In the midst of a severe economic crisis there have been massive street protests, over 200 factories under workers control, more than three hundred coordinated microenterprise cooperatives organized by unemployed women and men, countless neighbourhood associations formed, and many other autonomous popular initiatives. And yet, little is heard about this in the United States or in Europe.
To correct this, the Argentina Autonomist Project (AAP) was formed. The purpose of the AAP is to bring news about events in Argentina to North America and Europe, through people-to-people exchanges and the internet, and to facilitate non-hierarchical communication within Argentina, especially among groups with a minimum of resources.
The Piquetera Tour is now touring the UK. One of the places visited,
courtesy of Surrey Anarchist Group (SAG), was upstairs at the Hogshead Pub (top of Guildford High St).
The last few decades of Argentinian socio-economic history, the role of the state, death squads and US intervention, the recent crisis triggered by flight of overseas capital, how grass roots have defended their communities and workplace, all in little more than an hour, by the means of puppets and a little audience participation.
That is what Graciela, a puppeteer, successfully achieved with her show - a show that has already toured the two Americas with great success. She, and Neka of the unemployed workers of the Anibal Veron Co-ordination, then spent the next hour or more, sharing their experience of and answering questions on the vast movement of occupations and grass-roots organising and resistance that has swept Argentina over the past two years.
Workers' takeover of factories, employment for the unemployed, bread ovens to feed the starving, organic gardens.
The activists believe in direct action and have little time for government who they regard as criminals. Activities are organised on a local level through democratic committees, in which everyone participates. Delegates are then sent to regional committees, and to other committees, to help co-ordinate actions and fill unfulfilled needs.
Neka, works on an organic garden. In the long run they wish to see all production organic. Part of their activities are to educate campesinos (peasant farmers) to go organic. They are strongly opposed to transgenics (GM crops) and are fighting on three levels - consumer education (not to buy), farmer education (not to grow), and international liaison across the third world.
Health care is a big problem. Efforts are going into prevention and
education, removal of polluting processes, and banning of dangerous
products, processes and drugs being dumped by the West.
As well as touring overseas, delegations and individuals are invited to
Argentina to learn at first hand.
What Graciela and her puppets showed, was that we have much to learn from
the social upheavals in Argentina. Why do we sit idly by and let our
corrupt local councils steal our money and destroy our lives?
If you can, see the Piquetera Tour, as it is well worth it. If they are not
visiting you, then get off your backside, arrange a venue, and invite them
What is happening in Argentina, is the first serious social movement to
emerge since the Zapatistas emerged from the rainforests of Chiapas in
Mexico, and like the Zapatistas, what is being sought is not power or a
revolution where the government is toppled, but a transfer of power to the
grassroots, so government eventually has no meaning. What is happening is
part of the anti-globalisation movement, one no and many yeses. This yes
deserves our full support.