This report from Liberty Plaza connects tactics and philosophies surrounding the Occupy Wall Street movement with similar movements in Latin America, from the popular assemblies and occupation of factories during Argentina’s economic crisis in 2001-2002, to grassroots struggles for land in Brazil.
Almost overnight in late 2001, Argentina went from having one of the strongest economies in South America to one of the weakest. During this economic crash, the financial system collapsed like a house of cards and banks shut their doors. Faced with such immediate economic strife and unemployment, many Argentines banded together to create a new society out of the wreckage of the old. Poverty, homelessness, and unemployment were countered with barter systems, factory occupations, communally-run kitchens, and alternative currency. Neighborhood assemblies provided solidarity, support and vital spaces for discussion in communities across the country. Ongoing protests kicked out five presidents in two weeks, and the movements that emerged from this period transformed the social and political fabric of Argentina.
These activities reflect those taking place at Occupy Wall Street and in other actions around the US right now. Such events in Argentina and the US are marked by dissatisfaction with the political and economic system in the face of crisis, and involve people working together for solutions on a grassroots level. For many people in Argentina and the US, desperation pushed them toward taking matters into their own hands.
The whole piece is interesting from a community standpoint. I find it a little annoying that great writers drop in something like, “But the Occupy protests are the first time we’re seeing government-citizen confrontations on Twitter in all-English.” Not really. To all of the Al Jazeera English audience watching their coverage of Arab Spring who only speak English, that’s all they got then and now. And protest language is always going to find its way into the most expedient format to be passed along, like a prospering meme. What’s more and more important (forgive me for repeating something I say frequently) is those who sift through the noisy channels and there are more of them than an old colleague of mine who works at NPR. Plus, those protests were being cut off with bandwidth limiting and messaging was working through friend networks in person or by landlines.
Go read the piece on Argentina.