Thoughts on Argentina's Conjunctures :: Recuperating Work, Recovering Life (2005-2007)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Where I'll be interning next month: The Chilavert publishing factory

Here's a great article from ZNet that briefly introduces the history and current situation of the Chilavert Graphic Arts, a worker recovered book publishing enterprise. (Here's another good paper on Chilavert, in Spanish). I'll be spending a considerable amount of time there between Jul. 9 and Aug. 12 of this year, perhaps working the presses, copy editing books, working with off-set films, or perhaps even sweeping the floors. In addition, I'll be talking courses at theUniversity of Buenos Aires's Faculty of Philosophy and Letters with labour historian Prof. Pablo Pozzi, activist Silvia Delfino (who appears briefly in The Take), and recovered enterprises researchers and anthropologists Andres Ruggeri and Carlos Martinez. This educational university internship is being organized and sponsored by the UBA, the argentina autonomist project, and the Institute for Social Ecology.

Chilavert is one of the many successful worker recovered workspaces in Argentina operating as a cooperative with no owner, boss or management. Instead, it relies solely on a direct democratic form of administration conducted within direct assemblies--one worker one vote--and on sheer worker motivation! And, yes, "specialist" managerial decisions; cost-benefit analyses; purchase orders; distribution, sales, and marketing functions; machine repairs and operations; accounts payables and receivables; and building maintenance all get done and get done well. In addition, the factory also supports cultural events on the second floor, often hosting dances, movie screenings, poetry readings, community-based education classes, and other social events open to the entire Chilavert neighbourhood.

Here's a map with the approximate location of the Chilavert book publishing house. The Chilvert factory is on Chilavert St. towards the middle of the map. It's located in the old Buenos Aires neighbourhood of Nueva Pompeya. Here's another map with a broader view of Buenos Aires showing it's various neighbourhoods. On this map, Nueva Pompeya is located in the southwest corner of "la Capital Federal" (the conglomerate of neighbourhoods that make up Buenos Aires proper and the location of Argentina's federal government and courts). My father, Eduardo, just told me that his mother's family grew up in Nueva Pompeya and the bordering neighbourhood of Barracas. From my recollection of these neighbourhoods from my last trip to Baires in Dec. 2000 (exactly one year before the infamous Dec. 19-20, 2001) when I tagged along with my cousin Sergio on his magazine buying run for his Quilmes kiosk along the old streets of Nueva Pompeya, these are grand old working class neighbourhoods with stately but decaying homes and leafy wide streets. There is a whiff of old grandeur yet with many years of socio-economic decay to this part of Baires. Kind of like what Toronto's Cabbagetown feels like, without the gentrification.

OK, and just for kicks, here's a really cool satellite picture of "la Capital Federal".

Friday, June 24, 2005

Futbol y rocenrol en Argentina (soccer and rock and roll in Argentina)

From Pagina 12, thanks to my good friend Laureano: Rock y futbol. The boys from the group Futbol, one of the two groups talked about in the article, are friends of Laureano's. The article talks about the similarities between one's passions for rock and roll and for futbol: the refrains of the fans as they sing along with their favourite band or chant the team's songs, the highs and lows of practice, the emotions and deep commitments of supporters, and the authenticity of "playing" for the love of it rather than for the team's corporate sponsors or for the big record companies.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Argentina Links

Documentaries, Films, and Videos

A few regular reads


Colleagues, Mentors, Friends

Friday, June 10, 2005

My new blog

Welcome to my blog Thoughts on Argentina's Conjunctures, a running archive of my observations, ruminations, and emerging links about the socio-political conditions of my native country, Argentina, and especially its nascent experiments with workers' control. Some of you might have been readers of my old blog Technology, Community, and the Self. After a year's hiatus from the blogosphere I've decided to get back into blogging once again. The past year and a half was very eventful for me: I successfully completed my MA thesis in August, 2004, finished my first year of my PhD and begun my second, met a plethora of new friends in Toronto (my new city of residence), co-founded a critical pedagogy education program called The Toronto School of Creativity and Inquiry with my good friends Greig de Peuter and Christine Shaw, co-curated an art show on critical mapping with TSCI, and even published a few things (a book chapter and a few articles). I'll be sharing some of these experiences on this blog and another blog on more general themes of interest to me over the next few months.

For those of you that don't know me, I'm a jogger, a frustrated soccer player, a becoming socio-political organizer, a new student of social justice and philosophy, a constant traveler, an Italo-Argentinean-Canadian, a former accordion player and singer, a wannabe academic, and a PhD candidate in Social and Political Thought, York University, Toronto, Canada. You can read up on my academic interests and check out some of my writing at my permanent website.

For those of you that do know me, I plan on reposting all of the entries from my old blog dating back to the early days of 2003 on the other, more general blog that I will be setting up in 2006. I'll also be publishing my MA thesis chapters on that blog over the coming months. In addition to the insights, thoughts, and observations from my recent trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina in July/August, 2005 and some of the details of my ongoing imminent transformation into known, unknown, expected, and unexpected dimensions of selfhood, this blog documents some key aspects of my emerging PhD dissertation research on the socio-historical and phenomenological roots of workers' control in Argentina.

My recent trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina (July/August, 2005): What did I do in Buenos Aires last summer? I took part in the Argentina Autonomist Project's "Organize, Occupy, and Produce: The Factories, Streets, and Dreams" summer internship program. In addition to participating in the program, getting better acquainted with radical social movements, and indulging my own autobiographical interests in the country of my birth, my experiences in Argentina were central to a directed readings on worker's control for my PhD coursework with York University professor David Noble and, ultimately, will prove extremely useful for my PhD dissertation work. While in Buenos Aires, I took courses on the history of the new social movements in Argentina (at the University of Buenos Aires) and interned at a reclaimed factory (Artes Gráficas Chilavert), while also getting reacquainted with my family and friends. This was a trip that will most likely inform my future academic work. In addition to my course work and my internship tasks, I interviewed a broad cross-section of Argentineans concerning their own situated experiences of the volatile but ever-hopeful socio-political realities of the country, especially over the past few years. I also did several personal phenomenologies of my own experiences of the streets, the homes, the neighbourhoods, the people, and the shop floors of Argentina, describing as best as I can the feelings of return, of home, of the alien, of democratic participation, social renewal, and whatever else Argentina threw my way.

I've posted some of these phenomenologies "of the moment," key themes from my interviews, other observations of Argentina, and my ongoing process of becoming on this blog. I'll be posting more over the next little while. So, stay tuned!