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New political thinking in Argentina   Post comment Printer friendly versionMore notes

New political thinking in Argentina
Argentina, crisis, Marxism
Tuesday, April 08, 2003 03:08 GMT

I've been writing about Argentina in the last few weeks and wanted to share some of the incredible news that is coming out of there that some of you may have not come across. We have all heard about the crisis that peaked in December 2001 when the Argentinian peso lost 2/3 of its value and the banks stopped all withdrawals, and when mass protests led to the fall of the government. The situation was extraordinary in the extent to which a putatively democratic system that had been a capitalist poster-child until very recently lost all legitimacy, in the eyes not only of the poor, but also the middle classes, whose savings had been almost wiped out. This, and the continued desperate economic situation, has created an environment in which intense debate is going on as to alternative political and economic structures, and much of this debate is taking off into experiments with local assemblies, worker-run companies, etc. It is worth looking at how some of this experimentation is playing out.

there is a huge amount of writing about this (notably, by the international socialist press that sees Argentina as something of a crucible of future revolutions...) and i will just post links here. I think the following two paragraphs from Naomi Klein's piece give a sense of what is happening, however:

"In the past year, between 130 and 150 factories, bankrupt and abandoned by their owners, have been taken over by their workers and turned into cooperatives or collectives. At tractor plants, supermarkets, printing houses, aluminium factories and pizza parlours, decisions about company policy are now made in open assemblies, and profits are split equally among the workers.

"In recent months, the "fabricas tomadas" (literally, "taken factories") have begun to network among themselves and are beginning to plan an informal "solidarity economy": garment workers from an occupied factory, for example, sew sheets for an occupied health clinic; a supermarket in Rosario, turned into a workers' cooperative, sells pasta from an occupied pasta factory; occupied bakeries are building ovens with tiles from an occupied ceramic plant. "I feel like the dictatorship is finally ending," one asamblista told me when I first arrived in Buenos Aires. "It's like I've been locked in my house for 25 years and now I am finally outside.""

Naomi Klein, 'Out of the Ordinary' (part 1)
Naomi Klein, 'Out of the Ordinary' (part 2)

Total crisis of capitalism in Argentina: The only way out: the struggle for workers' democracy

Argentine Left Debates Strategy as Mass Protests Continue

Diary of a revolution

Do Cry for Argentina