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The Politics of the Urban Dispossessed.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Roberta Rice

The Politics of the Urban Dispossessed I. Polanyian Backlash II. Crisis and Contention in Argentina III. Repression and restructuring in Chile I. Polanyian Backlash -Karl Polanyi (1944) – “The Great Transformation” -liberals worship the “altar” of the market – main organizing force in society -market society: an order that subordinates political and social institutions to the principles of the market economy -Polanyian Backlash: efforts to construct a market society inevitably generates a reaction by social forces for protection from the market - a defensive reaction -Eduardo Silva (2009) – “Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America” -describes a Polanyian backlash in Latin America II. Crisis and Contention in Argentina -December 2001 – a number of Presidential Falls -President Fernando de la Rua (1999-2001) -by November, unemployment was at 20%, rate of poverty around (possibly exceeding) 40% -Dec 1 – gov’t pushed through a range of wildly unpopular banking restrictions -freezing of bank accounts -Dec 15 – grocery store lootings, violent protests, riots -Dec 19- mass protests in Buenos Aires -largely peaceful, middle class -Dec 20-resignations over the state of economy, the protests, -Minister of economy, the rest of the cabinet and then the President resigned -four presidents! -Jan 1, 2002 – President Eduardo Duhalde -2003 – Nestor Kirchner -left-turn president -what happened in 2001 – was really a civil society coup -a shift towards the left and a step in the post neo-liberal direction Town revolts (aka Glocal Riots – Havier Arroyo) -Glocal – the intersection between global and local dynamics, whereby citizens think globally but act locally -location – Santiago del Eastero (1993), Corrientes (1999) -both experienced town revolts -both led by disgruntled public sector employees -main demand was back pay -President 0 Carlos Menem (1989-1999) -gov’t intervened in the provinces to forcibly remove the protestors and force the gov’t to carry on the reforms from above -the teachers got their wages...but then they were all laid off (so the neoliberal policies continued) Picketing (“Piqueteros”) -location: in the provinces with the highest levels of unemployment, a way to stop the market -eg. Cordoba, Catamarea etc -actors: the provincial unemployed -demands: job creation, subsidies, tax breaks -the economy has rejected they will inject themselves in the economy -make the gov’t listen to them -privatization of the national petroleum company YPF in 1995 in Neuquen -workforce went from 4000 workers to 400 workers (after the layoffs and privatization) -managed to spark similar protests around the country -Eduardo Duhalde and Kirchner -solution was to deploy social emergency funds -invest in the Piquetero movement -tame the protestors by partially giving into their demands -2002 – reached their peak
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