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  • 8/13/2019 Ecuador Anarchism


    Reinterpreting Labor Militancy: The Collapse of the Cacao Economy and the General Strike of1922 in Guayaquil, EcuadorAuthor(s): Ronn F. PineoReviewed work(s):Source: The Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Nov., 1988), pp. 707-736Published by: Duke University PressStable URL:

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  • 8/13/2019 Ecuador Anarchism


    HispanicAmericanHistoricalReview 8:4Copyright 1988byDuke Universityressccc ooi8-2168/88/$1.5o

    Reinterpretingabor Militancy:The CollapseoftheCacao Economyand the GeneralStrike f 922 inGuayaquil,EcuadorRONN F. PINEO

    I NCREASING interestnLatinAmericanabor istoryn re-cent yearshas brought rowth o this till argely nder-developedfield.For sometime, nly fewU.S. scholarscovered the subject,mostnotablyRobertJ. Alexander.'But as unionsestablished larger ole nthepolitical rocess,many nstitutionaltudiesbegan to appear in English, especially n-the 196os, covering inglenations nd Latin America s a whole.2n 1977, HobartSpalding,ridinga tide ofrisingU.S. academic nterestn dependency heory, fferedforceful ew synthesis, rguing hatLatin America's ies to the worldeconomyplayed the critical ole n shaping abor'sdevelopment. pald-ing'swork parked lively ebate ndgeneratedncreased nterest.3 verthe astfewyears, everal tudies ave ppearedwhich ombine concernforbroadernational olitical ndeconomic rendswith ttentionoordi-narypeople in everydayife. Scholars uch as PeterDeShazo and JuneHahnerhave provided n-depth bservationsfworkers'ives, abor, nd

    1. RobertJ. Alexander, rganizedLabor inLatinAmerica NewYork, 965); also seeMarjorieRuthClark,OrganizedLabor in Mexico Chapel Hill, 1934).2. Mois6s PobleteTroncoso ndBenG. Burnett,he RiseoftheLatinAmerican aborMovementNew York,1960); James . Pavne, Labor and Politics n Peru: The System fPoliticalBargainingNew Haven, 1965);JoeAshbv, rganized abor and theMexicanRevo-lution UnderLazaro Cdrdenas Chapel Hill, 1967);SamuelL. Bailv, Labor, Nationalismand Politics n ArgentinaNewBrunswick, 967);VictorAlba,Politics ndtheLabor Move-ment n LatinAmericaStanford, 968);MiguelUrrutia, heDevelopmentftheColombian

    Labor MovementNew Haven, 1969).3. HobartA. Spalding,Jr.,OrganizedLabor inLatinAmericaNew York, 977). n acritique fSpalding,EugeneF. Sofer ontended hat ypulling ack o a globalperspective,Spaldinghad not nd could not see how ordinary orkers adparticipatednshaping heirworld. Sofer, Recent Trends n Latin American abor Historiography,"atin AmericanResearchReview,15:1 (1980), 167-176.

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    708 IHAHR I NOVEMBER I RONN F. PINEOstruggles o organize, et against he context f argernational conomicand political hanges.4

    Despite this activity,manytopics n Latin Americanaborremainneither dequately xplorednorwell understood.5ndeed, in some fieldswe have not yet moved beyond the general ssumptionsound n theearlier verviews rittenn the 960s. Ecuador s a nation hat ften eemsto have been excluded n the general dvanceof progress, nd this salsotrueofthe study f ts aborhistory. eyond yntheticverviewshatscarcelymention cuador, the nation'sworkers eceive ttentionn onlya fewforeign issertationsnd someextended ssayswrittenn Ecuador.6This body ofwork s ofuneven uality.There s much o do inEcuadorian aborhistory.ndeed,thehistoriog-raphys so underdeveloped hat he iteraturerovides onfusingnswersto even simple nformationaluestions, uchas, whatwas the name ofthe radical nascent aborfederationn the 1920s? Alexander alls themtheFederacionObreraRegionalEcuatorianaFORE), whileRichard eeMilk, nhisdissertation,Growth ndDevelopmentfEcuador'sWorkerOrganizations, 895-1944," sometimes ses the namesFederacionRe-gionalObreraEcuatoriana FROE) and SociedadRegional cuatoriana e

    4. PeterDeShazo, Urban Workers nd Labor Unions nChile 1902-1927 (Madison,1983); JuneHahner, Poverty nd Politics:The Urban Poor in Brazil, 1870-1920 (Albu-querque, 1986).5. There are several rticleswhich urvev he iteraturen LatinAmericanabor.Alex-ander,"OrganizedLabor," n Latin American cholarship ince WorldWar II: Trends nHistory, olitical cience,Literature, eography,ndEconomnics,oberto squenazi-Mavoand MichaelC. Mever,eds. (Lincoln, 1971),155-171;Kennieth aul Ericksoni, atrickV.Peppe, and Spalding, "Researchon the UrbaniWorking lass anidOrganizedLabor inArgentina, razil nd Chile: What s Left o be Done?," Latitn mericatnesearchReviet,9:2 (Summer1974), 115-142;Judith vans,"Results nid rospects: omeObservations nLatinAmerican aborStudies,"nternationalabor andWorkting-ClassIistory, o. i6 (Fall1979),29-39; CharlesBergquist,What sBeingDone?: Some Recent tudies n theUrbanWorking lass andOrganizedLabor n LatinAmerica," atin AmericanResearchReview,16:2 (1981), 203-223; RonaldoMunck, Labor StudiesRenewal," atin American erspec-tives, 3:2 (Spring1986),108-114.6. Troncoso nd Burnett, iseofthe LatinAmerican abor Movement,6-87; Alba,Politics nd the Labor Movement, 6; Spalding,OrganizedLabor, 50, 58, 67-68; RichardLee Milk, "Growth nd Development f Ecuador's WorkerOrganizations, 895-1944"(Ph.D. diss., Indiana University,977); Lois JohnsonWeinman, Ecuador and Cacao: Do-mestic Responsesto the Boom-CollapseMonoexport vcle" (Ph.D. diss., UniversityfCalifornia,Los Angeles, 1970); PlutarcoNaranjo,La I Internacional n Latinoamnerica(Quito,1977);EliasMunioz icufia, l 15 denoviemnbree 1922 (Guayaquil, 978); sabel Ro-balinoBolle,El sindicalismon el Ecuador Quito, 1976-81);MuiiozVicuniand LeonardoVicuniazquierdo, Historia el movimientobrero el Ecuador resumen),"n Historiadelmovimientobrero nAmerica atina, 4 vols., PabloGonzalezCasanova, d. (MexicoCitv,1984-85), II, 201-275.

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    COLLAPSE OF THE CACAO ECONOMY IN GUAYAQUIL 709Trabajadores SRET). The group ctually alled itself heFederaciondeTrabajadoresRegionalEcuatoriana FTRE).7

    To some, the study f Ecuadorianworkersmight ppear to be of nointerest.8Why s it importantfwe know ittle r nothing f Ecuadorianlabor, or if our general ssumptions egarding atin Americanworking-class history o notholdtrue n this ase? Whatwe learnaboutEcuado-rian workerss importantecause itcan deepenourappreciationfthecomplexityf abor'svariablepatternsfdevelopment,ould encourageus to continue o revise omeof heoldergeneral ssertions,ndmaypro-vide useful nsights obe applied n other ontexts. atternsn Ecuadorthusmight ighlightnd furtherelp us understandrends ound n otherparts fLatin America.The focusofthe present ssay s the November 922 general trikeinGuayaquil,Ecuador. For threedaysworkersroughthecity oa haltand held massivedowntown allies t a fever itch f energy nd excite-ment,onlyto see theirhopes disappear n a hail of police and militarygunfirehat eft t leastthreehundred ead.9The slim xistingiterature,especially he older, ynthetic orks n Latin American abor,generallyinterprets uayaquil's 922 general trike y emphasizing he leadingroleplayedby anarchists."' his nterpretationees events s partof thewave of narchist r anarcho-svndicalistabormilitanevn SouthAmericaduring heearlvdecades ofthiscenturv. uch an explanationmayhave

    7. Alexander,Organiized abor, 124; Milk, "Growth nd Development," 3, 78 (al-thoughMilkusesthecorrect anmenp. 73); Para la historia: sposicionde la Federaci6nde TrabajadoresRegionalEcuatorian7aobre a actituidbrera en los mtiesese octubreynovieinbree milnovecientoseintid6s (Guavaquil, 923).8. Some scholars ave pointed p the need formore tudv f Ecuadorianworkersndofgeneral trikes, tuchs thatofGuavaqluiln 1922. For example, n a reviewof recentcontributionsoLatinAmericanlocialhistorv,usanMigden ocolow ingled utMichaelT.Hamerlv's tudy fGuava(quiilor artictularraise,butuniderlinedhe need to learn moreabout thepopulationnd workersnthecitv.Erickson, eppe,and Spaldingnoted hat noone has studied he urbanriotswhich hooknearlv verymajorLatini merican itvduringor just afterWorldWarOne." Socolow,"ThreeContributionso Latin American ocialHistory,"atin Amnerican esearch Revietc, 15:3 (1978), 233-237 (discussinglistoria socialy economica de la antigutarovincia eGuayaqtiil, yHamierlv,ranms.yNValter. Spurrier[Guavaquiil, 9731). rickson, eppe,andSpalding, Research nthe UrbanWorking lass,"115-142.9. As withmuch of Ecuadorian aborhistoriographv,here s considerable onfusionand even a lack of wareness egardinghis mportantopic. ndeed, Spalding ndiscussingpost-WorldWar working-classnrestmentions cuadorian trikesn 1917 and 1919 as themostnoteworthvvents, ut offers ot word n themucharger ndvastlvmore mportant1922 general trike. ee Spalding,OrganizedLabor,50,67-68.10. S. FannvSimon, AnarchismndAnarcho-SvndicalismnSouthAmerica," AHR,26:1 (Feb. 1946), 50; Alexander, rganized Labor, 124; Alba,Politics and the Labor Move-inent, 6; Milk, Growth ndDevelopment," 3; Weinman,Ecuador andCacao,"226.

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    710 | HAHR