Friday, January 27, 2006

Anarchist Visions Argentina

Anarchist Visions Argentina
By Marie Trigona

This past month activists in Argentina marked 87 years since the violent army attack against striking workers in what is known as “La Semana Tragica” (The Tragic Week). In January 1919, a major insurrection broke out in Buenos Aires. Military officers attacked workers on strike at the Vesena ironworks plant for an eight hour workday and better salaries, killing four workers on January 7th. Argentina’s anarchist union federation, the FORA—Federacion Obrera Regional Argentina called for a national general strike paralyzing the economy to repudiate army attacks against the metal workers. On January 9th, a brigade of armed workers led a march of 200,000 people. The procession turned into a battle ground. In the midst of police open firing on the crowds and reactionary terror squads, workers struck back burning down the Vasena factories, raiding armories and forming worker militias. Historians estimate that police killed seven hundred workers, wounded 2,000 and arrested 55,000 during The Tragic Week-1919.

Activists this year organized a popular “escrache” or exposure protest against the Jesus Sacramentado convent and cathedral. Military sharp shooters targeted protesting men and women from the rooftops of the Jesus Sacramentado cathedral in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Almargo during The Tragic Week. The Catholic Church clearly supported the violent crackdown against workers in 1919. Throughout Argentina’s history the Catholic Church has backed each military dictatorship (from General Felix Uriburu 1930 to the latest military dictatorship 1976-1983). In memoriam with the victims, local popular assembly participants and anarchist groups painted graffiti and threw garbage in front of the cathedral.


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