Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Capitalism & Economics
Stephen R. Shalom
Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
Eleanor J. Bader
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Argentines Making a Life After Capitalism
T he world’s gaze is on the people of Argentina, who are trying to refashion a country from the ashes of the havoc wrought by the IMF,” articulated Arundhati Roy to some 15,000 audience members during her talk on “Confronting the Empire” at the third World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Many among the left are looking to Argentina as an innovative and effective example of grassroots organizing. This year’s World Social Forum and many forums within the forum were no exception. Argentina’s social movements—the unemployed workers movement, neighborhood popular assemblies, and worker-controlled factories generated some of the most inspiring discussions of experiences, strategy, and vision for anti-capitalist projects and global resistance.
Described as an experiment in autonomous resistance, Argentina has been the breeding ground for some of the most exciting community projects and resistance to globalization. The world was stunned when the economic crisis spontaneously brought thousands into the streets with the demand, “Que Se Vayan Todos” (All the politicians out) on December 19 and 20, 2001. After two days of popular rebellion, a state of siege, 33 deaths, and former President Fernando de la Rua’s flight from the presidential house, a new nation was born. Once tokened as Latin America’s success story in neoliberal economics, today’s Argentina struggles with growing numbers of unemployed or underemployed. Social movements organize community resources to meet the immediate needs of the 53 percent of the population living below the poverty line. They are implementing viable projects completely outside of government and state funds. Movements are not simply providing a solution to the crisis, but transforming society.
Hundreds of Argentines traveled to Porto Alegre, Brazil to share perspectives and to further Argentina’s participation in the global resistance movement. Many participants noted that grassroots movements are less and less comfortable participating in the World Social Forum and that alternative spaces within the forum are necessary.
S ome 200 neighborhood popular assemblies sprung up in Buenos Aires shortly after December 2001. Assemblies are neighborhood groups that took root in the city as meeting spaces where residents make proposals, plan projects, activities and actions, and collectively arrive at decisions regarding issues of local concern. “People came together to decide that they needed a system of representation outside of the system,” notes Ezequiel Adam- ovsky, an anti-capitalist participant in the popular assembly movement. He also participated within Life After Capitalism, a forum within the forum created for anti-capitalists to share and debate, where he talked about the experience of the popular assemblies after a year of organizing. “We are creating spaces where people can make their own decisions and live the way they want to live.” In this particular assembly, Cid Campe- dor, assembly members have diverse political experiences. When they first came together the only thing that they had in common was the slogan, “Que Se Vayan Todos.” “Lack of confidence in the state, politicians, and unions has led to absolute rejection of traditional politics and is leading to a new political culture dealing with autonomy. For the upcoming elections we are organizing a boycott.”
In July 2002, Cid Campedor community members occupied a former bank that stood vacant for over five years. Many assemblies, workers, and homeless reoccupy spaces for community projects and to create jobs. In the past year popular assemblies have implemented many projects—free meal programs, social activities, youth activities, and education workshops. They work closely with other social movements such as the cartoneros (cardboard collectors), unemployed workers movement, and the homeless.
In response to the growing concern over democratic practices of the World Social Forum, alternative forums have been created. Intergalactika, a laboratory for global resistance, is one such alternative space where pockets of activism came together to share ideas of horizontal organizing, direct action, and autonomous movements. “We could exchange ideas on many issues from horizontal organizing to direct action. The priority should be to keep on learning from other movements and sharing our own experiences with others,” notes Adamovsky, primary organizer of Intergalactika. He used the Piquete Urbana (urban blockade), an action that popular assemblies organized on December 19, to shut down the financial district in Buenos Aires as an example of ways movements learn from each other. This particular protest was distinct for Argentina because of its use of strategies commonly used in North American and European anti-globalization protests. Solidarity actions also took place around the globe.These actions reached as far as Yugoslavia, where over 600 people came together in solidarity with the people in Argentina. “People are going out into the streets, taking legitimacy from political institutions and putting power in the hands of the people with assemblies and alternative economic networks. You can’t imagine how much this was an inspiration for all of us in Yugoslavia,” notes Adrej Grubacic historian and professor. During the Life After Capitalism panels, he described Argentina, “as the most exciting place as far as participatory democracy without a state.”
T he unemployed workers movement has been at the forefront of creating spaces for participatory democracy. Since the mid-1990s the piqueteros, as the unemployed workers are known, have been organizing throughout the country, primarily in Argentina’s interior where former industrial centers have been replaced with crumbling, abandoned factories. “We are maintaining our dignity through being piqueteros,” explains a pique- tera with strong emotion and sadness about the extreme poverty in Argentina during a seminar on piqueteros at the WSF.
Community initiatives are taking root throughout Argentina’s most marginalized neighborhoods to cope with immediate needs within communities. “We are building autonomous projects to advance new actors, thoughts, and questions. These projects for social change are simple—popular bakeries, community gardens and clothes donation and repair, all outside of capitalism,” explains Alberto Spagnola, participant in Movimiento Traba- jadores Desocupados (MTD, Unemployed Workers Movement), one of the most radical branches of the piquetero movement. In MTD, Lanús, a neighborhood just south of Buenos Aires, other projects include sewing groups, copa de leche where a cup of milk is given to children each afternoon, community kitchens, the building of a library, and a bakery where bread is sold at cost.
In a packed room in Porto Alegre, some 100 people from all over the world came to hear a seminar on piqueteros’ approaches to organizing and activism. “We organize to create an open space where participants with different perspectives are respected,” notes Mariano a young militant from MTD. “We are doing localized organizing with greater democracy to raise communities’ consciousness.” Communities are transforming themselves from the ground up and are inspiring examples of resistance and community building. “There are no delegates here. Every Thursday there is an assembly where we make collective decisions. Last week for example we discussed the participation in [a] March,” says a young MTD organizer named Celina. She has been working for more than two years as an activist with the MTD in Lanús. Women make up 65 percent of the participants in the piquetero movement.
The people of Argentina are building models for social change from which movements around the globe can learn. The World Social Forum, as a place where people come together and talk about strategies for social change, should embody the type of organizing happening in Argentina. “The forum is important for the third world, but is very dominated by Europeans. It is dangerous to say that another world is possible when the organizers of the forum already have another possible world,” declares Hebe di Bonafini, President of Argentina’s human rights association Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. She reaffirmed this sentiment with the concern that the forum needs more organizational control from movements. Open participation needs to be ensured so that celebration and collaboration of activism like Argentina’s take place and include more diverse perspectives.
It is clear that Argentina’s movements are not just responding to a crisis. People don’t want things to return to the state in which they were. They want something new. What makes Argentina such an inspiring place for social change is that radical change is being demanded completely outside the realm of traditional electoral politics. Unlike Brazil and Venezuela, where success has been through political parties, Argentina is a success because movements are fighting against reformist measures. Argentina now illustrates a total collapse of a neoliberal model and corrupt politics. People are not trying to rebuild systems, but create a new life outside of systems that constantly put profit before people.
Marie Trigona is an independent journalist and activist currently based in Argentina.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.