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Argentina burning again after po-po eviction of Brukman worker-occupied factory

Report from the frontlines in Argentina...
Buenos Aires, 21 de Abril

This is not the update that I want to write. I want to write of an amazing occupied space in Lomas de Zamora where three asambleas have come together to work on popular education, feed hundreds and work with the street kids. I want to write of the new asamblea that formed a little over a week ago. I want to write of vision and horizontalidad and the new politics being created. I can and will write of these things, but for now my eyes sting with tear gas, the smell lingers on my body, and I have yet to locate two friends. Dozens have been injured by the police and so far at least one hundred have been arrested. People are still locked in a building of the university, with the police throwing gas inside. This is not what I want to write about, but it is also Argentina today. Popular power is a threat.
Demonstrations have been growing every day since the worker occupied factory, Brukman, was evicted last Thursday.  Brukman is one of two hundred factories run directly democratically by the workers, no bosses and no owners. It is a huge symbol for people in Argentina. A country with a huge number of people unemployed, when discussing Brukman or the other occupied factories, people say, claro, of course, they should run it collectively. People from all sectors of society have been mobilizing to support the workers, and today, to help the workers take their factory back. (For more on Brukman see indymedia Argentina.)

Today was the largest mobilization to support Brukman so far. Thousands of people filled many city blocks as well as the park. The intention was for the workers with support of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and some political deputies to lead in the passing of the police to enter and retake the factory.  As well as thousands of supports, the police mobilized thousands, decked out in the international Storm Trooper gear. The police not only had gas, rubber bullets and water cannons, but live ammunition, all prominently displayed.
A group of international journalists and activists had decided the day before that we would be in the front with the workers with placards indicating the countries were are from. The hope was that this might provide a minimal amount of protection, using our privilege etc.

From this point, in the very front, we also witnessed and experienced first hand the repression. I was literally at the police fence and can say in no uncertain terms that at a certain moment the police opened fire with gas and rubber bullets with no provocation. The amount of gas was tremendous, canister after canister was fired, making us with only scarves to protect our faces ill and delirious. People began to flea the situation, and the police perused, not only from behind but also from every street corner. The entire neighborhood filled with gas and random bullets were flying. People ran to try and seek some reprieve, but the police kept up the firing of gas and bullets. I do not know as I write this the number of people injured. The repression was fierce, and all for 50 workers, mainly women, who want a dignified life and job, and to be able to support their families.
I shake my head. The vision and creation occurring here through popular asambleas, parallel community institutions and occupied factories are profound, and a serious threat to not only the Argentine government but also global capital. I do believe this, not only from the repression, but the creation.

Blocks away, as people realized what was happening, neighbors came out of their houses and began to talk to each other. Shaking their heads as well, anger and frustration abounded. Again and again people were saying, "for what the repression, they only want to work". I walked around more and saw the same thing, people gathering in circles on sidewalks to discuss what was happening. Again, anger and frustration. One well dressed middle age woman on her way home from work participated in one of these popular conversations and said it made her want to pick up rocks and throw them at the police, people around her smiled and nodded.
I am back in my apartment now, smelling gas, hearing the shots in my head, trying to reach those lost in the fray, hoping they are not seriously injured. As I sit writing this, I am still inspired. On the way home I passed two asambleas meeting on street corners and could see into an occupied bank where another asambleas was taking place. That was just on my route home. Repression cannot stop what is being created. People have a different sense of power, and many talk of counter power. The power of the neighborhoods organizing directly democratically and autonomously, the thousands occupying factories and other spaces to provide for the community, this cannot be stopped by gas and bullets.

Con Amor, Imaginacion y Autonomia,
Marina

"Seamos realistas, hagamos lo imposible."   ~Che
South America's a Rockin 22.Apr.2003 01:23

Travis

While the U.S. is focused on the middle east, the masses of South America are rising up! Bolivarians rock! Viva Hugo Chavez! Viva FARC-EP! Viva Castro! Solidarity with the Brukman workers soviet!

In response to bolivia and argentina 22.Apr.2003 11:44

Flux

i believe what has been going on in South America lately is absolutely awe-inspiring for anyone that dreams of a better world through revolution. I am amazed by the fact that workers have finally gotten rid of their unnecessary managers and owners, and have seized power for themselves. I think it is fantastic that grass roots style anarcho-democratic organizations have started sprouting up. I just hope that no one tries to co-op this revolution by seizing power and designating a ruling party, regardless of whether they say it's in the name of the working class or not. The people are taking control of their own lives, and are discovering first hand, through collective action, that they do not need leaders, but only a sense of revolutionary compromise and exitement.

in response to the previous comment, Castro should not be given a "viva." he is a brutal dictator who exploits his people. let's hope their aren't any castros waiting to corrupt the revolution this time. I wish my luck to all who are struggling for revolution, but particularly in South america. and yes, bolvarians and argenitines do indeed rock.

Um 22.Apr.2003 12:29

er

Isn't "po-po" slang for Portland Police?

From Toronto in Solidarity 22.Apr.2003 13:32

STop War

Maybe not today, but sometime in the future I am convinced that Canadians will be involved in a struggle not unlike the struggle taking place in Argentina today. Workers rights are under attack, the number of poor are growing, unemployment is up, threats of privatization of energy, water and health care are real, and hugh increases in salaries for corporate leaders are disgraceful in the face of poverty-inducing cut-backs to the workers.

Your struggle is an inspiration to all of us in the globalization of peace and justice movement.

The whole world is watching!

In struggle.
Stop War

Dearest um 22.Apr.2003 13:59

useless topic

"po po" is used for any police not just the portland police, I didn't even grow up here and have used that term since I was little. Plus don't you think this is a stupid topic to be discussing??

Why Attack The People? 23.Apr.2003 14:53

Den Mark

How can a person stand to be a cop. Of all the qualities being a cop requires, independent thinking isn't one of them. In my profession, education, not exactly the same, but sometimes similar, if somebody "tells" me to do something (for one thing, i don't take orders well; people have to ask me, not "tell" me), i weigh what i'm asked to do against my sense of right & wrong. How can a cop take an order to gas & shoot & club people when the people are in the right. Does a cop ever say to him/herself "Hey, should i be doing this?" It's hard to empathize with cops when they show no individual consciences. I know that police & soldiers are selected & trained to be that way. How can a person turn him/herself over completely to a "superior" officer? What runs thru the heads of police in Buenos Aires or Portland when told to break up popular actions. There are examples of police & soldiers refusing to take orders. The army in Romania joined the people & protected them during the revolution there. So it can happen. What does it take to get cops & soldiers to understand that they work for the people & not government & corporations. When i read a report like from Argentina today, i wonder why there are so many cops eager to suppress the people. These aren't murderers or thieves. These are workers. Why can't cops get that. What's so hard. I remember at WTO/Seattle, facing the robo-cops & having them threaten us with all their weapons. I shouted at them: "We are not the enemy! The enemy is in back of you! Turn & face THEM!" Of course, i was shouting at the wind. I just don't get it. Were i to give up my conscience, i'd consider myself dead.