You are here

E. IV.2.b. People Power and Direct Democracy in Economic Crisis 2001-2003

The breakdown of the Argentine economy at the end of 2001 prompted a surge of public anger among all sections of the population against the government’s previous policy of selling off public services to multinationals and cutting social services. There were mass demonstrations, repeated a year later and targeting the stock exchange and other financial institutions, and the ‘piqueteros’, jobless workers who threw up road blocks, dramatised the general suffering. But the most remarkable aspect of the popular response was the formation of street-level assemblies that organised the local economy and exchange of goods and services, taking over abandoned property, running communal kitchens, health and education centres and cultural activities. Jobless workers took over and ran around 200 empty factories, in some of which worker control has lasted beyond the return to electoral politics in 2003. Although the Argentinian rebellion and resistance to IMF demands can be seen as part of the world-wide anti-globalisation movement of that period, it was in essence a national response.

Ayuero, Javier, The Moral Politics of Argentine Crowds, Mobilization, Vol. 9, issue 3, 2004, pp. 311-326

Presents two episodes in the 1990s as ‘founding events’ in the later cycle of protest.

Dinerstein, Ana Cecilia, “Que se vayan todos!” Popular Insurrection and the Asambleas Barriales in Argentina, Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 22, issue 2, 2003, pp. 187-200

See also Dinerstein, Ana Cecilia, Workers’ factory takeovers and new state policies in Argentina: towards an “institutionalisation” of non-governmental public action? Policy & Politics, 2007, pp. 529-550 .

Klein, Naomi, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate, London, Harper/Collins and Flamingo, 2002, pp. 304

See ‘IMF: Go To Hell. The People of Argentina have tried the IMF Approach; Now they want to govern the country’, pp. 51-55.

Lopez Levy, Marcela, We Are Millions: Neo-Liberalism and New Forms of Political Action in Argentina, London, Latin America Bureau, 2004, pp. 142

Sitrin, Marina, Everyday Revolutions: horizontalism and autonomy in Argentina, London, Zed Books, 2012, pp. 272

Sitrin, Marina ; Nowhere, Notes from, The Power of the Piqueteros: Argentina’s movement of unemployed workers, In Notes from Nowhere, We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism London, Verso, , 2004, pp. 472-481