Argentina: Building Economic Justice From Below
2011 has witnessed massive movements and uprisings around the globe, from the Occupy! movements in the US, to the movements for Democracia Real Ya! in Spain, and the massive protest and assembly movements in Greece. Common to all these movements is their use of horizontal democracy and the occupation of physical space in which to create new democratic forms. They all began with a No! - a refusal to accept a crisis - and at the same time many yeses, with the creation of alternative forms of relating and being.
Ten years prior a situation occurred in Argentina that is so similar it is remarkable. While in the 1990s Argentina served as the poster child for the neo-liberal economic policies of the IMF, in December 2001 the bottom fell out with a total collapse of the country’s economic system. The government defaulted, the banks were locked, the Peso was devalued to a third of its original value, and there was no money or credit for any transaction, no matter how large or small. In response, millions of people in Argentina went out into the streets, banging pans and chanting “que se vayan todos!” (They all must go!) Together they forced out four successive central governments, but at the same time they created horizontal assemblies and alternative forms of survival, looking to one another and not to the institutional powers for solutions and support. Since then workers began to take back their workplaces – reclaiming them from bankruptcy and running them together – without hierarchy, bosses or managers. What were then only a few have now become over 300 workplaces, ranging from metal and print shops, to newspapers, schools, a hotel and medical clinics.
Since the times of Peron and Evita, Argentina’s political life had much volatility, but nothing like the brutal military dictatorship that wreaked havoc on the country in the late 1970’s, causing the death and disappearance of over 30,000 individuals. Democracy was finally attained in the 1980s but it was not until recently, with massive pressure from social movements, that strides have been made in holding politicians and military officers accountable for the many gross human rights violations during the period of the dictatorship. A broad effort to recover the memory of the lives of the disappeared has brought new life to human rights cases.
Visit Argentina to better understand the collapse of the neo-liberal project, witness the possibilities that Argentine movements present in building a community-based economy, hear new voices for human rights from the South, and discover how new alliances are reshaping the political horizon of the Southern Cone. You'll stay in vibrant Buenos Aires enjoying the rich cultural life it has to offer.
Please email Corina if you would like to receive a sample itinerary for this delegation.
- Tour reclaimed factories or other workplaces that are cooperatively owned and managed by their workers. Hear their stories and learn from their struggles
- Visit organizations of the unemployed workers and understand their coping mechanisms
- Talk to participants and organizers of the uprisings
- Meet with the women of the Abuelas Del Plaza de Mayo who continue to search for their grandchildren who were kidnapped during the military dictatorship
- Meet with an economist who explains how the country ended up in its current situation by examining past policies of 'structural adjustment' promoted by the IMF, and looking toward the country's future
- Explore the beautiful and rich culture of Buenos Aires with the music and dance of tango
- Travel to the Argentine countryside to gain a different perspective from the 'big city' of Buenos Aires
- Extend your stay in Argentina and visit magnificent tourist destinations, like the world famous Iguazu Waterfalls on the Argentine/Brazil/Paraguay border
- Double-room hotel ($500 extra for single room), guest house, or dormitory accommodations; two meals per day; transportation to and from all programmed activities; guides and translators; a qualified delegation leader; all program activities; reading materials; and honoraria to all host speakers, organizations and communities
- NOT INCLUDED: International airfare, lunches, airport departure taxes, tips, and personal expenses
- Because the program varies according to the focus of each delegation and the special interests of each participant, itineraries become available closer to actual date of departure
To register, please send in your application form and a deposit of $400. Payments by Mastercard, Visa and Discover are welcome. Deposits are non-refundable unless the trip is canceled by Global Exchange as explained below.
Please note: We must meet a minimum number of trip participants on every trip, so please register early!
To ensure that all participants can plan accordingly, the minimum number of participants must be reached within 30 days before departure, or the trip will be canceled. If the trip cancels registered participants can choose to receive a full refund or transfer to a future group. Once a trip is confirmed (reaches the minimum # of participants) registrations may be accepted up to 30 days before the departure date.
This trip will be as diverse as possible in terms of race, age and life experiences. In some cases, a limited number of partial scholarships are available for low-income applicants.