru’s capital (provided that the last update was in 1985 and that more than 60% of Lima’s population is in the the informal retail trade). Significantly, it is WIEGO’s work that brings to the fore the lived experience of vendors in interacting with local authorities and legal-regulatory structures, which is a process that must be brokered in Quito to see more justice and political recognition brought forth to the markets.

19 Sally Roever, skype interview by author, New York City,USA, March 3rd, 2016 20 http://wiego.org/sites/wiego.org/files/resources/files/WIEGO-Lima-Brochure.pdf

B. Visualizing Change & CounterMapping: Iconoclasistas In Argentina, Pablo Ares and Julia Risler use design, research and a passion for social justice to visualize complex situations into an accessbile and engaging format for collabrative practices with communities and everyday people. Through research and graphic design they make materials dealing with social issues to conduct collective mapping workshops with social movements, community organizations, communication collectives and art groups. They use maps and visual devices to transfer complex forms of knowledge and experiences in ways that collectively shape an accessbile narrative about territorial changes. Signficantly, their visual materials serve as critical and creative pedagogical tools to influence the social imaginary, not only as a means of resistance, but also as a space for thinking about meaningful change or action. Fundamentally, their work explores the question of power and tactics of struggle, while unraveling the situation at hand through a facilitated dialogue about a scenario of why things are the way they are and proposing what things ought to be. This is a step that offers a way to reveal the embeddedness of Quito’s market spaces in unsurmountable forces of tourism and catalyze conversation within and between the markets and government authorities themselves.

C. Challenging the ‘Creative City’ through Socially-Engaged Art Practice: Jeanne van Heeswijk Jeanne van Heeswijk, a visual artist in Rotterdam, contributes to the current debate on the commercialization of society by exposing underlying mechanisms and alternative strategies through cooperative cultural production. Her project in Rotterdam is situated within a working class and ethnically diverse district, Afrikaanderwijk, and it became activated

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because the Afrikaanderwijk district is an area under threat of being sold and being transformed by large scale speculative urban development. However, as part of Jeanne’s “Freehouse” organization, she became involved in the development of the Afrikaanderwijk district through the site of the Afrikaander Market, a wonderful large-scale market of people, products and things and an essential neighbourhood cultural asset. Through the Freehouse project, Jeanne worked with the residents and businesspeople of Afrikaanderwijk to assist in awareness building of their neighbourhood’s cultural wealth and economic potential. For example, in her Freehouse–Market of Tomorrow project of 2008, van Heeswijk sought to revitalize the Afrikaander Market. Working with vendors, artists, designers, and local shopkeepers, she developed a detailed sketch of the ideal market of the future, devoting more attention to diverse high-quality goods and services, and new skill-based collaborative projects. While drawing up the plan, Jeanne challenged government regulations that were preventing vendors and the community from establishing sustainable sources of income. Some of these proposals were then implemented in the new governmental plan. I believe that Jeanne’s project is an inspiration for the elaboration of possibilities for organizing large numbers of inhabitants for taking control of the processes that produce their urban environment.

Common Threads Although WEIGO, Iconoclasistas, and Jeanne van Heeswijk’s approaches are different, they powerfully target multiple levels of people and spaces--from the everyday to the institutional--in order to transcend existing urban imaginaries and political logics that fail to see significant urban sites affected by the urban. They are able to capture the hidden cultural, social and economic value of more vulnerable populations while working in-between bottom-up cultural activism and conventional top-down planning institutions. Ultimately, a certain level of awareness to the everyday struggles is brought forth to understand who, how and what is impacted by certain development strategies and tactics. Thus, gaining inspiration from people and organizations, what is needed to bring heightened awareness towards non-community controlled urban changes is to reveal how the dynamics between certain macro and micro tourism-driven economic development plans creates certain conditions for the commodification, forced displacement and or the disappearance of market spaces in Quito.

3.3 Introduction to the Proposal: Revealing the Future Impacts of World-Class Tourism Making Summarizing Key Research Themes My research thus far can be summarized into a number of key insights. First, I have identified that out of Quito’s 52 traditional food markets, several of them are significant cultural sites of social and economic exchange and central to the city’s alimentation. Second, a multi-scalar analysis of the policies, plans, visions and strategies related to tourism and branding that are excluding Quito’s traditional market spaces into the future landscape of the city. Third, I connected the micro struggles of the markets to the macro-level of Ecuador’s new national project striving to build ‘newness’ through branding the ideology of Buen Vivir. Importantly, I interpreted this nation-wide rhetoric as a contradicting strategy to how it translates and materializes at the scale of the city. Tourism, one of the key sectors aiding the construction of Buen Vivir as an alternative mode for economic development and growth within the country, has committed Quito and Ecuador to the generation of income from foreign investors. Thus, the effects of the tourist circuit related to luxury hotels, churches, museums and emblematic streets, accelerates the displacement of small businesses and non-institutionalized sites of significant cultural exchange, such as Quito’s market sites. Although Article 31 in the constitution justifies that, “people are entitled to the full enjoyment of the city and its public spaces, under the principles of sustainability, social justice, respect for different urban cultures and balance between the urban and the rural,”21 the exercise to the right to the city is actively undermined through cuts to public spending, and the generation of new inequalities. External foreign investors pierce Ecuador’s vision of pursuing alternative forms of economic development, following a Buen Vivir discourse, and inhibit active means for constructing social justice in the city. Instead of becoming fixed in the urban branding realm of tourism, heritage, culture, marketing, and/or media alone, I have framed these acts within an overarching insight: that the competitive global drive to sell valuable urban assets for (foreign) attraction de-values and excludes socially constructed spaces in the city. This wider framework of inter-urban competitiveness situates the political, economic and social restructuring processes that the markets are in an ongoing and contested relation with. Further, this framework is a lead to enter the built urban form with a critical eye to interpret the conditions on the ground 21 “Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador,” Georgetown University Political Database of the America, October 20th, 2008, http://pdba. georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Ecuador/english08.html

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To contribute to an existing struggle and an emerging solidarity network between individual markets, and before even advancing into any policy recommendations in Quito, there needs to be a heightened awareness of strategic, exclusionary urban development plans and projects. locally, and allows one to think beyond the material forms of new representations of urban development. This approach also opens up dialogue to question the general strategy that sells cities, regions, and nations for direct (often foreign) investment. Thus, it is one analytical framework to connect the coerciveness of macro and micro tourism and branding forces shaping new geographies in Quito. This is argued to be based on profit and speculation and choreographed to a foreign population such as foreign investors and international visitors. From this particular perspective as Quito and Ecuador anchors itself to becoming a world-class tourist destination, a slow violence can selectively be traced towards certain markets affected more by inter-urban competition and the world-class destination rhetoric.

Proposition: Building Awareness & Catalyzing Discussion From field-work, observations, dialogue and experiences in the city of Quito and the market sites themselves, my insights have led me to identify that top-down inter-urban competitive strategies based on tourism and branding work to sell Quito and Ecuador to a global stage in an existing crowded global tourist market. This produces an exclusive and exclusionary city for lowincome and working-class populations and marginalized districts, which can be traced towards the devalorization processes towards Quito’s large traditional markets. I believe that there is a need to communicate Quito’s recent urban development and urbanizing landscape as a world-class tourist destination into a storytelling tool. By engaging the markets, their organization structures and other grassroots organizations about the macro tourism and branding forces shaping their everyday life fills a critical gap; a link between the present and future impact of Quito’s world-class tourist-oriented city with the individual struggles of certain markets. Importantly so, the public policies and private investments that accelerate the making of Quito and Ecuador as a world-class tourist destination

creates a shared narrative of unjust and uneven development across multiple different markets, their struggles and their shortcoming. Therefore, to build further capacity amongst an emerging network of solidarity between markets and grassroots organizations resisting non-community controlled change, my narrative-based proposal brings forward a collective awareness about the unforeseeable consequences of Quito’s world-class destination making. This proposal aims to stimulate reactions through an accessible, organized and spatial narrative that demonstrates a shared urban struggle pertaining to politics of scale and exclusionary economic development. Building awareness is key because although the present effects may not be as clear, it is the negative impact that this will have on Quito’s future urban landscape; a city that anchors itself and financial resources to the tourist landscape binds itself to the services of private capital, rather than a just management of city resources in an era calling for more equitable distribution. In order to support the ongoing individual struggles of Quito’s market sites and the market organizations that I have made contact with, the proposal brings the markets and their organizations to a point where they can become more aware about the macro and micro competitive, world-class tourist forces in order to present a catalyst for thinking about how to act within these forces. Thus, through storytelling, it is a matter of activating a critical reaction for the markets and their supporting organizations to think about how they can take matters into their own hands, rather than enforcing an external proposition. After all, to contribute to an existing struggle and an emerging solidarity network between individual markets, and before even advancing into any policy recommendations in Quito, there needs to be awareness of these strategic and exclusionary urban development plans and projects.

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Tracing Conditions & Actors of World-Class Tourism Making

Municipal Authorities

Foreign Investors

National Authorities

MACRO-LEVEL

UNESCO

Inter-American Development Bank

Ministerio de Turismo

Secretaría Nacional de Planificación y Desarrollo

Secretaría de Territorio, Hábitat y Vivienda

Secretaría de Planificación Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio

Agencia de Coordinación Distrital del Comercio

Quito Turismo

UNESCO Ecuador

Unidad de Policia Comunitaria

MESO-LEVEL Ministerio de Cultura y Patrimonio

Project Partners

Red de Sabres

MICRO -LEVEL Grassroots Organizations

Diversity of Struggles Market Leaders

Individual Markets, & Associations

Strong Institutional Relationship External Political Pressures Knowledge

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Municipal Authorities

Foreign Investors

National Authorities

Tracing a Point of Entry for a Design Intervention Inter-American Development Bank

UNESCO

Ministerio de Turismo

Secretaría Nacional de Planificación y Desarrollo

Secretaría de Territorio, Hábitat y Vivienda

Secretaría de Planificación Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio

Agencia de Coordinación Distrital del Comercio

Quito Turismo

UNESCO Ecuador

Unidad de Policia Comunitaria

Ministerio de Cultura y Patrimonio Build Awareness

Critical Visual Narrative as a Pedagogical Tool

Project Partners

Red de Sabres

Catalyze Reaction

Social Space of Intervention

Grassroots Organizations Shared Struggle Market Leaders Individual Markets, & Associations

Knowledge New Knowledge

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SECTION 4 A DESIGN CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS AN ONGOING MARKET STRUGGLE: CRITICAL VISUAL NARRATIVE AS A PEDAGOGICAL TOOL 4.1 Proposal Purpose: Grounding Awareness The advancements required to become a world-class tourist destination have extraordinary impacts on the future landscape of the city of Quito. Therefore, it is necessary for local and vulnerable sites, such as the traditional food markets of Quito, to understand the macro, world-class tourist destination forces that shape their everyday struggles. Through active fieldwork, synthesizing on-the-ground knowledge, and a long-distance relationship between a key project partner, Red de Saberes, a gap has been identified that contributes to the existing and ongoing daily struggles of certain market sites, specifically Mercado San Roque whose ongoing public negative perception contributes to its exclusion from Quito’s political agenda. My contribution, as an urbanist and designer working from New York City, is to bring forward a critical visual narrative as a pedagogical tool to support Red de Saberes’ existing work with Quito’s markets as contested city spaces. Using Mercado San Roque as the heart of the story, “The Future of Two Markets” is an accessible, entertaining and politicizing narrative to catalyze a more controversial conversation about the macro and micro forces affecting everyday life. The underlying value of this storytelling narrative is to build awareness and capacities for local organizational structures of and related to the markets to understand the unforeseeable consequences shaping their future city and, ultimately, their future market social spaces. After all, the making of Quito as a world-class tourist destination is only the beginning of a comprehensive strategy to restructure the character, makeup and politics of the city; a tangled, slow-changing, and controversial reality.

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Process: How Would a Story-Based Design Tool Work? Given that this collective thesis project deals with a matter of distance between Quito and New York City, it was necessary to understand how to enter into a particular urban political context and situate a design proposition from afar. An important consideration of my proposition was that it had to be designed in a convenient and useful way that would be of service to our project partner in Quito, Red de Saberes. It became my goal to develop a tool of social justice to enable Red de Saberes to engage the markets about how their own spatial reality is connected to larger processes beyond local threats of neighborhood changes and individual market struggles. Therefore, at future market meetings and/or market organized events this design-tool could be used to mediate dialogue across different market organizations to frame macro and exclusionary tourism-making forces that impact their daily struggle. “The Future of Two Markets” is a linear narrative compiled into a mini booklet. The story situates two driving forces behind inter-urban competition-tourism and (re)branding-in order to visually explain the influences penetrating exclusionary forms of urban development towards marginalized city districts. The narrative sequence begins at the macro-level and ends at the micro-level to narrativize how the macro, competitive, political and economic logic works to actively undermine Quito’s large traditional food markets as significant sites of social activity and cultural and economic exchange. I end with a particular frame to situate the future landscape of Quito’s city: a commodified landscape performed by locals merely for the benefit of foreign user (tourist or foreign investor) versus the value of an active social scene of everyday market life. The purpose of this is to frame a choice to think about how the markets and their supporting organizers can play an active role in the forces formulating the future of their city, and their future market(s) Through the locus of Mercado San Roque as the heart of the story, the contestation of San Roque situates other markets and their common struggles within current national and municipal plans and visions that are aimed at selling the capital city of Quito and the nation of Ecuador to the global stage. Hence, this narrative framework serves to mediate and catalyze discussion beyond the plan for a proposed luxury star hotel and more towards a greater understanding of the grounded coerciveness of world-class tourism making and (re)branding processes.


exclusionary processes of economic and uneven development connects the people of the market with their own spatial reality to forces beyond their own spatial conditions.

Outcome and Impact: The Value of an Entertaining and Politicizing Narrative

Image: Foreground, Garcia Moreno Prison, Mid-ground Mercado San Roque; background Libertad neighborhood district Source: Photograph by author, January 2016, Quito, Ecuador

The Story Design Working from afar while maintaining an ongoing relationship with Red de Saberes became an ideal entry point to propose a new visual design tool. This is because they have on-the-ground contact with market leaders and grassroots organizations connected to my field work such as, Mercado San Roque, Mercado San Francisco, Mercado Mayorista, Frente de Defensa and Federación de Comerciantes Minoristas de Pichincha (‘FEDECOMIP’). Importantly so, since the visual tool will be distributed to Red de Saberes from a far distance (New York City to Quito), the choice of materiality was a significant factor for how it could be easily printed and distributed on their end. Hence, I designed my narrative tool using a black and white scheme on a 8.5’’ by 11’’ layout; an easily printable and inexpensive format for Red de Saberes to print and distribute at future market meetings and/or market organized events. To design this story, I have been greatly influenced by the incredible work of Iconoclasistas who make their graphic design work publically available for anyone’s use. Thus, I have used and adapted a variety of entertaining pictograms from Iconoclasistas and other characters and symbols, from the capitalist to government actors to grassroots organizations to the markets, in order to visualize a simple, yet complex story. By visually situating the complexity of processes of inter-urban competition through a pedagogical tool, it disseminates forms of sophisticated knowledge in a more entertaining, yet politicizing manner. Fundamentally, visually dramatizing the conditions that spatialize

A more linear, communicable and visual narrative that spatializes the multiple forces and political scales of inter-urban competitiveness, tourism and (re)branding can enable Red de Saberes to mediate a more structured and controversial dialogue during their work and interactions with the market(s) struggle. A projected influence of this story, “The Future of Two Markets,” positions the markets at the foreground of the exclusionary actions of Quito’s “world-class tourism making” in order to narrativize and confront the pressures of government policy and international capital-driven urban development. This serves to situate and imagine the continued value of the social life of Quito’s traditional market spaces against certain structural forces impacting the ongoing struggles of Quito’s multiple market spaces This entertaining, yet politicizing narrative is one small piece to contribute to the contested struggles of Quito’s public markets that have already been attempting to create a solidarity network. Thus, the underlying value of “The Future of Two Markets” is for capacity-building purposes and to provide a lived experience that clarifies the present conditions and future impacts towards everyday life.

Moving Forward Next steps for this project include translating the story in Spanish, working with Red de Saberes to edit the story and to continue to brainstorm ideas and objectives for how, where and when to use this pedagogical tool. This conversation will continue from afar, but it is hoped that the next on-the-ground conversation will take place in October 2016 during the Habitat III conference in Quito with our project partners and market leaders. Finally, this project’s research and design proposition will culminate with the group’s collective thesis work for an exhibition in January 2017 at The New School’s Aronson Gallery where this knowledge will be shared with academics, students and the general public to continue the conversation on uneven urban development in Ecuador.

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Working from a Distance | Identifying a Gap, Purpose, and Meaning for a Design Tool

Build Awareness Pedagogical Tool

Project Partners

Catalyze Reaction

Red de Sabres

Grassroots Organizations

Individual Markets, & Associations

Market Leaders Social Space of Intervention

Knowledge New Knowledge

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Joint Struggle, Integrating diversity


The Story | “The Future of 2 Markets�

Contribution A critical visual narrative as a pedagogical tool to support the work of Red de Sabres

Visualize Spatialize Entertain Politicize Purpose

Convenient Accessible Communicable Design

Build Capacities Outcome

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A Critical Pedagogical tool

The Future of Two Markets


Daily life of markets & the contested struggle of a world-class tourist destination

This is a visual tool to bring awareness and to prompt discussion about the exclusionary impacts of the making of Quito and Ecuador as a world-class tourist destination. Urban development plans, strategies and visions for the present and future-making of Quito is one where working-class populations and marginalized city districts are most impacted as municipal and national government authorities work with international actors to “boost� the economy. This is a process where local, national and international government and private actors coordinate strategies towards selective ways of investing in existing built forms that are considered profitable, such as the Historic Center District, and new built forms, such as luxury hotels, in order to (re) develop urban amenities to attract international visitors (tourists and foreign developers). These developments have extraordinary impacts on the future landscape of the city, and it is necessary for vulnerable and everyday sites, such as the traditional food markets of Quito, to understand the macro, world-class tourist destination forces that shape their everyday struggles.

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International

Tourist

National Government

Growing Economy

Municipal Government

Politican

Neighborhood

City

Capitalist

National

Legend: Characters, Symbols, & Conditions

International Institutions

Branding

Traditional Food Markets

Heritage

‘Informal’ Workers

55kg

Other

Grassroot Organizations

Future

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City activists

Market Workers

Investment

Sanitize

Garcia Moreno Prison

New Development

Luxury Development


#1: A Competitive & Crowded Global Tourist Market

What a homogenous tourist market the world has become! I have an urging need and desire to find the next best place with unique attractions!

Where else can I find such new spaces to invest and accumulate wealth to feed a global, competitve, and expanding tourist economy?

Everyday life is a struggle

The desire for cities to become world-class tourist destinations is part of a global strategy to attract a foreign audience, including tourists and investors, but this excludes working-class populations and marginalized city districts.

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#2. Contesting Dominant Models of Development

ak Sum say w a K

Calling for a new National project in Ecuador! Implement alternative forms of development!

E FO cu R ad SA or LE

S

S LA -C LD ISM OR UR W TO

But this continent is already too crowded with tourist sites! I need a DESTINATION site that is EVEN MORE ATTRACTIVE than the rest!

Under global pressure to become sites of world-class tourism, cities and nations in Latin America project themselves utilizing their unique culture and natural resources for economic growth. In 2008, the nation of Ecuador rejects this form of dominant development and demands an alternative model.

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Calling for a NEW National Economy without contesting the international markets in order to generate more wealth for Ecuador!

20

0 Pl 8 N Bu an at en fo ion Vi r el al vi r!

#3. Reclaiming Economic Wealth for Ecuador

CHANGE OF THE PRODUCTION MATRIX Strengthening Local Production Reducing Imports Increasing Sustainable Tourism

Sounds like the time for foreign investment

Under citizen pressure, the push for a new national project was brought forth by the government under the 2008 National Plan for Buen Vivir. In hopes of shifting to new social and sustainable forms of development beyond the extraction of oil and outside international market pressures, the Ecuadorian government proposed a change in the production matrix. The key industries that change was invested for were refineries, petrochemicals, assembly of cars, bio-knowledge, hydroelectric dams and tourism.

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#4: A ‘Brand’ New Political Economy A NEW stable, inclusive & progressive State

Buen

Build luxury hotels & luxury (re) Developments! The tourists will come & your economy will grow!

Vivir!

Pl Co urin ns at tit io ut na io l n Ri th ght e Ci to ty

y

nt

ig od re Fo ove S

El Buen Vivir? Everyday we struggle to get on the political agenda

UNESCO and Inter-American Development Bank, helps us develop new international imaginings of Ecuador in our capital city of Quito!

Ecuador’s new plan for ‘Good Living’ is intended to serve as an alternative to the status-quo global modern economy. It incorporated platforms of the indigenous movement, including rights for the protection of Pachamama (Kichwa for Mother Earth) and the right to the city. However, the possibilities to enact a Buen Vivir development model shifted towards a profit-driven economy, affected by international economic conditions.

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#5: Building & Sustaining a WorldClass Tourist Destination Quito’s 2015-2025 Development & Land Management Plan: ES Attraction Zones for O Tourism, Z N N O Business & Commerical Sectors CTI A

R ATT

But to compete with the global tourist agenda, you must REGENERATE your built assets in your Downtown core. The World Bank calls this “The Econonmics of Uniqueness” “A

55kg

Downtown Core

Co m Ci peti ty ris ” tive m Ci Or ty ” ient ed “A Inv City est f me or nt”

“A

When does our new future begin?

To u

QUITO, ECUADOR #1 Tourist Destination in South America!

55kg

An extensive revitalization of Quito for the achievement of a new local, national and global appearance is influenced by global trends to spur growth in the sectors of tourism, commerce and business. Quito’s new future urban development plans of “attraction zones” is a telling sign about the city’s economic plan of increasing income from tourism, which involves cleaning up “informal” sectors of the city.

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#6: Our Market(s), a Socially Sanitized Future?

Mercado San Francisco, a market within the Historic Center district, encountered a dramatic transformation of its traditional market qualities. Now a totally sanitized market performed by locals for the benefit of tourists, it has lost its traditional dignity and market qualities. Yet the municipal government authorities see this as Quito’s future market model.

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#7: Tourism’s Expanding Pressures: Neighborhood Economic Makeovers

The future plan envisioned for the redevelopment of Mercado San Roque is a telling sign about a combination of forces, including real estate pressures, when cities allow prime sites to be redeveloped by the highest bidder. This process can devastate market sites as they lose their local authenticity when forces like tourism and modern developments work to undermine or displace the existing site.

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#8: Strengthening Social Networks Towards a Collective Future

Cleanse Sanitize Displace

Mercados

Joint Struggles! Public Issues! Our markets, Our city! Towards a dignified future!

In the end, we have a choice between the conditions that affect two different market spaces: one market that sanitizes and displaces everyday social life, and another market alive with the local community. Here lies the possibility to imagine a future for the latter and to become active in the making of vibrant market spaces.

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Andina Agencia Peruana de Noticias, March 1, 2016. http:/ goo.gl/ mCzvKk. International Council on Monument and Sites Advisory Mission Report on the City of Quito, Ecuador, October 2013. Accessed May 6th, 2016. http://goo.gl/xPzALJ Janoschka, Michael J, Jorge Sequera, and Luis Salinas. “Gentrification in Spain and Latin America-A Critical Dialogue.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38, No.4 (2013):1234-1265. Kingman, Eduardo. “Heritage, Policies of Memory and then Institutionalization of Culture.” City & Time 2, No.2 (2006): 17-26. “Las Olas meets with Ecuador President Rafael Correa to discuss its investment in Ecuador and Ecuador’s future plans to grow Tourism and expand the Ecuador Economy.” Las Olas. December 8, 2014. Accessed May 4th, 2016. http://goo.gl/QYl06Y Leiva, Fernando Ignacio. Latin American Neostructuralism: The contradictions of Post-Neoliberal Development. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. “Lima airport new runway to cost US$1.2 billion.” Andina Agencia Peruana de Noticias. March 24, 2016. Accessed May 6th, 2016 http://goo.gl/9Q6B65 Mandanipour, Ali. “Social Exclusion and Space,” in The City Reader, ed. Richard T. LeGates and Fred-eric Stout. London: Routledge,1998. Middleton, Alan. “Informal Traders and Planners in the Regeneration of Historic City Centres: The Case of Quito, Ecuador.” Progress in Planning 59, No.2 (2003): 71–123. Ministerio de Finanzas. “Justificativo Proforma Presupuesto General Del Estado 2015.” November 2014. Accessed May 4th, 2016. http://goo.gl/n5eZph. Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “The Subject of Visual Culture.” in The Visual Culture Reader, ed. Nicholas Mirzoeff. London: Routledge, 2002. Mooshammer, Helge, Teddy Cruz, Peter Mötenböeck, and Fiona Forman. Informal Market Worlds: Atlas: The Architecture of Economic Pressure, ed. Rotterdam: nai010 publishers, 2015. Moreno, Carolina.“Medellin, Colombia Names ‘Innovative City of The Year’ In WSJ And Citi Global Competition.” Huffpost Latino Voices. March 2nd, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost. com/2013/03/02/medellin-named-innovative-city-of-theyear_n_2794425.html. Municipio del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito. “Matriz Del Plan Operativo Anual-POA/Ejercicio Fiscal 2015.” Secretaria

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General de Planificacion. “Over $87 Million in New Hotel Investment Announced for Quito, Ecuador.” Market Wired, October 22nd, 2014. Accessed May 6th, 2016. http://goo.gl/5l4xhV. Padgett, Time and John Otis.“The Columbina Comeback, From Nearly Failed state to emerging global player--in less than a decade,” Time Magazine. April 23rd, 2012. http://content.time. com/time/covers/europe/0,16641,20120423,00.html. “Plan de Revitalización del Centro Histórico de Quito.” September 21st, 2012. Accessed May 6th, 2016. https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=O5uib7jktpk. “Quito Investment Destination.” Quito Turismo. Accessed May 4th, 2016. https://issuu.com/quito_turismo/docs/nyu. “Quito, Capital of Tourism Investments.” Quito Turismo. Accessed May 4th, 2016. https://goo.gl/CqLDrB. Radcliffe, Sarah. “Development for a post neoliberal era? Sumak kawsay, living well and the limits of decolonisation in Ecuador.” Geoforum, 43 (2012): 240-249. Rao, Vyjayanthi and Vineet Diwadkar. “From Informality to Parametricism and Back Again,” in Informal Market Worlds Reader, ed. Peter Mortenbock, et al. Rotterdam: nai010 publishers, 2015. “Rio 2016 - Passion UNITY Celebration [HD].” Rio Olímpico 2016. YouTube. October 07, 2009. Accessed May 2nd, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xucJTdUTMzA. Roy, Ananya. “The Blockade of the world class city: dialectical images of Indian urbanism” in Roy, A, & Ong, A. (eds) Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2011. Roy, Ananya. “Urban Informality, Toward an Epistemology of Planning,” Journal of the American Planning Association 71, No.2 (2005): 147-158. Santiallana , Alejandra and Jeffrey R. Webber. “Cracks in Correísmo?” Jacobin. August 14th, 2015. Accessed May 4th, 2016. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/08/correa-ecuadorpink-tide-protests-general-strike. Scruggs, Greg. “How is Quito preparing for Habitat III?” Citiscope. February 19th, 2016. Accessed May 4th, 2016. http://citiscope.org//habitatIII/news/2016/02/how-quitopreparing-habitat-iii. Shaikh, Anwar. Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises. Oxford: University Press, 2016. Simone, AbdouMaliq. “The Visible and Invisible: Remaking Cities in Africa” In Under Siege: Four Africa Cities: Freetown, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos: Documenta 11, Platform 4, edited by Okwui Enwezor et al. 23-43. Ostfildern-Ruit:

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Acknowledgments I am truly humbled to have been a part of this year-long collective thesis project. Working in-between New York City and Quito has given me the opportunity to develop multiple relationships, experiences and knowledges as a young urban researcher and designer. Working with the core thesis team in NYC alongside Sinead, Sascia, Gamar, Tait, Masoom, Maria and Mateo has been nothing but an inspiring and dynamic adventure together. Collaboration is not easy, but we did it and we will continue so! The NYC team continues my praise towards a collective guidance that carried this project through. First, the group’s shared thesis advisor, Miguel Robles-Duran, who provided incredible mentorship for pushing the direction of urban research and practice. Also to Hector Grad, your ongoing support provided an insightful contribution to bettering my work. I am so very grateful you were able to assist me with my fieldwork in January; those spanish conversations could not have happened without you! Finally, David Harvey, you continually reminded me to stay humble, bold and clear as my work evolved. Importantly, you reminded me to keep climbing mountains because that too is field-work! To the three of you--Miguel, Hector and David-do not worry, this isn’t the end, it is only the beginning towards future collaborations pertaining to social justice and the city. Immense gratitude goes towards working with the Quito team from afar and in-person: Ana Rodriguez, Luis Herrera, Henar Diez, Lucas Alvarez, Nora Fernandez, Veronica Morales, Juan Carlos Leon, Jeremy Rayner and Monica Herrera. You all have been fundamental towards helping the group engage with the everyday life of Quito’s multiple market spaces, their everyday struggles and situating bigger, uneven development

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struggles and forces across the city and the country. To the multiple interviewees and the street conversations that I had over three visits to Quito, thank-you for sharing a piece of your past, present and future life with me. This thesis project is framed within a much larger support system and network as well. To my dear friends of the 20142016 DUE & TUP cohort, we have paved, trudged and charged the way through the past two years together. I am inspired by each of your minds and your work every day and cannot wait to collaborate on bold urban projects with you in the future, when and wherever that maybe. And of course to the Urban Council, you have laid the foundation to redirecting graduates who can walk a fine line between critique, analysis and proposition. Finally, to my family in Edmonton, Alberta for their ongoing love, support and never-ending questions about what Design and Urban Ecologies is. I wouldn’t have landed my first NYC opportunity as a graduate student without your encouragement. This leap forward would also have not been possible without the backbone of CityStudio in Vancouver, British Columbia who continues to push the boundary in higher-level education working in between post-secondary institutions and city government on projects that matter. Trust the process, you say. Do not be afriad to take risks and challenge the status quo in a critical way. This requires courage and is something that is needed more than ever by emerging young urban graduates. Just be sure to carry forward a sensitive conscience towards past, present and future urban situations and maintain relationships along the way. Gratitude to you Duane Elverum, Janet Moore and Lena Soots for your inspiration to take bigger and better steps!


PROJECT 2 ALLIED WITH THE ANTIMARAVILLA


Allied with the Antimaravilla:

Arts-based Community Practices and Resistance to Authorized Heritage Discourse in Quito, Ecuador

Sinead Petrasek


This study is about the material conditions that make the historic center of Quito a valuable economic asset, and the social impact of these conditions. Particularly, it is about the relationship between the historic center and Mercado San Roque, a large traditional food market located within the center, known conventionally as the antimaravilla, or “anti-wonder.� I examine the recent efforts of several arts-based practitioners to validate the market as a culturally significant site, drawing on critical urban and aesthetic theory. Legitimizing the market as a counter site allows the discordant nature of heritage and preservation to be actively negotiated within the city, undermining the dominance of authorized heritage discourse and recent initiatives that seek to subsume nonconforming sites.

This study has significance as 1) a model for how artistic practices can ally with particular urban political struggles, foregrounding the politics in advance of the art practice’s form or aesthetic in a way that meets the needs of the community, and 2), as a strategy for disrupting the dominance of authorized heritage discourse institutionalized by global agencies.

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...to shift attention away from the dilemma of integration versus exclusion, in favor of validating counter sites in order to reveal that conflict is an integral aspect of heritage discourse.

OUTLINE


SECTION 1 Introduction

SECTION 3 Unstable Relations: Preservation and Permutation

SECTION 5 Concluding Remarks and Provocations

96 110 132

SECTION 2 Theoretical Framework and Methodology

SECTION 4 Negotiations: Practice and Power

99 125


SECTION 1

INTRODUCTION I was walking through the Plaza Grande, the main square in Quito’s historic center, with Sascia, my friend and research partner. The two of us were in Quito as part of a team of eight graduate students from The New School in New York. We had only been in the country for a few days, and Sascia and I had taken the afternoon off to see more of the city. As we approached the east side of the plaza, we saw a crowd of people, some wearing feathered eye masks, gathered in front of the Office of the Municipality. People were spread out in the street, moving back and forth between each other, talking. Across the street, in front of the municipal building, was a long line of police officers wearing shields. “What are they protesting?” Sascia asked some of the bystanders in Spanish. No one seemed to want to give her an answer. Finally, someone explained to us that these were sex workers protesting their violent removal from soliciting in the city center.

Protest in the Plaza Grande, Quito. October 19, 2015. Source: Author.

For some time, we stood and observed the standoff. Noticing the afternoon rain clouds collecting, we retreated from the street. As Sascia and I moved through the square, we noticed another group gathered on the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral. At the top of the steps, one person held a sign that read “Associacion de Comerciantes” (Trader’s Association). Other signs said, “we have the right to work,” and “we are independent vendors.” This group

was arranged differently: people were standing in a staggered formation on the steps, with smaller children on the lower level. They stood mostly motionless, almost tableau-like, holding signs. The group didn’t seem to be attracting any police attention, only other interested onlookers like us. While these demonstrations were happening, the inner section of the square remained a tourist hub; an elderly couple dancing to live music was garnering a small, attentive crowd. I thought about these different and simultaneous performances, and how they were spatially and visually connected in the square. Before it started to rain, we quickly walked the few blocks back to the artist residency where we were staying. *** These two protests witnessed in the Plaza Grande illustrate how the status of Quito as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (particularly for having the most well-preserved colonial city center in Latin America), becomes translated into municipal policies that regulate social behavior and establish the comparative devaluation of proximal urban sites. This study examines the conditions that make the historic center of Quito a valuable economic asset, and the social impact of these conditions. Particularly, it is about the relationship between the historic center and Mercado San Roque, or the San Roque market, a large traditional food market located a few blocks from the center, known conventionally as the “anti-wonder” to the heritage site. My focus is on the field of arts-based community practice in Quito, and how recent initiatives that validate the market as a significant site provide a model for how practitioners can ally with urban social movements to undermine the dominance of authorized heritage discourse. I take as my starting point the public, visual manifestations of political struggle integral to Latin American social movements. Sex work is legal in Ecuador. However, it is regulated to occur behind closed doors, requiring brothels to have costly licenses. Those who cannot afford this license will often opt to solicit customers on the street.1 Street soliciting is subject to police crackdowns, and sometimes, police perform raids and shut down certain hotels or arrest those whom they claim are soliciting in unregulated public spaces.2 After further research, I found that there had been a large raid on hotel rooms in the historic center on October 16, 2015 that prompted the street protests a few days after. I wondered at the time about the imperative to keep the historic center visually pleasing and conflict-free for tourists. I remembered a contact in Quito had pointed out a laneway near 1 Anna Wilking, “Hotel Regulation,” En la Calle: Sex Work in Quito, (blog), June 27, 2011 (5:02 p.m.), andesanthropologist.blogspot. com/2011/06/hotel-regulation.html 2 Anna Wilking, “Sex Workers Outsmart Quito Police,” NACLA, (Fall 2014), https://nacla.org/article/sex-workers-outsmart-quito-police-0.

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the San Roque market that led to a designated building for sex work. I thought about how this distance from the publicness of the center meant that sex workers experienced more isolation and potentially more violence. Similar to the regulations enforced for sex workers, unlicensed vendors are also not permitted to work in the historic center, and informal sellers have been relocated to peripheral areas as part of the rehabilitation plan for the center over the last three decades. These two groups, different as their labor may be, were both advocating for their right to work in the center—a clear indication of this space’s profitability. Given its central location, high traffic and status as a World Heritage Site, Quito’s historic center is an ideal place of exchange for any citizen looking to access a consumer population. Now, more than ever, it is also a commodity for exchange on the global market. Through massive rehabilitation efforts and capital influx since the 1990s, from the Inter-American Development Bank, J. Paul Getty Conservation Trust, and other international and private funders, Quito’s historic center is primed as a tourist destination.3 One of the first cities to be declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1978, Quito has since established itself as an internationally recognized destination under the auspices of heritage tourism. This economic driver has resulted in efforts to “clean up” the city’s most touristic neighborhoods—the district known as the Centro Historico, or historic center—which has led to a number of municipal policies to regulate informal activity, such as sex work and street vending. The most recent plans fall into the state of Ecuador’s extensive rebranding campaign to invite further foreign investment in the state, especially through tourism, already a primary industry. The progressive policies of current President Rafael Correa are being leveraged as proof that the country is a good place to invest.4 During his election campaign in 2006, Correa espoused “a twenty-first century socialism that seeks social justice, national sovereignty, defense of natural resources, and regional integration based on a logic of coordination, cooperation, and complementarity.”5 General confidence in the Correa administration comes after two decades of political instability, largely provoked by a significant uprising led by the 3 Mahasti Afshar, “Quito: Preserving a Historic City,” Conservation Perspectives, The Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter No. 8.3 (Fall 1993), www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/newsletters/8_3/quito.html. 4 “Las OLAS meets with Ecuador President Rafael Correa to discuss its investment in Ecuador and Ecuador’s future plans to grow Tourism and expand the Ecuador Economy,” Las OLAS, December 8, 2014, lasolasecuador.com/las-olas-meets-with-ecuador-president-rafael-correato-discuss-its-investment-in-ecuador-and-ecuadors-future-plans-to-growtourism-and-expand-the-ecuador-economy. 5 Raúl Zibechi, Territories in Resistance: A Cartography of Latin American Social Movements (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2012), 183.

Federation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) that consolidated in 1990 with the refusal to tolerate an elite administration that supports the plundering of the state’s resources to the detriment of poorer, vulnerable, mainly indigenous classes.6 This political uprising has resulted in the removal of presidents from office, as well as mass protests and support for favored candidates. Financial collapse took place in this turbulent climate in 2000, leading to the dollarization of the economy with the guidance of auditors from the International Monetary Fund—a shift that political journalist Raúl Zibechi refers to as having essentially “turned the country into a colony of the United States.”7 Towards the end of this decade, with a majority of citizens frustrated with corrupt politicians and the precarious economy, Correa founded Alianza Pais, an umbrella organization of progressive groups supported by a network of social movements, including pro-indigenous parties and many civil society organizations.8 He opposed the multinational control over oil as well as the free trade agreement with the United States, seemingly retracting some of the neoliberal policies that have so powerfully affected many Latin American countries, including proximal states Chile and Bolivia. However, as Zibechi points out, this alliance of various social movements desirous of political reform is fragmented, and includes indigenous groups whose livelihood has been most negatively affected by neoliberal policies, as well as “urban middle classes, who indulged themselves in consumerism under neoliberalism and now demand a working democracy.”9 The Correa administration’s nominal anti-neoliberal platform rests on the recognition of a plurinational state. When Correa came to power in 2007, he promoted the concept of sumak kawsay, a term in Kichwa, the primary indigenous language in Ecuador, which refers to harmonious living and a balance of aspects of daily life.10 Sumak kawsay translates to buen vivir in Spanish (roughly, “good living” in English), and has been invoked by the Correa administration as an alternative development model, appearing in the new constitution in 2008 as a core objective for the state. This “post-neoliberal” leadership has been represented through an image of Ecuador as a nation victimized by international institutions, “in order to secure new forms of credibility, both nationally and internationally, with different political groups in its constituency ‘buying-in’ to this national self-representation to various extents.”11 As 6 Zibechi, Territories in Resistance, 179. 7 Zibechi, 186. 8 Zibechi, 182. 9 Zibechi, 186. 10 Christopher Jarrett, “Indigenous Politics, Sumak Kawsay, and Community Tourism: A Case Study from Amazonian Ecuador,” Southern Anthropologist, Vol. 36, No. 2 (2014), 42. 11 Veronica Davidov, Ecotourism and Cultural Production: An

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anthropologist Veronica Davidov points out, this “buy-in” has filtered into a massive tourism campaign by the Ecuadorian Ministry for Tourism, titled Ama La Vida, or “love life,” functioning as a state brand that emphasizes biodiversity and indigineity, while also propping up the tenets of the sumak kawsay constitution.12 The compatibility between ecological protection and cultural diversity is significant, as “ecotourism has become part of the alternative tourism cluster, which encompasses world heritage tourism.”13 However, despite this public image of an inclusive state sympathetic to indigenous issues that is so appealing to global agents and is highly compatible with forms of “alternative” tourism, Davidov notes that post-neoliberal economic policy in Ecuador has shifted to state-led capitalist development, particularly in mining, against which indigenous constituents are now mobilizing.14 Within such a complicated and contradictory political climate, this study considers the effects on a municipal level, particularly how the accelerated development of world heritage tourism under the contemporary Correa administration heightens urban land use speculation and re-emphasizes regulation in the historic center. The image of harmony promoted through the recent tourist campaigns markets the country as a unified, multicultural place. This representation filters into the vision for Quito’s historic center as a clean, ordered, beautiful site, which, in turn, is underpinned by the colonial spatial organization and aesthetics of the center. Furthermore, the clustering of Quito’s major museums in the district serves to reinforce the notion of a separation between “high culture” and “low culture”—between the center and other forms of cultural production in the city. However, rather than contribute to the substantial discourse on the effects of heritage preservation within the center itself, in this study I emphasize the relationship between this site and the San Roque market, which provides a kind of counter-site to the center. I examine arts-based community practices that have recently mobilized around the market, as approaches to recognizing the value of the market in a way that does not commodify it or seek to integrate it within the sanitized aesthetic of the center. To examine the relationship between these two sites, I focus on the contemporary period following the 1978 UNESCO World Heritage designation, tracing the preservation efforts in the center alongside the shifts in Quito’s arts and culture scene in the late twentieth century, highlighting a convergence between urban social struggles and community practice. This convergence, I suggest, explains the recent attention to the San Roque market Anthology of Indigenous Spaces in Ecuador (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 203. 12 Davidov, Ecotourism and Cultural Production, 203. 13 Davidov, 46. 14 Davidov, 204.

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based on shared socio-political circumstances that involve the unequal distribution of value. This expanded field of artistic practice that takes social interaction as the locus of the work is positioned to adopt the political stance of a community while simultaneously challenging the commercial art market. I focus on various related approaches to community practice that come from the arts: mediación comunitaria, which works to link institutions and communities, collective approaches such as arte urbano, and activist-led work. I position these approaches in relation to the expanded field of participatory and site-based contemporary art internationally, drawing on the discourse of socially-engaged art and theories of revolutionary artistic practice. I will consider how practitioners must negotiate their role and the potential for the community-based approach to visibilize the market in such a way that increases its vulnerability. However, despite navigating these issues, I suggest that this case provides a model for alliances between artistic practice and urban social struggles by foregrounding political strategies rather than focusing on form or aesthetic. With regards to urban heritage discourse, this study proposes to shift attention away from the dilemma of integration versus exclusion, in favor of validating counter sites in order to reveal that conflict is an integral aspect of heritage discourse.


SECTION 2

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY This study examines the relationship between two sites, and consequently my theoretical framework rests on the dialectics of urban land value. I consider how the historic center holds exchange value as a commodity site that promotes economic growth through tourism, and how this, in turn, exacerbates conditions of precariousness for the nearby Mercado San Roque based on comparative de-valuation in addition to land use speculation. From this position, I propose that analyzing these urban sites relationally allows for a more dynamic understanding of the effects of urban heritage preservation as connected to urban social movements, while also posing this site-based relationship as analogous to uneven urban development on a global scale. Much of the literature on urban heritage sites in Latin America focuses on the discontents of integrating populations within the designated heritage site; indeed, in the case of Quito, this concern is primarily framed in terms of how and whether citizens are well adjusted in the space.1 Conversely, this study focuses on efforts by various practitioners in the field of arts and culture to validate the market as a social space in ways that do not seek to integrate it within the same value structure as the historic center. This includes forms of representation through documentary film and photography, as well as workshops with market leaders that form part of a broader approach towards community-led artistic practice based on strengthening political aims. Through taking this alternate focus, I demonstrate the dominance that urban heritage sites wield in determining appropriate municipal policies, suggesting that the focus on integration tends to privilege economic growth and remain ignorant of conflict. Instead, I argue in favor of shifting the focus to sites of resistance. I observe that arts practitioners in Quito are uniquely positioned to recognize and enhance contested claims to value that are based on an authorized notion of heritage. I consider how the representation and perception of the market, set in stark contrast to the historic center, are powerful determinants of social value in the city, and that interventions that modify representation and 1 See recent dissertations and publications, such as Lisa Marie Hanley, “Urban Heritage Management: Linking Economic, Social, and Democratic Planning in the Historic Center of Quito, Ecuador,” (Cornell University, 2010); Lisa Hanley and Meg Ruthenburg, “The Symbolic Consequences of Urban Revitalization: The Case of Quito, Ecuador,” Urban Regeneration and Revitalization in the Americas: Toward a Stable State, Fernando Carrion and Lisa M. Hanley, Eds. (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2007).

perception are part of the significant work that artists and cultural practitioners can do to ally, support and strengthen political recognition and economic security. I rely on a foundational theoretical framework of critical spatial practice, filtered through three supportive theoretical lenses. I use the term “critical spatial practice” as used by architectural historian and art critic Jane Rendell, who describes the primary aims of critical spatial theory as both self-reflective and desirous of social change.2 My research and fieldwork both emanate from this position. This approach is rooted in Henri Lefebvre’s theorization of space as produced by capitalist social relations, and thus, in turn, also productive of social relations.3 In The Production of Space, Lefebvre contends that spatial development is not separate to capitalist socio-political relations but in fact contingent upon them, and this relationship informs further development as capital seeks new forms of expansion. Lefebvre advocates a relational, dialectical approach to the study of space that reveals these contingencies. At the root, this is a study of two sites within the city of Quito and how these sites are related—most fundamentally how they are valued in relation to each other. In order to understand their relationship, it is vital to work from the understanding that these sites are valued differently because of the intimate connection between capitalism and urbanization, as surplus value must be generated and reinvested, requiring the search for new markets, such as global heritage tourism discussed in this study, as well as requiring the acquisition of land and modification of cities in order to redistribute surplus value.4 I focus specifically on how Quito’s historic center and the San Roque market are demonstrative of this relationship between capitalist value structures and urban development, tracing the contemporary circumstances back to the designation of Quito as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, and the resulting shifts in the city’s arts and cultural field during this period that inform current efforts to recognize the social value of the market. Again, this study engages with critical spatial theory and its relationship to urban practice, and so I argue that the effects of heritage authorization in the center should not only be understood in terms of policies and practices in the center, but throughout the city. Critical geographer David Harvey has developed the relationship between politics, capitalism and social theory from the late twentieth century to the present, elaborating on the significance of Marx’s dialectical relation between use and exchange value in order to assert that urbanization is a class 2 Jane Rendell, “Critical Spatial Practice,” Art Incorporated (Denmark: Kunstmuseet Koge Skitsesamling, 2008). 3 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1991). 4 David Harvey, Social Justice and the City, Revised Edition (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2009), 315-322.

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phenomenon.5 In Social Justice and the City, Harvey reiterates Marx’s description of use value, as that which serves a need and is therefore “useful” in its satisfaction of that need, and exchange value, as that proportionate measurement that emerges in transaction.6 In a capitalist society, the form of the commodity consists of these dual aspects of use value and exchange value, but, as Marx enumerated, commodities have value in relation to other commodities, and thus they hold use value insomuch as they are exchangeable: “only by being realized as exchange values can they be realized as use values.”7 Commodities also, as Marx elaborated, conceal social relationships, and this has been a primary focus of critical theory and the class politics of capitalist societies. Responding to disciplinary shortcomings in geography and sociology, Harvey applies use value and exchange value to urban land use theory in order to demonstrate that land use theory is contingent on the capitalist mode of production. As a commodity, land’s use will be determined primarily by its exchange value, and this exchange value will determine urban form and the allocation of property. In his analysis, Harvey understands use values as “basically formed with respect to what might be called the ‘life support system’ of the individual,” noting that when these characteristics collide with exchange value in the circulation of commodities (i.e. the housing market), exchange values determine use values and thus create conditions that individuals must adapt to: “the capitalist market exchange economy…exerts an almost tyrannical control over the life support system in which use values are embedded.”8 I elaborate on this analysis because Harvey’s articulation of use value and exchange value as it applies to urban development provides a solid base for understanding the differentiating values of Quito’s historic center and market, particularly at a time when “quality of urban life has become a commodity, as has the city itself, in a world where consumerism, tourism, and cultural and knowledgebased industries have become major aspects of the urban political economy.”9 This last point, the city-as-commodity, is highly applicable to Quito, one of the first cities to be designated a World Heritage Site, bringing its commodity value to the global market. Within this framework of urban land use theory, the use value of Quito’s historic center is based on its exchange value, as a World Heritage Site and tourist destination, while the San Roque market is valued primarily through its use for local populations, and is thus non-productive as an exchange value for the municipality and state. However, following the constant

need to modify land into productive exchange value that will generate profit, the site of the market garners interest for urban development, especially as it is so proximal to the center.10 This speculation threatens to displace the market. I acknowledge that this neat, somewhat rudimentary analysis is not wholly sufficient to explain the dynamic relation between the center and the market, yet as a base theory it provides a strong framework for understanding the relationship between the two sites as predicated on land use value operating in global capitalism. To enrich and complicate this foundational theory, I consider how urban land value structures intersect with authorized heritage discourse and cultural theory, theories of politics and aesthetics, and the international discourse on socially engaged art practice. As such, the three theoretical lenses that support this study reflect my interdisciplinary approach to the two sites that form the basis of this project, entering a similar “interdisciplinary space” to that which art historian Rosalyn Deutsche identified in her 1996 text Evictions, as a space that “combines ideas about art, architecture, and urban design, on the one hand, with theories of the city, social space, and public space, on the other.”11 Deutsche terms this field “urban-aesthetic” or “spatial-cultural” discourse, and these terms resonate with my own attempt to weave together a contemporary discourse on the construction of value in urban sites with the increasingly expanded field of community practice.

5 6 7 8 9

10 Pedro Jaramillo, “The Sustainability of Urban Heritage Preservation: The Case of Quito” (Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank, 2010), 15. 11 Rosalyn Deutsche, Evictions (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996), xi. 12 Laurajane Smith, Uses of Heritage (London: Routledge, 2006), 11.

Harvey, Social Justice and the City, 315. Ibid., 155. Marx, as quoted in Harvey, 156. Harvey, 190. Ibid., 323.

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2.1. AUTHORIZED HERITAGE DISCOURSE AND THE COMMODIFICATION OF URBAN SITES Firstly, I consider authorized heritage discourse, a term coined by Laurajane Smith, heritage scholar and anthropologist, which refers to “a hegemonic discourse which is reliant on the power/knowledge claims of technical and aesthetic experts, and institutionalized in state cultural agencies and amenity societies.”12 In this case, UNESCO confers such institutionalization in conjunction with the state of Ecuador, operating at the municipal level through the Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio. The historic center of Quito is an exemplary case for authorized heritage discourse, as it is the most well-preserved colonial city center in Latin America and represents a satisfying linkage between historical legacy, cultural specificity and purported universal humanist values,


exemplified by the site’s description: “The city of Quito forms a harmonious ensemble where nature and man are brought together to create a unique and transcendental work.”13 As Smith writes, “‘authorized heritage discourse’ privileges monumentality and grand scale, innate artefact/site significance tied to time, depth, scientific/aesthetic expert judgment, social consensus and nation building.”14 The aesthetics of the center are privileged and endorsed on a global scale, and this designation serves to position the site —and city—as a commodity for consumption by visitors. Preservation efforts are supported through funding from UNESCO and other international agencies, such as the J. Paul Getty Trust.15 This push to preserve urban heritage, as I observe, can result in disconnecting sites from their relation to the rest of the city and disguising the ways in which space is produced by social relations; an abstracted view of space enables the parceling of property and commodification of sites that is useful in marketing Quito as a tourist destination. Further, singling out certain sites as evident of cultural value attached to place—a universally acknowledged meaning. However, this is obviously problematic, as Smith points out, because “any item of heritage will represent different experiences to different individuals and groups.”16 The selection of sites necessarily gives preference to certain places, certain historical moments and memories, over others, and presumes consensus when consensus is nonexistent. As Quiteño historian Eduardo Kingman Garcés writes, “When we talk about heritage, reference is made to a selective process of ‘valorisation’ of spaces, milestones, tangible and intangible assets, the latter including social memory.17” If space is viewed as neutral and autonomous, it is more easily commodified; as Rosalyn Deutsche explains, “space, severed from its social production, is thus fetishized as a physical entity…represented as an independent object, it appears to exercise control over the very people who produce and use it.”18 Deutsche writes, “the notion that the city speaks for itself conceals the identity of those who speak through the city,”19 pointing out how the seemingly autonomous authority of urban development obscures the political implications of spatial reorganization. As Smith and Kingman Garcés point out, heritage involves acknowledging both tangible and intangible assets. In recent decades, there has been a 13 “City of Quito,” UNESCO World Heritage Centre. who.unesco.org/ en/list/2. 14 Smith, Uses of Heritage, 11. 15 Mahasti, “Quito: Preserving a Historic City.” 16 Smith, 110. 17 Eduardo Kingman Garcés, “San Roque: indígenas urbanos, seguridad y patrimonio” (Ecuador: FLACSO, 2012), 7. “Cuando se habla de patrimonio, se hace referencia a un proceso selectivo de ‘puesta en valor’ de espacios, hitos, bienes tangibles e intangibles, incluyendo dentro de esto último la propia memoria social.” 18 Deutsche, Evictions, 52. 19 Deutsche, 52.

movement in authorized heritage discourse towards recognizing the non-monumental forms that constitute “intangible heritage,” as well as towards expanding the field of heritage sites to situate them in context with the Historic Urban Landscapes approach. While both of these developments signal an ideological shift, I contend that these are still bound up with the vision of heritage as a driver of economic growth. Adopting a critical lens towards authorized heritage discourse emphasizes the need for a relational approach to the study and critical analysis of urban sites and how they are situated within conditions of production and globalized capital flows. Cultural value in urban sites, from this perspective, is not an applied value but rather a relative value, respective to the particular socio-spatial dynamics of a place and time, as well as a place over time. In this respect, anthropologist Setha Low’s articulation of “spatializing culture” provides a useful concept with which to understand the particular negotiations of cultural value that take place in and between Quito’s historic center and Mercado San Roque. For Low, this means “to locate, both physically and conceptually, social relations and social practice in social space.”20 Recognizing how social relations produce space and culture entails the recognition of conflict and difference, which typically becomes sanitized in order to incorporate urban sites as discrete units within the globalized “cultural economy.” In this expanded frame, spatializing culture means to recognize how cultural space is produced at the local level and then exported internationally, as a resource to be managed for political and economic growth.21 To understand how the value of Quito’s historic center is marketed in a global economy, cultural theorist George Yúdice’s examination of culture as an “expedient” is highly useful. Yúdice considers how culture is “increasingly wielded as a resource for both sociopolitical and economic amelioration, that is, for increasing participation in this era of waning political involvement, conflicts over citizenship and the rise of what Jeremy Rifkin has called “cultural capitalism.”22 Despite this framing, Yúdice does not ascribe to sociologist Theodor Adorno’s articulation of reified commodity culture, but examines the particular qualities of the contemporary cultural industry that garner value.23 He points out that we are accustomed to thinking of capital in terms of property and commodities, but that there is more to the success of the cultural industries, prompting the question, “what it is about city life, particularly its 20 Setha Low, “Spatializing Culture: The Social Production and Social Construction of Public Space in Costa Rica,” American Ethnologist Vol. 23, No. 4 (1996), 861. 21 George Yúdice, The Expediency of Culture: Uses of Culture in the Global Era (Durham: Duke University Press, 2003), 1. 22 Yúdice, The Expediency of Culture: Uses of Culture in the Global Era, 9. 23 Yúdice, 1.

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immigrant populations and their cultures, that can be transformed into value?”24 In this way, Yúdice moves from the level of city space to the global market of cities; with specific focus on Miami as the “cultural capital of Latin America,” Yúdice describes how the mixture of different classes adds political value to the city as a commodity because it appeals to the discourses of diversity and multiculturalism popularized in a globalized economy.25 Quito is not considered to be a global cultural capital such as Miami or, to use a more proximate example, Medellín, but the aggressive marketing of the city through cultural tourism indicates how elite stakeholders intend to generate a profit by enhancing the heritage site status and moulding social practices in the center and city to fit this consumer desire. In turn, this has spatial consequences at the municipal level, as the expediency of cultural tourism is based on the historic center remaining intact and relatively conflict-free. I will elaborate on these developments in the following section. With respect to the center and the market, a mutuallyreinforcing relationship between authorized heritage discourse and culture as a resource in global capitalism strengthens the center’s value while appealing to the universally digestible qualities of harmonious diversity—this applies to the state scale as well, with the touting of Ecuador as a plurinational state.26 Yúdice notes that the reduction in support for social services adopted in many countries across North America, Latin America, and Europe in the 1980s-1990s repositioned culture as a solvent for economic stagnation and political antagonism, resulting in the collapse of arts and culture into one expanded field, the purpose of which is reconfigured to “lend a hand in the reduction of expenditures and at the same time help maintain the level of state intervention for the stability of capitalism.”27 Yúdice observes how the emphasis on administrative function in the arts and culture sector means that artists are being channeled to manage the social, a key element of this study that will be elaborated in the analysis of urban community practices in Quito. The expediency of culture as a device for sociopolitical and economic amelioration in an era of cultural capitalism and conflicts over citizenship has implications for cultural and artistic practice with communities, as the increased managerial, administrative, or service-oriented approach to culture runs the risk of making the arts and culture “techniques of government.”28 As Yúdice points out, “this refunctionalization is not limited to the United States but is characteristic of the role of artists as catalysts for cultural 24 Yúdice, 196. 25 Yúdice, 211. 26 Trisha Netsch Lopez, “Interculturalidad and Buen Vivir as National Rebranding in Ecuador,” Panoramas (Pittsburgh, PA: Center for Latin American Studies, 2014), http://www.panoramas.pitt.edu/content/interculturalidad-y-buen-vivir-national-rebranding-ecuador. 27 Yúdice, 12. 28 Yúdice, 319.

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citizenship in the new cultural policies throughout Latin America and many other regions.” With this shift, artists and practitioners whose work is politically engaged are increasingly pressured to negotiate their role between being antagonistic to capitalism and becoming agents of a digestible form of cultural value—agents of expediency.

2.2. THE HEGEMONY OF THE VISUAL: POLITICS AND AESTHETICS The dominant architectural form of Quito’s historic center is that of the 17th century colonial Spanish city, with central plazas and churches. As in other cities throughout Latin America, “colonial towns were designed to replicate the Iberian urban model of the central plaza surrounded by administrative buildings, a church or cathedral, and elite residences.”29 This urban design concretized the symbolic power of the central colonial administration, creating a hierarchy of positions of power relative to the distance from the central plaza.30 Quito, having the most well preserved colonial urban center in Latin America, retains this physical infrastructure despite centuries of urban migration. The colonial power inscribed in Quito’s historic center, though perhaps administratively absent, still has a regulatory function that is operational through its aesthetic. The designation of the historic center as a UNESCO World Heritage site provided an external validation for preserving this site and its aesthetic, for the purported valorization of the municipality and state, but also in order to market this site as a tourist destination. This has an effect similar to what the hierarchical organization of the Iberian colonial town produced; comparative valuation of urban sites based on proximity to the central hub. The relation between the historic center and the San Roque neighborhood— which the Mercado San Roque can be understood as emblematic of—operates along this comparative aesthetic. One manifestation of this tense relationship is the publication of the results of a poll that voted the Mercado the antimaravilla (“anti-wonder”) of the city.31 The disorder, congestion, and chaos of the market were cited as grounds for this result; these qualities lie opposite on the spectrum to those of spatial order and cleanliness enforced in the 29 Rebecca E. Biron, “Introduction,” City/Art: the Urban Scene in Latin America (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), 13. 30 Biron, “Introduction,” 13. 31 “Y las antimaravillas son,” Ultimas Noticias, September 19, 2011, www.ultimasnoticias.ec/noticias/5216-y-las-antimaravillas.


Headline of Últimas Noticias. September 19, 2011. Source: Últimas Noticias, www.ultimasnoticias.ec/noticias/5216-y-las-antimaravillas.

historic center. As evident in my introductory anecdote, these aesthetic qualities are actively enforced through municipal policy in the historic center, and correspond to value judgments about types of urban populations. The historic center’s commodity value, or its value as a commodified space, makes it a utilitarian site for economic growth, and thus its aesthetic preservation and validation are prioritized. The Mercado San Roque and San Roque neighborhood nourish a significant part of the city and sustain a variety of other informal economies (such as furniture buying and selling and street vending), but because this site serves and sustains a specific labor force within the city, and does not accumulate surplus value, it is not necessarily considered commodifiable or growth generating. The imperative to preserve the historic center is bolstered by avowals to beauty and utility, while threats of community displacement and continued precariousness are increased; this de-linkage between aesthetics and material conditions is a specific ideological feature enabled by a myopic approach to urban policy and planning. Therefore, it is imperative to acknowledge the politics inherent in aesthetic judgment that protect and valorize certain urban sites while devaluing others. As I have attempted to illustrate, the current approach to urban heritage and preservation aesthetics must be connected to the legacy of colonial city planning and its political symbolism. As Kingman Garcés writes, the recent history of modernization in Quito’s urban development retained this colonial spatial logic: The problem that was seen in this period was how to join two distinct temporalities in one space—innovations in lifestyle and in the morphology of the city with an aristocratic tradition and a type of social organization with colonial roots that was necessary for the very development of an incipient modernity.32 32 Eduardo Kingman Garcés and Ana Maria Goetschel, “Patrimony as a Disciplinary Device and the Banalization of Memory: An Historic Reading from the Andres,” Urban Regeneration and Revitalization in

The temporal dilemma of heritage preservation involves recognizing how the historic center is shaped by contemporary forces while also emphasizing it as a product of the colonial period. As Garcés notes, this entails recognition of how modernity constitutes an intersection of notions about the past, present, and future, and how this can be read through heritage sites. This attention to multiple temporalities may prevent heritage sites from taking on an objective or static quality that separates them from the urban landscape, while also serving to reinforce notion of art and architecture as transcendent rather than historically contingent. As Garcés points out, the relationship to the historic center is indicative of a relationship to history and, in this case then, also a relationship to the legacy of colonialism in Quito, in Ecuador, and in Latin America. This issue of temporality brings forth a focal problem of heritage sites and their authorization, which is that these sites assume an objective quality. As I suggest, this is largely enhanced by the global market for cultural capital that positions sites and cities as items for selection and specific investment. To return to Harvey, this seemingly empirical quality of land facilitates the acquisition of private property and obscures how space is produced by social relations and fragmented according to class politics. Both Harvey and Low examine how social reality is strategically detached from space, thus effectively separating the political from the spatial. In the case of Quito, this serves to augment the marketability of the center while also sanitizing its active historicity. There is another aspect to this detachment that is relevant to my study, which is the detachment of artistic and cultural practice from spatial context that Rosalyn Deutsche responds to in writing about public art in the late 1990s. Deutsche recognizes that traditional art historical methods rely on idealist assumptions that prevent the discipline from reckoning with the implications of “the social functions of public art” in an urban context.33 This is, she points out, due to a lingering disciplinary commitment to the transcendent power of art: “maintaining that art is defined by an independent aesthetic essence, prevailing doctrines hold that while art is inevitably reflects social reality, its purpose is, by definition, the transcendence of spatiotemporal contingencies.”34 Deutsche traces the rise of site-specific art in the post-1960s that built a critical approach to the reciprocity between artwork and site, forming a renewed role for art within wider social and cultural practices which, in the case of public art that Deutsche is primarily concerned with, required that the urban arena for a work be understood as a socially-constructed the Americas: Toward a Stable State, Fernando Carrion And Lisa M. Hanley, Eds. (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2007), 70. 33 Deutsche, 60. 34 Ibid., 60.

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space.35 As Deutsche describes, avant-garde artistic movements of the 20th century were largely concerned with the perceived gap between the artist and the social condition—particularly as manifested in cities. Deutsche traces the emergence of critical spatial studies and urban theory in the late twentieth century alongside the shift in critical perspectives on aesthetics: for nearly three decades, new theories about the politics of urban space have been matched by new theories about the politics of aesthetic space and by the development of art practices that contest autonomy by exploring the artwork’s inseparability from its spatiotemporal context.36

As Deutsche points out, both urban theory/spatial studies and aesthetics saw a (related) struggle in the twentieth century to embed theory and practice within a spatiotemporal context; these disciplinary concerns were mutually informative of and informed by art-making and thinking about artistic practice. Artists and artistic movements have a particularly crucial stake in the politics of urban space and the politics of aesthetics, as those whose practice most often relies on the perceptual. This brings up the question of the artist’s societal role, which will be considered in consecutive sections in the analysis of practitioners in Quito. In order to consider the effects of spatial aesthetic construction—and interventions that antagonize this construction—on social relations, I turn to philosopher Jacques Rancière’s conception of the “distribution of the sensible.” In The Politics of Aesthetics, Rancière articulates how political participation is predicated on access, access that is distributed through factors affecting sensory perception.37 Rancière is concerned with who gets to participate in political experience, based on the access afforded in space, time, visibility and invisibility, speech and noise. As he points out, politics is dependent on sensory access, and this access delineates the power structures inscribed in a certain political organization: “Politics revolves around what is seen and what can be said about it, around who has the ability to see and the talent to speak, around the properties of spaces and the possibilities of time.”38 Rancière includes artistic practices in the “distribution of the sensible” as “ways of doing and making” that intervene in the general distribution of ways of doing and making as well as in the relationships they maintain to modes of being and forms of visibility.”39 Responding to Rancière in his text titled 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, art critic Ben Davis evaluates the philosopher’s integrated vision of aesthetic and political spheres: “as a critical 35 Ibid., 61. 36 Deutsche, 135. 37 Jacques Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, New York: Gabriel Rockhill, 2004. 38 Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, 13. 39 Rancière, 13.

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trope, ‘aesthetic politics’ is more of an excuse not to be engaged in the difficult, ugly business of nonartistic political activism than it is a way of contributing to it.”40 Davis argues against the assumed integration of the spheres of political activism and art-making or aestheticization. He writes, “disentangling what is aesthetically affecting from what is politically effective is one of the vital tasks of criticism. Muddling the two can only do a disservice to both.”41 These two perspectives from Rancière and Davis demonstrate what is at stake in any contemporary discussion of the politics of aesthetics, as well as any artistic or cultural practice that seeks political efficacy in some form. Rancière’s axes of aesthetic distribution, such as visible to invisible or momentary to long-term, are useful as a frame to analyze approaches to community practice in the market. His focus on accessibility is particularly helpful in thinking about how a certain aesthetic construction in the historic center conditions political participation. Davis’ call to actively negotiate political activism with art-making takes the dilemma about the relation between practice and the spatiotemporal political context and adds a contemporary urgency to it, as well as situating this dilemma within the legacy of avant-garde artistic practices and their relationship to social movements. I will return to Rancière and Davis’ positions on the politics of aesthetics with respect to community practice in Chapter 4. For now, this theoretical lens sheds light on how the dominant aesthetic of the historic center serves as a counterpoint for resistance in recognizing the market as a cultural site in a deliberately different way.

2.3. THE “URBAN TURN”: SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART PRACTICE As the third theoretical lens that provides the groundwork for this study, I draw on pedagogical theory and avant-garde artistic practice coming out of Latin America, and its intersection with the international discourse of socially engaged art. Socially engaged art, or SEA, comes out of the broader field known as “public art” that emerged in the late twentieth century in North America and Europe—Deutsche’s writing is a primary example of this—and is one of a number of terms given to art practice that focuses on social relations (other terms include “participatory art” favored by art historian Claire Bishop, and “social practice”).42 40 Ben Davis, 9.5 Theses on Art and Class (Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2013), 72. 41 Davis, 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, 72. 42 Claire Bishop, “The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents,” Artforum (February 2006), http://newsgrist.typepad.com/files/ claire-bishop-the-social-turn-collaboration-and-its-discontents-in-2006artforum.pdf.


Miwon Kwon, scholar of art and architectural history and theory, describes socially engaged art as art in the public interest, as it foregrounds social issues, political activism, and community collaborations.43 Working with communities, as a form of art practice, seemingly evades the logic of the traditional object-based art market because the locus of the work is the social interaction, engagement, or process, rather than the final “product.” In Quito, the prevalence of this form of practice can be attributed to an absent market for gallery art as well as to the discourse of critical pedagogy that is found throughout Latin America.44 The popularity of the community practice approach, as I understood through interviews, is not solely the domain of individual artists but forms a strong influence for public programming in institutions, and is an intrinsic aspect of social movements. Due to its participatory nature, it is more adaptable to various contexts than other forms of art intended for gallery display. Depending on the circumstance, this can be strategic; in an interview with Luis Herrera, documentary photographer and member of the activist group Red de Saberes, he pointed out this quality, saying, “When you work in culture, it’s not suspicious at all; it’s something happening everywhere and you can do many things—even when it’s very political, the culture hides that.”45 Indeed, Yúdice points out the inherent risk of this malleablity, noting, “to address one’s work against the institution of art is, however, another way of allowing that institution to frame the understanding of the practice and seek to incorporate it.”46 This is, of course, the crux of the revolutionary artistic dilemma: “It is the experience of the historical avant-garde, which has always sought to break the frame of the institution, only to have that very rupture installed within it.”47 As mentioned, the primacy of social relations that are the focus of this work, as well as the shift away from individual authorship, makes it more about social reproduction than growthled production of value; this is a key facet of socially engaged art practice as seen in North America and Europe, and art historian Claire Bishop writes that it is tempting to suggest that this art arguably forms what avant-garde we have today: artists devising social situations as a dematerialized, anti-market, politically-engaged project to carry on the avant-garde call to make art a more vital part of life.48 43 Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another: Site Specific Art and Locational Identity (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002). 44 Eduardo Carrera, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Sascia Bailer, October 21, 2015; Paola de la Vega, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Alexandra Venner, January 14, 2016. 45 Luis Herrera, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Sascia Bailer, October 21, 2015. 46 Yúdice, 320. 47 Yúdice, 329. 48 Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells (Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2012), 12-13.

However, Bishop critically assesses the political efficacy of what she terms “participatory art,” and maintains that there is a degree of separation between such practices as forms of art, resisting the collapse of art and life into one unified form of practice. Drawing on the genealogy and legacy of socially engaged art practice from the critical literature in a Northern/European context provides a sense of how the practitioners in Quito work relative to an international discourse. While I will demonstrate that the field of community art practice has developed in Quito due to specific social, political and economic circumstances, it is significant to compare this to how community art practices are institutionalized in countries globally as part of a neoliberal turn to privatize the responsibility of community engagement after restructuring creates deficits in social services. Further, the link that Bishop, among others, makes between the avantgarde aesthetic and social movements points to the complex terrain of this field of practice, and its resistance to identifying as a purely arts-based or purely activist endeavor. Drawing on contemporary theory and writing on socially engaged art, as well as the influences for this expanded artistic practice in Ecuador, the Andean region, and Latin America, I place these discourses in conversation with the expanded approach of authorized heritage discourse (post-UNESCO designation) to work through some of the contradictions, their implications for affected urban sites, and the discontents of arts-based community practice. Another key voice in the field of socially engaged art, particularly as it intersects with critical pedagogy, is that of New York-based artist and Director of Adult and Academic Programs at the MoMA, Pablo Helguera. Helguera’s short text, Education for Socially Engaged Art, begins with the remark that recent theorization of socially engaged art has developed more quickly than discussion of the techniques that sustain it.49 Different to Bishop, he suggests breaking from the tendency to focus on art history and theory in favor of understanding the multiplicity of disciplines from which social practitioners draw their “vocabularies”—in this case, particularly the field of education. Helguera cites Reggio Emilia’s pedagogy (Italy) as well as that of Paulo Freire (Brazil), as influences. As Helguera notes, the term “social practice” avoids evocations of both the modern role of the artist (as an illuminated visionary) and the 49 Pablo Helguera, Education for Socially Engaged Art (New York: Jorge Pinto Books Inc., 2011), 3.

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postmodern version of the artist (as a self-conscious critical being). Instead the term democratizes the construct, making the artist into an individual whose specialty includes working with society in a professional capacity.50 This, however, makes the artist seemingly equivalent to an educator, or a social worker, or any other civic professional role. Helguera recognizes this, and, similarly to Bishop, argues for keeping the artist and practice within this uncomfortable position. He writes, “socially engaged art functions by attaching itself to subjects and problems that normally belong to other disciplines, moving them temporarily into a space of ambiguity.”51 This is, then, the work of the artist in this field: to open up a space of ambiguity by plumbing the methods and contradictions of other disciplines. The influence of critical pedagogy that Helguera brings to bear on the practical methods of socially engaged art is doubly significant to research on social practice in Quito. Firstly, the discussion of what civic role the practitioner plays is a topic in almost all of the interviews conducted. This manifested in the interviewees’ avowed ability to move fluidly between roles, identifying oneself as a curator in some contexts, as a community mediator in others, as someone who makes art but does not identify as an artist, as an architect whose work intersects with a post-secondary teaching role, and so forth. Holding multiple shifting roles as a practitioner is not unique to this particular place, and that is not the claim made here. What is significant is the way in which this impacts the role of the artist and the claims made to authorship. Again, as Bishop and Helguera point out, one critical aspect of social practice is a renunciation of the singular artist role and the traditional function that comes with it. This requires attending to the specific form of labor constituted by art, and its relationship to other forms of labor, such as the role of the social worker, who may or may not also identify as an artist. Helguera’s text acts as a kind of manual for “best practices” in socially engaged art, and in this way it is comparable to the kind of manual one receives after starting a new job. Helguera’s text leans much more to the educational than to the prescriptive, but nonetheless it does illuminate the way in which socially engaged art practice necessarily brings up issues of labor, returning to this tension between work and life that is so fundamental to the discourse of political artistic practice. In 2014, Arte Actual FLACSO, a branch of the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), sponsored the “Third Ibero-American Meeting on Art, Labor, and Economy” in Quito. One of the developments of this forum was a text of

Best Practices specifically focused on Community Art Practice. Similar in approach to Helguera’s text, this publication offers guiding concepts for this field, with the objective to “manage a common language among those using this tool.52” The manual describes practica artistica comunitaria (community art practice) as a “creative processes, reflexive and relational, based on collaboration and collective dialogue, that locates itself within contexts and specific locations.53 The described aim is generating conditions for dialogue concerning the politics of institutions, cultural politics, and social relations within communities. As evidenced by the closing thoughts of Paulina Leon Crespo, coordinator of the conference and former Director of the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo in Quito, the city’s foremost contemporary art museum, the summit concluded with the imperative to provide decent working conditions to practitioners, putting forward a call to recognize the labor struggles of artists. This has significance with respect to the capacity for artistic practice to ally and align with the values of political struggle in communities. I treat this alliance and its discontents in the following chapter. A key component illuminated by the concern over labor and the role of the artist is that of positionality within critical spatial theory. As a scholar who straddles the fields of urban studies and contemporary art theory, Rosalyn Deutsche addresses the problematic dismissal of postmodernism by theorist Frederic Jameson, who contends that postmodern cultural theory produces fragments—“of space, society, the body, the subject.”54 As Deutsche writes,

50 51

52 Manual de Buenas Practicas para las Artes Visuales: Practicas Artísticas & Comunidades (Quito: FLACSO Ecuador, 2014), 20. “Manejar un lenguaje comun enter quienes usen esta herramienta.” 53 Manual de Buenas Practicas, 23. 54 Deutsche, “Men in Space,” Evictions, 198. 55 Deutsche, 198.

Helguera, Education for Socially Engaged Art, 3. Ibid., 5.

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The proper activity for radical artists, he prescribed, is an ‘aesthetic of cognitive mapping’—the production of spatial imageability—by means of which inhabitants of ‘hyperspace’ might overcome fragmentation, recover the ability to perceive the underlying totality and, concomitantly, find their place in the world. Jameson contends that he is suggesting how radical forces can engage in political battles over representation. Yet his proposal for analyzing space as a visual image begs…all political questions raised by feminist critiques of representation—most notably, the issue of positionality.55

I highlight this argument in order to point to the tendency in critical urban discourse to seek a unitary theory for anticapitalist practice, at the risk of dismissing the political importance of subjective positioning as “fragmentation.” Locating oneself politically necessitates acknowledging the subject position one occupies with respect to society. Indeed, this is where


the political action in art practice begins. As Deutsche points out, contemporary art theory has explored the image not to strengthen the status of aesthetic representation but in order to “reveal the identity of images as part of a realm of representation where meanings and subjects are socially and hierarchically produced as, among other things, gendered.”56 In this particular essay, Deutsche is specifically concerned with postmodern female artists who problematize the issue, but her contention is nonetheless germane to my own study, as it highlights the need to address identity positions in the analysis of art practice, and this is especially so for practices that take a political stance in their commitment to work at the social level. Indeed, this should not result in the diffusion of solidarity, but will strengthen it as practitioners confront their own ethical motivations and decide how and where to intervene based on this awareness.

2.4. METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH AND CONSIDERATIONS Setha Low describes her engaged anthropology approach as “those activities that grow out of a commitment to the participants and communities anthropologists work with and a values-based stance that anthropological research respect the dignity and rights of all people and have a beneficent effect on the promotion of social justice.”57 Low goes on to note that this approach also “provides people with a basis for fighting proposed changes that often destroy the centers of social life, erase cultural meanings, and restrict local participatory practices.”58 Although my study is not overtly anthropological, I find this approach to research to be congruent with my own. The collective and collaborative nature of this research process relies on a shared commitment to social justice between myself, my student colleagues, and our partners in Quito. As such, I understand my theoretical framework and methodologies as radical research, “an approach that maintains a radical openness to difference while seeking to build communities of support for difference.”59 “Radical,” as authors John and Jill Schostak use the term, means to focus on root causes and understand research as a means for freedom and emancipation from allegiance to hegemonic knowledge and structures of power. This necessarily 56 Deutsche, 200. 57 Setha Low, “Spatializing Culture: An Engaged Anthropological Approach to Space and Place” People Place Space (2014), 34. 58 Low, “Spatializing Culture: An Engaged Anthropological Approach to Space and Place” 34. 59 John Schostak and Jill Schostak, Radical Research: Designing, Developing and Writing Research to Make a Difference (London: Routledge, 2008), 8.

transdisciplinary approach constitutes a “critical philosophical refocusing of research and action on the political, the cultural and the social without splitting them into separate disciplines” (i.e economy, sociology, psychology).60 I also choose this radical approach to acknowledge that research “findings,” as Schostak and Schostak recognize, are shaped by exercises of power—“how the world is configured in terms of who has access to what, who can do what and where”—and research, like any other social practice, can be co-opted by the powerful, making it imperative that research design is cognizant of power relations, historical and contemporary, in the given context, including the position of the researcher.61 In this vein, I have drawn from authors who trouble the disciplinary boundaries of spatial studies, critical geography, anthropology, and urban and cultural theory to provide the framework for this site-based inquiry. Thus far, I have examined the intersection of urban land use theory with authorized heritage discourse, cultural theory, the politics of aesthetics, and critical writing on socially engaged art. Together, this theoretical framework works to examine the dialectical relation between the center and the market that forms the unstable grounds for practice. This critical approach guided the observations, interviews, and analysis that came from two separate research trips in Quito, Ecuador: one week in October 2015 and the other in January 2016.

FIELDWORK Prior to the first research trip, I partnered with my colleague Sascia Bailer based on a shared interest and background in art history, theory and political artistic practice. This partnership provided a foundation for our first joint research trip, and together we developed a series of relational maps as a tool to find a common language that would inform our initial interview questions and research lens. During the first trip to Quito in October, Sascia and I conducted nine semi-structured interviews with a range of different practitioners that we located through our contacts in the activist group Red de Saberes por el Mercado San Roque (some of our interviewees are themselves members of Red de Saberes). Red de Saberes is a Quito-based social justice group focused on recognizing and protecting the value of the Mercado San Roque. As Luis Herrera, one of the founding members, recounts, he and Ana Rodriguez (formerly Director of 60 61

Schostak and Schostak, Radical Research, 8. Ibid., 9.

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the Fundación de Museos de la Ciudad and recent Vice-Minister of Culture for Ecuador) developed a shared interest in forming a solidarity network when they were working together on a project about the history of the calle 24 de Mayo, a major street on the perimeter of the historic center that connects the center to the market.62 The name of Red de Saberes (translated roughly to “Knowledge Network for the San Roque Market”) signifies the need to “recognize other knowledges” such as those of the workers in the market, who are mainly indigenous.63 With a loose organizational structure, the group’s members are continuously shifting, but the most crucial element, according to Ana and Luis, is presence in the market, in order to strengthen relationships.64 Through this network, Sascia and I were able to establish local contacts for this study. Our colleagues in Red de Saberes, particularly Henar Diez, who has a background in architecture and urbanism and also works for the Ministry of Culture, mapped out the connections between different people, practices, and institutions in the city, and identified those that had some relation to Mercado San Roque. With this, Sascia and I were able to identify many people to speak with, including Paulina Leon Crespo, who was at that time Director of the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo (CAC), Eduardo Carrera, an independent curator and historian who also worked at CAC, Pablo Ayala, part of the urban arts collective Tranvia Cero, members of Al Borde, an alternative architecture firm, and Pablo Ortiz, Director of Community Organization for the Fundación Museos de la Ciudad. These semi-structured interviews were prompted with guiding questions that we developed using our preliminary research, and the questions were meant to uncover the ways in which our interviewees described their practice, what their relation was to the community with which they worked, how they viewed their civic role, and whether they considered their practice to constitute a form of care-taking necessitated by neglect or lack of recognition for the market as a contested urban site.65 Sascia and I recorded the interviews on our mobile devices, and we obtained verbal consent from participants to record and use the content. All interviews lasted approximately thirty to ninety minutes. We jointly conducted all but one interview during this first research trip, as Sascia stayed a day later with some of

our other colleagues while I traveled back to New York to present at the Urban Thinkers Campus summit at The New School. The concept of “care-taking” or “urban curating” (taking curating with its root-word sense, “to care”), was a guiding aspect in the first joint research phase, and allowed us to understand some of the ethical and emotional motivations of the practitioners, but we found that this term was more useful as a framework for us as researchers than it was immanent to the people we spoke to. The second phase of this research reveals a shift away from this concept, although the framing of community practice as a form of “care work” is still relevant to the practices in this study. However, it is perhaps best understood as an aspect or lens through which to understand the political motivations and position of each practitioner. After returning from Quito in late October, Sascia and I copied the audio files on to our laptops, divided the interviews equally and transcribed the content. Some interviews were conducted in English, others fully in Spanish, and some transitioned between both languages. After transcribing, we then analyzed the qualitative data by using thematic analysis to “code” the interview transcripts, revealing categories and patterns across the different conversations. From this preliminary analysis, we were able to draw out contradictions and commonalities amongst this set of varied practitioners, and consequently, to understand some of the core tensions and contradictions that exist within this “community of practice,” as well as within and between the urban sites of focus—the Mercado San Roque and the historic center—and how these tensions and contradictions may be extrapolated out to processes of urbanization at the municipal and national level. Towards the end of this first research phase, Sascia and I identified three core categories that emerged from this interview analysis: Temporality, Spatiality, and Visibility. These thematic categories provided a stronger direction with which to enter back

62 Luis Herrera, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Sascia Bailer, October 21, 2015. 63 Luis Herrera, interview. 64 Ana Rodriguez, interview by Sascia Bailer on October 24, 2015; Luis Herrera, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Sascia Bailer, October 21, 2015. 65 A sample of interview questions can be found at the end of this document. Interview Analysis. Source: Author and Sascia Bailer.

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into the theoretical material, as evident in the previous sections of this chapter. In our preliminary thesis report, Sascia and I used these three categories to evaluate the different approaches to practice that we observed, based on the duration of time committed (for example, a one-time event relative to a long-term engagement) as well as the concern about drawing more attention to the market through its heightened visibility. The approaches of the various practitioners, under the common motive to recognize the cultural value of the market, must necessarily choose how to engage with the visibility and temporality of the site. Working together with Sascia in the first phase of research and interview analysis was important to build a common language that informs this study, as well as jointly identifying the contradictions and assessing our limitations. In a further round of interviews conducted in Quito in January 2016, I was able to meet more specifically on mediación comunitaria as a specific approach that focuses on the relationship between an institution and a community. Additional conversations with Lucia Duran, an anthropologist who studies the historic center, Paco Salazar, former Vice-Minister for Culture, and Jaime Varea, an urban planner and designer, deepened my understanding of how the relation between the two sites was constructed through municipal policy and situated with respect to contemporary artistic and social movements, as well as institutional approaches to heritage management and popular sentiment. Following this trip, I returned to New York and transcribed the interview material with the help of Hector Grad, visiting anthropologist from the Universita Autonóma de Madrid who has been working with our studio over the course of the academic year. In addition to the two rounds of interviews, this study benefits from field notes about participant observation in the public plazas of the historic center, as well as walking through the market and neighboring streets of San Roque. In line with the radical research approach, this study also benefited immensely from workshop sessions with the activist group Red de Saberes while in Quito, and continued correspondence with our partners that strengthened the research process. As many of the interviews were conducted in Spanish, in which I converse at a beginner to intermediate level, my research colleagues who speak fluently—particularly Sascia as we conducted interviews together during the first research trip—helped to support conversations. This slight language barrier is also reflected in my usage of secondary literature; while I have been able to utilize many texts by Spanish authors, I recognize that this literature review would have benefited from more mastery with the language. Another limitation of this thesis is the range of practitioners that

I had access to when in Quito; as I was somewhat reliant on the network provided through our partners in Red de Saberes, this by no means all-encompassing of the varied nature of these practices in the city, nor the myriad ways that people engage with these sites. A further omission of perspective is that of the people who work in the historic center and market. This study does not aim to discuss artisanal forms of artistic or cultural production; I chose to focus instead on those who were deliberately coming to forge relationships with market workers and how they engaged with the market space. However, it bears consideration that this does only constitute one arena of dialogue and is not reflective of the diversity of cultural and artistic forms practiced in the site. As a non-Quiteño, I was aware of my limited perspective during fieldwork. I benefitted from the privilege that those I wished to speak with were willing to meet me and share their work and personal ethical and ideological motivations.

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SECTION 3

UNSTABLE RELATIONS: PRESERVATION AND PERMUTATION Tracing the effects of the post-1978 period on spatial regulation and policy in the historic center alongside the recent history of the contemporary art scene in Quito from the 80s and 90s to the present reveals how the convergence of political, social, and economic pressures provided a platform for artsbased approaches to working with the San Roque market. As I demonstrate, this is paralleled by global shifts towards heritage tourism and culture-led development as well as the turn towards relational art. While Quito’s historic center saw increased investment through rehabilitation plans in the decades since 1978, this has been paralleled by the displacement and neglect of vulnerable populations. Together, these interrelated processes create a tension to which local artists and cultural actors respond. As historians Eduardo Kingman Garcés and Ana Maria Goetschel write, in recent years, studies have been done throughout Latin America that show cities and particularly historic centers as spaces of dispute, in which different forms of conceiving of the everyday economy and culture have clashed and been negotiated.1

It is this tension that politicizes the historic center, while also providing a point of conflict for practitioners to continue to reevaluate the politics of their work. Quito does not have a robust commercial art market, making it a fertile ground for alternative forms of artistic practice that do not produce object-based work. Instead of resisting a commercialized art system, the alternative forms of practice in Quito have developed through the absence of one. I suggest that it is authorized heritage discourse as evoked in the historic center that provides one strong counterpoint against which to lodge resistance. In addition to the lack of art market, another major influence in Quito’s heightened attention to community practice is that of critical pedagogy, cited by many practitioners as a core component of their work. One of the most influential articulations of critical pedagogy is Brazilian educator Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, in which he emphasizes mutual communication and dialogue between parties as an alternative 1 Eduardo Kingman Garcés and Ana Maria Goetschel, “Patrimony as a Disciplinary Device and the Banalization of Memory: An Historic Reading from the Andres,” Urban Regeneration and Revitalization in the Americas: Toward a Stable State, Fernando Carrion and Lisa M. Hanley, Eds. (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2007), 73.

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to the traditional teacher-student relationship where knowledge is held by the teacher and then deposited into the student who lacks it.2 The market is considered a place to recognize “other knowledges,” as indicated by the evocative name of the collective Red de Saberes por el Mercado San Roque (Knowledge Network for the San Roque Market).3 In this sense, the aims of community practice in Quito align in the context of the Mercado San Roque, as influenced by critical pedagogy, especially the notion that learning must do away with the restrictive idea of “expert knowledge,” as well as the implicitly anti-commercial nature of non-object-based artistic and cultural practice. These two features emerge in the recent efforts to represent the market using various forms of media, such as documentary film and photography, as well as pedagogical workshops to strategize and share knowledge between the San Roque community and allies. These examples are not explicitly oriented for a contemporary art consumer base but use arts-based methods. Rather than producing specific work for display in a museum or gallery, these approaches take the process—social relations—as the locus of the work. In many ways, the San Roque market offers a foil to the historic center. While the center is a highly visible and commodified space that preserves a colonial Spanish logic (which becomes transformed into present-day policies of social regulation), the market is largely invisible to tourists and even residents of Quito who do not go there. Although it is a site that fulfills many population-specific needs, it is not marketable on an international scale. Nevertheless, it is inscribed in the capitalist property system, as the land it occupies is subject to speculation, making it even more a site of resistance.

3.1. HISTORICAL CONTEXT: QUITO AS A WORLD HERITAGE CITY Quito was one of the first cities to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978; two years after the first UN-Habitat conference on human settlement took place in Vancouver (1976), and six years after the summit that established the World Heritage program (1972). The timing is significant; as global agencies turned to consider the political and economic implications of unprecedented urban settlement, they also joined with states such as Ecuador to highlight the universality of particular cities. In the same period that the UN-Habitat I conference 2 Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Trans. Myra Bergman Ramos (New York, NY: Continuum, 1989). 3 Luis Herrera, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Sascia Bailer, October 21, 2015.


responded to concerns over mass, uncontrolled urbanization in global centers, particular cities were identified as destinations and primed for urban tourism. This juxtaposition highlights the inherent contradiction in authorized heritage discourse, which is that it is simultaneously catering to the global tourist market and appealing to universal value, while also attempting to be grounded in the local and conceived as an objective value in that context. The preservation of urban heritage purports to safeguard sites that are expressions of universal significance. However, this works to market these sites for global access through heritage tourism, effectively generating very measurable capital value for the state by imposing strict measures on the site that inevitably affect the livelihood of inhabitants. The rise of preservation discourse in Quito in the 20th century coincided with a global Hispanism, which sought to strengthen a common cultural link between the culture of Spain and its former colonies, even as the city center’s social reality was that of a mestizo and indigenous population.4 As early as the 1930s, the municipality of Quito required special permits to alter the infrastructure of the center, and so while the UNESCO designation prompted a renewed commitment to preservation, the groundwork for viewing the center as a segregated, culturally sophisticated site was already actively enforced through regulation.5 The city’s exceptionality is heightened given Quito’s geographic positioning and the fact that the city center has remained relatively intact despite centuries of threat, damage, and reconstruction: Quito is located in a valley surrounded by the Andes mountain range that includes two active volcanoes, the Pinchincha and Pululahua, and is thus subject to related natural disasters, including earthquakes, that are incredibly damaging to infrastructure.6 Built on the site of a former Incan capital, the construction of the colonial city follows a grid pattern with a large central plaza—the Plaza Grande—flanked by municipal buildings and cathedrals, as seen in colonial city construction throughout Latin America under the Law of the Indies.7 This urban design reinforces the symbolic power of the central colonial administration, serving to stratify positions of power relative to the distance from the central plaza.8 Art historian Jose Gabriel Navarro, an advocate for historic preservation of churches in the late 19th and early 20th century, acted as Ecuador’s cultural representative at the 1929 Ibero-American 4 Ernesto Capello, City at the Center of the World: Space, History, and Modernity in Quito (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), 62. 5. Capello, City at the Center of the World, 83. 6 Lisa Marie Hanley, “Urban Heritage Management: Linking Economic, Social, and Democratic Planning in the Historic Center of Quito, Ecuador,” (Doctoral dissertation, Cornell University, 2010), 65. 7 Biron, City/Art: the Urban Scene in Latin America, 13. 8 Biron, 13.

Quito’s historic center. Source: UNESCO.

Exposition, and his main argument for Quito as an artistic center was attached to its Spanish roots, supporting a view of Spain as a civilizing force: “He thus advocated strict conservation of Quito’s treasures, arguing that doing so would have practical benefits by encouraging tourism.”9 He also put forward the vision of Quito’s center as a “living museum,” a characterization that indicates that the center’s separation from the social reality of its inhabitants predates the UNESCO designation, providing a foundation for site’s contemporary commodification.10 Indeed, the integrity of the center’s architecture, including the six major cathedrals ranging from 16th century Baroque to Gothic, is touted as an example of cultural synthesis from its inception to the present, as indicated in this statement from the UNESCO site page: The city of Quito, the cradle of Pre-Colombian cultures and an important witness of Spanish colonization maintains, for the time being, unity and harmony in its urban structure despite centuries of urban development.11

This vision of harmony is largely representational, and reflective of the desire to construct a linear historical narrative for the center, from past to present, to emphasize the coherence of the site and facilitate consumption. The designation of Quito as a World Heritage Site in 1978 9 Capello, 74-76. 10 Capello, 83. 11 “City of Quito,” UNESCO World Heritage Centre. whc.unesco.org/ en/list/2/.

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followed a number of international conventions on heritage conservation in the post World War II period that occurred alongside the rise of neoliberal economic policy across Latin America. Following the establishment of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in 1965, in 1967 a meeting of experts convened by the Organization of American States (OAS) in Quito resulted in a document known as The Norms of Quito.12 This document outlines significant operational principles for the utilization and enhancement of heritage sites, particularly the concept that sites can become instruments for development as economic resources for the country.13 Consequently, one of the primary emphases of this document concerns heritage sites as tourist attractions.14 The OAS experts meeting in Quito took place during a period of relative political stability, following the dissolution of a conservative military junta in the four years prior that, despite development assistance from the US and related agencies, saw an economic crisis with the decline of revenue from banana exports.15 US presence has been strong in the country since the post World War II period, with multilateral agencies such as the Peace Corps, World Bank, and, as mentioned, Organization of American States.16 It was also in the late 1960s that vast oil reserves were discovered in the country’s jungle region, which would lead to Ecuador joining the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1973. Economic relations between the United States and Latin America in this period were intensifying, as US-backed neoliberal reforms were implemented in states such as Chile under the repressive regime of Pinochet. In the 1980s, debt-restructuring programs to increase privatization would be recommended for Ecuador by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).17 In the context of these political and economic developments, Ecuador ratified the UN Convention of Cultural and Natural World Heritage in 1972, and in 1978 the city officially received the UNESCO status.18 A key benefit of ratification is access to the World Heritage Fund: annually, about $4 million USD is made available to assist states in identifying, preserving and promoting World Heritage sites, as well as the availability of emergency

assistance funding.19 The establishment of international agencies to identify and safeguard heritage sites that took hold after World War II served to consolidate a new source of economic development for states through heritage tourism, predicated on the integrity of “natural and cultural” assets. This consolidation at the global scale also affected operations at the city level, as in the case of Quito, where funding for rehabilitation and preservation was channeled through multiple agencies in partnership with the state and municipality. The first large scale rehabilitation effort was the formation of a Master Plan for the Integral Rehabilitation of the Historic Center of Quito in 1991, based on the “principles of democratization, decentralization and participation.”20 In his essay “Social Conflict and Heritage Tourism in Quito,” urban studies scholar Alan Middleton points out that at this time, the rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the improvement of living conditions for those who lived in the historic center were seen as inseparable goals.21 However, funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) came with the imperative to remove informal activities from the streets as part of the conservation policy and a precondition for private sector investment and the growth of tourism in the city.22 One of the conditions for funding disbursement from the IDB was the implementation of regulation for street vending and the use of public space.23 As Middleton describes, the effects of this on the street traders must be understood along lines of race and class, because of the correlation between street trading and a rural indigenous population in the historic center.24 Middleton remarks that the 1990s saw an alliance between informal traders and the rising indigenous movements in the city that was highly politically effective but eventually resulted in planners’ declarations that it was impossible to deal with the traders, and the ensuing push for their removal from the historic center. However, it is not just traders who have been affected by the rehabilitation plans. Residences in the center have been displaced to accommodate commercial use. According to a 2010 InterAmerican Development Bank report titled “The Sustainability of Urban Heritage Preservation: The Case of Quito,” in 1989, 63 percent of the buildings in the center were dedicated to housing,

12 Alfredo Conti, “Norms of Quito (1967),” Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, pp. 5312-5314 (2014). 13 Conti, “Norms of Quito (1967),” Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. 14 Conti, “Norms of Quito (1967).” 15 “Andean South America: International Relations,” Encyclopedia of the Developing World, Volume I, Thomas M. Leonard, Ed. (New York, NY: Routledge, 2006), 46. 16 “Andean South America: International Relations,” 46. 17 “Andean South America: International Relations,” 46. 18 Maria Rebecca Medina, “ICOMOS Advisory Mission Report on the City of Quito, Ecuador (C2),” (2013), whc.unesco.org/en/documents/128496.

19 UNESCO World Heritage Convention, whc.unesco.org/en/convention. 20 Alan Middleton, “Social Conflict and Heritage Tourism in Quito,” in Cultural Tourism in Latin America: The Politics of Space and Imagery, Michael Baud and Angelou Ypeij, Eds. (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishing, 2009), 201. 21 Middleton, 201. 22 Middleton, 201; Hanley and Ruthenburg, 187. 23 Hanley and Ruthenburg, 187. 24 Middleton, 205.

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while in 2003 this dropped to 45 percent, with housing replaced by a high percentage of buildings destined for commercial and administration uses.25 This decrease is commensurate with a loss in population within the historic center, and even though investment in property has been relatively steady throughout the past decade, there continues to be low occupancy.26 Despite the scale of the economic benefits of the UNESCO heritage designation, these have largely been concentrated in the city center, and contrary to this narrative of progress, Quito experienced tumultuous socio-economic change during the late twentieth century. The oil boom of the 1970s, which was spurred by Ecuador’s joining the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in 1973 and retaining sovereignty over its resources, led to an intense period of urbanization.27 Quito grew most rapidly, and the renewed economic power of private and public sectors in the capital allowed an emerging art market and gallery scene to develop in the city, as well as in the coastal center of Guayaquil.28 However, this rapid growth resulted in an economic bust in the 1980s, as oil prices plummeted amidst mismanagement and continued reliance on foreign debt.29 This period of instability hit the urban poor hardest, and the 1990s saw the dissolution of the commercial art and gallery scene in Quito in the midst of intensified social issues inherited from rapid urban migration. It was also during this decade that the first major rehabilitation plan for the historic center was initiated with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank. As most of Quito’s major museums, including the Museo de la Ciudad, Museo Carmen Alto, and Centro de Arte Contemporaneo are located in the historic center, these institutions have benefited from investment, while also deepening the gap between official cultural institutions and local artistic production as other spaces became disenfranchised. The decline in a commercial base in meant that artists were left with a lack of market to cater to, opening up alternative spaces for practice. Art historian Manuel Kingman Goetschel argues that this is what made possible a renewed degree of experimentation in artistic practice, and this pivotal shift was also cited by historian and curator Eduardo Carrera, and Ana Rodriguez of the Ministry for Culture, as

part of the explanation for the community-focused nature of practice in Quito.30 The city at this time was also changing rapidly to develop a cosmopolitan character, enabled by open networks between the United States and Ecuador, and art practice expanded to incorporate the influence of Conceptualism, which had taken hold in the mid 1960s with the reexamination of the object and its characteristics, towards site-specificity and the critique of the gallery space. The relationship with artistic centers to the north—primarily New York— was one of mutual influence and response.31 This influence coincided with a shift towards popular culture and a critical approach to traditional European aesthetic trends.32 It is worth noting that since the 16th century, the city’s artistic production was characterized by the combination of European-influenced Baroque and indigenous techniques known as the Quito School.33 As Kingman Goetschel notes, representations of “otherness” viewed in modern art were critically assessed in this period, especially as a mass indigenous uprising gained ground in the late 1980s and 1990s and brought to the fore the historical exploitation of these populations, visibilizing them and provoking a dialogue about representation. While active dialogue about critical art theory and practice were being consolidated through the incremental development of artist spaces and postsecondary programs (including the community art space El Pobre Diablo in 1990; the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo in 1995; and the Arts Careers program at the Universidad Catolica in 1997), the state’s financial crisis towards the end of the decade crippled the social stability necessary to build such networks and prompted many to leave the country.34 The economic recession and consequent dollarization of the economy in 2000 under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund exacerbated social unrest.35 In examining this period of instability, it is possible to map the developments in contemporary art discourse as mediated by an interest in social and political context. As Kingman Goetschel writes,

25 Pedro Jaramillo, “The Sustainability of Urban Heritage Preservation: The Case of Quito,” (Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank, 2010), 13. 26 Jaramillo, “The Sustainability of Urban Heritage Preservation,” 14. 27 Michael Handelsman, Culture and Customs of Ecuador, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 2000), 15. 28 David Kyle, Transnational Peasants: Migrations, Networks, and Ethnicity in Andean Ecuador, (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000). 29 Handelsman, Culture and Customs of Ecuador, 16.

30 Kingman Goetschel, 82; Eduardo Carrera, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Sascia Bailer, October 21, 2015. “Quito, I can say, I’m almost sure that you have like 70% of artists that are working with other kinds of processes that are not galleries or products, yes.” 31 Mari Carmen Ramírez, “Blue Print Circuits: Conceptual Art and Politics in Latin America,” Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century, Exhibition Catalogue (New York: MOMA, 1993), 156. 32 Kingman Goetschel, 87. 33 Hanley, 79. 34 Kingman Goetschel, 91. 35 Ibid. 36 Ibid., 101.“Para comenzar, hay que partir de la idea de que esta crisis significo un cambio en el modo de concebir la produccion artistica, al encontrarse las galerias cerradas y al ser limitada la venta de obras de

we must start from the idea that this crisis meant a change in the way of conceiving artistic production, as the artistic field had to contend with gallery closures and the limited sale of artworks.36

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This provoked a transition from the gallery as the locus of artistic production to public space in the 2000s, one example of this is clearly seen in the work of Tranvia Cero, a collective of artists who bridge the disparity between popular culture and contemporary art practice through projects that do not occur in rooms but in the midst of the city, both materially and symbolically.37 Focusing on the south of Quito, the most neglected area of the city in terms of social and cultural policy, as their site of practice, the collective proceed from a clear mandate to generate communication between the community and the artist.38 This imperative is shared by multiple contemporary practitioners in Quito, ranging from independent to institutional, whose work is the subject of the following section. The post-heritage designation period had significant spatial consequences in Quito that continue to shape the city, especially given the historic center’s concentration of economic power and cultural elitism. However, it was also in this post-designation period that the artistic and cultural field of production developed a relational approach and an expanded space for practice— from the gallery to the neighborhood—due to a combination of material and ideological factors. Significantly, this is paralleled by the tension between authorized heritage discourse and informal urban trading in the historic center around the same time. The coincidence of these simultaneous and intersecting processes is indicative of what we might call an “urban turn” in Quito’s cultural landscape. The authorization conferred on the historic center heightened efforts of preservation planning, and reinforced an already existent perception of informal traders and other signs of “visual contamination” as disorderly and nonconducive to preservation. As Alan Middleton writes, The historic city is therefore the physical manifestation of social and economic forces and the growth of heritage tourism has amplified the fact that the use of these urban buildings and spaces continues to be contested by the descendants of the invisible indigenous labor force that was exploited in their creation. This continuity between the visible and invisible attributes of history and the globalization of heritage consumption, in turn, creates its own local consequences. The conflict between the heritage consumption of an international elite and the survival needs of local populations creates spatial, cultural, economic, social and political outcomes.39

3.2. AESTHETICS IN RELATION: THE CENTER AND THE MARKET The tense relationship between the center and the market provides an intersection for critical artistic practice and critical urban practice. As Rosalyn Deutsche points out, critical spatial theories share a key theme with critical aesthetic thought, and the two have unfolded along a similar trajectory…[both] inquires investigated the ways in which social relations produce, respectively, art and the city.40

Both disciplinary trajectories, as Deutsche alludes to, respond to the material conditions of capitalist production. In this way, the refutation of the neutrality of space aligns with the refutation of the neutrality of art, and remaining critical towards both is crucial to social practice: describing the city as a social form rather than as a collection and organization of neutral physical objects implicitly affirms the right of currently excluded groups to have access to the city—to make decisions about the spaces they use, to be attached to the places where they live, to refuse marginalization.41

With this point, Deutsche argues that any form of public art cannot remain politically neutral. She writes, “understanding the fusion of urban space with prevailing social relations reveals the extent to which the predominant tendency within public art to design the landscape of redevelopment fully implicates art in contemporary spatial politics.”42 Deutsche carefully links the aesthetics of urban space, as effective of and produced by social relations, with the aesthetics of public art, as a tool for urban restructuring that can appear benign but is nevertheless politicized. Of course, the marketability of urban sites, as in the case of Quito’s historic center, is often predicated on neutralizing conflict. Public art becomes employed as an expedient to further emphasize beautification and harmony. The implications of this segregation are clear, even to agencies with a vested interest in the center, such as the Inter-American Development Bank, whose “Sustainability of Urban Heritage Preservation” report concludes: in the case of Quito, this attractiveness could actually handicap it by turning it into a “theme space” that basically relies on a flow of external residents and tourists without incorporating important components to generate social improvements for residents.43

Middleton points to the continued contestation of the historic center, which, I suggest, is precisely what aligns artsbased community practices with the political struggle of Mercado San Roque.

The terming of the center as a “theme space” illustrates the potency of its aesthetic in reinforcing not only the value ascribed to the center, but additionally the comparative value ascribed

arte se da una contestacion por parte del campo artistico.” 37 Kingman Goetschel, 110. 38 Ibid. 39 Middleton, 201.

40 41 42 43

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Deutsche, 71-72. Ibid., 53. Ibid., 72. Jaramillo, 37.


to other populations and sites; the San Roque market is the antimaravilla—the antithesis of a “theme space.” Originally established in 1951 opposite from the San Roque church, Mercado San Roque eventually spread out to occupy the avenue 24 de Mayo. In 1981, the market was moved into a former collegiate building in the neighborhood, in order to effectively contain its activity.44 In stark contrast to the removal of street traders from the center, the streets that form the perimeter of Mercado San Roque are full of various vendors, selling wares that range from furniture to electronics to fish to small produce. After its move to the current building in 1981, the 1990s began a period of struggle for the market due to multiple factors, including the rapid growth of the city and expansion of supermarkets, as well as mobility and transport issues.45 The market became emblematic for the growing insecurity and chaos of the surrounding neighborhood, and this association has persisted, as the market has been a site for petty crime. During this period, the focus on investment and rehabilitation in the center only served to entrench the disparity between the two sites and increase the neglect of the market based on its resistance to efforts of “cleaning up” the city. As previously mentioned, sex workers, disallowed from soliciting in the center, have a designated location a short walk from the market, a move that can be understood as an attempt to marginalize this population and put them out of sight. Another powerful symbol of segregation 44 Monserrat Navas Borja, “Re-imagining San Roque: Bringing Back Identity through Architectural Innovations,” (M. Arch thesis, Savannah College of Art and Design, 2015). 45 Navas Borja, “Re-imagining San Roque,” 11.

and invisibility is the Penal Garcia Moreno, the second largest federal prison, which is located adjacent to the market and was operational until its recent closure in 2014. One proposal for the defunct prison has been to develop it into a luxury hotel, inspired by a similar project that President Correa visited in Boston.46 These examples make obvious the potency of visual representation in the comparison between the two sites: the spectacle and the “anti-spectacle.” This perceptual contrast has tangible repercussions for the people working in the market. The closure of the prison has added pressure to speculation on the current market site and surrounding San Roque neighborhood, which is largely populated by indigenous market workers. While the historic center is primarily valuable for its exchangeability, the market is effectively a non-sellable site. As is the case with other markets, San Roque is a place of labor, transaction, and exchange, but these activities sustain the district population rather than produce accumulated surplus value for the city: as the IDB report states, approximately 120, 000 people use the local markets in the district47. Additionally, the market is a site of reproductive labor, as an independently run school connected to the site provides the necessary childcare that allows women to work.48 Cognizant of how powerful the negative perception of the market is within the city, many who work there have come together to counteract this representation and secure the market against further displacement. The Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado San Roque (Front for the Defense and Modernization of the San Roque Market) is an organization made up of market leaders who also work closely with the Red de Saberes activist group.49 On their blog, the Frente describes San Roque as “a place of this city’s own intercultural practices.”50 The stated aims of the Frente for the market are thus: what we expect is appropriate infrastructure to guarantee food security for a great part of the city, sanitation and waste processing, space for loading and parking, better working conditions and social protection, and more security.51

Original Site of Mercado San Roque. Source: Historical Archives of the Ministerio de la Cultura, Quito.

46 “Planean hotel de lujo en ex penal de Quito,” El Diario, January 24, 2015, http://diario.mx/Internacional/2015-01-24_686f41ca/planean-hotelde-lujo-en-ex-penal-de-quito/. 47 Jaramillo, 16. 48 Navas Borja, “Re-imagining San Roque.” 49 Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado San Roque, (blog), frentemercadosanroque.wordpress.com. 50 Frente de Defensa, blog. 51 Frente de Defensa, blog. “Que nos atiendan, que nos den infraestructura apta para garantizar la alimentación de una buena parte de la ciudad, condiciones de salubridad y de procesamiento de desechos, espacios de circulación y parqueo, mejores condiciones de trabajo y cobertura

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Top: The proximity of the market to significant tourist sites in the Center. Source: Google Earth with author’s rendering. Bottom: View of Mercado San Roque and San Roque. Source: Author.

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Opposite Top: Mercado San Roque. Source: Alexandra Venner. Bottom: Inside the Market. Source: Alexandra Venner.


As stated, the vision of the market espoused by these leaders is that of an alternative space of daily life, care for others, and an understanding of the importance of issues of health, safety, mobility, environment, and informal trade as they intersect in the site, while also aligning these concerns with those of other markets locally and nationally.52 However, this agenda is complicated by the internal political dynamics of the market. Augusto Barrera, former mayor of Quito from 2009 to 2014, notes that despite moments of cohesion between different actors in San Roque, the truth is that most of the time there is a great discord social, más seguridad en el sector.” 52 Frente de Defensa, blog.

and conflict between them. In other words, there are many conflicts going on at the same time. In one side you have the outside vendors, known as the ‘informal’ vendors that have a conflict with the ones that are on the inside or the ‘formal’ vendors. Inside, you have a clear conflict between the wholesalers and the retailers, and between each of the economic sectors.53

As Barrera points out, the fight to keep the market in place and recognize it as a significant hub for the city does not mean that there is complete consensus among market workers about how the space should be organized. These negotiations constitute 53 Augusto Barrera, quoted in Navas Borja, “Re-imagining San Roque,” 34.

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the work of political organizing that builds networks of solidarity among market workers and leaders of the twenty-two different associations represented there. Together, these create a kind of self-organized democratic system that strengthens resistance to the market’s expulsion by giving credence to dissent. While the internal dynamics of the market are not the subject of this study, I dwell on this aspect because it demonstrates the political, economic, social and cultural stakes of the San Roque market in relation to the growth-led urban agenda of the city. Augusto Barrera noted the importance of addressing the market’s stigmatization, linking it directly to issues of race, class, and representation in the city to assert that the insecurity of the site is both a cultural and structural construct.54 However, rather than requiring a “re-imagining” of the San Roque market, this may necessitate validating its already-existent dynamics as representative of the social reality of its workers and neighboring inhabitants. The aims of those who defend the market do not include having it become valued in the same way that the historic center is valued, but there is still an issue of recognition and invisibility at stake that is sharply contrasted in the comparison between the sites. Investment in the historic center does little to benefit workers there, while investment in San Roque would effectively impact the livelihood of the population, many migrant and indigenous, who service the city’s alimentation in ways that often go unnoticed (one good example of this is the fact that many supermarkets will buy wholesale from the market). Recognizing the value of the market is different to marketing its value. As Middleton points out, the inclusion of indigenous populations to reap the economic benefits of heritage-driven tourism involves confronting different material interests and power structures; while indigenous labor is often incorporated in low-paying jobs that confirm their indigenous status as “low-income servants for white elites…satisfying the international cultural tourist’s need to experience ‘otherness,’” many residents of Quito’s historic center wanted to be involved in new developments as they assumed they would benefit from the boon of tourism.55 Examining the relationship between the historic center and Mercado San Roque reveals the interconnected social struggles between workers in the center and those in the market. As value judgments are most effectively disseminated through representation, as indicated in both the center and the market, any strategy that seeks to intervene and shift the perception of the market in this system must address its representation. In October 2014, Detonarte, the largest festival of urban art in the country, took place in Mercado San Roque. The press notice describes the relationship between the festival and the market: 54 55

Augusto Barrera, quoted in “Re-imagining San Roque,” 38. Middleton, 10-11.

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The relationship between the market of San Roque and urban art is an effect of urban dynamics; the popular market is an ancient and significant practice in the city that has existed for hundreds of years (since it was called the tiangues) as a space of exchanges of food, crafts, knowledge and experiences. Urban art seeks to represent urban life in the streets in order to establish a bond with the people who live in the city. The market is a public meeting place inhabited by thousands of workers and visited by buyers. It is a space of the reproduction of life that creates alternatives for coexistence, just as urban art does.56

3.3. ARTS-BASED COMMUNITY PRACTICE IN EL MERCADO SAN ROQUE: “URGENCIA DEL TERRITORIO” As Detonarte’s description suggests, arts-based community practice and the San Roque market share a common aim in constructing and sustaining alternatives for coexistence. However, while this alternative coexistence may seem feasible within local artistic communities and the internal networks of the market (though these are both fraught with dissidence), they must reckon with a society, state, and international system that favors the production of wealth for a few through the exploitation of many. Recognizing this is part of the negotiation of political strategy and artistic practice, and it requires grappling with the balance between oppositional resistance and subversion from within institutional structures, as most of the interviewees in Quito acknowledged. In speaking to a range of practitioners, some working independently and some working within institutions, many commonalities emerged in the imperative towards community engagement, however the ways in which this is enacted are different based on the different resources, positions, and strategies available. I identify three strands of artsbased community practice: Institutional, Collective, and Activist. These categories are by no means restrictive, but are based on the self-identification of interviewees in Quito, as well as my own interpretation of their work relative to others.

Institutional Approach: Mediación Comunitaria Ana Rodriguez, who recently held the position of ViceMinister for Culture of Ecuador, was the director of the Fundación Museos de la Ciudad (FMC) from 2012-2014, and in this role she initiated the approach of mediación comunitaria, which is a term that comes from the management of conflict 56

Frente de Defensa, blog.


in social justice practice. In Ecuador this has been practiced within indigenous rural communities, marginalized urban communities, trade associations and grassroots groups.57 In the context of the FMC, this approach emulates the mediating role between communities and governance but instead supplants it with communities and cultural centers and institutions, as well as combining this with the influence of critical pedagogy and community art practice. Practically, the key aspect of this approach was the creation of a community mediator position for each of the five main museums in the city, as the Fundación Museos de la Ciudad is a public service institution commissioned by the Metropolitan District of Quito that manages museums, cultural centers and projects from a territorial and educational perspective; the five main museums managed under this foundation are all either located within the historic center or very proximal to it. Under Ana’s leadership, the FMC dedicated 25% of their budget to community resources for research and participation, in order to resolve what was observed as a severing of the institutions from their surroundings.58 Ana pointed to how this dissociation between the cultural institutions and the social reality of the city had manifested in a spatial disconnection between the YaKU Museum and the Mercado San Roque. The museum, which lies a few streets over from the main entrance to the market, did not have a ground floor entrance for many years, meaning it could only be entered by going through a different neighborhood. With the addition of a second entrance, there is now a physical connection between the market area and the institution, which is more importantly a symbolic connection. As an institution-led strategy, mediación comunitaria works on site-specificity and emphasizes above all the relation between institutions and their surroundings, seeing these as mutually informative and suggesting a disruption of the hegemony of formal cultural knowledge. One example of this approach in relation to the market is the development of a video titled San Roque: una casa para todos (San Roque: a house for all), which lays out some of the negative sentiments towards the market as seen in newspapers and articles, and counters this rhetoric with documentary depiction of the daily livelihood in the market. This includes dialogue from different people working there who describe the metabolic function of the market, such as Galo Guachamín, president of the Frente. As a collaborative project between the mediación comunitaria branch of the FMC and the Frente, the “audiovisual material is an attempt to contribute to the debate on diversity, multiculturalism, the right to work and the city in the future of the historic center of 57 “¿Qué es la mediación comunitaria?” Centro Sobre Derecho y Ciudad, http://www.cides.org.ec/index.php//que-es-la--comunitaria. 58 Henar Diez, Ministry of Culture, in conversation with the author, February 2016.

Quito.”59 The descriptive text also recognizes that the presence of popular and indigenous trade in the city represents a historical social struggle, now in tension with heritage policies and disputes over memory or interests related to tourism and urban planning.60 In drawing attention to the sensory qualities of the market, the project mediates the viewer’s experience of it, offering a way in through a guided virtual tour. It is also, notably, more a pedagogical tool than an artistic product, per se. The politics of the market are foregrounded before the aesthetics of the video. In effect, the video works to mediate perception. 59 San Roque: una casa para todos, Fundación Museos de la Ciudad, YouTube video, June 9, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yjbmzxPEQg. 60 San Roque: una casa para todos, Fundación Museos de la Ciudad.

Informational Material about Mediacion Comunitaria. Source: Fundacion de Museos de la Ciudad

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Incorporating a built-in community mediator position into each institution provides a viable way to lend resources to a particular urban issue. It also works to alleviate some of the dominance of museums and cultural centers as discrete sites of formal cultural and artistic production, and this is particularly resonant given the contrasting relation between the historic center and the market. Further, what is notable about mediación comunitaria in Quito is that it does not employ community participation in order to integrate with authorized heritage discourse as functioning in the center. Laurajane Smith points out that policies and debates within authorized heritage discourse are “often framed in terms of how excluded groups may be recruited into existing practices,” in order to discern how non-traditional visitors may be attracted or encouraged to visit existing heritage sites, and as she recognizes this “creates a conceptual framework that heritage practitioners must simply add the excluded and assimilate them into the fold rather than challenge underlying preconceptions.”61 This does not work to change the power

relations or aesthetic measures that structure the policies by which heritage is designated and then managed: “community consultation undertaken without an active sense of negotiation between community understandings and values and those of practitioners can simply become gestural politics.”62 Rather than folding community participation into the management of the center, focusing on the market and its position and struggle offers a counter point to the center without pushing for integration into the same precepts for heritage. The political struggles of the market are, at a local scale, similar to those of the traders in the center, and even broader, are symptomatic of larger national and international problems, including the discourse of urban heritage sites. Smith writes,

61

The inherently political and discordant nature of heritage is brought forward through collaboration with the market leaders, positioning this site as the locus of negotiation rather than the obvious and well-documented center.

Laurajane Smith, Uses of Heritage, 38.

the issue of community participation in framing and implementing heritage practices teeters between a desire to include and a hesitancy to surrender or reduce the authority of both the authorized heritage discourse and the heritage practitioners to wield it, and to recognize the inherently political and discordant nature of heritage.63

Collective Approach: Arte Urbano / Practicas Artisticas y Comunidades I. Arte Urbano Sur

Still from San Roque: una casa para todos (“Here we don’t only sell; we transmit knowledge and tradition”). Source: YouTube video, June 9, 2015.

In 2002, during the transitional period in which gallery space declined in Quito, the Tranvia Cero collective was founded with the twin aims of promoting art and community and sustaining social relations in public space.64 The collective consists of sculptural, visual, and self-taught artists, designers, and cultural facilitators. As some of the first projects of the collective were located within the south of Quito, an area characterized by disinvestment, the collective has developed an urban network of collaborators within Quito as well as in different cities, with an annual festival of urban art and community titled Al Zur-ich.65 In the fourteen years since the collective was founded, they have been involved in projects and conferences in other major Ecuadorian cities Guayaquil and Cuenca, as well as in Mexico, 62 Smith, 38. 63 Ibid. 64 Martin Samuel Tituana Lema, “Arte, Comunidad, y Espacio Publico,” Arte Urbano Sur (blog), April 11, 2011, http://arteurbanosur.blogspot. com/p/arte-comunidad-y-espaciopublico-martin_29.html. 65 Arte Urbano Sur (blog).

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Colombia, Argentina, and Spain. Their methodology emphasizes the necessity of understanding the context of a neighborhood and opening up a dialogue. Similar to mediación comunitaria, the recognition of internal conflict is integral to the Tranvia Cero approach to any project. It is process-based work, not objectbased. Pablo Ayala, a sculptor by training and a member of the Tranvía Cero collective says that before considering himself an artist he considers himself a “creative,” and another facet of his work is in running a local cafe called Cafe Roscon, which also functions as a performance space.66 Ayala reflects on the approach that Tranvia Cero takes to working in the market, noting that “San Roque is fashionable,” and that this is both positive and negative in the sense that many people are now doing projects with and about the market, but this risks making it an object of study.67 Furthermore, people come and go as they become interested and then disinterested in the site, which is not what those who depend on work in the market need. Examples of Tranvia Cero’s projects with San Roque include a crafts workshop led by collective member Lennyn Santacruz in partnership with the Santo Domingo Carpenters association as a way to discuss the relationship of craft and memory, as well as a paper-making workshop and jointly organized conferences on art and labor practices surrounding the market and San Roque neighborhood.68 Ayala advocates for starting with one or two individuals, building a relationship and respecting that the market is not a coherent site upon which to project resolutions or transformations.69 This involves taking accountability for errors and recognizing that you never start from scratch: “these errors are very important. One must be careful with this to ensure that it is not a gesture, a manipulation of power that will became established under this power.”70 To try and avoid this, Ayala suggests looking not to the main organizers in a community as the first point of contact, but seeking the “invisible” characters. However, this approach means that the impact a given project can have may be more of a learning encounter than a large-scale structural change. Keeping this balance is important, and remaining committed to independence is highly significant to Ayala. He remarked that the approach of Tranvia Cero was not given much attention when the collective started working, but has recently been taken up 66 Pablo Ayala, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Sascia Bailer, October 20th, 2015. 67 Pablo Ayala, interview, October 20, 2015. 68 “Archivo de la memoria en el mueble de San Roque,” Arte Urbano Sur (blog), September 7, 2011, http://arteurbanosur.blogspot.com/ search?q=mercado+san+roque. 69 Pablo Ayala, interview, October 20, 2015. 70 Pablo Ayala, interview, October 20, 2015. “Estos errores son muy importantes. Hay que tener cuidado con el, que esto no sea un manoseo, una manipulación del tema de poder, para fincarse en el poder.”

Poster for Al Zur-ich Urban Art Festival, 2010. Source: arteurbanosur. blogspot.com.

by institutions. He relates this to gentrification and the “job” of the creative sector to first enter neighborhoods and then become instrumentalized by the government and developers to sell more units in the neighborhood. Given this, he advocates for working within institutions only in order to then challenge them.

II. Gestión de Practicas Artísticas y Comunidades Gescultura, an independent and interdisciplinary non-profit organization dedicated to research and cultural promotion in Quito, was founded in 2007 with similar aims to those of Tranvia Cero in declaring that social innovation in artistic practice is only possible if interventions start with the recognition of space and the diverse social and cultural processes that shape it.71 Working on a project with a group of neighbors in San Roque was a turning point for Paola de la Vega, one of the directors 71 Dossier Gescultura 2007-2014, www.gescultura.com/2015/dossier_gescultura_2007_2014.pdf.

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of Gescultura, who is also a PhD candidate in Latin American Cultural Studies at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito.72 The project actually began not with the community but with a link to private promoters who were beginning to invest in San Roque. The investors solicited Gescultura’s help in beginning a social initiative that would avoid a negative impact on the community, and so Gescultura was the mediating force between the enterprise and the people. The group of neighbors that they began working with were interested in countering the negative image about San Roque and as many of them were small business owners whose work was not considered to be part of the heritage discourse attached to the center, they organized themselves as “guardians of heritage” in San Roque—Associación de Vecinos Guardianes de Patrimonio de San Roque.73 In doing this, de la Vega explains that Gescultura’s role was only to act as facilitators, working with the group for two years to help build the concept that this group was the living social memory of the neighborhood. Part of the guardians’ program was to organize alternative tours of the neighborhood for local people, calling them “Caminos de San Roque,” and de la Vega points out how this was a direct response to the notion that Quito is a touristic place, “that tourism will be the salvation of everything, of poverty, the discourse of development that people believe in.”74 However, de la Vega acknowledges that in this case, it was heritage discourse that became a strategy to remain in the neighborhood and avoid expulsion due to gentrification; the funding provided by private enterprises gave them the flexibility sometimes not supported through public funding. In response to criticisms leveled at this approach, de la Vega reflects on the importance of knowing how to negotiate with institutions, and the strategic necessity of taking funding from private sources: We have no alternative way. Actually, I don’t know another possible strategy. Also because if you are looking for any political impact, it doesn’t suffice to cry in the streets you have to know how to negotiate [with the institutions].75

Interestingly, Paola de la Vega mentioned that sometimes Gescultura faces a claim that their actions in San Roque are not artistic practices. She points out that this desire to classify is precisely what their practice contests—the hegemony of a 72 Paola de la Vega, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Alexandra Venner, January 14, 2016. 73 Paola de la Vega, interview. 74 Paola de la Vega, interview. 75 Ibid.

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particular aesthetic: “For many people San Roque is ugly, a dirty place where Quiteños are not beautiful people.”76 The expectation that for something to be associated with artistic practice it must conform to an identifiable or unitary aesthetic indicates the strength of the presence of the historic center’s aesthetic program. Instead of attempting to resolve this conflict, the common crux of mediación comunitaria, arte urbano and practicas artisticas y comunidades is to become situated in conflict. This is heavily influenced by theories of critical pedagogy, but the separation persists between institutional education initiatives and those “outside” of the institution. A critical discourse on education and artistic practice is active amongst practitioners in Quito, as evident in the recent collaboration with educators from Documenta 12, one of the most important exhibitions of modern and contemporary art that is held in Kassel, Germany every five years. A number of texts by educators, researchers and artists who were part of the Documenta 12 education program were republished in Spanish with the aid of the Municipality of Quito and Fundación de Museos, in a volume titled Contradecirse una Misma: Museos y Mediación Educative Crítica.77 In the introduction, editors and practitioners Anahi Macaroon and Alejandro Cevallos observe that, generally, educational programs in exhibitions and work with communities have been handled as different scopes of work within the Fundación de Museos de la Ciudad, and delegated to different teams.78

The text problematizes this separation, and notes that educational initiatives and mediación comunitaria both start from the same place, in the sense that they are both practices rooted in place, responding to “urgencia del territorio” (territorial urgency): “territorial urgency is the demand that emerges from the social context and asks us to position ourselves from our place of work.79” This positioning comes from the intersecting and complementary influences of critical pedagogy (Paola de la Vega: “the critical pedagogy of Paulo Freire implies to activate social relations, it is a pedagogy of conflict and the idea is that only through conflict is it possible to have transformation— questioning the surface image of community life as beautiful, peaceful, and recognizing instead that there are many problems, 76 Ibid. 77 Contradecirse una Misma: Museos y Mediación Educative Crítica, Anahi Macaroff and Alejandro Cevallos, Eds. (Quito: Fundación Museos de la Ciudad, 2015). 78 Contradecirse una Misma, 3. “Los programas educativos en salas de exposiciones y los programas de trabajo con comunidades en la Fundacion Museos de la Ciudad de Quito, generalmente, se han manejado como ambitos de trabajo diferenciados, y que se delegan a equipos de trabajo distintos.” 79 Ibid. “La urgencia del territorio es la demanda que emerge del contexto social y nos pide posicionarnos desde nuestro lugar de trabajo.”


there are conflicts there, and your role is to make them visible”)80 and the weakened art market (Ana Rodriguez: “As the art market is very low in Quito there was a reorientation of arts management towards teaching and collective work, closer to the Andean world—this type of work is very characteristic to Quito”).81

Activist Approach: “Territorio Habitado” Luis Herrera is one of the core members of Red de Saberes, the local activist network mobilized around the issues facing Mercado San Roque in conjunction with the Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado San Roque. Herrera has been involved in social struggles for territorial justice in Quito and throughout Ecuador, working with various communities as well as researching with the Centro Nacional de Estrategia para el Derecho al Territorio (CENEDET). He has been working in Mercado San Roque for three years, and previous to this he worked with Tranvia Cero, where he grappled with issues of political efficacy in working on projects with communities. He began doing documentary photography in the market at the request of the Fundación de Museos, and worked with the institution on a project documenting the history of the 24 de Mayo, a main street in the historic center with a history of public occupation and political significance, including the previous location of the San Roque market vendors. On his approach to working in San Roque, Herrera says: I spent one month like every single day being in the market talking with people…I was talking with many people, getting information…I was talking with the [market] leaders and they decided to invite me to assemblies…I spent six months being there and they recognized me in the end. I was part of every meeting.82

For Herrera, working as a photographer is always about working with and for an organization, not for himself. Photography is a tool that mediates his relationship with the people he knows in the market. Luis pointed out that the representation and perception of the people working in the market is a political issue before it is a matter of aesthetics. He recalls photographing the cargadores, who carry large loads of goods on their backs to and from the market, for sale at other locations in the city. When Luis Herrera first began 80 Paola de la Vega, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Alexandra Venner, January 14, 2016. 81 Ana Rodriguez, interview by Sascia Bailer on October 24, 2015. 82 Luis Herrera, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Sascia Bailer, October 21, 2015.

Luis Herrera. Source: Frente Defensa blog.

photographing the cargadores at work, he thought the photos were aesthetically pleasing. When he showed these to the workers, they didn’t respond. He recalls his reaction at the time: “So I start thinking, why am I doing these beautiful photos if they people are not going to recognize [themselves]”?83 Then he began taking portraits, and when he showed these, they solicited laughter. Luis mentions this as a turning point in his relationship to photography, as well as to the people he works with in the market: When I first showed the photos to the cargadores it was very sad because the images of them are very raw, and it’s something nobody wants to see—they try to not see. What happens when you see yourself putting a foot outside your life and watching like a spectator? Nobody wants to see their own reality; we always try to escape because it’s easier. That’s why photography has a particular way to work, but that’s something I didn’t think before I started to work in the market.84

The formation of Red de Saberes came out of the desire to recognize the other forms of knowledge imbued in the market, and this is largely based on developing long-term relationships with people, building trust and accepting accountability. Herrera points out that many people in the city are keen to do projects in 83 84

Luis Herrera, interview, October 21, 2015. Luis Herrera, interview, October 21, 2015.

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the market but they often aren’t able to respond to the questions and concerns of those working there, and this exposure is not useful. Artistic practice is a means, a mediator that offers a particular form through which to highlight political action. In the case of San Roque, for Herrera, this is a means to shift representation: “The idea is to show that the market has another perspective, that it’s not what the media says, it’s not what the city knows about the market, and we started working on that.”85 The approach of Luis Herrera and Red de Saberes is closer to that of a social movement, with a fluid organizational structure, strong relationships, and a political commitment that leads practice. Similar to a social movement, it is also a long-term strategy. Herrera’s documentary photography is not exhibited and sold to benefit the market; it forms a gesture of care and recognition that maintains the relationship. As the focus here is on practitioners who approach Mercado San Roque as a contested urban site but are not themselves necessarily workers in the market, it is significant to point out that the internal political organizing between associations in the market, as well as with external leaders of other markets, may be aided by certain of these community practice proponents but that these are ultimately distinct processes. Artistic practice relates to the concerns of the market in the shared recognition of socio-spatial conflict, and in this sense they appear as allied struggles; not necessarily collapsed into one unified struggle but recognizing the political and economic stakes that they are jointly antagonistic towards. It is on this point that the role of the socially engaged, community-based, artist-as-activist is deliberated. Ana Betancour, professor at the Urban Research Laboratory at the KTH Royal Institute of Sweden, discusses the field of “arc/tivism” as a shift in the tools, tactics, and modes of working: “In this definition, the artist becomes a cultural producer—a political subject and a node within local and global social networks.”86 Betancour takes the up the concept of “tactics” from Michel de Certeau’s usage in The Practice of Everyday Life, as a descriptor for everyday citizens’ appropriation of products imposed by a dominant economic order.87 This tactical approach is evident in the work of 85 Ibid. 86 Ana Betancour, “Ar/ctivism and Tactical Spatial Practices,” Work, Work, Work: A Reader on Art and Labor, (Sweden: Iaspis, 2012), 210. 87 Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (University of

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Gescultura, whose practice is recognized by citizens, artists, and municipal agencies; the 2010 IDB report on the historic center goes as far as to recognize this strategy: The residents need to be part of a consultation and participation process in the neighborhoods so as to identify plans that generate sustainability and that also respond to the interests of all stakeholders. There are some stakeholders that are already committed to the rehabilitation processes, such as Gescultura, which has implemented the Cultural Guardian program. Private companies finance this program, but it is oriented toward re-appropriating cultural heritage.88

The above passage demonstrates the convergence between agonistic arts-based tactics and the aims of community engagement favored by municipal agencies in urban rehabilitation projects. While increased stakeholder participation in the rehabilitation efforts in the center is not a negative goal per se, the concluding sentence of the analysis indicates how community engagement is required only within the predetermined aims of the plan: Over the last 20 years of efforts made to conserve the center, few resources have actually been channeled toward community management, and the need to increase the level of participation of several of the stakeholders is evident to guarantee the sustainability of the process.89

The wording—community “management,” for example— and overall premise of this point indicates that programs that promote inclusion in heritage rehabilitation are viewed as facilitators for the process. The role of the urban arts practitioner must first be examined in relation to the politics of the community with which they wish to engage, and then they must contend with the delicate balance between strengthening resistance and enabling co-optation. Deutsche’s description of the “counterpractice” is an appropriate term to use in this context, as it takes into account the dominant urban conditions within which art functions, as well as the necessity for the practitioner to be self-critical.90 With this in mind, I turn now to consider these practice-based discontents in the case of San Roque.

California Press: 1984). 88 Jaramillo, 35. 89 Ibid. Emphasis mine. 90 Deutsche, 64.


SECTION 4

NEGOTIATIONS: PRACTICE AND POWER As Kingman Goetschel notes, one of the primary features of modernity, that of artist as a detached, authoritative figure, was deconstructed through the shift to relational and collaborative work.1 This critical approach to artistic authorship necessitates increased dialogue about the role of the artist, especially in relation to a community and its political struggle. For those who work within San Roque, this dialogue is particularly important. One focal example of this is demonstrated in the methodology for Spaces of Hope, a week-long series of workshops in the market hosted by the Frente de Defensa, Red de Saberes, the Ministry of Culture and the Centro Nacional de Estrategia para el Derecho al Territorio (National Strategy Center for the Right to Territory – CENEDET) in August 2015.2 With collaboration among various practitioners, Spaces of Hope constitutes an example of the coming together of multiple agents to share knowledge and solidarity. The methodology proposed for the event, as written on the Frente blog, takes its starting point from the critical stance on art and its relationship with society, which requires “overcoming the closed idea of the artist and the work as the product in order to deepen the process of creation.”3 This proposed “laboratory” for the testing, research, and discussion of ideas and strategies was deliberately conceived to embrace error and discord, and the development of an arts-based methodology indicates that confronting authorship critically also allows for the deconstruction of the notion of a stable or coherent community. Indeed, recognizing and supporting conflicting notions of community is a key component of site-specific work. Paola de la Vega illustrates well the desire to visibilize conflict, especially in marginalized populations, in order to problematize notions about community, saying: [we are] questioning the surface image of community life as beautiful, peaceful, and recognizing instead that there are many problems; there are conflicts there, and your role is to make them visible.4

By drawing attention to the Mercado San Roque through programming, events, and institutional supports, the market is brought into the sphere of public consciousness as a place of

Poster for Spaces of Hope. Source: Frente Defensa blog.

cultural significance. However, this does not involve integrating the market into the aesthetic parameters set out by the historic center, nor does it mean putting the market on the tourist map as another destination. Practitioners then must strike a delicate balance in accentuating the market’s visibility. Concerns about the role of the artist and the risk of appropriation were integral to the interviews with Quitobased practitioners, and these concerns are also central to North American-based criticism about socially engaged art. This convergence speaks to the broader discourse about what relationship art and politics do, should, or can have. In this study, the contrast between the historic center and the market is primarily articulated in terms of visual aesthetics, both from a municipal policy perspective and as communicated in popular sentiment. Arts-based community practices are uniquely positioned to manipulate this aesthetic sphere, but must consider whether increased visibility is good for the market. Increased visibility may mean neutralizing the market’s resistance to the dominant aesthetic of the center. I suggest that the practitioners in Quito who choose to focus on the market and its surrounding community resist the visual hegemony of the historic center and, importantly, do not attempt to have their work subsumed by these aesthetic parameters but work towards strengthening alternative parameters for the cultural value of contested urban sites. Further, by examining practice-based discontents concerning visibility in relation to recent shifts in authorized heritage discourse to better

1 Kingman Goetschel, 180. 2 “Espacios de Esperanza,” Frente Defensa, blog, https://frentemercadosanroque.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/metodologia. 3 “Espacios de Esperanza,” Frente blog. 4 Paola de la Vega, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Alexandra Venner, January 14, 2016.

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recognize the non-monumental, I consider how the dichotomy of integration / exclusion persists in heritage discourse, and whether these expanded approaches indicate a viable ideological change.

4.1 Discontents In attempting to provide a working definition for socially engaged art, Pablo Helguera acknowledges the measure of futility in doing this, but contends that a term like “social practice” obscures the genealogy of avant-garde, conceptual, and relational art from which this approach has developed by leaving out the “art.”5 Helguera recognizes the impulse to turn away from art, as this form of practice sits between and across disciplines and is “at odds with the capitalist market infrastructure of the art world,” however, he maintains that this uncomfortable position is exactly where socially engaged art should sit: “identified as art yet located between more conventional art forms and the related disciplines of sociology, politics, and the like.”6 Two points that Helguera illuminates here are of particular significance to the field of community practice in Quito: the similarity between socially engaged art practice and other forms of labor, and the notion of authorship. While Helguera places importance on understanding the multiplicity of disciplines from which social practitioners draw their “vocabularies”— particularly the field of education—he points out that as artists, these practitioners must reconcile the accusation that they are not artists but amateur sociologists, anthropologists, or teachers, for example. In defining the role of the socially engaged artist, Helguera sees this “temporary snatching away of subjects into the realm of art-making” as part of the necessary work that a social practitioner must do in order to move subjects and problems from other disciplines into a “space of ambiguity.”7 While in Helguera’s formulation, the explicit tie to art-making illuminates the difference between socially engaged art practice and other forms of social practice, the practitioners I spoke with in Quito seemed to understand their artistic practice as one aspect of their many roles: Pablo Ayala refers to himself as a “creative” and cites his work with Tranvia Cero as well as in Cafe Roscón; Eduardo Carrera switches between multiple roles as a cultural historian, curator at the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, and independent curator; Luis Herrera, who has a documentary photography practice, identifies 5 6 7

Helguera, 3. Helguera, 4. Helguera, 5.

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more closely as an activist than as an artist; and Pablo Ortiz, current Director of Community Organization for the Fundación Museos, readily discusses participatory design and educational training. For most of these practitioners, all of their roles are held together by some foundational political and social values or aims, so that the issue of whether or not or to what degree they are tied to art-making per se is not as significant a concern as what social concerns inform their art-making, or any other role they inhabit. Still sitting in the “uncomfortable position,” rather than downplaying the importance of artistic practice, this actually serves to accentuate and sharpen its methods, as well as its relationship to production and labor, as indicated by the documents produced out of the Third Ibero-American Meeting on Art, Labor, and Economy that took place in Quito in 2014.8 As previously mentioned, the text outlining “best practices” is meant to act as a guide for practitioners to understand their rights and obligations. Again, this functions similarly to a manual provided for any given occupation; however, in this case the employees are working with and for a community, or, broadly construed, working in the public interest. The manual concludes with particular points of concern, including the request that if the state wishes to raise the status of art to a public good, that it assume more responsibility to the creators, including to “provide decent working conditions and (now nonexistent) basic social benefits such as retirement, social security, credit, reduction in tariffs, among other things.”9 The understanding of socially engaged practice as a form of labor, as requiring an ethics and a commitment to co-workers, is articulated as well in Helguera’s impetus to write a “materials and techniques handbook.” Helguera’s text leans much more to the educational than to the prescriptive, but nonetheless it does illuminate the way in which socially engaged art practice necessarily brings up issues of labor. However, the locus and approach requires different methods, as evidenced. Working out of a cultural institution requires having a designated position in place, as well as having ways to assess effectiveness. Working independently requires an ethical assessment that is more personal. Working in a collective necessitates negotiating the power relations within that collective as well as between them and the community. Furthermore, addressing these practical concerns gets at the authorial role of the artist figure. As Helguera points out, one critical aspect of social practice is a renunciation of the singular artist role and the authorial function that comes with 8 “Arte Actual Encuentros,” FLACSO Andes, www.flacsoandes.edu. ec/arteactual/?page_id=15175. 9 Paulina Leon Crespo, Una Firma es Accion, Dos Firmas son Transacción, (Quito: Arte Actual FLACSO, 2014), 158. “Brindarles condiciones laborales dignas y beneficios sociales basicos (ahora inexistentes) como jubilacion, seguridad social, creditos, reduccion en aranceles, entre otros, seria un requisito previo.”


it. Luis Herrera, in speaking on his documentary photography, makes explicit the fact that he is not interested in being considered the author of his photos, and instead understands the community of the market as entering into authorship with him.10 “The neighborhood proposes and makes the project with the support of Tranvia Cero,” says Pablo Ayala, “the author is the neighborhood.”11 Even when speaking on the role of the curator, Ana Rodriguez maintains that to her, this is more like editorial — a collective editorial process.12 The rejection of singular authorship emerged as the primary concern with identifying too closely with the title of “artist.” The lack of commercial art market is surely another reason for this, as there isn’t as much of a base for superstar international artist figures. Nonetheless, art and the genealogy of artistic practice is not dropped from the discourse due to these concerns, but is intertwined with concerns of representation, ethics, and labor conditions—concerns shared by workers of the Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado San Roque.13 The avoidance of a strong identification with artistic authority (and the criticism directed towards projects that privileged a singular artistic authorship), coupled with shifting between roles, some more closely tied to artistic practice than others, form an unstable ground for understanding initiatives focused on Mercado San Roque as arts-based projects, as most practitioners are still negotiating their own relation to art. This is, however, what allows practitioners to identify political, social and economic concerns as central to the communities they work with and to their own livelihood. It also enables this approach to become somewhat inoculated against a facile absorption of arts-based initiatives into urban development and heritage preservation. Choosing to identify firstly and primarily as an artist can be advantageous in that it allows for a flexible and perhaps more manipulative approach to ethics, but it can also risk the singularity and authorship that isolates and commodifies the work, as our colleagues in Quito point out. Many of the practitioners I spoke with in Quito referred to the balance between their practice’s radical political potential (or at least it’s non-institutional or “extra-institutional” potential) and the possibility of this being co-opted by an institution, or used as a development strategy for gentrification. Pablo Ayala noted that when Tranvia Cero started out working in an expanded community context, no one was paying attention. Now that 12 years have passed, he observes that this is being touted by institutions as their own, particularly in the shift to an

institutional mandate to expand outside its walls. Ayala notes the need to reevaluate practices so as not to be absorbed and coopted: “it’s like guerrilla warfare.14” Paola de la Vega also spoke about the antagonism in the relation to existing structures, but her perspective comes from the position of working within these structures in order to disrupt or change them from within: “it’s like a battle, you know the language of the institution and then you have to fulfill some parameters, you have to tell them ‘these were our goals’ and show them that you fulfilled them.”15 De la Vega asserts that it is often not possible to actualize the projects that Gescultura wants to support without taking funding from private sources, citing the need to negotiate as part of a political strategy. Paola de la Vega’s strategic approach, as well as the positions enabled through mediación comunitaria, demonstrate that the dichotomy of “inside institution/outside institution” is dated, and the current climate of artistic practice in urban space necessitates that all strategies intent on disrupting luxury development on aesthetic grounds (and co-opting community art for profit) should be on the table. I return to Deutsche for two points raised here. First, the assumed coherence of a site and/or community:

10 Luis Herrera, interview, October 21, 2015. 11 Pablo Ayala, interview, October 20, 2015. “El Barrio propone y hace el proyecto con el apoyo de Tranvia Cero. El autor es el barrio.” 12 Ana Rodriguez, interview, October 24, 2015. “No es un proceso solitario, trabajo editorial en colectivo.” 13 Frente, blog.

14 Pablo Ayala, interview, October 20, 2015. “Si la institución ya se abrió asi, y ya nos absorbe y nos co-opta de alguna manera. Nosotros ya tenemos que hacer otra cosa. Es una guerra de güerilla.” 15 Paola de la Vega, interview, January 14, 2016. 16 Deutsche, 65. 17 Ibid., 78.

[New public art] claims to unify a whole sequence of divided spheres, offering itself as a model of integration…through this usefulness, moreover, art is supposedly reconciled with society and with the public benefit.16

Secondly, the transformative potential of interventions that propose alternatives to dominant aesthetic models in urban sites: “Against aesthetic movements that design the spaces of redevelopment, interventionist aesthetic practices might—as they do with other spaces of aesthetic display—redesign these sites.”17 Authorship and the risks of resistance will remain discontents of community practice in Quito, particularly concerning Mercado San Roque. These approaches do not assume a false integration and general public benefit from their work. Rather than “redesigning sites” or “re-imagining” Mercado San Roque, practices that engage with the social relations of the market redesign the aesthetic parameters, giving validity to the market as a counterpoint to the historic center.

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4.2 Visibility and Intangibility In examining key trends of Latin American social movements over the past two decades, Raúl Zibechi writes about the dilemma that any movement faces in its attempt for political efficacy: Establishing all-embracing, permanent forms of coordination implies entering into the field of representation, and this places the movement in a difficult position. In certain periods, it cannot afford to make concessions to visibility or escape intervening on the political stage. The debate on whether to opt for a centralized, highly visible organization or a diffuse, discontinuous one presents the two extremes of the question, although there are no simple solutions to the matter and it cannot be settled for once and all.18

As Zibechi acknowledges, this issue is an integral dilemma for social movements across Latin America. What we may draw from this observation is that certain political strategies require a high degree of visibility, while others operate better with discreet interventions and low publicity. Often, as Zibechi points out, organizers employ both approaches. This negotiation with the “field of representation” is precisely the arena of dissident artistic practices, especially as these align with a particular social movement. In the case of Quito, when political struggle in the market must contend with the optics of that site in relation to those of the proximal historic center, visibility becomes an even more significant issue. Knowing how to intervene, and to what degree, is of critical concern to practitioners interacting with Mercado San Roque, especially as this site and its population are already vulnerable and seen as visually displeasing. In contrast to the hyper-visibility of the center, its monumentality, and its spectacle, alternative ways of visibilizing the social and political struggles of the market are preferred. In addition to the situated perspectives of Latin American social movements and related theories of critical pedagogy and public manifestation, two western viewpoints on the relationship between artistic practice and visibility provide a framework for situating the case of Quito. The first, as previously mentioned, is Rancière’s politics of aesthetics. Aesthetics here refers to “a system of a priori forms determining what presents itself to sense experience,” and politics is considered a form of experience that is primarily accessed on a sensory level. Since political participation is accessed based on “space, time, visibility and 18

Raúl Zibechi, 19.

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invisibility, speech and noise,” for Rancière politics is dependent on sensory access.19 In this “distribution of the sensible”— the established order that governs modes of sensory access (perception) that thus determines who is included/excluded from participation—the political meaning of art is bound up in the modes of established aesthetics. For Rancière, aesthetic politics reconfigures the given perceptual forms, and thus the dream of a suitable political work of art is in fact the dream of disrupting the relationship between the visible, the sayable, and the thinkable without having to use the terms of a message as a vehicle.20

Artistic practices that intervene “in the general distribution of ways of doing and making as well as in the relationships they maintain to modes of being and forms of visibility,” are political, yet Rancière believes that ultimately, there is no appropriate correlation between aesthetic virtue and political virtue, there are only choices that artists can make within a certain political order, and these may align with political dissent or they may not.21 In this way, he argues for understanding the relation between politics and aesthetics at the level of “the sensible delimitation of what is common to the community, the forms of its visibility and of its organization,” an approach that is grounded in contextual power structures.22 While this theoretical apparatus is useful in understanding the intertwined hegemony of politics and aesthetics, and conceiving of interventions in the aesthetic order as necessarily also interventions in the political order, art critic Ben Davis provides a caution to adopting Rancière’s conception at full force. Davis argues that prioritizing the form that artistic dissidence can take within a given aesthetic/political order sidesteps the actionable component of artistic practice. Davis writes: it is not out of the question that some formal tic might take on political significance, of course. But the political value of any artist’s aesthetic choice is never a prioi and must always be tied to an assessment of how the choice interacts with the forces at play in a live political situation. Inasmuch as the proponents of the various brands of “aesthetic politics” do this, their assessment of the world is…based on some naive assumption that all power functions by repressing multiple meanings.23

Another perspective that treats the issue of visual politics in non-normative artistic practice is that of Gregory Sholette 19 20 21 22 23

Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, 13. Ranciere, 63. Ibid., 61-62. Ibid. Davis, 72.


in Dark Matter, a text that focuses on “those artists who self-consciously choose to work on the outer margins of the mainstream art world for reasons of social, economic, and political critique.”24 For Sholette, dissidents who make up the “dark matter” work to disrupt hegemony through maintaining their invisible status; by “grasping the politics of their own invisibility and marginalization they inevitably challenge the formation of normative artistic values.”25 Further, Sholette encourages us to think of this dark matter as similar to the kinds of invisible labor that sustains capitalism, and points out that this is particularly relevant in the contemporary era of vague “creative” labor, wondering, “how do those artists who remain critical of capitalism’s disciplinary economic apparatus manage in the art-friendly world of enterprise culture?”26 While Sholette is highly invested in these “makeshift, amateur, informal, unofficial, autonomous, activist, non-institutional, self-organized”27 practices, he is cautious to see this growth as singling a political revolution:

This emerging “aesthetics of resistance” is too fragmented, Sholette suggests, to be coherent enough and politically effective on a large scale, but its existence, which may seem like waste or non-matter to the market, is nonetheless inspiring evidence of a counter-public sphere “that does not even attempt to be usefully productive for capitalism (or for Art. Inc).”29 Rancière, Davis, and Sholette offer useful frameworks for situating the political stakes for artistic practice in conditions where a dominant aesthetic logic and cultural enterprise apparatus are operating (in this case, both anchored in the historic center and its market value). The spectrum from invisibility to hyper-visibility takes on a heightened political character, and practitioners must make choices about where and how to intervene. As Luis Herrera explained, his documentary photography practice was deliberately not intended for exhibition. He maintained a degree of invisibility as an artist, while retaining a high degree of visibility within the market community, to whom he felt primarily responsible. As he explained, the representation of the people who work in the market, the representation of their

labor, their social relationships, was something he was able to capture in photographs and offer to them, not in a way that was necessarily aesthetically pleasing but was part of recognizing them as significant to and for each other.30 Further, he deliberately chooses not to exhibit his photographs of those who work in the market.31 This point corresponds to Ana Rodriguez’s description of presence in the market as a demonstration of taking care of the site. This presence is not action-based or productive, in the same way that Herrera’s photography is not produced with the goal of exhibition or recognition, but as a kind of strategically invisible practice that is able to sustain much longer than a highly visible showcase or event. At the internal level of the market, there are also issues of visibility and recognition that affect how the community is engaged with. Pablo Ayala discusses the problematic entry point to working in a neighborhood, which often means working with the same leaders and associations that are already well known and visible. He speaks about locating those who are not as visible: “look for those who are not affiliated with organizations or leaders, who are invisible, whom no-one pays attention to.”32 Institutions are generally the more highly recognized sites of cultural production in a city, and as such, they are always implicated in a tension between “high” and “low” culture, despite commitments to radical museology or social justice. When the institution takes up community practice projects, the criticality of these projects may be obscured. Institutions also enjoy a level of recognition in the media that stratifies public perception of popular culture by comparison, moulding concepts of publicity and public space. Ana Rodriguez mentions the lack of attention to popular cultural festivals from media and the public sphere in the city, saying, “[as a society] we don’t speak much about these aspects.”33 Luis Herrera mentions a similar media-fueled perception, emphasizing the importance of demonstrating that the value of the San Roque market is not represented in these public platforms. As a counterpoint to the intensified visibility of the historic center, representing the market can be understood as a radical strategy. However, this increased visibility affects an already vulnerable population of workers—themselves not homogeneous in their opinions and sentiments about the market space and its organization and viability. In this way, the tension between visibility and invisibility is one of the primary aspects of radical anti-commercial practice and also one of the focal points of the value ascribed to the historic center.

24 Gregory Sholette, Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (New York: Pluto Press, 2011), 4. 25 Sholette, Dark Matter, 4. 26 Sholette, 20. 27 Ibid., 1. 28 Ibid., 4. 29 Sholette, 188.

30 Luis Herrera, interview by Sinead Petrasek and Sascia Bailer, October 21, 2015. 31 Luis Herrera, interview, October 21, 2015. 32 Pablo Ayala, interview, October 20, 2015. “Buscamos estos otros tipos de personas que no responden a ellos, que son invensibles, que no les presta atención nadie.” 33 Ana Rodriguez, interview, October 24, 2015.

This growing materiality is not necessarily a politically progressive event. Increased visibility not only poses certain risks for any institution that seeks to enclose it but also—by privileging spontaneity and discontinuity, repetitions and instability—dark matter can seldom be sustained as a political force.28

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I want to place the politics of visibility-invisibility in conversation with the shift in authorized heritage discourse over the last two decades, towards the recognition of an expanded understanding of site-based heritage as more than the physical and monumental—what is available to see and what is represented in visual material. The recent Intangible Cultural Heritage approach is a significant move that seems like an attempt to reconfigure the parameters for what constitutes heritage according to UNESCO and party states. The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted in 2003, and the definition of intangible heritage as offered in the Convention describes it as the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills—as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith—that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.34

As the site explains: This intangible heritage is found in forms such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, and traditional craftsmanship knowledge and techniques.35

Yet, as heritage relies on “values and meanings symbolized or represented at and by these heritage sites or cultural practices,” Smith points out that all forms of heritage are inherently intangible.36 Distinguishing between “heritage” and “intangible heritage” obscures this value-and-meaning-based commonality, and instead allows intangible heritage to be concretized in the way that perceived monumental heritage is concretized, such that an object or event becomes distilled. This, in turn, facilitates the identification and marketing the non-monumental as fodder for consumption; Middleton observes that indigenous labor in Quito’s tourist industry often means a higher salary within the urban economy, but workers’ clothing is transformed into a cultural artefact as part of the tourist experience for “otherness,” which means that “the socio-economic position of the indigenous group is experienced as culture.37” As Smith notes, for the governments of countries where issues of multiculturalism and the rights of indigenous inhabitants are contested, the possibility of drawing international attention 34 Smith, 107-109. 35 “The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage,” UNESCO, http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/. 36 Smith, 56-57. 37 Middleton, 11.

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and kudos to minority cultural achievements is certainly politically problematic.38

Again, this highlights the fundamental contradictory aspect of heritage discourse, as the appeal to universal agreement on what constitutes heritage, intangible or not, ignores the existence of dispute: “the assumption of universality denies the possibility of dissonance.”39 The convention for Intangible Cultural Heritage can be read as an attempt to reconfigure the understanding of heritage away from the dominance of the monumental and hyper-visible, however, this approach still operates “with reference to the authority of the existing discourse,” as Smith points out, and this indicates that the underlying philosophies and ideologies buried in the discourse have not necessarily changed.40 I contend that despite its expansion of the conception of heritage from the monumental to social practice, the Intangible Cultural Heritage approach nonetheless risks working as a growth-led strategy rather than as a safeguarding strategy. In this sense, it may become what Yúdice recognizes as a device; articles such as one seen online at Luxury Travel Magazine invite visitors to “experience the intangible heritage of Quito, Ecuador.”41 In the context of Quito, this still holds up the hyper-visibility of the historic center in Quito and even demonstrates how attention focused on social and cultural practice becomes absorbed by development. As interventions in the visual register, artistic community practice must acknowledge such risks as similar to their own. Representation and visibility are political issues. Heritage discourse and artistic practice both effectively manipulate the representational, visual, aesthetic realm and therefore must be analyzed with respect to their relationship to political struggles. Invisibility and intangibility are two points on the spectrum for both dissident artistic practice in contested urban sites such as the market and alternatives to monumental heritage such as in the center. In addition to the Intangible Cultural Heritage approach, the Historic Urban Landscape approach, adopted in 2011 by the UNESCO General Conference, signals a shift in thinking and practice towards urban heritage conservation. Similar to Intangible Heritage, the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach recognizes the non-monumentality of heritage sites. However, further than simply recognizing intangible aspects of heritage, HUL is a broader approach that accepts change as

38 Smith, 107-109. 39 Smith, 110. 40 Smith, 113-114. 41 “Experience the Intangible Heritage of Quito, Ecuador,” Luxury Travel Magazine, August 1, 2012, http://www.luxurytravelmagazine. com/news-articles/experience-the-intangible-heritage-of-quito-ecuador-17905-2.php.


an inherent part of the urban condition.42 As a departure from traditional conservation ideology and practice, the HUL approach puts forth: the urban area understood as the result of a historic layering of cultural and natural values and attributes, extending beyond the notion of “historic centre” or “ensemble” to include the broader urban context and its geographical setting. This wider context includes the site’s topography, geomorphology and natural features, built environment–both historic and contemporary–open spaces, land use patterns and spatial organization, as well as all other elements of the urban structure, next to social and cultural practices and values, economic processes and the intangible dimensions of heritage.43

As authors Francesco Bandarin and Ron van Oers observe in their 2012 text on Managing Heritage in an Urban Century, the HUL approach is symptomatic of broader trends in twentyfirst century planning and urban design, as well as movements in architectural practice and policy-making. Attention has gradually shifted from the aesthetics and function of the built form to a holistic understanding of urbanism as influenced by ecological thought.44 This approach has been piloted in Cuenca, the third major city in Ecuador located south of Quito, closer to the Pacific coast. Also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Cuenca will undergo research to “enhance management effectiveness” of the city’s asset conservation and future planning and design.45 While the HUL approach seems to be commensurate with progressive urban theory, it still rests on the dichotomy of inclusion / exclusion and, with its all-encompassing scope, may effect the absorption of full landscapes within the parameters of heritage discourse.

4.3 Propositions: Towards an Alternative Conceptual Framework Considering the language of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Historic Urban Landscape approaches outlined 42 Francesco Bandarin and Ron van Oers, The Historic Urban Landscape: Managing Heritage in an Urban Century (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 198. 43 “Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape adopted by the General Conference at its 36th session,” Historic Urban Landscape, (Paris, November 10, 2011) http://www.historicurbanlandscape.com/index. php?classid=5352&id=29&t=show. 44 Bandarin and van Oers, The Historic Urban Landscape, 183. 45 “Municipality of Cuenca and University of Cuenca,” The Historic Urban Landscape, http://historicurbanlandscape.com/index.php?classid=5357&id=35&t=show.

by UNESCO and related agencies, as well as the manuals for practice in socially engaged art and in community art practice put forward by Pablo Helguera and the Ibero-American Meeting on Art, Labor, and Economy respectively, I submit the following propositions. These are meant to provide an alternative conceptual framework that is cognizant of capitalist land value theory while also recognizing conflict as an integral part of both urban heritage sites and sites of quotidian use such as the market. This framework may be useful for urban practices (such as those treated in this study) that seek to ally subversive approaches to urban heritage sites with radical artistic and cultural strategies. This also acts as a call to further the criticality of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and HUL approaches, recognizing that while these do shift the discourse of heritage away from the monumental, they are still largely susceptible to the reduction of heritage to a cultural device for economic growth. i. Examining the role of critical artistic practice, Chantal Mouffe advocates an agonistic approach, in which critical art is art that foments dissensus, that makes visible what the dominant consensus tends to obscure and obliterate. It is constituted by a manifold of artistic practices aiming at giving a voice to all those who are silenced within the framework of the existing hegemony.46

The naming of Mercado San Roque as the antimaravilla (“anti-wonder”) of the city is meant to be a negative title. However, if the historic center is the authorized “wonder,” and constitutes a commodified site that is isolated from the social reality of the city, then the market, being a space that is counter to this logic, is deliberately the antimaravilla. Claiming this title acts as a counter to the inscription of dominant notions of cultural heritage and growth-led value. ii. “Counter-monument” is a term found in James E. Young’s analysis of German memorialization following World War II.47 The counter-monument thus flouts any number of cherished memorial conventions: its aim is not to console but to provoke; not to remain fixed but to change; not to be everlasting but to disappear; not to be ignored by its passersby but to demand interaction; not to remain pristine but to invite its own violation and desecration; not to accept graciously the burden of memory but to throw it back at the town’s feet.48 46 Chantal Mouffe, “Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces.” Art & Research, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Summer 2007), 5. 47 James E. Young, “The Counter-monument: Memory Against Itself in Germany Today,” Critical Inquiry, Vol. 18, No. 2, 1992. 48 Young, 277.

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In its resistance to the aesthetics of the center, social struggle in Mercado San Roque provokes the conflictual negotiation of identity, memory, and history, and in this way can be conceived of as a counter-monument in relation to the historic center. iii. The term counterpractice, as Deutsche uses it in Evictions, refers to the radical potential of contemporary public art as a disruptive urban practice. She writes, a counterpractice must, however, possess an adequate knowledge of the dominant construction within which it works. In the case of public art, it depends on a critical perception of the city’s metamorphosis and of the role that public art is playing within it.49

Cognizant of the dominance of heritage discourse operating in the historic center, and critical of the potential for absorption into this discourse, arts-based community practice in Quito that valorizes the market acts as a counterpractice.

49

Deutsche, 64.

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SECTION 5

CONCLUDING REMARKS AND PROVOCATIONS Quito’s historic center is marketed on a global scale as a tourist destination, and receives international funding as well as municipal support. Preservation efforts in the center since its 1978 designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site have primarily served to reinforce economic growth through tourism, exchanging the center’s authorization on a global scale. The nearby Mercado San Roque presents a counterpoint to the historic center, and public opinion of this difference is encapsulated in labeling it the “anti-wonder” of the city. It is not supported by the municipality, but rather threatened by speculative land use on the site itself and the surrounding neighborhood. Although it is a market where buying and selling takes place daily, it does not produce accumulated value in the way that the cultural tourism industry does. While recent more inclusive approaches to urban heritage planning and rehabilitation, such as Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Historic Urban Landscapes approach demonstrate a shift in thinking from isolating sites towards acknowledging relationality, these may still primarily be growthled strategies due to the pressures of the global heritage tourism industry. Furthermore, the integration model tends to obscure conflict in favor of a harmonious vision of heritage. Artists and cultural actors in Quito have responded to the urgency of the market’s struggle in ways that do not seek to validate the market in the same way that the historic center is validated; rather, they act as “flexible intermediaries,” between the market, the center, and the city’s cultural institutions. By focusing on San Roque and the social relations that constitute it, these arts-based community practices are able to provide alternative value structures for contested urban sites, based on education and resistance to dominant cultural narratives. However, these practices have to negotiate a careful balance, especially when it comes to visibilizing the market. Mimicking the highly visible quality of the historic center and its aesthetic is not the intention. These negotiations, in turn, maintain the critical perspective that is necessary for a radical reevaluation and revaluation of practice. As forms of social practice increasingly turn to urban sites as the locus of contestation, this invigorates the political role of the artist and cultural actor. Providing a counter-monument to the center, the market and those who focus on it allow the discordant nature of heritage and preservation to be actively negotiated within the city—integration is not the aim. This has significance as 1) a model for how artistic practices can ally with


particular urban political struggles, foregrounding the politics in advance of the art practice’s form or aesthetic in a way that meets the needs of the community, 2) a strategy for disrupting the dominance of authorized heritage discourse as institutionalized by global agencies, not by intervening in the heritage site and therefore drawing more attention to it, but by focusing on sites of resistance. As cities trade commodified versions of themselves as well as being rated along lines of creative value and potential, the case of Quito can be understood as a disruption in the global market. What bearing might this have for a reinvigorated sense of the avant-garde in artistic practice? Quito is not known as a major art hub within Latin America, and certainly not globally. This provides particular conditions for practice not afforded to urban centers, and consequently, the lack of commercial market in Quito seems to have had the effect of pushing practice towards political aims more so than in other centers where resistance to the “art system” is still the focal counterpoint for alternatives. Placing this site in conversation with recent critics and theorists from North America and Europe, it appears that there is a strong desire for the characteristics that seem foundational to community practice in Quito. Ben Davis takes a strong position, arguing, not even the most committed art practice can, on its own, be a substitute for the simple act of being politically involved as an organizer and activist. Perhaps in this context one’s talents as an artist might find a place, or perhaps an experience of this kind of activity might be processed, later, into something of enduring creative significance—the need to engage comes first.1

Chantal Mouffe takes a similar tone, noting the inutility of historical avant-garde conceptions: Today artists cannot pretend any more to constitute an avantgarde offering a radical critique, but this is not a reason to proclaim that their political role has ended. They still can play an important role in the hegemonic struggle by subverting the dominant hegemony and by contributing to the construction of new subjectivities. In fact this has always been their role and it is only the modernist illusion of the privileged position of the artist that has made us believe otherwise.2

Providing a counter-monument to the center, the market and those who focus on it allow the discordant nature of heritage and preservation to be actively negotiated within the city— integration is not the aim

journalist Dawn Paley writes: “before Occupy Wall Street, there was La Victoria.”3 La Victoria, as Paley explains, was a shack settlement in an undeveloped sector of Santiago de Chile that developed into a permanent neighborhood when families living in poverty created their own infrastructure and selfgovernance organizations. Paley acknowledges that there are major differences between Occupy and urban movements south of the U.S.-Mexico border, but identifies a compelling resonance between the hemispheres based on origins in crisis and rejection of the political and economic system. Paley’s concern with this transcontinental linkage is firstly understood within the context of the book’s translation into English, but she expands on this connection in noting how Latin American social movements have been impacted by “U.S. Style democratization and corporate/ foundation funded co-optation,” pushing groups to negotiate their autonomy.4 Social movements in Latin America have responded to pressures from both regional statecraft as well as the north, and Paley considers what this trans-national dialogue may produce, writing: Maybe, as in the case of La Victoria, the experience of Occupy will inspire new community-level urban movements in North America to stage and defend public occupations, transforming the course of social struggle.5

Mouffe’s reminder that any avant-garde artistic project has, historically, been politically useful in its capacity to subvert dominant paradigms, is significant in developing cross-national and transdisciplinary strategies for practice, as global capitalism is increasingly immanent. In the Foreword to Raul Zibechi’s Territories in Resistance,

Three years on from this book’s English publication, and four from Occupy Wall Street, this suggestion seems to have been brought to bear, not only within the two continents at hand, but globally. The future of these movements remains contested, as does the role of artistic practice with respect to urban struggles. Recognizing the different but interlinked pressures facing urban social movements across the Americas is also relevant to identifying arts-based responses to these pressures and sharing approaches.

1 Davis, 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, 48. 2 Chantal Mouffe, “Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces,” Art & Research, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Summer 2007), 5.

3 4 5

Dawn Paley, “Foreword,” Territories in Resistance, 1. Dawn Paley, “Foreword,” 4. Ibid., 2.

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Appendix A. Sample of Questions for Semistructured Interviews Relationship to Mercado San Roque What is your relationship to el Mercado San Roque?

Appendix B. List of Key Terms in Spanish Antimaravilla – translates to “anti-wonder;” vernacular name given to Mercado San Roque

Can you share some anecdotes of your interaction with the market?

Arte Urbano – encompasses different artistic expressions represented in the street as representations of a particular place or social movement

How does it affect your work? Could you speak more about a particular project you have worked on within/related to Mercado San Roque?

Centro Historico – Historic Center

The Perception of the Market What would you say is the overall perception of the Mercado? How would a Quiteño describe the market, and how does your personal perception differ?

Cargadores – “carriers,” refers to workers in the market who transport large bundles of produce on their backs from trucks to vendors or from vendors to trucks

Do you regard the market as a public space? If so, why? Can you describe it?

Mediación comunitaria – generates conditions for dialogue through examining relations of power between actors within a cultural or political institution and a community

Who is responsible for this public space and who takes care of it?

Mestizo – Latin American term for a person of mixed race/ ethnicity

What actors/groups can you identify and how do they/you as a cultural actor relate to the market? How are perceptions of cultural value attributed to spaces in the city? For example, in the case of the Centro Historico.

Care-taking/Political Aspect of Practice Do you feel like your practice is a form of caring for this public site? What do you consider the politics of your practice? What context does your work need to be embedded in in order to be of socio-political relevance (activism, theoretical grounding)?

Community Practice From my research so far, including conversations with others here, I understand that arts-based community practice is very strong in the city. Why do you think this is?

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Práctica artística comunitaria – creative, reflexive and relational approach based in collaboration and collective dialogue within a specific context Sumak kawsay – Kichwa term that refers to a way of living in coexistence with communities and nature Tianguis – name for an urban open-air market held on specific days, common to Mexico and Central America


Acknowledgments I have been so fortunate to have seven thoughtful, generous co-conspirators to learn from throughout this year. Particularly, my friend and research partner Sascia Bailer, a critical and inspiring urban practitioner who now adds the title of mother to her many roles. To my colleagues in the DUE-TUP cohort of 2014-2016, I look forward to our continued trans-continental collaborations. Let’s never stop asking questions. Thank you to Luis Herrera, Ana Rodriguez, Henar Diez, Lucas Alvarez, Verónica Morales, Juan Carlos LÊon, Jeremy Rayner and Monica Herrera, and all members of Red de Saberes for opening their homes and inviting us in to Quito. Thanks goes to Pancho and No Lugar. To all the interviewees: thank you for sharing your perspectives with us. Much gratitude goes to Miguel Robles-Duran, for demonstrating passion and provoking it in each of us; Hector Grad, for your patience and enthusiasm; David Harvey, for

reminding us to look at the full picture as well as the details; and all members of the Urban Council for your support these past two years. Although this degree has been short, the support has been profound. I thank my friends, especially those who listened and gave feedback on the writing, for providing encouragement and a network of care. Thanks to my brothers, Kieran and Brendan, who also deserve praise and celebration on their respective graduations this year. Lastly, I want to thank my parents, AnneMarie Tynan and Peter Petrasek, who have modeled incredibly well how to integrate theory and practice on many levels, and whose shared commitment to critical education and building community is more apparent to me than ever.

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PROJECT 3 (RE)PRODUCTION OF URBAN KNOWLEDGE IN SAN ROQUE


(Re)Production of Urban Knowledge: ‘Schools of Hope’ in Quito and New York

Masoom Moitra


This project aims to find shared spaces between the struggles of migrant women who work as informal laborers in Mercado San Roque in Quito, Ecuador, and the struggles of a bilingual school for children, that is situated adjacent to it. Mercado San Roque is a traditional food market that accounts for more than 30% of Quito’s food supply, and is currently faced with the threat of displacement. It accounts for the livelihoods of many women who move here from the country, along with their families, in search of work as carriers, peelers, vendors, candy sellers, shoe shiners and cleaners; the school provides an important link to their labor in that it allows them to combine the working day with the care and education of their children. The school was formed by labor organizers from the market through the occupation of an abandoned building, in response to the lack of support structures for the children of new migrant workers. In an attempt to strengthen this relationship, this project proposes the cultivation of a network of programmatically autonomous, extra-institutional programs,‘Escuelas de Esperanza/Schools of Hope’involving worker mothers and children of the market. These programs are designed to act as alternative think-tanks that extend indigenous systems of

knowledge and organization for urban, community based research and action based planning. To achieve this, the project establishes a flow of cultural exchanges between the Ecuadorian immigrant community in New York (through Immigrant Movement International, Queens Museum), who face similar challenges of labor and education, and the school in Quito. The objective is to create conditions in cities for the generation of self-emergent, creative and intellectual spaces for the production of new forms of political, urban knowledge necessary for the equitable development of neighborhoods, alongside providing support to the reproductive labor of migrant, worker mothers.

Cover Painting by Unknown Tigua Painter from Quilotoa, Ecuador

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“…..the struggle for education has always been, and remains a struggle for the recognition of people’s rights.” – Raul Zibechi, Territories in Resistance (2012)

OUTLINE


SECTION 1 Introduction to Mercado San Roque

SECTION 3 Education as a Node in the Networks of Migrant Support

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SECTION 2 Working Conditions in San Roque: A Big and Small Picture

SECTION 4 The Proposal for ‘Schools of Hope/ Escuelas de Esperanza’

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SECTION 1

INTRODUCTION At many points through the duration of this thesis, I was asked the question, “What makes Mercado San Roque special?” In the last one year, we have heard many different stories about the market. Every person that we have met in Quito seems to have an emotional way to relate to it, either holding it close to their heart, or being completely repulsed by it. Since my relationship to the market was as an Indian woman, urban researcher/architect and student from New York, it was filtered by an academic, but strangely, familiar lens that was informed by past trauma.1 In my country, it wasn’t uncommon to see a market like this one. Yet, there were many site-specific differences, metaphorical connections and distinct political, social and cultural histories that set this encounter apart. The project was first introduced to us by our thesis advisor, Miguel Robles Duran, who had a connection with the Vice-Minister (and now, Ex-Minister) of Culture of Ecuador--Ana Rodriguez. Through their efforts, a team of 8 students were invited to work alongside 1 As a woman, by surviving abuse and being surrounded by women (family and domestic help), whose labor and contribution to the spaces around us, remains unrecognized to this day; as an architect disillusioned by the top down, paternalistic and positivist processes that are referred to as ‘design’; as a (female) student, silenced and disempowered by authoritative systems of education that are dictated by political agendas of the ruling class.

existing practices at a market in Quito that occupied a contentious position in the city and was faced with a complex web of challenges, threats and opportunities. Our first visit took place in the summer of 2015, where some of us observed and participated in a workshop named ‘Espacios de Esperaza / Spaces of Hope,’2 that located itself within the market and “promoted the use of art and culture as tools of social transformation, to build alternatives in the face of advancing capitalism.” This event turned out to be crucial to the shaping of our understanding of the market and the dynamic social and political forces that influenced it. It was hosted by the Ministry of Culture, the Centro Nacional de Estrategia para el Derecho al Territorio (CENEDET) and the Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales (IAEN), in partnership with the Frente de Defensa y Modernizacion del Mercado de San Roque (FDMMSR) - an association of approximately 26 associations of sellers from the market who were interested in co-developing strategies to defend the existence of the market and its connected communities. There was an intention, “to be a laboratory of interventions from art and architecture in space, particularly in the market of San Roque, to reflect on the construction of intercultural territories in Ecuador at the crossroads between critical thinking and community organization.” This workshop was reflective of the work and values of a group of researchers, activists, artists and organizers who had come together under a collective called ‘Red de Saberes’ with the intention of working with the groups in the market to 2 “Laboratorio De Ideas- Espacios De Esperanza.” Http://cultura. culturaypatrimonio.gob.ec/. July 2015. Accessed April 9. http://cultura. culturaypatrimonio.gob.ec/espaciosdeesperanza/.

Fig 1. Introduction of speakers during the Spaces of Hope Workshop held in Quito in August 2015; Masoom Moitra

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develop militant, action based strategies to defend it. Our project was to be developed in close collaboration with them. There were multiple reasons for Mercado San Roque to be selected as the site for such an investigation. It bore testimony to the struggles of communities that had continuously been dealing with the pressures of economic development and urbanization, through their own displacement and insecurity. The market and its surrounding neighborhood are responsible for feeding more than 30% of the city. Not only does it provide a source of wholesale products for hotel chains, institutions, restaurants, wineries and grocery stores, but also sells on a smaller scale to families and lower-income households as an affordable alternative for fresh produce.

1.1. NEIGHBORHOOD-LEVEL CONTEXT OF SAN ROQUE The neighborhood or barrio of San Roque is located near the historical center of Quito, and is a part of an area of high cultural value (Quito was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978). Its character, to a large extent used to be defined by the presence of the Garcia Moreno prison which had been occupied by many high profile political prisoners and members of mafia gangs. The economy of the region developed in reaction to the community of families and businesses that responded to the presence of this prison. It not only physically shaped the neighborhood, but also shaped the imagination of San Roque in the eyes of the city. It is commonly known to be a

dangerous area ridden with criminals and drug-dealers that scars the area. The prison has now been shut down and there are talks of converting it to a luxury hotel.3 However, in 2011, a media channel invited citizens to choose 7 anti-wonders of the city; Mercado San Roque stood first in the list and this contributed to the further stigmatization of an already marginalized space.4 Being considered as part of the ‘urban blight’ of Quito--a chaotic, unsafe and undesirable ghetto--it is abandoned by public administration and left to fend for itself in many capacities, including security and maintenance. This has resulted in a sense of autonomy, but also a proliferation of mafia and criminal activity. For instance, since no local banks want to lend to workers and sellers in the market, the mafia runs a localized bank with high rates of interest and little necessary paperwork. The police too, stay away from the market and allow it to regulate, monitor and control its own activities. The municipality checks for vendor licenses, but maintenance and cleaning is managed by community organizations. On one hand, this summons the possibility for alternative forms of governance and organization, but since it is out of necessity, not choice, it also highlights the complicated stories of neighborhoods that lie in the shadows of growing cities. Newly migrated families find themselves living in these shadowed, 3 Tomilson, Simon. “Inside Ecuador’s Hellhole Prison: Haunting Images Show the Abandoned Cells Where Inmates Left behind Murals and Sketches Documenting the Misery of Life behind Bars.” DailyMail, May 1, 2015. 4 “Quito Tiene Sus Anti Maravillas.” Ultimas Noticias, August 31, 2011.

Fig 2. Mercado San Roque with the residential neighborhood looking over it; Masoom Moitra

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urban peripheries, trying to root themselves through networks, institutions and self-sustained organizations in response to the negligence of a state that depends on them mainly for their physical labor and economic growth. As was observed through field visits and investigated through interviews, most of the sellers, vendors, shellers, cleaners and beggars in and around the market are women, often accompanied by their children. This paper attempts to understand the lives and labor of working families in this market. The research presented here is a result of three visits, over 30 open-ended interviews and multi-modal ethnographic field work. It is written in the spirit of story-sharing, since this forms an integral part of the proposal, but skips between many versions of stories. In the hope of communicating the non-linearity of the process that led to the proposal, the organization of the narrative may require the reader to move back and forth through these pages. The intention is not to use this as an academic reference or design guideline, but as a loose framework for those who are organizing around political projects that are searching for strategies to sustain the networks of support and alternative forms of knowledge that accompany the struggles of migrant laborers in cities, particularly women, who have been the most adversely affected by neoliberal agricultural and urban policies.

Fig 3. Early morning loading and unloading by workers in the parking lots and roads that surround the market; Masoom Moitra

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Section 2

WORKING CONDITIONS IN SAN ROQUE: A BIG AND SMALL PICTURE Mercado San Roque was first inaugurated on November 8th, 1951. The goal of the city in building this market was not only to provide goods and services on wholesale, but also to cluster together all the popular informal markets and workers in the city in one peripheral location, in an effort to ‘clean up’ the Historic Center. On August 10th, 1981, a major market was relocated from 24 de Mayo Avenue, where it operated as a street market and moved to its current residence across the former prisonGarcia Moreno.

2.1. MIGRATION AND THE HISTORY OF INFORMAL LABOR IN SAN ROQUE This kind of displacement can be explained better by understanding the history and movement of the workers who inhabit informal marketplaces in big cities like Quito and Guayaquil. Even though informal markets had been a part of the urban landscapes of Ecuadorian cities for centuries, the eventual shift of economy and work from agriculture to tourism was greatly an impact of Agrarian Land Reforms that were first implemented in 1964. The use of intensive agricultural practices resulted in deforestation and large scale erosion that destroyed the productivity of large tracts of land. If the land was not exploited efficiently, the ownership rights of the land were terminated and the state was not obliged to pay owners for their affected lands. In San Roque, San Francisco and Santa Clara markets in Quito, indigenous immigrants started being established as heavy load carrying “cargadores.” The end of the land-holding Hacienda system in the 1960s, led to the redistribution of land, due to which many small farmers were left with or given unproductive land. The unproductive lands would then be bought, and clumped together by wealthier owners to facilitate resource extraction. In 1967, the beginning of oil exploration in Ecuador was led by the American corporation, Texaco-Gulf. The oil industry was responsible for the construction of a network of roads and oil pipelines that linked the Amazon to the Andean regions. Cities and towns began to emerge around transport hubs and processing

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units. The newfound mobility encouraged men to search for work in banana plantations along the coast, while their families stayed back in the villages.1 As a response to the agro reforms, the Ley de Reforma Agraria was passed in 1972, along with the laying down of the country’s first oil pipeline. Indigenous groups like the Gulalag community from the Cacha region migrated to Quito, primarily because of land erosion caused as a consequence of these reforms. In the city they worked as street (fruit and vegetable) vendors in markets like San Roque, and eventually became owners of shops and houses in the north and south of Quito. Meanwhile, Ecuador, along with other Latin American countries, increased their dependency on oil exports to an extent to which it formed 64% of the country’s export products. Until 1980, the governments re-circulated oil money and did not need to borrow from foreign banks and organizations. This changed when oil prices fell as a result of war in the Middle East (the Yom Kippur war); Ecuador found itself in a debt of 4 billion dollars and had to look towards the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) for support. This is a very important point in the history of the country because the agreements and policies under which the loans were transferred largely took control of the lives of indigenous families dependent on agriculture and contributed to their movement to cities in search of work, usually as informal laborers; this phenomenon is often referred to as ‘migration’ but can more aptly be termed as ‘displacement.’ ‘Migration’ implies that families moved to urban centers out of choice, in search of more wealth and opportunity. It would be reductive to imply that these were the only factors to be accounted for. In Ecuador, working in informal sectors in cities also arose from the need to escape oppressive systems of 1 Website designed by me and Maria Morales to explain the complexities of migration within Ecuador http://due-parsons.github.io/methods3-fall2015/projects/why-do-people-move-mapping-a-brief-history-ofmigration.


accumulation of wealth imposed by rich landowners or from the need for women to gain financial independence in order to educate their children and own property, among other factors. However, this period was mainly marked by the beginning of neoliberalization and in-between 1985 to 1994, 6 deals were struck with the IMF. The Structural Adjustment Plans (SAPs) were made in order to fight inflation. During this period, Quito was declared a UNESCO World Heritage city (though tourism did not become a part of the agenda for development until 1994). These policies resulted in reduced public spending on health care, education, and social services, while interest rates rose. Subsidies were removed from staple products and high quality seeds. There was a switch to export led growth, along with lower cost produce streaming in for local consumption from Peru and Colombia, leaving small farmers crushed. At this time, private investment, deregulation, free trade, privatization, downsizing and decentralization of the public sector took place throughout Latin America.

Between 1997 and 1998, large scale permanent migration took place from rural to urban areas, as nearly 74% of the indigenous population of Ecuador was faced with poverty. The crisis deepened not just due to the structural adjustments, but also due to the Ecuador-Peru War, political instability from the change of several presidents, a severe El Nino that resulted in large scale crop destruction and the falling of oil prices.2 This caused the tertiary sector of cities like Quito to increase dramatically, especially through the informal employment of former salaried workers and rural migrants. In response, there was a pointed move of the economy towards tourism. For Quito, this meant the ‘cleaning up’ or urban revitalization of public spaces that had slowly been filling up with informal markets and migrants seeking to earn a living through street vending, shelling, shoeshining or carrying loads. There was an attempt to attract foreign

investment to pull the economy out of crisis through the creation of visions of “Clean Quito!” or “21st century Guayaquil.” Cities like New York and Miami were viewed as perfect models for development. This led to the importation of strategies of surveillance to “secure” tourist locations. The notorious New York City police commissioner William Bratton3 was hired by the Municipality of Guayaquil in 2002 in order to help restructure the city’s strategy for regeneration. This agenda integrated within it, the necessity to highlight indigenous, informal street workers as a tourism issue and their removal as the logical step in a direction towards a more “clean and safe” historical center. Though Mercado San Roque had already been displaced at this time, by May 2003, the municipality of Quito succeeded in removing nearly 6900 informal workers from the streets of the Centro Historico.4 The Miss Universe pageant was scheduled to take place in 2004 and this was a part of the preparation. After more than a decade of negotiations and deliberation, most of these worker families were relocated to 10 municipality run urban markets that were hidden away in corners of the city that were well out of the tourist’s way.5 Those who were part of informal associations managed to get spaces inside these markets, but the smaller, more independent vendors were the ones most affected by the move. Even though agriculture has been one of the main support structures for the rural poor of Ecuador for a long time, the neoliberal restructuring programs that the nation went through had destroyed the sector in many ways. For small scale farmers, the policies blocked access to key resources like land, credit, 3 Responsible for the ‘cleaning up’ of several New York neighborhoods of homeless people and adding surveillance- including my own neighborhood of East Harlem (and formulating the “Broken Windows’ policy along with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani). 4 Middleton A (2003) Informal Traders and Planners in the Regeneration of Historic City Centres: The Case of Quito, Ecuador. Progress in Planning (pp 71–123). 5 ibid.

2 In order to prevent further inflation and to control the economic situation, the country adopted the US dollar as its official currency in 2000. In spite of this, by 2001, its per capita debt was among the highest in the Latin American region (Lind 2005, Swanson 2007).

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Fig 4. Map explaining migration within Ecuador, through time; Masoom Moitra

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high quality seeds and new technologies that were necessary for continued production.6 The focus of development moved to large scale, export-led production, oil exploitation, mega-infrastructure and tourism. Unproductive land and loss of livelihood due to these reasons, have led many poor, farming families to abandon their lands and pursue non-agricultural activities in informal sectors in markets and on the streets.7 However, this was not a one-way street. As oil extraction in the Amazon was increased, some peasant groups, like those from Chimborazo, survived by organizing co-operatively. In resistance to these violent impositions, peasant organizations stopped allying with political parties and started to form their own organizations. The Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), for instance, was formed in order to pursue social change on behalf of the region’s significant indigenous population through the using a wide range of political and social tactics and direct actions. In 1990, the indigenous uprising led by CONAIE, paralyzed the country for several weeks-blocking off main transportation hubs-drawing attention to land disputes in the Amazon, agriculture land issues, the decline of state services, cultural rights, and the prices of agricultural products. Due to the efforts of these groups towards

reclaiming their territories and demanding recognition, the 1998 Constitutional Assembly declared Ecuador a plurinational Country. This active movement of resistance has faced some critique for being stratified on the basis of class, since many of its key leaders hail from the wealthy communities of Otavalo.8 Rafael Correa was elected into Presidency at the end of 2006 on the basis of indigenous demands to pull the country out of the darkness of these neoliberal policies. Even though Correa declared the debt from IMF, World Bank and other international bodies as being “illegal” and “immoral” and refused to make interest payments on $3.2 billion of foreign-denominated bonds, the dependence of the Ecuadorian economy shifted to the Chinese, and continued revolving around mining and oil extraction. In spite of a powerful new constitution drafted in 2008 that promotes ‘Good Living’9 and is conducive to many demands of indigenous families in the country who were most affected by the negligence from past governments, it has failed in actually being applied and transforming the everyday lives of these families and workers in a meaningful way. Under these circumstances of loss of territory, a space like Mercado San Roque can be considered a ‘space for those with no space.’ In the next section, I discuss why this may be the

6 Marınez LV (2003) Endogenous Peasant Responses to Structural Adjustment. Ecuador in Comparative Andean Perspective. In L North and J Cameron (eds) Rural Progress, Rural Decay. Neoliberal Adjustment Policies and Local Initiatives (pp 85–105) Bloomfield: Kumarian Press.. 7 In order to prevent further inflation and to control the economic situation, the country adopted the US dollar as its official currency in 2000. In spite of this, by 2000-1, its per capita debt was among the highest in the Latin American region (Lind 2005, Swanson 2007).

8 Swanson, Kate, “Revanchist Urbanism Heads South:The Regulation of Indigenous Beggars,” Antipode, 2007. 9 Rooted in the cosmovisión (or worldview) of the Quechua peoples of the Andes, sumak kawsay – or buen vivir, to give it its Spanish name – describes a way of doing things that is community-centric, ecologically-balanced and culturally-sensitive. The concept has been integrated into the Ecuadorian constitution and is popular among other left-leaning Latin American countries.

Fig 5.Website depicting the complex reasons behind migration within Ecuador; Masoom Moitra and Maria Morales.

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case and attempt to understand the supportive and threatening infrastructure that has been created around migrant workers. I investigate the reasons that make self-emergent, institutional networks of support incredibly important to respond to the violence of displacement, deterritorialization and labor exploitation.

2.2. MIGRATION AND THE REPRODUCTION OF URBAN WORKERS In the sixties, it was mostly men who moved to the coastal regions to work in banana plantations, markets or on the streets. In the 1980s, villages were inhabited almost entirely by women, children and the elderly.10 This changed by the 1990s, with better roads being built to inaccessible villages in the provinces. For instance, when the first road was constructed in Calhausi in the province of Tungurahua, there was a link made not only to labor and commodity markets, but also a physical way out for the women and children of the community. Previously, they were relatively isolated at a height of 3,400 m, with no access to more lucrative forms of employment in the city or better education. In search for some form of economic independence, many women from the central Andes migrated to big cities in Ecuador to vend 10 Swanson, Kate, “Revanchist Urbanism Heads South:The Regulation of Indigenous Beggars,� Antipode, 2007.

on the streets or beg.11 As word spread about the earning that could be made on the streets, more young women were drawn towards it. Many of them rejected work as domestic-help in order to be able to dictate their own terms of engagement through entrepreneurship and street-smartness. Several women initially went along with children as they were breastfeeding, had limited options for child-care and preferred to have them by their side. Since children were found to not just find more success in streetlabor, but also offer an extra hand in informal work (and thus profitable for employers), they became an integral part of the process of migration and subsequent exploitation. It is important to note that along with this work, channels of formal education opened up for the youth that fed into aspirations of entering labor sectors that provided better conditions. Currently, migration to spaces like Mercado San Roque takes place in family units. Ecuador has historically had a 2-headed household, with both men and women engaging in shared labor practices.12 However, with unequal movement to cities, there has been a shift in gender expectations. My first visit to Mercado San Roque defined the course of my research and subsequent proposal. I had already visited some weekly, rural markets in the south of Ecuador (near Alausi in Riobamba) and found many similarities. The most striking one was that both the markets were filled with women and children selling, shelling, carrying, cleaning, loading and exchanging produce. 11 Ibid. 12 Hamilton, Sarah. The Two-headed Household: Gender and Rural Development in the Ecuadorean Andes. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 2009.

Fig 6. Many kinds of work are done informally within Mercado San Roque. Most people work in family units.

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Some children were wrapped around their mother’s, sister’s, grandmother’s and aunt’s bodies as they worked, while others ran around, hiding behind sacks of produce and napping inside cardboard boxes. Puppies often kept them company. It wasn’t easy to figure out which ones were the parents as the kids ran freely from one stall to another. For children in the market, the obstacle course of vegetable carts and stacks were the play areas and it there was a network of caretakers who kept an eye out for them--mothers, friends, sisters, brothers, fathers and uncles. When the men were done with carrying, they would help the women peel and the children joined in too. Teenage girls sat in circles along with their mothers, shelling and gossiping. One mother who shelled onions told us that she was a desgranador and a cargador (sheller and carrier). All her kids worked in the market along with her. She had a disability card from the government for

her husband who had left the family, and was 70% deaf. Now she needed one for her son who was mentally unstable. She showed us the card and later we were told that this kind of a card gave citizens particular benefits from the government. Another sheller who we had the opportunity to speak to was blind and was also on some disability benefits, though they were very sparse. She knew exactly her way to the market and back home, which was close by. She came on her own, did her work of peeling beans and went straight back home. He husband had left a long time back, when she arrived from the country to Quito. Her mother had found her the job in the market. She did not have any friends in the market apart from those who had also come from the province of Chimborazo, like her. She was also very busy during her day at the market and there was no time for socializing.

2.2.1. THE DISPOSABILITY OF MIGRANT LABORERS A cargador usually carries loads of up to 100 kg and gets paid 50 cents-1 $ for each load, depending on whether they are seasonal or permanent workers. They make more than 50 trips a day. A rubber and cloth contraption is used to suspend the load

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from their heads as they bent over to spread over the weight. The work day starts at around 4 am (or even earlier), and ends around 3 pm for many workers. This is because the market is primarily for wholesale and buyers from groceries, supermarkets, restaurants and institutions need fresh produce early in the morning everyday in order to cook, package or prepare for their customers. On one of our early morning visits to the market, we discovered a whole different sphere of activity and labor. The entrance to the market and all roads around it were overflowing with the traffic of trucks, cars and vans. Cargadores (carriers) winded in and out to load and unload the vehicles. They were often followed by a person who kept an eye on the goods and directed them to the right location. While some buyers had a steady relationship with the workers, others were hailed from the market on sight. The laborers who were not permanently at the market kept going back to the country to tend to their barely productive fields. Children helped their parents at the market during school vacations to make a little extra money and get familiar with the ways of the ‘real world.’ This kind of intense physical labor, for long hours and very little money, is possible only at great cost to the person’s own physical and economic well being. However, for many families suffering from poverty and looking for a better life for their children, there is little choice. Many of the workers we spoke to drank throughout the day in order to cope and complained of muscle pain and other health issues. To my knowledge, no health based studies have been conducted so far. Once their bodies are not capable any more, they are replaced by younger and stronger workers. The wealth in family is thus, generated out of the disposability of their own shared labor. So, why are informal laborers being paid so little and doing so much work, at such great risk to their own bodies? In terms of value, the worker family, as I refer to them, is socially produced as a subject whose labor (which is sold as a commodity in a market), is evaluated on the basis of the worth of the labor produced by the worker family, which is separate from their own value.13 The variation in value between the worker family’s value and the value of this worker’s labor is the critical ingredient for the creation of capitalist profit. When the logic of worker as variable capital is extended, we can see that if workers are cheapened, while the value of their labor remains constant or increases, then profit grows. Greater the variation between the worker family’s value and the value of their labor, greater will be the profit. Women, providing added value through children and in working for lower wages, are considered very important in this chain. For this chain to operate successfully, the worker families also need to be replaceable. This ensures that there are 13 Wright, Melissa W, Disposable Women and Other Myths of Global Capitalism, New York, Routledge, 2006.


no demands for better working conditions. The agro reforms guarantee a continuous flow of poor migrants and this continuous flow ensures that every new migrant, comes with lesser demands and more needs than the last. Where does the money that isn’t being paid for this family’s labor go? Who is accumulating the wealth in this chain and benefitting most from the exploitation of these workers? In other words, who is the perpetrator of this kind of violence? The worker families in the market are not just hired by sellers, but also by agents who supply to supermarkets and middlemen who buy from the farmers and transport goods from rural areas. Two wealthy families own all supermarkets in Quito and

have great influence in the government; it is said that they are the ones applying pressure to move Mercado San Roque away from the city in order to reduce competition.14 Whoever it is who benefits the most in this chain, has a large influence on the shaping of the city through direct investments in land and infrastructure, political influence or private property ownership. They seem to be the links that translate the violence of labor exploitation into physical cities and infrastructure. Increased surveillance and militarization of public spaces, the ‘cleaning up’ of the historic centre and the agenda for tourism and the attraction of foreign investors and political interest is a way to sustain and protect this wealth. This, however, comes at the cost of migrant workers who are in the most precarious conditions when they move with their families and thus, the process of urban revitalization of Quito seems to be profoundly connected to their informal work and services.

2.2.2. RESPONSES TO POOR WORKING CONDITIONS A seasonal worker, who we interviewed while he took a break, told us that he had gotten mugged on his first day at the market. He did not know anyone there and hired a room in the vicinity to make enough money in the months for which his field at home did not yield any crops. He said that it would really help him to have some kind of social or political organization in the market in order to get more clients, access to loans and 14

Interview with Luis Herrera, October 2015.

better pay.15 Under these circumstances, alienation becomes the norm and to counter it, strong social networks are formed. However, there is no distinct political organization among the cargadores. There used to be a union, but it failed to allow new workers to access the market and became a kind of mafia. There is an organization of furniture workers, but it doesn’t allow more members, for lack of leadership and resources. By only having social networks to survive, without political demands from the people who hire them, the responsibility of the worker family’s wellbeing remains with the community themselves and not the employer or the beneficiary of their exploitation. In this situation, the only way is to escape poor working conditions is by saving wealth, which with their low wages, may take a lifetime. The other option is to educate children so that they can have different occupations. A couple of people we spoke to said that this work is not what they want for their kids. However, even if they do escape, the constant flow of migration guarantees the regular supply of labor. Being organized would mean that restricting a space where so many migrant families look towards for cash without formal licenses, to provide for their families. This leads to a difficult situation where having no political networks helps sustain poor working conditions, but being organized takes away the flexible space on which migrating families depend for their livelihoods. This is the reason that Jose Antonio Guapi, a labor organizer who has been attempting to organize labor in the market, tells us that the cargadores do not want to organize. They had tried in the past, but the union became so limited in its membership that a group of laborers protested and broke it up. Most of the workers we spoke to said that they would like for their voices to be represented in decisions related to the market through some kind of formal organization. Luis Herrera, a collaborator and activist who is involved in movement building within the market tells us that the main reason for the lack of a formal union of any kind is due to the strong connections that the workers still have to their villages. They choose to politically organize in their villages and 15

Interview with Mariano Ilicachi, August 2015.

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communities rather than doing it in the market, which is their space for earning and saving. Jaime Chugchilan, the leader of a workers union in Mercado Mayorista, thinks that the reason for the lack of organization is the distrust that exists in Mercado San Roque from the presence of leaders in the past who tried to

paintings, hats and drums at the El Ejido park, for the benefit of foreigners, for many years. His entire family, alongside working in the market, is still involved in Tigua painting (as seen in the picture at the beginning of the chapter).

2.3. THE VALUE OF WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE LABOR IN CITIES

exploit the workers by charging money for membership and then abandoning them. He says that a lot of people don’t organize as they don’t want to take the responsibility for leading an organization and their inherited sentiment of inferiority for being an indigenous laborer makes them feel like it is their fate to suffer in silence. The only purpose for most workers in the city, from his experience as a migrant worker, is to survive everyday by finding a place to sleep in, food to eat and getting paid to work. For women especially, this leaves very little time for any other social or political activities. When his family moved to Quito, the Chugchilan family would sleep every night in trucks or carts, while their father worked as a cargador (carrier) in Mercado San Roque, and mother worked as a desgranador (sheller). Eventually, most people from his community moved to a bigger wholesale market in the city, from where produce went to Mercado San Roque. Here, he organized workers to work towards better health and working conditions by carrying goods in tricycles, instead of on foot. By building relationships with local banks, he organized small loans for each worker. Once most workers had a tricycle, he started, and became the President of the association of workers (specifically male carriers) known as La Microempresa Asociativa de Estibadores, Tricicleros y Cuidadores Atahualpa (MAETCA).16 Alongside this, he also learned the traditional painting work of his community from Tigua, and exhibited his 16

https://microempresaasociativaatahualpa.wordpress.com.

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Women’s labor is specifically important, as explained earlier, for the success of this system of production and exchange within the market. Not only are they treated as sources of cheap labor, but also come with children who can provide the same. Women’s reproductive labor involves the maintenance of the workforce that is necessary to continue business and production without a glitch. This involves keeping husbands and children healthy, fed and clothed. In spite of the contribution of this domestic labor in keeping the capitalist system of production running, it is largely unrecognized, invisible, unpaid and unaccounted for. For migrant women who are involved in informal labor, it is the double role of being a worker and a caregiver that is subject to exploitation from low wages, long hours and excessive physical labor. Due to the intense poverty faced by migrant women (especially those with children) in a globalized economy, there is little choice and this makes them very lucrative for employers. This is an integral part of the chain that allows a food product that is placed in a supermarket shelf to be priced affordably, or for a middle class worker to make a saving and for the owner of the supermarket to make a profit (that can then be invested into the revitalization of the city). Silvia Federici argues that globalization, which resulted in programs like the Structural Adjustment Plans that were implemented in Ecuador is in essence a war against women.17 The power of women, in her opinion, does not come from the feminism practiced by global institutions like the United Nations, with “its NGOs, income generating projects and paternalistic relations with local movements.” They arise, in fact from womenled grassroots organizations that fight for basic services, defend each other from domestic abuse, protect their common resources and means of agricultural production or to resist attacks on street vending and other informal professions. She cites the examples of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina and the proletarian/ 17 Federici, Silvia. Revolution at Point Zero: Women, Globalization and the International Women’s Movement. New York: PM, Common Notions, Autonomedia, 2001. Federici writes that SAPs destroy livelihoods through the practice of “modernized agriculture” in rural areas and the shift to export led economic growth. Women, according to her, pay the heaviest price as the noncapitalist use of resources (like land, water and forests) and the valorization of the labor of children and their communities act as an obstacle to globalization.


“Women’s work and women’s labor are buried deeply in the heart of the capitalist social and economic structure.” - David Staples, No Place like Home (2006)

indigenous women in Chile who rose against the oppressive ruling class and government by organizing within their communities and sharing their reproductive labor. “Like every form of self-determination,” Federici says, “Women’s liberation requires specific material conditions, starting with control over basic means of production and subsistence.”18

18 Federici, Silvia. Revolution at Point Zero: The Reproduction Of Labor Power In The Global Economy And The Unfinished Feminist Revolution. New York: PM, Common Notions, Autonomedia, 2008.

Fig 7. Many women and girls in the market work as desgranadores - peeling peas, corn, onions and garlic in groups; Masoom Moitra.

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Fig 8. Markets in rural areas in the South of Ecuador are also mainly dominated by women and children. This is a Sunday Market near Alausi, Riobamba.

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By Masoom Moitra

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SECTION 3

EDUCATION AS A NODE IN THE NETWORKS OF MIGRANT SUPPORT “…..the struggle for education has always been and remains a struggle for the recognition of people’s rights.” – Raul Zibechi, Territories in Resistance (2012) Social movements in Ecuador are considered some of the most powerful ones in Latin America. One of the reasons that education became so important for indigenous groups, was the State’s cutting down on basic social services. Movements took it upon themselves to accomplish tasks that would otherwise have been under the control of the government. In many neglected neighborhoods like San Roque, the school is the only place where the State has a presence. In the last decade, many movements have made education the center of their struggles. Silvia Federici has also commented on the fact that reproduction and cooperation are at the crux of social movements. Self-determining how a basic provision like education should be implemented, challenges the dominance and overarching authority of the state, and can thus be named to be resistance against acts of structural violence. For many new migrant workers, education is one of the key aspirations - it is viewed as a way for families to gain control over their lives and improve the working conditions for their future generations. Since language is such a great barrier for integrating into everyday, urban life, bilingual schools also provide a secure space for children to transition smoothly into a new and unfamiliar culture. Along with churches, community housing, kitchens and community events, these networks of education offer a space of hope and support to newly migrated and highly vulnerable families in search of work. Previously, schools offered classes only in Spanish. In 1988, the Ecuadorian government installed a nation-wide bilingual education system available to indigenous communities that requested it. In urban areas, however, there is a terrible stigma and shame attached to languages like Quechua that have racialized identities and are considered to be backward. In the face of extreme discrimination and violence faced by the children of new migrants in other schools, bilingual schools in cities with a large population of informal labor, like Quito, become very important structures of survival. Raul Chugchilan, a Tigua painter who also works as a community organizer in Mercado Mayorista, recalls the time

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when his family first migrated to work in Mercado San Roque. For women like his mother, the experience of moving to the city was very different because of the language situation (they only spoke Quechua), and they had to try to fight for work as most of the work was taken by men. Women often came to the market with their kids and they had to find ways to support them as there were no options available for caregiving. His mother faced the difficulty of having to work with four children who were always around her and learned everything that she did. This is the reason that most of the kids were comfortable with Quechua over Spanish and inherited the forms of organization, knowledge and culture that was not being taught in public schools in the city. Critics claim that the bilingual education system, though useful, is highly underfunded, lacks proper educational resources, and hires teachers who are poorly trained. They are accused of homogenization through their reliability on non-indigenous models of education that create disconnections for migrant indigenous children and additionally, distort traditional gender roles by creating a divide in indigenous families, where girls are relegated to the private sphere and boys to the public.1 Jaime his brother and the President of MAETCA (who has a daughter himself), tells us that second generation families don’t want to put their kids in bilingual schools due to the stigma attached to them and the low quality of education offered there due to the lack of governmental funding. He says that the schools have become very enclosed and isolated spaces where no growth can take place; they don’t interact with their neighboring communities or indigenous associations that could offer reinforcement of their educational infrastructure.

3.2. INTERCULTURAL, BILINGUAL SCHOOLS IN ECUADOR For workers who migrate along with their families, bilingual schools are a part of a network of support structures that provide relatively secure means to transition into the cultural, social and economic life of the city while they look for work and settle down. They are also a part of one of the major demands of the indigenous social movement of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE). In Ecuador, there are more than 2,800 indigenous-run2 schools, with some of them forming part of the intercultural, bilingual education system. However, many of them are in precarious conditions due to lack of funding from the State. During our first site visit in August 2015, CONAIE launched an 1 Swanson, Kate, Begging as a Path to Progress, The University of Georgia Press, 2010. 2 Zibechi, Raul, Territories in Resistance, AK Press: 2012.


uprising to challenge the government’s opposition to bilingual education and its support for an extraction-based economy.

3.2.1. THE DEMAND FOR BILINGUAL EDUCATION IN SAN ROQUE When we visited the market for the second time and interviewed more workers who came to San Roque as a family, we were directed to Jose Antonio Guapi, a labor organizer, church leader and director of a kindergarten school. Guapi told us that he, and most others who were connected to the school, hailed from the province of Chimborazo. He had to move from the city, in search of work because the land in his village was not producing enough to sustain his entire family and get sold at the market at the same time. He still has family that takes care of the land that his family has left, and he goes back every year during the festival time to celebrate with them. He used to be a part of CONAIE, but withdrew in 2000 due to differences which made him feel that the interests of his community were not being represented. When he first landed in Mercado San Roque, he started working as a cargador. At this time, the market was still at its original location near the the historic center. He led the formation of the first legal association of cargadores and with some help from the municipality, they were responsible for breaking up an illegal association which ran like a mafia at the market and did not allow new migrants to work freely. Since there were many children who accompanied parents

to the market, there was a demand for safe spaces for them to gain an education that would help them live and work in the city, and yet maintain connections to their own culture. In the existing public schools, children faced a high amount of violence and discrimination. Manuel Illicachi, the director of the school that shared the same building as the kindergarten, was also faced with the same challenges in his community. In 1988, he and with several other community leaders came together, started organizing meetings and having conversations about the situation of their kids. They discussed the challenges of life in the city and how folks can be supported in order to make a less violent transition from their agricultural occupations and traditional forms of living. After being displaced from their livelihoods in the village, there was now the danger of being displaced and exploited within the city once again. This led to the idea of starting a bilingual school for children of parents who worked at the market and other informal sectors. The story of this school has been collected through a series of oral histories that were compiled through interviews made during our visits to Ecuador. There are several different accounts that keep shifting. I have written about the school in detail, as no accessible narrative exists in the English language at the moment, and my subsequent proposal connects closely to its past and current situation. For the purpose of this study, the school is representative of institutions that support the labor of poor, migrant workers and their families and respond effectively to structural violence that constantly dislocates and invisibilizes

Fig 9.The play ground of the school facing towards its old location - El Panecillo; Masoom Moitra.

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their labor, livelihoods, history, knowledge, culture, language and identities. After the community meetings that were held during 198889, the group was motivated to start a school to provide the kind of education that they thought their children deserved. Against all odds, they started gathering at the Escuela Terreina at El Panecillo - a neighborhood on a hill, to the southwest of Quito, topped with a statue of a winged Virgin. They managed to get one classroom there for the meetings. Along with planning the beginnings of a new school, there were also discussions about the limited accessibility of migrants to work in the city. Since most families didn’t have housing or shelters to live in, they started working on the streets and most of the time, the police or municipality did not help. In the beginning, the purpose of the group was to find ways to find work permits for migrants. This led to the creation of a judicial association that would make it more possible to have political weight in the city and claim migrant worker’s rights. In 1989, an organization of indigenous Quechuas who reside in Quito was created. With access to legal licenses, people started taking up jobs in formal sectors as chauffeurs, journalists, drivers, bakers and even in municipalities and ministries.3 However, there came to surface another necessity - most working families had children with them. Though education was supposed to be available to all, indigenous children were not welcome in public schools in Quito. There was a great difference between the type of education that was being imparted in rural

and urban areas, at this point. Students had to enroll in lower classes and finished their education much later than their peers. An older student told me that her grandmother hated it when she spoke Quechua, as it was considered backward and severely stigmatized. In 1990, the organizing group started a small school for 40 children (from 1st to 6th grade) in the same school in El Panecillo, where they were given 3 more schools. Illicachi repeatedly reminded us that all the professors worked here on a voluntary basis. These informal beginnings, among other things, gave the community the autonomy to self-determine the kind of knowledge that was being passed on to the next generation. In the meantime, the group became aware of the work of a German organization,4 on a project for the establishment of 50 bilingual schools outside the city, but within the Quechua community. The schools were, however, not supposed to be a part of the Ministry of Education. The German organization invited Illicachi and the group of organizers to participate in their venture and provided a grant of 10,000 sucres. The Panecillo was however, a very problematic neighborhood. The rate of crime was very high and the presence of robbers, thieves and drug dealers made everyday life for teachers and students very difficult. In 1992, after staying put for 3 yers, the group discovered an abandoned building near Mercado San Roque that used to be an Arts and Crafts School and former Central Technical College. The patio of the school was inhabited by orange and pineapple sellers, while a section of the building was occupied by Jose Antonio Guapi’s association

3 Interviews with Manuel Illicachi and Jose Antonio Guapi, October/ December 2015.

4 Possibly the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, though this remains unconfirmed.

Fig 10. CEDEIB-The Intercultural, Bilingual School overlooking a part of the market that sells stolen goods; Masoom Moitra.

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of independent indigenous workers. It also hosted a kindergarten with the youngest children of the market. At that time, Illicachi was friends with Guapi and was invited by him to move the school to their shared space. They organized a minga5 in order to occupy the rest of the building and walked in with parents, kids and no official documents. Manuel says, “to us, the building looked like a temple or a church; we have been here ever since.” Following the German funders, there were Korean, Italian and Spain based NGOs who offered their support through donations and programs. With a multinational NGO called Plan International by its side, the school became the ‘The Experimental Center for Intercultural Bilingual Education Quito, CEDEIB-Q’ or ‘Amawta Rikchari’- a formal, intercultural bilingual school - one of the first ones in Ecuador, according to Illicachi, and the biggest one in Quito. It belonged to the jurisdiction of the province of Pinchincha and was attended by the children of indigenous migrants, especially kichwaspuruhuáes originating in the province of Chimborazo. The Terre des hommes Italy (TdH-I) foundation influenced the quality of education and infrastructure and has been involved with providing teaching materials, student health monitoring and academic training in the past. However, it is not clear what the political position of Manuel 5 Minga by definition is collaborative work in which friends and neighbors volunteer their time, effort, and sometimes funds to achieve a shared goal for the betterment of the community (for example, building a home, harvesting food or repairing roads). It was created as a way of developing a town of village to benefit the whole community.

Illicachi and his group of organizer was, when they started the school. There are also those who do not feel represented by the indigenous social movement and want to integrate basic services like education, health, banking etc. into the larger society, instead of creating an entirely new path and there are those who want to use education as a tool to resist the authority of the State. Was CEDEIB a result of the need to survive and assimilate, or resist?

3.2. STRUGGLES FACED BY BILINGUAL, INTERCULTURAL EDUCATION The conflict between social movements with the current government began right after the ratification of the constitution, when Rafael Correa began a public campaign to pass legislation that would expand the operations of gold, silver, and copper mining corporations in the Amazon and the southern highlands around Cuenca, as well as initiate new mining sites in the northern highlands. Moving away from the firm anti-neoliberal rhetoric he used on his 2006 campaign trail, Correa described his vision of a socially responsible mining sector whose profits would be harnessed to break the country’s dependence on extractive industry. After the Mining Law passed, social movements, led primarily by indigenous nationalities throughout the country, mobilized in response, claiming that the law violates the new constitution’s environmental provisions. After widespread protests from indigenous groups and

Fig 5. CEDEIB; Masoom Moitra.

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environmental activists, the Correa administration responded by closing down several organizations that helped lead the protests against the mining plan. Intercultural, bilingual education in Ecuador was administered by the indigenous organizations, which were members of ECUARUNARI and CONAIE, since an agreement of the government and the indigenous movement and the creation of the national IBE directorate DINEIB (Dirección Nacional de Educacion Intercultural Bilingue) in 1988. Indigenous representatives appointed teachers and school directors, designed curricula and wrote text books. In February, Correa placed the DINEIB, which had supported the anti-mining movement, under control of the Ministry of Education, thus undermining its autonomy. The social movements that supported the Ecuadoran constitution are now increasingly disillusioned due to the possibility that Correa represents a continuation of neoliberal policy. However, in the crossfire between the political demands of these movements and Correa’s response, it is indigenous, migrant workers who operate in informal sectors, who suffered the greatest loss. The issue of bilingual education has turned into a battleground and this is why the State is actively drafting policies to discourage it, while indigenous groups are fighting to keep them alive as an act of resistance. Currently, institutions like the school are prohibited from accepting money from foreign NGOs without approval from the Ministry of Education. The only support that they receive from the government is to pay the salary of teachers. Since the building that they are occupying has been given heritage status, it is very difficult to make changes. Illicachi says that since the market is one of the only places in the neighborhood which is unmonitored by police, drug sells like candy-especially in the

alleyway right outside the school. Recently, the government has passed a law that rezones schools in a way that students from a particular region can only go to a school that is in their assigned zone. Previously, children living in distant neighborhoods like Cutulagua, Ciudadela Ibarra, Chillogallo, the Cima or Atacazo would attend the school,6 alongside those in the market, in order to benefit from their support for students with Quechua roots. Due to the rezoning, the number of students graduating from the school reduced dramatically.7 The government does not support schools that have less than 300 students, and currently, the school has only 193. It has little governmental support and not enough funds to even build toilets for the students. However, they do have a committed director who is actively making collaborations, enthusiastic students and supportive parents who sometimes come together to maintain the building through mingas. Why is a community-created resource that is fulfilling an irreplaceable role, not receiving more support? On the contrary there are active efforts to discontinue it. Does the Ecuadorean State not bear the responsibility to support the transition of migrant families who have had to move to cities (or those who have been displaced from within cities) as an outcome of structurally violent policies?

6 7

http://cedeib-q.blogspot.com. Interview with Manuel Illicachi, May 2016.

Fig 11.Due to its heritage status and lack of funding, this occupied building cannot be renovated easily. It is maintained through mingas.

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3.3. ROLE OF THE STATE IN BILINGUAL, INTERCULTURAL EDUCATION The role of the state in intercultural education is confusing, to say the least. The government has introduced policies that are being praised by the World Bank,8 but criticized by indigenous people. It has set aside a budget of $2.3 billion a year for educational purposes, and yet the situation on the ground for schools like CEDEIB are dismal, to say the very least. There has been an investment of US$217,000 until now, and the training of 8,700 indigenous and non-indigenous teachers in inter-cultural pedagogy. Minister of Education Augusto Espinosa explained that, “we are strengthening inter-cultural bilingual education” so “these concepts of inter-cultural bilingual education, permeate traditional education.”9 With its expansion on a national level and the construction of 17 more of these schools in 2016, the state is clearly trying to recognize inter-cultural bilingual education and move towards its promise of making Ecuador a plurinational state, though on its own terms and by being deterministic. Beginning with 95,00 students in 2006, the inter-cultural bilingual schools today count on some 149,000 students.

Some of the key education reforms have involved the inclusion of interculturality. The “Ley Orgánica de Educación Intercultural” (2007) reorganized the education system and legislated for 10 years of compulsory education. The Modelo de Reordenamiento de la Oferta Educativa/ (Unidades Educativas del Milenio (The Educational Opportunity Reorganization Model/ Millennium School) initiative was launched in 2012, in order to allocate “hub” schools, known as millennium schools, 8 The World Bank commended the Government of Ecuador (GoE) in 2015 for its extensive restructuring of the education sector, signaling its commitment “to promoting long-term, comprehensive, and sustainable investment in Ecuador’s human capital, which will bear future multiplier effects throughout all sectors.” 9 Scherffius, Liz, “Bilingual Schools Strengthening Ecuador’s Plurinational State,” TeleSUR. Accessed June 07, 2016. http://www.telesurtv. net/english/news/Bilingual-Schools-Strengthening-Ecuadors-Plurinational-State-20150402-0029.html.

which would combine all grade levels from preschool to upper secondary. The aim behind this was to enhance the efficiency and utility of educational facilities, advancing the quality of education across the board. The long-run goal of President Correa’s government was to cut the number of schools down to 5,000 from the 2012 number of 18,400 schools. The total cost of the initiative is estimated to amount to around $8 billion. However, due to their approach of efficiency, rejection of indigenous forms of metrics of success (instead, depending on the World Bank for approval), dependence on financial capital and centralization, these schools may undermine the value of schools like CEDEIB and their contribution to marginalized communities and neighborhoods.

3.4. THE VALUE OF CEDEIB In spite of a huge budget for education and the school playing a role that provides vital social, cultural and institutional support to the reproductive labor of indigenous, migrant workers, CEDEIB, at the moment, finds itself in an extremely precarious condition. Through policies that are structurally destroying the existence of public markets like Mercado San Roque and schools like CEDEIB, not just have migrant neighborhoods like San Roque been abandoned, but so have the self-built support structures that have emerged from the organization of hundreds of communities that have been displaced through neoliberal agro policies and urban revitalization schemes. On the surface, there is political support for a plurinational State and bilingual education, but on the ground, the policies not only ensure the demise of schools like CEDEIB, but more importantly for the ruling government, work towards dismantling the intellectual and creative power of social movements that demand the right to selfdetermination through education and, in the process, threaten the authority of the State. By those who do not directly benefit from it, CEDEIB is viewed as an institution that possesses little value. It is not considered modern enough to generate the kind of workers that are productive for the economy - the desired outcome of many educational systems. It differs from other schools in that it was started by migrant labor organizers through the political process of occupying a building and community organizing. Parents, teachers, students and leaders came together in a minga to acquire the space, teachers taught on a voluntary basis for many years and friends granted favors in the forms of rooms, up until then, this makes the school a self-emergent institution that is not defined by its sole dependence on financial capital. Most importantly, CEDEIB was formed not for the purpose of generating a profit, but in response to physical and structural violence in multiple forms:

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- The violence of displacement and dispossession - as a result of neoliberal agro reforms, urban revitalization schemes, economic insecurity, social and cultural fragmentation - The violence of discrimination - racist, physical violence on indigenous children in public schools - Exploitative violence - disposability of labor and the slow destruction of bodies and health of migrant workers - Sexual violence against poor, migrant, indigenous women - marginalized in terms of race, class and gender, domestic and public, all of the above By supporting the reproductive labor and sharing the responsibilities for a child’s education and growth, the school enables many women to work on a full-time basis on the streets, markets, schools or at jobs. Not only does this lead to some kind of financial sovereignty, it also offers the means to support children’s education to move into jobs with better conditions and the ability to invest savings back into their villages and farms. Though internal social relations and hierarchies still make this difficult, interviewees spoke about making decisions within their families, being the primary providers and owning property. This potentially disturbs some pre-existing power structures. With

migrant women all over the world, perpetrators of domestic and public violence often enjoy impunity for their actions due to the marginalized social and economic position of victims. While students and parents in the community see value in the school, it is the state who doesn’t. Instead of a source of community and neighborhood development, these schools are viewed as sites of struggle for power between the indigenous movements and Correa. In order for CEDEIB to survive, it is essential for its perceived value to be reoriented in the eyes of the government. Why should schools only produce a form of knowledge that is useful for the production of workers? Why does the value of a school come only from the education that is restricted to classrooms, but not from its role that it plays in its neighborhood or to the community that it serves? Institutions like CEDEIB, not only act as an anchor for displaced families who are trying to find support in the city when they have to move, but also holds the community together through social and cultural investment in form of festival, events and mingas. In spite of the efforts of the current government to discourage it, the school remains present, but perhaps not for too long - Illicachi gives it 2, maybe 3 more years.

Fig 12. Indigenous protests erupted in August 2015 against Rafael Correa’s oil extraction policies. The President termed the uprising as being undemocratic in nature and with an intention of overthrowing him. Source: REUTERS/GUILLERMO GRANJA.

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During our first site visit in August 2015, CONAIE launched an uprising to challenge the government’s opposition to bilingual education and its support for an extractive-based economy. One of the main objectives of the 11-day march was: “To recover the autonomy of Intercultural Bilingual Education and to demand the immediate reopening, instead of the closure, of intercultural bilingual education schools, teaching institutes, colleges, Childhood Centers for Good Living (Centro Infantil del Buen Vivir; [an early childhood education program for poor children]), and the Amawtay Wasi University [an indigenous university co-founded by CONAIE in 1989], free access to public education, as well as the creation of research centers at the regional level to strengthen the process of autonomous education on the part of the nationalities and peoples.”

Fig 13. Route taken by protesters during the 11-day long March in August 2015.

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SECTION 4

THE PROPOSAL FOR ‘SCHOOLS OF HOPE’ The Ecuadorean government, at this moment, wants to support intercultural education, but does not want to give it any autonomy. Educational institutions are being viewed only as providers of education and political tools, and not as social, cultural and intellectual roots inside communities. As has been explained earlier, this is one place in poor neighborhoods like San Roque, where the state can assume control. Keeping these in mind, it was important to figure out how to visibilize the value of the school to the Ministries who were drafting the laws that could secure or destroy its future.1 The objective here, is to operate in a space that lies somewhere in-between complete dependence on the state and complete autonomy - similar to the one within which it currently operates. Intercultural schools need to be re-oriented as not just disseminators of education, but as spaces that provide reproductive and intellectual support through research and community-based planning of the neighborhoods that they are located in. In order for communities to secure the support of the government and access to its large, education oriented budget and yet be able to self-determine the curriculum, this project proposes a network of extra-institutional programs that run alongside the curriculum offered by state-run schools. ‘Schools of Hope/Escuelas de Esperanza’ are reproductive think-tanks, where the government of Ecuador, in partnership with concerned organizations, recognizes the value of the work of migrant, indigenous women towards the nurturing of cities. It offers them extended support for their labor and care-work through after-school programs that adopt a broad perspective of education. The programs advocate direct engagement, application and transfer of knowledge to the neighborhood in which the school is located. Through this program, co-operative systems of value and organization will be developed by women who would like to be involved, alongside their children. The state will provide the material incentives to make this possible,2 but 1 It is to be kept in mind that the school is symbolic of an institution that has emerged from migrant responses to violence and that this proposal is to be considered as a project that can be referred to in order to build larger networks of support among similar institutions and systems of organization. 2 The state bears a responsibility to assist women, especially those who contribute labor that is essential to the building of its economy, in the nurturing and care of their children. Silvia Federici says in an interview with Marina Vishmidt (2013), “We used to say that ‘Welfare is the first wages for housework.’ However, since the mid 1990s, AFDC has been practically eliminated. We are told that Welfare has been replaced by

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not intervene in the design of the curriculum. This will enable the community to assume ownership and start the process of building a more secure future, which can lead to the development of their neighborhoods in partnership with planners, architects, designers, artists and politicians. This can lead to the formulation of an alternative modes of urban development, oriented around processes of reproduction and cooperation, where projects are initiated by ‘Schools of Hope/Escuelas de Esperanza’ in every neighborhood, and supported strategically by experts and funders, instead of it being the other way around. For the current government, this can provide an excellent opportunity to improve strained relationships with marginalized, indigenous communities by living up to the constitutional promises of plurinationality and self-determination. They can still retain control over the quality of education imparted in the school itself, since it is an after-school program meant to reinforce, and not replace the curriculum followed in the schools. The programs will act as intellectual and creative units that connect students, parents and teachers who are involved in the school to their neighborhoods, in very active ways. The measure of success will be determined by residents, workers and other users of the neighborhood. Additionally, the program promotes the connection between struggles faced by informal, migrant worker families, through the exchange of strategies between communities faced with similar challenges of urbanization at a local and global scale, in this case, in between San Roque, Quito and Queens, New York. I will now provide the reader with a semi-autoethnographic, journal style account of the process through which this proposal was co-developed, the journey towards its execution and my thought processes while implementing it. I have used this kind of writing in order to not be prescriptive and instead, share my experiences in as much detail as possible. I have retained the mundane parts as I find a lot of rich lessons in them. It is up to the reader to pick up parts from it that may resonate with them and drop the ones that are not suitable, or have failed. Since this path has been non-linear, dialectical and unpredictable in nature, it is difficult to represent as a singular diagram or formula. However, I hope that this account can be used as an adaptable, practical reference or loose framework to begin a process of network-reinforcement between communities of migrant workers in many other urban contexts. If I sound repetitive in some parts, it is because I anticipate that some readers will directly skip to Workfare because now after two years women are forced off the rolls, even though many cannot find employment. Also, what women receive has been reduced. This has been a defeat, because many women now live in miserable conditions, in fact the image of the poor is that of a state-supported single mother. Because it was a public declaration that reproductive work is not work, it hid how much employers and the state exploit this work.”


this chapter of the paper. I will also overlap these sections with the theoretical ideas, projects, historical references and individual conversations that influenced the shaping of the project at various junctions, accompanied by my periodic reflections.

‘Schools of Hope/Escuelas de Esperanza’ are reproductive thinktanks, which recognize the value of the work and knowledge of migrant, women and children towards the nurturing of cities.

Fig 14. Mothers and children from immigrant families based in Corona, Queens work together in the pilot project; Masoom Moitra.

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August 2015 October 2015 2000s

Correa Vs Social Movts.

1980s 1970s

Agro to Oil

1960s

1990s

IMF World Bank

Extreme Poverty

Roads Built Resource Exploitation Agro Reforms

Internal Workshops Anti Mining Law

Urban Revitalization Structural Adjustment

The story of migration and displacement Spaces of Hope Workshop

Fig 15. This is the timeline that the projects spans over, extending back into the past, and projecting into the future. The remaining chapters walk us through this process, in detail.

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Mumbai May 2016

December 2015 March 2016

Education Assembly

Lima

Quechua cv Radio

Queens Museum IMI

CEDEIB-Q

New York Discovering a Space of Hope

DREAM PLAN October2016

Educators meeting IMI values

London

Pilot Project NYC

Pilot project in Quito Club Ecuatoriano

Ecuadorian Consulate

Finding partners Pilot Projects

Schools of Hope Phase 2

Ministry of Culture/ Education/ Urban Development

Pilot Project & UN Habitat III

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4.1. PHASE 1: GETTING TO KNOW SAN ROQUE As I have mentioned in the introduction, my first exposure to Mercado San Roque, was through a visit to Quito for the “Spaces of Hope� workshop. There were many lessons learned from the workshop and first impressions made that found their way into my subsequent proposal. I also had the opportunity of travelling to smaller cities in the south like Riobamba and Alausi, Ambato (in the province of Chimborazo and Tungurahua respectively, where most workers at Mercado San Roque originate from), Lago Agrio--a mining town in the east, Cuyabeno--a wildlife reserve in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Banos, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. These travels gave me a fleeting glance of everything that I would be reading and hearing about in my research, from Chinese mining and dam building to completely tourism-dependent cities, from oil pipelines along the Amazon to the market from which all the produce in Mercado San Roque is originally sourced from. To emphasize the point made earlier, a smaller, more traditional, Sunday market in Alausi had some similarities to Mercado San Roque in that it was dominated by the presence of women and children. However, in the smaller market, the women were involved in a variety of activities including selling, bargaining, peeling, sorting, loading, unloading, child-caring and accounting. In Mercado San Roque, most of the sellers were older, mestizas, while the peelers, carriers, caretakers, candy and cigarette sellers, rodeadores (street vendors who move around with goods, on foot) were indigenous women, men and children. The coconut juice sellers and some fish vendors were Afro-Ecuadoreans, who we were told, originally came from Haiti.

In the interviews and workshops that were held over a week, we were introduced to the main issues that the associations (united under el Frente de Defensa y Modernizacion del Mercado de San Roque) needed support with. One of them was about the licensed fish vendors who were not given space in the municipality-owned building when the informal street market was moved. This made them lose business and face poor weather conditions in spite of following the regulations. The furniture section in the market was very unhappy with the artworks of graffiti artists who had painted on their walls during an event, without bothering to consult with them. They needed help with repainting the murals in an aesthetic that was representative of their business. One of the long prevailing problems and the one that caught my attention the most was the lack of political organization of cargadores (carriers), some of the most marginalized members of the market. While the workshop exposed some intricate aspects of the market and placed different stakeholders in conversation and confrontation in order to collaboratively propose solutions, it proved to not have the kind of effect that was anticipated. It only spanned a period of two weeks and brought in a lot of young designers who were eager to build a response, without a lot of investigation into what the problem really was. Since there wasn’t enough time for deep interactions to unfold, some groups hurried into identifying the problems themselves and then immediately solving it. For instance, a group of architects found a narrow, unused space and ended up building a neat, little playground in it. Once they were gone and the photographs taken, we observed the space falling apart over the next few months, while another group of 200 students were invited to intervene. The workshop had a very meaningful impact on us, as participants, but I am not sure what how the market benefitted from it. However, it was amazing to see how many young urban practitioners, artists and architects in Ecuador were keen on being socially engaged. My key take away from this visit was that the market was located in a very interesting position, with regard to labor and women and children seemed to form a large part of this population. There had been a research projected conducted by a museum about the indigenous leaders from the market,3 but I did not encounter any studies at all about the working, living and health conditions of the women workers. Many of the researchers we spoke to insisted that the work was not gendered and there was no difference between the lives of the men and the women in the market. However, most of the working women we spoke to told us that they were abandoned by their husbands and the mother of one researcher who had worked in 3 https://issuu.com/mediacioncomunitaria.uio/docs/historias_de_mujeres.

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a legal firm that worked with domestic abuse told us that it was common for children to be solely brought up by a mother and for men to be violent within the house. Migrant women who were hired by wealthier families were often taken as mistresses in their households. If they became pregnant, they were accused of trying to climb the race ladder in order for their child to access better opportunities.4 It was not spoken about openly, as Raul Chugchilan later told us, as there were high amounts of “machismo” governing their internal social relations. Women could not pull together political organizations within the market due to the lack of time, but also due their subordination within the family, according to Raul. This contradicted the deep respect that women aroused due to the association with nature and spirituality, for instance, Pachamama.5 The move to urban livelihoods was also responsible to some extent, for the mirroring of urbanized gender roles and the descent of women in the social ladder. Ecuador traditionally had a 2-headed household, strong indigenous, women leaders and very motivated and progressive activists. They did not identify as ‘feminists’ as they associated this with the (earlier critiqued) UN brand of feminism that worked within capitalist relations. Unlike popular western feminist theories, most indigenous women leaders perceived their struggles as being deeply connected to the liberation of their whole communities from class and race-based oppressive systems. They worked co-operatively in order to take their whole network forward along with them, in contrast to ‘western feminists’ who upheld and often, imposed capitalist values of individual progress, independence, political representation and rebellious separatism.6 Julieta Paredes of Mujeres Creando, a Bolivian anarcha-feminist group reveals the position of Latin American movements that draw from Andean heritage and anarchism in order to fight patriarchy, power, the State and militarism. Since I intended to work with the women workers in the market, this position needed to be respected and integrated into any proposal that followed. She says, “to be a feminist in our society means to fight against neoliberalism and its ideology; for us, being a feminist means denouncing racism, machismo/sexism (in the Left and within anarchism, as well as feminine sexism), homophobia, domestic violence, etc. It means denouncing the sexist, bureaucratized, technocratic women of this generation (for us, those women that have fallen into 4 Interview with Lucas Alvarez. 5 Pachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. She is also known as the earth/time mother. A more literal translation would be “World Mother” (in Aymara and Quechua. Since there is no equal diction in modern Spanish or English, it was translated by the first Spaniard Chronists as mama = mother / pacha = world or land; and later widened in a modern meaning as the cosmos or the universe. 6 See Silvia Federici, bell hooks, Angela Davis, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw.

neoliberalism and are administrators of the murderous politics of the World Bank, IMF, etc.) Here’s the difference between us and them: they use power and are within the system, and therefore they always control the forces (military, economic, social, political) against those who oppose what they say. So, we’re not interested in power, women’s offices, or ministries. We are interested in the daily construction of practice and theory in the streets and in nurturing our creativity. Our generation denounces the unjust relationship between men and women, just as the class concept has denounced the unjust relationship between the bourgeois and the proletariat.”

Fig 16.Kids playing in front of a mural depicting a working mother with her child, within the market.

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4.2. PHASE 2: TRACING DOWN STORIES AND DISCOVERING A SCHOOL OF HOPE By the time we made our second trip in October, I had a more clear idea of what I was looking for. My primary inquiry was directed towards trying to understand parts of the stories of how informal workers, specifically the women and children of Mercado San Roque, ended up there. Since we had access to researchers from CENEDET, folks from the Ministry of Culture and the activist group Red de Saberes, our group found an opportunity to compile fairly rich collections of knowledge from multiple sources. Through a series of workshops with them and from speaking to many workers, union leaders and association members, my colleague Maria Morales and I were able to piece together a patchwork narrative. I have discussed the result of this research - the various reasons for the movement of people within Ecuador and the influences on/from the urban shaping of Quito in detail in Chapter 1. Since my own perception (and that of my female family and friends) of urban life has continuously been defined through experiences associated with violence, I was curious to understand the experiences of women within the market through the same lens. However, I realized through this study that the conception of violence in the life of the women who worked at the market had different roots, and it shaped their interaction with the city in specific ways due to the overlap of their gender with histories of displacement and marginalization in relation to their indigeneity and poverty. Understanding a part of this history exposed the deeper reasons for violence in its physical and sexual form and the concentration of it in the city. Since I have already attempted to explain this in Chapter 1, I will continue with deconstructing the process in a more concise manner in this section. In my search for responses to these different forms of violence and in inquiring about the experiences of informally working women and children in the market, I was directed towards Jose Antonio Guapi and his kindergarten school. He provided great insight as one of the first labor organizers at the market and a church leader. The kindergarten took up a small part of the building, while the rest was occupied by CEDEIB- the intercultural, bilingual school. The director of the school, Manuel Illicachi, turned out to be a far-visioned educator and organizer with a deep commitment towards his community. We returned many times to speak to him and he added many new patches to the story that we were stitching. The conversations with him and Guapi, the sharing of the struggles of their schools, and their invitation to collaborate to support these special spaces left no doubt in my mind that this was my point of involvement and

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connection. Inside its colored passageways and in spite of its broken windows and lack of security, the school felt protected and full of hope7- a labor of love of parents, teachers, community organizers and students. In Illicachi’s office space, where children ran in and out freely while their parents worked, we took the first collective glimpses into what would eventually turn into this project and unpredictably, he became a partner and collaborator.

7 This eventually inspired the name of the proposal: “Schools of Hope or Escuelas de Esperanza.”

Fig 17.The painted corridors of the school that have been lovingly nurtured and reclaimed by teachers, parents and students.


4.3. PHASE 3: THE VALUE OF REPRODUCTION AND COOPERATION In trying to understand the school as an extension to the marketplace in a way wherein the care-work of mothers was shared for the time of the day during which they earned a living for their family, and as a supportive response to structural violence, I turned towards Silvia Federici’s conceptualization of reproductive labor. In spite of being severely concealed, this labor recognizes the crucial nature of alliances between producers and the reproduced, this includes mothers and children, teachers and students. She says, “..these new terrains have the capacity to transform reproductive labor from a stifling, discriminating activity to the most liberating and creative ground of experimentation in human relations.”8 According to her, it is pertinent to reclaim control over the material conditions of women’s reproduction (like housing, the market in this case and the school) and to create new forms of cooperation that work outside the logic of capital and the market.9 This is the reason why ideas of cooperation and reproduction lie at the center of radical, social movements. The school comes very close to a space that embodies these qualities. Unsurprisingly then, it is an impediment to the flow of capital and finds itself in a precarious condition. Under these circumstances, it is imperative to think of strategies for support and sustenance of CEDEIB. In response, the proposal moves towards becoming a network of subversive spaces that learn from traditional and contemporary, revolutionary forms of knowledge and social relations. They are called “Schools of Hope” as they act as extensions and reinforcements for the school, to visibilize and amplify its value 8 Federici, Silvia, Revolution at Point Zero: The Reproduction Of Labor Power In The Global Economy And The Unfinished Feminist Revolution, New York: PM, Common Notions, Autonomedia, 2008 9 Ibid.

as an alternative to capitalist relations and forms of knowledge production, along with sustaining its resilience in the face of devaluation by the state. The curriculum that is followed in the school needs to be determined by the Ministry of Education and there have been critiques from two perspectives; one that views this as a homogenizing gesture that erases other kinds of ancestral, self determined forms of knowledge, and another that views standardized education as integrating citizens across identities and providing a common platform to launch from. While both arguments are compelling in their own ways, they lie outside the scope of this study. Even if there is maintenance of similar standards for all schools and students, irrespective of their purpose, without dedicated support from the Ministry or concerned NGOs the quality of education suffers too much for students to be benefitting in the same way. CEDEIB does not even have ways to collect funds to build essential services like bathrooms, it only dreams of computer and science laboratories. How can students educated with such severely unequal access to resources and facilities be expected to compete with those who do? This may discourage many parents, but for those who do not want to put their children through violence and discrimination in other schools, this is one of the few options. By assigning students to schools that lie in the zones of the neighborhoods that they live in, this inequality is furthered as students with low-income neighborhoods will attend schools that receive little attention and investment from the government. It further slashes the right for families to determine the most suitable option for their children and neglects the fact that many worker mothers may want to be close to the school. In response to this, the design of the program that is being proposed needs to be outside the control of the state and take the form of an after-school or extracurricular element that supports the school in all the aspects that are either neglected or restricted.

In spite of being severely concealed, reproductive labor recognizes the crucial nature of alliances between producers and the reproduced; this includes mothers and children, teachers and students. “..these new terrains have the capacity to transform reproductive labor from a stifling, discriminating activity to the most liberating and creative ground of experimentation in human relations” - Silvia Federici (2008) This is the reason why ideas of cooperation and reproduction lie at the center of radical, social movements. The school comes very close to a space that embodies these qualities.

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4.4. Phase 4: There are Many Alternatives In many different forms, various bits of this kind of a proposal have been explored in the past and are currently being experimented with. I began to craft a dream curriculum by rubbing together the conceptual blocks from existing projects, revolutionary and historical conceptions, contemporary pedagogical discourses and traditional, inherited forms of transfer of knowledge. I have briefly outlined below, aspects of some of the most important ideas that were responsible for shaping the proposal. Existing projects of Mediación Comunitaria and critical pedagogies: The Centre for Contemporary Art of Quito (Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Quito,CAC) is closely engaged with cultural production and research in Mercado San Roque and CEDEIB, through the lenses of education, gender, gardening, architecture and interculturality. Pablo Ortiz, along with Valeria Galarza were responsible for co-creating a garden and a multipurpose, bilingual calendar in the school that brought together students, teachers, parents and other members of the community who were interested in growing food and relating it to their Andean heritage.10 As an arts educator, Galarza was committed to conducting workshops that developed a community calendar that recognized the histories of the students, parents and teachers, along with their tales of migration. The calendar11 connected agricultural food cycles to the school year and to specific activities which were drawn out by the children. To collect this data, several workshops were conducted with the students and teachers. The strongest reflection came from the memories of migration, with an emphasis on different cultural practices that were related to origin, knowledge, language and economics. Even though the Ministry of Education did not provide financial support, CAC needed to get permission from them in order to engage the teachers.12 Another project that circulated around CEDEIB and Mercado San Roque was a 4-week long community mapping effort13 that involved a team of interdisciplinary museum educators, artists and ethnographers who “identified key actors,”14 conducted field visits, interviews, surveys and analysis. Collaborators worked with CAC and members from the Museum Foundation of the City to create strategies for intervention and involvement with their community-based partners. At the end, 10 https://issuu.com/mediacioncomunitaria.uio/docs/publicacion_a_la_ huerta. 11 http://www.fundacionmuseosquito.gob.ec/mediacionComunitaria/ assets/calendario-kicwha.jpg. 12 Interview with Pablo, Valeria and Alejandro, December 2015. 13 http://transductores.net/properties/mercado-san-roque-quito. 14 Interview with Andreas, December 2015.

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a workshop was generated with various stakeholders in order to rethink the relationships and future use of the market. It ended up in design proposals for the master planning of the market. The Mediación Comunitaria team in collaboration with the Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado San Roque also recently released a documentary named ‘San Roque: A Home for All,’ “to contribute to the debate on diversity, multiculturalism, the right to work and the city in the future of the historic center of Quito.”15 Projects that attempt to rethink pedagogy as cultural policy action through collaborating and working with ideas of feminisms, popular education and community research,16 especially those connected to networks and initiatives of the city, through the support of cultural institutions like museums are becoming increasingly relevant. Interdisciplinary platforms like Transductores17 and Pedagogías y Redes Instituyentes18 provide examples of workshops, actions and strategies that embody theories of critical pedagogies. Inspired by the theories of Paulo Freire, these practices consider schools as active, democratic spaces of socio-political and cultural production that are engaged with the conditions of everyday life.19 Collective actions are generated through teaching that is not imposed by teachers, but arises from dialogue, discussions and inquiries of students as agents in their own right. This mode of critical pedagogy has aimed to achieve freedom against the neoliberal education system that prioritizes profit and the production of workers over the production of social and political knowledge. Radical pedagogies and research that use feminist methodologies20 demand the representation of a wide range of voices and a detailed analysis of power relations that break repressive or patriarchal myths about empowering students. These ideas eventually formed an integral part of the way that I conducted my pilot project and the community organizations that I partnered with. In working with practitioners and parents who shared the same values, I could test out which pedagogical tools were effective in the given context, and which ones failed. In my past experience with community engaged urban practice, I have found that a possible danger of attempting to execute projects like these within short time frames (like the San Roque mapping project or the Spaces of Hope workshop) is that they tend to bypass the time-intensive and rigorous demands 15 http://another.zhdk.ch/2016/03/25/new-documentary-mercado-san-roque-una-casa-para-todos. 16 Lather, Patti (1992). “Post-critical pedagogies: a feminist reading”. En: Luke, C. (ed.). (1992). Feminisms and Critical Pedagogy. New York: Routledge. 17 http://transductores.net/que-es-transductores-2. 18 https://redesinstituyentes.wordpress.com. 19 Freire, Paulo. (1974) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Mexico: Ediciones xxi century. 20 Willig, Sarah, Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology Adventures in Theory and Method, 2008.


of community engagement and participation. They can also quickly take up a patronizing tone and reproduce narratives of marginalization and exploitation if not reflected upon frequently. The methodologies and rigid, theoretical frameworks tend to take precedence over reflections over how much the actions or interventions actually benefit the partners and how these can be sustained. Initiation of the project is usually by the practitioners and issues of maintenance and transfer of ownership are left open-ended. While this was not always the case in the aforementioned projects, it became important for me to keep these points in mind during the implementation of my pilot program. Currently, community-based planners and socially engaged artists lead the process in most projects and touch base with their partners (or as termed in an interview with one of the educators to be “actors�) in a form of passive and performative participation. This project is an attempt to design a process where this can be turned around on the head, wherein members of the community identify the issues and develop ideas, only inviting practitioners to brainstorm and support with logistical, intellectual, design and financial strategies at specific and relevant stages in the process. Otherwise, the unknowing, but willing

participants (for instance, cargadores in the market) who are often in vulnerable positions themselves are repeatedly approached (by students, artists, architects etc.) for information that looks good on brochures and in exhibitions, but never find out about what the subsequent proposal was or how it benefitted them in the long-term. This is however, a dialectical and difficult approach and may take away from the thrill of the well intentioned, but brash variety of tactical urbanism and praxis that appeals to contemporary, young architects and artists (like myself), geared towards social practice and community mediation (as I have found out in various previous projects and workshops). Practices should not hesitate to share their failures in following a militant, instant action-based methodology, as well as their successes in order to strengthen emerging communities of educators and urban practitioners. At the moment, the outcomes, power hierarchies, ethics of engagement, consequences and long-term positive or negative impacts, remain undocumented or uncared for. Maintaining, extending and amplifying, are after all, not as actionable, sensational and symbolic acts as building, creating and designing - in having to find value in existing situations rather than creating new value.

Fig 18. Cultural and Social Practioners from Ecuador have already been active with producing alternative strategies to defend the market.; Source: http:// www.poliedrica.cat/Quito.

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Ecuadorian Mingas/Aynis and Pampa Mesa: these are Andean alternative value systems that can be used to encourage community engagement and independence from financial capital. Minga by definition is “collaborative work in which friends and neighbors volunteer their time, effort, and sometimes funds to achieve a shared goal for the betterment of the community (for example, building a home, harvesting food or repairing roads).” It was created as a way of developing a town or village to benefit the whole community. Basically every member of a town or village would chip in a day here and there, to work on community projects such as fixing or laying a road, cleaning up a park etc. If there are emergencies then people gather together and work through the problems. For example, if there is a leak in the water supply, then everyone would work together until they found it and eradicated the problem. Mingas are extremely well organized and rely on trust, goodwill and solid camaraderie to get things done. If the project is situated on a roadside, then the group may stop cars and ask for them to contribute to drinks and lunch. Local businesses may contribute to put together wages for specific projects. Pampa Mesa signifies the communal table that indicates abundance and willingness to share on an equal footing. Indigenous communities in the country, particularly Saraguros, inhabitants of Loja, use the term ‘pampa table’ or ‘pamba table’ to refer to the food offered in mass rallies and ancestral festivals such as Inti Raymi and mingas. It is an act of solidarity and sharing within the community. These ideas formed an integral part in the organizing, maintaining and community building that took place in the pilot project (explained in detail, later). Traditional child-care and education units like Morungs, Wawa-wasis: in the state of Nagaland in India, the morung, or youth dormitory, used to be an essential part of Naga life. Apart from the family, a person’s time living in the morung was the most important part of education and acculturation. Morungs were grand buildings, constructed at the village entrance or in a spot to be effectively guarded. Beginning at puberty, young boys and girls were admitted to their respective gender dormitories. Elders conveyed the Naga culture, customs, and traditions; transmitted from generation to generation through folk music and dance, folk tales and oral tradition, wood carving and weaving, to the young while they lived in the morungs. Announcements of meetings, the death of a villager, warnings of impending dangers, etc., were made from the morungs by the beating of log drums.21 Wawa Wasis in Peru: for a small fee, working mothers leave their children who are under three years old in a day-care home where there is a ‘mother-in-charge,’ trained in health care, early childhood stimulation and basic nutrition. Meals in the 21 Oppitz, Micheal, “Naga Identities: Changing Local Cultures in the Northeast of India,” Hudson Hills:2009.

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Wawa Wasi, most of which are located in shanty towns of urban areas, are organized through communal kitchens or ‘Glass of Milk’ committees that take the burden of cooking off the main caregivers.22 Both these ideas were very useful in understand the education of children as a holistic process that transcends the institutional requirements of state-approved curriculum, and instead develops the knowledge of engaging with the ‘real world’ in a child, along with providing support to mothers in taking care of the child while they work. Politically engaged schooling: the Zapatista project of autonomy is more than a political and economic proposal for local, municipal and regional self-governance. It constitutes a broad-based social and cultural initiative, of which education is a core element. As a socializing space, the school reproduces culture, practices and discourses; but it can also generate change and resistance, not only in the form of education, but in the subjects themselves, in their forms of community organization and their family relationships. Before the Zapatista uprising, there were few schools in the communities and where there was one, it often lacked teachers. Beginning in 1997, the Zapatistas developed their own curricula, and there are now three generations of education promoters teaching in more than 300 schools built in communities and villages by the locals themselves. The education system grows from the bottom up. Not content with simply establishing a school and installing teachers, the Zapatista system of education attempts to integrate the schools into the community and the struggle. Based on the pedagogical notion that education “springs from the peoples’ own knowledge,” education activists describe a process in which “the children consult the elders and, together, they go about constructing their own educational program.” They do not use grades: “Those that don’t know do not get a zero; instead, the whole group does not proceed until everyone is on the same level, so no one is failed. Similarly, at the end of the course the indigenous promoters organize a series of activities attended by families and parents, who are invited to note the progress of their children without assigning any grades.”23 The MST believes that education of rural communities - in rural communities - must ensure that rural workers, men and women alike, take ownership of their history. They thus become agents of change, with consciousness needed to transform reality and the conditions surrounding them. One of the MST’s most important mottos is: “All Landless, Men and Women, Must Study.”24 22 UNICEF, 2001 http://www.unicef.org/sowc01/countries/peru.htm 23 Zibechi, 2012 24 Education and Political Traning Sector, Friends of MST http://www. mstbrazil.org/content/education-political-training-sector.


Education and training plays a fundamental role in allowing the settlers and encamped families living in the Agrarian Reform areas to join forces and organize to transform their own conditions and make it possible for many others to have access to land and a more dignified life. This can only be achieved through dedication and concrete means. These trainings happen at regional schools as well as the newly completed Florestan Fernandes National School (see below) outside Sao Paulo. Training activities are contributing to the following aspects: a) awareness-raising about the Brazilian reality; b) developing a resistance campaign to ensure our permanence in the countryside; and c) articulation with other small farmers’ entities against agricultural policies.

4.5. Phase 5: Engaging Communities By bringing together relevant ideas from the projects, concepts and experiments with pedagogy that have been outlined above, I put together a rough-edged curriculum and strategy to reorient the value of the school in order to sustain and expand its network of support. Appealing to the cultural, political, social

The Zapatista project of autonomy is more than a political and economic proposal for local, municipal and regional selfgovernance. It constitutes a broadbased social and cultural initiative, of which education is a core element. As a socializing space, the school reproduces culture, practices and discourses; but it can also generate change and resistance, not only in the form of education, but in the subjects themselves, in their forms of community organization and their family relationships.

Fig 19. Before the Zapatista uprising, there were few schools in the communities and where there was one, it often lacked teachers. Beginning in 1997, the Zapatistas developed their own curricula, and there are now three generations of education promoters teaching in more than 300 schools built in communities and villages by the locals themselves; Source: http://www.ni-dieu-ni-maitre.com.

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and economic resources of the Ecuadorian community in New York seemed vital to the execution of the plan. New York, after all, is considered the fourth largest city in Ecuador due to the large immigrant community residing in Queens, New Jersey, The Bronx and small parts of Upper Manhattan. In order to bring attention to the situation of the market and the school, outreach needed to be done at two levels: diplomatic, through the Consulate, and grassroots, among concerned community members in Ecuadorean neighborhoods. I was aware through previous collaborations that the Queens Museum was actively engaged in cultural exchanges through the Ecuadorian Consulate and with community members. My first meeting was with Stephano Espinoza, a fellow at Queens Museum who served as a Public Engagement coordinator. He was from Guayaquil in Ecuador, and very interested in the project and the context from which it evolved. I introduced to him a wish list of ways in which the museum could be involved, and this led to us brainstorming over the best plan of action.25 At this point, the museum could theoretically: - Run a parallel program in New York to the proposed one in Ecuador in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Art (CAC), Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education and the Ecuadorian Consulate. - Provide training for Ecuadorian teaching artists. Since QMA is an approved vendor in arts education, it can support the Ministry of Culture to frame a long term plan similar to the arts education program in New York to support schools to retain students, support parents and work with Ministry of Education to sustain schools. - Host a series of small exhibitions and panels to raise funds and awareness about this situation among the wealthier Ecuadorian, or broader Latin American community in New York. This can address the immediate woes of the school, like bathrooms, stationary, computers, candy, science lab equipment etc. and keep it from shutting down. This could lead to a kickstarter campaign or minga in both countries. Since the school cannot accept foreign funding, the funds will have to be channeled through our local partners. - The projects could go through the Social Practice or Artist Services program at Queens Museum in order to collect seed 25 The list of dream partners were: Ayazamana Cultural Center, Consulate General of Ecuador in New York in co-production with Maravilla, a New York based organization working for a better understanding of South America through cinema and the arts (film night); Target (Passport Fridays), Lady Pink, Alianza Ecuatoriana Internacional , Delta (Festival Andina), (From Oye Corona), Consulado General del Ecuador en New York-Casa Ecuatoriana, First United Methodist Church, Healthcare Education Project 1199SEIU/GNYHA, Latin Women in Action, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC Council 23047), The White Gardenia Feminine Leadership Project.

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money for the program in Ecuador. - Integrate indigenous, non-capitalist and effective modes of organization (discuss previously) that involve food, mingas, aynis, pampa mesa (explained in the last chapter) and the market into their existing after-school programs. - Activate the possibility of working with Immigrant Movement International, a community and Queens Museum programmed organization that was started by the artist Tania Bruguera.26 Fortunately, Stephano had some suggestions to integrate these ideas more than I could ever have conceived on my own. He suggested that I conduct a pilot project in New York, through Immigrant Movement International (IMI) to start with. For this, I would need to prepare a proposal for the Artists Services program and present it to members of the IMI Council. Queens Museum would be able to support us with outreach and connect us to other partners, including the embassy. Once the pilot projects were successfully executed in New York and Ecuador, there was a possibility of raising funds by running a long-term exhibition in the Community Gallery of the museum. Immigrant Movement International (IMI) turned out to be a very inspiring space whose values are incredibly aligned to the work that I had set out to do and the concepts that were to be applied at the program proposed in CEDEIB. Mainly programmed and maintained by a council that consists of mothers in the community, volunteers from Queens Museum and volunteer educators, it seeks workshops and programs that involve all groups of people, a vast majority of whom come from low-income households. IMI recognizes immigrants as being vital engines of change and call for the recognition of their value in more than just the provision of labor; they bring along with them the wealth of solidarity, cultural, social, technical, and political knowledge, rich human experiences and intellectual capacity.27 In this space, practical knowledge merges with creative knowledge through a holistic approach wherein education is open to all regardless of legal status. It has given itself the collective mission to act as a think tank and educational lab or platform that recognizes an immigrant’s role in the advancement of society through practicing artist/activist tactics and new tools for communication that have the power to transform social engagement to political change. There is an interest in formulating alternative value systems through the 26 Tania Bruguera’s Immigrant Movement International, presented by Creative Time and the Queens Museum of Art, is a long-term art project in the form of an artist initiated socio-political movement. Bruguera will spend a year operating a flexible community space in the multinational and transnational neighborhood of Corona, Queens, which will serve as the movement’s headquarters (http://www.taniabruguera.com/) 27 http://immigrant-movement.us/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/IM-International-Migrant-Manifesto2.pdf.


creation of new kinds of economies and sustainable ecologies based on a culture of reciprocity over economic advantage.28 In two weeks, I was able to present my rough plan for the after-school program29 to IMI Community Organizer and Queens Museum Artist Services Coordinator Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz, IMI Space Coordinator Dominique Hernandez and Educator/Community Organizer Bonnibel Rosario. They were excited about the proposal as it coincided closely with the values that they had been promoting among educators and because they were in the middle of a community effort that focused on issues around education and public schooling in immigrant communities in the neighborhoods that were connected to IMI. It helped to not have a very concrete end-result in sight as it gave us an opportunity to build, together. However, they had some very specific points that they wanted me to consider. They were interested in having me plan a shorter, Spring intensive to get familiar with the space, students, parents and 28 Http://immigrant-movement.us/wordpress/mission-statement. 29 The plan was continuously evolving through inputs from various collaborators and through my own experiences at the space. I will detail it in the upcoming pages as a work-in-progress.

Fig 20. Immigrant Movement International (IMI) is a space whose values resonate deeply with this project, and hence a site for the Pilot Program; Joyce Sanchez.

their work culture. There was a need to integrate some basic skills into the program that the kids, especially those of new immigrants, were lacking in. Some of them attended bilingual schools (English-Spanish), and had issues with catching up with reading, summarizing comprehension, writing, time tables, fractions and other basic math. I resisted in the beginning as I had no previous experience with teaching such young children (from 1st to 4th grade). However, one of the IMI values was that anyone can be an educator, and they wanted to honor this. They really encourage first time educators and do what they are able to in order to support them. In hindsight, this was actually a very good challenge to have because students at CEDEIB face very similar struggles with catching up with their given grades. It would be strategic to understand, with the help of the IMI community who were willing to collaboratively work this out, how to integrate required education with everyday life and the theme of the longer workshop. In fact this was an opportunity to further blur boundaries between education and life itself, where the principles of one could smoothly be applied to the other (inspired by the Zapatistas). This would not just make the kids familiar with the methods of engagement and spirit of learning in the class, but also help me build a relationship with them and their mothers before embarking on a longer adventure. They thought that there was enough in the program to spread it across 8 weeks, instead of the 4 weeks that I had proposed. This made sense as a longer term of engagement meant more time for resource intensive field work and other demanding activities. It also gave me the opportunity to learn from my experiences during the Spring intensive and engage more community partners in its formulation. It meant a lot to them that I make an effort to understand the IMI values and start becoming a part of the existing community of educators. This would include participation in a workshop to discuss values and a retreat. The workshop was very useful in getting to know the methods of the other educators and understanding the perspective and communication techniques of leaders. Everyone brainstormed together about what it meant to teach at IMI and collectively put down a list of values that we could work towards as a community. These included the promotion of social justice and respect for immigrant’s rights through education and art, in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration where everyone can be educators and students, at their own pace. There is an aspiration for a spirit of unity, solidarity and support, instead of that of competition. In terms of history and tradition, they appeal to the community to care for and question their culture, to work towards protecting and preserving it, but also recognizing the oppressive practices within it and imagining new traditions for a diversity of cultures within the community.

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They had been conducting research through focus groups, surveys etc. to document experiences of students in schools and wanted me to attend and promote the program in an educationbased assembly planned with the broader IMI community to discuss next steps. The assembly was a turning point in this project as it involved facilitated discussions with parents, teachers and students about the issues that they faced with the education being given in public schools. Most of the issues that were brought up included language access, the lack of support for working mothers, the difficulties of engagement of new migrant parents with the school, zoning according to areas taking away children from most suitable choices for education, the stigma of being unable to catch up with new forms of education for students and the organizing work through PTA groups and volunteer work that many mothers and teachers took very seriously in order to ensure the protection and care that was necessary for their children/students to succeed. Not just were these nearly exactly the issues faced by a school like CEDEIB (in a very different, and in many ways much more precarious context), they were also the kind of cooperation between the (re) productive labor of parents, students and teachers that creates spaces for shared work and knowledge that holds the welfare of the student as its motive, instead of profit, and holds the school accountable for the same. This made the case for compelling and exchanging skills and strategies between families, organizers and programs between New York and Quito even more compelling.

They thought that the IMI agenda was more in line with the project that the Queens Museum Artist Services initiative, which provided a grant of $600. IMI worked strictly on a volunteer basis in order to not have to compromise on their values. However, they would replace this with the provision of resources like space, materials, outreach, snacks, printing, connections & relationship building with the mothers and kids and assistance while facilitation. This arrangement worked out fairly well though it required an exhausting commitment of being actively involved in each step and making the program a collective labor of love. Bonnibel, one of the educators, took up the responsibility of reaching out to members of the community and registering the families who needed it the most for the workshop. A lot of people wanted to join, but we had to cap it at 12 students and elders in order to be able to give personal attention and engage more deeply. Though I ended up designing promotional material myself, they were always eager to contribute to the process. For materials, a group of us went to Material for Arts, a fascinating organization which collects a very large variety of left-over and donated objects - both new and used - from companies who are members (in return for tax breaks) and then distributes them among arts non-profits who are registered with them. The only payment for the material is in the form of letters of appreciation to the donors. This was an inspiring, albeit rigorous way to start a project, as in the case of CEDEIB, it created a sense of autonomy

Fig 21. Integrating into the IMI Educators’ community by attending their first Education Assembly and getting trained in understanding their values.

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and ownership, wherein the dependence on social relations far preceded the need for financial capital to execute new strategies. In terms of logistical support, translation and managing food without a co-facilitator proved to be a small challenge. Though the mothers and sisters of students who attended were present and supportive throughout the workshop, IMI has promised that they will pull together a more solid, logistical set-up for the next workshop. If my project was successful, they wanted to use it as a model to guide other educators. Silvia Ortiz had been at the “Spaces of Hope” workshop in Quito along with us. In collaboration with some of the participants and organizers, she was keen on starting a project that connects families from San Roque who migrated to Queens through letters and other means. She also invited me to present my project and share the narrative about the school with the IMI community in an event that would come up in a few months, in order to develop connections between the experiences of (im) migrant families in the US and Ecuador. As connections were forming at the ground level and the project was starting to look very realistic, I did not want to lose sight of the bigger picture that connected it to CEDEIB and the pilot project that needed to be executed in Quito. The idea was to get in touch with an official from the Consulate who could provide the kind of communication that was needed with the Ministry of Education in order to keep the school from closing on an immediate basis, and to formulate a long-term exchange

program to channel the flow of resources and knowledge in between migrant communities faced with similar challenges, between New York and Quito. Fortunately, I met an Ecuadorian artist and interculturalist during the assembly, named Joyce Sanchez Espinoza. Coincidentally, she had researched about CEDEIB almost a decade back and was very familiar with the struggles that Manuel Illicachi and the students in the school were faced with. She had a strong network within the Ecuadorian-Quechua community in New York and immediately connected me to a Quechua radio channel based in The Bronx (run by Charlie Uruchima), in order to raise awareness about the issues of migrant mothers, the school and my project. Additionally, she spoke to the Linda Mahuca, the Consul General of Ecuador in New York, about the project and set up a meeting with the Vice Consul, Nina Sisa Muenala. Joyce, soon enough, became the most committed partner in this project and invested a lot of time and energy in participating in the workshops with her kids, providing translation support and sharing her own trilingual (Quechua-Spanish-English) literature and rich, pedagogical experience with students. In moving forward, beyond this thesis, she will most likely take ownership over the project and co-lead it. The meeting with the Vice Consul took place in the presence of Joyce and the President of the Club Ecuatoriano at LaGuardia Community College during their annual, Mother Tongue Fair. We spent a long time discussing and brainstorming about the project,

Fig 22. As can be observed, there are many similarities between IMI’s values and those of the proposed ‘Schools of Hope’.

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the connection to Ecuador and strategies to activate this. She thought that it was a very important project and wanted to support it as much as possible. We requested support from the Consulate General of Ecuador in New York, to develop systems of solidarity and cultural education that connect migrant communities in New York to those in Quito through the execution and cultivation of a network of after-school programs that cross between the countries of USA and Ecuador. These were the means of engagement that were proposed: - Cultural support in the form of publicity for the pilot project and most importantly, connections to other cultural or educational institutions who may be interested in collaboration, execution and fund-raising for the project. - Financial support (short term) to conduct pilot programs in New York (April-June) and Quito (October). The funds would go towards the organization of a series of after-school workshops and would pay for facilitators, teacher trainings and materials for students. - Diplomatic support to make a connection with the Dirección Nacional de Educación Intercultural Bilingue in Ecuador to re-evaluate the role of bilingual schools. Through this project, these schools (and other public schools who are interested in hosting this after-school program) can be reoriented as spaces for the production of new forms of knowledge. The programs would also encourage children to raise their awareness and participate in the shaping of their neighborhoods and cities. The government should work towards increasing support for these schools in acknowledgement of their great contribution in the support of worker parents who service the city and help

it grow. The support provided should not take away from the autonomy of the school, but adds to its existing value. If CEDEIB were to perform as a model project that sets an example for the treatment of other schools, the main struggles that it faces are: 1) Institutional - Since a new law has been passed according to which only children living within a particular sector can attend a corresponding school, the number of alumni of the school have reduced from around 300 to 193. The government requires a school to have alumni of at least 400 students in order to offer support. This is a big challenge for the continued maintenance and sustainability of the school. Since they are unable to accept funding from NGOs or foreign institutions, alternative systems are necessary to be able to stay operational. 2) Infrastructural - The school lacks the basic necessity of bathrooms for children. It has the space, but not the money to build three bathrooms for boys and girls. This can act as a threat to the health and wellbeing of students. In addition to this, the building is in a dilapidated state as heritage laws require it to make very specific improvements that are not possible due to the limited funding that is available to them. These issues contradict the first point of Article 3 of the constitution that states, “the State’s prime duties are: guaranteeing without any discrimination whatsoever the true possession of the rights set forth in the Constitution and in international instruments, especially the rights to education, health, food, social security and water for its inhabitants.”

Fig 23. The material for the workshop came from Material for the Arts: a space that disseminates donated resources to artists and non-profits, for which I got the support of Queens Museum and IMI council members. This ensured that no financial capital was invested in the execution of the workshop.

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3) Facilities - Since the schools does not have facilities like computer labs or science labs, it is unable to compete with the education offered in other schools. This discourages students to enroll here as their parents want them to have an education that will keep them in par with the rest of the student population. This can also lead to stigma for those who attend bilingual schools and make it very difficult to increase the number of alumni. Research Support (long term) - It is to be noted that a lot of this information has been derived from a year-long research and design practice that has been supported by The New School. In order to execute an extended project, it will be very important to continue the process of research and development of programs and support for schools. The ownership of the project can possibly be transferred to local institutions in both cities for this purpose. The Vice Consul had a political career in Ecuador through which she was very familiar with the Ministry of Education. She thought that using the UN Habitat III Conference was very strategic to capture the attention of the Ministry and pressure them to set an example of an alternative kind of “urban development,” by supporting CEDEIB. It was however to understand what kind of legal issues there were at the moment, and whether CEDEIB wanted support from the government, or become an autonomous organization that could seek external funding. She introduced me to the ‘Aprendiendo mi Ecuador” program that the Consulate sponsors every Saturday, in Corona Library. This program, however, was only directed towards preserving language and culture within the Ecuadorian Quechua community in New York. In order to make a long-term program with the Ministry of Education or Culture in Ecuador, she said that they would have to first conduct quantitative and qualitative research about the low-income, indigenous families who live in New York. Currently, the Consulate has no record about the demographics, lives or working conditions of the Ecuadorians who move here and hence, no way to conduct outreach for programs. She asked for our support for this, and agreed to my idea that public schools would be great sources for this kind of information. She suggested a conversation with Illicachi during the radio program in which he is scheduled to talk, in order to understand the structural problems of the school better and find more ways to transfer resources or activate political will. Very importantly, an idea was proposed for a collaboration with Club Ecuatoriano which was sponsored by the Consulate and had a motivated set of students, academics, educators and interculturalists who were extremely interested in facilitating exchanges between the US and Ecuador. This became a strategic part of my proposal and changed the way I viewed my own role in New York and Quito.

While in New York, I could build the curriculum and facilitate the workshops myself, in Quito it made more sense for Quechuarooted students from Club Ecuatoriano to lead workshops and train others to do so at CEDEIB. In this sense, the project at IMI would work as one that could provide the framework, methods, strategies and theory for action to be adapted for the projects to be held in Quito. This led to multiple iterations of the workshop plan along with educators (mainly Bonnie), mothers (especially Jovana), the teenage program coordinator (Stephanie) and even a 9-year old participant (Nathalie) in a bottom-up manner. This was the ideal method to craft a lesson plan according to my pedagogical references (Rojava, Zapatistas, Freire), but the overwhelming demands of time and effort to get this right is definitely underestimated in the design process. This is the reason why it is crucial to either execute such project through long-term, dedicated engagement or gradually transfer ownership of the project to interested community leaders, mediators and teachers in order to make it sustainable.

4.6. Workshop Diaries The main theme for the workshops to be conducted for the Pilot Projects in both New York and Quito will be “Food.” The reason for this is that the pedagogical intent is to connect the education of the students to their social and political context and in the case of CEDEIB, the Mercado San Roque and its influence on the neighborhood, the city and the school itself dominates this narrative.

Fig 24.Brainstorming with an educator, a parent and a student to revise and build the curriculum.

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Along with inviting interventions from the outside, identifying the value of the school and the resources of parents, teachers, organizers and students who offer rich sources of reproductive and experience based intellectual knowledge is very important for this project. In order to take community control of the means of production of knowledge, it is necessary to respond and communicate the issues that directly influence the everyday lives of the students and develop skills to document, demystify, intervene and imagine or execute collective strategies to transform them. To recognize the market as a site of study and as a space that holds alternative forms of knowledge and organization, it is necessary to integrate it with the kind of education that students are familiar with and then move towards investigation, communication and change. The first part of the workshop, designed as an intensive week-long adventure, aims to act as a transition and relationbuilding process that encourages students to get familiar with learning abstract concepts through food (through math and reading comprehension), apply them to daily life (through shopping and recipe based field visits), learning from elders (through creating a food story book documenting stories, poems and tales of food connected to their ancestral lands and traditions), teaching each other and co-operating in the classroom

(by not moving to the next exercise until everyone helps each other to solve problems), by involving mothers and teachers into their learning and teaching process (both need to help each other out and exchange skills and ideas for homework and help their teacher out with skills they lack, for instance, language) and developing the understanding that education has to continue outside the classroom (through pledges and everyday field work that relates to in-class Math and reading exercises). Through this process, not just do the students develop basic reading and math skills in a more applied and problem-based sense, they learn how to work without competition in a team, solve conflicts, understand the basics of field research and note-taking, learn how to map their readings, thought and ideas visually, learn how to interview their family members, neighbors, shopkeepers etc. in order to learn about their stories and finally, learn how to record and communicate their knowledge with others. Day 1. By physically connecting with yarn, we gave ourselves food names that we would use for the rest of the workshop (eg. Mushroom Masoom or Raspberry Rosa). Through a community mapping exercise, we created 4 groups as per grades, language abilities and preference for math or reading. We spoke about our favorite food, how food connects us and why is it important to connect it to our daily studies. We also

Fig 25. The preliminary plan for the long workshop, as presented to Queens Museum and IMI / Fliers for the workshop on the right; By Masoom Moitra.

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read out pledges about learning outside the classroom, helping each other and asking lots of questions. I explained the workshop plan to them in advance and asked for suggestions before we moved on to creating the objects that we would need for the rest of the week, a big book that we self-bound and decorated to collect our food stories everyday, and a small book for writing field notes from visits and for writing down thoughts and quick calculations. After a break, we role-played some food related fraction exercises (prepared in advance) in order to convert the abstract numbers into actual food and scenarios. It ended with two students offering to host ‘Food Hangman.’ Reflections: Bilinguality wasn’t a problem and everyone helped me and each other with translation. In fact, it turned out to be an advantage as it served as an unlikely ice-breaker. Towards the end, the kids got very tired with math and found it difficult to translate fractions to real life situations. Everybody helped with cleaning, preparing food and wrapping up, together - in the style of a minga. Day 2. Only 8 kids and their parents turned up as some had to go to other workshops and others didn’t have an elder to accompany them. However, two new parents brought their kids and stayed till the end. Almost everyone had written their story and some of them were very striking and connected to the purpose of the class. We distributed printed copies of recipes, made shopping list in our field notebooks and went to the

farmer’s market on 103rd street to calculate the prices of our dishes and identify ingredients. Mothers worked along with kids and taught them shortcuts for doing math through their own experiences. Once they were back, they used fractions and decimals to solve calculate problems from the recipes. Class was cancelled for the next day owing to a protest against gender based violence in the neighborhood. Reflections: Learning math through the market was a great success. I was surprised that few students got family stories from parents or grandparents, but preferred to create new ones. Most of the kids are shy about reading aloud, and it takes several steps to build trust. It was fascinating to watch the space transform from a class to a protest preparation station with posters and flowers being made by the mothers, as the kids helped or played. Plans change unexpectedly, and it is important to adjust, without compromising on outcomes. Since my project began with ideas for countering gender based violence, this seemed symbolic. Day 3. Most of the time was spent on reading a book about the history of candy, together and then deconstructing it and learning how to record it visually. Everyone taped their papers to the floor and created mental maps in order to creatively comprehend their texts in school and learn how to pull apart difficult texts and historical accounts. It will obviously be a very handy tool for the second part of the workshop when they will have to analyse the data that they collect and map it visually, in

Fig 26. Getting outside the classroom and learning new tricks from mothers to solve math problems as part of the IMI workshop/ Espinaca Elvis scribbles notes on his handmade field notebook on the right; Masoom Moitra

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order to remember it and make sense out of it. This was followed by a visit to the library, where we looked for food related books and then individually deconstructed parts of each book through a visual map, before explaining it to each other and me. Reflections: The relationship between all of us has grown stronger and when I mentioned that the next day was the last one and reminded students of the pot luck, they asked if they could have the workshop for another whole year. There are more predictable patterns now, and I have realized that it is important to think on my feet and keep plans very fluid. Day 4. The last day started with reading some food stories from each person’s book, playing food pictionary and then went on to solving math problems related to food, in smaller groups. It was amazing how well everyone worked in pairs. Even children who did not know fractions as they were in a lower grade, began getting familiar with basic concepts. This was followed by a storytelling session by Joyce from her trilingual book, which also involved some Andean history and politics. At the same time, mothers were getting English lessons on the other side of the workshop. Before the class started, in the morning, the mothers along with organizers from Queens Museum were planning a protest to block 111th street as it had severe traffic issues that blocked their neighborhood from access to the park and other resources.30 It was also dangerous for kids to cross at the junction. 30

https://vimeo.com/165811977.

During the potluck, the mothers finished their class and promptly set up a huge feast which was extremely well organized. The film screening that was planned for the end failed miserably as there were no speakers and the kids were restless. We created knotted circles and towards the end, reflected upon what we had learnt in the class. Reflection: I was completely astonished by the energy and investment of the mothers and children to their neighborhood and in educating others and themselves, building community, maintaining and nurturing the space and showing great solidarity in these actions. They were equal partners with me throughout the workshop and each person came and hugged and thanked me individually in the end. Lessons Learned: Making mixed groups on the first day that pair up non-English speaking kids (usually the children of new migrants) with those who can speak English, younger kids who cannot do fractions with older kids who can and make sure that there is a mother, aunt, sister or grandmother (who almost always, did not speak English) in each group. This ensures an atmosphere where students and parents can help each other out and are not dependent on the teacher, or left behind. Reminding groups that they can move to the next level of problems, only if all of them are able to solve the first one. Encourage everyone to ask as many questions as possible to each other, and as a last option, to the facilitator. As a facilitator, ask for participants’ help in setting up the workshop, wrapping up and thinking of new exercises. This can help with breaking down to some extent, the power structures built up by teachers and students in schools. However, a power difference does exist and it helps to acknowledge it and working with it in a positive manner. Creating an object together on the first day and then using it, preserving, maintaining and filling it in until the end creates a sense of ownership, pride and love for the knowledge being built together. Explaining the agenda for the entire workshop in advance, but keep a few surprises! Giving students something to look forward to that also brings together the knowledge gained from the entire workshop proved to be very effective. Preparing in advance the sites (and backup sites) which will be relevant to the lessons for field visits and ensure that you do not disrupt their operations with a very large group. For instance, find a large enough store with fresh vegetables and fruits in order to teach fractions and mental math. When students are back from field visits, it is important to immediately reflect upon the outcomes of their visits, share their findings and if possible, apply them to problems that are connected to the visit. This will make the connection between the

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Fig 27. Day 1 - Getting to know each other, make pledges, community asset mapping, making books and acting out math problems; Masoom Moitra

Fig 28. Day 2 - Mothers and kids figuring out prices, recipes and ingredients through math, in a farmer’s market in Corona - the first field visit; Masoom Moitra

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Fig 29. Day 3 - Reading comprehension, making visual maps from texts and testing out skill through food books in Corona Public Library; Masoom Moitra

Fig 30. Day 3 - Mothers, sisters and kids branistorming and collectively creating visual maps in the library; Masoom Moitra

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Fig 31. Playing food charades and teaching each other some basic communication skills/ Walking to the Public Library in groups; Masoom Moitra

Fig 32. Day 2 - Tackling recipe-related math problems through plays and puzzles/ Mothers prepare for a gender based violence protest at IMI; Masoom Moitra

Fig 33. Joyce Sanchez reads her trilingual (Quechua, English, Spanish) story book to kids, uses props and finds a chapter that deals with food/Mothers get English lessons on the other side of the room; Masoom Moitra

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Fig 34. In the spirit of the minga and Pamba Mesa, mothers and kids transform the room in minutes and prepare the food and serve; Masoom Moitra

Fig 35. The kids want the workshop to continue for another year. This feast is followed by a movie screening about two teenagers in New York who tried to find out where their food comes from - this leads up to the next workshop; Masoom Moitra

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Fig 36. Food Story Books created by Joana and Shirley as part of their homework. They had to go back home, interview their elders and find out about old stories related to food or land. They also had the option of creating their own, new stories.

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“outside world” and their classroom less disconnected. This has been one of the biggest challenges, in my experience, possibly due to many years of textbook-based learning and neoliberal production of knowledge. Everyone hates too much homework, even though every student that I worked with loved learning and attending classes. Children and parents are also already heavily burdened and tired from their traumatic experiences from exploitative workplaces and schools. It helps to include homework that involves talking to others, finding out stories and simply noting them down or making up their own ones with the help of elders, if possible. It is also important to plan break times, activities that involve movement and food into the schedule in order to counter the lack of compassion in traditional classrooms. It is extremely useful to have a range of ice-breaker activities handy for starting, closing and in-between. They not just help with building community, they can relate to the theme of the workshop and can be entertaining and educational at the same time (for instance, food pictionary). Nothing ever goes as per the exact plan, so it’s helpful to remember the primary objective of the workshop and incorporate it into the schedule if things don’t work out exactly the way that was settled upon. For instance, I had to cancel an entire day of the workshop and add more hours to the remaining dates to accommodate for a protest that the mothers and children were planning. It is very exciting to build towards a big event or a party. For instance, a potluck party, or an exhibition of family cook books with grandparents as chief guests, or pretending to be on TV and hosting a food channel, or a film screening. The homework for the second to last day for this workshop was sharing their mother’s labor and helping them prepare a small dish for a potluck, it was a grand success and a great way to say goodbye until the next time! It was also a good time to reflect upon the lessons learned by all of us. The second part of the workshop is geared towards a more investigative and critical process where students (teams of mothers and children) try to find out where the food that they eat every single day comes from. We learn unconventional methods and techniques to trace down the people, machines, money and spaces that come together to get the food on our plates. We learn how to collect and document this data, organize it in creative ways and analyse it. We will also learn how to break it apart visually through skills learnt in class and from our families in order to communicate the information to a person who knows nothing about it. We will ask each other questions and try to identify the various issues in the chain. Ultimately, we will think about a problem that bothers us the most and try to think about strategies to deal with it. We will be inspired by others

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who have done so and will speak with us in class, or explore places trying to deal with these problems in a creative way in the city through field visits. In the end, we will have a Pampa Mesa and present our studies and proposals to our families, the broader IMI community and some architects, planners and council members. We will attempt to find partners among the audience who will help us develop plans, and find a way to work towards implementing them in our own neighborhood. This plan is currently being formulated along with members, mothers and children from IMI and should be viewed as a work in progress.

4.7. Phase 6: Imagining a Network Silvia Federici writes that conditions of working outside the logic of capital and market and creating new forms of cooperation already exist with the millions of women who have ensured that their families remain supported, without regard to their value and extent of exploitation by the capitalist labor market.31 As can be observed at IMI, women have helped their communities in avoiding total dispossession through community learning, cooking, dancing, protesting, fitness training and organizing - thus standing in the way of a total commoditization of life and beginning a process of reappropriation of reproduction in order to regain control over lives. The feminized politics followed by urban social movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter, are an extension of ideas of placing cooperation and reproduction in the center of their struggles in order to make them sustainable. This kind of knowledge can form the crux of the education that is imparted through students in these programs, and can potentially result in powerful changes on the spaces and relationships around them. The greatest take away from my workshop was that mothers and children together, are a source of immense energy and knowledge of systems of cooperation, organization, solidarity and creativity. This led me to understand the position of the network of after-school programs that I am proposing, as being much more than that. If the school is considered to be a space for the production of new forms of knowledge and social relations, then it stops being merely a center for the state to control the training and maintenance of future labor. The alternative systems of value brought into the city by indigenous, migrant workers (especially women) in terms of economic networks, social organization, cultural exchange, property ownership and reproductive co-operation becomes the core of the education that children and parents need to engage with, in order to respond 31 Federici, Silvia. Revolution at Point Zero: The Reproduction Of Labor Power In The Global Economy And The Unfinished Feminist Revolution. New York: PM, Common Notions, Autonomedia, 2008


to contemporary urban issues on an everyday basis. The role of the network of ‘Schools of Hope’ is to supplement the education being provided in state-run schools with one that recognizes a wider form of knowledge, borrows from the past and from current revolutionary pedagogical practices, and applies it to our immediate neighborhoods in order to be able to make decisions and take the kind of actions that impact our everyday lives and experiences in urban spaces in a manner that is beneficial to the collective well-being of the community. They are not controlled programmatically, but supported financially and through

As can be observed at IMI, women have continuously helped their communities in avoiding total dispossession through community learning, cooking, dancing, protesting, fitness training and organizing - thus standing in the way of a total commoditization of life and beginning a process of reappropriation of reproduction in order to regain control over lives. The feminized politics followed by urban social movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter, are an extension of ideas of placing cooperation and reproduction in the center of their struggles in order to make them sustainable. This kind of knowledge can form the crux of the education that is imparted through students in these programs, and can potentially result in powerful changes on the spaces and relationships around them.

technical and spatial resources, for their contribution to the actual development of the city. Eventually, they can become thriving assets in every urban neighborhood, as a network of think and action tanks. To make this possible, my role in the process is to use the reflections and lessons learned from the workshops that I am conducting with IMI in New York, to develop a curriculum suitable for the specific context of CEDEIB and Mercado San Roque. This will be developed in collaboration with student members of the Club Ecuatoriano at LaGuardia Community College. Since they are supported by the Ecuadorian Consulate, they will receive a bi-yearly travel grant that will allow them to work with a school like CEDEIB (or other institution supportive of immigrant lives and labor) on a 6-month long after-school ‘Schools of Hope’ program for parents and children. They will work with teachers or community leaders at the institution to develop the plan of action for this 6-month long initiative funded by the Ministry of Education in Ecuador and the Department of Education in New York. Along with teachers, the mothers will be paid salaries for sharing their knowledge and ideas for dealing with issues in the neighborhood. The objective of the workshops will be to research issues in their area, collect and document information about them, understand and analyze the data, communicate it effectively to raise awareness, and then collectively think of strategies to respond to the issues using their existing knowledge and skills, integrated with the periodic inputs of professionals like architects, planners, economists or civil engineers who will be recruited at later stages for periodic, technical check-ins. Partnerships will also be made with similar networks operating in New York and other cities. At the end of 6 months, the trained group in Ecuador will be awarded a travel grant by the Ministry of Education to work in New York for one month to train others facing similar problems in their educational communities and share their experiences and challenges.

Conclusion Quito and New York are not the only cities in the world right now where migrants form the most marginalized parts of the population and have access to the least amount of resources. In the crossfire of political power exchanges based on identity issues like caste, race or indigeneity, but rooted in class, it is often migrant families with lesser anchors, who fall through the cracks during the “development” of cities. To start with, it is necessary to understand that the model of development that is being promoted globally is directly tied to the movement and accumulation of capital, through the exploitation of informal, migrant workers; women and children often bear the brunt of this violence. The wealth of urban societies is dependent

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on the disposability of their labor, constant displacement and the sustenance of their poor working conditions. Migration is not always a voluntary move by families in search for better opportunities, but structurally triggered through neoliberal urban and rural policies (put in place by institutions like the World Bank and IMF), and lead to an inexhaustible supply of cheap labor. In order for any kind of effective development to take place (that is not measured only by the successful generation of surplus - often manifested in the form of vacant residential high rises and commercial towers, smart cities, destructive infrastructure like coastal roads etc.), it is necessary to engage migrant communities as not just sources of easily exploitable, physical labor, but of creativity, intellect and ancestral knowledge. Institutions like CEDEIB make self-emergent spaces in these cracks, and demand rootedness and education that can change the conditions of their children’s lives and work. I argue that, in order to change these conditions of violence and marginalization, it is necessary to first recognize the value that migrants bring into their communities, neighborhoods and social relations and then, attempt to reorient them to take the form of intellectual and creative networks of ‘Schools of Hope’ that produce forms of knowledge derived from non-capitalist value systems of cooperation (already existing within many communities), that can be used to transform cities at different scales. Women and children play the role of leaders in this process, in acknowledgment of their contribution and expertise in creating systems of organization and support that defy capitalist logic and promote the production of new forms of knowledge that are informed by their histories and can be applied to everyday life and urban transformation. In order to sustain themselves, these networks need to build relationships with governments, and yet operate autonomously - through the exchange and transfer of knowledge across borders. This project is not restricted by geography or borders, and aims to find its way to cities across the world where the informal labor of women and migrants remain exploited and unrecognized; where education has become a political battlefield for the capitalist class to generate profit and promote their ideologies; where planning is used as a tool for the state and corporations to exercise their power over communities coping with neglect; where struggles to claim community control over resources that determine the shape of urbanizing territories are facing threats of being dismantled and displaced - all of these are sites where ‘Schools of Hope’ can self-emerge in different forms, as nodes of light that symbolize solidarity and knowledge in the face of oppression, displacement and erasure.

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References Becker, Marc. Pachakutik: Indigenous Movements and Electoral Politics in Ecuador. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2011. Becker, Marc. Indigenous Nationalities in Ecuadorian Marxist Thought. Truman State University, 2008. Bookchin, Murray, Le Guin, Ursula K. The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy. Verso, 2014. Borja, Monserrat. Re-Imagining San Roque. The Savannah College of Art and Design, 2015. Crenshaw, Kimberle. Mapping the Margins: Identity Politics and Violence against Women of Color. 1993. Davis, Angela Y. Women, Race & Class. New York: Vintage Books, 1983. Federici, Silvia. Revolution at Point Zero: The Reproduction Of Labor Power In The Global Economy And The Unfinished Feminist Revolution. New York: PM, Common Notions, Autonomedia, 2008. Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Mexico: Ediciones xxi century, 1974. Galeano, Eduardo. Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1997. Gandin, Luis Armando. The Construction of the Citizen School Project as an Alternative to Neoliberal Educational Policies. Policy Futures in Education Pfie 5, no. 2 (2007): 179. doi:10.2304/pfie.2007.5.2.179. Giroux, Henry. Culture, Political and Educational Practice. Grao. Barcelona, 2001. Hamilton, Sarah. The Two-headed Household: Gender and Rural Development in the Ecuadorean Andes. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 2009. Harvey, David. Spaces of Hope. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. Harvey, David. The Right to the City. New Left Review 53, September-October 2008. Hayden, Dolores. What Would a Non-Sexist City Be Like? Speculations on Housing, Urban Design, and Human Work. University of Chicago Press, 1980. Hooks, Bell. Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope. Routledge, 2003. Hooks, Bell, “Homeplace: A Site of Resistance.” Turnaround, 1991. Hornberger, Nancy H. “Bilingual Education Policy and Practice in the Andes: Ideological Paradox and Intercultural Possibility.” Anthropology and Education Quarterly. Vol. 31, 2000.

Higgins, Rachel. “Lessons From the Other Side of the Hemisphere: Bilingual Education in Ecuador.” Unpublished, 2007. Kellogg, Susan. Weaving the Past: A History of Latin America’s Indigenous Women from the Prehispanic Period to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Kingman, Eduardo. San Roque: indígenas urbanos, seguridad y patrimonio. Quito: FLACSO, Sede Ecuador: HEIFER, Ecuador, 2012. Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Oxford, OX, UK: Blackwell, 1991. Lefebvre, Henri. The Urban Revolution. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003. Lind A. Gendered Paradoxes: Women’s Movements, State Restructuring, and Global Development in Ecuador. University Park: Penn State Press, 2005. Luke, Carmen and Gore, Jennifer (eds.). Feminisms and Critical Pedagogy. New York: Routledge, 1992. Paredes Julieta. Interview with Julieta Paredes of Mujeres Creando. Green Anarchy #6, 2001. Sieder, Rachel and Sierra, Maria. Indigenous Women’s Access to Justice in Latin America. Chr. Michelsen Institute, 2010. Smith, Neil. Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space. New York, NY: Blackwell, 1984. Smith, Neil. The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. London: Routledge, 1996. Swanson, Kate. Begging as a Path to Progress. The University of Georgia Press, 2010. Swanson, Kate. Revanchist Urbanism Heads South: The Regulation of Indigenous Beggars. Antipode, 2007. Maigua, María Yolanda Terán. The Cultural Foundations for the Development of a Kichwa Language Program at El Centro Infantil Alejo Saes in Quito City, Ecuador. The University of New Mexico, 2013. Marx, Karl. Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy. Penguin Classics, 1992. Meadows,Reid. The Influence of Andean Social Movements in Enacting Democratic Reform. California Polytechnic State University, 2011. Middleton, Alan. Informal Traders and Planners in the Regeneration of Historic City Centres: The Case of Quito, Ecuador. Progress in Planning, 2003. Willig, Sarah. Introducing Qualitative Research in Psychology Adventures in Theory and Method. 2008. Wright, Melissa W. Disposable Women and Other Myths of Global Capitalism. New York: Routledge, 2006. Zibechi, Raul. Territories in Resistance. AK Press, 2012.

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Acknowledgments This thesis has been a long and self-reflective adventure, which has put me in interactions with so many special people. I have been constantly inspired by the kindness and affection of my 7 intellectually stimulating co-conspirators: Sinead Petrasek, Tait Mandler, Gamar Markarian, Mateo FernĂĄndez-Muro, Alexandra Venner, Sascia Bailer and Maria Morales. Thanks, Miguel Robles-Duran, for your patience and love, Silvia Xavier for your incredible friendship, Rob Robinson, for your inspiring presence in our classes, Hector for your concern and commitment, Bill Morrish for the support, Joseph Heathcott for his wisdom, Mary Taylor and Malav Kanuga for the reinforcement, David Harvey for the laughter and brain-aches, Silvis Federici for the warmth, knowledge and political consciousness. Two years back, working in a small city in the South of India (Pondicherry), I would never have imagined that my next big project would be based in Quito. It was a dream to be there, and work with some very generous and motivated folks: Henar Diaz, Lucas Alvarez, Luis Herrera, Ana Rodriguez, Veronica Morales, Juan Leon Carlos, Nora Fernandez, Stalin Herrera, Anahi Macaroff, Tom Purcell, Japhy Wilson, Ana Cristina, Jeanne Van Heeswijk and Martin. I would like to thank everyone that I had conversation and collaborations with, in Quito and New York: Manuel Illicachi, Jose Antonio Guapi, Alejandro Cevallos, Valeria Galarza, Andres Rueza, Pablo Ortiz, Jaime Chugchilan, Raul and Mauro Chugchilan, Dominique Hernandez, Bonnibel Rosario, Silvia

Juliana Mantilla Ortiz and Stephano Espinoza. I am so grateful for their time (which most of them have little to spare due to the demands of their important work) and continued engagement. The mothers and kids who I worked with at IMI have inspired me for life. I am fortunate to have met Joyce Sanchez and her three kids, along the way! Thanks to my mother, Santa Moitra, for being my muse for this project and for her lifelong labor. No amount of words can define her influence on this work. Alongside, stands my fatherSantanu Moitra, who has never succumbed to societal pressures that obligate parents to bring up daughters differently. Thanks to my sister for leaving behind such beautiful footprints to follow and for her solidarity and political work. Thanks to the amazing radiance, love and energy that my partner, Umesh Mangipudi brings into my everyday life. I really dislike writing acknowledgments as I am certain that I have left many, important people out. There are many workers, whose name I did not catch during conversations, many invisible hands that clean our university floors and maintain our bodies and souls; underpaid staff who manage our lives as students, but who we don’t see; adjunct professors who deserve more than they get from universities in the US; shop keepers who I made friends with and then, never saw again, many organizers who I have plotted with and not known enough - I am truly grateful for your friendship, time, strength and work.


PROJECT 4 RED DE MERCADOS


Red de Mercados:

Representation and Meaning Making to Build Solidarity Across Quito’s Public Markets

Tait Mandler Gamar Markarian


Quito’s public markets are sites of contestation and struggle, both between social groups inside and between the markets and the city’s urban revitalization programs. In order to confront the forces of government policy and international capital-driven urban development, a group of leaders representing worker and vendor organizations in a few of Quito’s public markets have been attempting to create a solidarity network. However, spatial and social divisions between and within the markets have made it difficult to construct the meaningful, actionable, and lasting connections necessary for such a network. This project first conducts a historical inquiry into the process of land ownership distribution around Quito, Ecuador from the pre-Inca to the post-neoliberal period. Through this investigation, we explore how different struggles within and between Quito’s public markets are connected to each other when seen as existing across temporal and spatial scales. Our thesis proposes a critical project of representation and meaning making, driven by community media creation, to support this already emerging network of solidarity. Following Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, we have designed a series of workshops and events to open up potentials for the

emergence of a collectively created market worker (including vendors and wage laborers) identity that can serve as a foundation for collective action in defense of the public markets. Our tools include a short documentary re-presenting the information and perspectives we gathered during our initial visits, a diagrammatic representation of the potato value chain that demonstrates how a scalar perspective can reveal connections between seemingly disparate social issues, and the creation of a short animation that recounts the history of increasingly uneven land ownership in the Sierra. Our project framework combines Freire’s dialogical, problem-posing, and self-reflective pedagogy with methods in community film making, including supporting individuals’ selfdocumentation of their everyday lives and walking with video exercises. The iterative process of recording, editing, screening, and discussing will, we hope, open up spaces for self and collective reflection on how the diversity of people and groups in the markets can create stronger connections of solidarity.

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A critical project of representation and meaning making, driven by community media creation, to support a network of solidarity between Quito’s Public Markets.

OUTLINE


SECTION 1 Introduction to San Roque and Quito’s Other Public Markets

SECTION 3 A Solidarity Network? - Connecting Struggles - Other Movements

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SECTION 2 History of Land in Ecuador Politics of Scale - Potato Value Chain

SECTION 4 Red de Mercados - Building a Solidarity Network

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SECTION 1

INTRODUCTION Mercado San Roque is a contested space, replete with internal social tensions and enmeshed within innumerable wider political dynamics and social frictions; and San Roque is not alone. Public markets across Quito are wrestling with internal racial, class, and gender divides as well as the external forces of private supermarket expansion, urban ‘revitalization’ projects, and other processes of urbanization. It is the dual nature— internal and external—of these contestations that paralyzingly demands and inhibits a relatively unified movement by the markets to defend themselves against forces of urbanization, globalization, and gentrification. In this thesis, we explore how the current situations have emerged and what the process of building an inter-market solidarity network across Quito’s public

annex of Mercado San Roque. His potato stand is at the halfway point of a throughway from the market’s parking lot, on the northern side, to bustling Calle Loja, the market’s southern boundary and a street brimming with informal vendor stands. This throughway intersects with a shorter route connecting Calle Cumanda, which marks the market’s western edge and is lined with seafood vendors, to the main market building. That Fernando’s post is at this intersection offers him plenty of walkby customers and a view into the comings and goings within the main market building. Pilar, Fernando’s wife, is usually sitting in a white plastic chair looking out on the street, but Fernando is more commonly seen standing at the threshold of the main market building, looking in and watching. They don’t own storage space so their entire inventory of potatoes is right there in their post. Sacks made of white burlap or reddish netting are arranged in chest-high stacks within Fernando and Pilar’s allotted rectangle of space. The bags closest to the

October 19, 2015. Fragment from fieldnotes: The market exists in both the rural and urban. It seems clear that the three [rural, urban, and market] could not, in their current form, exist without each other. They exist with and through each other. The market is a place where land ownership and labor relations are transformed. Everything moves through the market. It creates and it destroys. It responds to different spatial organizations and it organizes space.

markets might entail. The above fieldnote from October 19th was scribbled in a haggard marble composition book at the end of our first visit to Mercado San Roque in Quito, Ecuador. While we knew far less back then than we do now—and we surely still don’t know enough—the perspective put forward in this fragment is one we would like to draw through our entire thesis. We argue that Quito’s markets are not bounded places in space or static moments in time. Instead, we build a perspective that understands the markets as articulations within and across spatial and temporal scales. The history of land ownership distribution in Ecuador is, we suggest, central to this understanding and particularly useful for recognizing that the current social struggles unfolding across Quito’s public markets may not be as disparate as they seem.

January 3, 2016. Fernando Herrera is standing at the corner of a prominent intersection of pathways in the eastern

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paths are opened, exposing different varieties of potatoes: chola, chaucha, unica, diamante, rubi, betina, capira. Fernando tells us that they come from Carchi, the northernmost province in the Sierra, known as the potato zone. The potato’s trip from Carchi to San Roque usually has three or four legs, during which they are sold from intermediary to intermediary until they reach Mercado Mayorista—a wholesale market in the south of Quito with a particularly significant potato sector. It wasn’t always this way, Fernando explains. The supply chain has been shifting. Some of the shifts are more personal, like Fernando no longer buying from certain contractors whose products he felt were bad quality. But some shifts have been more systemic. Fernando says that he used to sell to a number of institutions, like jails, but now these places don’t prepare their own food. Fewer large institutions are buying raw food products now that they can purchase bulk pre-made food. Business is still okay though. Fernando has been able to buy property in the south of the city and he is able to support his son who studies


Stacks of potatoes in the eastern annex of Mercado San Roque. October 2015.

mechanical engineering at the polytechnic university. January 8, 2016. We finish our interview with Jorge Salinas—the leader of the potato merchants in Mercado Mayorista—shake hands, thank his secretary again for the coffee she had served us, and walk out of the office. The merchants’ offices in Mercado Mayorista are on stilts above their posts. Some of the merchants use them as places to sleep during long days or overnight before the ferias, but Salinas’ office is purely for business—as in profitable transactions. The dark, hardwood cabinet was stocked with aged whiskeys and memorabilia. Salinas was, as promised, a trove of knowledge about the movement of potatoes from the agricultural fields through the markets. It’s only our second visit to the large southern market and we have a few hours to pass before our next appointment. Walking down the wooden steps of Salinas office and back onto the ground level of market feels like crossing a threshold of disjuncture. Where Salinas’ office is calm and lowly lit, the

market is bright, loud, and very much in motion. The disjuncture is only sensory though, Salinas is as much a part of the market as the indigenous tricicleros—wage laborers who move products between buyers and sellers on their tricycle carts. Flows of products, exchanges of money, and social coexistence in space binds all of the market together. We walk down the paved road that runs between two long pavilions that provide cover for the vendor posts and offices. The market is, in a sense, a giant parking lot that is organized around a number of these pavilions. The potato sector is located centrally and occupies nearly two entire pavilions. As we walk away from Salinas’ office and towards the outskirts of the market, there are potatoes in every direction. Each post is filled with towering piles of large burlap bags with a few opened up to display to passersby. The merchants, mostly women, rattle off the names and prices of the varieties they have at the moment as we walk past. Past the main pavilions, informal vendors have set up their own make-shift posts selling smaller quantities of fruits and

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vegetables. We wander around for some time before making our way to a gymnasium just outside the market’s main entrance. The parking lot outside of the gymnasium is filling up with tricicleros sitting in small groups on the curb or kicking around a soccer ball. They are waiting for a meeting between the three triciclero associations that operate in the market that we’ve also been invited to by Jaime Chugchilan, the leader of the Atahualpa association. Inside the gymnasium, men and women of all ages fill up concrete bleachers and an array of chairs that has been set up in the middle. Much to our surprise and terror, Jaime publicly invites us to join him and the leaders from the other associations at the table that has been set up on the stage. After our awkward ascent to the stage, the meeting begins. Jaime spends the next forty minutes passionately proclaiming the necessity of the tricicleros to the market while tirading against a tax being proposed by the market administration on the tricicleros.

May 2016. The government recently prevented the distribution of a short documentary about Mercado San Roque— Mercado San Roque Una Casa Para Todos1—because they claim that the information presented was decontextualized so as to make the administration look bad or negligent. There’s a painful irony to this as the municipality and the media have seemed so Top: Stacks of potatoes in Mercado Mayorista. January 2016. Bottom: Meeting of the tricicleros of Mercado Mayorista. January 2016. Opposite: Still from Mercado San Roque Una Casa Para Todos.

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1 Mercado San Roque Una Casa Para Todos, accessed May 3, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm8e8hT8KT0


intent on portraying Mercado San Roque and the surrounding barrio2, also called San Roque, as spaces plagued by negligence in need of ‘cleaning up.’ Una Casa Para Todos begins with images of headlines about the market and neighborhood: “Disorder reins in San Roque” “Green light to relocate the San Roque market” “The municipality and the merchants ” “Barrera will relocate San roque’s merchants: Finally goodbye to the markets” “It will not stay this way. To change san Roque. After 16 days of voting, Quito’s population has chosen the antimaravilla.” “The revitalization of Quito’s Historic center is advancing” “The Cabildo seeks to convert San Roque into retail market” “Transfer of San Roque market will happen in 2014” “They wish for San Roque market to get modernized. they do not want to relocate it” These headlines rely on their own kind of decontextualization, a separation of the market from the rest of Quito. This perspective casts any problems related to San Roque 2 The Spanish word for ‘neighborhood.’

as contained within the market itself. Even more so, there aren’t so much problems within the market as there is a problem with the market. This perspective isn’t limited to the municipality or media. The website for Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado San Roque (Front for the Defense and Modernization of San Roque Market) proclaims, or perhaps pleas, in all capitals, “!COMPRA EN LOS MERCADOS POPULARES DE LAS CIUDADES¡ [SHOP IN THE CITIES’ POPULAR MARKETS!]”3 Clearly, Frente de Defensa—an association within Mercado San Roque that works with formal and informal vendors to assert ownership over the market space—is concerned that fewer of Quito’s denizens are shopping at the market regularly. The media presents the market as a problem space, the government wants to relocate the problem, the denizens of Quito want to avoid the problem, and the ever growing number of SuperMaxi supermarkets are more than ready to absorb the defecting customers. Many of the other popular markets across Quito are similarly being classified as problem spaces and slated for relocation. But this is nothing new, it is only the current manifestation of a long historical trend of marginalizing and relocating popular markets. 3 “Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado San Roque,” accessed May 3, 2016, https://frentemercadosanroque.wordpress.com/

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October 18, 2015. Lucas and Henar, two friends who have worked on projects in and around the market, take us up to the YaKU Museum of Water because it has a panoramic view of the market, San Roque, and the Centro Historico. The museum is perched on a cliff just north of the market and has an elevator that takes us to patio and playground. To the south east we can see the steeples of colonial churches sprouting up from the field of terracotta roofs in the Centro. To the direct south is El Panecillo, (the bread roll) a hill adorned with a towering statue of a virgin. To the south west is San Roque and its eponymous market. Seen from above, the size of the market is striking. It’s washboardribbed roof is precisely angular, which contrasts sharply with the more colloquial geometries of the pastel houses in the neighborhood. To the west another barrio, La Libertad, climbs up the Andean foothill in the direction of Volcan Pichincha.

Lucas and Henar draw our attention back to the Centro Historico and point out Iglesia San Francisco. Lucas recounts that the market that would eventually come to be known as San Roque began in the plaza next to the church. The market has been relocated several times, each pushing it further towards the outskirts of the city. In the 1960s the first ‘Mercado San Roque’ was constructed. Like the previous relocations, it was deemed necessary because of the number of informal vendors gathering outside of the previous location. However, neither the market constructed in the 1960s nor the current building, constructed in the 1980s, have proved large enough to contain the activity of the market. And to contain, Lucas explains, is exactly what these formal structures have been designed to do. The construction of concrete market buildings began in the 20th century as a method of containing and controlling indigenous trade, which the city no longer wanted self-organized on the streets and in public spaces.

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January 12, 2016. Luis Valverde, cabildo4 of barrio San Roque is taking us on a short tour of the neighborhood. He tells us some of the history, starting with the pre-Inca times. He points to pastures on the hills and grins as he reminds us that people have lived by farming these hills for hundreds of years. However, Valverde explains, most people in the neighborhood don’t survive off of the land anymore, they work in the market or neighborhood. He tells us that much of the housing in the area has been converted into tiny subdivided rooms that are shared by three, four, or five cargadores - manual laborers who transport products around the market and to buyers in the neighborhood. Most of the cargadores don’t live in the neighborhood yearround, Valverde points out. They are still very connected to their indigenous communities, where they return with some regularity. Valverde takes us up a street that runs from the market into a part of La Libertad that we’ve been told not to walk through alone. He points out a brothel that we walk by, it’s a small compound of a few houses set a little ways back from the road. Previously, Lucas had told us that the city allowed the sex workers to set it up so that they wouldn’t be on the street. It’s part of the city’s usual strategy, Lucas said, to put anything that it sees as a problem into a box and out of sight—to contain and marginalize. Valverde doesn’t seem to mind the brothel too much, he supports cleaning the streets of sex workers and other informal vendors. In regards to San Roque, he contends that it’s the informal vendors, not the market itself, that create problems for the neighborhood. The street ends a few block up with a cul-du-sac. Just as we reach it, a few police motorcycles cruise up the street, slow down a bit as they turn on the cul-du-sac, and then head back towards the heart of the Centro Historico. An elderly woman with a broom steps out of her light pastel pink home, which is attached to a small store selling bottled drinks, candies, and some fruits. She greets Valverde like a neighbor—even though he doesn’t actually live in the neighborhood—and they exchange a few words about how the police always just pass through but never actually take care of anything. She complains blandly about the drug trade in the area and Valverde offers a habitual-sounding affirmation of her concerns. It feels more like a catechism of the mundane than an interaction that either expects to produce any changes or action. She nods approvingly and vaguely sweeps her way back into her house. 4 A term for the elected neighborhood leader. Left: Houses In the Andean foothills and cliffs that overlook Mercado San Roque. October 2015. Top Right: Mercado San Francisco, which occupies the building Mercado San Roque used to before it was relocated to its current location in the 1980s. October 2015. Bottom Right: Mercado San Roque and barrio La Libertad, as seen from the YaKU Water Museum. October 2015.


PM Public Markets PM

MM PM

SM

PM

MM

SM

Megamaxi & Supermaxi Supermarket Chain

PM SM

SM

PM

SM

Quito Historic center

SM

SM MM

SM

MERCADO SAN ROQUE

PM

SM

PM PM

SM

MM

PM SM

PM PM

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MERCADO MAYORISTA

PMPM

PM MM

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0

2

4

8

14 km

April 7, 2016. Red de Saberes—an activist collective that has been involved in multiple art and community engagement projects in San Roque—and Frente de Defensa have convened a meeting of market leaders and workers. They start by asking the participants what they think Frente de Defensa is. Nearly every participant says that it is a unified organization of organizations within Mercado San Roque. Later they ask if Frente has been successful in achieving its goals. Most participants say that the problem is that they have been unable to actually unify or connect all the necessary organizations. This stops them from even coming up with an agenda that is representative of a cross section of the stakeholders in the market.

Top Left: Informal vendors selling clothes, shoes, and electronics on a pedestrian overpass that connects MSR to the Centro Historico. October 2015. Bottom Left: Still from “Mercado San Roque Una Casa Para Todos.” Above: Map of Quito’s public markets and supermarkets.

January 15, 2016. We are sitting in a small meeting with leaders from some of Quito’s markets, a representative of selfemployed street vendors, an activist from Red de Saberes, and the rest of our research team. The meeting has been going for nearly an hour and half. Each leader has hashed out the main problems facing their markets but they are having trouble coming up with a common agenda across the markets. Luis Herrera, the activist, asks, “If we can’t organize between leaders, how can we organize more important other dialogues? How can we possibly form a solidarity network?” Another participant answers, “The struggles aren’t always the same… The problems are unequal, and more than anything this keeps us from uniting.”5 5 Tait Mandler and Gamar Markarian, trans. January 15, 2016 meeting transcript.

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This thesis is an exploration into Quito’s markets as simultaneously past and present, rural and urban, connected and disconnected, spaces of struggle and liberation. It was developed through ethnographic and historical research between August 2015 and May 2016; including one week of fieldwork in October 2015 and one month of fieldwork from December 2015 to January 2016. Our work is one part of a larger collective project to study and intervene in the shifting urban ecologies of Mercado San Roque. In Section 2 we review the history of land ownership distribution in Ecuador and the current value chain of the potato to unravel the spatial and temporal scales within which the market is articulated. In Section 3 we first recount the emergence of a solidarity network between Quito’s markets. Then, we situate a number of social struggles that became salient during our fieldwork within wider spatial and temporal scales to explore how they can be seen as connected instead of disparate. Finally, we consider two social movements—Genuino Clandestino in Italy and the Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement—that integrate local land-based actions with struggles and movements on larger scales. In Section 4, we propose a series of events, workshops, and community film projects to support the already emerging network of solidarity between Quito’s public marketplaces. The proposal is a platform for collective connection and meaning making. Through this proposal, we hope that a community project emerges that can serve as a foundation for collective action in defense of Quito’s markets. Importantly, a project that is not of our design, but one that is—like the market itself—always in the process of collective remaking.

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This thesis is an exploration into Quito’s markets as simultaneously past and present, rural and urban, connected and disconnected, spaces of struggle and liberation.


SECTION 2

A HISTORY OF LAND 2.1. INTRODUCTION The conflicts and contestations that exist within and around Quito’s markets are historically situated and, from our perspective, deeply tied to the historical processes that have distributed land ownership unequally in the Sierra region as well as across Ecuador. To trace a history of land ownership and distribution is to refract—like light through a prism—histories of social, political, economic, and ecological relations. Just as the array of colors that emerge from the prism are not truly separate but only momentary abstractions, the historical relations of land, capital, labor, and power are inseparable. In Volume III of Capital, Marx expands the capital-labor dialectic into the ‘trinity formula’ of the capitalist mode of production—capital, labor, and land.1 Henri Lefebvre, building on this idea, argues that “power [meaning the unification of ideology and political practice] holds earth, labor and capital together and reproduces them (whether in conjunction or disjunction) separately.”2 More recently, Jason Moore has also built on Marx’s trinity formula, though Moore refers to it as the ‘triple helix.’3 Both Lefebvre and Moore emphasize the dialectical relation between knowledge/ideology/symbolic reproduction and material reproduction. In other words, the coreproduction of ideologies, land, labor, and capital. For example, during the process of colonization, racial domination, the cartographic delineation of colonial territories, debt peonage, soil fertility, agricultural commodities, and mineral extraction were— in Moore’s terms—bundled; they were reproduced in and through each other. Similarly, Neil Smith seminally argued that it is the co-production of nature and society that produces geographically uneven development, which manifests at nearly all scales.4 Our tracing of the history of land and social formations from the pre-Inca period through the post-neoliberal state will, we hope, open up a perspective of the current marketplace struggles in Quito as continuations of bundled historical struggles over land, labor, capital, and power.

1 Karl Marx, Capital, Volume III, trans. David Fernbach (New York: Penguin Classics, 1993). 2 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1991), 326. 3 Jason Moore, Capitalism in the Web of Life (New York: Verso, 2015). 4 Neil Smith, Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008).

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2.2. HISTORY OF LAND OWNERSHIP & DISTRIBUTION THE PRE-INCA PERIOD The ayllu is a model… whose reach stretches to almost all the indigenous peoples of the Andean region… [It is] jatha, “the seed” from which civilization and political structures such as Tawantinsuyu [the Inca Empire] was germinated. The ayllu… is until today the unit that forms the fabric of our social and political organization.5

Much contemporary indigenous organizing in Bolivia and Ecuador, and the Andean region in general, refers to the concept of the ayllu (from the Andean indigenous language quechua6)—a form of social organization that originated well before the Inca empire expanded northwards.7 In most regions, ayllus were organized around the idea of a common ancestor, either purported or mythological. There are as many meanings of the ayllu as there are areas where it is found. In general, the ayllu is something within or in between a household, extended kinship group, community, or network of communities.8 Importantly, in the ayllu social organization and land or territory are inextricable. While households were distinct, each only had usufruct rights9, leaving the territory and resources communal.10 Argentinian scholar Walter Mignolo explains: Each ayllu is defined by a territory that includes not just a piece of land, but the eco-system of which that land is one component. The territory is not private property. It is not property at all, but the home for all of those living in and from it.11 5 Maria Eugenia Choque and Carlos Mamani, “Reconstitución del ayllu y derechos de los pueblos indígenas: el movimiento indio en los Andes de Bolivia,” cited in Mary Weismantel, “Ayllu: Real and Imagined Communities in the Andes,” in The Seductions of Community: Emancipations, Oppressions, Quandaries, ed. Gerald Creed (Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2006), 78. 6 Peter Cole, Imbabura Quechua (Abingdon, UK: 1982). 7 Ricardo Godoy, “The Fiscal Role of the Andean Ayllu,” Man 21 (1986): 723-741. 8 Nicole Fabricant, “Between the Romance of Collectivism and the Reality of Individualism: Ayllu Rhetoric in Bolivia’s Landless Peasant Movement,” Latin American Perspectives 37 (2010): 88-107. 9 Usufruct right is a type of property right which grants a user the right to use (usus) as well as derive profit from (fructus) the property of another, however they cannot sell or substantially alter the property. This is an admittedly anachronistic descriptor of the pre-Inca ayllu as the notion of property that the concept of usufruct is based on did not exist. However, it is used by some scholars to explain ayllu land use, by indicating that individual households derived subsistence from the lands they occupied but were not the private ‘owners’ of this land. 10 Mary Weismantel, “Ayllu: Real and Imagined Communities in the Andes,” in The Seductions of Community: Emancipations, Oppressions, Quandaries, ed. Gerald Creed (Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2006): 96. 11 Walter Mignolo, “The communal and the decolonial,” Turbulence 5


In Ecuador, the term llacta-ayllu is common, with llacta referring more directly to the territory and ayllu referring more directly to social organization.12 Even with this distinction, the terms are found conjoined, indicated the inseparability of territory and society. Following this, the frequent analogy of the ayllu to a community by Western anthropologists has been extensively problematized.13 Each ayllu may have contained anywhere from a handful of households to thousands of people.14 In the Ecuadorian highlands, many different configurations of ayllus into confederations existed, structured in a nested fashion over a wide geography. Hierarchically, ayllus and confederations were divided into hanan (upper) and hurin (lower) groups, each with their own leader.15 Confederations came together for seasonal celebrations honoring a chief or king who served as a symbolic unifying figure more than an individual with administrative power.16 Inter-marriages

bound many ayllus, and therefore the land, together. However, it is an unsettled matter of debate as to how genealogy and inheritance affected household locations and usufruct rights.17 The strength of centralized administrative power is equally contested, leading some scholars to propose a heterarchical political structure,18 in which groups are more horizontally organized and relationships of power are less concrete though still existent. The pre-Inca period was not uniformly agrarian. The city of Quito was a populated commercial center for hundreds of years before the arrival of the Inca, predominantly by the Kitu-Kara people.19 The city (sometimes referred to as a pueblo) was the central hub of the Kingdom of Quito that encompassed much of the highlands around the city, though it remains debated whether there was continuous or substantial centralized administrative power.

(2009): 29-31. 12 Weismantel, “Ayllu,” 99. 13 Ibid. 14 Ibid. 15 Ibid., 85. 16 David Guillet, A Comparative Study of Production Organization Among Peasant in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, with Special Reference to Associative Production Strategies (Bogota: Interamerican Institute of Agricultural Sciences, 1977).

17 cf. Weismantel, “Ayllu.”; and Guillet, Comparative Study of Production Organization.. 18 Tamara Brey, “Late Pre-Hispanic Chiefdoms of Highland Ecuador,” in The Handbook of South American Archaeology, eds. Helaine Silverman and William Isbell (New York: Springer, 2008), 527. 19 Juan de Velasco, Reino de Quito, (1767), cited in Julie Williams, “Cosmopolitan Comuneros: Celebrating Indigeneity through the Appropriation of Urbanity in the Quito Basin” (PhD diss., University of Illinois, 2012), 38.

Land: organized by household usufruct rights but the resources are communal Labor: household subsistence and communal minga

Capital: land-based wealth; circulated within ayllu

Power: patriarchal structure within kin

groups

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THE INCA PERIOD The Inca conquest of what is now Ecuador was piecemeal and never covered the entire area of today’s Ecuadorian state. However, the demographically concentrated area of Quito and its surrounding Andean region was of particular interest to the Inca and Quito was eventually named a second capital of the Empire. The Inca conquest of the Kingdom of Quito took the second half of the 15th century, with the Inca state gaining full control in 1495.20 The ayllu remained the predominant socio-territorial organization under the Inca conquest but in some cases both individuals and groups were re-spatialized. The existing social and political dynamics of the ayllus in the Ecuadorian Sierra were absorbed into the Inca political hierarchy, allowing the Inca to maintain power from afar.21 Those that strongly resisted Inca rule were reorganized politically or spatially by breaking up a group or bringing in a chief that was sympathetic to the Inca. The Inca also commonly moved new and unpredictable subjects into more securely controlled areas.22 The Inca hierarchy was ruled by a supreme leader—the Sapa Inca—followed by his blood relatives who held high-ranking positions, such as chief priest or the head of the army.23 Under them were the other Inca who were descended from the ayllus that originally founded Cuzco. There was then a class of Incaby-privilege, who were made Inca but not descended from the original Inca ayllus. A large group of public administrators and local leaders were in charge of managing the daily activities of the conquered areas. The lower classes were the artisans and, at the bottom, the farmers. Upon conquest, the Inca divided the territory of an ayllu into three parts: (1) a large part continued to be used by the ayllu for their subsistence, (2) a part was taken by the Inca for their own use, and (3) a part was consecrated in devotion to the Inca Sun deity.24 Land distribution was based on local agricultural productivity and the subsistence needs of ayllus and households.25 The Inca concretized a spatial organization based on the monogamous household, which was the social unit that mediated the Inca distribution of land rights.26 However, these households 20 Kenneth Andrien, The Kingdom of Quito 1690-1830: The state and regional development (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 15. 21 Guillet, Comparative Study of Production Organization, 63. 22 Allen Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics: A Recent History of Ecuador (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003). 23 Sonia G. Benson, Sarah Hermsen, and Deborah J. Baker, “Daily Life in the Inca Empire,” in Early Civilizations in the Americas Reference Library, eds. Sonia G. Benson, Sarah Hermsen, and Deborah J. Baker, (Detroit: UXL, 2005), 221-240. 24 Guillet, Comparative Study of Production Organization, 13. 25 Benson et al., “Daily Life.” 26 Ibid.

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were still distributed on collectively held land and fell within the socio-politico-territorial administration of the ayllus.27 Needs were regularly reassessed and land appropriately redistributed to ensure efficiency and subsistence. Tribute was paid to the Inca by the ayllus both through the cultivation of the Inca-owned part of the territory and through the mit’a—a labor tax that demanded heads of households spend part of the year working on public projects. In exchange for tribute, those living in the Inca empire were guaranteed food and protection. Through the mit’a, productivity enhancing irrigation systems and road networks were expanded and public monuments were constructed. As a second capital of the Inca empire, Quito contained bureaucratic institutions and a large army.28 The trained class of Inca architects and master builders contributed greatly to the development of Quito, especially the area that later became the colonial center of the city and is now part of barrio San Roque.29 San Roque also contained the residence of the local Inca lord—Francisco Topatauchi Inga, a prominent son of Inca ruler Atahualpa.30

COLONIZATION & THE ENCOMIENDA Just as the Inca absorbed the local socio-political structures in the regions they conquered, the socio-political organization of the Inca Empire was not abolished but exploited by the Spanish colonizers to suit their own means. When the Spanish arrived, the Inca empire was greatly weakened due to widespread disease and a multiple year civil war.31 Although there was still a strong indigenous resistance to colonization, by 1534 a town council was established in Quito—the provincial capital—and the Spaniards began organizing control of the surrounding lands based on the encomienda system(from the Spanish verb encomendar, meaning “to entrust”).32 Lopez de Gomara, a chronicler of Spanish colonization, explained the mentality as, “who fails to settle fails to conquer properly, and if the land is not conquered the inhabitants will not be converted.”33 Under Spanish colonization, the rights to land administration belonged to the Crown while indigenous groups (now vassals of the Crown) were to remain in possession of their own 27 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics.. 28 Ibid., 16. 29 Susan Webster, “Vantage Points: Andeans and Europeans in the Construction of Colonial Quito,” Colonial Latin American Review 20 (2011): 314. 30 Ibid., 314. 31 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 16. 32 Andrien, Kingdom of Quito, 15. 33 Richard Morse, “Urban Development of Colonial Spanish America,” in Cambridge History of Latin America Volume 2, ed. Leslie Bethell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 77.


TRI BU TE

Land: organized by household usufruct rights but resources are held communally Labor: household subsistence and

communal mit'a for larger public works projects

Capital: land-based wealth; tribute paid to larger scale political leaders

Power: new power hierarchy superimposed upon ayllus, larger scale of power; gender and class/religion-based IN C

A E M PIR

E

SE C

ISH PAN +S M TY LICIS O RI U TH CA +

TR IB UT E

ENCOMENDERO

Land: Organization by Spanish Crown imposed on existing indigenous organization; land grants to colonizers but indigenous control over their territories Labor: part subsistence, part debt

peonage; system reliant on abundant ‘cheap’ labor but ultimately led to massive indigenous death through disease and exploitation

Capital: mixed land- and labor-based accumulation of wealth; accumulation through debt-relations

R

O

YA L

O

ENCOMIENDA

U FQ AU D O IE N C E

IT

Power: configuration of international (Spanish empire), regional (Quito-based), and local (encomendero) systems of power; heavily racialized and gendered; exerted through debt

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lands.34 Encomiendas were meant to be protectorates, in which the encomendero provided Spanish and Catholic education and military protection to indigenous groups who were in turn required to provide tribute, which filtered up through administrative structures to the Crown.35 The encomienda was neither a system of chattel slavery nor of wage labor. Instead, it was a system of mutual debt—but massively asymmetrical power—between an encomendero and indigenous groups that was mediated by the Crown. The encomendero had the right to appropriate the labor of the indigenous workers within their encomiendas, but neither the land nor the bodies of the indigenous workers were the property of the encomendero.36 The Spaniards claimed the encomienda system was humane as indigenous groups continued to control their land, only now paying tribute to the encomendero instead of the Inca. By the mid 1600s, there were 570 encomiendas.37 Encomiendas could only be granted by the Crown and they were not inheritable by the offspring of the encomendero.38 They were granted to soldiers, conquistadors, and officials, almost exclusively to those born in Spain. Lands classified as unused by the indigenous groups were distributed to the conquistadors and other Spaniards.39 These granted lands—but not encomiendas—were the beginning of the modern Western concept of private property in Ecuador and formed the basis of the aggregation of land through purchase and inheritance. Some indigenous groups were also granted titles to their land through royal decrees, but these titles were ambiguously defined and delineated. This allowed the land around the centers of indigenous communal land to be encroached upon by private property belonging to colonists. Many encomenderos bought land from other Spaniards or were granted it by the Crown near their encomienda. Through their proximity, they essentially acted as overseers, demanding slave-like labor from the indigenous groups that were supposed to be under their protection.40 Many encomenderos transitioned their indigenous labor towards textile mills that they constructed on the encomienda. While both textile mills and agricultural lands were meant to collectively belong to the indigenous communities, they were often treated like private property by the encomenderos.41 Under the Spaniards, the mit’a was extended and expanded 34 Lesley Byrd Simpson, The Encomienda in New Spain: The Beginning of Spanish Mexico (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1950). 35 Simpson, The Encomienda in New Spain. 36 Thomas Nail, The Figure of the Migrant (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015), 79. 37 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 21. 38 Simpson, The Encomienda in New Spain. 39 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 20. 40 Andrien, Kingdom of Quito. 41 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics.

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to last for up to one year. It came to be used to secure labor that produced profits for the colonizers instead of the construction of public works.42 The widespread abuse of indigenous populations created small waves of migrants fleeing their lands to work in the budding urban centers. Indigenous marketplaces grew in city centers, selling goods and crafts to the monied urban denizens. As the tributes owed by Indigenous communities were increased, more individuals left their communities to work in urban centers as the tax obligations were less for those classified as displaced migrants.43 The abandonment of indigenous lands opened them up to be taken or purchased by the Spaniards and eventually aggregated into large properties.44 Between fiscal policy and exploitative labor practices on the encomiendas, an increasing population of landless, migrant workers was created and perpetuated. Some scholars consider this the historical root of poverty in the region and wider Latin America.45 Agriculture, textiles, and mining made up the primary economic sectors under early colonization, with agriculture and textiles being of greater importance in the early Audiencia of Quito while mining was predominant in other Andean regions.46 The mid-altitude lands were agriculturally productive while the highest paramo lands served as excellent pastures. Through the 1600s, the growing Spanish population in urban areas allowed the regional economy to rely less on international export and increasingly on local trade. Indigenous populations were also increasingly integrated into local economies not only as laborers but as consumers. In Quito, the colonists and the more socio-politically powerful Inca were further developing the city. While the city is often considered to be uniformly colonial in architecture, most of the architects and builders were actually Andean. They not only worked for the Spaniards, they also worked with them and influenced the architectural style.47 Thus, the production of the colonial city was not a matter of total indigenous subjugation to Spanish power and style, but a process through which divisions of power within the indigenous population were further stratified. Indeed, while the architecture was not explicitly indigenous or Inca in appearance: Documents and chronicles suggest that, with good reasons, colonial Andeans may not have seen Quito’s buildings as ‘European’ at all; instead perceiving them as hereditary 42 Ibid., 21. 43 Andrien, Kingdom of Quito, 20. 44 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics. 45 Timothy Yeager, “Encomienda or Slavery? The Spanish Crown’s Choice of Labor Organization in Sixteenth Century Spanish America,” The Journal of Economic History 55 (1995), 842-859. 46 Andrien, Kingdom of Quito. 47 Webster, “Vantage Points.”


structures that embodied and replicated Andean forms of socio-political power and authority.48

Finally, a lasting impact of colonization was the establishment of a racialized social hierarchy with lighter skinned Spaniards and the top and the darker skinned indigenous at the bottom. In between were the criollos and the mestizos. The criollos were those of pure (or nearly pure) Spanish blood but who were born in the New World. The mestizos were individuals of mixed Spanish and indigenous heritage. However, the actual definition of races in Ecuador has been notoriously difficult to delineate, with different organizations and analysts putting the contemporary number of indigenous people anywhere between 16 percent and 40 percent.49

HACIENDAS & HUASIPUNGOS There was no distinct end to the period of encomiendas and the beginning of the haciendas. The first attempt to abolish the encomienda system was in 1542 but it wasn’t officially ended until the early 1700s.50 However, this formal end date is little more than arbitrary as the encomienda had been undermined and mostly replaced over the preceding century. One primary driving force in the transition from the encomienda towards other forms of production and control of the land was the massive and widespread death of the indigenous population through disease, overwork, and war.51 While these forces initially made indigenous groups susceptible to colonization, they ultimately resulted in a shortage of the cheap labor necessary to the functioning of the encomienda system.52 The declining indigenous populations occupied less territory, opening up new lands for easy appropriation by the colonists. The dual, and related, conditions of less cheap labor but more cheap land allowed for the spread of haciendas—private, inheritable property—with their debt- and wage-based agricultural system. This further fused the economic and political such that the balance of power continued to shift away from the Crown and towards landowners.53 The indigenous workers and their families lived on the haciendas as huasipungueros (named for their huts, called huasipungos) in a system of debt peonage (also known as concertaje). The huasipungueros received a minuscule wage and usufruct rights to a small plot of land for their hut and to 48 Ibid., 323. 49 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 8. 50 Ibid., 21. 51 Ibid.. 52 Nail, Figure of the Migrant, 79. 53 Kim Clark and Marc Becker, “Indigenous Peoples and State Formation in Modern Ecuador,” in Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), 3.

cultivate.54 The long hours of labor required by the hacendado and the inadequacy of their subsistence agriculture plots meant that the laborers entered deeper and deeper into debt by asking for cash advancements from the hacendado.55 Meanwhile, the huasipunguero’s family was expected to do domestic labor for the hacienda without pay. One United States minister to Ecuador, Friedrich Hassaurek, described the relations of production as such: “It is only Indians and Negroes who work on farms, and by the sweat of their brows maintain the white population by whom they are oppressed.”56 Laborers could not leave haciendas as long as they stilled owed debts to the owner.57 The indebted workers were tied to the hacienda so strongly that they were included in the inheritance or the sale of a hacienda from one owner to another. The haciendas were not only owned by private individuals, the state and religious institutions—especially the Catholic Church—were some of the largest land owners.58 By the mid 1700s, the Catholic Church was the largest landowner in the Audiencia of Quito. These institutions, however, were not considered more humane than private individuals in their labor or land acquisition practices.59 Many hacendados did not live on their haciendas full time, instead they appointed overseers to manage the laborers and production.60 The hacendados often lived in the cities, which were centers of political power, international trade, and leisure. The flow of surplus and profits produced on the haciendas moved through the cities where it was accumulated and used to purchase more rural lands or reinvested in urban space. This allowed for a class of artisans, bureaucrats, and merchants to exist in the cities that was made up of indigenous, mestizo, and criollo individuals. Meanwhile traditional, or informal, barrios expanded with migrant laborers and domestic workers who had become landless due to enclosures or exploitative labor practices on the haciendas.

54 Magnus Morner, “Rural economy and society of colonial Spanish America,” in Cambridge History of Latin America Volume 2, ed. Leslie Bethell, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984). 55 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics. 56 Friedrich Hassaurek, cited in Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 27. 57 Michiel Baud, “Liberalism, Indigenismo, and Social Mobilization,” in Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador, eds. Kim Clark and Marc Becker (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007), 76. 58 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 22. 59 Clark and Becker, “Indigenous Peoples and State Formation,” 13. 60 Murdo Macleod, “Aspects of the internal economy of colonial Spanish America: labour; taxation; distribution and exchange”, in Cambridge History of Latin America Volume 2, ed. Leslie Bethell, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).

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Land: private property with debt peonage ‘tenants’; much hacienda property was purchased through wealth accumulated through encomiendas; huasipungueros

URCES ESO +R

HA RVE ST

GE A W

DE BT

HACENDADO

Labor: subsistence, debt peonage, and

wage labor; debt-laborers were inherited through hacienda inheritance, thus labor-land still strongly tie

Capital: still some land-based wealth

but substantial majority of accumulation occurs through the control over labor power; accumulation through debt and wage-relations; circulates through cities but still largely within the ‘national’ scale

RE

O

HACIENDA

PU

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O F EC U

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FORMATION OF THE ECUADORIAN STATE Criollo landowners first attempted to overthrow the sociopolitical domination of the Spanish-born class in 1809 but not until 1822 was independence from the Crown achieved.61 At first the area became part of Gran Colombia (Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia), which was led by prominent Latin American independence figure Simon Bolivar. Bolivar was greatly influenced by Adam Smith and decreed the dissolution of communal lands in Gran Columbia, intending to integrate the indigenous into the criollo state through business and production. Thus the theoretical protection of communal lands that had existed under the Spanish Crown was dismantled. However, the process of the selling off of communal lands was never completely realized. Ecuador became an independent republic in 1830 with the dissolution of Gran Colombia.62 Although the new state constitutionally declared all Ecuadorians to be equals, this was hardly true in practice.63 Power remained tightly tied to land, 61 62 63

Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 24. Ibid., 25. Clark and Becker, “Indigenous Peoples and State Formation,” 8.

224

Power: increasingly exerted on ‘national’ and regional scale; racialized and gendered; racialized, gendered, and classed

as only landowners could vote and the social structure was reproduced through marriage and inheritance within a small elite class.64 Voting remained tied to landownership until 1861. Clark and Becker further explain the vastly unequal concentration of political power: The 1830 constitution established requirements for citizenship that included being married or at least 22 years of age, ownership of property worth at least 300 pesos or engagement in an independent “useful” profession or industry (this explicitly excluded domestic servants and day laborers), and the ability to read and write. Although this constitution declared the government to be “popular, representative, alternative, and responsible,” only the 2,825 people (0.3 percent of the population) who met the stringent citizenship requirements selected the government that ruled over the rest of the country.65

The largest source of state income was indigenous tribute, which was levied in addition to the exploitative system of hacienda debt peonage. This continued until it was abolished in 1857, which marked the end of a political system with separate 64 65

Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 25. Clark and Becker, “Indigenous Peoples and State Formation,” 9.


sets of laws governing indigenous and non-indigenous citizens.66 This was followed by a period of liberal reforms aimed at assimilating the indigenous population into the Ecuadorian state, including Eloy Alfaro’s Liberal Revolution in 1895. Alfaro “established a minimum wage, prohibited unpaid services, and gave peons the right to pay off their debts and leave haciendas.”67 In 1918 further liberal reform, under the Reforma de la Ley de Jornaleros (Reform of the Day Laborer Law) “instituted an eight-hour workday, outlawed debt prison, and abolished the inheritance of a parent’s debts.”68 Liberal reforms did not end the hacienda system, but socioeconomic relations shifted from being based in debt peonage towards widespread wage labor. The control of land by the Catholic Church also ended during the period of liberal reforms with the 1904 Ley de Cultos (Law of Worship) and the 1908 Ley de Beneficencia (Law of Charity).69 Together these laws allowed the state to expropriate the Church’s lands and rent them to private individuals on contracts. The state used the income from these contracts to fund urban social programs. Ecuador’s liberal reforms were partially a response to calls for a humane solution to the “Indian Problem” but were also representative of the changing interests—economically and spatially—of large landowners and manufacturers. More wage laborers were needed to work in profitable exportoriented coastal sugar production. Meanwhile, fewer laborers were needed in the highlands, where the denser population but increasingly productive modernized agriculture—thus needing fewer workers—had left a sizable surplus of the unemployed and landless.70 During the first half of the 20th century, sugar, cocoa, and banana production drew migrants to the coastal agricultural lands and to Guayaquil, which was experiencing an economic boom as a central nexus in the agro-export economy.71 During the same period and through the 20th century, cities expanded their infrastructure, drawing migrants to cities and creating new and increased tensions along racial and class lines.72 In the mid 20th century, prominent oil reserves were discovered in the Ecuadorian Amazon, drastically changing the economic and export profile of the country.73 Through state

owned oil companies and taxes levied on foreign companies, for the first time the Ecuadorian state had a source of revenue that was substantial in comparison to the agricultural and tribute economy.74

Through colonization, the encomienda, and the hacienda, agricultural land ownership distribution in Ecuador became massively unequal, even compared with most other Latin American countries. In 1954, approximately 1 percent of the total farm units (the number of farms) contained more than 50 percent of the total agricultural land area.75 Furthermore, in the same year, nearly 90 percent of farm units were considered ‘subfamily,’ meaning “too small to provide full and productive employment for two people under conditions of typical incomes, markets, and levels of technology.”76 The first agrarian reform was passed in 1964 and was proclaimed to be a legal end to the huasipungo system. This followed increasing community and political organizing by indigenous groups who centered their demands on access to land.77 Indeed, the call for agrarian reforms had been building since it was first proposed by leftist parties—specifically the Liberal Party—in 1923. Rapid population growth and increasing domestic consumption also created pressure for restructuring and modernizing the rural production sector. Furthermore, as more of the upper classes—who had largely opposed land reforms—became invested in urban centers and less reliant on agricultural production for their profits, the political resistance to agrarian reform lessened. The reform was instituted by a military junta government that had taken power the year before and may also have been an attempt to appease communist-prone peasant populations.78 The first agrarian reform created upper limits on the acreage of estates so that owners either sold parts of their lands of their own volition or were at risk of being targeted by state expropriation and redistribution.79 By choosing to sell their lands on their own, the lighter skinned and upper class Ecuadorians were able to keep the most productive lands while the indigenous were offered mountainous and less productive

66 Ibid., 9. 67 Ibid., 9. 68 Ibid., 10. 69 Ibid., 13. 70 Ibid., 10. 71 Erik Swyngedouw, “Scaled Geographies: Nature, Place, and the Politics of Scale,” in Scale and Geographic Inquiry: Nature, Society and Method, eds. R McMaster and E Sheppard (Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers, 2004), 129-153. 72 Eduardo Kingman Garces, “Heritage, Policies of Memory, and the Institutionalization of Culture,” City & Time 2 (2006): 17-27. 73 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics.

74 Ibid., 36. 75 Banco Central del Ecuador, Ministerio de Economia y Banco Nacional de Fomento, Primer censo agropecuario nacional-1954 (Quito, Julio 1956), cited in Charles Blankstein and Clarence Zuvekas, “Agrarian Reform in Ecuador: An Evaluation of past Efforts and the Development of a New Approach,” Economic Development and Cultural Change 22 (1973): 74. 76 Ibid., 74. 77 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 63. 78 Dennis Hanratty, ed. Ecuador: A Country Study (Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1989). 79 Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 64.

THE 1964 AGRARIAN REFORM

225


EX PO RT

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M IGRAN

Land: inheritance-based private property accumulation Labor: shift towards increasing

prevalence of wage labor as debt system is eventually abolished; more migrant labor

Capital: labor-based accumulation of wealth; increasing subjection to international capital flows; export economy

BLIC

OF E

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PU

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Power: power based on land as only landowners can vote, elite class has been built historically through their advantages within previous structures; racialized, gendered, and classed

M IGRAN

TL

AB

Land: redistributed by state apparatus through reforms; large properties broken up and given/sold to peasants; serious divide between productive large farms and unproductive small farms; minifundismo

O

Labor: subsistence labor on small

farms, wage labor on large farms, wage labor and self-employment in cities; migratory labor force

Capital: labor-based and 1st AGRARIAN REFORM 1964

RE

226

PU

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O AD

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finance-based accumulation; upper classes less reliant on accumulation through agriculture profits; export economy

Power: national state system; racialized, gendered, and classed even though now ‘all’ can vote


plots. State redistribution also often played into this trend. Instead of permanently redistributing land, the state sometimes simply broke it into sections that were only rented out to individual farmers.80 Through the reforms, many huasipungueros purchased or were given ownership of plots on the haciendas they worked and were liberated from the debt-based labor relations of the hacienda.81 These reforms were especially important in the Sierra, which is home to 96 percent of the indigenous population.82 As Clark and Becker explain: In 1954, Ecuador conducted its first agricultural census, which revealed that 19,665 huasipungueros (service tenants who worked the estates in exchange for a hut and a plot of subsistence land) and their families comprised 22% of Ecuador’s rural population. The majority of these (12,795) lived in only three provinces [all in the Sierra]: Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, and Pichincha.83

Between 1954 and 1968, the number of agricultural lands measuring less than 5 hectares nearly doubled while the number of 500+ hectare lands decreased.84 In the following two decades (1964-1984), the government gave 95,000 families plots of land, averaging 7 hectares.85 A total redistribution of approximately 730,000 hectares of land. This indicates that the first agrarian reform did indeed break up some large parcels and redistribute some land. However, the number of small lands also increased due to minifundismo—the process or trend of continuously dividing lands through inheritance practices or to sell them. Through this process, most redistributed lands were quickly divided into plots of fewer than 5 acres.86 These already less agriculturally productive lands were then over-cultivated and degraded, leading quickly to their inability to provide subsistence, and even less so profit, for peasant farmers.

THE 1973 AGRARIAN REFORM The second agrarian reform, in 1973, was a response to the increasing acreage of ‘unproductive’ agricultural land, which was in no small part a result of the first reform.87 The state was thus empowered to intervene if less than one-fifth of a property was being cultivated or was being generally inefficiently farmed. This reform was therefore no longer focused on creating more even land redistribution but on maximizing the agricultural 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87

Guillet, Comparative Study of Production Organization, 70. Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics, 64. Ibid. Clark and Becker, “Indigenous Peoples and State Formation,” 13. Guillet, Comparative Study of Production Organization, 69. Ibid, 64. Ibid, 64. Ibid, 64.

production of the country. It pressured the modernization of agricultural land, increasing market-oriented farming and dairy production over cultivation.88 The focus on the market and modernization enabled larger land holders to re-aggregate lands that had been redistributed under the first agrarian reform but were being ‘under-cultivated’ by the small-scale farmers that had received them but were unable to bear the financial burden of modernization. By the 1980s, the unequal distribution of rural land was again rapidly increasing. More than 55 percent of cultivated land was contained within the top 5 percent (in terms of property size) of farms—those greater than 50 hectares.89 While those farms that had fewer than 10 hectares comprised only 15 percent of the total cultivated land despite accounting for 80 percent of the total number of farms. This trend continued into the 1990s; in 1994 only 1.6 percent of the country’s farms contained 43 percent of the cultivated land. Within the entangled contexts of rural land aggregation and modernization, urbanization, industrialization, and oil production, there was a 60 percent drop in agriculture and fishing employment between 1969 and 1990.90 At the same time, social movements in the agricultural lands and in informal or popular barrios in the cities began strong organizing efforts that would continue to grow through the 1990s. The politics of these movements demonstrated a link between the rural and urban areas as the socialist orientation of campesino movements was brought into the urban movements by migrants.91 In the Quito, the elites lived in what is now called the historic district and new migrants also flocked to these districts.92 Indigenous, black, and lower class migrants often worked on the street as roaming vendors or sex workers. This led many elites to abandon these areas, a process facilitated by the expansion of new more modernized sections of the cities. In other words, the struggle over space in Ecuador played out in all spheres— rural and urban—which were entwined through agricultural and industrial profits, laborers and migrants, and government policies.

NEOLIBERALISM The 1960s to 80s were marked by the restructuring of Ecuador’s export economy. This meant an increasing reliance on oil and the increasing modernization of agriculture, which decreased the number of necessary laborers.93 Growing oil 88 Ibid, 65. 89 Ibid, 65. 90 Ibid, 65. 91 Manuel Bayon, personal communication, January 19, 2016. 92 Kingman, “Heritage, Policies of Memory.” 93 Amy Lind, Gendered Paradoxes: Women’s Movements, State Re-

227


production generated revenues for the state and also attracted foreign capital.94 To expand production, indigenous groups in the Amazon were dispossessed of their land by the state. Migrant workers from the Sierra and the coast flowed eastwards towards the wage labor opportunities offered by oil production. Oil and oil rents, meanwhile, flowed westward. Foreign investment focused on Quito, as a center of political and administrative power, where substantial banking and services businesses emerged. State appropriated oil rents were reinvested into domestic infrastructure and industrialization.95 During the same period, informal settlements expanded rapidly—through land-invasions—around the largest urban centers, Quito and Guayaquil.96 While the Ecuadorian state and the international development community heralded infrastructure projects and urbanization in Ecuador as progress, “many Ecuadorian families experienced ongoing, persistent poverty, which was only exacerbated by Ecuador’s growing debt crisis.”97 By the mid-1980s, informal settlements housed between 10 and 15 percent of Quito’s population.98 It wasn’t until the 1980s that true neoliberalization came to Ecuador in the form of structural adjustment programs designed to appease lenders at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.99 Similar to neoliberal reforms around the world, this included privatization, trade liberalization, opening up to foreign investments, state retrenchment, and the reorganizing of social welfare programs. The effects, again similar to the neoliberalization of other countries, included a spike in unemployment and high inflation rates. These economic and policy reforms can be seen as a continuation of Ecuador’s history of subjection to the whims of transnational economies. For example, remember the importance that the cacao, banana, and flower economies have played in the demographics and spatialization of Ecuador’s work force. Strong social movements gained ground in Ecuador in the 1990s, including a fairly unified indigenous movement, a women’s movement, and an Afro-Ecuadorian movement.100 The strengths of these movements culminated in their participation in re-drafting the constitution in 1998. Although the movements structuring, and Global Development in Ecuador (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005), 2. 94 Swyngedouw, “Scaled Geographies.” 95 Arnoldo Bocco, Auge petrolero modernización y subdesarrollo: El Ecuador de los años setenta (Quito: Corporación Editora Nacional, 1987). 96 Swyngedouw, “Scaled Geographies.” 97 Lind, Gendered Paradoxes, 2. 98 Hanratty, Ecuador. 99 Lind, Gendered Paradoxes. 100 Lind, Gendered Paradoxes; see also: Victor Brentón Solo De Zaldívar, “From Agrarian Reform to Ethnodevelopment in the Highlands of Ecuador,” Journal of Agrarian Change 8 (2008): 583-617.

228

had some success in creating resistance to the reach of neoliberalization and global capital, state–civil society institutional relationships [had already] been permanently transformed; many economic and social sectors [had] been dramatically restructured, some losing out more than others; and the general national development path, reinforced by the state’s dependence on foreign aid, [had] made a marked turn toward economic liberalization.”101

Despite greater indigenous involvement in governance— at least discursively—the reliance on production for export demanded continued encroachment of indigenous lands and disruption of communities.102 Continued financial and political crises lead to dollarization—the adoption of the US dollar as the national currency—in 2000. This, however, lead to further crises including bank closing, asset freezing, hyperinflation, and arrested social security payments.103 The loss of savings and inflation restructured socioeconomic patterns substantially enough that many of the country’s elderly still rely on their children for housing and other financial support. This also continued the history of forced re-spatialization of workers, although now on an international scale as more than 1 million Ecuadorians left the country for Spain and the United States. Today, Ecuadorian workers abroad continue to send billions of dollars in remittances to their families in Ecuador.104

POST-NEOLIBERALISM Post-neoliberalism is generally considered to be the return of a strong (and left-leaning) state that is responsive to social movements that have connected neoliberalization to socioeconomic problems.105 In Ecuador, this included prominent state discourses around indigenous rights, environmental protections, and social welfare.106 At the same time, postneoliberalism also argues for the continued nationalized extraction of petroleum as a strategy for funding social programs without relying on external investments or loans. Rafael Correa 101 Lind, Gendered Paradoxes, 7. 102 Jean Grugel and Pıa Riggirozzi, “Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: Rebuilding and Reclaiming the State after Crisis,” Development and Change 43 (2011): 1-21. 103 Lind, Gendered Paradoxes. 104 D’Vera Cohn, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, and Danielle Cuddington, “Remittences Received by Ecuador”, Remittances to Latin America Recover – But Not To Mexico (Pew Research Center, 2013), available online: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2013/11/15/remittances-to-latin-america-recover-but-not-to-mexico/ph-remittances-11-2013-a-07/ 105 Grugel and Riggirozzi, “Post-neoliberalism in Latin America.” 106 Roger Merino Acuña, “What is “post” in post-neoliberal economic policy? Extractive industry dependence and indigenous land rights in Bolivia and Ecuador,” Social Science Research Network (October 2011).


EX PO RT R

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Land: land redistributed by state apparatus, this time unproductive lands aggregated into larger productive lands largely affects the coast; modernization

M IGRAN

TL

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Labor: subsistence on small farms is decreasingly possibly, wage labor on large farms and in cities

Capital: labor-based and

finance-based accumulation; upper classes less reliant on accumulation through agricultural; export economy

2nd AGRARIAN REFORM 1973

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O

Power: national state system; racialized, gendered, and classed

R

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TR DO FO ADE LL A RE IG LIB RI N E Z IN R V E

N S N O TIO T TI A EN A LIZ EM T A S

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Land: small scale farms in Sierra, decreasingly productive; large scale agribusiness on the Coast; minifundismo in Sierra Labor: migratory wage labor,

increasing urban laborers, very little remaining subsistence labor not supported by wage labor, worker exodus and increasing reliance on remittances from abroad

Capital: restructuring of export

NEOLIBERAL STATE

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economy; more oil money moves through country; increasing foreign investments; trade liberalization; dollarization

Power: national state power structured increasingly by international power through supra-government orgs (IMF, InterAmer Bank, etc); but also increasing power exerted by grassroots indigenous and feminist movements 229


was elected to the presidency in 2007 on a post-neoliberal platform based on constitutional reform, anti-free trade policies and nationalization of Ecuador’s petroleum industry.107 His election came with the strong support of indigenous movements. However, the inclusion of rights for the environment into the constitution has caused tensions with the continued reliance on oil extraction and export, most of which has played out in the Amazon where indigenous groups continue to be dispossessed of their land and territorial control. Similar conflicts have also occurred in the Andes over mining projects that promise prosperity but bring pollution and displacement. Post-neoliberalism has been critiqued as failing to offer a substantial shift away from neoliberal policies.108 For example, even far right presidents in Latin America have generally resisted de-nationalizing their extractive industries. Many also argue that the promised benefits of the stronger welfare state do not truly reach the most marginalized in the population, including continued marginalization and exploitation of indigenous populations despite their greater recognition in national discourses.

First, is the dispossession of the land located in hydrocarbon areas, affecting mostly indigenous people... Then, there is the dispossession of the resources themselves, where movements protest for the loss of what they perceive to be a national asset. In these cases, the dispossession is regarded to the quantity of people‟s assets (land, water courses, grazing, and minerals) and the quality of these assets (water and air pollution). Likewise, dispossession is understood as loss of a way of life and livelihood. Finally, dispossession can be understood as the loss of an exchange value that occurs through tax advantages and exemptions that companies enjoy.110

109 Grugel and Riggirozzi, “Post-neoliberalism in Latin America.” 110 Merino, “What is “post” in post-neoliberal economic policy?” 11-12.

TS EN EM T S

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FO RE IG N

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Merino, “What is “post” in post-neoliberal economic policy?” Ibid.

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107 108

While post-neoliberalism promises that export-based production will increase social welfare, many indigenous groups still see this as directly related to loss of control over their lands.109 Indeed, even in a post-neoliberal era dispossession is still rampant. Roger Merino explains:

M IG

T RAN

LA

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Land: petro-driven dispossession of Amazonian lands; minifundismo in Sierra Labor: migratory wage labor,

increasing urban laborers, very little remaining subsistence labor not supported by wage labor, reliance on remittances from abroad

Capital: huge increase in income inequality post dollarization

POST-NEOLIBERAL STATE

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Power: Attempt at reclaiming strong national state power, with less direct outside influence; still very much affected by international economic conditions


2.3. A TRANS-SCALAR APPROACH TO LAND, LABOR, CAPITAL, AND POWER To summarize the previous section, land has continuously been central to the modes of accumulation and production in Ecuador. The uneven distribution of land ownership in Ecuador has been produced and reproduced through successive systems of power and forms of social organization. While the concentration of land into a few hands has not progressed without its disruptions, it is clearly the prevailing trend over the long historical narrative we have just recounted. Each method or process of enclosing or acquiring land—colonization, theft, land grants, inheritance, purchase, expropriation, appropriation, etc.—emerged with specific scalar configurations of social, economic, political, and cultural relations. The land ownership distributions (re)produced by these scalar configurations proceeded to contradictorily crystallize and undermine the same systems that had produced them. For example, the land grants given to colonizers by the Spanish Crown created concentrations of socio-political power that were at first loyal to the Crown but eventually expanded and overthrew the Crown’s rule, thereby restructuring international and national territorial scales. Successive ruptures and restructurings of scalar configurations were never complete breaks, instead each involved transforming certain scales of power while relying on the relative stability of others. In this way, the ayllu has continued to exist (not without its modifications) and indeed its continuation was necessary to the successful imperial expansion of the Inca who exerted power through the extant social relations of the ayllu. Similarly, the racialized marginalization of the indigenous population has continuously provided a foundation for other scalar reconfigurations of power—from the racist discourses used to justify expanding the reach of the (violently) paternalistic postcolonial state to contemporary political discourses that (perhaps manipulatively) mobilize the energy of indigenous frustration and resistance towards the election of politicians. The formation of a decreasingly malleable, uneven distribution of land ownership (remember the inability of the agrarian reforms to produce significant changes) is the etching into the landscape of uneven relations of power; the spatialization of gender, racial, and class struggles. The trans-scalar nature of the processes and forces implicated in these struggles calls for the discernment of a politics of scale of land ownership distribution in Ecuador. To evoke a politics of scale is to place “theoretical and political priority… in the process through which particular scales become constituted and subsequently transformed.”111 It is to recognize that scales are historico-geographical 111

Swyngedouw, “Scaled Geographies.”

constructions that are constantly in the (re-)making through “perpetual transformative sociospatial power struggle[s].”112 Erik Swyngedouw argues that these power struggles are often over the control of or access to nature—in our case, land—such that “the condition of everyday life resides in the twin conditions of the essential transformation of nature (place) on the one hand and the socio-spatial relations through which this transformation is organised and controlled on the other.”113 In the history of land that we have traced above, contestations over nature and its transformation have both produced and been produced by shifting geometries of power114 (organized by relations of class, race, gender, and nationality) that operate on every scale, from the body to the global. For example, oscillations in the global cocoa market were inseparable from oscillations in the spatial distribution of wage laborers between the Sierra and the coast in Ecuador. Furthermore, oscillations in the total population of landless, migrant day laborers were inseparable from the expulsion of any specific indigenous group from their lands through the enclosure of an area into a hacienda.

MERCADO SAN ROQUE AS TRANSSCALAR We began our investigation with a single marketplace, Mercado San Roque, and some of the problematics located within it. For example, the exploitation of wage labor or contestations over which vendors have access to which spaces. However, these problematics do not truly reside within the temporal-spatial scale of the concrete walls of Mercado San Roque—the wage laborers migrate from somewhere and there is a power-logic to the spatial organization of the market. They have emerged through tensions between socio-spatial relations that have produced certain scalar configurations, including the market itself. It is through a similar perspective that Doreen Massey envisions places not as static bounded containers within which conflicts or tensions occur, instead, they can be imagined as articulated moments in networks of social relations and understandings, but where a larger proportion of those relations, experiences and understandings are constructed on a far larger scale than what we happen to define for that moment as the place itself, whether that be a street, or a region or even a continent.115 112 Erik Swyngedouw, “Neither Global nor Local: ‘glocalization’ and the politics of scale,” in Spaces of Globalization, ed. K. Cox (New York: Guilford Press, 1997), 141. 113 Swyngedouw, “Scaled Geographies.” 114 Doreen Massey, “Power-Geometry and a Progressive Sense of Place”, in Mapping the Futures, eds. Bird et al. (London: Routledge, 1993). 115 Doreen Massey, “A Global Sense of Place,” Marxism Today (1991), 28. 231


As a moment in a network of larger social relations, Mercado San Roque exists within an articulation of nested historico-geographical scales. In emphasizing the historical nature of these scales, we argue that the processes and patterns of land ownership distribution that we have traced—including, or perhaps particularly those that operated before the existence of Mercado San Roque—continue to have sociospatial repercussions. Although land, in and of itself (if we allow ourselves such an abstraction), certainly cannot explain all of the problematics of Mercado San Roque, a (spatiotemporal) politics of scale of land ownership distribution could provide a platform or framework through which these problematics can be more clearly seen as connected. Furthermore, such a platform or framework provides the possibility for an emergent counterpolitics of scale that can leverage a movement of resistance, ideally one which operates across divisions of race, class, and

gender. A movement of resistance based on a counter-politics of scale can avoid the myopia of naming a single ‘enemy’ and instead focus on restructuring geometries of power to construct more equitable futures. In Section 3 we will expand on the problematics of the Quito markets and their connections to each other. We then explore two other social movements that produce their own counter-politics of scale through land-based projects: Genuino Clandestino and The Brazilian Landless Workers Movement. First, however, we conclude this section by moving from the historical to the contemporary. Through mapping a circulation of value from the fields of potato cultivation, through the market, and into barrio San Roque, we provide one example of how the market can be represented as a moment in a network of larger social relations.

Gl ob al

Sc e al

dor a u Ec Expansion of Service Infrastructure International Forces

city of

Export Import

Means of Production & Labor Means of Production & Labor

Commodities & Capital

Productive Land

Means of Production & Labor

Barrio San Roque Housing

Mercado San Roque

Means of Production & Labor

232

Qu ito

Commodities & Capital


2.4. THE POTATO VALUE CHAIN THROUGH MERCADO SAN ROQUE the production in the other provinces is markedly seasonal. The seasonality of the crop, the climate shifts and the demand set by the chips industry have become major reasons for small scale farmers in the central and southern Sierra to sell their lands and migrate to the cities for lucrative non-agricultural work.

The potato, native to the Andes (the Sierra), is an ancient staple crop mostly consumed locally in Ecuador. The export of the potato remains very minimal until today. Although Ecuador has more than 40 varieties of potatoes (native and non-native), the top four varieties produced are the Super Chola, Unica, Capiro and Fri-papa, and their demand is primarily set by the potato chips and fast food industries. Potato Farming is mostly located in the Sierra provinces of Carchi, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Pichincha, this geography produces enough potatoes to satisfy the demand of the local market. In the northern Sierra, the province of Carchi produces around 26% of the country’s potatoes whereas the remaining 10 provinces produce the rest. The Agrarian Reforms over the past few decades have allowed farmers, who were once laborers on large farms (haciendas), to acquire their own parcels. Consequently, small scale farmers (with less than five hectares of land in cultivation) comprise almost 50% of the potato producers but they work only 20% of the land. The province of Carchi has constant production because of its climate and reliable accessibility to Quito, whereas

The basic potato supply value chain begins with the production of the potato in Carchi, which is then transported either directly to the potato chips factories or through middlemen to the Mercado Mayorista in Quito which is then sold in bulk to minorista markets such as Mercado San Roque or other businesses. Labor plays an important role in the production transport of the potatoes (for example the landless farmers, the tricicicleros and the cargadores) Value rarely goes back into the neighborhoods or to the provinces that produce the potatoes. The value is mostly accumulated by large scale farmers, wealthy merchants and big corporations. This accumulation of value heavily relies on the exploitative nature of the labor force that goes into the production of the potato.

Potato Supply and Value Chain in the Ecuadorian Sierra = 1 quintal = 100 lbs = 46 kilos

#2

20%

Rice

6.5%

Corn

#4

medium scale farmers 5 to 20 ha

Others

Potatoes in Ecuador

large scale farmers >20 ha

Total Imports 4,586 mt/year

oriente

Carchi

Centra l Sie rra

3%

Latacunga

Bolivar

Guaranda

6.7%

% of small scale farms < 10 Ha 80 - 100% 60 - 80% 40 - 60% 20 - 40% 1 - 20% no data

5.4%

to

po

4%

2.1

2.2

0

100

200

400 km

wage

+1$

pe ing + ex nses hous

wage

=20$

Otavalo

10 potato merchants

Multicultural School CEDEIB-Q

Public Markets

PM

. 24 Av

PM

SM

MM

PM

de

May

SM

Megamaxi & Supermaxi Supermarket Chain

PM SM

wage

other ex pe n

SM

s se

PM

SM

to Ambato

SM

SM MM

40

80 km

SM

MERCADO SAN ROQUE

<1

PM

PM PM

Quito’s Historic Center

SM

SM

SM

ren t

20

MM

re

10

Ex-Prison Garcia Moreno

or

MM

Loja

0

ca Ro

M ar isc al Su cr e

o

+1$

+1$

LAND SIZE IN HA

en Vic

Mercado San Roque Parking

Quito

TOTAL AREA OF LAND

e

ert

fu

te

250 km la b

Headquarter

NUMBERN OF PRODUCTIVE UNITS

3:00am to 3:00 pm 10-25$/day depending on traffic 40$/day during feria

offices, shops and artisans

Frito Lay

Azuay

Potato Zone

“informal” street market

labor

2500 x

circulate within Carchi

4 hour drive

=18$

Loja

40 - 70$/month for one smal room 20 - 40$/month for utilities

Ibarra

=14$ Azogues Cuenca

ho us i

most vendors live outside of Barrion San Roque

enue

San Gabriel Bolivar

8:00 am to 4:00 pm 12-15$/day + coffee & lunch

PM

Cañar

50% are small scale farms/productive units with less than 2Has of land But they only have 19% of the total area of productive land

%

Billi on $

1%

2.

26

%

rts

Si er ra

t

im

$

Tungurahua Riobamba

24,000 x 80 x

ev

Julio Andrade

Chimborazo

So ut he rn

al

8%

2.

$3 billion

Ambato

13%

%

Frito-Lay penetrated a salty snack sector in Latin America in 1998

Cotopaxi

11%

Tulcan

Quito

Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas

=14$

to Colombia

+1$

per night

r

% 1.8

9%

0.7

3.5%

Tulcan

CARCHI 8970 ha -> 10,8490 Tm/year IMBABURA 1820 ha -> 18,002 Tm/year

Pichincha Santo Domingo

$

enses exp er

l No rth er

n

Ibarra

50%

25%

nses xpe +e

Population size ~13,000,000

For Inter nal Consumption

sierra

25%

laborers

-4

t (if not ow ren on exp ner d en ) cti s an odu pr

fixed costs fertilizers

23%

ra er Si

Imbabura

2.9

3500 - 4200 $/season

12% 15%

es

inter Andean Valley

0 -2

costa

8.3%

1 seed bag=25$ production expenses vary from

material & equipment

Consumption per capita 32 kg/year

2

total exports 26 B illio n$

6 seed bags

phytosanitary

seeds labor

4

1 seed = 15 to 20 potatoes

ng

Total Exports 62 mt/year

high season

sold to the farmer

55%

Total Production 409,773 mt/year

POTATO PRODUCTION

100 km

6

$

most of the landlords live outside of Barrion San Roque

1 seed = 6 to 8 potatoes

farmer

50

km

barrio La Libertad

low season

propagated into

ot h

Internal Consumption

Flowers

0

#3

nue ve

12:00am to 12:00 pm 10-25$/day depending on traffic 40$ during feria days

Tricicleros Organization

vendor

support -> fa milie s in hous ing

triciclero

small scale farmers <5ha

Bananas

Super Chola for fresh consumption and french fries Capiro for industrial fried potatoes (Frito Lay) Unica for fresh consumption or industrial processing Fripapa for fried chips and french fries

#1

25%

Ecuador’s agricultural production

1 certified seed bag=40$ imported from Colombia

top 4 produced resistant potatoes

Carchi produces 25 - 30% of Ecuador’s Potatoes

the Sie rra pr ov in ce s

Truck Parking

1-2

50

100

200

400 km

PM PM

MM

3-5

MERCADO MAYORISTA 5 - 10

43606 Hectares cultivated with potatoes 10790 is all year long 32816 is seasonal

from Carchi

PM

2-3 SM

60%

64%

0

PMPM PM

PM

10 - 20

nien

MM

PM

te

rtiz oO Hug

. Te Av

SM MM

Potato Zone

84 potato merchants

=18$

30%

20 - 50

25%

Ha

Northern Sierra

Central Sierra

Southern Sierra

Mercado Mayorista Entrance

Tm/year 120000

10000

50 - 100

100000

8000

80000

100 - 200

6000

10%

11%

60000

40000 2000

0

r

y

14 km

< 200

ja

ua

8

Lo

Ca na

Az

ar liv Bo

a

xi

zo

ua

pa

ra

to

bo

ur ah

im

ng Tu

4

Ch

hi

ra

ch

rc

bu

in

Ca

ba

ch

Co

Pi

Im

ra

ra

ra

er

er

er Si

Si

l Si

n

rn

ra

er

nt

he

th

ut

2

So

Ce

0

20000

0

Nor

40 - 70$/month for one smal room 20 - 40$/month for utilities

4000

m fro

hi rc Ca

Above: The value chain of the potato as it moves from Carchi through Quito’s markets Opposite: Marcado San Roque as an atriculation within trans-scalar flows

233


Internal Consumption

Ecuadorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agricultural production Bananas

Flowers 0

50

Rice

Corn

6.5% Others

POTATO PRODUCTION

100 km

km 6 4 2

total exports 26 B illio n$

inter Andean Valley

0 -2

For In ternal Consumption

-4

costa

sierra

oriente

9% 0.7

%

1.8

3%

50%

3.5

%

11%

13%

6.7% 8.3%

5.4%

to

al

%

t

2.9

im

% .8

po

26

100

200

400 km

50% are small scale farms/productive units with less than 2Has of land But they only have 19% of the total area of productive land

1%

2.1

%

2.2

0

Billi on $

60%

64%

rts

%

2.

4%

2

% of small scale farms < 10 Ha 80 - 100% 60 - 80% 40 - 60% 20 - 40% 1 - 20% no data

30%

43606 Hectares cultivated with potatoes 10790 is all year long 32816 is seasonal

25%

Ha

Northern Sierra

Central Sierra

Southern Sierra

Tm/year

10000

120000

100000

8000

80000 6000

10%

11%

60000 4000 40000 2000

20000

234

C

hi m

a Lo j

y zu a A

ar

ar

C an

ra h gu Tu n

Bo liv

bo ra zo

ua

i ax op Co t

ch a ch in Pi

bu ra Im ba

ar ch i

Si rn he ut So

0

C

ra er

rra ie lS Ce nt ra

No r th

er

n

Si

er

ra

0


Top four Potato varieties produced in the Sierra

#1 #2 #3 #4

Super Chola for fresh consumption and french fries Capiro for industrial fried potatoes (Frito Lay) Unica for fresh consumption or industrial processing Fripapa for fried chips and french fries

No rt h

Potatoes in Ecuador

Carchi produces 25-30% of Ecuador’s Potatoes

Total Production 409,773 mt/year Total Imports 4,586 mt/year

ierra nS er

Carchi

Imbabura

Total Exports 62 mt/year

Ibarra

Pichincha

Consumption per capita 32 kg/year

Centr al S ier ra

Santo Domingo

Population size ~13,000,000

Quito

Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas

Tulcan

CARCHI 8970 ha -> 103,000 mt/year of potatoes

IMBABURA 1820 ha -> 18,000 mt/year of potatoes

Cotopaxi

Latacunga

Ambato

Bolivar

Guaranda

Tungurahua Riobamba

NUMBERN OF PRODUCTIVE UNITS

TOTAL AREA OF LAND

LAND SIZE IN HA

Chimborazo <1

Cañar

1-2

Azogues

ra er

Cuenca

3-5

Si So ut he rn

2-3

Azuay

5 - 10 10 - 20

20 - 50

Loja Loja

0

50

100

50 - 100

% of small scale farms < 10 Ha 80 - 100% 60 - 80% 40 - 60% 20 - 40% 1 - 20% no data

100 - 200

< 200

200 km

235


info

1 certified seed bag=40$ imported from Colombia

= 1 quintal = 100 lbs = 46 kilos

low season

1 seed = 6 to 8 potatoes

high season

1 seed = 15 to 20 potatoes

propagated into

6 seed bags 1 seed bag=25$ sold to the farmer

3500 - 4200 $/season

material & equipment seeds labor

23%

t (if not ow ren on exp ner d en ) cti s an odu pr

fixed costs fertilizers

25%

25%

enses exp er

wage

l

12% 15%

ot h

production expenses vary from

phytosanitary

es

r

ev

Carchi produces 25 - 30% of Ecuador’s Potatoes

25%

farmer

laborers

=14$

8:00 am to 4:00 pm 12-15$/day + coffee & lunch

small scale farmers <5ha

20%

medium scale farmers 5 to 20 ha

enue

55%

labor

large scale farmers >20 ha

to Colombia

Frito-Lay penetrated a salty snack sector in Latin America in 1998

$3 billion

Tulcan

$

24,000 x 80 x Otavalo

4 hour drive

Frito Lay Headquarter

+1$

=18$

+1$

236

40

2500 x

circulate within Carchi

250 km

Frito Lay’s favorite Frito Lay’s favorite variety is the Capiro.

variety is the Capiro

straight to Frito Lay

to Ambato

20

San Gabriel Bolivar

95% of the large scale 95% of large scale farm production goes straightproduction to Frito Lay farm goes

Quito

10

+1$

Julio Andrade

Ibarra

=14$

0

+1$

per night

80 km


Public Markets

MERCADO SAN ROQUE

Megamaxi & Supermaxi Supermarket Chain

Quito’s Historic Center

MERCADO SAN ROQUE

MERCADO MAYORISTA

barrio La Libertad

from Carchi

PM

most of the landlords live outside of Barrion San Roque

$ 4

8

ho us i

most vendors live outside of Barrion San Roque

14 km

wage

barrio San Roque

=20$

40 - 70$/month for one smal room 20 - 40$/month for utilities

nses xpe +e

2

pe ing + ex nses hous

ng

0

$

10 potato merchants

Most value that moves through the market circulates out of the neighborhood. Even the wages earned by market workers are ultimately paid to landlords who live outside of the neighborhood.

nt ce Vi

Mercado San Roque Parking la b

Multicultural School CEDEIB-Q

c Ro

e

rt

ue

af

e

Ex-Prison Garcia Moreno

or

M ar isc al Su cr e

o

ay eM

4d

.2 Av

wage

re

ren t

nue ve

12:00am to 12:00 pm 10-25$/day depending on traffic 40$ during feria days

Tricicleros Organization

vendor

Potato Zone

support -> fa milie s in hous ing

triciclero

other ex pe n s se

tiz Or go Hu

3:00am to 3:00 pm 10-25$/day depending on traffic 40$/day during feria

offices, shops and artisans

MERCADO MAYORISTA

nte nie . Te Av

Potato Zone

“informal” street market

the Sie rra pr ov in ce s

Truck Parking

84 potato merchants

=18$

Mercado Mayorista Entrance

40 - 70$/month for one smal room 20 - 40$/month for utilities

i

m fro

h rc Ca

237


SECTION 3

LAND-BASED SOCIAL MOVEMENTS 3.1. AN ALREADY EMERGING NETWORK OF SOLIDARITY Quito’s markets contain many associations and organizations. They negotiate with each other on the internal dynamics of their markets and address the issues that affect their constituents. On January 15, 2016, a small group of leaders from markets and associations in Quito as well as organizers and our team of researcher-designers met to discuss the issues and struggles affecting many markets around the city. The idea was to continue what had been a mostly piecemeal dialogue around the ways Quito’s public markets might better organize together and support each other. The market leaders present were Jaime Chugchilan (president of the Atahualpa organization of tricileros in Mercado Mayorista), Marta Ruiz (president of the Directiva [management] del Centro Comercial Popular Ipiales del Sur), and Victor Sanchez (national advisor of CUCOMITAE [Confederación Unitaria de Comerciantes Minoristas y Trabajadores Autónomos del Ecuador; trans. United Confederation of Retail Traders and Self-employed Workers of Ecuador]). Also present were Raul Chugchilan (member of the Atahualpa organization of tricicleros in Mercado Mayorista) and Luis Herrera (member of Red de Saberes, an activist group active in Mercado San Roque). Our researcher-participant team included Tait Mandler, Gamar Markarian, Sinead Petrasek, Zanny Venner, Hector Grad, and Miguel Robles-Duran. Most market leaders were concerned with municipal corruption, gentrification and urban ‘revitalization,’ and intramarket social divisions. There was a strong desire for increasing solidarity between the markets and for connecting with other related social movements. However, they also expressed difficulty in forging this solidarity and in establishing clear and common issues or demands that could be used to organize around. They recognized that there were certain divisions between them and within their markets that hampered the formation of a strong solidarity network, as well as a lack of communication. Each group experiences their struggles as situated, which affects how they respond to each issue. For example, in terms of access to space, the traders are more concerned with parking spaces and vendor posts while the indigenous laborers are struggling against unjust fees to enter

238

Mercado Mayorista and deplorable housing conditions. In this chapter we first review some important socioeconomic issues affecting the markets and the individuals and larger communities that rely on them. Then, we offer two brief case studies of social movements that bring together, in their own ways, a politics of scale and the struggle for access to land with the intention of transforming larger social structures.

3.2. STRUGGLES IN THE MARKETS Over the course of our two trips to Ecuador, a number of social and spatial struggles became particularly salient. The ones we’ve chosen to focus on here are representative of the focuses of our two trips; the first trip focused on MSR and the second on following the movement of the potato in the Sierra. To us, each is inextricable from the others, at least in part through their historical situatedness within the history of land distribution in Ecuador. The struggles we discuss below are over: the loss the small scale agricultural lands, the threat of displacement faced by Quito’s markets, the access to space within the markets, the exploitation of wage laborers in the markets, and finally the deplorable housing conditions that the workers live in around the markets.

LOSS OF SMALL AGRICULTURAL LANDS As we described in Section 2, there has been a steady loss of small agricultural lands in the Sierra, even though it remains the region with the most numerous smaller agricultural plots. The process of agricultural lands becoming continuously smaller is called minifundism (minifundismo). This can occur in numerous ways. One of the most prominent is the iterative dividing of lands between multiple children as inheritances. With each generation, lands become further divided and therefore less and less productive. As these smaller and less productive lands can no longer support full families, the children leave their rural communities to move to urban centers to find more lucrative work. This leaves many indigenous and rural peasant communities with a sharply skewed concentration of older individuals. Small lands are often sold for many reasons. We were told that the tax burden of owning land was too high, especially if the land wasn’t producing either subsistence or profit. Some landowners felt they didn’t have the time to maintain their lands, whereas others simply preferred to live in cities. During inheritances, some families felt it was more sensible to sell the inherited lands and divide the profit instead of each receiving a


very small plot. Many cargadores in MSR have moved to the city because the agricultural lands of their families are too small to be productive or if they are productive they don’t produce enough income to support the entire family. To cultivate their lands, farmers need to buy seeds and fertilizers. If they need tractors or machinery that they don’t own then it has to be rented. And, of course, they have to hire laborers. If the fields aren’t productive that year or season then the farmers end up indebted to the banks who gave them loans for their start-of-year purchases. This cycle of indebtedness and the precarity of trying to cultivate small land motivates many people to move to the cities. Thus, there are two aspects to minifundia that push people off the land: the reduced productivity of lands and the costs associated with making the land productive (including investments and taxes). Some farmers sell their lands to move, others stay on their lands but send their children to the cities, and others move to the cities to work but keep their land.

THREAT OF MARKET DISPLACEMENT MSR has been relocated multiple times—incrementally from the center of the Centro Historico to its current location— meaning both historically and currently it has been under constant threat of displacement. However, recently the threat of displacement has been exacerbated for MSR and other markets around the city. In 2003, the Municipio del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito (the municipality of the Quito metropolitan district) and the Secretaria Metropolitana de Territorio y Vivienda (Quito’s secretariat for territory and housing) created a plan for the rehabilitation of the Centro Historico (CHQ) including an emphasis on its residential nature, cultural development, and importance to tourism. One of the first acts the city took after receiving a 41 million dollar loan from the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID) was to relocate 6000 informal vendors from the CHQ.1 The plan also included steps towards relocating MSR. 1

Ivette Santana and Maria Moreno, “Gran Reportajo Para Radio,

Above: Agricultural lands in Cotopaxi Province that have become unproductive through fragmentation and drought. December 2015.

239


The proposal for relocation was justified by claiming the market had an inconvenient location, safety and security concerns, and unsanitary conditions. Based on these claims, MSR was characterized as a hinderance to the commercial development of the neighborhood. One primary driver of the threat of displacement is that MSR is considered unsafe. Why the market is unsafe depends on who you ask. The workers usually say that certain areas are unsafe at certain times. The vendors inside say the informal areas outside are unsafe, especially Calle Loja—where informal vendor stands line both sides of the street. Some people in the neighborhood think the outdoor area and furniture vending area are unsafe, others think the whole market is unsafe. In larger Quito, many think the whole area (market and barrio) is unsafe because of drug dealing and thieves. To some, MSR is the alma del barrio2 (soul of the neighborhood) while to others it is the incarnation of social problems in the neighborhood—or one of the antimaravillas (anti-wonders) of Quito.3 The municipality has raised similar concerns about Mercado Mayorista to the south. It was claimed that the relocation and merging of the markets would establish safer public space, remove informal vendors from the streets around the current markets, allow the construction of a more modern market with the appropriate infrastructure, and further centralize traditional commerce in the southern sector of Quitumbe.4 The land that Mercado Mayorista and MSR formally occupy belongs to the city, so it is easily subject to the city’s economic and development plans. Despite the concrete physical structures and rents paid by formal vendors, tensions between the municipality and the market occupants keep the threat of displacement looming. Even in the Ipiales market, where vendors purchase and own their market posts, vendors don’t have a claim to the land only to a post space within the context of the market. In a sense, the markets and the land they are on have been abstracted from each other. This further reinforces the idea that the markets, regardless of whether posts are rented or purchased, are impermanent and easily displaceable.

displacement faced by the informal market vendors. And the third is specific to Mercado Mayorista where the market association and municipality want to charge the tricicleros a tax to enter and work in the market In MSR, there are deep tensions between those vendors inside the market and the informal vendors on the streets. Calle Loja, on the southern side of the market is considered the ‘most dangerous’ because the street is full of informal vendors and has a reputation as a street drug market.5 Thus, in response to the city wanting to move the marketplace, the indoor vendors have lobbied for the removal of the outdoor informal vendors so that they can stay where they are. Santana and Moreno have referred to this spatialization of vendors as a geography of power.6 This geography has been historically constructed and is socioeconomically reproduced through the legal, economic, and spatial constrictions to obtaining a title to a formal vendor post. Access to posts inside the market is largely structured by the genealogy of vendor-families. Posts are passed between 5 6

Ibid. Ibid., 58.

ACCESS TO MARKETPLACE SPACE There are three main struggles around access to market space. One is the cost of purchasing the title to a post in the formal market. The second is the threat of eviction and Prensa, Television e Internet Sobre Como Han Afectado Los Procesos Recientes de Rehabilitacion Urbana en el Barrio San Roque De 1998 Hasta 2009,” (Universidad de las Americas, 2012). 2 Ibid. 3 Ultimas Noticias, accessed on April 11, 2016. [http://www.ultimasnoticias.ec/noticias/4938-quito-tiene-sus-anti-maravillas-.html] 4 Santana and Moreno, “Gran Reprotajo.”

240

Informal vendors on the streets around of Mercado San Roque. October 2015.


family members, and many vendors in San Roque told us their parents or grandparents had acquired the post when the market first opened. Even when posts do become available, the high cost of purchasing or renting prevents anyone, except those who already have surplus resources, from becoming a formal vendor. Currently, posts cost between $1000 and $5000, depending on the market, but the owner must also pay for utilities and may need to purchase storage space as well. There are other restrictive forces to formal market space as well. The seafood vendors outside of MSR intended to move inside as their location blocked traffic on the street. However, the indoor vendors didn’t want the smell of the seafood to be inside the market and were able to block the move through the power of their associations. In the Ipiales market, there has been confusion and conflict between vendors and the city over post ownership. When Ipiales was first constructed, the vendors had to purchase the titles to their posts. The papers these original vendors received upon purchase were only receipts of the transaction. To procure the formal title, the vendors needed to take the receipt to a city office where they could pick up the title. However, this was unclear and approximately half of the vendors, assuming the receipts

they had were the titles, never went to get their formal titles. Recently, the city has demanded that the vendors without titles in their possession do not own their posts and must purchase—or, from the vendors’ perspective, re-purchase—a title. Adding to the conflict and confusion is that many original vendors sold their posts to new vendors, passing along the receipt but not the formal title. These non-original vendors have even weaker claims to their posts than the original vendors. Marta Ruiz, from Ipiales, explained that in 2000, before the dollarization, purchasing a post cost 3 million Sucres—about $1450 USD in 2000, equivalent to $2000 USD today. Now, the city wants the vendors to pay $6000 USD for their posts, a huge increase even accounting for inflation. The rationale is that the posts are worth more today considering the economic development of the city. One final struggle over space is in Mercado Mayorista, where the market administration and municipality want to institute a tax to be paid by the tricicleros to enter and work in the market. The administration says the tax is to improve the market

Vendor posts for fruit and vegetable merchants in Mercado San Roque. August 2015.

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Top: Headquarters of the Atahualpa Triciclero Association in Mercado Mayorista. January 2015.

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Bottom: Tricicleros in Mercado Mayorista unloading sacks of potatoes. January 2015.


and thus will return to benefit the tricicleros. This would include licensing the tricicleros and giving them standard uniforms and/ or hats. However, the tricicleros argue that the tax would be both ineffective and contribute to the historical dispossession of indigenous Ecuadorians. For one, the tricicleros are already organized into associations that have been operating since the opening of the market. These organizations regulate and maintain the tricycle-carts, give the worker uniform shirts, and offer economic and social security in case of emergencies. Also, Jaime Chugchilan argues, it in unconscionable to tax indigenous laborers to enter the market when it is on land that was stolen from past indigenous populations. Furthermore, the tricicleros in Mercado Mayorista likely migrated to Quito because of the historical forces of land dispossession in the Sierra that created the landless indigenous wage labor force. Chugchilan and the tricicleros also object to the tax considering the municipality and market administration have such a poor record of fiscal responsibility. The tax would amount to around $750 per triciclero per year. There are 290 tricicleros in the market, meaning the tax would produce a yearly revenue of approximately $218,000 for the market administration. However, in only the past few years, nearly $3 million that was given to the administration by the municipality has gone missing without any improvements being made to the market.

WAGE LABORER STRUGGLES In Quito’s markets, the wage laborers are largely indigenous and so their struggles are connected to larger indigenous struggles—including historical land dispossession and minifundism in rural indigenous communities. Wage laborers experience economic exploitation and social marginalization that is raced, classed, and gendered. Their manual labor also comes with numerous health risks, both acute and long-term. In most markets, the wage laborers are not currently organized—the tricicleros of Mercado Mayorista being the exception—making it difficult to assert collective demands. In this section we are focused on cargadores—the (mostly male) manual laborers that carry goods into, out of, and within the markets. However, similar struggles are experienced by the desgranadoras—the (mostly female and child) workers that de-shell or otherwise prepare peas, corn, and other products—and other wage workers. Cargadores are paid per trip they make. Their pay then depends on how much they can carry each trip, how far each trip is, and how many trips they make per day. The loads carried can range from less than 1 quintale, up to 3 quintales, which is equivalent to from less than 100 up to 300 pounds. Most trips pay 0.25 to 0.50 cents, some longer trips can pay up to a dollar. On a normal day, the men usually make between $10-15 and the women $7-12. On the busy feria days—one to three days each

Cargadores carrying sacks of produce through the main area of Mercado San Roque. October 2015.

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week when the most products and shoppers come through the market—the cargadores can make closer to $20-30. In the early mornings they can also be hired to unload a whole truck for $6-8. Even though cargadores are paid low wages in the markets, many still prefer the labor there to other jobs. One cargador in MSR, Juan Fernando Ortega, explained that when he first moved to the city he worked construction but he had to work from early morning till late and often was not paid or not paid on time. So he prefers working as a cargador because he only has to work until 2 or 3 pm.7 Some cargadores work from 2 am until 6 pm. Cargadores can also have trouble being paid correctly for their work. The payment amounts that are negotiated before trips are not always honored afterwards. Sometimes they are given half of their payment before but never receive the second half afterwards. Without an association or organization, and considering the power hierarchies within the markets, the cargadores have no way to guarantee they are paid correctly. One way to protect themselves is for the cargadores to form relationships with vendors in certain areas of the market. Even so these relationships can still be asymmetrical in that vendors may ask the cargadores to do some labor for free. The cargadores are then left with a choice between working for free in hopes of securing future payments, or refusing and risking not being hired again by that vendor. There is also less and less work for the cargadores in general. Forces of economic and social marginalization acting on the market have led to a decreasing number of customers. While the markets are increasingly described as dangerous and unsavory places, the number of SuperMaxis keeps growing, drawing more customers away. The closing of the large jail next to MSR also decreased the number of shoppers because people used to buy food to bring to their relatives in the jail. The cargadores report a number of health issues related to their work. Many say that the belts they use around their chests or foreheads to secure a load can be painful, and that their knees and backs often hurt. There are also risks for more serious, acute injury on the job, such as overexertion or falling. Again, the lack of an association or organization means there isn’t any guaranteed security or assistance if they are hurt. Some cargadores want to organize but others are resistant because they would have to pay into an organization or association. In MSR, there used to be an organization that gave them licenses and uniform hats, but many say it didn’t work. They see the forming of another organization as little more than a way to rob them. A further obstacle is that some cargadores only work for half a year or less to make money before they leave and 7 From interview with Juan Fernando Ortega in MSR conducted by Instituto de la Ciudad. May 22, 2015. Provided to us as a pers. communication.

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go back to their communities. This temporality may also prevent an organization from forming since the workers are not invested in long-term improvements to the labor situation in the market.

WORKER HOUSING CONDITIONS The neighborhoods around the markets are often impoverished and considered some of the more dangerous areas of the city. In general, the municipality and the police ignore these neighborhoods with the exception of policies designed to displace or relocate residents. Neighborhood disinvestment and the lack of basic services produces these ‘undesirable’ spaces, often along race and class lines. These neighborhoods are usually where the workers live so they can be close to the markets and more easily start work in the late night and very early morning. Here the workers and their families are subjected to exploitative and deplorable housing conditions, marked by price gouging and overcrowding. In barrio San Roque (BSR), workers often live in small, subdivided rooms within subdivided apartments. The landlords have remodeled their buildings to take advantage of the workers’ needs and restricted social status. Most subdivided rooms are about 6 m², don’t have a private bathroom, and are shared by

Building in barrio San Roque that houses cargadores, some in subdivided rooms and others in family rooms. October 2015.


two or three occupants. Each room can cost $70 per month plus $20-40 for utilities, which are also paid directly to the landlord who sets the price. Even though occupants must pay for them, utility services in the apartments are generally unreliable, forcing occupants to use public services, like baths and laundering areas. If the tenants do want reliable utilities in their apartments they have to set up and connect the services themselves, essentially providing capital investments that are then appropriated by the landlord. The lower-class neighborhoods around Mercado Mayorista are largely similar to BSR. It seems that most caragadores living in the neighborhoods closest to the markets are single men. They likely have families elsewhere in the city or in their rural communities. Most of the subdivided apartment housing though is meant to board single men interested in single beds. This way the landlord can easily keep the rooms full by moving another person in when a bed is vacated, regardless of who already lives in the room. Other than availability and proximity, it is also the expectation of flow and impermanence that directs cargadores into this kind of housing. Those who came from rural provinces often return to the rural provinces, some in a cyclical migration while others return more permanently after earning enough

money. Laborers who adopt a cyclical migration are often guided by agricultural seasons; during planting and harvesting times they work in the fields and in between they work in the city. Many cargadores also remain as more permanent urban residents but maintain connections to their rural communities by returning for festivals or regular short trips. Through this regular or continuous migration, many workers consider themselves to be both rural and urban inhabitants. Just as movement and temporality are a hindrance to forming a cargadores organization in the market, it also allows the perpetuation of deplorable housing conditions as there is little commitment to taking collective action and there will always be new migrants willing to pay for the beds. It should be noted that not all cargadores live in neighborhoods adjacent to the markets. Some live elsewhere in the city, especially in the south, and others live outside the city proper in the valleys. These workers either take daily buses or, the nights before ferias, they bring cardboard and blankets so that they can sleep on the streets or in trucks and get an early start.

Mercado San Roque and barrio La Libertad, where many market wage laborers live. Photo by: Luis Herrera.

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3.3. CONNECTING THE STRUGGLES From the beginning of our research we had an interest in understanding how current situations in Quito’s markets were connected to historical patterns and process of land distribution. During the course of our fieldwork, we learned that leaders representing a variety of market organizations have also been trying to understand how various struggles are connected to build a more unified network of solidarity between the markets. The foundational work already being done by these leaders is creating a moment of great potential but much of the most difficult work has yet to be done, though not for lack of effort. In their meetings, the market leaders have encountered a great deal of difficulty in constructing meaningful, actionable, and lasting connections between social groups within and across the markets. They have clearly expressed that the lack of a sense of connection or similarity between groups and struggles makes it very difficult to even imagine how a solidarity network might work, much less actually enact one. In what follows, we offer our own thoughts on how the thematic of land might act as a lens through which certain connections between the struggles that we outlined above can come into focus. While we are passionate about this particular thematic lens, we also recognize that it has emerged from our own perspectives. Whatever realizations this lens offers us cannot be simply transferred to the market leaders or the market workers they represent. Ultimately, a solidarity network across Quito’s markets will need to be a project of collective connection and meaning making by the leaders, workers, and neighborhood residents.

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OUR PERSPECTIVE The loss of small agricultural lands, threats of market displacement, inequalities of access to market space, exploitation of wage laborers, and deplorable worker housing conditions are all historical situations—they have emerged through certain historical conditions, processes, and social struggles. In turn, each situation produces certain interconnected conditions, processes, and social struggles. The uneven distribution of land ownership in Ecuador is one such historical condition—an array of processes that lie behind and within each of the struggles we have summarized. Through the connection of each struggle to the uneven distribution of land, we realize they are also connected to each other. The loss of small agricultural lands is the most obviously related to the story of uneven land distribution laid out in Section 2. The dispossession of indigenous communities from their lands in the Sierra through colonial systems of production and power re-spatialized the original inhabitants of the Andes. Groups that once lived on loosely defined but highly organized and managed territories became contained within successive alien conceptions of space and land: the encomienda, the hacienda, and private property. Each mode of spatial organization created more concrete separations between people as well as resources, which were no longer communally accessible but instead privately owned. After the formation of the Ecuadorian state there were multiple attempts to address the ‘Indian Problem’ and increasing pressure to respond to the historical dispossession of indigenous land. Conditioned by racial and class differentials in power, the redistribution of land under the agrarian reforms in the 60s and 70s placed indigenous and poor peasants onto small and less productive lands while the more productive and resource rich lands remained in the ownership of the elite. As the less productive lands continue to be divided into smaller and thus even less productive plots, the pressure to leave or sell these lands—to large scale farmers or corporations—increases. Even those smaller scale farmers who own land productive enough that they can continue to subsist and profit are, in a way, abstracted from their lands. The crops and varieties they grow are increasingly dictated by larger markets and buyers, for example, the potato varieties are now dictated by Frito Lay potato chips company. The unequal distributions of land, wealth, and power continue to reproduce each other in Ecuador. Their coreproduction also structures—and in turn is structured by—labor relations. From this perspective, the current exploitation of wage labor has emerged with—and is fundamentally related to—the loss of small scale agricultural lands. The creation of the migrant and often landless wage labor force in Ecuador has been a continuous process since colonization. The exploitative


and abusive debt relations of the encomienda and hacienda drove many indigenous people to leave their lands-of-origin, as did more direct dispossession through land grants, theft, ‘purchase’, and appropriation. Without any means of subsistence, the population of wage labor migrants followed opportunities for work on larger farms or in the cities. The decreasing productivity of small lands continuously produces new migrants—as younger generations must leave their family lands that can no longer provide subsistence—in search of wage labor. The inability of an individual or group to provide their own subsistence is a necessary pre-condition for a wage labor force. Landless and/or migrant wage laborers’ experiences of precarity and poverty—conditions that for many have emerged directly but not exclusively through the loss of small unproductive agricultural lands—are fundamental to their acceptance of deplorable housing conditions in urban areas. The housing conditions in the neighborhoods around Quito’s markets are also connected to histories of land ownership in many ways other than the historical creation of the wage labor force who serve as tenants. When the Spaniards began their colonization of what is now Ecuador, they—like the Inca before them— claimed Quito as a center of power. “Colonization,” according to Richard Morse, “was largely a labour of ‘urbanization’, that is, a strategy of settlement nucleation for appropriating resources and implanting jurisdiction.”8 The colonists built their churches and homes in what is now called the Centro Historico, appropriating the land as their own and pushing the lower class Inca subjects further and further out of the center. Given by the Crown, these urban land grants were organized by plots and grids, superimposing a structure onto the future of the urban space that would eventually be divided and subdivided into the small, shared rooms currently rented out to wage laborers in the market. Also, during this period, the first forced relocation of the indigenous marketplace that would later become Mercado San Roque occurred in order to make room for Iglesia San Francisco—the beginning of what would become a long history of elites, with the backing of political power structures, displacing open air public markets in the service of their profitable urban vision. The concentration of wealth in the colonial historic center of Quito, extracted from appropriated lands through the encomienda and hacienda, would proceed to draw in those migrants who had left or were forced off their land. Ironically, the domestic work, artisanal work, street vending, sex work, and other wage labor opportunities that emerged with the light-skinned elites’ accumulation of wealth ultimately contributed to an ‘undesirable’ atmosphere that drove the elites

from the area. The threat of market displacement has long been associated with containing the undesirable and unsightly aspects of the markets. However, by constructing closed buildings and requiring vendors to purchase or rent titles to their posts the less well-off, often darker skinned vendors are pushed onto the streets where they establish informal zones. The discourses of regulation and containment circulated by the upper class and the state are reproduced in the tensions between formal and informal vendors over inequalities of access to market space. Merchants with the most capital and power—likely generated through histories of land ownership—have been able to secure formal posts, which are passed down through their families. The circulation of capital, the structure of the labor force, and the distribution of land were, and continue to be, reproduced through and with systems of power, including racial and gender dominances, religious institutions, colonial decrees, state and supranational policies. This process of co-reproduction is driven by the inherent tensions, crises, and struggles that emerge from the contentious, trans-scalar configurations of systems of land, labor, capital, and power. In this way the struggles are necessarily interconnected, both historically—their emergence with and through the processes and forces that produced and have been reproduced with the uneven distribution of land ownership—and in regards to possibilities for intervention and resistance. Also, each problematic we have discussed is fundamentally structured by race, class, and gender and has contributed to the difficulty in establishing a solidarity network between the markets, or even within each market. However, as each also relates back to ownership of and access to land, there is great potential for a strong solidarity network to emerge that can mount a unified resistance to external forces—such as SuperMaxi encroachment and municipal urban development policy—while also creating spaces to address inter- and intra-market divisions. Bringing together land and the understanding of different struggles at different scales might allow the groups within the market to unite against the larger (international) forces of urbanization and neoliberalization even though they may continue to face tensions at more local scales. Simultaneously, any resistance or struggle at one market place must necessarily be scaled up to network with other marketplaces if these larger forces are to be opposed. In the following section we review two social movements that are centered on land and work across scales: Genuino Clandestino and The Landless Worker’s Movement.

8 Richard Morse, “Urban Development of Colonial Spanish America”, Cambridge History of Latin America Volume 2, ed. Leslie Bethell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 77.

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3.4. OTHER LAND- AND AGRICULTURE-BASED MOVEMENTS GENUINO CLANDESTINO

organic certification procedures.13 One early nexus was the Campi Aperti association in Bologna, which runs 5 weekly markets in the town’s public spaces.14 Other than their non-label project, they also run a seed bank, work towards acquiring lands to be owned and used cooperatively, and run various other actions that are meant to present alternatives to the current capitalist system.

To construct an alliance between urban movements, individual citizens and rural movements, which is able to reconnect city and country, surpassing categories of producer and consumer. An alliance with the aim of transforming the use of urban and rural spaces on the basis of the practices of self-organisation, solidarity, cooperation and care for the territory. -The Genuino Clandestino Manifesto9

WHO THEY ARE Genuino Clandestino10 is a decentralized network of peasant movements, communities, and farmers in Italy. It emerged through the connection of projects and movements in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, known as Italy’s red regions.11 In 2010 the movement wrote a manifesto and it has since spread to regions around the country. It currently includes approximately 25 associations. The network is organized around the idea of food self-determination, the right to peasant farming practices, and opposing the imposition of neoliberal reforms and agribusiness. Genuino Clandestino began as a response to Italian and European neoliberalization and privatization of agriculture.12 Laws were passed that require the use of industrial processing facilities and other industrial-production-based standardizations for certain food to be legally sold in markets. These laws are detrimental to small scale peasant farms. When the laws were passed, small scale farmers were at risk of being excluded from the markets, which were necessary to their economic survival. Genuino Clandestino began a communications campaign to create a ‘non-label’ for small-scale-farm-produced food to counter the health laws as well as the imposition of top-down 9 An English translation of the Genuino Clandestino manifesto can be found here: [http://autonomies.org/ru/2014/10/the-autonomous-self-management-of-landfood-genuino-clandestino/]. 10 The official website, in Italian, of the movement can be found here: [http://genuinoclandestino.it/]. Their blog, again in Italian, can be found here: [https://genuinoclandestino.noblogs.org/]. 11 Fabio Mattioli, “The Property of Food: Geographical Indication, Slow Food, Genuino Clandestino and the Politics of Property,” Ethnologia Europaea, 43 (2013): 47-61. 12 Mattioli, “Property of Food.”

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13 Ibid. 14 “Interview with Massimo de Angelis,” CommonsFest, last modified May 9, 2015. [http://commonsfest.info/en/2015/english-interview-with-massimo-de-angelis/].


WHAT THEY DO Similar to community supported agriculture in the US, Genuino Clandestino “consists of a short-chain network of producers who sell directly in non-traditional marketplaces to individual consumers or to groups of buyers who place collective orders.”15 According to one member, their objectives are: to support and spread production practices that safeguard the welfare of the land, nature, biodiversity and of all living beings, counteracting the use of toxic agrochemicals and the introduction of GMOs. Additionally, we intend to drastically reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, waste water, waste production, and we fight against the exploitation of farm labour and the different forms of slave labour. We also promote and give incentive to the principle of food selfdetermination through the right to have access to genuine, affordable and locally produced food. We also claim the right to land as a “common good” and as an instrument of political action to produce food, and we hope to build alliances with urban and rural movements that help bring together producers and consumers. Finally, we propose to transform the use of urban and rural spaces based on practices of self-organization, solidarity, cooperation and the care of territory.16 Most importantly, Genuino Clandestino not only criticizes and resists neoliberal reforms, it proposes and attempts to realize concrete and practical alternatives to the capitalist system. In general, Genuino Clandestino’s campaigns are based on proprietary issues.17 By occupying public land or collectively buying land, they claim space for their practices. Through challenging the intellectual property rights that limit the buying and selling of seeds they resist the privatization and commodification of nature. The contentious issue of food is used to illustrate social connections and to construct communities of resistance.18 Instead of the opportunity to amass surplus, peasant farmers gain the opportunity to realize autonomy through their participation in Genuino Clandestino.

15 Mattioli, “Property of Food.” 16 Giovanni Pandolfini, “The autonomous self-management of land/ food: Genuino clandestino,” Autonomies, trans. Sorana Inibrina. [http:// autonomies.org/ru/2014/10/the-autonomous-self-management-of-landfood-genuino-clandestino/]. 17 Mattioli, “Property of Food.” 18 Ibid.

HOW THEY WORK Genuino Clandestino is organized by territorial communities that self-govern through assembly-based democracy.19 These territories connect farmers with urban communities to build solidarity through self-organization that transcends the capitalist roles of producer and consumer. The Genuino Clandestino non-label is given to farmers who know, meet, and become acquainted with other members. Through their participation in Genuino Clandestino, farmers become accountable to each other and to those purchasing their products instead of to outside or government certifiers.20 The Genuino Clandestino non-label is a guarantee about the structure and relations of the production and supply chain, not just the product itself. One of the principles of these territorial communities and networks is to make visible the social and ecological connections involved in small-scale agriculture.21 The solidarity networks promote everyday consumption without going through supermarkets, which is especially important for low-income consumers.22 The success of Genuino Clandestino relies on urban-rural connections that guarantee the farmers a base of people to whom they can sell their products.23 Through their monthly assemblies, the markets set prices and quality standards, introduce new members, and mobilize current and new campaigns.24 This allows buyers and sellers to be directly responsive to each other in their practices. According to their manifesto, Genuino Clandestino “is open to everybody, wary of hierarchies and spokesman and requires no residence permit or citizenship.”25 In addition to local democratic structures, there are two meetings per year where participants discuss the issues of land access, biodiversity, solidarity economy networks and participatory guarantee systems.26 While there has been a growing number of middle-class, well educated farmers who have been involved in the core of the movement,27 it’s only through the continued interest and commitment of large range of groups, and especially purchaser collectives, that the projects work. 19 Pandolfini, “Autonomous self-management.” 20 L Russi, “Peasant farming: commoning through co-production for future generations,” Trends in Social Cohesion: Protecting future generations through commons, Council of Europe, eds. Saki Bailey, Gilda Farrell and Ugo Mattei, 26 (2013): 299-312. 21 Ibid. 22 G Brunori, A Rossi, and V Malandrin, “Co-producing transition: innovation processes in farms adhering to solidarity-based purchase groups (GAS) in Tuscany, Italy,” International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 18 (2011): 28-53. 23 R Borghesi, “Peasant resistances,” Scienze del Territorio, 2 (2014): 153-158. 24 “Interview with Massimo de Angelis” 25 Pandolfini, “Autonomous self-management.” 26 Borghesi, “Peasant resistances.” 27 Mattioli, “Property of Food.”

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THE BRAZILIAN LANDLESS WORKERS MOVEMENT WHO THEY ARE The Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra; MST)28 is one of the most effective and expansive examples of a long-term popular movement. The MST’s objectives are the struggle for land, land reform, and a more just society. The objectives are approached through principles of collectivity, education, and agricultural production. Through land occupations that form a demonstrated national network, the MST demands that issues of land reform be part of the political discussion at all levels. The MST is supported by people across classes both in Brazil and abroad. The movement’s political impact has allowed it to successfully negotiate with the state and create widespread mobilizations of the landless. The movement has also spread outside of Brazil, including a Movimiento Sin Tierra in Bolivia that relies on many Andean cultural principles that are also present in indigenous movements in Ecuador.29 The MST uses land as the foundation on which to build a comprehensive movement that struggles for a popular democracy of the entire society. Between 1995 and 2000, the MST’s slogan was “Agrarian Reform: A Struggle for All,” which demonstrates how they see their movement as eventually including and transforming all sectors of society.

WHAT THEY DO The MST’s capacity to mobilize is demonstrated by its approximately 1.5 million members and operations in 24 of Brazil’s 27 states.30 Since the early 1980s, the MST has carried out more than 2,000 land occupations. Currently, there are over 400,000 families living in 1,200 communities on 20 million hectares of land.31 On once fallow land, there are now 2,000 agricultural associations and cooperatives and nearly 100 locally run agribusinesses.32 Early on, MST’s leaders concluded that social transformation could not occur through occupations alone and that political education was necessary in tandem. Currently, It is 28 MST, accessed February 20, 2016. [www.mstbrazil.org]. 29 Nicole Fabricant, “Between the Romance of Collectivism and the Reality of Individualism: Ayllu Rhetoric in Bolivia’s Landless Peasant Movement,” Latin American Perspectives, 37 (2010): 88-107. 30 MST, “Quem Somos,” accessed February 20, 2016. [http://www.mst. org.br/quem-somos/]. 31 Dawn Plummer, “Leadership Development and Formação in Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST),” (Master’s thesis, City University of New York, 2008). 32 MST, “Nossa Produção,” [www.mst.org.br].

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involved in education programs at the primary, secondary, and adult level and has developed its own pedagogy of the land.33 Within its encampments, the MST has established approximately 2,000 public schools that guarantee education to 200,000 children, adolescents, and adults.34 The success of the MST’s land occupations must be understood in the context of its political education programs and leadership training systems.35 From its emergence, influenced by Gramscian ideas, the MST intended to be counter-hegemonic, requiring the creation of new social relations and channels of socialization to challenge existing power relations.36 Instead of trying to overthrow the government, the MST’s National Coordination Committee sees the organization of society’s base through popular development projects as the most effective mechanism for social change.37 This requires the propagation of thousands of organic intellectuals38 that take part in collective leadership.

HOW THEY WORK The movement’s success has often been considered dependent on external political factors,39 but it’s internal social dynamics are equally important. There are three levels of membership and leadership: base (the base), militantes (the militants), and dirigentes (the leaders).40 The grassroots base includes all workers and families that identify with the movement and live in the encampments. The militants work across sectors, collectives, and settlements in an area to organize at larger scales. The leaders are elected to serve on the national and state scale, their responsibility is to understand and represent the needs of the base, which direct the movement. Encampments occur on land owned by agribusiness or large landholders that is being underutilized (based on a constitutional right to expropriate unproductive land). If the movement is successful at obtaining a title then the land becomes a settlement, 33 Liam Kane, “Popular education and the Landless People’s Movement in Brazil (MST),” Studies in the Education of Adults, 32 (2000): 36-51. 34 MST, [www.mst.org.br]. 35 Plummer, “Leadership Development.” 36 Raul Burgos, “The Gramscian Intervention in the Theoretical and Political Production of the Latin American Left,” Latin American Perspectives, 29 (2002): 14. 37 Luke Stobart, “The MST, Brazil and the Struggle for Land,” (2004), accessed on February 20, 2016. [http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article. php?article_id=8976]. 38 Antonio Gramsci, “The Formation of the Intellectuals,” Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, eds. Quentin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith (1971): 134-147. 39 Gabriel Ondetti, “Repression, Opportunity, and Protest: Explaining the Takeoff of Brazil’s Landless Movement,” Latin American Politics & Society, 48 (2006): 61-94. 40 Plummer, “Leadership Development.”


which is an alternative rural development project guided by collective and democratic ideals.41 Decisions are made in open assemblies that also distribute tasks to teams of members. Representatives are elected to attend state-wide MST meetings, where representatives are again elected to participate in national MST meetings. Thus, leaders at the highest scales come from and represent the base so that ideas and directions emerge from the bottom-up. Expansion of membership happens through organizing new occupations and encampments, which recruit new families into the movement. To keep new members engaged with and dedicated to the movement, the formação (formation) sector is involved in political and technical education.

MST’S RADICAL PEDAGOGY Education in the MST happens through many channels, formal and informal. Participation in encampments “provide a crash course in political awareness, collective values, participatory democracy and a range of specific skills.”42 The continued strength of the MST is reliant, in part, on collective cultural practices and the making of community.43 This involves the construction of a sem terra (landless) identity that empowers the rural poor to recognize a right to land, agrarian reform, and a more equitable society.44 One practice for forming the landless identity is misticas, which are collective spiritual and cultural performances that happen before meetings and major events.45 In addition to informal learning, members participate in MST-designed and administered programs and courses. Internal leadership development and political education and training are central to the MST’s methods. They have developed a system of schools that operate on scales from the local to the national where both short- and long-term courses provide political and technical education to MST leadership at all levels. According to the MST, education should relate to working the land; develop the spirit of co-operation; encompass all dimensions of human need; be for and carried out with humanist and socialist values; and be a lifelong process of training and social transformation.46 41 Kane, “Popular education.” 42 Ibid., 40. 43 Wendy Wolford, “Producing Community: The MST and Land Reform Settlements in Brazil,” Journal of Agrarian Change, 3 (2003): 500-21. 44 Kathryn Hochstetler, “Democratizing Pressures from Below? Social Movements in the New Brazilian Democracy,” in Democratic Brazil: Actors, Institutions and Processes, eds. Peter R. Kingstone and Timothy J. Power, (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000), 167-82. 45 Daniela Issa, “Praxis of Empowerment: Mística and Mobilization in Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement,” Latin American Perspectives, 24 (2007): 125. 46 Kane, “Popular education,” 6.

In line with a commitment to collectivity and democracy, education is seen as a collaborative endeavor where theory and practice are made, reflected on, and remade. Their pedagogies are influenced by thinkers like Paulo Freire, M.M. Pistrak, Antonio Gramsci, Jose Marti, Karl Marx and Anton Makarenko.47 Their pedagogical principles include: a common teaching and training methodology, that curriculum should arise from the social realities faced by the community, that social reality is the basis of all knowledge, that there is a link between socioeconomic organization and education, democratic management, and learner self-organization.48 Encouraging self-confidence, conscientization, and empowerment are the goals of the education process. Schools are organized to reimagine social relations, break down the power dynamic of teacher-student, and be discussion based.49 Students are organized into cooperative groups that read aloud and debate concepts, organize their own curriculum, and manage the domestic tasks necessary for the school to operate. There is a coordinating team that helps students with analysis, discussion, and difficulties. There is continuous space made for reflection and self-criticism so that the school and curriculum are constantly being remade. There are schools and courses for members of the base, for the militants, for leaders, and there are schools and courses where they are all together so that members of different levels stay connected to each other.50 Students may travel regionally to learn together, which creates social relations across a territory. Schools also move around so that those who cannot travel still have the opportunity to attend courses. The curriculum of the regional schools focuses on practices of resistance based on knowledge of how society functions. They cover the themes of capitalist modes of production and exploitation, cooperative agriculture, unionism, and methods for grassroots organizing.51 All of these themes are meant to empower students to understand their realities and become agents of change. In the words of one MST leader: “the MST innovates in its practice by recovering the collective subject, strengthening the identity of workers, and recuperating dignity, so that they may participate in the historic process of their liberation.”52 The intention is always to propagate new leaders with new ideas for practice that emerge from the base.

47 See: Marta Harnecker, Landless People: Building a Social Movement, (São Paulo: Editora Expressão Popular, 2003); MST Setor de Educacao, “Principios da Educacao no MST,” (Sao Paulo: MST, 1996). 48 Kane, “Popular education.” 49 Ibid. 50 Ibid. 51 Plummer, “Leadership development.” 52 Ibid.

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3.5. CONCLUSION: BUILDING A MOVEMENT Both Genuino Clandestino and the MST articulate a politics of scale that connects their local struggles to larger geopolitical processes. They also leverage their own counter-politics of scale to create new socio-spatial realities of resistance. By reterritorializing the supply chain of agricultural products, Genuino Clandestino constructs new—or in a sense, old—socioeconomic scales that challenge the capitalist separation of production and reproduction. This is only possible through the creation of social networks between individuals and groups that neoliberal restructuring has separated, specifically consumers and producers, so that their relations are no longer solely mediated by the market or by business. The MST formed by connecting isolated rural movements to move them beyond militant particularism53 and onto the

53 David Harvey, Justice, Nature, and Geographies of Difference (Malden, MA: 1996).

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national scale and ultimately towards global ambition.54 This was accomplished, in part, because of solidarity networks formed with the church and with urban movements. Building on existing struggles and working with existing social networks (such as religious networks) allowed the MST to scale up. The operation of the MST on the national and global scale, though always informed by the social realities of local struggles, has allowed it to be politically and socially impactful. Karriem argues that “the territorialization of occupations nationally has resulted in what Harvey would call the MST’s move from ‘organizing in and dominating’ place to ‘commanding space.’”55 The struggle for space (rooted in but more comprehensive than struggles for particular places) being the arena for collective contestation of capital accumulation.56 54 A Karriem, “The Rise and Transformation of the Brazilian Landless Movement into a Counter-Hegemonic Political Actor: A Gramscian Analysis,” Geoforum, 40 (2009): 316-325. 55 Ibid., 321. 56 Harvey, Justice, Nature, and Geographies of Difference.


Both movements are also fundamentally concerned with outreach or education. The non-label used by Genuino Clandestino allows the movement to assert itself into what Baudrillard might call the amalgamation of signs of the consumer society57 Through contradistinction with the state-sponsored organic certification labels, Genuino Clandestino opens up the possibility of inspiring the consumer to better understand the production of their food. As well as potentially drawing the attention of other producers who may want to join the movement. The MST consistently connects the struggle for land and land occupations to larger social issues as well as everyday life. Through education it reveals and challenges the capitalist production of nature and through agro-ecological practices it presents an alternative nature-society relation. Through reflection and self-criticism the MST is able to adjust its strategies to respond to the changing realities on the ground. When a number 57 Jean Baudrillard, The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures (London: Sage Publications, 1998 [1970]).

of occupations began to fail, the MST reevaluated and began more gradually building the service, finance, and commercial cooperatives necessary to successfully collectivize agricultural practices. All of these practices are supported by political education that is participatory and democratic and cultivates organic intellectuals that are involved in both theory and practice. Karriem refers to this as the MSTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organizational praxis which promotes the development of a counter-hegemonic popular common sense that challenges private property relations through land occupations, that promotes consciousness-raising, self-organization, leadership, and alliance building, and the remaking of nature-society relations through agro-ecological practices.58

58

Karriem, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Rise and Transformation,â&#x20AC;? 324.

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SECTION 4

RED DE MERCADOS NETWORK OF MARKETS

PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED Just as the oppressor, in order to oppress, needs a theory of oppressive action, so the oppressed, in order to become free, also need a theory of action. —Paulo Freire1 Human activity is theory and practice; it is reflection and action. —Paulo Freire2

4.1. DESIGNING SPACES OF MEANING MAKING Our project, so far, has involved historical, ethnographic, and secondary source research that we analyzed through a theoretical framework for understanding spatio-temporal scales of social change. This provided us a number of insights: that current market struggles are connected to bundled historical processes; that trans-scalar social movements can simultaneously influence multiple nodes in the geometries of power of the status quo; and that critical education projects can be central to collective action and movement expansion. Our proposal picks up here and offers a community-based media project designed to create increasing potentials and support for the inter-market solidarity network that is already forming in Quito. The problematic identified in our thesis has been the disjuncture between desire, discussion, and action that has prevented a strong network of solidarity. This involves all the workers in the market, from the cargadores and desgranadoras to the vendors and mayorista merchants. The already existing group of leaders trying to organize an inter-market solidarity network have expressed the lack of connection between the markets and even between struggles within each market as the biggest obstacle. We have been invited to work with them and also with activist and research groups in Quito engaged with the social issues in the markets: Red de Saberes and Instituto de la Ciudad. This project incorporates all of these actors as well as other workers and leaders across Quito’s markets. The main objectives for the project are to support the emerging solidarity network through the creation of spaces of interaction, connection, and collective meaning making. This objective is supported through the facilitation of a community filmmaking project accompanied by workshops and community events. Our methodology draws on Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed and theories in critical education through media, both of which emphasize participatory and collaborative meaning making through an iterative pedagogical practice. Ultimately, this project imagines a strong network of solidarity within and between Quito’s public markets that can provide a foundation for collective action in defense of the markets and the reclaiming of the production of space by and for the markets and their neighborhoods. In the following section we outline our methodological inspirations before describing the specific project and its timeline. 254

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed (hereafter PotO), Paulo Freire reimagines education as more than simply a tool for social change, but as a central part of the process of social change itself. Freire’s work is a critique of the traditional banking concept of education that is based on the idea of a teacher or knowledgepossessor depositing knowledge unidirectionally into the student or knowledge-lacker. This banking concept presupposes that a person can be empty or full of knowledge and privileges institutionalized forms of knowledge that serve to perpetuate oppression. Freire argues that for education to be emancipatory it cannot rely on a separation between students and teachers that reproduces social relations of oppressed and oppressor. Freire proposes a problem-based pedagogy through which studentteachers and teacher-students engage in collective knowledge making “to surmount the situation of oppression” by recognizing “its causes, so that through transforming action they can create a new situation, one which makes possible the pursuit of a fuller humanity.”3 Through Freirean popular education projects, not only is knowledge collectively created but also new social relations are formed. Freire summarizes the PotO as: a pedagogy which must be forged with, not for, the oppressed (whether individuals or peoples) in the incessant struggle to regain their humanity. This pedagogy makes oppression and its causes objects of reflection by the oppressed, and from that reflection will come their necessary engagement in the struggle for their liberation. And in the struggle this pedagogy will be made and remade.4

Limit-Situations. Limit-situations are historically situated and constructed obstacles to liberation that can be overcome through action—”limit-acts.” Limit-situations often generate hopelessness because of the perspective from which they are viewed. However, Freire argues that through action that embodies critical perception reality is transformed, which invariably produces new limit-situations requiring new limit-acts. This demands the—hopefully confidence producing—understanding that human praxis simultaneously creates history and makes 1 Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, trans. Myra Bergman Ramos (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015 [1970]), 183. 2 Ibid., 125. 3 Ibid., 47. 4 Ibid., 48.


Theme Limit-situation

Codification Representation

Collective Decoding

Theme

Analysis

Theme Thematic Fan

humans historical-social beings. As well as the understanding that the existence of a limit-situation requires some individuals to benefit from the situation.

Dialogue / Communication. There can be no radical education, from Freire’s perspective, without communication and dialogue, which he contrasts sharply to communiques— unidirectional representations of power relations. It is through dialogue and communication that the student-teacher contradiction is overcome. Freire insists that dialogical education begins before the students and teachers ever meet, that it must be part of thinking about program content. Freire writes: For the dialogical, problem-posing teacher-student, the program content of education is neither a gift nor an imposition—bits of information to be deposited in the students—but rather the organized, systematized, and developed “re-presentation” to individuals of the things about which they want to know more.5

This involves dialog between Subjects about an objective situation and each Subject’s awareness of that situation. Thus, all programs of political action education must begin with “the present, existential, concrete situation, reflecting the aspirations of the people.”6 This type of education program draws on the “thematic universe” of the people. The themes at the center of Freirian education projects are contained within and contain limit-situations. Discussing generative themes and how they are perceived opens up new and expanded generative themes and eventually reveals the most general and fundamental theme of an epoch—for Freire this fundamental theme is domination.7 This process necessarily emphasizes the connection between themes so that phenomenon that are often experienced as fragmented become seen as part of a social totality—or total reality. This critical understanding can only emerge through dialogical education, never through the banking concept of education.

Coding / Decoding. After their initial investigation, teacher-students select contradictions to be re-presented through 5 6 7

Ibid., 93. Ibid., 95. Ibid., 103.

codifications, which can be oral or visual. Codifications act as mediators of the process of collective discussion and critical analysis. Freire calls this process decoding. Freire lays out certain important principles for the creation of codifications8: • They must represent situations that are familiar to the participants • The central thematic must be neither overly explicit nor over enigmatic • They must offer various decoding possibilities • They should be part of a ‘thematic fan’ so that through decoding new themes are opened up The purpose of the decoding process is for participants to reach a “perception of their previous perception.”9 In this way, “individuals who were submerged in reality, merely feeling their needs, emerge from reality and and perceive the causes of their needs.”10 Discussion and decoding sessions are meant to cocreate an understanding of the totality of social reality. Decoding sessions should be recorded to be reviewed and analyzed later by the investigative team and participantvolunteers. This analysis should involve identifying the thematics that emerged and how they are connected. These thematics are then re-codified to be used in later discussion and decoding sessions. The iterative process of codifying and decoding is necessarily dialogical and problem based: The task of the dialogical teacher in an interdisciplinary team working on the thematic universe revealed by their investigation is ‘re-present’ that universe to the people from whom she or he first received it—and ‘re-present’ it not as a lecture, but as a problem.11

This is the process of cultural synthesis through which investigators, teacher-students, and student-teachers learn not through domination but by generating collective—though not homogenous—critical understandings of reality. In other words: In cultural synthesis, the actors who come from ‘another world’ to the world of the people do so not as invaders. They do not come to teach or to transmit or to give anything, but rather to learn with the people, about the people’s world.12 8 Ibid., 114. 9 Ibid., 115. 10 Ibid., 117. 11 Ibid., 108. 12 Ibid., 180.

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MEDIA FOR CRITICAL EDUCATION Our project uses film as a critical pedagogical tool for opening up and expanding conversations. Film is already a popular mode of communication and a form of public pedagogy. Documentary film is non-fictional cinema that attempts to record and portray realities or evidence for the purpose of archiving, instruction and the building of cultural understanding. We are interested in documentary film as a tool because of its reaffirmation of the right to know and to communicate. Film has been an educational force for revealing and problematizing stereotypes, as Erik Barnouw has argued. He says that through film, issues were always shown to be more complicated—and more fascinating—than dogma was inclined to make them... Such material, while dramatically compelling, could also be revealing, reflecting stresses of society on the individual.13

Film is able to build on and contribute to existing conversations around politics, personal experiences, and public life in such a way as to connect the personal to larger social issues. Most importantly, film can be a tool for raising questions that are increasingly lost to the forces of market relations, commercialization, and privatization.14 Especially, “fundamental questions about how we think about politics and political agency in light of such a recognition.”15 Film is able to weave together history and present. It can both reveal and deploy “material and symbolic relations of power” produced and understood through “struggles marked by the historical realities of power and the deep anxieties of the times.”16 In this way, documentaries both visualize and “intentionally try to influence the production of meaning, subject positions, identities, and experience... while letting the audience draw his/her [sic] own conclusions.”17 In summary, while film plays an important role in placing particular ideologies and values into public conversation, it also provides a pedagogical space that opens up the “possibility of interpretation as intervention.18

participation in the solution of social problems,”19 and is especially focused on involving marginalized groups dissatisfied with existing possibilities for participation. Early on, they trained and equipped indigenous film crews, allowing them to document their own experiences and struggles. Media for critical education must necessarily be accompanied by discussions and workshops. Challenge for Change holds community discussions that are in turn filmed and later watched by the participants. This iterative and self-reflective process generates “subtle shifts of opinion” as it “stimulates and improves intra-community communication, as well as serving as a bridge to officialdom outside the community.”20 This is a democratic process that, according to Henri Giroux, creates “spaces in which critical dialogue, pleasure, shared interaction, and public participation flourish.”21 Naomi Klein, who participated in Challenge for Change as a kid, says, that watching the film is a collective experience, a communal experience. You’re gathering people in a room but afterwards you don’t want to lose that moment, you don’t want it to dissipate. The film is just the conversation starter and the goal is to keep people in the room and to keep them talking.22

One prominent example of activist documentary conceived as a political tool against neocolonialism and capitalism is Challenge For Change. It began in 1967 to “promote citizen 13 Erik Barnouw, Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 246. 14 Henri Giroux. Breaking into the Movies: Pedagogy and the politics of Film. JAC 21.3 (2001) 15 Ibid., 594. 16 Ibid., 585. 17 Henri Giroux, America on the Edge: Giroux on Politics, Culture, and Education, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan St. Martin’s Press, 2006). 18 Ibid., 121.

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19 Barnouw, Documentary, 258. 20 Barnouw, Documentary, 260. 21 Giroux, Breaking, 596. 22 Naomi Klein, Challenge for Change, “Putting Ideas into the World: A Conversation with Naomi Klein about starting Conversations with Film,” eds. Ezra Winton et al. (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010).


4.2. DESIGN PROPOSAL Our proposal is structured as a series of events and workshops designed to promote community engagement across racial and class groups to support an already forming intermarket solidarity network. We use film as a relational device around which conversations can be built that involve multiple stakeholders, giving each a voice. The proposal is currently based on one future visit leading up to the Habitat III conference. It will last six weeks of workâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;September 12 to October 22â&#x20AC;&#x201D;and be divided into three main work themes: introduction, coproduction, and exhibition. This initial phase of the project is focused on producing a community video project to be screened during the Habitat III conference. At the same time, the project is meant as a tool to build the foundation for a longer term community project of claiming ownership and control over their spacesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;especially the markets.

FILM We shot and produced our own short film based on our two previous visits to Ecuador. The narrative was constructed over the course of our investigation, analysis, and through our reading of PotO. Based on PotO, our short film is a representation of the information and stories we collected over our initial trips. We codified what we collected to be represented as elements of larger systems. Following Friere, the film focuses on re-presenting a salient limit-situation from the initial investigation: that groups within and between the markets feel that their struggles are too disconnected to form a strong solidarity network. This limit-situation is presented using audio of the leaders themselves during the meeting we participated in, allowing the viewers of the film to reflect on their own perspectives. The film uses images and footage of the potato, following it from fields into the markets and supermarkets. We feel that this visual metaphor evokes two connections between markets and groups: (1) a mutual embeddedness in supply chains and (2) a mutual antagonism with the spread of supermarkets. Placing the familiar limit-situation within this familiar context could open up numerous possibilities for decoding and thematic fans. Thus, the film is a pedagogical tool in the Freirean sense of being a problem-posing provocation. It is dialogical in form, by juxtaposing the audio of different leaders raising problems, and meant to be dialogical in provocation, by inspiring discussion. The following pages lay out the narrative of the film through stills.

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258


259


260


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2016 - Project Timeline September

12

19 Networking + Outreach + Fieldwork

Event 1

Break

Introduction

Networking + Outreach + Fieldwork

26

October

03 Community Film Production

Event 2

Break

Co-production

Community Film Production

10 +

Collect Missing Material

17 Habitat III Event

Monday 264

Tuesday

Wednesday

Reflection

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Exposition

Preparatory Week Preoaratory


TIMELINE OF VISIT

BUDGET

The timeline of the project is six weeks of workâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;September 12 to October 22, 2016â&#x20AC;&#x201D;divided into three main themes: introduction, co-production, and exhibition. However, this is only the very beginning of a much longer-term project that will continue after we return from Quito.

The project budget for the first three phases is approximately $8,000. This includes Personnel, materials, and equipment. The detailed budget is below.

Project Budget | Quito, 2016 Dates: September 18 - October 22 | 5 weeks total Expenses

Quantity

Cost in $

Total Costs in $

Notes

Roundtrip flights

2

500

$1,000

Lodging 35 nights

70

10

$700

AirBnB apartment

Per diem 35 days

70

Food and transportation

Personnel

10

$700

Total Costs =

$2,400

NYC - Quito

Materials outreach materials; invitations, flyers, etc

Printing costs for 3 events

3

50

$150

Food and drinks per attendee, event 1

40

5

$200

Food and drinks per attendee, event 2

80

5

$400

Food and drinks per attendee, event 3

80

5

$400

Decorations for 3 events

3

100

$300

tablecloths, center pieces, hanging things

Other supplies for 3 events

3

100

$300

cutlery, trash bags, paper towels

Total Costs =

$1,750

Equipment Projector for 3 events

3

50

150

Projector screen for 3 events

3

50

150

Sound system for 3 events

3

100

300

Community cameras

5

30

$150

Used camcorders (ie. DXG USA)

DSLR camera

1

500

$500

ie. Nikon D5100

Digital voice recorder

1

300

$300

ie. Olympus LS

Screening event space for 3 events

3

100

300

Workshop event space for 2 workshop

2

100

200

Computer for editing

1

500

$500

Refurbished laptop (ie. Dell Latitude E6420)

Editing software

1

155

$155

1 year Adobe Premiere educational license

Total Costs =

$2,705

1400

1400

20% unforseen cost TOTAL COSTS =

$8,255

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PHASE 1: INTRODUCTION NETWORKING, OUTREACH, AND FIELDWORK September 12 to 22. The networking, outreach, and fieldwork step has three clear goals: (1) to connect or reconnect with all the individuals that we hope will be involved in the project as it goes forwards, (2) to generate interest in and excitement for the project and first event, and (3) to continue to collect footage, stories, perspectives, and information. Our strategy for networking and outreach is to present the first event, and the project as a whole, as a celebratory community activity that brings people invested in the markets together over food and drinks. We will distribute flyers inviting the leaders of the markets whom we connect with along with their families and friends. This step will involve spending days personally going around Quito’s markets, with our local partners, for a more personal introduction and invitation to the “blockparty” style community event. In parallel, these visits will allow us to conduct further fieldwork of observing the operation and struggles of the markets and to further collect people’s stories and perspectives on film. The media collection will consist of observational filming of the markets and activities within and around them and informal yet provocative conversations (with camera) with people within the market. The footage can be used in future community film projects and potentially be used as the basis for a future online archive.

EVENT 1 September 23. The first event is a community gathering, a celebration of the importance of the markets, a space to share knowledge and experience, an opportunity to socialize and connect, and a call to reflect on what collective ownership of the markets means in relation to the many social struggles they face. The participants will be: those market leaders we are already connected with—Marta Ruiz, Jaime Chugchilan, Victor Sanchez, Blanca Chicaiza—and other leaders involved in organizing the more marginalized groups within the markets, researchers and activists from Instituto de la Ciudad, activists and artists from Red de Saberes, and cultural workers from the Ministry of Culture. The event begins with a brief introduction of ourselves, the project we have been working on, and the community film project that will begin the following week. The short film will be screened followed by a period of group reflection and

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discussion. This discussion is not meant to be led, but instead to see what themes arise after the film. However, we will be prepared to re-pose the problems presented in the film if necessary. The discussion will continue in smaller groups over dinner, particularly over the problem of connection/disconnection between the markets. After dinner we will invite everyone to interact with, annotate, and discuss another re-presentation of the information we collected in our initial investigation, this time a large diagram of the supply and value chain of the potato. This diagram again centers the connectivity between the markets while also bringing in land ownership, migration, and the different roles that people play in moving products through the markets. The intention here is to compliment and correct the information that is part of the graphic representation of the supply value chain. Finally, we invite everyone to continue to be involved in similar events and a collective film project that will give the participants a space to express themselves on a larger stage during the Habitat III conference. The evening then continues with drinks and music. The discussions during the event will be filmed. This footage serves two purposes: it can be used in later community film projects and it will also be used as part of the process of analyzing the progress of the workshops. The footage from these discussion can be edited and uploaded, along with transcripts, to the project’s online archive. Following PotO, the discussions will be revisited and decoded by a group of investigator-participants so that future workshops and events can continue to explore and advance the thematic fans that are opened up. The themes that arise in the filmed discussions can help direct future film projects and be recoded by the investigator-participants to then be decoded in future events and workshops. This collective of participant-investigators initially consists of ourselves, one or two activists working in the markets, and volunteers from the markets who are committed to a long-term project in support of a solidarity network.


PHASE 2: CO-PRODUCTION COMMUNITY FILM PRODUCTION September 26 to October 6. The community film project combines facilitated auto-ethnographic filmmaking with walking with video methods as means for digital storytelling . This kind of project involves investigators and participants (and blurring the line between these roles) co-constructing media representations that allow participants to take control over their own narratives. Following PotO, investigator-participants are there to facilitate the systemization of co-produced meanings and understandings of everyday limit-situations so that they be seen as thematically connected. Through the process, not only is a media project produced, but participant-investigators can co-produce new perceptions of their previous perceptions through self-reflection and collaborative work. The media project, then, is never a final outcome but always a constituent part of the iterative process of meaning making and empowerment. Importantly, it allows participant-investigators to express their experiences and thoughts to an audience. This serves as both outreach to bring more individuals into the project and can be a powerful tool for communicating with outsiders near and far, as well as those in positions of power. Those participants who aren’t interested in generating their own media can still be involved in the process through walking with video experiences in which they spend time talking with investigator-participants (who are filming) while walking through the spaces of their everyday lives. Walking with video is a methodology in visual ethnography that emphasizes relations in space and meanings of place. By walking through places with participants it can help create a shared experience and thus facilitate communication, allow participants to be more in touch with their environments as they speak instead of simply reflecting on them in interviews, and offer potentials for social interactions. There will be 3 workshops over this week and a half. These more informal workshops are geared more towards young adults, teenagers, and kids. We intend to partner with institutions that have the space and equipment capacity to host film production and editing workshops. Like the project as a whole, the film is used here as a relational device to bring people together over a project. The workshops will work through the thematics opened up during the discussion of the previous event. They will include more informal problem-posing discussions that encourage the participants to weigh in on these themes as well as to explore them with their families, coworkers, and neighbors. Our budget includes the purchase of some small camcorders to facilitate

this step but participants can also use their cellphones or simply record audio. There is a lot of potential here to coordinate with Masoom’s after school project as a way to bring more people into the project and also facilitate stronger connections between the markets and schools. We also expect Luis Herrera and Mauricio Chugchilan to participate as primary collaborators as they are both filmmakers and invested in social issue filmmaking.

EVENT 2 October 7. Similar to the event during our previous visit, this is a community screening and discussion/forum. There are again three purposes: (1) creating a sense of empowerment and connection through the screening; (2) creating a space of continued—and ideally expansive—discussion about struggles and connections in the markets; and (3) to provide a space for outreach that is exciting and draws more individuals into the project. Similar to the first event, the second is framed as a community celebration and gathering, a film screening, dinner, discussion, followed by music and drinks. The films screened during this event will be a collection of the in-progress community project. Ideally, these will address and expand upon the themes that emerged during the previous event. Outreach for this event will happen while working on the community film production through the participant-investigators themselves. Outreach can also move onto social media during this phase as the project expands its capacity to include more participants. This event will be organized by a group of participantinvestigators including ourselves and volunteer project participants committed to the long-term continuation of the project. This participant-investigator collective is responsible for analyzing and decoding the footage from the previous discussion and the kind of footage shot during the community workshops to develop the thematics that will guide Event 2. Through the continuous inclusion of more participants into the participantinvestigator collective, the project can eventually be transferred completely into the control of the local community so that we are only involved in whatever capacity they desire. At this phase, however, the participant-investigator collective is still building its capacity for event production and outreach. Event 2 begins with another short introduction for those new to the project, ideally it is given by one of the participantinvestigators from the community instead of ourselves. The short films or clips are then shown followed by an initial reaction

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discussion. Participants will be asked to identify what themes they felt were prevalent in the films, what they identified with and what felt foreign. Again, this exercise should be facilitated by one or two participant-investigators. Then dinner is served as participants break into smaller groups to continue to discuss the problems posed in the films. Finally, the large group comes together again to report on anything interesting in their small group discussions and to have a concluding discussion about whatever thematic was identified by the participant-investigator collective. Like the last event, these discussions are filmed to be analyzed by the participant-investigator collective later and to be edited and entered into the online archive. Finally, the event continues with music and drinks. This event is particularly important because similar events will become regular drivers of the project as it moves forward. It is these community film showcases, discussions, and block parties that ensure that the project is a constant and positive presence in the markets. Event 2, then, is in many ways a pilot of future events to come and should be taken as a learning opportunity in terms of outreach, discussion organization, and general methodology.

PHASE 3: EXHIBITION EXHIBITION PREPARATION October 10 to 16. We have two primary goals with this week: (1) to continue producing community film materialsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; supporting the participantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s projects and continuing to shoot walking with video segments; and (2) to finalize the production of media that will be shown at the Habitat III-adjacent exhibit. The Red de Mercados community film project will be participating in this exhibit along with the projects being facilitated by our fellow classmates as well as with local and international activists invested in challenging dominant narratives of urbanization. To prepare for this event the participant-investigator collective needs to analyze and systematize the footage and other media collected so far to again draw out themes, limit-situations, and aspirations. Certain configurations of stories and perspectives can then be constructed collaboratively with other participants to simultaneously present their everyday lives while posing problems about the situations in the markets and wider processes of urbanization in Quito. The participant-investigators can work together to examine the UN Habitat narratives of urbanization to explore how their experiences in the markets exemplify or challenge these ideas.


HABITAT III EVENT October 17 to 20. The final event of this summer-fall portion of the project with coincide with the UN Habitat III conference. It will be a screening of the community film project so far and a forum for market workers and leaders to build solidarity, express the struggles they face in an urbanizing Quito, and challenge the UN narratives of urbanization as well as the New Urban Agenda. The screening will take place as part of a larger exhibit of the work being done by the 8 members of our larger thesis group. The exhibition will be part of the Social Urban Forum that is being organized adjacent to UN Habitat III by academics, activists, and designers from around the world. Our portion of the exhibition will display the films in a configuration collaboratively decided through the project as well as inviting project participants to participate in the Urban Social Forum through workshops and events that allow them to share their local experiences with an international audience. The exhibition will also return to New York City in early 2017 and be exhibited in The New School’s Aronson Gallery on 5th Avenue.

MOVING FORWARD / CONCLUSION Before we leave Quito at the end of October, we will spend a few days working with the participant-investigator collective to secure the strength of the project moving forward. With the team there, we will collaboratively develop a new round of goals, objectives, and strategies that keep the inter-market solidarity network in focus while also responding to the thematics that have arisen through the films, workshops, and events. This might also involve strengthening connections with Masoom Moitra’s project entitled “(Re)production of Urban Knowledge” as well as Maria Guadalupe Morales and Mateo Fernandez Muro’s project entitled “The Communes of Quito as a Collective Inhabitation of Territory: Imagining self-governance tools for an emancipatory urban production.”


References Andrien, Kenneth. The Kingdom of Quito 1690-1830: The state and regional development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Barnouw, Erik. Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Baud, Michiel. “Liberalism, Indigenismo, and Social Mobilization.” In: Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador, edited by Kim Clark and Marc Becker. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007. Baudrillard, Jean. The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures. London: Sage Publications, 1998. Benson, Sonia G., Sarah Hermsen, and Deborah J. Baker. “Daily Life in the Inca Empire.” In: Early Civilizations in the Americas Reference Library, edited by Sonia G. Benson, Sarah Hermsen, and Deborah J. Baker. Detroit: UXL, 2005. Blankstein, Charles, and Clarence Zuvekas. “Agrarian Reform in Ecuador: An Evaluation of past Efforts and the Development of a New Approach.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 22 (1973): 73-94. Bocco, Arnoldo. Auge petrolero modernización y subdesarrollo: El Ecuador de los años setenta. Quito: Corporación Editora Nacional, 1987. Borghesi, R. “Peasant resistances.” Scienze del Territorio 2 (2014): 153-158. Brentón Solo De Zaldívar, Victor. “From Agrarian Reform to Ethnodevelopment in the Highlands of Ecuador.” Journal of Agrarian Change 8 (2008): 583-617. Brey, Tamara. “Late Pre-Hispanic Chiefdoms of Highland Ecuador.” In: The Handbook of South American Archaeology, edited by Helaine Silverman and William Isbell. New York: Springer, 2008. Brunori, G, A Rossi, and V Malandri. “Co-producing transition: innovation processes in farms adhering to solidarity-based purchase groups (GAS) in Tuscany, Italy.” International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food 18 (2011): 2853. Burgos, Raul. “The Gramscian Intervention in the Theoretical and Political Production of the Latin American Left.” Latin American Perspectives 29 (2002): 9-37. Clark, Kim, and Marc Becker. “Indigenous Peoples and State Formation in Modern Ecuador.” In: Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007. Cole, Peter. Imbabura Quechua. Abingdon, UK: 1982. Fabricant, Nicole. “Between the Romance of Collectivism and

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the Reality of Individualism: Ayllu Rhetoric in Bolivia’s Landless Peasant Movement.” Latin American Perspectives 37 (2010): 88-107. Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Translated by Myra Bergman Ramos. New York: Bloomsbury, 2015. Gerlach, Allen. Indians, Oil, and Politics: A Recent History of Ecuador. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003. Giroux, Henri. “Breaking into the Movies: Pedagogy and the politics of Film.” JAC 21 (2001): 583-598. Giroux, Henri. America on the Edge: Giroux on Politics, Culture, and Education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan St. Martin’s Press, 2006. Godoy, Ricardo. “The Fiscal Role of the Andean Ayllu,” Man 21 (1986): 723-741. Gramsci, Antonio. Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. Edited by Quentin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith. New York: International Publishers Co, 1971. Grugel, Jean, and Pıa Riggirozzi. “Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: Rebuilding and Reclaiming the State after Crisis.” Development and Change 43 (2011): 1-21. Guillet, David. A Comparative Study of Production Organization Among Peasant in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, with Special Reference to Associative Production Strategies. Bogota: Interamerican Institute of Agricultural Sciences, 1977. Harnecker, Marta. Landless People: Building a Social Movement. São Paulo: Editora Expressão Popular, 2003. Harvey, David. Justice, Nature, and Geographies of Difference. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1996. Hochstetler, Kathryn. “Democratizing Pressures from Below? Social Movements in the New Brazilian Democracy.” In: Democratic Brazil: Actors, Institutions and Processes, edited by Peter R. Kingstone and Timothy J. Power. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000. Issa, Daniela. “Praxis of Empowerment: Mística and Mobilization in Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement.” Latin American Perspectives 24 (2007): 124-138. Kane, Liam. “Popular education and the Landless People’s Movement in Brazil (MST).” Studies in the Education of Adults 32 (2000): 36-51. Karriem, Abdurazack. “The Rise and Transformation of the Brazilian Landless Movement into a Counter-Hegemonic Political Actor: A Gramscian Analysis.” Geoforum 40 (2009): 316-32. Kingman Garces, Eduardo. “Heritage, Policies of Memory, and the Institutionalization of Culture.” City & Time 2 (2006):


17-27. Klein, Naomi. “Putting Ideas into the World: A Conversation with Naomi Klein about starting Conversations with Film.” In: Challenge for Change, edited by Ezra Winton. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2010. Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1991. Lind, Amy. Gendered Paradoxes: Women’s Movements, State Restructuring, and Global Development in Ecuador. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005. Macleod, Murdo. “Aspects of the internal economy of colonial Spanish America: labour; taxation; distribution and exchange.” In: Cambridge History of Latin America Volume 2, edited by Leslie Bethell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Marx, Karl. Capital Volume III. Translated by David Fernbach. New York: Penguin Classics, 1993. Massey, Doreen. “Power-Geometry and a Progressive Sense of Place.” In: Mapping the Futures, edited by John Bird, Barry Curtis, Tim Putnam, Lisa Tickner. London: Routledge, 1993. Massey, Doreen. “A Global Sense of Place.” Marxism Today (1991), 24-29. Mattioli, Fabio. “The Property of Food: Geographical Indication, Slow Food, Genuino Clandestino and the Politics of Property.” Ethnologia Europaea 43 (2013): 47-61. Merino Acuña, Roger. “What is “post” in post-neoliberal economic policy? Extractive industry dependence and indigenous land rights in Bolivia and Ecuador.” Social Science Research Network, October 2011. Mignolo, Walter. “The communal and the decolonial.” Turbulence 5 (2009): 29-31. Moore, Jason. Capitalism in the Web of Life. New York: Verso, 2015 Morner, Magnus. “Rural economy and society of colonial Spanish America.” In: Cambridge History of Latin America Volume 2, edited by Leslie Bethell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Morse, Richard. “Urban Development of Colonial Spanish America.” In: Cambridge History of Latin America Volume 2, edited by Leslie Bethell. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Nail, Thomas. The Figure of the Migrant. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. Ondetti, Gabriel. “Repression, Opportunity, and Protest: Explaining the Takeoff of Brazil’s Landless Movement.” Latin

American Politics & Society 48 (2006): 61-94. Plummer, Dawn. “Leadership Development and Formação in Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST).” Master’s thesis, City University of New York, 2008. Russi, L. “Peasant farming: commoning through co-production for future generations.” Trends in Social Cohesion: Protecting future generations through commons, Council of Europe, edited by Saki Bailey, Gilda Farrell and Ugo Mattei, 26 (2013): 299-312. Santana, Ivette, and Maria Moreno. Gran Reportaje Para Radio, Prensa, Televisión e Internet Sobre Cómo Han Afectado Los Procesos Recientes de Rehabilitación Urbana en el Barrio San Roque De 1998 Hasta 2009. Universidad de las Américas, 2012. Simpson, Lesley Byrd. The Encomienda in New Spain: The Beginning of Spanish Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1950. Smith, Neil. Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2008. Swyngedouw, Erik. “Neither Global nor Local: ‘glocalization’ and the politics of scale.” In: Spaces of Globalization, edited by K. Cox. New York: Guilford Press, 1997. Swyngedouw, Erik. “Scaled Geographies: Nature, Place, and the Politics of Scale.” In: Scale and Geographic Inquiry: Nature, Society and Method, edited by R McMaster and E Sheppard. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers, 2004. Webster, Susan. “Vantage Points: Andeans and Europeans in the Construction of Colonial Quito.” Colonial Latin American Review 20 (2011): 303-330. Weismantel, Mary. “Ayllu: Real and Imagined Communities in the Andes.” In: The Seductions of Community: Emancipations, Oppressions, Quandaries, edited by Gerald Creed. Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2006. Williams, Julie. “Cosmopolitan Comuneros: Celebrating Indigeneity through the Appropriation of Urbanity in the Quito Basin.” PhD diss., University of Illinois, 2012. Wolford, Wendy. “Producing Community: The MST and Land Reform Settlements in Brazil.” Journal of Agrarian Change 3 (2003): 500-521. Yeager, Timothy. “Encomienda or Slavery? The Spanish Crown’s Choice of Labor Organization in Sixteenth Century Spanish America.” The Journal of Economic History 55 (1995), 842859.

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Acknowledgments To our little thesis family, companeros we did it. Now siguen no mas, we know y’all have great projects to keep working on, thesis and otherwise. Besos y abrazos. Los queremos Mama Sascia, Sinerviosa, Senorcito, Maria coqueterona, Zanny, y Masoomenos. We thank the incredible and welcoming activists at Red de Saberes for bringing us into their work, for housing us, for showing us around, for giving us crash course lessons in history and politics, and for the dinners, parties, and nights out. It feels good to work with friends. Luis, Lucas, Henar, Verónica, Juan Carlos, Nora, Anahi, Stalin, Jeremy, and Monica. Muchas gracias a ustedes. This project couldn’t have been possible without the friendship and support of Jaime, Raul, and Mauricio Chugchilan. We stand in solidarity with the tricicleros of Mercado Mayorista. We’d like to extend our deepest thanks to Instituto de la Ciudad, especially Raul Moscoso and Fabian Alejo, for taking the time to talk with us about our project and ideas and for sharing their own findings and data. We look forward to a continued partnership. Of course, we are forever indebted to the laborers, vendors, and merchants in Mercado San Roque and Mercado Mayorista for giving us their time, for sharing their stories, and for being graciously supportive of this project. Especially Frente de

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Defensa for welcoming us into their meetings. We are extremely grateful to David Harvey and Rob Robinson for their insightful comments and productive suggestions during the development of the this project. Rob has given us, and our whole program, unwavering support and been more than kind in sharing his perspectives and knowledge. All the while providing us with constant inspiration through his activism. To Miguel Robles-Duran, thank you for bringing us onto this project, for pushing us when we needed it, and for rejecting the typical advisor-student roles. To 515 thesis crew, we love you all. We ate, we juiced, and we napped together; hopefully not for the last time. We would also like to thank, Ana Rodriquez, Bill Morrish, Miodrag Mitrasinovic, Gabriella Perez Rendon, Hector Grad, Pancho at No Lugar, Nelson Hernandez, Monica Lopez. We are forever grateful to our families who continue to have faith in and support us even when we follow unbeaten paths. We thank the Urban Council within the School of Design Strategies at Parsons The New School for Design for providing the travel grants that made our fieldwork possible. And to all the invisible labor that makes this capitalist world go round, there are no words and gratitude certainly does not suffice.


PROJECT 5 THE COMMUNES OF QUITO AS A COLLECTIVE INHABITATION OF TERRITOTY


The Communes of Quito as a Collective Inhabitation of Territory: Imagining Self-Governance Tools for an Emancipatory Urban Production

María Guadalupe Morales Mateo Fernández-Muro In collaboration with Pueblo Kitu Kara and the future Federation of Communes of Ilaló-Lumbisí


There are officially 50 communes in Quito, political autonomous entities recognized by the 2008 Constitution and through the definition of Ecuador as a plurinational State. This provides them with self-determination and collective rights founded on the communal character of its territories and on their own forms of direct democracy. However, to the eyes of the municipality and the state, they appear as dots on the map without territorial definition, thus becoming invisible political subjects with no legal power, vulnerable to capital pressures and accelerated urban expansion processes, and devoid from their capacity to exert their collective rights. The recent reconstitution of Pueblo Kitu Kara as a Federation of Communes and Indigenous Communities emerged as a collective response to such a situation, outlining an alternative to the crisis of the capitalist system from a non-statecentric approach.

Our project focuses on this fight and helps to build, framed under the politics of the commons, the planning and governance tools needed for political self-management, fostering economic democratization through cooperativism and laying on a biophysical and socioeconomic study of their communal territories. We consider that it is especially from these invisible and marginalized spaces that urban space can be re-territorialized and reclaimed, in an autonomous and emancipatory way.

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It is especially from invisible and marginalized spaces that urban space can be reterritorialized and reclaimed in an autonomous and emancipatory way.

OUTLINE


SECTION 1 Towards a New Territoriality

SECTION 3 Native Urban Indigenous: The Communes in Quito

SECTION 5 Project ‘En Común(a)’

284 310 356

SECTION 2 Territory and Migrant Urban Indigenous

SECTION 4 Methodology and Theoretical Framework

290 334


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INTRODUCTION Regulated as legal entities under the 1937 Communes Law, yet always in a decreasing number, today there officially exist 49 active communes in the Metropolitan District of Quito. Our research, based both on field trips and recent academic literature, focuses on the legal framework, internal organization and property regimes either sustaining or threatening their existence. These politically autonomous bodies with indigenous roots have been granted with territorial authority in the last Ecuadorian Constitution, approved in 2008. At a discursive level, the latter provides them with collective self-determination rights founded on the collective ownership of their territories, their own forms of internal direct democracy and the communal character of their social relationships. However, at a more material level, and due to various incongruences, legal voids and contradictions between the different regulations protecting them, they have been rendered almost invisible in, the eyes of the state and the municipality. Officially appearing as single points in the map, without a territorially defined footprint, they have been devoid from any

legal power and any actual capacity to exert their collective rights, and have become weak fragmented entities vulnerable to capital pressures and accelerated urban expansion processes. One of the most recent urban ordinances that has refused to recognize the territorial authority of the communes is the “AIER Ilaló-Lumbisí,” approved by the municipality with speculative purposes but to allegedly protect the Ilaló hill. This latest violation of the communal rights has triggered both the restructuring of a strong indigenous ethno-genetic process, carried out by Pueblo Kitu Kara, and the arising of a political movement for the creation of the Federation of Communes of Ilaló-Lumbisí. Both act as a common, collective and pro-active resistance to such a situation and aim to provide the communes involved with political power and territorial presence; what formerly appeared as a unidimensional point to the eyes of the dominant powers, a commune has the potential to turn into an aleph for its inhabitants, acquiring a living reality in a certain dimension that traditional systems of representation are unable to recognize - passive limitlessness can become pro-active infiniteness. Through several visits to the communes and various online and in-person meetings with Kitu Kara leaders, our

Meeting in Casa del Pueblo Kitu Kara, February 4, 2016. From left to right: Sebastián Calero, Jeremy Rayner, Fernando Cabascango, Mateo Fernández-Muro, María Guadalupe Morales, Walter, Jaime Paucar Cabrera, Darío Iza, Byron Gallardo and Daniela Yesenia Salazar Villavicencio.

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ongoing project works in direct collaboration with them and with the creation and thriving of the Federation of Communes as an objective, helping to envision those forms of political construction capable of activating and fostering the abovementioned shift. Our first aim, therefore, becomes creating those planning instruments able to reimagine a notion of limit that, while having the real capacity to interfere and negotiate with state ownership regimes, is able to challenge the classical forms of representation defining them. Building upon previous research on communal delimitations and military geographic information, these tools will contribute not only in the geo-referencing and ulterior official recognition of communal boundaries, but also in the recovery of the practices and memories that produce them. With that aim, we have developed an online platform which, besides allowing comuneros to work and debate over the different footprints of the communes, includes a register of land use and ownership and a communal census to identify the different collaborative activities within their territories, favoring the consolidation of an economic structure based on their own resources and knowledges. This, we envision, will lead to the

eventual creation of an always-evolving internal counter-cadaster for territorial planning and communal zoning that will ultimately contribute to defining production purposes of land, enhancing environmental protection and constructing historical memory. Beyond a quantitative biophysical and socioeconomic study of the communal territories, we aim above all towards the generation of qualitative self-governance tools needed to translate a lifeless system of Cartesian representation into one that, rather than categorizing and â&#x20AC;&#x153;lockingâ&#x20AC;? into shape, is capable of harboring and fostering the repertoire of the multiple ancestral and contemporary forms-of-life and practices being deployed in the communes. We consider that it is especially from these invisible and marginalized spaces that urban space can be re-territorialized and reclaimed in an autonomous and emancipatory way. In our project, the preservation and recovery of an indigenous past goes hand in hand with the revalorization of a marginalized rural-urban present in a conjoined effort to reimagine and re-signify a collective future for the city of Quito.

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SECTION 1

TOWARDS A NEW TERRITORIALITY 1.1. Introduction According to the researcher Valarezo, the link between territory and life constitutes the key element of cosmovision about territoriality shared by indigenous people in the Amazon. Territory as a life space represents “a system in which every element is a living form, independent from the dynamic of the different parts. A living scenario, where life is produced and reproduced under its own logic, where indigenous men and women are part of that space rather than external and foreign entities.”1 Far away from the Amazon, settled on the outskirts of the city of Quito, native urban indigenous populations inhabit their territories making such cosmovision their major form of resistance against neoliberal urban expansion. As such, the notion of territoriality constitutes a cultural construction with philosophical values and principles. That is why territoriality transcends the concept of land as a physical and tangible space and as an ensemble of usable things out of which one can make profit,2 for it includes not only natural components but also - and particularly - historical, cultural and identitarian elements; since the right to use, control and manage every resource coming from land is also entailed in this notion of territoriality, the latter arises therefore as the perfect space from which to formulate a politics of autonomous development. Territory as a source of life then becomes the space in which there unravel living cultures, forms of social organization and social subjects with the potential for self-determination. Under this conception, territory ends up entailing both a physical and a spiritual dimension without which we cannot understand the the way communal lands are both inhabited and claimed.3 In what follows, we will try to bring some light on the scope of territoriality and its implications on a daily basis in the periurban communes of Quito, as part of a broader discussion that is intimately linked to the political strategies that are put in play as much by indigenous people as by the Ecuadorian state itself.4

1 Valarezo, Galo Ramón, Sara Báez Rivera, and Pablo Ospina Peralta. Una breve historia del espacio ecuatoriano. Work Document, Quito: IEE, Instituto de Estudios Ecuatorianos / Consorcio CAMAREN, 2004, 208 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid.

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1.2. Everyday Forms of Life are Political “Those with shitty relationships can only have a shitty politics.”5 Historians like Raúl Zibechi have showed us that forces operating in Andean countries towards the transformation of political regimes have always come from indigenous movements, constituted through the 1980s as relevant political acts.6 Their claims for the recognition and inclusion of their institutions, rights and forms of government within the old national states guided their efforts, from the very beginning, towards the constitutional reform.7 As such, the institutional crisis in Ecuador, starting in the late nineties, was resolved (as first happened in Venezuela and then Bolivia) in a constituent process that partially democratized the state apparatus and rendered constitutional a new welfare model. The latter, appearing in the Ecuadorian constitution from 2008 with the Kichwa term of Sumak Kawsay or ‘good living’ in English - is perhaps the most ambitious social project all throughout Latin America. Approved after eight months of work by the new constituent assembly called by the newly elected President Rafael Correa, the new Ecuadorian constitution does not recognize itself in the classical liberal division between civil, political and social rights. At its very core, at least at a theoretical level, we find the regime of “good living,” the Sumak Kawsay, which forces the state to implement a wide series of measures and guarantees, among which we can find mechanisms of direct participation such as People Legal Initiatives. This means distilling the management of knowledge and work practices of a whole society according to the values of an Andean idealized cosmovision. Sumak Kawsay would then mean that the internal production of the country would be led under the precepts of collectives’ ancestral knowledges, developed through scientific research and technology. In the current political scenario, this term is used under a holistic frame with the aim of rendering visible the cultural diversity and heritage enjoyed by the Ecuadorian population.8 Discursively, the constitution explicitly forbids the nationalization of private debt by the state and regulates the 5 The Invisible Committee. To Our Friends. South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 2015, 165 6 Zibechi, Raúl. Dispersar el poder: los movimientos como poderes antiestatales. Barcelona: Virus, 2007 7 Rodríguez López, Emmanuel. Hipótesis Democracia. Quince tesis para la revolución anunciada. Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños, 2013, 306 8 Durango Cordero, Miguel Felipe. “Esos Otros Saberes”: El Conocimeinto Ecológico Local En La Producción Agrícola Campesina: Un Estudio de Caso En La Comuna Indígena La Tola Chica En Tumbaco, Ecuador. Tesis Para Obtener El Título De Maestría En Estudios Socioambientales . Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2014, 5


framework of an explicitly anti-neoliberal economic policy.9 However, no practical strategy is envisioned to execute what this new inclusive form of state organization implies.10 The paradox emerging from the constituent process in Ecuador and especially from the government of Correa is that both happened at the very time when social movements were showing increasing exhaustion and weakness. The president has thus become the head of a political project that adjusts itself to popular claims and necessities, yet cannot find an autonomous form of articulation for its own that is capable of being independent from the state. As the Spanish political theorist Emmanuel Rodríguez noticed in 2013, “the limitations of a “good government” are symmetrical to the weakness of a real democracy in motion.” The current lack of the latter has actualized Rodríguez’s predictions; merely trusting institutional architecture and by the sole means of state apparatuses, the “revolución ciudadana” promoted by Alianza País has become dependent to and limited by its main figure, Rafael Correa, which has led to disastrous consequences. Correa government and its “inevitable” implementation of neoliberal policies - at the cost of social and indigenous movements that put him in power - has been the perfect proof of that maxim from the French collective The Invisible Committee: “one can throw oneself on to the state apparatus, but if the terrain that’s won is not immediately filled with a new life, government will end up taking it back.”11 And that new life is what is needed. Fully reinhabiting one’s territory, according to the French collective, is all that can be set against the paradigm of government, and that’s what Emmanuel Rodríguez refers to when talking about “democracy in motion.” The indigenous notion of territoriality re-emerges here under a new light. “What gives insurrections their punch, and their ability to damage the adversary’s infrastructure in a sustained way,” affirm the French thinkers, “is precisely their level of self-organization of communal life.”12 Resistance to the neoliberal state exerted by the communes in Quito, especially those under the Pueblo Kitu Kara identity (as we will see later on), are evidence of the intuitive link between self-organization and blockage that the Invisible Committee is suggesting. Referring to the Aymara insurrection in Bolivia in 2003, Raúl Zibechi writes: “In these movements, organization is not separate from daily life. In insurrectionary action it is daily life itself that is deployed.” And such is the case of the communes in Quito, where daily life, territory and resistance have become a whole unity after decades and even centuries of struggle. 9 10 11 12

Rodríguez 2013, 309 Durango Cordero 2014, 5 The Invisible Committee 2015, 164 Ibid., 89

“Actions of this magnitude cannot be consummated without the existence of a dense network of relationships between persons— relationships that are also forms of organization,” affirms Zibechi. “The problem is that we are unwilling to consider that in everyday life the relationships between neighbors, between friends, between comrades, or between family, are as important as those of the union, the party, or even the state itself.”13 The communes in Quito do not seem to have this problem. They have understood, as The Invisible Committee would say, that “(t)here’s not on one hand a pre-political, unreflected, “spontaneous” sphere of existence and on the other a political, rational, organized sphere.” Their proactive resistance starts “from their own presence, from the places they inhabit, the territories they’re familiar with, the ties that link them to what is going on around them.”14 Through their alliance of knowledgespowers-capacities they inhabit and create the world.15 They have understood, in short, that each and every form of life they deploy within their territories is a firm and blunt political stance against the neoliberal project enclosing them.

1.3. Territory and Power In this chapter we prove that land is not only an asset that provides resources but a tool of empowerment in a social context. We explore how the land can be a mechanism to encourage three types of power: “the power for,” “the power with” and “the power inside” that refer to collective organization and decision making. Therefore, the increment of the power of one is equal to the increase of total power available for everyone. We believe that collective or communal land can foster these three positive powers. “The power for” serves to channel the change when a person or leader of a group motivates and directs the actions of others. It is a generative power that opens the possibilities and actions without trying to dominate them.16 “The power for” is related to “the power with,” and allows for sharing the power which is manifested when a group generates a collective solution for a common problem. These two powers also ensure that all the potential is expressed in the construction 13 Zibechi 2007 as quoted in The Invisible Committee 2015, 164 14 The Invisible Committee 2015, 164 15 Fernández-Savater, Amador. “Reabrir la cuestión revolucionaria (lectura del Comité Invisible).” Interferencias, eldiario.es. January 23, 2015. http://www.eldiario.es/interferencias/comite_invisiblerevolucion_6_348975119.html (accessed November 2015); FernándezSavater, Amador. “Del paradigma del gobierno al paradigma del habitar: por un cambio de cultura política.” Interferencias, eldiario.es. March 11, 2016. http://www.eldiario.es/interferencias/paradigma-gobiernohabitar_6_491060895.html (accessed March 2016) 16 León, Magdalena, and Carmen Deere. Género, propiedad y empoderamiento: tierra, Estado y mercado en América Latina. Ciudad de México: Universidad Autónoma de México, 2000

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of a group agenda that is also assumed individually.17 Then “the power inside” is based on the generation of force from the inside of individuals and related to self-esteem. It is manifested in the ability to resist the power of others by rejecting demands not desired.18 We consider the communes’ organization toward the defense of their collective land as a clear example of these three powers, since they allow equality and inclusion between their members. This is possible through the asset that joins them, which is their communal land that has allowed them to resist several external and internal pressures as well as providing them with a tool for negotiation.19 As the researcher Verónica Santillán states, the socio-territorial character of peasant communities has not been established in advance nor is it something fixed in time, but it is rather the result of a constant struggle for the rights over communal lands. This struggle can be translated into a search for those territorial limits wherein production activities and cultural-territorial identity may be exerted. The presence of the community as a social entity therefore transcends the mere legal ordinance, the nexus to any state institution or even the presence of ethnic groups.20 The creation of the legal figure of the “commune” in the 1930s and 1940s constitutes an important step for the consolidation of the various social and political movements in Ecuador. By legal definition, the communes are cooperative associations that hold usufruct rights over the land, but they lack any political power; nonetheless, the internal organization put in place among the different members of the commune for its own proper functioning provides the latter with political strength vis-á-vis the management of their territory and their resources. This internal political organization has allowed the communes to slowly gain representation and respect before local governments who, according to the Ecuadorian constitution, are now supposed to consult the communes about any intervention to be performed within their limits. However, for many reasons that we will explain later on, this is hardly the truth. In fact, communes are far from being considered in municipal interventions, which is affecting their 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid. 19 The commune is, among other things, a form of social organization that, articulated to a legal subject recognized by the state, allowed indigenous peasants to own a title which provided them with access and usufruct to collective land. 20 Ibarra, Hernán. La otra cultura. Imaginarios, mestizaje y modernización. Quito: Abya-Yala / Marka, 1998, 186 as quoted in Santillán Sarmiento, Verónica Natalie. Presión Urbana sobre Áreas Rurales. Transformación Territorial en la Parroquia de Tumbaco 20012010. Caso de Estudio de las Comunas Leopoldo N. Chávez y Tola Chica. Tesis para Obtener el T. de Maestría en CCSS con Mención en Desarrollo Local y Territorial. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2014, 28-29

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territorial organization as well as producing significant levels of segregation among different groups of inhabitants. Nonetheless, communes have found a way to overcome huge territorial shifts going on all around them, developing different strategies to strengthen and maintain their organization with the aim of avoiding their disappearance.21 Later in this chapter we will delve into the political organization, communal activities and social practices in the communes that will help us analyze the renewed resistance against the forces of capital and the state they have been exerting.

1.3.1. Social bonds produce territorial boundaries After years - even centuries - of struggles against these forces, it seems the communes have decided, (using here the language from the French collective The Invisible Committee), to take on the secession that capital already practices, but in their own way: “seceding is not carving a part of the territory out of the national whole, it’s not isolating oneself, cutting off communications with all the rest—that would be certain death. Seceding is not using the scraps of this world to assemble counter-clusters where alternative communities would bask in their imaginary autonomy vis-à-vis the metropolis.” On the contrary, for the communes in Quito, seceding has meant inhabiting a territory, “assuming their situated configuration of the world, their way of dwelling there, the form(s) of life and the truths that sustain them, and from there entering into conflict or complicity.” The challenge now - already accepted by the communes and starting to materialize under the form of a potential Federation of Communes - is to “link up strategically with other zones of dissidence, intensifying their circulations with friendly regions, regardless of borders.” The fact that the communes lack a defined territorial delimitation, as we will explain later on, has rendered this task undoubtedly easier: communes have understood that “to secede is to break not with the national territory but with the existing geography itself. It’s to trace out a different, discontinuous geography, an intensive one, in the form of an archipelago.”22 It is for tracing and structuring this constellation form that we will offer our collaboration, since it will be in this process where the Federation of Communes will find the force of its expansion. In order to achieve this, we could not forget that an important part of such a constellation will be those groups of indigenous peasants that, dispossessed of their land, and due to the increased lack of resources in the rural areas of Ecuador, 21 22

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have found themselves forced to migrate to the urban areas in order to find proper means of living. In this process, they have suffered discrimination, exploitation and eventual relegation to a marginal condition. Once in the city, and similarly to the indigenous peri-urban communes, these indigenous populations have suffered from displacement due to aggressive neoliberal policies favoring the construction of big urban renewal projects and fierce speculation on land. As a response, but above all as a mechanism of survival in the city, they have developed an invisible infrastructure of mutual support and help that not only reproduces the social relations they used to have back in their rural communities, but also produces new complementary socioeconomic bonds with equally affected populations. However weak and powerless this mutual-aid network among indigenous migrants might still be, we see in it an enormous potential to be part of the seceded geography that the communes are tracing against capital and state forces. Our project aims therefore to identify its weaknesses and contradictions but above all to highlight these potentialities so as to be able to foster them and turn them into an organic form of resistance to neoliberal urbanization.

1.3.2. Fight for empowerment, empowerment with territory, territory through fight “It’s in the open offensive against this world that the commune will find the allies that its growth demands. The growth of communes is the real crisis of economy, and is the only serious degrowth.”23 The terms empowerment and power could seem incompatible, since power has been a source of oppression through its abuse, but it can also be a source of emancipation by its use.24 Power relationships can mean either domination or resistance. In the case of resistance, this may refer to the existent power sources or mechanisms to obtain power over them.25 It is important to differentiate four different types of power while promoting the empowerment concept related to land ownership. So, in the first place we have “the power over,” which refers to the increase of the power of one as the decrease of power for another. This is the only type of power that has a negative connotation in a social context. On the other hand, we have “the power for,” “the power with” and “the power inside,” which have 23 24 25

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an accumulative and positive connotation in a social context since the increment of one represents the increase of total power available for everyone.26 Land has the potential to encourage one or all of these types of power. We have seen that “the power over” land has dominated land ownership. If the ownership of land is controlled by the state whose decisions are based in the market economy and investors interests, the population is situated in a vulnerable and disadvantaged position. If the land is attractive in some way for the private sector or the state then it can be taken away without the proper economic and more important social recognition of its value. So, it is also implicit that “the power for,” “the power with” and “the power inside” are not fostered by the state since they could represent obstacles to developing their projects. These are also not fostered because of a lack of interest or equality in opportunities in various sectors. Therefore, if land is not expropriated then the state is not incentivized with services, infrastructure, knowledge or technology as in other sectors in order to grow in capacities and abilities. In Latin America, the right to the land and the control of how to use it, as well as the purpose and the benefits obtained through it, are directly associated with the empowerment of the individuals or communities owning that land. In fact, the right to land is constructed historically and socially through time, and because of its importance to provide different types of opportunities and possibilities, its recognition has been very contested and conflicting. In the case of Ecuador, for instance, the indigenous have been fighting for centuries for the collective ownership and autonomy of their territories. We know that access to property plays an important role in the definition of alternative opportunities to generate revenues, and it has become crucial for disenfranchised communities to respond to necessity and adversity27: the possibility of having property gives social security by allowing the development of different activities that generate income. In this sense, land ownership is an economic asset that brings wellness to the individuals, as it reduces their vulnerability by providing them with the means and resources to live by selling, renting or producing the land. Therefore, this kind of welfare refers to the control and management over the distribution of the benefits provided by the ownership of a property. But what we are exploring here is a rather different issue; our interest is on the kind of empowerment provided by land that goes beyond the material benefits and turns into a mechanism of negotiation, resistance and unity. It is relevant in this sense to highlight the bond between land and community existing within peasant and indigenous people who own communal land. Both 26 27

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community and land, in fact, can be considered as a whole, inasmuch as the history of the peasant communities and the communes in Quito is that of the fight for ancestral territories. This bond can be seen, then, as a formal force resisting the state.28 The Invisible Committee proposes a beautiful image that we will remix here to help understand such a bond: a simple statement like “the E35 highway or La Ruta Viva will never cross my commune” can make comuneros’ organize their own lives so as to prove this statement true. “On the basis of this quite particular point on which there is no question of yielding, the whole world reconfigures itself.” The struggle in the communes and indigenous communities, then, “concerns the whole world, not because it is defending the ‘common good’ in general, but because a certain idea of what is good is commonly thought in the struggle.”29 Here then lies the importance of the recognition of their collective rights over the land, which explains the fight for both a formal and a real equality that communes and indigenous communities have been waging for years. While formal equality refers to the rights granted by the 2008 constitution, as we will see, the reality refers to the materialization of such rights.30 This differentiation arises due to the fact that many of the rights granted at a theoretical and discursive level are not enacted and actualized in favor of the citizens, especially when these rights are territorially-based. Thus, many of the groups owning land in a collective or individual manner are fighting for this real equality and for their rights to be actually recognized. The opportunity, therefore, to create or develop their own social, economic, political and cultural force, is embedded in the achievement of that goal. Only by having this autonomy of decision and management, will they obtain empowerment through their land. We shouldn’t overlook the fact, nevertheless, that this struggle is not only reactive or resistive, but mainly proactive and constructive, as we will study later. Furthermore, the very fight for empowerment over territory is already creating empowerment. And not only this; as a tour-de-force, we can say these struggles are simultaneously producing territory. So this is not just about people defending a ‘territory’ in the conditions they found themselves in, but about people inhabiting it “with thoughts of what it could become.” They are making this territory exist, constructing it, giving it a consistency.31 Indeed, as the French collective remark, it is “the ways of living that are being invented or rediscovered in the very course of the conflict” (and which we are humbly contributing to through our project), rather than “the fact of being faced with the same capitalist 28 29 30 31

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restructuring” and state oppression, that will be capable of linking the various different struggles over territory.


On top of Cerro del Ilalรณ. Limit between communes of Tola Chica, San Francisco de Tola Grande and Leopoldo Chรกvez. February 6, 2016

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SECTION 2

TERRITORY AND MIGRANT URBAN INDIGENOUS 2.1. Introduction The process by which indigenous communities have been incorporated into the cities is a recurrent topic in Latin American geographical studies in recent years, and it has been presented under two different approaches, according to the researcher Víctor Jácome: on one hand, as we have seen, we find those indigenous populations that have arrived to the city due to internal migration and, after gathering and associating themselves with members of their same community, have led to the creation of neighborhoods where they can maintain their cultural practices and rebuild their identities according to that new territory. On the other hand, conversely, we find those indigenous communities and communes that throughout centuries - before, during and after Spanish colonization- have been occupying territories around the city - some of them already absorbed - either as free indigenous or working in the haciendas.1 These two different groups have been defined as “urban indigenous,” a term that allows us to address in a different manner the historical association of the indigenous with the “rural,” as well as their characterization as mestizos, with the mere fact of being part of the city. Jácome claims, in fact, that conceiving indigenous people as strictly rural, traditional, primitive, ancestral or underdeveloped - just entering a whitening process when moving to the city - has less and less relevance since their presence in the city and the maintenance of a culture and identity of their own is an undeniable situation.2 In this chapter, we will focus on the first group mentioned above, the migrant urban indigenous. By studying the systemic reasons why they have been dispossessed of land, displaced, and forced to migrate to the cities, we will then analyze the discrimination, exploitation, and marginal situation they experience in urban areas. To understand this, we will focus on the neoliberal reforms applied in Ecuador in the last few decades, and how these affected communal land ownership, collective production, and the social safety that these provided. In the last part of the chapter we will address the structure of mutual aid 1 Jácome Calvache, Víctor Julio. Economía Política e Identidades en las Comunas Peri-Urbanas de Quito. Tesis para Obtener el Título de Maestría en Antropología. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2011, 16 2 Ibid.

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and support they have been able to create in order to survive and even progress. From it, we will extract the weaknesses and potentialities that we intend on improving and fostering respectively through our project.

2.2. Neoliberal Reforms In this chapter we explore the neoliberal reforms and practices related to land ownership in Ecuador and some of their consequences. Some of the consequences were directly related to the ownership of that land, like the agrarian land reforms and colonization, as attempts to respond to the social pressure of land necessity and to incentivize economic development through oil production and industrial agriculture. These actions had as consequences deforestation, which was even propitiated by the government for the colonization of forest lands. In other cases, the forest or green areas were deforested in order to cultivate it and demonstrate the land was being used and that it had a “social purpose.” The land had to produce a specific amount of produce in order to comply with the social purpose, otherwise it was expropriated. This provoked the overexploitation of land in addition to the enforcement of modern practices that damaged the land by eroding it and leaving it infertile. Migration is one of the biggest consequences of neoliberal reforms, which results in the search for land to have a means of living (in the case of colonization), or to urban areas in search of jobs since in the rural areas the land was eroded, or too small to produce enough to sell, or the population was being displaced by the expropriation of their land. In these cases, the immigrants belong to the sector without land, which put them in a vulnerable situation in the city. On the other hand, we have the ones that have resisted many of the neoliberal reforms, like some indigenous communities and communes. In both cases, what gives them this power of resistance is the possession of land that is recognized by the state.

2.2.1. Agrarian Land Reform Colonization and the agrarian land reform were two strategies born of the same politics that worked together to achieve the government’s goals. On one hand, they wanted to integrate the marginal sector of peasants into active society, and on the other they wanted to incorporate extensive “vacant’ areas into productive territory. Therefore, the argument used was that there were lands with a lot of population, while there were others that were “vacant” (not really because these were indigenous communities properties) so they needed to be colonized. The agrarian land reform had to achieve the social and economic objectives of solving precarious work and generating more


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revenues from their agriculture sector. It is important to emphasize the difference between the distribution of land through the agrarian land reform, which was sold through payment and economic restructuring, and colonization, which was the occupation of “vacant” land for production purposes. From 1964, the military government of Ecuador recognized the necessity of an agrarian land reform to change the structure of agriculture, which needed to be articulated through colonization if the country wanted to achieve industrialization. By that time, 0.4% of the big owners or “hacendados” occupied 45% of the productive land while 90% of the small properties or “latifundios” were too small to support a family. There were previous attempts to change this situation by former governments but landowners refused the abolition of this work. However, in the last period of governance of Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra, some modifications to the reform were implemented by enacting “The Law of Agriculture Precarious Work Abolition” and the pushing of colonization programs. Since the land of the “hacendados” was private, it couldn’t be distributed, therefore, the land or “haciendas” of the state and the Church were distributed, while the private lands were limited just to their extensions. The agrarian land reform distribution meant that the land was sold with several economic and payment

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mechanisms. In this first agrarian land reform, the only success achieved was colonization through the relocation of families in “vacant” land in the west coast and in the south of the Amazon, and the legalization of their ownership. Some indigenous communities abandoned their traditional economy when their lands were occupied and colonized through the government incentive. They also fragmented their communal land in lots to make them farms for cattle raising in order to be certified and protected from being colonized, as happened in the province of Pastaza. In this sense, the state promoted the division of land and transformation of communal land to private in order to adjust the law. It is estimated that the distribution of land and the abolition of precarious work was equivalent to 61% but in the next agrarian land reform the reversion and expropriation of land was equivalent to 68% and the reduction of precarious work was 16%. For this reason, the consequences of the agrarian land reform and the inability to pay for land wasn’t seen until the next reform period. The second agrarian land reform was enacted when the military government took over again from 1973-1979. By this time the “hacendados” had sold a significant portion of their properties, but they still preserved a third of their best and most productive lands. Therefore, 70% of the rural families tried

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to survive with less than 8% of the agricultural land, so the production of food become stagnant. The second agrarian land reform was seen as a necessity for economic development. The big owners were against it, since the limits imposed by the first agrarian land reform for their private land enabled them to make more profit. So, they brokered an agreement which allowed the limitation of properties as long as the land had a social function: efficient agriculture production. Efficient production meant that according to their geographic, ecological and infrastructural conditions they should be used at no less than 80% of their capacity in order to not be expropriated. Additionally, this law also contended that the existence of precarious work without wage or demographic pressure were valid reasons for expropriation, which in fact accelerated the distribution of land. In this sense, a movement towards the granting of land arose where the peasants organized in communes, workers associations, or pre-cooperatives and relied on the reform for claiming land.3 This law benefited the big owners and left millions of peasantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; families that lived as itinerant workers without land in the city or coast plantations. Colonization became the alternative to the agrarian land reform. For example, when the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Quito-Lago 3 Chiriboga, Manuel. Transformaciones Agrarias del Ecuador. Quito: IGM deI Ecuador, 1988

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Agrarioâ&#x20AC;? highway was finished, the government declared that the northeast part of the oil development was open to becoming an area for migration and expansion. The government offered land of 50 acres with the condition that the residents cut half of the forest in five years to demonstrate effective use. The immigrants arrived from the highlands and the Pacific coast to claim the vacant lands according to the new colonization laws. However, this colonization brought consequences such as loss of land to other groups, since the state defined the land for colonization according to owners and without considering the rights of the native indigenous population. This represented a direct confrontation toward the indigenous communities from the state by ignoring their land rights, history and citizens status. In 1980, a committee formed by government officials and indigenous communities that were dispossessed of their land reached an agreement. In the confrontation, the developers sustained that 50 acres were enough for the indigenous communities while the experts argued that the native economies needed larger pieces of land. In the end, they only accepted some modest concessions towards the indigenous communities. It is also in this period that big acres of land were legalized so the rights of the indigenous communities were formalized and their territory recognized. The confrontation of colonists and indigenous groups started as the indigenous began their initiatives


in defense of their older territories, and the first organizations with the purpose of defending their land were created. This was the first resistance born from their identity as a community. In this sense, the indigenous groups had to acquire the status of colonists to access the land ownership that was granted as communal lands. As time went on, the colonists of the land failed to retain the land since they were incapable of paying the annual fees or credits granted to occupy it. Besides that, they couldn’t access credits for modernization or machinery or simply couldn’t produce enough food. This meant that the colonists left their land for a small amount of its actual value and the big landowners bought their land and enlarged their territory. There were credits available for the agricultural sector to foster industrialization because of Ecuador’s revenues through oil exploitation. But the only people able to access these credits were the big producers, and this only helped them to consolidate their status and position over the small producers. Colonization happened in any place where highways were constructed and land was “available.” Consequently, this provoked deforestation and dispossession of land from the indigenous because they couldn’t maintain the production. The oil administration contributed to other problems like the massive public debt by mortgaging future oil production, devaluation, and political instability. This demonstrates the contradictory development politics that allowed for the

development of capitalist production in the agriculture sector. Finally, the last agrarian reform of 1994 strengthened private ownership over the land, since it eliminated the restrictions on the transfer of properties. Expropriations were limited and established that the transfer of land should be done through money payment only. The money payment was an obstacle for many indigenous and peasant families who didn’t have the resources to buy their properties. Additionally, the prices increased since the administration costs for land titles and legalization had to be absorbed by the owners. The law also authorized the division of communal lands in private, and individual ones through voting, which was prohibited in past reforms. If two-thirds of the members of the community wanted the division, then the communal land became private. This division affected the communal lands, decreasing them and fostering the creation of pieces of land small enough to exploit. In this reform, the land ownership discussion was translated into a mechanism to further agricultural development through the market economy. The law established a strategy for capitalist accumulation in the agricultural sector through agrarian rent and land rent that were sought to be integrated into the financial market. The law focused on modernization through the business administration model that allowed access to the financial sector through land and agriculture products. The law was basically the consolidation of privatization

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of the communal land when many indigenous families changed their lands to private. The dynamics of land as a resource were transferred to families instead of being for the commune. Many authors pointed to this deterritorialization of rural land that marked a rupture between agriculture, land and alimentation. Agriculture lost its primacy in the organization and distribution of local territory and became subject to the transnational companiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; interests as a consequence of globalization and neoliberalism.

2.2.2. Oil extraction and change of the production matrix As stated before, the agrarian land reform was directly related to colonization, which was meant to respond to the socioeconomic pressures of population growth and to the crisis of the agricultural sector. It was necessary to explore other investments and ways of development that ended up being capitalist measures that caused massive colonization of the areas with oil, especially in the Amazon region. The areas where the state discovered oil were also the areas where the highways were constructed as part of the agriculture colonization program. In a lot of these areas, much deforestation and indigenous displacement happened. The construction of the highways facilitated access to the Amazon which was, and still is, the primary forest where there is oil. From this moment, the population of the region was defined by the distribution of land granted to the colonists that were located at the margins of the highways, and commercial activities that demanded employees. The process of colonization in this area was a starting point for the overexploitation of natural resources and the enlargement of the agriculture frontier that restricted production. From 1960 to 1994, one fifth of the west forest of the country disappeared at the same time as the indigenous communities only retained a small fraction of their original lands. It was not until 1972 that the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Quito-Lago Agrarioâ&#x20AC;? highway allowed access to production when it was finished. The government demanded that oil companies construct the highways and bridges necessary for the oil extraction. These national politics have damaged the Amazon territory that has been subject to migration flows. Since 1980, the oil income became an important money source for the country that brought more than half of the total annual fiscal earnings. A current example is the National Park of Yasuni and the Huaorani Territory that were divided into plots and given in concession to oil companies for extraction. This has also opened the doors for other industries to occupy the area, such as mining, tourism, wood, etc. This has harmed the native communities that lived there since even though they have presented resistance, they have also learned to cohabitate with the oil industry and its implications or consequences, especially

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in their culture. Even though the park has been considered a protected area, since 1979, the Huaroni community continue to be displaced and at the very least, their land has been ecologically damaged.

2.2.3. Deforestation Deforestation was one of the consequences of colonization that allowed colonists who were granted â&#x20AC;&#x153;vacantâ&#x20AC;? land to arrive at the forest areas. In this process, a fifth of the east forest was lost because of the agricultural activities and indigenous properties were also expropriated and taken away from them. The base of expropriation of land, in this case, is also the economy and the propagation of agriculture that allows the use of forest land and the expansion of the established limits called the agriculture frontier. In some cases, the expansion of the agriculture in the forests was related to the highway construction when these gave access to the market. These new highways created a market for the land that also created demand and speculation on it. It is important to emphasize that deforestation occurs because of the products and services that land in the forests can offer, which also defined the responses and the internal regional and local processes of the land use. It is estimated that the land affected by deforestation in the last decades was caused by the increase in the agricultural sector, where forests were transformed in areas for crops and pasture. At the beginning it was originated by the industry of cacao and bananas, then by the migration of peasants in search of land to live and work, and later the construction of highways that also generated economical local hubs that demanded services, products and food to be obtained in the forest. The occupation of forest areas was significant in colonization, where the distribution of land was granted to farmers that were able to demonstrate they were using the land they were occupying. The insecurity of land ownership and the necessity to demonstrate the land was being used provoked deforestation in order to cultivate and demonstrate use. In the same period, the credits and subsidies of the government favored the cattle raising producers, especially the ones with big production. These credits helped them to mechanize their production, which left many people unemployed. Therefore, the government opened more fiscal subsidies between 1970 and 1980 for the biggest palm oil producers and cattle raisers if they worked the periphery land of the Amazonian basin. This caused the acceleration of the geographic expansion of agriculture in the lower areas of the forest. But there was little support for the improvement of agricultural procedures which resulted in low returns in agriculture and cattle production. Nowadays, the deforestation that happens is more connected with the immigrant flows in search for land which was and still is an

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intermittent process.

2.2.4. Erosion The agriculture processes fostered by the state to overexploit the land had other consequences, like the erosion of the soil. Erosion is also connected with the lack of investment and guidance in the agricultural production from the state. It is also one of the effects of deforestation as a consequence of the land that has been deforested. Practices such as the burning of soil, agricultural production in the hillsides, and water irrigation management, among others, are some of the human practices responsible for the erosion of the land in Ecuador. It is believed that around 50% of the territory of Ecuador is eroded and continues advancing. When their land gets affected and it becomes unproductive and is not useful anymore, many peasants abandon it and the erosion continues to underground soil layers. It is important to mention that erosion happens not just because of agricultural practices but also because of natural processes like water runoff and the wind. Human factors exacerbate the natural ones by making the land more vulnerable; in agricultural practices, the natural vegetation is replaced with mulch that protects less the soil. Additionally, agricultural practices exacerbate the discrepancy between the “production market objective and the ideal conservationist production.” Steep lands are a favorable environment for erosion to continue and expand. Ecuador is a territory characterized by large and steep slopes because of the mountain ranges which make it prone to erosion. It is a process that continues and is aggravating because the peasants don’t relate their practices with the phenomenon and there haven’t been informative campaigns of how to stop it or reduce it in the agricultural sector by the state. Erosion is one of the causes from the neoliberal structure affecteing the land since it is produced by the actions to incentivize the economy and the production not just for the local demand but for the external. In order to satisfy this demand, it was necessary to overexploit the land, industrialize production and utilize the natural resources without care for their preservation. The peasants voluntarily abandon their land and migrate to the urban areas in search of opportunities. They shifted from having land they can live from to having to leave in order to find means of living in the cities. They became part of the marginal and segregated sector that brings other difficulties for them in the urban areas.

2.3. Migration to the City The consequences of neoliberal reforms can be seen very easily in one of the processes that Ecuador has suffered in the last

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few years related to population, which is the migration caused by the search for opportunities and better life conditions. The flows of people moving from rural to urban areas have always existed, but there have been a considerable amount of people moving to the city over the last years in Ecuador, especially after the adoption of neoliberal reforms and their consequences. At the beginning the migration was internal, but after the 1990s it became mostly international, to countries like Spain, the United States, Italy, Chile, and Venezuela. But what started this increase of migration in the country? Migration in general terms is directly connected with the economy of the country, it increases or decreases according to this. The internal migration originated between 1950 and 1970 because of the need of the population to find new land for agriculture and cattle raising. The mountain areas experienced an expansion and increase of population caused by the migration flows. But the big migration flows happened first in the 1980s when oil prices collapsed and the most affected sectors were the ones related to agriculture. In the 1990s and still in the 2000s the country suffered an impoverishment of their population which, at that moment, was the most accelerated in Latin America. The percentage of poor people went from 34% to 71% in addition with the detriment of the welfare and social security. The second wave of migration in the 1990s happened because of the continuance of low oil prices and weather conditions that affected

production. The economic situation affected the population in Ecuador because of the inequalities that prevailed. The wealth was concentrated in a small sector that with the crisis situation increased. The distribution of resources and land was unequal and this situation aggravated the economic crisis already happening in Latin America, but some countries and their populations were more vulnerable, as in the case of Ecuador. In the cities such as Quito, this created urban layers with an indigenous population from country origins who had already urbanized. The population of this new layer suffered from racism and precarity. In order to overcome it, they have developed their own strategies of incorporation into the city through networks and relationships that have their origins back in their communities. The immigrants became itinerant entities without land that provides them with a house or means for production. This is an example of the importance that land holds for people, and why it also becomes a means of desire for the industry and for speculation that is a tool for control and power.

2.3.1. Rural/urban dynamics The relation of the city with rural areas is strongly affected by the flows of rural population, especially that of indigenous communities, and their incorporation into urban areas. Such incorporation is nothing new, but the most recent version of a

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Even if migration flows have always existed in Ecuador, they have increased in the last decades due to the adoption of neoliberal reforms and the consequences derived from them. long historical process of displacement that has been taking place from the sixteenth century on, with varying intensities, in the main cities in Ecuador. It is the same process - explained later in this research - that ultimately led to the assimilation of periurban indigenous communes to the urban area of Quito, radically modifying their social, economic and cultural relations as a result of the production of new urban spaces. Similarly to what happens today, the incorporation of broad layers of indigenous populations in the city did not result, however, in the loss of culture and identity, but rather a means to produce, reproduce and transform them. We take a closer look at this reality in what follows. Even if migration flows have always existed in Ecuador, they have increased in the last decades due to the adoption of neoliberal reforms and the consequences derived from them, as seen earlier. From the 1990s, neoliberal policies worsened the material conditions of access both to production resources and employment in rural areas, a situation that led into a consolidation and increase of migration to the city.4 Yet conditions for which indigenous population were headed in these peri-urban areas were not much better than those they were eluding in their rural communities. During almost twenty years of neoliberal dominance in the country, two economic subsystems were generated: the modern and the informal.5 Both went on defining the economic and territorial dynamics of the city. A clear evidence of such phenomenon is the increasing rise of real estate values, the accelerated impoverishment of low income -and to a great extent also middle class- families, the growing unemployment and underemployment and the conformation of sacrifice and control zones which derived in an increasing privatization of public spaces. In the dominant narrative, therefore, urban indigenous population form part of the informal subsystem, and as such they have been suffering from racism and precarity uninterruptedly. 4 Kingman, Eduardo. “San Roque y los estudios sociales urbanos.” In San Roque: indígenas urbanos, seguridad y patrimonio, by Eduardo Kingman, 7-20. Quito: FLACSO / HEIFER International, 2012 5 Hiernaux, Daniel, and François Tomas. Cambios económicos y la periferia de las grandes ciudades. Xochimilco: UAM-Xochimilco / Instituto Francés de América Latina, 199412-13 in Ávila Sánchez, Héctor. Lo Urbano-Rural, ¿Nuevas Expresiones Territoriales? Cuernavaca: UNAM, Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, 2005, 22

In the case of Quito, the incursion of indigenous people coming mostly from Chimborazo, Cotopaxi and Imbabura was accompanied by huge tension and hostility from the local population,6 since the latter was not willing to accept the way the indigenous speak, dress and express themselves. As a response, they have developed their own strategies of incorporation to the city through relational networks whose origins are found back in their communities.7 Sometimes, for indigenous migrants, reaching the city and settling themselves in might not represent a breakdown with those rural lands they left, since they reproduce their communal past in the new social relationships developed in the urban realm.8 Indigenous migration, then, affects the city as much as it affects the communities of origin, especially when urban indigenous maintain a strong relationship with their relatives living there. When this is the case, migrant indigenous travel back and forth to their communities, especially during relevant festivities such as Carnival, therefore shortening the gap and creating a continuity between urban and rural areas. This gap is also bridged when urban indigenous send products or money to their families in the communities.9 This way, a dialectic relationship, in the form of a two-way circuit of material and symbolic - real and imaginary - goods, is generated between the city and the country.10

A new rurality? This process of increasing spatial mobility has not only 6 Maldonado, Gina. “Matices y texturas de la identidad cultural étnica en contextos urbanos. En el caso de los kichwas de Chimborazo.” In San Roque: indígenas urbanos, seguridad y patrimonio , by Eduardo Kingman, 37-78. Quito: FLACSO / HEIFER International, 2012 7 Kingman, 2012 8 Espin, Maria Augusta. “Los indigenas y el espacio citadino. Los lugares de vivienda.” In San Roque: indígenas urbanos, seguridad y patrimonio , by Eduardo Kingman, 101-134. Quito: FLACSO / HEIFER International, 2012 9 Cuminao, Clorinda. “Construcción de identidades de las vendedoras Kichwas y mestizas y los juegos de poder el mercado de San Roque.” In San Roque: indígenas urbanos, seguridad y patrimonio, by Eduardo Kingman, 79-100. Quito: FLACSO / HEIFER International, 2012 10 Cuminao, 2012

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occurred between rural areas in the sierra and the city, as seen above, but also - and to a great extent - between the urban areas and the surrounding indigenous communes. As Jácome explains, the new popular economies in Ecuador, and especially in Quito, have been generating stronger bonds among the urban and the rural areas leading to a symbiosis of daily habits and ways of life between peripheral and urban populations. This phenomenon has gained strength with the appearance and increase of new means of communication such as telephone, roads, transport cooperatives and cellphones and internet most recently. These two rural-urban flows, therefore, similar in character but different in geographical range, have brought with them an increasing transfer of cultural elements, cosmovisions and rural-urban experiences that have been adjusting, shaping and reinventing themselves in the last few decades, finally leading into what some researchers have been calling the “new rurality” approach.11 But most importantly, this continuous dynamic of affective, economic and social links between the communities and the city12 does not allow us to look at indigenous identity as exclusively attached to the rural imaginary as it was traditionally characterized,13 and prevents us from studying the city of Quito under the dominant rural/urban dichotomy anymore. This phenomenon may have a dark side, though, especially when it comes to focus on urban indigenous migrants. They indeed may end up becoming an itinerant population that belongs neither to the rural land nor to the city; they sometimes cannot find the means for a living or sustain their families in the former and they struggle to develop a life in the latter. We will take a closer look at this phenomenon in what follows.

11 Martínez, Luciano. “La nueva ruralidad en el Ecuador.” Edited by FLACSO - Sede Ecuador. Íconos, Revista de Ciencias Sociales, nro. 8 Junio, 1999: 12-19; Camus, Manuela. Comunidades en movimiento: la migración internacional en el norte de Huehuetenango. Antigua Guatemala: Manuela Camus / INCEDES / CEDFOG, 2007 as quoted in Jácome 2011, 49 12 Espin 2012 13 Cuminao 2012

2.3.2. Disadvantages, marginal conditions and exploitation The different economic activities that most of the immigrants are engaged in, especially from Chimborazo, include the wholesale trading of consumable products, street vending retail, clothes trading, owners of small food restaurants, tailoring, shoemaking, domestic services, loaders or grain peelers.14 Commerce is a very important activity for the indigenous since most of them work on it. The distinction between traders is evident in the size of their stand and the amount of products they offer, which distinguish between power, wealth and ethnic origin.15 Usually, when indigenous arrive at the city, the work they can aspire to do as men is loaders, and women as peelers. The ones that do these jobs belong to the most marginal sector in the markets and their income of one day is barely enough to have one or two meals in the day. But they are also the sector that is more connected to their communities. The city is a place where indigenous immigrants struggle continuously, where they have to learn to navigate; as time passes it is more difficult to survive because of their disadvantaged position. The social economy of indigenous in Quito is characterized by social insensitivity. Therefore, the abuse toward the most disadvantaged sectors, such as the loaders and peelers, corresponds to a structural condition rather than to something specific in the markets. The work divisions respond to social, ethnic and gender aspects. The workers cannot work freely in the markets since most of the time they have to belong to an organization. The organizations charge fees, and there are fines if they are caught working without permission; they are beaten and forced to work in cleaning if they don’t have enough money to pay.16 In Quito, as in many other cities, these menial jobs with less cost benefit formal and informal production.17 An example is the 14 Maldonado 2012 15 Ibid. 16 Herrera, Lucía. La ciudad del migrante: la representación de Quito en relatos de migrantes indígenas. Quito: Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar - Sede Ecuador, 2002 17 Kingman 2012

The city is a place where indigenous immigrants struggle continuously, where they have to learn to navigate; as time passes it is more difficult to survive because of their disadvantaged position.

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supermarkets that obtain the food from the peelers at a very low cost while a minimal wage for living is paid to those that do that work. The housing conditions of indigenous immigrants have stayed the same since they started arriving, typically this is the rent of rooms is colonial houses. The houses are characterized by their big sizes with many rooms which can house several families in one room. It is common that families or people from the same communities share the rooms or live in the same house.18 So, the characteristic that prevails in the indigenous houses in Quito is the sharing of space between families or community members. Around half of the houses have potable water, most of them don’t have telephone service and most of them have gas and electricity.19 These spaces also function as spaces of exclusion and as a physical and symbolic barrier between the others that are not indigenous, where the meaning of integration is redefined and immigrants can reproduce their community life.20 The indigenous find it more difficult to go back to their communities due to the difficulties in the city since the situation is always less favorable in the country, and as a consequence they also travel less to their communities. However, indigenous continue having contact with their communities by traveling there for festivals, community parties or special events of their communities. Since the indigenous represent the exploited workforce that strengthens and allows the accumulation of capital of the big industries or sectors, others benefit from the labor and because of that are not interested in recognizing their real value; it becomes extremely difficult to progress and get out of that cycle. For this reason, they find it very difficult to acquire property and, at least, have a fixed placed to live. They are put in a vulnerable position where they can hardly present resistance or fight for their rights and recognition.

2.3.3. Displacement in the city: social violence In the city, the indigenous immigrants not only lack land but it is also challenging to search for a space for living or work. So, they also suffer from violence through displacement in the places they used to live or work. This can be clearly seen in the urban renewal projects from the municipality over the places that indigenous immigrants occupy, since those areas are generally charged with a dangerous and bad connotation. The perception of the popular neighborhoods in Quito as dangerous is relatively 18 Espin 2012 19 Espin, 2012 20 Azogue, Abraham. «El barrio de San Roque… Lugar de acogida.» In San Roque: indígenas urbanos, seguridad y patrimonio, by Eduardo Kingman, 21-36. Quito: FLACSO / HEIFER International, 2012

new, especially for the south area where many immigrants are establishing and other specific areas where they also located. These areas came to be stigmatized by the police because of the abandonment of the state, the neglect in supplying services for their basic needs, and because of a high presence of mafias where there is arbitrary rule over everything.21 The bad perception of these spaces is galvanized by the media with the purpose of fostering municipal intervention and social cleanliness.22 Therefore, the process of criminalization of the poorest and of their spaces as dangerous has been in part constructed by the media with special attention in the borders that are next to renewal areas like San Roque or other areas of desire, such as the

Abuses

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valleys.23 From public policy there exists a strong tendency to see the different elements that organize the operations of the city in order to control them. Security is a tool used for this purpose considering it is conceived from the top down policies as a way for the government to organize the population through the economy, surveillance, control and deterrence actions.24 But also, security is highly connected with the flows and organization of spaces. In 2005, the municipality in charge of mayor Pablo Moncayo took measures for the street vending prohibition in the Historic Center. He used 350 policemen to surveil the area for 24 hours, and focused on the areas characterized by having street vending. This action extended to other parts of the city where 21 22 23 24

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street vending was also found. They seized the products of the street vendors that were not perishable and returned them after a fine was paid. From the perspective of some residents, as well as from the municipality, the repression of street vending is a normal procedure for the ordering of the city.25 But for the indigenous it represents a violent act that affects their lives, since the street commerce is their principal or only way of living in the city which is being further restricted every time. The actions taken by the municipality are generally developed by external consultants or “experts” that are hired but who don’t understand the social problems that they are facing, so they don’t address the problems from their roots. They have tried to reach negotiations or consensus but at the end, their actions are taken beforehand in a unidirectional way.26 So, the actions for reordering urban space are conceived in terms of safeness and sociological cleanliness with the criteria of refurbishment, public spatial control, and the eradication of street vending and carriers. According to David Harvey, some deteriorated areas subject to patrimonial intervention forced the displacement of their residents because they concentrated and accumulated resources for speculation.27 So, residents are subjected to the mechanism of expulsion that is sometimes legitimized and fostered by the state.28 Securitization is a relatively new way of ordering flows and spaces with the goal of managing or controlling them. These flows can be economic, socials, for population or virtual, but all of them are subject to calculations of probabilities and random actions in urbanistic, financial, productive or social terms for intervention. Security as it is conceived in common urban terms is a way of consolidation of capitalism. So, the urbanization consequences are related with the densification, exacerbation of inequalities, overcrowding, decentralization, chaos and social violence. Intervention in the city is presented as techniques of architectonic or urban organization. However, these changes in the organization of the infrastructure as well as changes in the economy, the social distribution of spaces and the quotidian relationships are ones in which the residents’ opinions are not taken into account or, at least, there is no counter opinion presented.29 In the case of the migrants, they cannot support their families in their communities anymore and in the city, they are continuously displaced with speculation or because of the stigmatization of the areas where they live, so displacement can 25 Bedón, Erika. «Tácticas de vida y resistencia de niños y niñas indígenas migrantes en el espacio urbano.» In Kingman 2012 26 Kingman 2012 27 Harvey, David. La condición de la posmodernidad: investigación sobre los orígenes del cambio cultural. Buenos Aires: Amorrorty Editores, 1998 in Kingman 2012 28 Kingman 2012 29 Kingman 2012

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be justified. This type of urban intervention is conceived from state policies over popular areas under the guise of rehabilitation, securitization and incorporation of tourist attractions,30 like San Roque market because of its privileged location close to the historic center. The historic center is the best example of this since it became a space of innovation and real estate speculation to transform it into a tourist attraction. The importance of San Roque market for the indigenous migrants, as for other groups, can help to understand social urban life as a process that happens between different forces that concentrate in different spaces.31 Urban actions shouldn’t only have a technical approach, since they are subject to social and political situations.

2.3.4. Irregular urbanization New territorial realities in Latin America, such as the formation of mega-cities, the rural-urban migration or the increase of population in urban centers, are the consequence of the new globalizing order, which is generally associated with the unequal distribution of wealth and with the economic, cultural and social problems derived from it. In this globalizing context, specifically vis-á-vis urban expansion, an uneven territorial development is taking place, due to the excessive concentration of population and its activities. All throughout the continent, urban territories are mostly fragmented and segregated, presenting sharp social and economic differences. The limits of the city extend beyond what has been planned, generating a residential and commercial periphery. Quito is a good proof of that: in the last decades, the city has been transformed by municipal planning interventions, land commercialization and speculation and a low control over urban limits. As a result, the city has consolidated and has acquired a highly segregated poly-nuclear and elongated shape, causing an expansive periurbanization and suburbanization process. Quito registers an urban and demographic expansion to the northwest and south of the city. Through the census it is possible to see that the areas with more population growth are Calderon to the northwest and Quitumbe to the south.32 In both cases the expansion was through irregular subdivisions and directly connected with migration from the country and hence the immigrants are settled mostly in these areas.33 Additionally, the population of irregular settlements in the census interviews of 2010 was mostly immigrants. 30 Kingman 2012 31 Kingman 2012 32 Moscoso, Raúl. Dinámicas socio-espaciales urbanas. Una exploración desde las lotizadores irregulares de Quito, negociantes de la pobreza. Quito: Cuadernos de Vivienda y Urbanismo, 2013 33 Moscoso 2013


La Libertad neighborhood, which grew in an irregular way

As seen before, the city growth and the demographic increase is mainly due to internal migration from rural areas to the city, and often takes the shape of irregular settlements inhabited by newly arrived vulnerable populations. Illegal subdivisions of urban land constitute in fact the main destination of those vulnerable people, such as indigenous migrants, that cannot have access to credit or formal jobs.34 These irregular and precarious sellings, embedded in the most informal logics, constitute therefore the only alternative for the poorest population to acquire land and have access to their own house in the city. There are cases in which sellers staged a scam to pretend that the land subdivision and sale were legally approved by the municipality; yet the buyers, once they had paid for their land and had constructed on it, never received their property titles, realizing, then, that the sale was illegal. As a consequence, the municipality does not provide basic services like water, light, sewage and pavement.35 34 35

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Conventional and legal processes are still out of their reach. Neither the municipal nor the national government - not to mention the private sector - have offered any legal alternative for these populations. Having guarantors, a stable job and social security - totally unachievable for the most vulnerable sectors - are still the requirements to have access to credit. In 2011, nevertheless, the municipality implemented a strategy to legalize the irregular settlements in order to enhance the quality of life of their inhabitants. The principal mechanism for this regularization strategy is the Organic Code for Territorial Organization, Autonomy and Decentralization (COOTAD). This code is a political and legal tool for land use planning nation-wide and provides the local governments the faculties to control and plan the territory.36 A big percentage of the irregular settlements absorbed by the urban expansion have been regularized through a legal figure known as â&#x20AC;&#x153;rights and actionsâ&#x20AC;? included in the code. However, this code also allows the expropriation of any human settlement 36

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with potential “public utility purposes,” which has created huge conflicts between the municipality and those communes around the city fighting for territorial sovereignty, as we will study in the next chapter. Violation of the rights of indigenous populations, both migrant and native, has therefore become a norm of the disorganized expansion of the city. Despite all of the above, and in spite of the registered and proven direct relation between situations of vulnerability and the acquisition of land through irregular methods, desire for land keeps being a constant in the imaginary of migrant urban indigenous. Most of the newcomers still aspire to acquire a property as the first thing once they arrive to the city. It can be said that this is considered their maximum achievement for success. Although the new land in the city will not have the same function as the rural land back in their communities - since it does not provide all the means for survival - indigenous migrants see the owning of urban land not only as a means to gain the right to receive social facilities and services, but also as a way to have tranquility and safety. Besides, since any construction on irregular plots is often developed through self-construction techniques - thus requiring help and collaboration from other members of the community, usually under the form of mingas- a plot of urban land must not be seen only as a space to obtain economic profit by renting it or by opening a store or a workshop on it, but mainly as a space for coexistence and reproduction of collective practices. In a nutshell, irregular settlements have become the only way to have access to urban land for many vulnerable sectors, especially indigenous migrants, since they are often excluded by formal procedures.37 However, these difficulties do not prevent these sectors from searching and acquiring a space for living that allows for the reproduction of life in every dimension.38 Legalization of some of the ever expanding urban settlements through the COOTAD can be understood as the only satisfactory way adopted by the government to recognize the housing needs of migrant urban indigenous. Nevertheless, the code has been used as an excuse to regulate communal territories around Quito, thus violating native urban indigenous rights approved in the constitution. We will go deep into this issue later, as it has been one of the main triggers for our project.

2.4. United We Respond 37 Castello Starkoff, Paula, and Cueva Ortíz, Sonia. «Lotización irregular en Quito: impunidad y conflictividad social.» In Dimensiones del hábitat popular latinoamericano, by Teolinda Bolívar and Jaime Erazo Espinosa, 465-482. Quito, Ecuador: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2012 38 Castello Starkoff & Cueva Ortíz 2012

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2.4.1. The base of invisible infrastructures of support Even though most of the indigenous immigrants don’t own property or land in the city, it still has an important function in a social and moral sense even if they have lost a direct relationship with their land in the physical sense. So, the land they used to share back in the country influences the behavior of indigenous immigrants and connects them in the city. Therefore, the process of arriving at the city and establishing in it doesn’t represent a breakdown of their communities, but instead their social relationships in the city are based on their past relationships they developed in their communities towards land, property, and its ownership. As a consequence, the temporality and remoteness of the country and the community are reflected in the memories of the immigrants and the creation of their new spaces in the city.39 Once in the city, the indigenous create strategies to survive such as asking to borrow products to sell and pay back later after these are sold. Also, they appropriate spaces in the city, which is a tough experience but is important to start breaking a path through the city - this happens in marginal conditions.40 The immigrants find themselves in a peculiar situation where they constantly talk about their communities but when they are back they feel like foreigners, since their jobs in the city have new temporalities and dynamics that hardly adapt to the ones they left in their communities.41 The indigenous use their relationships to access housing, jobs, education, medical services and even money in order to survive in the city. They have created a system of support and help between them. Thus, they have also created an invisible infrastructure for survival and even for progress. These social structures work as exchange networks between families, neighbors and friends in the city of Quito. The urban indigenous are replacing the lack of social security with mutual help based in reciprocity.42 The newcomers always find the support of others when they arrive in Quito, no matter how poor or precarious their condition or situation. Perhaps the most important part of their structure is the ability to transfer knowledge and experiences that help others to learn and adapt more easily. The indigenous shape this invisible infrastructure constantly according to their needs and considering the context and conditions of the moment. In this network of help and support, all the members of a family are involved, from grandparents to children. The kids start working at a very small age and help with the family income and subsistence. These networks of exchange and care between family represent a socio-economic mechanism that 39 40 41 42

Herrera 2002 Cuminao 2012 Herrera 2002 Espin 2012


The indigenous use their relationships to access housing, jobs, education, medical services and even money in order to survive in the city. They have created a system of support between them. Thus, they have also created an invisible infrastructure for survival and even for progress. replaces the lack of social security.43 The kids are pushed to mature early because of this situation since they have to assume responsibilities and sometimes the economic activities replace school.44 In San Roque market, for example, the kids sometimes help their parents in preparing the products for selling before classes. According to Gabriel Salazar in “Ferias libres: espacio residual de soberanía ciudadana,” the reason for this strategy between the indigenous is poverty. It is not understood as a deficit of necessities or shortages but as a permanent social initiative of creation and of residual sovereignty at its maximum.45 It is important to point out that these relationships are not only practices of equality and reciprocity, since they are also embedded in practices of control, power, exploitation and surveillance in its different levels as explained before because of their disadvantaged conditions and marginal position.46 But at the end, these complex mechanisms of relations of power put to work elements that assure the survival of the indigenous immigrants in the city and which allow social reciprocity and community life.47 The appropriation of spaces like San Roque market and the surroundings of it articulate a survival project that is needed in the city48 by indigenous to sustain themselves and their families. They have created an infrastructure from the market and created social and collective relationships different from trading which has transformed them as active agents of the market and the city’s change. In the case of San Roque, indigenous infrastructure has its foundation in the market, but they have extended it to other areas of the city and even to their indigenous communities, as we saw earlier. These spaces exceed the individual limits to transform into collective ones where it is mandatory to receive

the newcomers as a moral obligation.49 This relationship between the new immigrants and the already established immigrants helps to create new networks of support between them.50 Occasionally, some indigenous have been able to buy a house in the city individually, as a family or collectively through many families’ participation like the House of Gulalag Quillopungo community. The house occupies almost a whole block and almost all the community live there.51 They transferred the dynamics of their community to the city and they generated an exclusive space for them where they have developed a sense of belonging, safety and comfort.52 This shows a high level of organization and agreement between them since to buy a house collectivelyrequires commitment and the participation of all their members. The Gulalag Quillopungo community started to organize because of the problems that faced the first immigrants that arrived to the city in their daily life, like language issues, difficulties to rent housing and to find jobs.53 These situations force the immigrants to find solutions between “equals” and the necessity to remain as a community. This necessity is what motivated them to buy a house in the historic center for the immigrants’ families in Quito, as well as for the ones that remain in their communities.54 In this house exists multifamily blocks of construction that go from 1 to 4 stories, a day care, a space for laundry, a communal store and offices. They feel safe within the house since outside they are subjects of robbery and discrimination. These spaces also have similarities that resemble their communities.55 The space shouldn’t be understood as a reproduction of the old country community relationships or as a process of disidentification with the city but as a way of social

43 Bedón 2010 44 Bedón 2010 45 Cuminao 2012 46 Espin 2012 47 Espin 2012 48 Salazar, Gabriel. Ferias libres: espacio residual de soberanía ciudadana. Santiago de Chile: Ediciones Sur, 2003

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and ethnic aggregation of the indigenous to the urban context.56 Another example of how the indigenous influence the city on a bigger scale can be seen in the neighborhood La Libertad that is next to the market where many immigrants started to buy their houses. It is located on the slopes of the Pichincha mountains. The neighborhood resembles the communities in the country since by being at the periphery of the city it is not crowded with cars and people. The neighborhood has a great view of the city, although the residents donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t refer to it but instead to the peacefulness, the possibility to live with other indigenous that come from the same community and even between relatives. The neighborhood has a symbolic value since it helps to unify the community and create stronger ties between them. This invisible infrastructure of the indigenous is a sociocultural system that has many aspects involved in it, but its importance relies on the possibilities it provides to the subsistence of a marginal sector. From this final analysis, it can be seen how these levels increasingly cross between each other. This infrastructure is created from a micro level of individuals that have organized and have formed a network. But through time these networks have become stronger and extended through the city and the indigenous communities. It starts as a network of support and help where indigenous collaborate between themselves, but it has become an invisible infrastructure that supports a system inside and outside the market, and which is also influencing the city. Finally, this invisible infrastructure is made possible thanks to a visible one that unifies its members and allows them to connect in the city, which is the relationships they develop in their communities toward land, property, and its ownership. We can see how important the land is, not just as a resource provider but as a social connector that unifies them everywhere.

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SECTION 3

NATIVE URBAN INDIGENOUS: THE COMMUNES IN QUITO 3.1. Introduction So far in this text we have been focusing on migrant urban indigenous, especially due to the abundant anthropological and sociological literature about this social group in Latin America. However, as Jácome claims, very little has been said about native urban indigenous,1 about their processes of identity construction, their economic dynamics, their culture, their integration to the city and the problems derived they have been forced to face. Located in both the surroundings and the inner areas of the city, the presence of these peoples is not a consequence of migration from other regions. Rather, they occupied these territories before and during the Spanish colonization, either as free indigenous or as a working force for the haciendas. For it was the city who controlled and managed these populations,2 they have created tighter relations with urban areas, thus acquiring some urban lifestyles that nevertheless have not implied the total disappearance of their value structure or their communal and collective principles, such as their social relations, festivities, habits, etc. Most of the studies about native urban indigenous are focused on the Metropolitan District of Quito (DMQ), for the inhabitants that have been dwelling within or around the city since before the colonization period have availed themselves of the legal form of “commune.” Most of these populations, generally, do not speak Kichwa as their mother tongue; find themselves stuck in land legalization processes; have subsistenceand market-based economies; are currently redefining their identities; and face a series of problems caused by their absorption by urbanization processes.3 1 The researcher Víctor Jácome explains that he uses the term “native” (originario in spanish) following Álvaro Gómez considerations in this regard: “actually, speaking about native populations is just a formality, a creator milestone in order to reclaim a sense of belonging to a past that has never been recognized in official history, that reclaims its space in history and in the destinies of the city of the twenty first century” (Goméz Murillo, Alváro Ricardo. Indígenas urbanos en Quito: el proceso de etnogénesis del pueblo Kitukara. Quito, 2008, 10). 2 (Kingman, Eduardo. La ciudad y los otros. Quito 1860 - 1940. Higienismo, ornato y policía. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2008, 39) in (Jácome Calvache, Víctor Julio. Economía Política e Identidades en las Comunas Peri-Urbanas de Quito. Tesis para Obtener el Título de Maestría en Antropología. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2011) 3 (Jácome Calvache 2011, 11)

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The DMQ, indeed, is persistently being defined and organized by urban perspectives of territorial planning that often if not systematically - conceal the relevant impact that indigenous populations - particularly those organized in communes - have on the city. In fact, these communes play a central role in recognizing those particular forms that outline and define the city of Quito and urban-rural relations, as Jácome admits. The current situation of the DMQ allows us to understand that, although there still exists a large number of territories registered as communes, they have had little importance not only in municipal management but also in research and studies regarding the city of Quito. In what follows, we will analyze potential and contradictions found in the legal framework, territorial definition and land ownership defining the communes in DMQ. Later, by looking closely at the historical and recent urban pressures, we will understand the general structure they have adopted in response, and under which principles and guidelines their strategies of resistance work.

3.1.1. A brief long history of struggles The historical framework of urbanization in Ecuador has two historical moments. The first of them corresponds to the urban consolidation, as a response to the pre-capitalist logic of socio-territorial organization, and the second one refers to the process of urbanization, which shows the hegemonic mode of production in the social formation as a whole.4 The city of Quito, re-founded in 1534, had some difficulties in its expansion during the colonization period. Social structures at that moment made white populations settle in the city while in peripheral areas there were some semi-rural and rural parroquias characterized by a higher number of indigenous inhabitants.5 A very noticeable social structure plus a natural environment that was hard to dominate forced the different neighborhoods in Quito to be separated from each other long since the origin of the city. In fact, beyond rural parroquias, which ended up being absorbed by the city after the colony, there were other farther communities holding direct commercial relations with the city. As such, urban areas constituted the control center for these peripheral populations, specifically for their economic activities.6 Many of these communities, nevertheless, disappeared in the following centuries, mainly due to the reduction of those 4 (Carrión, Fernando. Quito, crisis política y urbana. Quito: El Conejo – CIUDAD Centro de investigaciones, 1987, 29) in (Jácome Calvache 2011) 5 (Jácome Calvache 2011, 19) 6 (Minchom, Martin. El pueblo de Quito 1690-1810: demografía, dinámica sociorracial y protesta popular. Quito: FONSAL, 2007, 37) in (Jácome Calvache 2011)

lands used for shepherding, previously divided among different haciendas developing an intensive agriculture.7 But there were other indigenous populations living even farther who maintained a continuous exchange with the city. These populations, up until the beginning of the twentieth century, presented strictly rural spaces and were the opposite example of beautification, prestige and comfort symbolized by the center of Quito.8 Under colonization, nevertheless, Quito was hardly a commercial city and its food and workforce necessities were satisfied by indigenous populations living in the peripheral areas.9 At the end of nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth, particularly from the 1930s,10 Quito started a process of north-south longitudinal urban growing,11 which meant the first step for the eventual permanent absorption of peripheral indigenous populations by urban expansion during the whole twentieth century. This process, no doubt, was far from being exempt from conflicts. So it was the case that a great number of rural lands occupied by these populations saw themselves threatened particularly by the construction of neighborhoods allocated for newcomers who, attracted by new sources of employment, started to establish themselves in the city. Wealthy and powerful groups from the city showed no respect either for these lands or for the communities inhabiting them. This is clearly seen in the different city plans for territorial organization developed from 1940 to 2000. In them, indigenous peripheral lands were totally ignored despite the “Law for the Organization and Regime of the Communes” from 1937 - whose alleged goal was that of incorporating these populated annexes to the national territorial division- already recognized them under the legal figure of the “commune.” In all of these plans, especially those before 1989, expansion forecasts for the city were aggressively appropriating communal territories through land market and declarations of “potential urban land.” In the Masterplan for Consolidation of the Metropolitan District of Quito (1989-1993), “urban and rural communes” were taken into account for the first time within the territorial organization of the city. This plan, at least at a theoretical level, considered their participation in the city economy and the cultural, social and economical effects that urbanization was causing in their territories. This plan also established the role to 7 Ibid. 8 (Kingman 2008, 42) in (Jácome Calvache 2011) 9 (Peyronnie, Karine, and de Maximy, René. Quito inesperado: de la memoria a la mirada crítica. Quito: Abya Yala, 2002, 43) in (Jácome Calvache 2011) 10 (Lozano, Alfredo. Quito, ciudad milenaria. Ecuador. Quito: Abya Yala – CIUDAD Centro de Investigaciones, 1991, 187) in (Jácome Calvache 2011) 11 (Peyronnie y de Maximy 2002, 29) in (Jácome Calvache 2011)

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Extracted from Plan Metropolitano de Desarrollo y Ordenamiento Territorial de Quito, Vol.II, 2015

be played by the city government and the communal cabildos. However, and despite finally recognizing the existence of diverse groups within the DMQ, an inclusive public policy was - and still is - far from being achieved.12 Conversely, it is during the openly neoliberal phase of the 1990s and the first five years of the twenty-first century when the city suffers its greatest urbanization process, in both number of inhabitants and in spatial extension. It is precisely from those years on when the territory, now freed from topographical and social obstacles, becomes the basic element for production of capital13 through the integration of new territorial fields, the 12 (Gómez Murillo, Álvaro Ricardo. Pueblos originarios, comunas, migrantes y procesos de etnogénesis del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito: Nuevas representaciones sobre indígenas urbanos en América Latina. Tesis presentada para la ontención del grado de Maestría. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2009) 13 Harvey, David. Ciudades Rebeldes. Madrid: Akal, 2007, 45 in Bayón, Manuel. “Los Grandes Proyectos Urbanos como expansores de la urbanización difusa: el caso del Valle de Tumbaco de Quito.” La Ciudad Viva. November 10, 2013. http://www.laciudadviva.org/blogs/?p=19596 (accessed November 2015)

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reconstitution of urban land for housing and the concentration and fragmentation of territorial property. Despite continuous conflicts and struggles, the eventual absorption of communal territories into the urban center has always appeared as inevitable, especially to the eyes of the institutional powers. Possibly, this inevitability has been caused by the fact that these communal lands have never counted on defined footprints capable of proving to the state and the municipality their actual territorial extension. This lack of definition has also rendered any conflict more complex to solve, not only for the different institutions but particularly for the communes themselves; converting each of them into a single dot and rendering them invisible as political subjects, this territorial vagueness has allowed for the expropriation process to go on and on indiscriminately and for many rural areas formerly used to cultivate and cattling to be urbanized without any difficulty. In what follows we will analyze closely the causes and consequences, but also some possible potential, of such territorial boundlessness.


3.2. The Communes of the DMQ According to the information provided by the Secretary of Territory and Participation, there exist 75 communes in the city of Quito, always decreasing in number. Only 49 of these are still active. Among these, 3 are considered urban and the other 46 are seen as rural (Boletín estadístico, Instituto de la Ciudad). Our project, however, puts this categorization in question, as we will see later on. The communes are distributed through all the zonal administrations in the city, and are estimated to be inhabited by 80,000 to 100,000 people. Also, the map showing the official location of the nodes that represent the communes to the eyes of the municipality, renders visible a strong concentration of such dots close to the Ilaló hill and within the valleys of Tumbaco and Los Chillos. Besides, in the central part of the Quito valley, there are located the only three communes seen as urban by the municipality: Santa Clara de San Millán, Miraflores and Chilibulo - Marco Pamba - La Raya. Our research, based both on field trips and recent academic literature, focuses on the a) legal framework, b) territorial definition, c) land property regimes and d) internal organization either sustaining or threatening their existence.

3.2.1. Legal framework The process of establishing a legal framework over communes and communities in Ecuador has undergone a long historical evolution, going from the first phases of colonization taxes to the latest approval of the political constitution in 2008 which, framed under international agreements, finally recognizes the collective rights of the different indigenous peoples and nations thanks to the shift from the historical consideration of Ecuador as a pluricultural state to a plurinational and multi-ethnic state proposed by Correa.14 Up until today, the legal base for communes and communities in Ecuador has been the Law for the Organization and Regime of the Communes approved on August 6th in 1937. This law establishes for the first time the legal notion of “commune,” defining as such “every populated area that has not the category of parroquia, that currently exists or that is to be established in the future, and that is known with the name of hamlet, annex, neighborhood, judicial district, community, faction or any other designation”15 (Art. 1). Among the 14 Santillán Sarmiento, Verónica Natalie. Presión Urbana sobre Áreas Rurales. Transformación Territorial en la Parroquia de Tumbaco 2001-2010. Caso de Estudio de las Comunas Leopoldo N. Chávez y Tola Chica. Tesis para Obtener el T. de Maestría en CCSS con Mención en Desarrollo Local y Territorial. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2014, 30 15 In original spanish: “todo centro poblado que no tenga la categoría de parroquia, que existiera en la actualidad o que se estableciere en lo

requirements to acquire such legal form we consider it convenient to mention the following: • • • •

No less than 50 inhabitants. Inhabitants might own collective goods. The official and representative organism for the commune is the cabildo, formed by five members. They depend administratively from the MAGAP (Ministry of Agriculture, Cattle Industry, Aquiculture and Fishing).16

Due to the fact that this law does not refer to any ethnic characteristic, mestizo peasants enjoyed the same opportunity to establish communes as indigenous communities. That is why, despite the fact that communes are the dominant organizational form in the rural areas of the sierra,17 indigenous populations are not those who exclusively inhabit them and their number is higher in mestizo areas, as a recent study from the Instituto de Estudios Ecuatorianos (IEE) shows.18 This is clearly proved in the communes of the DMQ, where a percentage as low as 10% consider themselves as indigenous while 0% see themselves as mestizo. Building upon the thesis of various historians such as Teodoro Bustamante, a recent study from the Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales (IAEN), developed by Jeremy Rayner, Verónica Morales and Carla Simbaña, sustains that, to grasp the ultimate goal of the 1937 law, it is fundamental to understand how the Ecuadorian State, trying to implement its cultural vision back in the 1930s, aimed at individualizing and homogenizing its citizens before the law and before public institutions in general, considering any communal form of organization as opposing individual freedom and private property.19 According to Morales, interviewed in one of our visits to Quito, the 1937 law was created, on the one hand, to deal with ‘the indigenous’ question - by getting rid of it - and on the other hand for the state to name futuro, y que fuere conocido con el nombre de caserío, anejo, barrio, partido, comunidad, parcialidad, o cualquiera otra designación”. 16 Formerly, the organ in charge of the communes was the Ministry of Social Provision. 17 Percentage of organizational forms in Ecuadorian sierra in 1993: 54% communes; 24% cooperatives; 22% associations. (Zamosc, León. Estadística de las áreas de predominio étnico en la sierra ecuatoriana. Quito: Abya-Yala, 1995, 51) quoted in Martínez, Luciano. “Comunidades y Tierra en el Ecuador.” Ecuador Debate, N.45, Diciembre, 1998: 173188 18 Martínez 1998 as quoted in IEE, Instituto de Estudios Ecuatorianos. Memoria social y cultural en el Distrito Metropoliatno de Quito: Ruralidad y Comunas. Quito: IEE, 2014 19 Bustamante, Teodoro. “Las comunas en las ciudades ¿Tienen algún sentido?” In Quito. Comunas y Parroquias, 15-26. Quito: Dirección de Planificación, I. Municipio de Quito / Consejería de Obras Públicas y Transporte, Junta de Andalucía, 1992) as quoted in IEE 2014

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administratively and bureaucratically all the populated areas that were not understood as rural, nor as urban, nor as parroquias.20 As such, under the appearance of a positive integration of the communes into the organization model of the country, the 1937 law allowed to institutionalize - thus to control - the communes within the nation-state, to whose rationale they were forced to submit.21 Besides, this law, by giving all the competences (education, health, justice, etc.) to the Ministry of Social Security (Ministerio de Previsión Social) - what today is the MAGAP - allowed the state to stop assisting the communes with all of its capacities and all of its powers.22 The law, therefore, did not allow the communes to abandon their marginal condition, but rather it enhanced their exclusion from state and financial resources, for greater supports in terms of organization or production were not provided.23 Although the current situation has not improved consistently, there does exist a broad normative framework referring to how communities, peoples and nations have to be treated in Ecuador, thus opening a window of opportunity: already in the 1998 constitution, for instance, the state was given the role of protecting indigenous people’s collective rights, additionally strengthen thanks to the addition of Ecuador to the 169th Agreement of the International Labor Organization (ILO).24 Today it is the 2008 constitution that has established the legal framework under which a great number of norms and codes have been approved to guarantee their collective rights, and under whose protection the communes have been able to claim selfdetermination vis-a-vis their justice system, their own territorial laws and their own production system independent from the state. Because of its relevance, but also due to its contradictions, the most important code is perhaps the Organic Code for Autonomy and Decentralization (COOTAD). It declares the communes as “special regimes of decentralized autonomous government, established by people’s free determination,”25 in which principles of interculturality and pluri-nationality in terms of uses, habits and collective rights must be applied. However, despite - or due to - the wide range of such a 20 Morales, Verónica, interview by Mateo Fernández-Muro; Morales, María Guadalupe et al. (October 22, 2015) 21 Bazurco Osorio, Martín. Yo soy más Indio que tú. Resignificando la Etnicidad. Exploración teórica e introducción al proceso de reconstrucción étnica en las Comunas de la Península de Santa Elena, Ecuador. Quito: Abya-Yala, 2006, 129 as quoted in IEE 2014, 18 22 Morales 2015 23 IEE 2014, 18 24 Jácome Calvache 2011, 30; Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 31 25 COOTAD. Código Orgánico de Organización Territorial Autonomía y Descentralización (COOTAD). Quito, 2010, 64 as quoted in Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 32; in original spanish: “regímenes especiales de gobierno autónomo descentralizado, establecidos por libre determinación de los pueblos”

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normative framework, there are conflicts and contradictions between the different norms that, as we will see in detail, promote rather than discourage practices and dynamics typical of the 1930s; since there are no proper tools to materialize and actualize the plurinational state and the collective rights recognized in the Constitution, these guarantees turn into worthless pieces of paper, allowing for the communes to keep being ignored and rendered invisible and for their conflicts over land and their cultural diversity to still be unaccounted for by the state.26 As we mentioned earlier, two of the main reasons why the communes are still floating in a legal vacuum are the contradictions - either deliberate or involuntary - existing between certain state norms and the selfish use that the state and the municipality of Quito make of such contradictions. The most flagrant among them need to be found between the 2010 COOTAD and both the 1937 Communes Law on one side and the 2008 constitution on the other. In the first place, according to the COOTAD, it is the Municipality of Quito that has territorial competences over the communes and therefore is forced to provide them with basic services and public infrastructures. Nonetheless, similarly to what the state has been doing from 1937, the municipality now makes use of the 1937 Communes Law to disregard the communes and delegate every competence over their territories to the MAGAP today and to the Ministry of Social Provision back in the day. The COOTAD, therefore, ends up being totally ignored by the municipality in this case. Lately, however, the communes have been witnessing other cases in which the city attitude toward the COOTAD is the diametrical opposite, this time making use of it in order to regulate over communal territories and consequently ignoring the very 2008 constitution. While the latter foresees compulsory pre-legislative enquiry to people potentially affected by any intervention or legislation change - especially to the communes - municipal and state regulations and interventions over the territory are being exerted without any consultation; territorial ordinances, highway construction, sudden changes in land use, state infrastructure implementation, expropriation of human settlements with potential “public utility purposes”... all of the above are liquidating the collective rights granted to the communes by the current constitution. The COOTAD, therefore, is clearly not providing the communes with the practical means to materialize or make effective what the constitution is stating; on one side, in practice, 26 Kingman, Eduardo. “Comunas Quiteñas: El Derecho a la Diversidad.” In Quito. Comunas y Parroquias, 29-40. Quito: Dirección de Planificación, I. Municipio de Quito / Consejería de Obras Públicas y Transporte, Junta de Andalucía, 1992 in IEE 2014, 18


the COOTAD organizes the territory giving faculties and rights to the different levels of government, one of which specifically, according to the 1998 and the 2008 constitutions, is represented by the communes. Yet, surprisingly, the COOTAD never speaks of the communes as governments capable of managing the territory, thus delegating this role to the municipality. Given this flagrant contradiction and such a direct attack on their rights of territorial self-determination, the communes want this code to be changed.27 According to a comunero in Tola Chica,28 communes are not reclaiming to develop their own autonomous infrastructure, but rather to decide on how they want that infrastructure to be built. They want their own communal governments to decide how they self-govern, how they selforganize, and what should be the role of the state and the municipality according to the necessities of the community. This role, of course, is far from being clearly defined. The communes, no doubt, do not have the means to build infrastructure or basic services in their territories, so they demand the municipality take care of them. Yet the latter, this time, make use of the constitution to claim that communes are autonomous governments and that the provision of public services is not a municipal competence.29 Trying to put an immediate but temporary solution to this allegedly neverending story, some

Neighborhood with same name

Official location of the commune

Delimitation by participatory mapping

Delimitation by Verónica Santillán

27 Morales 2015 28 Herrera, Luis, interview by Fernández-Muro, Mateo; Morales, María Guadalupe, et al. (October 22, 2015). 29 Morales 2015

comuneros, indeed, have started paying taxes “voluntarily” to the City of Quito (despite being exempt since 1992), so they can have some basic infrastructure provided, such as electricity, sewage, pavements or even drinkable water. However, this is just a patch on the general discrimination with which the state and the municipality have been treating the communes for years and years. In what follows, we will focus on what we consider both the cause and consequence of such a shirking of responsibilities, and as such this has guided our project from the beginning: we are referring to the lack of any legal delimitation of communal territories and the ambiguity derived from it.

3.2.2. (Lack of) territorial delimitation

Extracted from Plan Metropolitano de Desarrollo y Ordenamiento Territorial de Quito, Vol.II, 2015, p.76

Whether they were recognized by the Ecuadorian State in 1937 or by the Spanish Crown in the fifteenth century, the communes do not possess well-recognized legal limits for their territories. Their inhabitants may be owners of their communal lands, yet there is no territorial demarcation that allows it to be established in a legal way. To the eyes of the law - thus to the eyes of the state and the municipality - communes in Quito appear as single points in the map, a constellation of

315


Tola Chica

unidimensional nodes spread throughout the territory. Their extension, then, is officially unknown. Of course, this lack of territorial definition has constantly turned the communes into invisible political subjects with no legal power, vulnerable to capital pressures and accelerated urban expansion processes, and devoid from any actual capacity to exert any of the collective rights guaranteed by the current constitution. Historically, every time Quito has grown and expanded, communal territories around the city have been a constant and easy target, since there was no legal title defining their limits that could act to stem such advance. Therefore, no matter how persistently the communes have responded to such expansion, they always depart from a position of disadvantage. In legal terms, in fact, comuneros are not the owners of any land because they don’t have any official title declaring this so. Who owns the land, then, before the developer claims the property? No one ever knows with certainty. Conversely, the answer, when not ambiguous, has always been detrimental to the communes: until the 1937 Communes Law there was no unowned land, so that every piece of land had an owner and every territory was

316

Leopoldo Chávez

someone’s property, one way or another. But after the passing of the Law and the approval of a new constitution in 1945, every land with no owner was declared a state property. Given the general individualistic and homogenizing spirit of the state during that period, as we have mentioned, it is not surprising what the state understood by ‘land with no owner’: no doubt, every indigenous land with no legal title. Let’s not forget, as Verónica Morales claims, that a title is nothing but a legal fiction, one which supports a property by inscribing it in the territory. Yet only those with power can fictionally draw a new title in boundless state-owned land, and communes are not amongst this privileged group. Conversely, only real-estate developers and builders happen to have the power and the money to go first to the public notary to claim their territory, then to the property registration office to have their title recognized, and finally to the municipal cadaster to have the land registered. With these three easy steps, entire pieces of formerly communal land have ended up being legally owned by private actors, which according to some comuneros does not necessarily mean, as we will see later on, they cease being part of


Central

a commune. The other side of this same reality implies that every piece of land that is not owned by anybody can be considered as communal territory and thus part of a commune. This is one of the criteria, in fact, that some researchers and comuneros are starting to use, together with the topographical analysis of the land, when trying to define the limits of their territories. Their exact definition, nevertheless, whichever criteria is applied, keeps being one of the most controversial topics at hand.

Defining the boundaries. Whose job? To this regard, the commune of San José de Cocotog has been immersed for more than fifteen years in a conflict against the parroquia of Zámbiza for the definitive demarcation of its territory.30 Despite constant requests and claims from its comuneros, this bordering conflict finds no solution: the case is being permanently delegated to different institutions, starting from the MAGAP - currently responsible for the communes - and ending, at the latter’s request, in the Ministry of Government, whose Special Committee for Internal Boundaries asked for 30

Jácome Calvache 2011, 35

San José de Cocotog

a topographical survey of the communal territory due to the inexistence of any historical map.31 According to Jácome, who studied the case closely, this conflict is evidence for the strong sense of appropriation and revaluation that territory awakens in the commune inhabitants, who understand its spatial delimitation as an expression of identity and a feeling of ancestral belonging to their lands rather than as a mere legal demarcation.32 We will come back to this 31 The limits were finally established as follows: “Norte: Unión de la desembocadura de Chaquishca huayco, quebradilla de Rubianes y quebrada de Tantaleo aguas abajo hasta el tope del Río San Pedro / Sur: Puente de quebrada de Zámbiza hacia abajo y quebrada Nayón hacia abajo hasta el tope del río San Pedro. / Este: Río San Pedro / Oeste: Punto quebrada Zámbiza – Cocotog, hacia arriba, de ahí hacia la calle Paquisha en dirección sur-norte hasta calle Gran Colombia hacia abajo, de ahí calle sin nombre y una sola recta hasta tope de desembocadura de Chaquishca huayco y quebradilla Rubianes” (A.N.C.-M.A.G. Communes’ National Archive – Ministry of Agriculture and Cattling: Dossier for Comuna de San José de Cocotog. Ministerial Agreement 821: folders 135 and 63; Database: Communes of the Province of Pichincha, as quoted in Jácome Calvache 2011, 36) 32 Jácome Calvache 2011, 35

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notion later on, since, not being exclusive to Cocotog but rather applicable to most of the communes, no doubt supports the thesis with which we start our investigation. We cannot omit, meanwhile, the political implications derived from such conflict as well as the permanent neglect of duties and the delegation of responsibilities practiced by institutions when it comes to solve it. The same way they do when it comes to infrastructure and basic services, the municipality and the MAGAP appeal now to the recognition of the communes as autonomous communal governments in the 2008 constitution to delegate to them the competence to create their own maps, trace their own limits and issue their own titles. By claiming that the communes are now a territorial authority, they do not even provide the means, material or documents to help them in such a task. The very same institutions approving national policies to promote deep changes in communal land use and foster intensive occupation of communal territories are now incapable of supporting or even contemplating the need for a territorial planning that alleviates the commune situation. 33 Struggling against this lack of resources, some researchers from the IAEN who have been working on these issues admit they have been incapable of drawing even one single exact map of a commune, despite all their institutional and bureaucratic infrastructure. Communes themselves cannot do it on their own either. However, some comuneros and leaders of the cabildos, in collaboration with graduate students from FLACSO University and researchers from IEE (Instituto de Estudios Ecuatorianos) have been doing the first steps in the last few years: by means of participatory workshops, GPS technology on site, or even relying on the oral histories from comuneros, up to eighteen communes have been unofficially mapped so far. Our project builds upon the results from these investigations and in close collaboration with their authors.

33

Morales 2015

3.2.3. Land ownership “Contemporary communes (...) immediately organize a shared form of life—that is, they develop a common relationship with what cannot be appropriated, beginning with the world.”34 The 1937 Law, as we have seen, recognizes communal property (as a collective asset for the commune) and its relevance for the socio-political organization of the commune. In the latter, not only the collective use and exploitation of land but also the collective management of its natural resources are guaranteed. Furthermore, COOTAD affirms, vis-á-vis communal land and territory, that “indigenous communes, communities, peoples and nations are guaranteed and recognized with imprescriptible property over their communal lands, which will be inalienable, unseizable and undividable, and exempt from taxes; it will be guaranteed as well the property over ancestral lands and territories, which will be allocated to them gratuitously.”35 As such, most of the communes - rather than having titles for individual property - developed the notion of usufruct (over a certain amount of land and according to the number of members in each family) as something that can be transmitted by inheritance within the same family.36 Family property lots resulting from this mechanism are worked by comuneros as if they were legal owners, even having property and sale titles. This is evidence for a land market that despite not having a clearly defined value in the communal statutes, is recognized within the communal organization, which plays the role of guarantor for these properties.37 34 The Invisible Committee. To Our Friends. South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 2015, 208 35 COOTAD 2010, 67 as quoted in Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 32 36 Iñiguez, Ismenia. «La Comuna de Santa Clara de San Millán: Elementos de Identidad.» In Identidades Urbanas. Serie de Antropología Aplicada No.11, by Sara Medina Romero, Patricio Guerrero, Ismenia Íñiguez y María Soledad Navas, 95-166. Quito: Abya-Yala, 1996; Instituto de la Ciudad; SIPAE. Sistemas Rurales – Urbanos en el DMQ. Quito: Distrito Metropolitano de Quito, 2013 as quoted in IEE 2014, 18 37 Burneo de la Rocha, Zulema. “Propiedad y tenencia de la tierra

Not only did the demand for urbanization increase both the illegal and legal land market, but growing speculation over the valley increased land fragmentation and created a shift in its spatial and territorial configuration. 318


Registered Land

Non-registered land within allegedly communal boundaries

Non-registered land

Registered land within allegedly communal boundaries

Nevertheless, recent research from the IEE shows that, according to survey from the municipality, today there are only 24 communes within the DMQ that still maintain some form of communal property on some areas of their territories.38 Increasing fragmentation and smallholding practices over communal lands promoted by the mercantilist Agrarian Reform from 199439 - disobeying 1937 Communes Law and favoring both real estate sector and the stimulating role of the State regarding the disarticulation of the communes - have allowed for selling these lands to the private sector and their integration into the financial system. Due to demographic increase, lack of resources in the rural areas and the rise of real estate values in some areas where the communes are settled, purchase of communal lands by external citizens has grown in the last few years, as we mentioned in the previous section. Pressure exerted by this market logic is forcing en comunidades campesinas.” In ¿Qué sabemos de las comunidades campesinas?, by Pedro Castillo, Alejandro Díez, Zulema Burneo, Jaime Urrutia and Pablo del Valle, 153-258. Lima: Allpa. Comunidades y Desarrollo, 2007, 161 as quoted in Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 29 38 IEE 2014, 21 39 Before the 1994 law, in fact, it was necessary the unanimous decision of the inhabitants to change the regime of the communal land into private, but since the law was approved the conversion of the land is allowed with only two-thirds of the inhabitants in favor.

many comuneros to legalize their properties in order to obtain individual titles, without which they would not be able to make use of the land in a productive or lucrative manner (due to the lack of bank credits, for instance).40 The fact that selling these plots is illegal according to the 1937 Communes Law - which only allows for the usufruct right - has not been enough reason to stop this process; on the contrary, external migration to the communes has grown lately to an important extent, accelerating internal conflicts for land and provoking a strong pressure over communal identities.41 Understanding communal property possession as a determinant factor for the identification of a commune, therefore, does not seem to represent the reality in Quito, and this has been confirmed through our conversations with comuneros from Tola Chica, Santa Clara de San Millán and San José de Cocotog. In this sense, as Iñiguez highlights, “communal identity based on collective property over land is no longer a practice,”42 which has activated among some comuneros a tendency toward a “capitalist system commune,” as Jácome has noted, where individual interests prevail and where activities developed by its members 40 Carvajal, José, interview by Kathrin Hopfgartner. (2014); Iñiguez 1996 in IEE 2014, 26 41 IEE 2014, 26 42 Ibid.

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Central

La Capilla

Lumbisí

Carcelén de Catequilla

El Guambi

Miraflores

320 Leopoldo Chávez

Comunidad Ancestral de La Toglla

Chilibulo Marcopamba La Raya


San Miguel del Común

San José de Cocotog

Santa Clara de San Millán

Tola Chica

Rumiloma

San Francisco de Oyacoto

321 San Francisco de Tola Grande

Santa Anita

Oyambarillo


are not necessarily for the collective good of the commune.43 There exists, consequently, an aggressive process of communal un-education and hybridization, mainly among many young comuneros who prefer to follow new consumption patterns coming from the city and therefore relate the communes with an indigenous rural past (mostly associated with their grandparents), even putting into question the commune itself as institution.

Appropriation, not property Nonetheless, the fact that many common goods and assets have disappeared from the communes does not imply they are over. Quite the opposite. “The phenomenon is interesting,” affirmed Martínez back in 1998, “for while communal productive bases are being dismantled, their politico-organizational bases are consolidating.”44 Indeed, opposing the mercantilist approach, there are an increasing number of comuneros and comuneras who, aiming to bring safety to daily life, are willing to enhance the notion of the “commune as community” as opposed to that of mere “legal commune,”which is strongly tied to the definition provided by the state and exclusively related to the possession and use of collective goods.45 For this reason, informal agreements and internal mechanisms are still being developed for the management of communal territories. Such strategies, despite the changes, transformations and conflicts going on in the 43 Jácome Calvache 2011, 47 44 Martínez 1998, 185 as quoted in IEE 2014, 19 45 “Ley de Organización y Régimen de Comunas.” Registro Oficial Nr.558. Quito, August 6, 1937, Art.6

communes, are allowing a great number of their inhabitants to still define themselves as comuneros, encouraging the continuity and enhancement of their different relations of kinship with family, friends and neighbors. Thanks to such efforts, communal institutions are still in force and have regained energy in the last years. The recent ethnogenetic processes and political mobilization that has arisen in ancestral communities around Ilaló hill are clear proof for that: among them has sprung a strong discourse favoring the sense of indigenous belonging through the recovery of communal land and the rescue of a common ancestral memory around language and rituals, but above all by means of the self-identification as part of the Kitu Kara Native Nation46 and the self-organization of the communes under the political form of a Communal Federation. Consequently, although communal property is no longer a practice, as Íñiguez highlighted back in 1996, communal “identity remains in the daily discourse.”47 This identity, as we have noted, is maintained in the sense of belonging to a territory (ancestral, most of the time) or to a nation (as the Kitu Kara), but even in the memory of a shared past and history that allows for the reproduction of kinship and reciprocity bonds among its members. But most importantly, communal identity is sustained 46 Cabrera Montúfar, Ximena. “El proceso de reurbanización del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito y su incidencia en la comuna indígena San José de Cocotog.” Cuestiones Urbano Regionales, Vol.1, No.1, 2012: 173-195; Gómez Murillo 2009 as quoted in IEE 2014, 27 47 Iñiguez 1996, 123

Official images and communications material from communes of Santa Clara de San Millán, Tola Chica, La Toglla and Pueblo Kitu Kara. Sources: https://www.facebook.com/Comuna-de-Santa-Clara-de-San-Mill%C3%A1n-702395189897793/ and https://www.facebook.com/LaToglla?fref=ts

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above all in the socio-political organization of the commune which, under the form of open assemblies and mingas - among other gathering formulas - reflects comuneros’ and comuneras’ traditional values and plays the role of “protective shell” against external pressures.48 We therefore consider it fundamental, as Martínez suggests, to “demystify” the collective character of land property within the communes - a claim already sustained by many of them (as noticed in many of our conversations), particularly by those with scarcity of collectively owned land - but not the collective character of the social, political and organizational forms deploying within their territories.49 As the researcher Verónica Santillán affirms in her work, it is extremely important to understand the communes not only as “leftovers” and remainders of ancestral/communal land, but rather as socio-organizational forms that have managed to survive in opposition to an expansive city by means of reproducing daily innovative strategies to face the future within a society where market logic prevails.50 It is precisely this juncture of the internal solidarity bonds with the “feeling of belonging to a common core,” as Kingman notes, what allows the communes to keep actively defending their territories.51

3.2.4. Communal organization “Not everything is organized, everything 48 Iñiguez 1996; Martínez 1998 in IEE 2014, 22 49 Ibid. 50 Santillán Sarmiento 2014; IEE 2014 51 Kingman, Comunas Quiteñas: El Derecho a la Diversidad 1992, 33 in IEE 2014, 22

organizes itself. The difference is meaningful. One requires management, the other attention—dispositions that are incompatible in every respect.”52 Despite the diversity of ethnic groups coexisting in Ecuador, as Jácome explains in his work, communal governments around the country have a great number of similarities between them, and that is because the Communes Law from 1937 did not only assure the legitimization of their territories and the support from the government, but also stipulated the election of “cabildos” as the main government authority.53 With little differences, then, conformation statutes for the various communes declare the cabildo as their manager body. The cabildo is generally formed by a president, a vice president, a secretary, a treasurer, some vocals and a trustee, and it is held accountable for organizing all the activities in the commune (such as communal work through mingas and celebrations) and communicating them to all its members. None of the members of the cabildo receive a salary or economic compensation, so they are forced to alternate their jobs in the city with these communal duties.54 52 The Invisible Committee 2015, 88 53 Ley de Organización y Régimen de Comunas 1937, Art.8; Castañeda, María. Las prácticas de gobierno comunitario: el caso de las comunidades de la parroquia González Suárez. Tesis de Maestría. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2008, 28-29 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 38 54 Durango Cordero, Miguel Felipe. “Esos Otros Saberes”: El Conocimeinto Ecológico Local en la Producción Agrícola Campesina: Un Estudio de Caso en la Comuna Indígena La Tola Chica en Tumbaco, Ecuador. Tesis Para Obtener el Título de Maestría en Estudios Socioambientales. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2014, 45

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Communal internal organization

50 min.

According to the 1937 Communes Law, cabildos must be elected every month of December through the General Assembly,55 which is the higher authority for decision-taking in the commune.56 The cabildo is responsible for periodically calling this assembly, which congregates every active member of the commune and generates democratic and participatory positions toward the various situations presented.57 The cabildo is in charge of proposing the topics to be discussed and providing residents with enough information in advance so as to be able to take decisions around the issues treated.58 This way, the stance of the cabildo is balanced with communal participation. The will of the majority - visually confirmed with an organic process of voting based on rising hands - must analyze and resolve as much as possible everything concerning the evolution of the commune.59 In many occasions, as some communal leaders from Tola Chica and Santa Clara de San Millán explained to us, there are special and technical committees (finance, water supply, sport 55 Ley de Organización y Régimen de Comunas 1937, Art.11 56 Durango Cordero 2014, 45 57 Conchambay, Víctor, interview by María Guadalupe Morales and Mateo Fernández-Muro. (January 29, 2016) 58 Ibid. 59 Durango Cordero 2014, 45

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and culture, legal issues, infrastructure, urban planning, etc.), duly created and registered in the statutes, that make use of the capacities and skills of various comuneros to address different subjects and therefore respond to the demands presented by the rest of the members of the commune.60 Committee members are all volunteers, invited directly by the cabildo or through open calls during the assemblies. If someone is interested in being part of a committee but lacks of the knowledge around certain topics, it is the job of the cabildo to put them in contact with people expert enough to lead the process. Committees allow this as a way to further decentralize decisions regarding specific topics, where participation of professionals or experienced members turns out to be more efficient.61 This kind of communal government, however, was far from being a new proposal, it appeared in the 1937 Communes Law, for it had already been established, in fact, in all the Spanish colonies. That is why some indigenous Latin American communities keep the system of cabildos, rescued and institutionalized by the different states back in the Republican period; such is the case, Jácome highlights, that the election of the cabildo through a general assembly can be found in the Aymara communities in Perú,62 in the community Muisca de Bosa in Colombia,63 or in Mapuche communities conforming the commune of Alto Biobio in Chile,64 among others. Both in rural and urban areas, communal organization within native people has been kept together with their territories until today, proving once more the tight bond relating territory and social forms of life that guides our whole project. Another form of social relation characterizing life in the communes are the mingas. These are collaborative activities and efforts developed for the enhancement and benefit of the commune, and its purpose varies according to the needs of the moment. The goal of a collective practice goes beyond agriculture as it used to happen in the past, and nowadays they are organized, for instance, for the construction of communal buildings or for the reforestation of Ilaló hill, in the case of the communes settled there.65 Although mingas ultimately help to 60 León, Marco, interview by María Guadalupe Morales and Mateo Fernández-Muro. (February 2, 2016); (Conchambay 2016) 61 Durango Cordero 2014, 45 62 Jahuira, Faustino. Identidad Aymara: caso del Altiplano del Perú. Tesis de Maestría. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2003 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 38 63 Panqueba, Jairzinho. El otro lado de Bogotá: memoria cotidiana e identificación histórica de la comunidad indígena de Bosa. Tesis de Maestría. Quito: FLACSO - Sede Ecuador, 2006 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 38 64 Norero, María. Municipio y Etnicidad: el caso de la comuna de Alto BíoBío. Tesis de Licenciatura. Santiago de Chile: Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, 2007 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 38 65 Hopfgartner 2014, 13


strengthen communal identity and solidarity among comuneros and comuneras, it has become an obligation for the members of the commune to participate in them. The minga of the cemetery of Cocotog, for example, is compulsory, as Jácome explains, and is carried out every month in each and every neighborhood of the commune: each comunero or comunera will have to attend six mingas per year to gain the right to bury his or her dead relatives there.66 The work done through mingas can be part of the projects voted in the assembly or assigned directly by the cabildo. They take care of specific problems related to the daily life of the communes and their inhabitants. Cabildos foster the community work by making compulsory the attendance of assemblies and mingas and the offering of communal contributions. The nonattendance of any of these activities are subject to fines whose amount depend on each cabildo. Another way the cabildos force the participation and collaboration in communal activities is by not providing official documents (such as possession certificates or permissions for electricity and water meter request, among others) to those residents who haven’t complied with their obligations.

to their cabildos.69 Victor Cochambay, President of the current cabildo of Santa Clara de San Millán, conceive of this as one of the most problematic issues faced by members of the cabildo; since theirs is a highly time-consuming and nonremunerated task, they are forced to combine it with their real jobs and accomplish it only in their free time, which constitutes a huge obstacle to making an exceptionally good job for the community.70 The fact that, according to the 1937 Communes Law, the cabildo has to be elected every year and is not allowed to hold the mandate for more than two years, does nothing but hinder the necessary stability to achieve relevant advances. Although some members of the communes, as Cochambay explains, are aware of and understand such difficulties, it is precisely the scarcity of visible progress that increased the weakening of the cabildo in some communes like Cocotog.71 69 70 71

IEE 2014, 25 Conchambay 2016 Ibid.

Internal pressures The fact that communal activities that were supposed to be voluntary have been turning compulsory in many communes is the result of increasingly low participation and interest in these practices, particularly due to young men and women abandoning them as fast as their education process and their incorporation to new jobs in the city advance. There are comuneros, additionally, who not only are in disagreement with work developed at mingas or with assisting to assemblies, but also, as we have seen, defend private over collective property and believe it would for the best interest of their commune to work for obtaining individual titles for the land.67 Scarcity of collectively owned land, as we mentioned, has also encouraged the higher dependence of the municipality at the expense of the role of the cabildo, particularly vis-á-vis applying for building permissions, obtaining titles for privatized plots or paying property taxes with the aim of selling them.68 In the last few years, indeed, cabildos have lost many organizational power, mainly due to the lack of financial resources. According to the COOTAD, as we studied earlier, from 2010 every decision taken at a territorial level has to be approved by Decentralized Autonomous Governments (GAD), which are not providing enough support neither to the communes nor 66 Jácome Calvache 2011, 64 67 Chillagana, María Salomé, interview by María Guadalupe Morales and Mateo Fernández-Muro. (January 28, 2016) 68 Jácome Calvache 2011, 48

Above: Ruta Viva in Valle del Tumbaco / Below: new Ruta Collas in Parroquia de Calderón connecting the New International Airport (NAIQ)

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Commercial value of land in the DMQ

The lack of infrastructure works and basic services, due to the legal ambiguities mentioned above and to the state’s and municipality’s negligence, is nonetheless attributed to the cabildos, which in many cases ignores the constitutional rights they enjoy for the mere fact of being communes and to accept being treated as one more marginal neighborhood.72 This has not led to the disappearance of the cabildo, but it has contributed to a gradual loss of its capacity to represent the communes and to the strengthening of other types of organizations within them. All of these factors allow consistently for the lack of legitimacy of communal institutions, particularly among young members, who have importantly reduced their participation in assemblies, mingas and other forms of communal life. We can’t deny, then, that communal spaces are suffering from a constant evolution mainly influenced by demographic increase, urban pressure and consumption patterns of the adjacent city, as we will analyze later on.73 There are other cases, however, in which the weakening of vernacular communal forms like the cabildo are substituted by

new and more powerful strategies of communal government. Such has been the case, for instance, in the commune formerly known as Comuna de La Toglla, whose inhabitants, exercising the rights conceded by the 1998 Constitution and the adhesion of Ecuador to the 169th Agreement of the ILO, took the decision back in 2005 to define themselves as an “Ancestral Community” and register as such in the CODENPE, thus acquiring a different legal status.74 From that moment on, the community - now part of Kitu Kara people and Kichwa nation, and therefore subject of collective rights - changed its form of representation; from having a cabildo like the other communes in the country, it started being represented by a Communal Government Council. By including a higher number of leaders, not only does this Council enjoy more competences in issues related to territory, production development or use of natural resources, but also enjoys the right to apply indigenous justice in its territories.75 A milestone like this has allowed them to solve complex internal land conflicts, for the community has succeeded in obtaining from the Municipality and the Government of Pichincha the competence

72 73

74 75

IEE 2014, 22 Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 70

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Hopfgartner 2014, 10 Ibid.


to sentence trials and making ordinary justice system to respect such sentences.76 In fact, and in comparison with the MAGAP - the state entity responsible for the communes nowadays- the CODENPE better guarantees the rights for indigenous people and nations specifically, and therefore it constitutes, to the eyes of the comuneros, a good “defense strategy” against urban pressure and municipal and state negligence.77

3.3. Urban Pressures in Valle del Tumbaco A clear example of the urban growth in Quito is the role of urbanization in the valleys surrounding the city,78 particularly that of Tumbaco-Cumbayá, and the progressive incorporation of rural areas and villages settled there.79 Due to accelerated urban growth, Valle del Tumbaco has turned into a micro-centrality; the wide provision of services and basic infrastructure all along 76 Ibid. 77 Interview to Comunero in La Toglla, in Hopfgartner 2014, 10 78 Carrión, Fernando. Quito, crisis política y urbana. Quito: El Conejo – CIUDAD Centro de investigaciones, 1987, 27 in Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 20 79 Plan General de Desarrollo Territorial Distrito Metropolitano de Quito. Quito: Municipio del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito. Dirección Metropolitana de Territorio y Vivienda, 2000, 11 in Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 10

Vía Interoceánica (the main access highway to the East of the country) has facilitated incorporation to the urban tissue of an increasing number of agrarian areas. Such incorporation arose as a response to the high demand of land by a growing population that started to need soil and services (such as water, sewage, light, etc) to inhabit it. In this neoliberal period there were achieved important agreements and planning projects that contemplated such expansive reality. One of the major milestones of that period was the declaration of the Metropolitan District of Quito (DMQ) in 1993, which assumed new functions and centralized many of the competences of the cantons conforming it. However, far from triggering a period of planning and regulation of economic growth, it activated a “corporativist” phase as David Harvey would define it.80 Not only did the demand for urbanization increase both illegal and legal land markets,81 but growing speculation over the valley fostered land fragmentation and forged a shift in its spatial and territorial configuration, provoking a greater and greater residential segregation in many sectors.82 In the first ten years of the twenty first century, Quito saw a new process of urban growth, especially toward south east 80 Harvey 2007, 370 as quoted in Bayón 2013 81 In spite of the different ordinances regulating land use, these were mere responses to demands from corporate sectors in the city (for instance, for the increasing construction of shopping malls), and were not enough surveilled or controlled. All of this allowed for many urban expansions in Valle del Tumbaco to be legalized only years after being constructed. (Bayón 2013) 82 Bayón 2013

San Patricio, office and hotel private complex being built in Valle del Tumbaco, province of Cumbayá. Source: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1777313

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and north east of the city, which led into the elaboration of the General Plan for Territorial Development 2000-2020 by the municipality.83 In the plan, however, urban expansion is once again based on giving the category of “potential urban land” to peripheral territories, thus affecting many of the communes that are settled not only in Valle del Tumbaco and along the Ruta Viva - main access highway to the New International Airport (NAIQ) but also in Tababela and Calderón, adjacent to the airport.84 As Jácome concludes in his research, their accelerated and forced incorporation to the urban tissue compels us to look at these communes not exclusively from the dual approach of “the rural” or “the urban,” but rather from an integral perspective including both. Only then will we be able to understand the construction of their current identities, their process of ethnogenesis, the continuity of their cultural and organizational features, as well as the survival and recent enrichment of the commune as category, despite its unstoppable absorption in a growing metropolis like Quito.85

This process of urban expansion in Valle del Tumbaco directly affects those territories inhabited by mestizo-indigenous peri-urban communes, particularly those that still keep their communal structure, their identity and their collectively used resources. Although these communes are organized to manage their natural resources, protect the remainders of native vegetation and guarantee the access to land to comuneros, the latter are yielding little by little to urbanizing pressure, real estate speculation and personal interests, selling a great amount of their communal lands to foreign people seeking to make profit out of them.86 Our project focuses particularly on the communes settled in areas adjacent to the Ilaló hill, in the south side of Valle del Tumbaco, and on those with whom the latter have started weaving alliances due to the acknowledgment of shared problematics vis-á-vis the demarcation of their territories, processes of land legalization, lack of basic services, devastation of their agrarian lands and lack of water for irrigation.87 All of these conflicts, mostly related to the municipality of Quito, have resulted in a process of ethno-genesis and the outbreak of a fight for demanding the compliance of indigenous peoples’ collective rights assisted by the Ecuadorian Political Constitution of the Sumak Kawsay (“Good Living” in English) approved in

2008 and by the International Law as expressed in the 169th Agreement of the ILO.88 The case that best illustrates these conflicts is the Project of Ordinance “AIER Ilaló-Lumbisí,” approved by the Municipality of Quito in May 2015 with the alleged aim of protecting the Ilaló hill and its adjacent territories. The hill, located 8km northeast of the DMQ, is an extinct volcano part of the eastern Andes, and its origins go back to the cretacic period, 40 million years ago. Within its geographic range we find the rural parroquias of Tumbaco, Alangasí, La Merced, Guangopolo, as well as the communes of San Juan de Angamarca, San Pedro del Tingo, Alangasí, Sorialoma, La Toglla, Leopoldo N. Chávez, Tola Chica, Tola Grande, Central, Rumiloma, San Juan Bautista de Angamarca and Lumbisí. Ilaló hill has become an important milestone in the history of its surroundings and of the entire country, for the evidences of human settlements in these territories go back to more than 12,000 years ago.89 The ordinance project, according to the city, arises as an attempt to regulate the various problems existing within the Ilaló sector, such as real estate growing, gorges pollution, garbage dumps or forest fires. As a response to these, and after a supposed agreement with communes located on the hillslope of the volcano, the ordinance proposes to create buffering zones with the aim of regulating land use and occupation.90 Mostly known version is that Ilaló hill is an area of ecological protection, and both the municipal administration and mestizo-indigenous communes owning communal properties in this sector are working together in the recovery and maintenance of its natural characteristics.91 However, version coming from the communes and communities of Ilaló-Lumbisí, supported and confirmed by our conversations with communal leaders and with researchers like Verónica Morales from IAEN, is quite different. In the last year, a huge office and hotel private complex, known as San Patricio, is being built in Valle del Tumbaco, in the province of Cumbayá, right on the north side of the Ilaló. Surprisingly, the ordinance “AIER Ilaló-Lumbisí” does not even mention this complex in its text, and thus it does not consider stopping its construction. Conversely, the ordinance does forbid the communes to build in territories around the hill. According to Verónica Morales, what this regulation is really doing, therefore, is protecting real-estate capital by allowing the so-called “formal” construction from private investors while banning the “informal” growing of the communes, with the ultimate goal, allegedly, of protecting the

83 84 85 86 87

88 Jácome Calvache 2011, 30; Durango Cordero 2014, 5 89 Pueblo Kitu-Kara. Nacionalidad Kichwa. Propuesta de las Comunas y Comunidades Kitu Milenario al Distrito Metropolitano de Quito para el Sumak Kawsay. Quito, 2015, 1 90 Ibid., 3 91 Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 34

3.3.1. Ordenanza AIER Ilaló-Lumbisí

Jácome Calvache 2011, 28, 128 Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 69 Jácome Calvache 2011, 127 Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 13 Jácome Calvache 2011, 30

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In a combined effort to reimagine and re-territorialize a collective future, the act of preserving and recovering an indigenous past becomes mutually dependent on the action of renewing and putting into value a marginalized urban-rural present. views from elite clients staying and working in the complex.92 Yet, whatever the goal of the regulation might be, there is something clear, the “AIER Ilaló-Lumbisí” municipal ordinance regulates a territory that shouldn’t be regulated by the municipality, according to territorial self-determination rights granted to the communes by the 2008 constitution. The city of Quito, nevertheless, has ignored the Constitution once again by recurring in its own favor to the COOTAD, which in fact establishes any territorial competence in hands of the municipality. The “AIER Ilaló-Lumbisí,” therefore, has been approved without the consultation or agreement of the communes as territorial authorities, which gives us a good example of how pluri-nationality stated in the constitution is actually exerted in Ecuador; if communal governments are ignored by the municipality when it comes to approving an ordinance, they will be considered much less when allocating budgets, defining zone management or assessing territorial administration.93

3.4. A New Territory of Resistance 3.4.1. Federation of Communes of IlalóLumbisí As a response to the above mentioned situation, in August 2015 there was the first “Meeting of Communes and Communities of Ilaló” to discuss the ordinance project. In this encounter there were presidents and inhabitants of a high number of communes around the Ilaló and the Council of Government of Kitu Kara Nation, and the main demand was for “the State authorities to respect Communal Governments.”94 From that moment on, communes have been gathering in assemblies and debates at a steady pace, even getting to elaborate a planning

Assemblies, meetings and protests organized by Communes and Communities from Ilaló-Lumbisí in defense of their territories. Source: http://kaosenlared.net/

92 93 94

Morales 2015 Ibid. Pueblo Kitu-Kara. Nacionalidad Kichwa 2015, 1

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proposal, known as “Plan de Vida” (“Life Plan” in English)95 through which they have required the municipality to close the file on the current ordinance and to develop a new integral proposal in collaboration with the communes and communities.96 In this proposal, analyzed in detail in what follows, the microzoning of each commune is required, the lack of information and participation of the communes in the elaboration of the current ordinance is highlighted, and their recognition as territorial authorities is demanded.97 Fighting together against the territorial ordinance of “AIER Ilaló-Lumbisí” has demonstrated the power of joining forces and knowledges with other communes, awakening in many of their inhabitants - particularly those self-identified as Kitu Kara - the idea and the willingness to organize under the form of a Federation of Communes of Ilaló.98 Though still incipient, a comunero from Tola Chica, Marco León, believes the power of a federation relies on its capability to turn concrete daily problems, ignored so far by the state or the municipality, into wider political issues to be properly demanded and fully claimed. A Federation of Communes would therefore provide visibility and allow federated communes to make their demands heard and complied. Our project falls in line with this intention and works in collaboration with communes of Ilaló and with Kitu Kara leaders in the development of the necessary planning tools to help with the future Federation’s self-governance.

3.4.2. Ethnogenetic process from Kitu Kara people Despite little archaeological research carried out in Valle del Tumbaco,99 we can generally affirm that population living in the communes located on the Ilaló hill comprises mostly mestizo inhabitants and a minority of indigenous people who self-define as ancestral settlers and belonging to the Native Nation of the Kitu Kara under the Kichwa nationality.100 In pre-hispanic times, around 500 or 600 A.C., Kitu Kara culture was established in the area of Pichincha, Imbabura, Cotopaxi, and Tungurahua. The latter was a merging of the Kitu people, settled in the Sierra, and 95 IEE 2014, 99, 103 96 Hopfgartner 2014, 12-13; OCARU, Observatorio del cambio rural. Tegantai. Agencia Ecologista de Información. October 4, 2015. http://www.agenciaecologista.info/sierra/897-qla-ordenanza-no-pasara-con-las-comunas-se-toparaq-la-propuesta-de-las-comunas-llama-al-dialogo-con-el-municipio-del-dmq- (accessed November 2015) 97 Pueblo Kitu-Kara. Nacionalidad Kichwa 2015 98 León 2016 99 Moscoso Cordero, Lucía. El Valle de Tumbaco: acercamiento a su historia, memoria y cultura. Quito: FONSAL, 2008 as quoted in Durango Cordero 2014, 33 100 Mejía Vallejo, Luis et al. Plan de Manejo del Cerro Ilaló. Plan, Quito: PSA-EMAAPQ, 2007, 185 in Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 36

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the Kara culture which arrived from the coast and conquer the Kitus.101 Through time, after suffering deep transformations by the arrival of the Incas and the conquest of the Spanish crown, these settlements would later become what we know today as communes. After centuries, due to their increasing incorporation in Quito and to the cultural, political, economic, religious and social relations established with the city and with other ethnic groups settling in their territories, Kitu Kara people gradually moved away from their native identity. However, in the last twenty years, the communities around Ilaló hill and in Valle del Tumbaco have been looking to create a bigger and stronger alliance by resorting to history, language and culture in order to ground themselves around a new hybrid urbanrural Kitu Kara identity. As Gómez noticed in 2009, this “strategy of cohesion aims to confront the advance of the city over the communes” and is thought to serve native urban indigenous people in Quito to “stand visible before a government that still has not found the proper way to include them in the different destinies of the city.”102 As a clear push against urban neoliberal policies, they have been offering resistance and developing strategies to legalize their territories against the opening of communal land to the financial market and external pressures caused by land speculation. Our project is precisely helping to design the necessary tools to foster that resistance and put those strategies in action in the following years. This ethnogenetic process, therefore, has become from 2001 the main tool for political pressure aimed at propelling the organization and legalization of Kitu Kara people,103 in order for them to be capable to counteract the exclusion and urbanization processes weakening those models that make them differentiate from city inhabitants and other indigenous groups. Considering themselves as native people of the DMQ,104 and because their 101 102 103 104

Gómez Murillo 2009 Gómez Murillo 2009, 47 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 119 Goméz Murillo 2008, 108 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 30 Goméz Murillo 2008, 107 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 116

Meeting of Pueblo Kitu Kara. In the picture, Víctor Conchambay, Darío Iza and Fernando Cabascango among others. Source: https://www.facebook.com/PuebloKituKara?fref=photo


legal regularization was necessary - but not required - to receive help from the government, in 2001 and 2002 Kitu Kara people started to meet with a number of representatives from ancestral parroquias and peri-urban communities, finally achieving in 2003 the recognition from the CODENPE (Consejo de Desarrollo de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos del Ecuador) as part of the Kichwa Nationality of Ecuador.105 From 2009, some new peri-urban communes - not necessarily geographically related to Ilaló hill - have adhered to the project, such as San José de Cocotog (between the parroquias of Calderón and Zámbiza) or Carcelén de Catequilla,106 and their members have started to recognize themselves as Nation rather than people. Today, in 2016, Kitu Kara Native Nation is one that confirms the plurinationality of Ecuador and is comprised not only of dozens of communes and communities of the DMQ but also a large number of cooperatives, organizations, companies, and social, educational and cultural entities. Among the approximately 80,000 inhabitants that comprise it, there are different ethnic groups such as kitus, carapungos and zámbizas. It is important to mention, as Jácome reminds us in his research, that 40% of their land has not been legalized, for it has been inherited generation after generation, and they find themselves, as we have seen, immersed in an ever-evolving process of identity definition.107 Such ethnic awakening against the subordination from which they have been victims, as well as against discrimination and violation of their rights exerted by the municipality of Quito, has driven Kitu Kara Nation to reconstitute a series of cultural agents that are acting on the conceptions society has of them. This way they aim to overtake the way the state - and national indigenous organizations like CONAIE and ECUARUNARIunderstand “the indigenous” as something related to clothing, language or rural lands.108 Indeed, prejudices that state institutions and society in general hold over the communes are still deep and intense, and the latter are still associated with an outdated rurality, being uncivilized and contrary to development.109 Therefore, opposing the idea of transforming the communes into parroquias, cooperatives or neighborhoods as a way to get over the communal “problematic” - which would allow for an easier institutional management for the state and the city - Kitu Kara 105 Jácome Calvache 2011, 120 106 Interview to J.GL., 2010 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 119 107 CODENPE. Consejo de Desarollo de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos de Ecuador. 2012. http://www.codenpe.gob.ec/index.php?%20 option=com_%20content%20&view=%20article&id=80&Itemid=117 as quoted in Jácome Calvache 2011, 30 108 Ibarra, Hernán. La otra cultura. Imaginarios, mestizaje y modernización. Quito: Abya-Yala / Marka, 1998, 72-73 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 31 109 Kingman, Comunas Quiteñas: El Derecho a la Diversidad 1992 in IEE 2014, 16

organization suggests understanding native urban indigenous communes as the most advanced form of peasant and indigenous political organization, praising their diverse way of structuring the territory and common resources.110 In this direction, many communes are recovering and strengthening those characteristics and symbols that define their identities in the urban areas where they are located or that constitute elements of resistance to urban growth in those territories soon to be absorbed. Among them it is worth mentioning mingas, kinship ties, the cabildo as an essential political entity, recognition of language rights, reciprocity and redistribution as economic strategy,111 culinary practices, agrarian and cattling production models - with which some communes still supply the city -112 or the annual cycle of social celebrations and cultural practices.113 To that end, for some years now, there have being recovered indigenous rituals and traditional festivities related to the agrarian cycle, such as the Inti Raymi, celebrated in gratitude to the taita (“hill” in kichwa) Ilaló.114 This process of recovering and putting in value the extensive repertoire of communal practices and indigenous cosmovisions does not only take place, however, in those communes affiliated to the Kitu Kara Nation. Moreover, as Jácome has studied, even within Kitu Kara communes such as Cocotog, there exist some other groups not affiliated with the native nation that have nevertheless encouraged the respect for land, ancestral territories and collective rights in an independent manner.115 These groups, however, despite sharing goals with Kitu Kara neighbors, find themselves in a relatively disadvantaged position because they lack the “indigenous” narrative as a powerful symbolic capital.116 Our project, despite working hand-in-hand with Kitu Kara leaders and being aligned to their efforts, will need to have extreme care in that sense and therefore consider the identitarian heterogeneity and the organizational plurality existing in the communes of the DMQ. If we are willing to develop a wide horizontal array of communal governance tools available to as many comuneros and comuneras as possible we cannot risk fostering the already relevant disconnection - and mutual unawareness - between the different groups or even trigger new identitarian conflicts among 110 Bustamante 1992; Kingman, Comunas Quiteñas: El Derecho a la Diversidad 1992 in IEE 2014, 17 111 Goméz Murillo 2008, 110 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 31 112 IEE 2014, 33; Jácome Calvache 2011, 32 113 Such festivities, for example, are victims of constant aggressions by the Municipality of Quito, who ignores the symbolic meaning that such rituals have for comuneros and comuneras and therefore turn them into a mere tourist attraction and move them to certain periods of the year that have nothing to do with their origins (Jácome Calvache 2011, 31). 114 Santillán Sarmiento 2014, 66; Durango Cordero 2014, 11; Jácome Calvache 2011, 96 115 Jácome Calvache 2011, 34 116 Bazurco Osorio 2006, 152 in Jácome Calvache 2011, 120

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them.

3.4.3. ‘Planes de Vida’ (Life plans) We have seen until now the two main forms of resistance most recently adopted by the communes against neoliberal urbanization. First, Kitu Kara Nation is a consolidated political body active from 2001 but recently reactivated as a response to an increasingly aggressive urban politics on the municipality’s and the state’s part; and second, the so-called Federation of Communes of Ilaló-Lumbisí, emerged as an objection to the homonymous municipal ordinance project and still conforming itself as official political subject - even if lately it has taken the shape of a series of meetings and assemblies extended to every member of every commune involved.117 Both initiatives are not exclusive but complementary and, as we have seen, they often feed back to and participate with each other with the aim of highlighting, before the municipality and the state, the weight of communal authorities in their own territories.118 As the researcher Kathrin Hopfgartner - involved in these processes from 2010 - explains, communes’ most recent efforts, combined or isolated, might be structured under two main lines of work that clarify and materialize all of the above: on one hand, communes are willing to recover every kind of ancestral and communal practice as a way of life; on the other, they are looking forward to foster intra and inter-communal economic and infrastructural development. Within the framework of communal struggle, both guidelines cannot be but intimately connected. Success or failure of the one depends on the success or failure of the other. Proof for such a symbiotic relation are the planning proposals that communes, from their own convictions, cosmovisions, requirements and demands, have been developing in the last few years. These plans include, for instance, the reassessment of indigenous culture and justice, the recovery of health practices based on traditional knowledges, of bilingual intercultural education, of an adequate control of natural resources, of services improvement - such as transport and communication - and the diversification of their economic activities such as tourism and handicrafts. With that goal in mind, in the last meetings held by the various communes from Ilaló-Lumbisí - and co-hosted by Pueblo Kitu Kara - a decision was made to elaborate, for each and every commune involved, a “Plan de Vida del Buen Vivir Comunitario” (“Life Plan of the Communal Good Living”) as the perfect 117 118

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planning framework for the development of those strategies. The first commune in the DMQ to start elaborating this form of territorial planning was the Ancestral Community of La Toglla in 2010, whose Plan de Vida - now in a more advanced stage is laying the foundation for the ones upcoming.119 In Ecuador, nonetheless, development plans like this have long been a reality at the various institutional levels and geographical scales such as provinces, cantons and parroquias; however, communes have always been marginalized from this planning processes. Planes de Vida are, above all, an alternative proposal to state planning, for they mainly rely on the open participation from comuneros and comuneras - rather than technicians - in their starting phase and in the incorporation, as seen above, of long since ignored topics that are fundamental for communal life such as historical memory, ancestral health or bilingual education among others.120 To put it shortly, Planes de Vida are a vision for development from a perspective of territoriality in its broadest historical, cultural and political meaning.121 Giving the first steps to launch their own Plan de Vida, every commune is firmly advancing towards the internal strengthening of their organization. To that aim, bridging the generational gap between the cabildos and the new generations - thus avoiding loss of interest in communal life on their part - has appeared as an obvious first objective. With that in mind, and following once again the example of La Toglla, it has been set as an essential value to incorporate young people into the different communal governments.122 But it is not merely the age that is making a difference in some of the new cabildos in the last few years; many of the new communal leaderships are constituted by professionals who bring technical support to the elaboration of such plans. With their help and the collaboration from external researchers (among which we self-identify) and social organizations, communal governments are proposing to carry out participatory diagnosis in their territories that allow them to show the loss of communal forms of life on one hand and the continuity of ancestral knowledges in the community on the other.123 119 Ibid. 120 Hopfgartner 2014, 13 121 Valarezo, Galo Ramón, Sara Báez Rivera, and Pablo Ospina Peralta. Una breve historia del espacio ecuatoriano. Work Document, Quito: IEE, Instituto de Estudios Ecuatorianos / Consorcio CAMAREN, 2004, 213 122 Hopfgartner 2014, 12; Conchambay 2016; León 2016; Cabascango, Fernando, interview by María Guadalupe Morales and Mateo Fernández-Muro. (February 4, 2016) 123 Hopfgartner 2014, 11; León 2016


The development and implementation of these instruments (to whose elaboration our project is contributing, as we will see in the following section) will facilitate and allow many communes to carry out in an integral and collective manner or at least to plan for the following years - some concrete and relevant initiatives that are already being implemented in a more individual fashion: preservation of natural assets (reforestation, recovery of ecological tracks) to undertake projects of communal tourism; opening of communal banks and thrifts; trade fairs for basic products for comuneros and comuneras; construction of training and educational rooms; implementation of garden centers for kids and youth; or the installation of centers for communal economy production.124 In a combined effort to reimagine and re-territorialize a collective future, the act of preserving and recovering an indigenous past becomes mutually dependent, therefore, on the action of renewing and putting into value a marginalized urbanrural present. The interconnected development of Planes de Vida from the different communes implies, in short, the generation of their own proposal of communal territorial development. This will allow them to hold a better position before public authorities under a pro-active resistance framework where the different communal governments will finally be able to assume and materialize the competencies and rights belonging to them for centuries.125

124 Hopfgartner 2014, 14 125 Hopfgartner 2014, 13; Valarezo, Bรกez Rivera and Ospina Peralta 2004; Pueblo Kitu-Kara. Nacionalidad Kichwa 2015

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SECTION 4

METHODOLOGY AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 4.1. Cooperatives as an Economic Strategy The communes need to construct local financial structures that provide them with a development axis for their economic sustainability and that foster a high level of participation in the community. These are not necessarily cooperative organizations but organizations of self-help, so it is important they not be named cooperative but that they have the principles and guidelines of cooperation, collaboration and mutual help. Also, it is important to acknowledge that there are no predefined recipes of how to create or manage an organization of this type since it doesn’t depend on commercialized products and the short-term and longterm objectives of the members. One of the main purposes of the cooperatives is to strengthen the community through activities and the direct and active participation in the entire process of the members in order to avoid external interventions. From the beginning of human history, people have supported themselves with the purpose of satisfying their individual and/ or collective subsistence needs and covering their deficits.1 Therefore, the practices of mutual help and solidarity have been part of people’s practices over time, and they have improved and institutionalized. In actuality, these institutionalized organizations are known as cooperatives or partnerships. Cooperativism is globally known and accepted in different socioeconomic contexts, and it has even influenced economic development in some countries. So, it has an active role in the undermining of poverty, marginality, and unjust distribution of wealth and it is an important tool for democracy.2 In Ecuador, cooperativism peaked strongly at the beginning of the 20th century, with the development of several cooperatives for savings and credit promoted by the state, religious institutions, employers and international institutions.3 Then, with the impulse of the first agrarian land reform, cooperatives of commercialization and production acquired importance. 1 Wilson, Miño. Historia del Cooperativismo en el Ecuador. Quito: Editogran S.A., 2013 2 Wilson, 2013 3 Wilson, 2013

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Peelers working together in San Roque market.

Photo from el Frente de Defensa y Modernización del Mercado San Roque However, with the adoption of neoliberalism, the cooperative sector was damaged by the practices and principles that provoke aggressive competition between cooperatives to capture clients, in addition to the lack of updates in the institutional structure that regulated them. 4 In the country, cooperatives were fundamental for the progress and adaptation to changes at a local level that were the product of creativity, the search for social cohesion and a way for the population to assume autonomy in their activities, and not because of the intervention of the state.5 Cooperatvism enabled diverse types of associations, especially related to savings, credit and transportation in the rural sector. The services provided by the cooperatives were based on the knowledge and trust between the members and the commitment of making them accessible to the low-income sectors. Therefore, it became a mechanism of socio-economic transformation and a service provider that guaranteed help to less favored sectors which constructed the basis of an assistance model.6 The interference of the state in cooperativism matters 4 5 6

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was always viewed with skepticism and concern. Through the years, the original objectives and the nature of the cooperation and collaboration in the cooperatives was detracting from its origins and for many experts, the state intervention was directly connected to this.7 In many cases, the labor cooperatives were different from the original cooperatives because they started to operate as an association of profit-seekers. In addition, Ecuador had an ambiguous and complex institutional relation with the cooperatives since they worked within the framework of 3 institutions which were the Ministry of Social Welfare, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the Superintendence of Banks. So, this complex system of institutions and the lack of communication between them was responsible for the division and debilitation of the cooperatives as a financial organization in Ecuador. In the Constitution of 2008, the concept and meaning of popular and solidarity economy was incorporated, which can be seen as an acknowledgment from the state of their importance and as a way to improve their development under a legal framework. Therefore, the legal and institutional mechanism for the cooperative activities had a change of meaning, where the 7

state recognized the importance of these organizations to fulfill the deficiencies and failures of the state toward some sectors. In 2011 the Organic Law of Popular and Solidarity Economy for the Popular and Solidarity Financial Sector was created. The law is important for the creation and regulation of these organizations and for their public and legal recognition. Through our field visits and interviews in Quito, we noticed that there exists a great sense of collaboration between the inhabitants that is also part of the culture in Ecuador. The difficulties and struggles trigger this sense of collaboration based on reciprocity that is used sometimes to replace the lack of social security, and other times to progress. In Ecuador, it has been possible to construct a successful economic model from cooperativism, despite the complexity and the intervention of the government. This model has been developed in a strategic sector of citizens that has provided them with the possibilities of growing and strengthening their economic development and social integration.

4.1.1. Brief history of cooperatives in Ecuador

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We believe it is important to address the historical creation of cooperativism in order to understand under which context their principles were created in Ecuador and how they have changed through time. During the first period of the 19th century, industrial capitalism had its intervention in Ecuador through the exploitation of workers to gain economic benefits, developed in bad working conditions, with low salaries and long working hours. The dissolution of communal land at that time in Europe caused the migration to the industrial cities that were being developed. However, the critical conditions caused much dissent that manifested in protests and rallies. It was during this period when socialism was born as an idea for a transformative social movement fostered by cooperation instead of competition by claiming the equality that capitalism had impaired. By that time, there were several attempts around the world to create cooperative models or adopt collaborative or cooperation strategies, starting with Robert Owen, known as the father of cooperativism, who established better conditions for his workers in his companies by reducing the working hours, raising the salaries and prohibiting child labor. Then we have William King, who promoted the development of 300 cooperatives that in the end didn’t work because of lack of clarity and consolidation of the cooperatives guidelines. The construction of very defined guidelines wasn’t possible until 1843 when a group of strikers created a cooperative store in Rochdale, England. Eventually, the cooperative was able to have mortgage credits, a construction company and solve housing problems. In 1995, the guidelines of cooperatives were updated by the International Cooperative Alliance, which included volunteer incorporation, the democratic management and taking of decisions by the members, economic participation of all members, autonomy, constant education of members for the community’s interest, and information distribution and collaboration between cooperatives. In Ecuador, cooperativism can be traced back to the indigenous practices of cooperation for the construction of roads, housing and ditches between others. This was more obvious during the colonial period when indigenous possessed communal land and partially stopped the haciendas to an extent at the same time urban neighbors, handcrafts unions and diverse societies with social aims adapted and preserved the associative collaboration through time.8 During the first decades of the 20th century, Ecuadorians got to know cooperativism though the labor leaders, intellectuals, politicians and union leaders. The model was adopted in two different perspectives. The one from Guayaquil that had a direct connection with Europe, and the one from Quito that by being surrounded by the mountains had less connection with foreign countries. In both cases, it was adopted

under a legal framework for the economic benefit related to the corporations and for the creation of client networking that was far from the social values of solving practical problems of the community members. So, the association objectives with social and solidarity purposes created in the principles and guidelines of the original European cooperatives weren’t really adopted. The lack of assimilation of the of the international cooperative principles like educational services or the legal and institutional framework was the reason that the cooperatives in Ecuador didn’t operate and grow. There was even a case in 1909 where a savings cooperative defrauded its members and from this was the decisive point in which the state decided to intervene and take over the control, regulation and promotion of the cooperative model with Eloy Alfaro as president at that moment. It was in the 1930s when collective rights of the indigenous communities started to be recognized as well as social property. So, “The Law of Organization and Regime of Communes” and “The Law of Cooperatives” were enacted; this last law represented a development of a social alternative model that worked as a complement to the Communes’ Law. The law was adopted by the left movement as a way to transform traditional structures. The 1937 law emphasized that: “Cooperative associations are considered the ones whose structure, functioning and aim are limited by the Legal Status of Cooperation and therefore they tend to build solidarity and to improve economic and social conditions of its members, by working commonly.” According to the law, the interference of the state in the cooperatives is through the Ministry of Social Welfare that examines and approves the status of the cooperatives to verify if they are based on cooperativism principles. Then the cooperatives are registered in the Cooperatives Department but the supervision of their work remains in the Ministry of Social Welfare that should inspect them at least every 6 months. The cooperatives law considers important characteristics for the cooperatives to have equality rights between their partners, variability in the social capital, limitation in the interest rates, and that the distribution of surplus should be in proportion to the participation of the partners. The number of partners is not limited but it needs at least two legal persons or 15 individuals that should be legal adults to be members.9 The law classifies the cooperatives in four types: of production, of credit, of consumption and mixed. It also defines the internal structure and administration in which it establishes that they should have a General Assembly, Administration Commission, and a Management and Supervision Commission. The cooperatives are allowed to admit deposits of their partners, advance payments, grant loans, make payments and charge payments. They are basically allowed to do any “banking” operation needed for the credit cooperatives

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The cooperative system in Latin America was born from a deficient adaptation of the American model of credit unions whose goal was to use the cooperatives as a mechanism of development for specific purposes in order to undermine the social conflicts that were arising. development. The interest rates, discounts and premiums are set by the Ministry of Social Welfare. The law contemplates state and municipal incentives to foster the creation of cooperatives that includes subsidies, taxes exemptions, raw materials provision, discounts, and any other necessary means considered convenient for the cooperatives development. So, the support for cooperatives was extensive and considerable but this couldn’t concretize them as an economic alternative because of the brevity of the government that fostered them, which, after political instability, changed to a neoliberal one. For this reason, in the next decades from the 1940s to the 1950s the state apparatus toward the cooperatives was weak and this distorted the principles of cooperativism in the cooperatives despite the growing number of them. Many of these cooperatives were formed by people of middle and upper classes that established cooperatives, not for conviction or to solve their common problems but because of profit seeking, to take over land and to take advantage of the legal benefits granted by the state.10 However, the increase in the number of cooperatives illustrates the need for a social sector that wanted to access the state recognition, land resources, and housing but that in the end was unable to consolidate an associative and solidarity scheme. In the 1960s there were several actors that fostered cooperativism. In first place was the state that defined the cooperatives as the mechanism for the agrarian transformation and as a way to preserve the indigenous communities through the organization. In second place was the United States intervention through the program known as “Alianza Progreso” that tried to increase the land reform by providing technical and financial support. Third was the Church that assumed a humanistic commitment to the poor and marginal sector. And last were the peasant associations that joined to access land. A new law based on the one of 1937 was enacted and the guidelines were clarified and updated in comparison to the law of 1937 but it was 10

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valid until 2011. It is important to point out that the cooperative system in Latin America was born from a deficient adaptation of the American model of credit unions whose purpose was to use the cooperatives as a mechanism of development for specific purposes in order to undermine the social conflicts that were arising. Therefore, the original objective of bringing efficient and effective financial services to the partners wasn’t practiced. Over the years, the number of cooperatives increased and the agrarian land reforms were important for the proliferation of cooperatives of production that reached their maximum number in the 1970s, although they couldn’t develop efficient structures. So, the cooperative movement suffered a decrease when the institutional support and the US funding disappeared, leaving only 25% of the ones created in the period. Despite the decline of cooperatives’ numbers, the 60s and 70s were a period in which the institutional bases were created from the groups that remained and consolidated. In the 1980s the consolidation process continued, especially because of the financial expansion through oil revenues. The cooperatives growth of deposits and credits matched their number of clients with banking institutions, which led to a strengthening in the participation of the cooperatives in the financial system. Also, there was a shift of the cooperatives from being mostly rural to urban because of the migration flows and change of population concentration to urban areas. But in 1984, during the government of the president Leon Febres Cordero, began a period of regulation of the financial activities of the cooperatives ignoring the cooperativism principles and valid legal framework at that time. The supervision and management of the cooperatives was changed to the Superintendence of Banks and Insurances. This represented a dominant control over the cooperatives from part of the state that wanted to homogenize them with the banking system influenced by the neoliberal movement and distanced from the social purposes which remained until 2012 when a new legal framework was developed. In the 1990s Ecuador entered completely into a neoliberal

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model that changed the relationship between the state and the financial market by restricting its intervention in it. So, the state institutions that promoted the economy disappeared at the same time as a new institutionalism focused in the private sector and in the external trade. This fragmented the cooperativism processes and promoted the growth of the banking system which put in doubt the credibility and solvency of the cooperatives. After struggling with the state government in 1995, a project to assist the remaining cooperatives was developed by the Federation of Saving and Credit Cooperatives (FECOAC), the Municipal Commission of Saving and Credit Cooperatives (WOCCU) and the Interamerican Agency of Development (AID). In the same way in 1996 the Andean Center of Popular Action (CAAP) started a project to strengthen the rural small cooperatives of savings and credits. So, there was again an increase in the cooperatives due the local initiatives that had a big sense of belonging and solidarity that connected directly the cooperatives development with the community development. By 1998 the cooperatives registered stability unlike the progressive failing of the banks that entered formally into crisis in 1999. After the crisis, the cooperatives came out strengthened. The cooperatives organization suffered an institutional restriction when Rafael Correa’s government arrived and developed a new constitution. The essence of the original objectives of a cooperative was lost and the model had distorted so the government tried to return the cooperatives to their original principles. The government proposed to constitute the cooperatives as a true socioeconomic alternative for human development. Therefore, a new law that rules the cooperatives was created by the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion named the Organic Law of the People and Solidarity Economy and Financial Popular Sector and Solidarity. On the other hand, the Constitution established the importance of the cooperativism where in its Article 283 it is established the importance of it in the plurality of the ways of production with the association of different actors such as cooperatives and communities. In Article 309, the popular and solidarity economy autonomy to have their norms, specific and different entities of control is recognized. In the article 311 is established a preference treatment of them from the state. Both were created under the principle that the social economy of the cooperatives should prioritize the solidarity work and the people’s welfare over the individual appropriation, profit, and capital accumulation.

4.2. Raiffeisen System of Cooperatives We’d like to focus on the cooperative credit system founded by Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen since we believe that it is

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one of the most successful that, despite the time it has existed, has preserved the original principles of cooperativism that go along with the communes organization and practices. Raiffeisen promoted rural banking to achieve welfare between the peasants whose basis was the autonomy and mutual help. Therefore, the banking members are joined through a solidarity linkage in which everyone responds with all their possessions for the credits or loans granted by the organization. Raiffeisen elaborated the system around the idea of mutual help guided by Christian purposes. He was mayor of a town named Flammersfeld in Germany where he created the Association of Assistance of Flammersfeld whose purpose was to enhance the living conditions of peasants by buying cattle. Then, he transformed the association into an organization for loans which was the foundation of the first cooperative for credit in Germany. According to Raiffeisen, rural poor needed money and knowledge to know how to invest in the most useful way; the knowledge can be acquired by training and the money through association. Raiffeisen found a problem in the access to credit, especially in rural areas since the only way of accessing a loan or credit was through the usurers that abused the necessity of the people. The associations proposed by him were based in self-help since for him money alone didn’t represent an enhancement in the community. Therefore, it was more important to know how to employ in a useful way the financial means acquired through association. He focused his efforts on solving first the credit problem of the peasant population and breaking the monopolistic usurer interference. Later on, he focused on the association tasks of providing provision for production and then in the commercialization of the agriculture products. Since the foundation of the first cooperative Raiffeisen always tried to joined all the cooperatives he was founding under a confederation so eventually, he was able to found the first federation of services of rural cooperatives. Then he created the federation of the credit cooperatives and later one of commercialization. Raiffeisen promoted the idea of free association with the purpose of self-help without having to renounce individual economic gain. He recognized that direct help damaged the population, since people wait for help in every situation. However, he argues that that the conditions and forces to help ourselves are given and the only thing missing is to put them to work without external help that either can stop the community forces or distort them. In the cooperative system of Raiffeisen, the individuals are not dispossessed of the economic benefit incentives but instead they are responsible for competition conditions; at the same time they can benefit from the advantages of cooperation in certain activities that are more feasible and easy to do in collaboration than alone. The principle of cooperativism


is that any member or partner is out of the benefits of the association and the meaning of self-help is to foster or to secure the greatest possible development. The communes’ organization and possible creation of the confederation can easily function under the main principles of Raiffeisen that pushed him to create the confederation of cooperatives, which is that the division of works or the autonomous units should be integrated into an organization or association for economic support, which he called decentralization centralized. In this sense, the economist and Nobel prize winner James Buchaman also proposed the “theory of decentralization,” in which economic activity should be decentralized as much as possible but in each part it should be as centralized as possible according to the economic and technical criteria.11 Raiffeisen integrated what the modern investigation identified as an advantageous combination of centralism, the rationality of decentralization, and incentives of free decision. In the individual cooperative, the members and the autonomy of the organization constitute the decentralized element and the federation or confederation of cooperatives constitutes the integrational or centralized system, many times known as the

“Raiffeisen System.”12 Therefore, the “Raiffeisen System” focuses on those economic activities that the individual or cooperative cannot do by itself so the norm is “ the most centralized as possible and the most centralized as necessary.”13 Raiffeisen acknowledged that a decentralized organization will provide the cooperatives with the possibility to attend better to the needs and interests of the members in relation to their location and specific needs but with the condition that each member is credit worthy.14 His cooperatives were guided by the criteria of the minimum size that is economically reasonable and needed in order to attend in a flexible and efficient way to the members. So, there is not an established size of a number of members which depends on the economic context and can be modified according to the macroeconomic conditions. Also, with this combination of sizes it is possible to control the communication and to manage problems more efficiently.15 In his system, he also created the collection centers whose purpose was stocking the cooperatives with products and enabled them in wholesale lots to take advantage of the commercialization for big buyers. The centers allowed the exchange between regions and work directly with the associated cooperatives but also with the other centers.

11 Maldonado Pólit, César. «Lo que o puede uno solo individualmente pueden varios juntos.» In Realidad y desafio de la economia solidaria, by Giuseppina Da Ros, 137. Quito, 2001

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Through the solidarity and responsibility of the members of a saving and credit cooperative, everyone can access credit and the organization can measure the eligibility and development of the members when granting credit, which in a normal banking institution is more difficult and therefore restricted. According to Raiffeisen, the solidarity and responsibility of the members has the purpose of not just providing the economic means needed but also to create awareness in the members about their obligation to commit one for all and all for one.16 In addition, the members of a cooperative know the geographic space and the territorial specialization which facilitates the decision taken toward the activities and investments. The determination of the procedures is democratic and goes along with the principles of self-help, self-management, and self-reliance. So, through internal democracy, the members participate in the decisions of the cooperative in which a vote is equal to one member which also helps to create the obligation and commitment of and for the members. The overall objective of Raiffeisen was to make competitive the disadvantaged classes or sectors not through external help or reliance but by the internal potential and self-help through association. This system allows the organizations to compete with the market at the same time as it reduces the power of the market as the number of participants increases. It works in two ways: the first is to cover a credit necessity and the second was to make competitive their associates. Nowadays, the saving and credit system of Raiffeisen still exists in Germany with 3600 banks and 20,000 subsidiaries able to develop any financial transaction.

4.2.1. Basic principles In this part, we will describe the principles that a cooperative organization should follow in order to preserve the values of self-help, self-responsibility, equality, equity, democracy, and solidarity between their members and the organization. These principles are the ones used in the Raiffeisen System that has remained in their cooperatives and is still part of the guidelines 16

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that the organizational part of their system should follow.

Self-help People in the same or similar situation join forces, raise the necessary finance for a joint cooperative undertaking themselves, and are prepared to mutually support each other. They expect that membership in the cooperative society will compensate for the lack of access to competitive markets and capital and improve oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own position in the market and better satisfy their economic needs. They expect in the broadest sense both access to the marketplace and to capital.

Self-administration The members organize the internal conditions of the cooperative societies themselves. Thereby they protect the cooperative society from external influences. This means that internally cooperative societies are not subject to any third partyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s direction or orders. The members decide through their internal bodies on the economic activities. This internal democracy is a vital element for a cooperative system.

Self-responsibility The members themselves are responsible for the establishment and upkeep of the cooperative and also answer for it to third parties. Mutual joint liability establishes confidence towards other organizations in economic life.


Voluntary Participation Membership in a cooperative society is voluntary; whoever decides to become a member does so by their own choose. However, membership comprises both a set of rights in the cooperative society but also essential duties. Everyone has the right to join or leave a cooperative. But as long as one is a member of the cooperative, one has the duty to cooperate with it.

Member’s Promotion The activities of a cooperative society focus on the member. The basic purpose of a cooperative society is to offer the services needed by the members. This member services orientation needs to stand at the forefront of the cooperative’s purpose. The member’s interest gets promoted. In the long run, the fulfillment of promoting the member’s interest can only be achieved if market share is kept and added to, growth is achieved and asset values and solvency are safeguarded. Therefore, the fulfilling of any socio-political interest, general economic task or even tasks assigned by the state can neither be the aim nor the task of a cooperative society.

Open Membership Everyone who wants to join a cooperative should have the possibility to do so within the framework of legal and statutory regulations. A cooperative society is not based on a restricted number of members so that the cooperative’s existence does not depend on members joining or leaving.

Identity Principle The cooperative society is at the same time an association of persons, an association of members and a business enterprise. The enterprise is jointly owned and used. There also exists a threefold connection between a member and a cooperative society. The member is a financial owner, the member holds decision-making powers and control functions and the member is a recipient of cooperative services.

The business relations between members and the relations in the social group of the association of persons are interdependent; if the cooperative enterprise does not function, then the association of persons does not function either and vice versa.

Linking-up Principle A cooperative society joins together through a linking-up system. They do so because of their size, their decentralization and often because of their regional orientation. This enlarges the principle of self-help. The linking-up system increases the promotion capacity of each cooperative belonging to the link-up system. The carrying out of tasks by enterprises engaged in the link-up system results both in ensuring that comprehensiveness is retained and on the other that competitiveness is increased. Link-up enterprises carry out only the tasks which cannot be carried out by the local cooperatives themselves. The cooperative principle of subsidiarity is also the basis of collaboration within the link-up system.

Comprehensiveness – The Regionalism Principle It should be possible to comprehend a cooperative’s geographical range of action. The principle of decentralization is based on the fact that smaller units guarantee a high degree of flexibility and more proximity to the market and members. Therefore, they have a strategic competitive advantage. In this way, a cooperative can both fulfill the needs and satisfy the interests of its members. Having an exact knowledge of the conditions of a region makes it possible to have a short communication chain and also a shorter decision-making period. This closeness helps to enhance personal relationships and social control, and preserves member proximity, even if this locality principle is exceeded in a narrow geographical sense.

Principle of The Independence of Cooperatives from the State A cooperative society belongs to their members and is committed to them. They are independent of the State.A cooperative society is not instrumentalized to realize social, socio-political or economic policy objectives of the state. They cannot and do not want to replace governmental

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action. A cooperative society’s expectations of the state are that it guarantees equal chances, no competitive distortion and a clear political and legal framework. Cooperatives fulfill social functions only indirectly. They contribute to the strengthening of their members through spreading wealth and asset ownership. They embody democratic principles, they strengthen the self-responsible action of free

citizens, they affirm free competition, and they put the individual and their performance at the center of their work. Cooperatives demand solidarity but they deny collectivism. They do not realize common wealth objectives and have no public assignment, they only promote the economy and the income of their members. They are denominationally and politically independent. Lastly, the principles of self-help, self-responsibility, and self-administration are as valid as ever. Only the forms of how these principles have been put into practice have changed. So, concentration, industrialization, structural changes and globalization of many economic activities force cooperatives just the same as all other enterprises to adapt their own organizational structures in order to be able to face competition, to best their promotion task in favor of the members. Therefore, the cooperatives from Raiffeisen’s period cannot be compared with the ones existing today, but what is important is that Raiffeisen’s principles influence today’s cooperatives principles and guidelines. However, regarding the practical way of pursuing economic affairs, these principles have to be steadily adapted to current conditions, societies, and national economies so that cooperative organizations are also able in the future to serve the people they are bound with, or in other words, their members.

4.3. Cooperatives and Communes, a Future Together In this part, we would like to emphasize the similarities of these guidelines with the actual ones of the communes’ organization because we see a potential in them to identify and strengthen their practices to consolidate a structure like this. Therefore, it is connected with economic autonomy and welfare. The community foundation it’s based on is the rescue and revalorization of the ancestral practices by retaking the autonomy and the active participation of the society. The collaborative organizations can help to construct the social tissue of the popular classes that remain subordinated. So, in the response to the lack of commitment and responsibility of the state to attend to basic needs of collectiveness, cooperativism represents a feasible alternative of substance against social and environment degradation.17 In the communes a solidarity economy can be constructed that can truly be an alternative to the market economy and its capitalist logic. This can help revalorize the local commerce, its potentialities, the space where the activities are developed and to encourage the ancestral values. The economic strategy needs to be a sustainable and progressive process that guarantees the immediate reproduction of benefits for the members engaged and to propitiate major opportunities for the community realization. The challenge consists in taking advantage of the structures and possibilities offered by the financial system for the consolidation of the collaborative initiatives and the multiplication of reciprocity linkages. Probably at the beginning it will be necessary to rely on one of the supports offered by the state, but the goal is to look for emancipation by creating their own capital. The benefit of the community commercialization, besides promoting the social sustainability of the base organization, (in this case, the communes) is that in empowering and strengthening the participant groups in collective behavior, they foster solidarity and stick to the cause or purpose envisioned by their members. The communes already have instilled the principles and 17 Da Ros, Giuseppina. «Ensayo Introductorio.» In Realidad y desafios de la economia solidaria, by Giuseppina Da Ros. Quito. Ecuador: Abya-Yala, 2001

In the communes there can be constructed a solidarity economy that can truly be an alternative to the market economy and its capitalist logic. 342


The communes already have instilled the principles and guidelines in their organizations and practices needed for a cooperative be successful such as the equality between members, respect, and preservation of their natural resources, the collaborative decision making and the autonomy of their organization. AUTONOMOUS

COMMUNES

COOPERATIVES

decision taking

COLLABORATIVELY

principles

ASSEMBLIES

participation

DIRECT DEMOCRACY management

WITHOUT REMUNERATION guidelines in their organizations and practices needed for a cooperative be successful, such as equality between members, respect, and preservation of their natural resources, collaborative decision making and the autonomy of their organization. The confederation of communes has the potential to make competitive the smaller cooperatives or sellers that individually cannot compete and therefore negotiate prices and conditions. In the same way, the confederation of cooperatives in the communes that will be managed by the confederation of communes can manage the aspects that cannot be administrated by each

commune or cooperative alone due to the quality of cost in services or products. The communes can create the commissions that can be in charge of the cooperatives that favor the local development processes and take care of the financial system in their location that allows them to save, pay less interest on their savings, promote productive initiatives and make the revenues circulate locally in order to have the ability to create projects whose gains are reinvested in an associative way. The commissions can also validate the products by certifying them and creating new

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Self-help

C O O P E RA T I V E S

strategies of commercialization in which the quality is assured. The aim of solidarity organization of a cooperative at a commune level is to mobilize the productive and creative capacities of the disadvantaged groups by providing them appropriate responses to the different necessities. It is also a mechanism of inclusion, since it is a possession with the potential of bringing economic resources, housing, food supplies and even money to the members. The communes can influence the thinking in the markets by creating a nexus of different levels such as education, health, housing, culture, and the relationship with the communes will be different. The confederation of communes can also help to establish and operate the cooperatives of cooperatives as a strategic alliance and reinforce the activities through the existent networks that are guided by the commitment to the communesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; community and ensure the continuity in the community development socially, economically and culturally. In Quito, there are a lot of groups or families that work as cooperatives even though they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the structure or are not legalized as such. In many cases, the groups are immigrants that obtain work and bring their friends or relatives to complete the work. For example, in construction there exists families of masons, and once they get a job they do all the work between all of them. In organizing they will be benefited since they can participate in bigger and more complex jobs. The lack of organization is because of ignorance in the sense that they behave as this type of organization.

Self-responsibility

Self-administration

Autonomous

Democratic

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COMMUNES In Quito, there are a lot of groups or families that work as cooperatives even though they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the structure or are not legalized as such. In many cases, the groups are immigrants that obtain work and bring their friends or relatives to complete the work. The aim of a cooperative at the commune level is to mobilize the productive and creative capacities of the disadvantaged groups by providing them appropriate responses to different necessities. It is also a mechanism of inclusion since it is a possession with the potential of bringing economic resources, housing, food supplies and even money to the members.

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the federation. The only federation that exists so far is the Ilalo Lumbisi whose creation was triggered by the COOTAD ordinance in order to organize against it, but the idea is to encourage other communes also to join in groups. The federation, as well as the cabildo, have different commissions. The third grade of the organization is the Pueblo Kitukara that represents all the communes as well as the federations. As mentioned before the Pueblo Kitukara is responsible for the institutional relationship of the communes with the municipality and institutions. Their functions are more political and deal with aspects that are of interest to all the communes in Quito, and they also designate commissions. The three grades designate commissions for the aspects they want to address and that can differ from commune to commune depending on their necessities; some examples of commissions are for finance, education, and urban planning. So, the communes can create commissions in each of their levels to be in charge of the activities to represent them at their respective level. In the first grade, the work of the commissions at the commune level as part of the cabildo structure is to join

The reason for creating a cooperative structure from these activities is that the organization and principles of them are similar to the ones the communes already have and exercise. So, in order to understand how the tool can help the communes, it is important to understand the communes’ organizational structure of grades. The first grade of the organization in the communes are the assemblies which are the highest authority in the communes, so all the decisions are taken collaboratively and have to get through the assembly for approval. All the residents can attend to the assemblies and they are also responsible for the selection of the administration group that will execute everything that is decided in the assembly which is called the cabildo. The cabildo is responsible to call for the assemblies, execute the decisions taken and designate commissions. So, the cabildo is in charge of the aspects or situations related more with the daily life of the residents. The second grade is the Federation that is an organization of communes whose aim is the articulation of a structure that deals with common aspects that share the communes that form

COMMUNES 1ST GRADE: ASSEMBLIES

ASSEMBLIES: Take decisions and select the cabildo

COMMUNES COMMUNES 2ND GRADE: FEDERATIONS 3RD GRADE: CONFEDERATION

ADMINISTRATION: Take decisions over aspects that have in common

President President: “x” President: “w” President:

All communes inhabitants: comuneros

“y”

CABILDO: Execute the decisions taken in the assemblies and designate commission

Treasurer

President

Vice-President

Secretary

Trustree

COMMISSIONS: Manage a specific aspect or topic

Planning

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Economics

ADMINISTRATION: Take decisions over aspects that interest all

Water Supply

“z”

COMMISSIONS: Manage a specific aspect or topic

Planning

Economics

Water Supply

All communes presidents

COMMISSIONS: Manage a specific aspect or topic

Planning

Economics

Water Supply


Similarly, the cooperatives are autonomous organizations of self-reliance that are based on the principles of cooperation, collaboration and mutual help. The aim of this kind of organization is to fortify the community through their activities and allow the direct participation of the members in the entire process, and in the management of the resources, so the decisions in the cooperatives are also taken through assemblies in a democratic process. The individuals are not disposed of the economic benefits, but instead, they are provided with benefits from the advantages of cooperation in certain activities that are more feasible and easier to do in collaboration. The principle of the cooperative is that none of the members or partners are excluded from the benefits of the association. Ideally, the structure of the cooperatives works by creating cooperatives in defined areas and then joining them in federations that fortify the activities. This is known as the theory of decentralization that asserts that the economy should be centralized as much as possible and decentralized as necessary. This is basically the linking-up system that increases the promotional capacity, products to be sold, and competitiveness of

the small