Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Learning about protest in Argentina and Mexico

David Dayen finds some insight into American protest movements in his observations in Mexico and, especiallly, in Argentina: American exceptionalism is dead: Why the nation rediscovered its protest roots Salon 12/09/2014. He writes:

Take Argentina, for example. I wasn’t going around looking for civil unrest in the federal capital of Buenos Aires last week. But I saw a large rally of transportation workers outside a gathering of economic leaders, complete with music and fireworks. A related transit strike shut down the efficient subway system during a busy weekday. I walked out of my hotel one morning to a leaflet drop, which demanded higher salaries and an end to corporate favors from government. I saw some street art featuring three patron saints: Jesus, tango singer Carlos Gardel and Che Guevara, a native son whose image is all over the capital. Virtually every large public square I walked through featured handmade banners full of slogans and pleas. None of this makes the papers, probably because it’s such a commonplace factor of daily life in the city.

I found a similar culture of protest in my last visit to the country 11 years earlier, including widespread opposition to the war in Iraq. Heck, one notable protest movement, 30 years in the making, appears in all the guidebooks: the Mothers of the Disappeared, relatives of those killed by the military junta in the so-called Dirty War of the late 1970s and early 1980s, demonstrate every Thursday at 3:30 in front of the presidential offices, seeking answers to the atrocities caused by the previous regime (“400 crazies fighting for the truth,” read one banner). In fact, the Mothers have achieved such respectful status in the country that they have adopted a more general commitment to social justice.
Yes, America democracy does have a lot to learn from "Third World" countries like Mexico and Argentina.

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