Resistance Struggles and Movements in Puerto Rico: Towards a New Politics for Life and Work

Friday, July 18, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Booth 41
Oral Presentation
Tania GARCIA-RAMOS , Psychology, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan
Resistance struggles and movements in Puerto Rico: Towards a new politics for life and work

This paper is a product of research conducted between 2008 and 2012. The research centers on the analyses of the resistance struggles in Puerto Rico during 2009 to confront the layoff of 30,000 public employees. As a result of these layoffs, the union movement confronted six challenges. I discuss the potential insurgency of unions and other social movements.  

The year 2009, and the first strike at the University of Puerto Rico in 2010, integrated the most active and prolonged struggles in our country for the last decade.  In these struggles participated unions, economists, political and religious groups, feminists, students and professors. As in other important struggles, unions were among the most important protagonists.

The objectives of this paper are: 1) Explain two significant events that took place in this period: the peoples’ assembly and the one day general work stoppage, 2) Discuss proposals of diverse groups to deal with the crisis, 3) To present a brief historical background of the fragmentation in regards to the local union movement, 4) To evaluate the main challenges and potential insurgency for union and other social movements. Among these challenges are: 1) The continuous dialogue on the meaning of work and the role of workers in this systemic crisis, 2) The importance of diversifying the activities of resistance, 3) Unions and other resistance groups should be aware and oppose the attempt of the state to criminalize their struggle. Finally, the integration of struggles and movements in South Korea, South Africa and Latin-America poses the need of new ways for international alliances between formal and informal workers. These alliances can confront the precarization of labor creating new principles and politics for life and work.