Pirmais salīdzinājumus starp ekonomisko situāciju 2008/9.gada Latvijā un 2001.gada Argentīnā sāka Nobela prēmijas laureāts Pols Krugmans.
Pēc viņa sekoja daudzi citi – beidzamais analoģiju vilnis ir kontekstā ar ideju par “taloniem” (surogātnaudu), kas ļautu saglabāt fiksētu valūtas kursu (Argentīnā izmēģināts solis). Tādēļ domāju, ka Latvijas/Argentīnas salīdzinājumi šodien vairs nevienu nepārsteidz.
Paralēles patiešām ir uzkrītošanas: (1) ar fiksētu valūtas kursa uzturēšanas grūtības; (2) ekonomikas atkarība no ārvalstu kredītu ieplūšanas; (3) liela ārzemju banku filiāļu skaita klātbūtne; (4) SVF iesaistīšana problēmu risināšanā; (5) IKP sarukums; (6) banku problēmas ar ierobežojumiem izņemt skaidru naudu; (7) surogātnaudas cirkulēšana paralēli oficiālajai valūtai (Latvijā gan pagaidām tikai “bubuļa” līmenī). Pat sabiedrības ir ļoti līdzīgas: reģionālā kontekstā gan Argentīna toreiz, gan Latvija bija labklājīgas valstis. Abās dominēja individuālisma& patēriņa vērtības; gan mums, gan viņiem sabiedrība reti iesaistījās kopīgās aktivitātēs un tā arī nebija izveidojušās līdzdalības tradīcijas.
Ja izglītots Latvijas pilsonis kaut ko zina par Argentīnu 21.gs.sākumā, tad tas ir skumjais stāsts par ekonomikas krahu. Pēc tā sociālā sāpīguma tas var tikt salīdzināts ar situāciju, kad Latvijas iedzīvotāji zaudēja savus PSRS laika ietaupījumus. Proti, kādu dienu argentīniešu nacionālā valūta (peso) tika devalvēta un ar valdības rīkojumu pilsoņu dolāru banku konti tikai pēc oficiālā kursa transformēti par peso kontiem. Pilsoņi kādu laiku vairs nevarēja no bankām izņemt noguldījumus, ārvalstu banku filiāles no valsts pazuda , bankrotēja rūpnīcas, slimnīcas un citas darba vietas. Sekoja plašas protesta demonstrācijas, nemieri.
Šim stāstam, izrādās, ir otra puse. Es par to neko nebiju dzirdējusi, līdz Internetā pamanīju grāmatu Horizontalism: Voices of popular power in Argentina.
Izrādās, ka ekonomikas sabrukums izraisīja ļoti savdabīgus procesus argentīniešu sabiedrībā.
Stāsts sākas ar milzīgu kolektīvu pasākumu. Kādu dienu, skatoties prezidenta uzrunu tautai, ar kuru viņš izsludināja Izņēmuma stāvokli (State of Siege), kāds izmisis argentīnietis sāka skaļi sist kastroļos. Viņu sadzirdēja kaimiņš un ķērās pie pannām. Tad vēl viens kaimiņš un vēl … Par dīvainajām aktivitātēm sāka ziņot mediji. No medijiem par šo dīvaino protesta formu uzzināja citi. Un pievienojās.
Argentīnieši, sitot kastroļus un pannas, izgāja ielās, prasot valdības atkāpšanos. Vienas nedēļas laikā tika nomainītas vairākas valdības.
Šie notikumi radīja tik milzīgu solidaritāti sabiedrībā, ka turpmākais jau notika pēc inerces: kaimiņi nāca uz kopīgām sapulcēm, lai risinātu ikdienas problēmas. Veidojās milzīgs daudzums brīvprātīgu kopienu, kas organizēja zupas virtuves, citas nodarbojās ar pārtikas audzēšanu, citi ieņēma pamestās slimnīcas, lai turpinātu palīdzēt slimniekiem. Kopienas sagādāja sev un savām ģimenēm nepieciešamo apmainoties ar citām kopienām. Interesanti tas, ka šīs bīvprātīgās kopienas veidojās ar izteikti nehierarhisku struktūru – proti, diskusijās un lēmumu pieņemšanā piedalījās visi, cenšoties panākt konsensu. Cilvēki, kas iepriekš pat nepazina savus kaimiņus, izrādās, lieliski funkcionē tiešās demokrātijas apstākļos.
Man ir grūti aprakstīt šos procesus savādāk kā par Brīnumu. Lasot argentīniešu liecības grāmatā Horizontalism: Voices of popular power in Argentina grūti noticēt, ka kaut kas tāds ir iespējams. Šķiet, ka cilvēki, kas stāsta par saviem pārdzīvojumiem, ir pārliecināti, ka kopienas, ko viņi paši veidoja pēc 2001.gada, lai gan trūcīgākas finanšu izpausmē, visās citās nozīmēs bija pārākas par iepriekšējo sabiedrību.
Šajā savā ierakstā ielikšu, manuprāt, interesantākos citātus no pirmajām divām grāmatas nodaļām: par to, kā tas sākās un par lēmumu pieņemšanu kopienās. Kad man sanāks laiks, mēģināšu kādā no nākamajām nodaļām ielikt svarīgākos izvilkumus arī no citām nodaļām.
Horizontalism: Voices of popular power in Argentina (edited by Marina Sitrin)
Fragmenti no 1.nodaļas “Lūzums. 2001.gada 19. un 20. decembris”
Pablo, Asamblea Colegiale
It was the night of the nineteenth. The middle class sat at home watching the news on television – seeing poor people crying, women crying in front of supermarkets, begging for or taking food– and the state of Siege was declared. That’s when the sound of the cacerola (banging of pots and pans) began. From one window and then another, from one house and then another, came the voice of the cacerola. Television newscasters reported that there were carcerolas in one neighborhood and another and another until people realized that their individual reactions were forming part of a collective reaction. The mass media functioned as a kind of mirror, multiplying the protest – involuntarily I suppose, but it functioned like that.
The first person began to bang a pot and saw the neighbor across the street banging one, and the neighbor downstairs too, and soon there were four, five, fifteen, twenty. People moved to their doorways and saw other people banging pots in theirs. They saw on television that this was happening in more and more neighborhoods, and soon they went to the main corner of their neighborhood […] – and hundred of people gathered banging pots until one point, when the people banging pots began to walk. Newscasters reported that groups of cacerolas were marching to the house of the Minister of the Economy, because Cavallo had resigned. Then others began walking to the Plaza de Mayo, downtown, and more people headed there, without really understanding why, but going anyway. You could see them arriving on television and calling: „Come, come, everyone come.” The Minister of the Economy had resigned. He’d resigned, but they began to say it wasn’t enough.” The rest of them must go. They must all go. We want them all to go.” And it was born there – that was the first time those words were spoken and it’s important to know that, until that moment, they’d never been spoken before. […]
Ezequiel, Asamblea Cid Campeador
„I was very angry at my country and neighbors before this rebellion. I saw that the whole economic situation had deteriorated a great deal, and the population hadn’t responded. Take me, for example – I’m one of many people whose salary was cut by 13 percent before rebellion. I couldn’t understand why people weren’t doing anything. I was very resentful and very angry … And so people’s reactions on the nineteenth and twentieth were particularly unexpected. As soon as President De La Rua gave his State of the Nation speech, people began taking to the streets. I was talking on the phone with my brother at the time – he lives in Once, a neighborhood near downtown – and we were having a long conversation about nothing, nothing to do politics, and then he heard the cacerolazo… It was like a wave that began to cover the whole city, and he said to me, „That’s a strange noise and I don’t know what it is.” That minute, right then, I began to hear it as well, here in my neighborhood, so I hung up immediately and went out to the street. It was hard to believe what was happening.
People were coming down en masse from buildings and making bonfires on street corners, What began angrily, with people coming out on the street in a rage, quickly turned joyful. People smiled and mutually recognized that something had changed. Later came euphoria. It was a very intense feeling that I’ll never forget.
The next day I woke up a little late because I went to bed so late after the cacerolazo. I turned on the radio and heard that people had gone to the Plaza de Mayo and that the police were repressing the Madres of the Plaza de Mayo. I felt an urgent need to go there and let immediately. […]
It was very moving how those people who were not participating in the rebellion helped those who were. For example, all the employees of one cafe, who of course weren’t working, set up a table and gave us water to wash our faces, and were symphathetic even though during the revolt, their windows had been broken. […]
There were people of all ages in the streets – everyone was there, including families. The cacerolazo was great because people went out as they were – some in pajamas. They went out as they were. It was very authentic and purely spontaneous. „
Carina, Argentine World Social Forum mobilizing committee
„[…] When you went out with the cacerola on the nineteenth, you saw your neighbors also cacerolando. And you said, how crazy! Because I never speak to this person, or we see that one in the street and only say good morning, or not, and here my neighbor is also banging a pot. Or, my neighbor butcher is cacerolando! The neighborhood pharmacist! How strange, and we’re all meeting on this corner and now we’re in the street! And it was strange, and it was a reconnection with something that was lost. Many ways of being social had been lost – like the neighborhood club, the neighborhood library, the unisons as a place to meet. Due to the economic and labor reforms every one of us was running, trying to get the problems under control … One of the first things we regained with the nineteenth and twentieth was face-to-face interaction. We regained our community […]
Something that was fundamental for the middle class was the freezing of bank accounts, and all the running around in December because no one had a cent. People had to go from bank to bank to see how to make do with the little money each had. It sounds crazy, but some of the social interaction began in the banks. I went to the bank with my mother and she started talking to a neighbor who said, „My daughter left the country because economic situation leaves no opportunities.” My mama answered, „My daughter is also thinking of doing the same thing.” And they exchanged phone numbers. Because of the situation, they were suddenly friends. A multitude of people went to the banks and became at least acquaintances. The feeling of community began with this: let’s share our problems.
Martin K., Asamblea Colegiales
„[..] The events of the nineteenth and twentieth weren’t mobilizations of the masses behind some leader – nobody orchestrated it. At first, it wasn’t a reaction against an idea, it was a sound. [Singing] Oh, que se vayan todos [they all must go] was the only thing said. There was no program or formed political position. It wasn’t planned. It was something innate.
And then the sensation – particularly by those that lived near the neighborhood assemblies – was, this is good, we’re in the street, now what we do? It was like as long as we were in the street, we would accomplish something together. Of course, not everyone who was part of the nineteenth and twentieth is still participating. We’re talking about a year and five months later, and those who have remained are the most militant. A lot of things have happened that show that suddenly this other world is possible […]
Yes, it’s revolutionary. To give you an idea, it’s like what happened to me on the nineteenth and twentieth. The sensation I had was that society as a kind of desert, marginalized, even culturally, and out shopping. Everything related to market and this marginalization expressed itself in social relations as well.
Social interactions were pretty much limited to going out to eat in noisy bars and restaurants, and even that wasn’t so common. After that happened, people began to meet in more intimate places. Argentina – or at least Buenos Aires – has a tradition, almost a culture, of meeting a friend to talk over a coffee, which had not been happening very much. After the nineteenth and tentieth people began to socialize again. For example, my neighbor Pablo, who lives in my building, he and I met for the first time in the assembly. It was incredible, it was like, here have we been? That as the first surprise.
So in this way it has been a revolutionary epoch. It’s changed everyone’s lives. I believe that even if assemblies disappear, people will continue to act differently. This experience has left a marvelous memory within us.
Ezequiel, Asamblea Cid Campeador
„[…] This decade was very dreary – at least for me – in the sense that everyone seemed to be enthusiastically buying cell phones and believing in individual salvation. It was all about the individual. During the 1990s, horrible things were happening in this country and no one wanted to see them. There was a brutal blindness. And I was understandably surprised when these people… I imagine they didn’t expect that so many of them would join us in the streets, but on the night of the nineteenth, the people filled the streets all over the city. Everyone was in the streets … so many people, and no one had predicted anything like that.”
Fragmenti no 2.nodaļas: Horizontālisms
Emilio, Tierra del Sur
[…] The crisis that began in 1998, and a ton of political questions that followed, caused a deep disbelief in formal institutions. A concentration of hate and helplessness in society brought the events of the nineteenth about. So between all of the people who went out in the street and everything else that happened during those days, people were overjoyed to realize that it was finally time. We woke up. This new enthusiasm for change wasn’t simply based on desire, but also necessity. So we began to gather on corners and form assmeblies. We organized collectives, and the collectives that existed before the nineteenth and twentienth became stronger. Each of the spaces that emerged had horizontal practices.
Horizontalism begins when people begin to solve problems themselves, without turning to the institutions that caused the problems in the first place. The neighborhood assemblies are an example. For the people that began to organize themselves on the street corners, there was an intense hatred of everything from politicians to the representative system, and a ton of other things. So when they began to get together, the first thing that came out was the rejection of old practices and, consequently, the development of new ones. Before, we elected people to make decisions for us, but now we will make our own decisions. If they talk a lot but don’t do anything, we’ll take action ourselves. […]
Horizontalidad as a practice is something amazing, because, for example, the middle class in Argentina wasn’t used to direct participation in society. They were used to the traditional institutions of representative democracy – schools, political parties, elecions.[…] Here, we’re not used to participation. [..]
It’s really interesting to see how quickly a group that didn’t use what little power they had, now want all of it – and fast. It’s so interesting to see people of all ages joining in the discussion in an assembly and really being conscious of wanting something different[…]”
Pablo, Asamblea Colegiales
No one was obeying some ideological command. People simply met on a street corner in their neighborhood, with other neighbors who had participated in the cacerolazos. For example, in my asembly, – and I know many similar cases – someone simply wrote on the sidewalk, in chalk, “Neighbors let’s meet here Thurday night.” Period. Who wrote this? No one knows. In the first meeting there were maybe fifteen people, and by the next week it was triple that. Why did it increase in this way? It wasn’t an ideological decision, or an intelectual, academic, or political one. It’s, like asking why people went out to cacerolas. It was the most spontaneous and elemental thing, to go out in the street and meet others on the corner. It wasn’t a decision. We simply came together with a powerful rejection of all we knew. A strong rejection of political parties and their structures. A strong rejection of all those who represented the state or who wanted to occupy positions in the state. We made a specific decision that we are going to do things for ourselves. […] Like the cacerolazo, no one inveted it. That was a way to protest. It just happened. We met one another on the corner and decided, enough! Enough of this, let’s start everything anew. Let’s invent new organizational forms and reinvent society. [..]
Project-based groups soon began to form in the neighborhood assembly. One group planted a garden, another group figured out how to buy things directly from producers, another created a health project, another a group for political reflection and study, and still another planned cultural activities. These smaller groups depended not on an agenda, but on the initiatives, capacities, and skills of the individuals who decided to be involved.
Hernan, Asamblea de Pompeya
The social structure of political parties is like a pyramid – it forces you to obey the person right above you, unless you’re the boss. Here, when the police came to the building our neighborhood assembly occupied and asked who was responsible, we looked at each other and said everyone, everyone. I think this shows the main diference between us and vertical systems of control. We’re all responsible for the decisions that we make in the assembly, even though some of us might not fully agree with them. We have to support the final decision of the assembly because the majority agreed, but the minority was also heard.
Alberto, Clinica Medrano (a recuperated clinic)
There are tons of factories that aren’t in any formal grouping. In this clinic we are also politically independent. Our politics are as a cooperative, where everything is resolved in assemblies – even the smallest things, like changing our hours. It might not seem necessary to decide these sorts of things in assemblies, but we want to be careful not to have only a few individuals making the decsions, so we all make them together. We feel that when more people participate in the decision, we’re less likely to make mistakes. With this principle in mind, we meet about practical issues related to the functioning of the clinic – things like equipment questions, relationships with doctors, travel allowances – not just the work itself, but everything. We also meet to talk about all types of internal questions, like shift schedules, how to organize shifts, etc. [..]
Martin S., La Toma and Argentina Arde
[…] Something that I remember from the first assemblies is that we voted on millions of things, and then didn’t do any of them. We learned that to vote was really easy […] People got a little tired and frustrated and were like, „why do you come and say these things and then not do nothing?” Since then, we’ve learned that there are more diplomatic ways to say this. What also began to happen was that over time people began to get to know one another and learn from experience who only speaks, and who acts.
The organization of the assemblies includes coming up with agendas and proposals, which are always discussed in the assembly. We discuss all sort of things, from what day and time there will be a meeting, to what activities we’re going to take on or be part of. Everything is proposed in the assembly, then discussed by everyone, and finally an agreement is reached. […[
One example came from the group that organizes the popular kitchen. They [..] they ended up not only working in the kitchen, but also took responsibility for more general cleaning of the space. […]
Paula and Gonzalo, HIJOS
We always try to reach consensus. We vote when it seems necessary, but most often, based on the level of agreement we generally have, it doesn’t seem necessary. When we’re discussiing something that’s really complicated, we might decide to go around the room and have everyone share their positions. Sometimes people get frustrated or angry, but that’s usually because we have been discussing the same thing for two hours or more. Clearly, at four in the morning we might decide „okay, let’s vote,” but that doesn’t happen often.
[.. This sort of natural coming-together appeared in Argentina when everything else disappeared. Everything in Argentina disappeared. Money disappeared, the institutions disappeared, and trust in leaders and government disappeared. The system had been becoming increasingly decadent, and then it was left naked. And it was a natural response, for people to organize horizontally.
One of the first things we decided as an assembly was that voting just wasn’t worth it. The idea of democracy, in this case, is something else. What we did not want at this point was the passivity that is implied in delegation.
One powerful thing I remember from when we first came together in the assemblies was that everyone was there – housewives, students, and retired people, professionals and cardboard collectors. They were there on the corner, talking, and there was no diference between us. It was crazy and really fun. I say we are equal, but we did have a hard time finding a way of speaking a common language, and we’ve had ro work this out in different wys. But still. .. the main principle that allowed us to organize is horizontalidad, where each voice was valued equally.
Marta, MTD Almirante Brown (an unemployed workers’ movement)
The neighborhood coordinators participate in the general table, and bring idejas to and from the neighbrohood assemblies – but not as bosses or leaders, just as companeros. They are the same as everyone. They don’t have a salary, they just agree to act in the role of communicator. In the work groups, there are also coordinators, but we are always clear that the coordinators isn’t a boss. They don’t just stand theere and give orders. In the past in Argentina that’s what it was always like. There were always bosses and owners. Today, we’re all unemployed, so we try not to have anybody acting as boss.
If there’s a problem in the groups, it has to be resolved within the group. […]
Candido, Chilavert (a recuperated workplace)
In Chilavert, we’re in permanent assembly of eight people. Actually we recently brought a new person into the cooperative, so now there are nine of us. To be clearer, there was a person who had a heart operation, so we decided that he would still get his salary and work as much as he can as he waits for retirement, but now he no longer has to work in the factory. This is one of the small diferences between a recuperated factory and any other type of workplace. We take care of each other and make decisions together.