Autogestión and Global Social Movements

This presentation will address some of the forms the new global social movements have taken since 2011, including horizontal relationships and the striving for autogestión (self administration). It will begin with an overview of the movements in the US, Spain and Greece, where the presenter has lived, traveled and done extensive research, and then ground some of these relationships and politics in a number of autonomous movements in Latin America over the past twenty years, such as the Zapatistas in Mexico and the unemployed movements in Argentina. The Occupy movement throughout the US, Spain and Greece, all began with same two features. First, the use of direct democracy to create horizontal relationships - meaning social relationships based in non-hierarchy and the acceptance of the other. This democratic space is the foundation for people hearing one another, sometimes for the first time, as well as is an ever-changing space where new ways of being together emerges. The second aspect, and linked to the first, is the creation of new territories, using geographic space, in which to create these new relationships. It is from this horizontal base that actions, activities and alternative structures are planned; from the occupations of homes to prevent evictions in the US; the occupation of cashiers in hospitals in Greece so people do not have to pay for health care; and the disruption and prevention of evictions in Spain. At the same time these movements create structures so as to support people in the process of organizing, from food, medical legal and education groups, to alternative adjudication processes and elaborate barter networks and alternative currencies. This talk will begin with the commonalities of what has been taking place in the US, Spain, Greece as well as how it is taking place – focusing in particular on the new forms of horizontal social relationships and the attempts at autogestión. The presentation will also contextualize the new movements in Latin America over the past 20 years, with particular attention to the autonomous social movements in Argentina, Mexico and Bolivia.
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Marina Sitrin