A talk with Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini about social movements in Latin America.
Mass protest movements in disparate places such as Greece, Argentina and the United States ultimately share an agenda—to raise the question of what democracy should mean. These horizontalist movements, including Occupy, exercise and claim participatory democracy as the ground of revolutionary social change today.
Sitrin and Azzellini recently co-wrote They Can’t Represent Us!: Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy. Written by two international activist intellectuals and based on extensive interviews with movement participants in Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, across the United States and elsewhere, this book is an expansive portrait of the assemblies, direct democracy forums and organizational forms championed by the new movements, as well as an analytical history of direct and participatory democracy from ancient Athens to Zuccotti Park. The new movements put forward the idea that liberal democracy is not democratic, nor was it ever.
Marina Sitrin was a key member of the Occupy Wall Street movement and is a post-doctoral fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the author of Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina, as well as editor of Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina.
Dario Azzellini is a lecturer at the Institue for Sociology at the Johannes Kepler University in Austria. He is the author of The Business of War, and edited, with Immanuel Ness, Ours to Master and to Own. His lastest film documentary, Comuna Under Construction, examines worker councils in Venezuela.