Monday, May 11, 2015

Argentina and autonomist, "anti-globalization" politics

Ezequiel Adamovsky's Más allá de la vieja izquierda (2007) ("Beyond the Old Left") is a series of essays from the early and mid-2000s on Argentine politics. Adamovsky was an active participant in the "autonomist" Asambleas movement in Argentina, founded in local networks which developed after the crisis of 2001 in protest of Argentina's neoliberal policies that came to their most intense development during the Presidential administration of rightwing Peronist Carlos Menem (1989–1999).

These glimpses of left politics in Argentina are relevant to understanding the emergence and development of movements like the indignados in Spain and the Occupy movement in the US. The Asambleas movement was a powerful way to mobilize protest. It brought people into active political engagement, brought them into contact with like minded neighbors and fellow citizens, and produced influential protests.

Adamovsky analyzes the dilemma that anarchist-inclined enthusiasts for the autonomist movement face. On the one hand, the horizontal, egalitarian style of local assemblies is appealing and is a major part of their appeal, being outside of the established politics of the system. But to actually contest for power in the political system, or to create a new one, a movement needs the hierarchical organizations that can compete head-to-head with established parties and lobby groups.

This book discusses these and other philosophical and practical issues around the autonomist and "anti-globalization" movement that made its own mark on global political consciousness in the Seattle protests around the WTO meeting in 1999 in the so-called "Battle of Seattle." (John Vidal, Real battle for Seattle Guardian 12/04/1999)

It's notable that Adamovsky in these essay was deeply skeptical of left-Peronist Néstor Kircher's government, even though he clearly took Argentine policy in a direction defiant of the Washington Consensus, which matched well with the neoliberal policies of Menem's government. These essay predate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's election as President in 2007 and the even more pronounced moves she has made in the direction her late husband's administration was taking.

This piece published by ZNet in 2014 seems to indicate that his skepticism about kirchnerismo has endured, Argentina since the 2001 Crisis 09/03/2014.

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