stories

2001. head on

It was a tidal wave of sound. A hard and regular metallic noise that came from the four corners of the city and gradually made its presence felt everywhere. Strangely, no-one was surprised and, saucepan in hand, everyone wanted to take part in this general, spontaneous phenomenon. Uptight and angry, the release that welled up on the evening of the 19th December marked the beginning of a revolt that would lead to a national metamorphosis. There was a huge need of a political and economic change since the whole country seemed to be disappointed and almost  50% of the population were living below the poverty line. The revolution was not defined so much by the fall of former president Fernando De La Rua,  nor by the series of 5 presidents that attempted to rule the situation on the following  two weeks. It had more to do with the new participation of  the citizens in the country’s political affairs. A change in people’s consciences, claiming  for certain values they thought lost and a desire to be involved in these changes. For some it was the real end to the military dictatorship, its economic model and the political and social system that had resulted from it. The end of fear of the military junta and the 30,000 people who disappeared. This macabre figure has left room for a new one that will remain in people’s minds : 2001. More than a date, a promise of a new beginning.

Homeless in Belgrano, city of Buenos Aires during the crisis, june 2001.

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Mercedes, Region of Buenos Aires. They are 14 brothers and sisters in the Jackson family. They used to work in the field where they worked with the horses of the rich people of this area, at 100 kilometers of Buenos Aires.... (+)

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A graffiti in a wall near of the Congress with a reference to the former exchange rate between pesos and the dollars. The unrealistic equivalence of both currencies during the nineties was the beginning of the economic deregulation.

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In the Florida street, the «cartoneros» wait for the moment when the Mc Donald’s close to recycle some food, cardboard, paper, plastic or everything that can be sold.

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In the city of Buenos Aires, near of the banks, the cartoneros and their children are waiting to recycle paper to sell it by weight.

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Claudio Ernesto González, street artist. Buenos Aires 2001.

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Evacuation of occupied house, August 14th, 2002. Buenos aires.

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Road blockage in Isidro Casanova, La Matanza, Province of Buenos Aires.

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Piquetero activists on a demonstration against the arrival of Mr. Paul O’Neil, secretary of the american treasury. August 2002.

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Pan-banging began on December 19th after the intervention of president De La Rua on TV. He announced the «state of siege», a measure intended to relieve the national tension.... (+)

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At the Plaza de Mayo began the first repression of the riots: demonstrators were asking for the president’s resignation.

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On december 20th 2001, 6 person were murdered by the police in Buenos Aires and 36 in the rest of the country.

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On a few occasions,, the people won the battle against the police and managed to approach the Casa Rosada.

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The crisis affected all the population. Lots of people abandoned their work spaces to go to the demonstrations in Plaza de Mayo. This bus driver, on the same spirit, changed his route so he could arrive and bring people to the riots.

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The street Corrientes after De La Rua’s resignation.

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The bikers of the SIMECA (biker courier and delivery workers union) were an improvised cavalry on this day of confrontation against the police.

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The future of a country that is virtually without institutions represents a state of uncertainty for the population.... (+)

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Despite the human losses, those rough days of december are considered by many as a victory of the people. A chance to change the course of a nation in crisis after 15 years of extreme neoliberalism.

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The streets of the law courts. One of the demands of the popular assemblies gathered after December 2001 was the renovation of the entire Supreme Court of Justice.

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The Argentinian Congress and one of the slogans of the assemblies: « All of them must go!»

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Cid Campeador’s popular assembly. It is a squat in a building that used to belong to a bank where the neighbors have meetings and organize a variety of cultural and political activities.

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Members of Villa Crespo’s assembly also squatted in a building that used to belong to a bank. Different social classes gather on the meetings so it’s not always possible to reach a consensus. That day they had to vote.

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Members of the MIJD (Unemployed and Retired People independent Movement) organized a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Labour.

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The piqueteros of La Matanza walked 20 kilometers in order to arrive to the Plaza de Mayo, receiving a very warm support of the population of the city.... (+)

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That January of 2002 there were demonstrations everywhere. The population was looking for a new way to participate in the political affairs of the nation.

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The Ahorristas, people who lose the money in the «corralito», the prohibition to withdraw dollars from banks. They shout at the gates of the bank: «Thieves!»

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Due to the «corralito», Argelia Cruz lost the savings of the community kitchen where she volunteered. She cries with the ahorristas in front of the Bank of Boston.

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Argentina : Piqueteros of the MTD Anibal Veón on a demonstration at the Pueyrredón Bridge.

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Road blockage at the route that goes from Buenos Aires to La Plata. A few days earlier, Javier Barrionuevo was killed on a road blockage like this in El Jaguel, with the complicity of the police.

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Argentina : Portrait of Dario Santillan in Monte Chingolo/ Lanus . The MTD was preparing a road blockage. The police killed Dario on june 26th 2002 in Avellaneda.

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Some Piqueteros play with a phone in a road blockage between Buenos Aires and La Plata.

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«We want you to have a better life». The advertising of an insurance company gets intervened by the «piqueteros» on a road blockage. With such techniques they manage to raise their voices and comunicate their message of social change...

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Marcial, member of the MTD after the eviction of the squat «Padelai» in San Telmo neighborhood.

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«We all participate, we all give our opinion». The MTD of Almirante Brown occupied a plot of land to build their assembly room. This is a horizontal group where there is no leader nor representation.... (+)

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The MTD, Movimiento de Trabajadores Desocupados (Unemployed Workers Movement), have a lot in common with Mexican movement of Zapatistas. They confront with the state in order to dispute for financial resources for their productives projects.

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The kitchen of the UTP (Piquetero Workers Union) in Escobar. Women are baking bread in one of the productive projects of the movement.... (+)

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Zanon, the biggest cooperative ran by it’s own workers, in 2002, a few days after beginning to produce. Zanon is located in Neuquen, in the north of the Patagonia.... (+)

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April 21th 2003: The workers were evicted of this textile factory on April 18th 2003. Five days later, with the support of a variety of organizations, they tried to recover their work place...

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Celia Martinez is one of the workers who took the factory Brukman on December 18th 2001. Until that moment, she wasn’t involved in politics and this measure was just a desperate strategy during the huge national crisis.

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Workers assembly on the the beginning of Zanon new worker-run administration. On 2002 they were 220 people trying to start over. Today they are over 450 workers.

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Some activists are preparing the wall of the Pueyrredon Bridge to paint a mural of Darío Santillán and Maximiliano Kosteki who were killed by the police one month before.

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