Everyday Revolutions

Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina

Marina A. Sitrin


Daring and groundbreaking, Marina Sitrin explores how an economic crisis in Argentina spurred a people's rebellion, leading to new forms of social organization and providing an instructive example for activists the world over.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, new forms of social organization are beginning to take shape. Disparate groups of people are coming together in order to resist corporate globalization and seek a more positive way forward. These movements are not based on hierarchy; rather than looking to those in power to solve their problems, participants are looking to one another. In certain countries in the West, this has been demonstrated by the recent and remarkable rise of the Occupy movement. But in Argentina, such radical transformations have been taking place for years. Marina Sitrin tells the story of how regular people changed their country and inspired others across the world.

Reflecting on new forms of social organization, such as horizontalism and autogestión, as well as alternative conceptions of value and power, Marina Sitrin shows how an economic crisis spurred a people's rebellion; how factory workers and medical clinic technicians are running their workplaces themselves, without bosses; how people have taken over land to build homes, raise livestock, grow crops, and build schools, creating their own art and media in the process.

Daring and groundbreaking, Sitrin shows how the experiences of the autonomous movements in Argentina can help answer the question of how to turn a rupture into a revolution.

Author Bio

Marina Sitrin holds a PhD in Global Sociology and a JD in International Women's Human Rights. Her first book, Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, is an oral history based on the then emergent autonomous movements in Argentina, published in Spanish (2005) and English (2006).

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1: A brief history of movements and repression in Argentina
  • 2: From rupture to creation: new movements emerge
  • 3: Horizontalidad
  • 4: New subjectivities and affective politics
  • 5: Power and autonomy: against and beyond the state
  • 6: Autogestión, territory, and alternative values
  • 7: The state rises: incorporation, cooptation, and autonomy
  • 8: Measuring success: affective or contentious politics?
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index


'Marina Sitrin's feet are solidly planted in Argentina -- and in this book she gives a wonderful introduction to the concepts and practices that have animated radical politics there for over a decade. But she is also able to reach up and, on the basis of the Argentine perspective, grasp the promise and importance of revolutionary activity elsewhere, from the encampments in Spain and Greece to the Occupy movements and beyond. The result is an inspiring and practical guide for understanding what revolutionary politics can be today.'
Michael Hardt, co-author with Antonio Negri of Declaration

'In the last decade, few things have inspired and influenced me more than Marina Sitrin's reports from Argentina. She was one of the few to paint a clear picture in English of the extraordinary social movements there in the wake of the 2001 economic collapse, to understand the depth and breadth and freshness of the Argentine vision and realization of another way of thinking, connecting, organizing, working, and loving. With this book we have a more analytical, thorough portrait of that generous-spirited insurgency than ever before, one that is intensely relevant to the economic downfalls and social uprisings in Greece, in Spain, in the United States, and elsewhere. It will be a precious tool for anyone trying to build a new society.' Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster and Hope in the Dark

'Marina Sitrin shows us that something new and global is taking hold in democratic politics, moving beyond the nation-state system of the past 200 years. Her knowledge is deep, based on engaged participant research that began in Argentina and continues, transnationally today. By tracing how citizen actions, "prefiguring the world they wish to create," measure democracy by a different yardstick, this book documents the emergence of horizontal, democratic forms that are empowering movements around the world, and gives us reason for hope.'
Susan Buck-Morss, author of The Dialectics of Seeing

'What happened in Argentina just over ten years ago is happening in the world today. A refusal to accept, a refusal to be the victims of capitalist crisis. A creation of other ways of organising, other ways of living, a surge of political experiment. An inspiration for the Occupies and Indignados. This is a timely and inspiring book whose ideas spill over from the streets of Buenos Aires into Tahrir Square, Zuccotti Park, Sintagma and Plaza del Sol. Just the discussion we need.'
John Holloway, author of Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today and Crack Capitalism

'Everyday Revolutions follows a path from below, through "other worlds", giving words to these worlds, and showing what the official media hides and the academy is not capable of seeing. It delves into the field of ideas and concepts, but not from the perspective of books and "papers", but rather from lived experience. It contributes to our being able to visualize revolution, not as something to accomplish one day, far in the distance, and in the place of presidential palaces, but instead in the daily life of regular people, a continuing process of change whose protagonists are not the leaders, but all of us.'
Raul Zibechi, activist, researcher of social movements and author of Territories of Resistance: Urban Periphery in Latin America

 'Most books do not have the good fortune to be published exactly at the time when they are most needed. Marina Sitrin's Everyday Revolutions has that distinction. At the moment when the social movements that exploded in 2011 from Cairo's Tahrir Square to NYC's Zuccotti Park are now facing a moment of reflection to determine what is next, Sitrin offers a tool box of concepts (horozantalidad, autonomy, autogetion) acquired in her decade-long research 'from below' of the Argentinian revolution that began in 2001 and continues to this day. These concepts are essential to understand contemporary revolutionary politics and Sitrin's straightforward prose provides an accessible and inspiring path to them. Everyday Revolutions will be an indispensable guide to the tracing and participating in the course of social movements in the coming years.'
Silvia Federici, historian, feminist activist and author of Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction and Feminist Struggle

 'In Everyday Revolutions radical transformation of life is as affective as running a factory, as concrete as raising children, and as utopian as struggling for dignity. Marina Sitrin has managed to bring to life various strands of contemporary social theory to understand the power of horizontal relations among commoners in struggle.'
Massimo De Angelis, author of The Beginning of History: Value Struggles and Global Capital

'When we stop, when we refuse, when we pull the emergency break - this is when cracks in the system erupt and spread. But cracks are simply cavities if they are not filled with something. In Everyday Revolutions, Marina Sitrin writes about what it is that fills those cracks, not as stop-gaps that serve to plaster together an ailing system. No! This is a texture that moves - it is the movement of new social relationships & practices of self-organisation held together and energised in resistance by an affective charge that creates, in those inbetween spaces that circulate horizontally between us, the bonds that empower us to change the world together and for the long-haul. Everyday Revolutions truly conveys not only what an affective politics is, but what this affective politics can do. Moving with the movements it both describes and analyses, this is not just a book, it is a companion on the journey through the worlds worth fighting for in the streets, squares, factories, fields, chat rooms and classrooms of our everyday lives.'
Emma Dowling, Queen Mary, University of London

'From one of the most politically committed and globally engaged thinkers of this generation, Everyday Revolutions is a must read for anyone interested in understanding the recent history of horizontal politics in Argentina and its importance for social movements today.'
Sujatha Fernandes, author of Who Can Stop the Drums?

'At a promising moment when people in all over the world are seeking to reclaim their lives in the face of systems of power that have failed them, Marina Sitrin's smart and incisive analysis of horizontalism and autonomy in Argentina as an alternative form of not-power is a critical, timely, and lively contribution to understanding both why and how. Crackling with acuity, bits of history, and keen insights of a participant observer and social scientist, Sitrin joins those making an activist social science indispensable for those of us committed to both close, careful scholarship and passionate about social justice.'
Eric Seblin, author of Revolution, Rebellion, and Resistance: The Power of Story and Modern Latin American Revolutions

'A living history of a living revolution, Everyday Revolutions shows us how people in Argentina, not "political" or "activists", but rather "actors", "protagonists" and "historical subjects", are moving from fissures and cracks to creation. It shows us how these people are deepening the rupture of December 2001, changing themselves, changing society, changing the world -- and leaving the state behind. Reading Everyday Revolutions we read of the emergence, the collective self-making, of new people. Beautiful!'
David Harvie, author (with The Free Association) of Moments of Excess: Movement, Protest and Everyday Life and editor of Turbulence: Ideas for Movement

'Marina Sitrin has long been pioneering the kind of intellectual practice, that is now becoming more and more crucial, with its cherished sensitivity toward the struggling/questioning/thinking in common from which all revolutionary thoughts arise. With both passionate and rigorous analyses of Argentinian processes, her Everyday Revolutions embodies what theory can and should do today in the age of global insurgency.'
Sabu Kohso, independent writer and translator

'Essential reading for those trying to understand or enact the global movement for horizontal democracy.'
Michael Schwartz, author of Radical Protest and Social Structure


Publication Date: 13 September 2012
272 pages

Not available in: Argentina

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781780320496
Hardback: 9781780320502
eBook ePub: 9781780320519
eBook PDF: 9781780320526
eBook Kindle: 9781780324722

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