Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina Paperback – 30 Mar 2007
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About the Author
Marina Sitrin, a New York City-based lawyer, writer, and activist, has spent large portions of the last three years in Argentina working with, and studying, the autonomous popular movements developing this oral history.
Top customer reviews
Over the past ten years, the world has been witnessing an upsurge in prefigurative revolutionary movements: movements, that create the future in the present. These new movements are not creating party platforms or programs. They do not look to one leader, but make space for all to be leaders. They place more importance on asking the right questions than on providing the correct answers. They do not adhere to dogma and hierarchy, instead they build direct democracy and consensus. They are movements based in trust and love'.
Introduction to Horizontalism by Marina Sitrin.
I came upon a truly superb piece of descriptive writing on Z-Net in February 2009 - Sitrin: Cuban Book Fair ([...]). I was fortunate enough to find a copy of Horizontalism - Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, Edited by Marina Sitrin, at the London Anarchist Bookfair in October 2011.
Horizontalism is an excellent book, an essential read for those interested in the current Occupy movements. It details the collapse of Argentina at the turn of the twentieth / twenty first century; the realisation of some of the people of Argentina that their government was completely defunct and was incapable of providing assistance; the coming together of the people to try to help themselves in a participatory / self management way; the occupation of factories to keep them going to provide employment and money to the dismissed workforce; the ever present violence of the useless Argentinean government and its agencies; the struggle to stay horizontal in the years that followed the collapse with top down political parties only too keen to re-assert themselves; the hopes and dreams of the people.
The words are those of the participants skilfully edited by Marina Sitrin from hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of interviews to give a free flowing, easy to read, book that is an essential history of modern Argentina.
20th April 2012
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The examples of the recuperation/recovery of idled productive assets show that there is an alternative, and the practice of using street demonstrations to identify repressors, collaborators, and anti-community profiteers/speculators could be a model for the U.S. The implementation of community education programs would also be helpful here.
It was heartening to see that no bloodshed was required, although some did occur in reaction to the very effective tactics.
Sitrin records many stirring accounts of the political awakening and empowerment of ordinary people. They explain in their own words, humbly but eloquently, their anarchist principles of "autogestion" (self-management), and horizontalism, and their refusal to vie for government.
My only qualms with the book are that it gets to be somewhat repetitive, and could have been shortened by 50 pages without losing much detail. Also, as this is history from the grassroots, we never get a clear overview of the arc of the events of the late 90's and early 00's, or an explanation of how the movements fell short of their lofty goals, and what lessons were learned to help prepare for the next upsurge. And the lack of detail about the interviewees, such as age, class, occupation, family circumstances, prevents the speakers from fully coming alive in my mind the way that the interviewees of Studs Terkel or Robert Coles do.
But overall, this is a unique and valuable contribution to the literature on cutting edge of grassroots social struggle.
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