Colectivo Situaciones: Complete works

The posting by the online website lobo suelto! of an archive of the writings the argentine based Colectivo Situaciones, is the occasion to return to the “theoretical” work of this group and its “reflection” in the 2001-3 insurrection in the country. The importance of this work for the understanding of events in argentina, and beyond, justifies our choice in sharing this material, especially with those not familiar with either.

If we place “theory” and “reflection” in quotation marks, it is because the collective saw its intellectual work as immanent to situations of struggle, as something which created cognitive-aesthetic realities which could animate effective and radical political interventions.

The events in argentina confirmed the death of older, anti-capitalist forms of militancy; the question then was to try to grasp from within what was taking shape as new forms of political opposition.

The archive (below) is in spanish and therefore to assist those not familiar with the writings of the Colectivo Situaciones, along with the introductory text to the archive, we also share three essays by the group, as well as an interview. For further writing by the group, the text 19 & 20: Notes for a New Social Protagonism is also available online. And we close with two documentary films by Fernando Solanas dedicated to the crisis of argentina and the dignity of those who resisted.

Argentina, December 19th and 20th, 2001: A New Type of Insurrection

Colectivo Situaciones (lobo suelto! 01/09/2019)

Translators’ Introduction (to the english language publication of 9 & 20: Notes for a New Social Protagonism)

Que se vayan todos! Four Spanish words became part of the universal language of rebellion after a multitude of Argentineans occupied the streets the evening of December 19th 2001. The words were thrown at every politician, functionary, economist, journalist and at nobody in particular, cutting a threshold in history, a before and an after for Argentina that would find a wave of resonances around the world.

The revolt surprised analysts, always ready to judge the new with reference to their old interpretive grids. But for many of its protagonists, however, it had long been foretold. Argentina had been one of the testing grounds for neoliberalism since 1975, shortly before a dictatorship, initially commanded by General Jorge Videla, institutionalized the forms of repression of revolutionary activism that were already under way, while launching a package of reforms that began undoing the labour rights and welfare state policies that had been the result of decades of workers’ struggles.

Eight years later electoral democracy finally returned. The consequences of the repression became visible as the military’s large-scale process of social engineering had been successful in demobilizing the population. Neoliberal reforms could now be imposed by consensus. In the 1990s, president Carlos Menem and his finance minister, Domingo Cavallo, in alliance with the labour bureaucracy, undertook sweeping structural adjustment reforms, privatizing nearly every state-run company at every level of government, deregulating labour and finance markets, pegging the peso to the dollar, and leaving nearly fourty percent of the population unemployed or underemployed.

During the Menem era, a new generation of activists and new forms of protest slowly emerged. H.I.J.O.S., the organization of the children of the disappeared, came about in 1995 and introduced creative ways of denouncing the unpunished torturers of their often-revolutionary parents and preserving their memory. In 1997, unemployed workers began to protest blocking roads. Their multiple movements, known as piqueteros, spread throughout the country very quickly. All the attempts of the Peronist government to co-opt the movement proved unsuccessful. To find alterantives to the recession, barter clubs were created in different points of the country, giving rise to a massive underground economy based on solidarity principles.

In 1999 Fenando de la Rúa became president with a promise of change, but kept the neoliberal reforms intact in the name of preserving “governability.” When the national economy came to the verge of collapse, after having tried different plans to keep paying installments on the (now massive) foreign debt on time, de la Rúa recruited Cavallo.

After July 2001 the pace of events became dizzying. The numerous piquetero movements, which so far had acted mostly in isolation, started coordinating entire days of roadblocks throughout the vast Argentine geography. In the mid-term elections of October 2001 voters massively submitted spoiled ballots, with percentages of abstinence never seen before. In November, Cavallo froze withdrawals from bank accounts to prevent a drainage of reserves that would force the government to abandon the peg between the dollar and the peso. People from all walks of life suddenly found themselves without money for the most basic needs. Almost overnight, thousands of retail businesses were left without customers.

The article that follows captures with vivid eloquence the street actions of December 19th and 20th, 2001, exposing, at the same time, the inadequacy of analyses of the events that fail to acknowledge the agency, autonomy and creativity of the mobilized the masses. The two days of street fighting, plus the alternative forms of life that appeared after them (including neighbourhood assemblies, factory occupations, and others), reveal what Colectivo Situaciones calls the thought of the multiple, a form of thinking of the multitude that rejects all central forms of power.

This article is an excerpt from the book Colectivo Situaciones wrote on the events of December 2001. Situaciones, a collective of militant researchers based in Buenos Aires, began working together two years earlier. Its emergence was motivated by the search for a form of intervention and production of knowledge that ‘reads’ struggles from within, a phenomenology and a genealogy that that takes distance from the modalities established by both academia and traditional left politics. Colectivo Situaciones has published several books and booklets on different aspects of Argentina’s new protagonism, including the unemployed workers movement MTD of Solano, the peasants movement Mo.Ca.S.E., and H.I.J.O.S., among others. This research has extended to form compositions with local radical experiements in places like Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, France, Uruguay, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Some of these affinities are documented in articles, working papers and declarations.

Argentina, December 19th and 20th, 2001: A New Type of Insurrection

Insurrection Without a Subject

The insurrection of December 19th and 20th did not have an author. There are no political or sociological theories available to comprehend, in their full scope, the logics activated during those more than thirty uninterrupted hours. The difficulty of this task resides in the number of personal and group stories, the phase shifts, and the breakdown of the represesentations that in other conditions would have been able to organize the meaning of these events. It becomes impossible to intellectually encompass the intensity and plurality linked by the pots and pans,[1] on the 19th, and by open confrontation, on the 20th. The most common avenues of interpretation collapsed one by one: the political conspiracy, the hidden hand of obscure interests, and—because of that all-powerful combination—the crisis of capitalism.

In the streets it was not easy to understand what was happening. What had awakened those long-benumbed energies from their dream? What might all the people gathered there want? Did they want the same that we, who were also there, wanted? How to know? Did knowing it matter?

First in the neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires, and then in the Plaza de Mayo, all sorts of things could be heard. “Whoever does not jump is an Englishman.” “Whoever does not jump is from the military.” “Execute those who sold the nation.” “Cavallo motherfucker.” “Argentina, Argentina.” And the most celebrated, from the night of the 19th: “stick the state of siege up your asses.”[2] And, then, the first articulation of “all of them out, none of them should remain.” The mixture of slogans made the struggles of the past reappear in the present: against the dictatorship, the Malvinas/Falklands war, the impunity of the genocides, the privatization of public companies, and others. The chants did not overlap, nor was it possible to identify previously existing groups among the crowd gathered there. All, as a single body, chanted the slogans one by one. At the same time, the contemporary piquetero methods of barricades, burning and blocking urban arteries, appeared in all the streets.

Words were superfluous during the most intense moments of those days. Not because the bodies in movement were silent. They were not. But because words circulated following unusual patterns of signification. Words functioned in another way. They sounded along with pots and pans, but did not substitute for them. They accompanied them. They did not remit to a specific demand. They did not transmit a constituted meaning. Words did not mean, they just sounded. A reading of those words could not be done unless this new and specific function they acquired is understood: they expressed the acoustic resources of those who were there, as a collective confirmation of the possibilities of constructing a consistency from the fragments that were beginning to recognize each other in an unanimous and indeterminate will.

The fiesta—because Wednesday 19th was a fiesta—gradually expanded. It was the end of the terrorizing effects of the dictatorship and the open challenge to the state of siege imposed by the government and, at the same time, there was celebration for the surprise of being protagonists of a historical action. And the surprise of doing it without being able to explain to each other the particular reasons of the rest. The sequence was the same all over the city: from fear and anger, to the balcony, to the rooftop, to the corner and, once there, to the transmutation. It was Wednesday. 10:30pm for some, 10pm for others. And in the patios and the streets a novel situation was operating. Thousands of people were living through a transformation at one and the same time: “being taken” by an unexpected collective process. People also celebrated the possibility of a still possible fiesta, as well as the discovery of potent social desires, capable of altering thousands of singular destinies.

Nobody tried to deny the dramaticity of the background. Joy did not negate each one’s reasons for concern and struggle. It was the tense irruption of all those elements at once. Archaic forms of ritualism were adopted, a simulation of exorcism whose meaning—an anthropologist would say—seemed to be the reencounter with the capacities of the multitudinous, the collective, the neighbourly. Each had to resolve in a matter of minutes decisions that are usually difficult to make: moving away from television; talking to oneself, and to others; asking what was really going on; resisting for a few seconds the intense impulse to go out to the streets with the pots and pans; approaching rather prudently; and, then, letting oneself be driven in unforeseen directions.

Once in the streets, the barricades and the fire united the neighbours. And from there, they moved on swiftly to see what was happening in other corners nearby. Then it was necessary to decide where to go: Plaza de Mayo, Plaza de los Dos Congresos and, in each neighbourhood, to start finding targets more at hand: Videla’s house, or Cavallo’s. The multitude divided itself, in each neighbourhood, and dealt with all the “targets” at once. The most radical spontaneity sustained itself in collectively organized memory. They were thousands and thousands of people acting with clear and precise goals, enacting a collective intelligence.

At dawn another scene began to be played. While some were going to sleep—some at 3 in the morning, some others at 5:30—the discussion was on what had happened and what would come next: many continued organizing themselves with the objective of not allowing Plaza de Mayo to be occupied by repressive forces given that, formally, the state of siege was still in place.

By then, the confrontation, which had not yet been unleashed in all its magnitude, began to be prefigured. On the 20th things presented themselves in a different way. The square became the greatest object of disputes. What took place there, right after midday, was a true battle. It is not easy to say what happened. It was not easy to remember other opportunities in which such an air was breathed in the surroundings of the plaza. The violence of the confrontations contrasted with the absence of apparent meaning among the participants.

Young people openly confronted the police, while the older ones were holding on and helping from behind. Roles and tasks were spontaneously structured. Plaza de Mayo revalidated its condition as privileged stage for community actions with the greatest symbolic power. Only this time the representations that accompanied so many other multitudes that believed in the power of that massive pink building, so jealously and inefficiently defended by the police, did not materialize. There were detainees, injured, and many dead from the brutal police repression. Officially they spoke of thirty in the whole country, but we all know there were more.

The city of Buenos Aires became redrawn. The financial centre was destroyed. Or, maybe, reconstructed by new human flows, new forms of inhabiting and understanding the meaning of store windows and banks. The energies unleashed were extraordinary, and, as could be anticipated, they did not deactivate. The events of the 19th and 20th were followed, in the city of Buenos Aires, by a feverish activity of escraches,[3] assemblies and marches. In the rest of the country, the reaction was uneven. But in every province the repercussion of the events combined with previous circumstances: roadblocks, looting, protests, and uprisings.

Words and Silences: From Interpretation to the Unrepresentable

With silence and quietude, words recovered their habitual usages. The first interpretations began to go around. Those who sought the fastest political readings of the events faced enormous difficulties. It is evident that no power (poder[4]) could be behind them. Not because those powers do not exist, but because the events surpassed any mechanism of control that anyone could have sought to mount. The questions about power remain unanswered: Who was behind this? Who led the masses?

These are ideological questions. They interpellate ghosts. What is the subject who believes itself to be seeing powers  behind life looking for? How to conceive the existence of this questioning, conspiratorial subjectivity that believes that the only possible sense of the events is the play among already constituted powers? If these questions had any value in other situations, they were never as insipid as in the 19th and 20th. The separation between the bodies and their movements and the imaginary plans organized by the established powers became tangible like never before in our history. Moroeover, these powers had to show all their impotence: not only were they unable to provide a logic to the situation, but even afterwards they did not come upon anything but to accommodate themselves in the effects of the events. Thus, all the preexisting interpretative matrices, overturned, caricatured, were activated to dominate the assemblies that wagered on supporting the movement of the 19th and 20th.

The diagnoses were many: “socialist revolution,” “revolutionary crisis,” “antidemocratic fascism,” “reactionary market antipolitics,” “the second national independence,” “a crazy and irrational social outburst,” “a citizens’ hurricane for a new democracy,” “a mani pulite from below,”[5] or the Deluge itself. All these interpretations, heterogeneous in their contents, operate in a very similar way: faced with a major event, they cast their old nets, seeking much less to establish what escapes through them than to verify the possibilities of formatting a diverse movement.

The movement of the 19th and 20th dispensed with all types of centralized organizations. They were present neither in the call to assemble or in the organization of the events. Nor were there any at a later moment, at the time of interpreting them. This condition, which in other times would have been lived as a lack, in this occasion manifested itself as an achievement. Because this absence was not spontaneous. There was a multitudinous and sustained rejection of every organization that intended to represent, symbolize, and hegemonize street activity. In all these senses, the popular intellect overcame the intellectual previsions and political strategies.

Moreover, not even the state was the central organization behind the movement. In fact, the state of siege was not as much confronted as it was routed. If confrontation organizes two opposing symmetric consistencies, routing highlights an asymmetry. The multitude disorganized the efficacy of the repression that the government had announced with the explicit goal of controlling the national territory. The neutralization of the powers (potencias) of the state on the part of a multiple reaction was possible due to the condition of—and not due to shortage—the inexistence of a call to assemble and a central organization.

Some intellectuals—very comfortable with the consistency of their role—feel also unauthorized by an acting multiplicity that destabilizes all solidity upon which to think.

But perhaps we can get even closer to some hard novelties of the movement of the 19th and 20th.

The presence of so many people, who usually do not participate in the public sphere unless it is in the capacity of limited individuals and objects of representation by either the communicational or the political apparatuses, de-instituted[6] any central situation. There were no individual protagonists: every representational situation was de-stituted. A practical and effective de-stitution, animated by the presence of a multitude of bodies of men and women, and extended later in the “all of them out, none of them should remain.”

In this way, without either speeches or flags, without words unifying into a single logic, the insurrection of the 19th and 20th was becoming potent in the same proportion as it resisted every facile and immediate meaning. The movement of the 19th and 20th blew up the negative thinking of a series of knowledges about the capacity of resistance of the men and women who, unexpectedly, gathered there. Unlike past insurrections, the movement did not organize under the illusion of a promise. The current demonstrations have abandoned certainties with respect to a promising future. The presence of the multitude in the streets does not extend the spirit of the 1970s. This was not about the insurgent masses conquering their future under the socialist promise of a better life.

The movement of the 19th and 20th does not draw its logic from the future but from the present: its affirmation cannot be read in terms of programs and proposals about what the Argentina of the future ought to be like. Of course there are shared longings. Yet they did not let themselves be apprehended into single “models” of thought, action, and organization. Multiplicity was one of the keys of the efficacy of the movement: it gained experience about the strength possessed by an intelligent diversity of demonstrations, gathering points, different groups, and a whole plurality of forms of organization, initiatives, and solidarities. This active variety permitted the simultaneous reproduction of the same elaboration in each group, without the need of an explicit coordination. And this was, at the same time, the most effective antidote against any obstruction of the action.

Consequently, there was not a senseless dispersion, but an experience of the multiple, an opening towards new and active becomings. In sum, the insurrection could not be defined by any of the lacks that are attributed to it. Its plenitude consisted in the conviction with which the social body unfolded as a multiple, and the mark it was capable of provoking on its own history.

Translated by Sebastian Touza and Nate Holdren

[1] Loud banging on saucepans or cacerolas by large crowds has been a common practice in the recent uprisings in Argentina. This activity is called a cacerolazo. The suffix ‘-azo’, in this case, means ‘insurrection’; ‘cacerola’ means ‘sauce pan’. Cacerolazo, then, literally means, roughly, ‘insurrection of the sauce pans’. (Tr.)

[2] The state of siege refers to the emergency measures taken by the Argentine government in attempt to put a lid on unreset. (Tr.)

[3] The word “escrache” is Argentinean slang that means “exposing something outrageous.” Escraches started as colorful street demonstrations organized by H.I.J.O.S. in front of the houses where people involved in human rights violations during the dictatorship live. During and after the rebellion, numerous spontaneous escraches were organized by people whenever they spotted a politician in a public place such as a restaurant or a caf During and after the rebellion, numerous spontaneous escraches were organized by people whenever they spotted a politician in a public place such as a restaurant, a café, or the street. (Tr.)

[4] In Spanish there are two words for power, poder and potencia(s), whose origin can be traced, respectively, to the Latin words potestas and potentia. In general, poder refers to transcendent forms of power, such as state power, and potencia refers to power that exists in the sphere of immanent, concrete experience. To maintain this distinction we indicate the original term between brackets when the use is unclear or changes from prior uses.  The words “potent” and “impotence” should be read as derivatives of potencia. (Tr.)

[5] Mani pulite, literally ‘clean hands’ in Italian, was a national investigation on government corruption in Italy during the 1990s. Because the campaign took place at the same time when Argentinean newspapers were unveiling one corruption scandal after the other, the expression was quicly adopted by journalists and politicians. (Tr.)

[6] We have chosen to use the expression de-institute and as a translation of the Spanish word destituir, which makes reference to the power that unseats a regime, in order to preserve the resonances that indicate a power opposite to that which institutes or that which is part of a constitutive process. We use the hyphen to avoid confusion with the English word destitution, which carries connotations of impoverishment. (Tr.)

Politicizing Sadness


More than five years after the insurrection of that Argentine December of 2001 we bear witness to the changing interpretations and moods around that event. For many of us sadness was the feeling that accompanied a phase of this winding becoming. This text rescues a moment in the elaboration of “that sadness” in order to go beyond the notions of “victory and defeat” that belong to that earlier cycle of politicization which centered on taking state power, and, at the same time, in order to share a procedure that has allowed us to “make public” an intimate feeling of people and groups.

Sadness arrived after the event: the political fiesta-of languages, images, and movements-was followed by a reactive, dispersive dynamic. And, along with it, there arrived what was later experienced as a reduction of the capacities of openness and innovation that the event brought into play. The experience of social invention (which always also implies the invention of time) was followed by a moment of normalization and the declaration of “end of the fiesta.” According to Spinoza, sadness consists in being separated from our powers (potencias). Among us political sadness often took the form of impotence and melancholy in the face of the growing distance between that social experiment and the political imagination capable of carrying it out.

Politicizing sadness sums up our intention to resist, to re-elaborate what came to light in that collective experiment under a new dynamic of publicness, because far from shrinking or having stopped, the process which opened then is still an underlying dilemma within present-day Argentina. In this context and with that intention, a diverse group of collectives that shared the lived experience of political transversality in Argentina in recent years-Grupo de Arte Callejero (GAC), the educational community Creciendo Juntos, the Movement of Unemployed Workers (MTD) of the neighbourhoods of Solano and Guernica, the communication collective lavaca, and Colectivo Situaciones-met for several weeks at the end of 2005. Inevitably, we write this text from our own perspective on what was then discussed, which implies-also inevitably-to write in tune with a dynamic that is still under way.

I. Political Sadness

1. The logic of specialists. “If you do arts, then don’t do politics, because in the arts there are those of us who handle the visual language, aesthetics, and can say what is and what is not art.” The same kind of border is imposed from the social sciences and philosophy: a distinction drawn between those who are fit to invent concepts and to make legitimate use of social research and those devoted to “political propaganda.” Thus, after a period of “disorder” the categories of the specialists arrive to restore and resurrect classifications that-they assert-never completely dissolve. The analysis done in this way lacks the political operations that made a work, a principle for action, or a movement possible. There are also the experts in politics, who organize disorder in the opposite sense: “if you do not have a clear power strategy, ?what you are doing’ is not politics, but ?social activism’, philantropy, counterculture, etc.” Thus, the hybridity implicit in every creation of new political figures is intentionally confused with a costume party after which the old classificatory powers come back to distribute uniforms, ignoring the fact that those processes always have a dimension of irreversibility.

2. Repetition without difference. The key to the productivity (both expressive and organizational) reached at a moment of creative turmoil is that it makes personal and group “fusions” possible, along with a mixture of languages in which what matters is not the authorship of what is being created  so much as the extent to which energies come together. Those efficacies do not resist their repetition outside the situations in which their meaning is rooted without becoming formulaic. Sadness appears with the certainty of extirpation, but is refined as a politics when pure repetition crystallizes and becomes established as a formula ready to be applied. The automation of the formula freezes our own capacity to temporalize the process. While the creation of time consists in opening possibilities, political sadness prevents the elaboration of lived experience as a present and future possibility. The crystallization of the living past interrupts its elaboration as political memory.

3. Duration as validity criterion. These were pervasive questions in the years 2001-2003: How do groups and movements relate to each other? Which joint efforts are the outcome of fusion and which ones do not allow such flexibility of connection? In each group or collective (artistic, political, social, etc.) a question came up about the practices taking place beyond the group, in a common outside. A key idea to make possible those encounters was the “third group”: groupings around tasks that undifferentiated the groups at the same time that made them partners in true laboratories of images, words, and organization. Sadness, in its eagerness to simplify, concludes that the temporal finitude of experimentation is enough to undermine its value, making invisible both the “common outside” and the procedures destined to shape it, thus dissipating the most profound sense of the process.

4. Contempt for the socialization of production. “Anybody can produce images or concepts, forms of struggle, means of communication or ways of expression.” These statements made sense while a sort of impersonal collective production managed to disseminate procedures and socialize creative experiments. A logic of “contagion” permeated forms of struggle, images, and research, questioning the control of businesses and their brands over the field of signs. The normalizing reaction arrived later to govern this viral expansion, recoding the significations in circulation and seizing command of them.

At this level several procedures helped normalization:
The emptying of collective slogans through literalization (violently severing them from their virtualities). For example, the “all of them must go” of December 2001; the attribution of a hidden meaning, the product of “manipulation,” as the usual reading of phenomena of collective creation (“behind each autonomous and horizontal tendency there is nothing but a ruse of power…” or, every “apparently spontaneous” demonstration finds its “hidden truth” in the powers that “orchestrate” it from the shadows); the most typical prejudices of “reactive economicism,” expressed in phrases such as “the piqueteros only want to earn money without working,” “the middle class only takes it to the street if something touches the in the pocket,” and all the ways of reducing the subjective interplay to the economic crisis; the mechanical identification of the “micro” level with “small,” an a priori judgment according to which the concrete forms of the revolt are identified with a prior, local, and exceptional moment, cut out from a “macro” (“bigger”) reality, which must be run according to the guidelines that spring up from capitalist hegemony and its systems of overcoding.

5. Machines of capture. The classical dilemma about institutions-to participate or to subtract oneself?-was in a certain way overcome at the moment of greatest social energy. The resources that the collectives and movements wrenched from the institutions dictated the “sense” of neither their use nor their operation. On the contrary, they became cogs of a different machine, which imbued the way of relating to these institutions with a different meaning, without naivety, verifying in practice how that dynamic depended on a relation of forces. The rise of all these extra-institutional procedures, simultaneous to the moment of greater presence and voice in the public stage, aspired to a radical democratization of the relation between creative dynamic and institution, meaning and resources. The institutions that sought to register the meaning of these novelties in general did not go beyond a partial renewal: not so much because they negated prodedures brought into play by the movements and collectives, as because they forgot the implications of the reorganization of the institutional dynamic that such instances pursued; not so much for trying to give an opposite meaning to the aspirations of the movements, as for the underestimation of the plane of the movements itself as the locus in which the problems regarding the production of meaning were posed.

6. Autonomy as corset. Up to a certain moment autonomy was almost equivalent to transversality among the collectives, movements, and people. That positive resonance functioned as a surface for the development of an instituent dialogue outside the consensus of both capital and the alternative “masters” of the party apparatuses. But, once turned into a doctrine, autonomy becomes desensitised about the transversality from which it nurtures itself and to which owes its true power (potencia). When autonomy turns into a morality and/or a restricted party-line, it drowns in a narrow particularity and looses its capacity for opening and innovation. To the autonomous groups and movements, sadness appears also as a threat of cooptation or giving up the quest. It appears also as guilt for what they did not do, for that which they “were not capable of,” or, precisely for that paradoxical becoming of normalization, which brings about as a consequence a certain form of resentment.

7. Sudden appearance in the limelight. The performance of the masses that during the explosion of counterpower in Argentina at the end of 2001 was accompanied by a violent change in the map regarding who were the relevant actors, but also of the parameters for understanding and dealing with this new social protagonism. The (perhaps inevitable) spectacularization spectacularizes: it institutes stars and establishes recognized voices. The consumerist relation with the “hot” spots of conflict led to a colosal change of climate, in which the collectives and movements went from being observed, applauded, and accompanied to being suddenly ignored and even scorned, which is usually experienced with a mix of extreme loneliness, deception and guilt.

II. Politicizing sadness

A politics “in” and “against” sadness cannot be a sad politics. The reappropriation and reinterpretation of the event presupposes:

1. Elaborating the event in the light of memory as power (potencia). The process does not end in defeats and victories, but we can indeed be frozen and removed from its dynamic. To learn to dismantle forms and formulae, successful in days gone by, cannot turn into a kind of repentance or simulation. Leaving behind a formula can only mean to recover all of them as possibilities; to equip ourselves with a true political memory.

2. No victimizations. Sadness only points to our momentary disconnection in a dynamic process, which need not be thought about as a long phase (of stabilization) periodically interrupted (by crisis of domination), but rather as a process that political struggle goes through. Not only is sadness a politics of power, but also-and above all-the circumstance in which the politics of power become powerful.

3. Power (potencia) of abstentionism. If the power (potencia) to do is verified in the democratic sovereignty we manage to actualize in it, the politicization of sadness can perhaps be understood as a form of wisdom in which apparent passivity radically preserves its active, subjective content. A readiness “despite everything” that prevents us from being swept along with the current or simply conquered.

4. New public spaces. Public existance is instituted in our mode of appearing, and a way of appearing that interrogates is radically political. The institution of new public spaces in which we appear with our true questions, ready to listen the content of the situations, does not need exceptional conditions, but it does need a non-state institution of that which is collective.  This is what Mujeres Creando call “concrete politics.”

5. The reelaboration of the collective. The collective as premise and not as meaning or point of arrival: like that “remainder” that emerges from a renewed effort to listen. The collective as a level of political production and as accompanying one another’s experiences. We are not talking about group formulae (of incitement or self-help, its opposite): the collective-communitarian is always a challenge of opening with respect to the world. It is not merely looking “outside,” in terms of a classical topology that would distinguish a “communitarian inside” and an “external outside,” but rather the collective as complicity in the adventure of becoming a situational interface in the world.

We would like to end with an hypothesis: the ongoing dynamic in Argentina gives rise to what we could call a “new governability” (new mechanisms of legitimacy of the elites; innovations in the conception of the relation between government and movements, between international and “internal” politics; regional integration and global multilateralism). To prolong sadness leads to isolation in this new phase of the process.

As a “translation” of the event, the “new governability” distributes recognitions among the instituent dynamics and opens spaces that were unimaginable in the previous phase of bare-knuckle neoliberalism. However, all this is simultaneous to an effort to control and redirect those dynamics. There is no room for a feeling of “success” for the former or “defeat” for the latter. With the drift from political sadness to the politicization of sadness we intend to take up the dilemmas opened by the ever present risk of getting lost in fixed, and therefore illusory, binarisms, which confront us as victory-defeat. Paolo Virno summarized what is opening in front of us this way: beyond the vitiated oscillation between cooptation and marginalization, what is at stake is the possibility of a “new maturity.”

Colectivo Situaciones,
Buenos Aires, Thusday, February 13rd, 2007.

Translated by Nate Holdren and Sebastian Touza

On the Researcher-Militant

Colectivo Situaciones (transversal texts 09/2003)

Translated by Sebastian Touza


At long last we have learned that power – the state, understood as a privileged locus of change – is not the site, par excellence, of the political. As Spinoza stated long ago, such power is the place of sadness and of the most absolute impotence. Thus we turn to counterpower. For us, emancipatory thought does not look to seize the state apparatus in order to implement change; rather, it looks to flee those sites, to renounce instituting any centre or centrality.

Struggles for dignity and justice continue: the world, in its entirety, is being questioned and reinvented again. It is this activation of struggle – a true counteroffensive – that encourages the production and diffusion of the hypotheses of counter power.

Popular struggle has recently re-emerged in Argentina. The piquetes[i] and the insurrection of December 2001[ii] have accelerated the pace of radicalization.*(1) Commitment to and questions about concrete forms of intervention are once again crucial. This counteroffensive works in multiple ways and confronts not only visible enemies, but also those activists and intellectuals that intend to encapsulate the social practices of counter power in preestablished schemes.

According to James Scott, the point of departure of radicality is physical, practical, social resistance.[iii] Any power relation of subordination produces encounters between the dominant and the dominated. In these spaces of encounter, the dominated exhibit a public discourse that consists in saying that which the powerful would like to hear, reinforcing the appearance of their own subordination, while – silently – in a space invisible to power, there is the production of a world of clandestine knowledges (saberes) which belongs to the experience of micro-resistance and insubordination.

This happens on a permanent basis except in epochs of rebellion, when the world of the oppressed comes to public light, surprising both friends and strangers.

Thus, the universe of the dominated exists as a scission: as active servility and voluntary subordination, but also as a silent language that allows the circulation of jokes, rituals, and knowledges that form the codes of resistance.

It is this precedence of resistances that grounds the figure of the ‘researcher-militant’, whose quest is to carry out theoretical and practical work oriented to co-produce the knowledges and modes of an alternative sociability, beginning with the power (potencia)*(2)of those subaltern knowledges.[iv]

Militant research works neither from its own set of knowledges about the world nor from how things ought to be. On the contrary, the only condition for researcher-militants is a difficult one: to remain faithful to their ‘not knowing’. In this sense, it is an authentic anti-pedagogy – like what Joseph Jacotot wanted.[v]

Therefore, the researcher-militant is distinct from both the academic researcher and political militant, not to mention the NGO (non-governmental organizations) humanitarian, the alternative activist, or the simply well intentioned person.

As far from institutional procedures as it is from ideological certainties, the question is rather to organize life according to a series of hypotheses (practical and theoretical) on the ways to (self-) emancipation. To work in autonomous collectives that do not obey rules imposed by academia implies the establishment of a positive connection with subaltern, dispersed, and hidden knowledges, and the production of a body of practical knowledges of counter power. This is just the opposite of using social practices as a field of confirmation for laboratory hypotheses. Research militancy, then, is also the art of establishing compositions that endow with potencia the quests and elements of alternative sociability.

Academic research is subjected to a whole set of alienating mechanisms that separate researchers from the very meaning of their activity: they must accommodate their work to determined rules, topics and conclusions. Funding, supervision, language requirements, bureaucratic red tape, empty conferences and protocol, constitute the conditions in which the practice of official research unfolds.

Militant research distances itself from those circuits of academic production – of course, neither opposing nor ignoring them. Far from disavowing or negating university research, it is a question of encouraging another relation with popular knowledges. While knowledges (conocimientos) produced by academia usually constitute a block linked to the market and to scientific discourse (scorning any other forms), what characterizes militant research is the quest for the points in which those knowledges can be composed with popular ones. Militant research attempts to work under alternative conditions, created by the collective itself and by the ties to counter power in which it is inscribed, pursuing its own efficacy in the production of knowledges useful to the struggles.

Militant research thus modifies its position: it tries to generate a capacity for struggles to read themselves and, consequently, to recapture and disseminate the advances and productions of other social practices.

Unlike the political militant, for whom politics always takes place in its own separate sphere, the researcher-militant is a character made out of questions, not saturated by ideological meanings and models of the world.

Nor is militant research a practice of ‘committed intellectuals’ or of a group of ‘advisors’ to social movements. The goal is neither to politicize nor intellectualize the social practices. It is not a question of managing to get them to make a leap in order to pass from the social to ‘serious politics’.

The trail of multiplicity is the opposite to these images of the leap and seriousness: it is neither about teaching nor disseminating key texts, but about looking into practices for the emerging traces of a new sociability. If it is separated from practices, the language of militant research gets reduced to the diffusion of a jargon, a fashion, or a new pseudo-academic ideology deprived of situational*(3)anchoring.

From the perspective of its materiality, militant research develops in the forms of workshops and collective reading, of the production of the conditions for thinking and disseminating productive texts, in the generation of circuits founded on concrete experiences of struggle and in nuclei of researcher-militants. Since 2000, we have sustained a specific path within the magma of social practices, encounters, and discoveries that have come to be called the “Argentine laboratory”, known above all for the insurrection of a new typethat took place on the 19th and 20th of December of 2001. In order to disseminate the elaborations that emerged from this path we created our own publishing house, De Mano en Mano**(4) and we have published a series of dossiers, drafts, and books that have nourished research with their effects. The following section picks up a series of hypotheses about the notion of researcher-militant, which emerged at different moments of this path, and which maintain a provisional character since they are still under elaboration.


Militant research does not have an object. We are conscious of the paradoxical character of this statement – if there is research, something is being researched; if there is nothing to do research on, how can we talk about research? – and, at the same time, we are convinced that this character is precisely what gives potencia to the investigation. In fact, to do research without objectualizing***(5) already implies abandoning the usual image of the researcher, to which the researcher-militant aspires.

In effect, research can be a way to objectualization (it is not an originality on our part to confirm this old knowledge; yet, it is worth recalling that this is one of the most serious limits of the usual subjectivity of the researcher). As Nietzsche reminds us, the theoretical man (and woman) – somewhat more complex than the reading man (and woman) – is the one who perceives action from an entirely external point of view (that is, his/her subjectivity is constituted in a way that is completely independent with respect to that action). Thus, the theoretician works by attributing an intention to the subject of the action. Let’s be clear: any attribution of this type supposes, with respect to the protagonist of the action that is being observed, an author and an intention; it confers values and objectives, and, in the end, produces ‘knowledges’ about the action (and the one who acts).

In this way, criticism remains blind at least with respect to two essential moments: on one side with respect to the (external) subject that exercises it. Researchers are not required to investigate themselves. They can construct consistent knowledges on the situation as long as, and precisely thanks to, their being outside, at a prudent distance which supposedly guarantees a certain objectivity. This objectivity is authentic and efficacious to the extent that it is nothing but the other side of the violent objectualization of the situation they work upon.

But there is still another aspect in which criticism remains blind: researchers, in their action of attributing, do nothing but adapt the available resources of their own research situation to the unknowns that their object presents to them. In this way, researchers set themselves up as machines that confer meanings, values, interests, filiations, causes, influences, rationalities, intentions, and unconscious motives to their object.

Both blindnesses, or the same blindness with regard to two points (regarding the subject that attributes and the resources of the attribution), converge in the configuration of a single operation: a machine to judge good and evil according to a set of available values.

This modality of knowledge production puts us before an evident dilemma. Traditional university research, with its object, its method of attribution and its conclusions, obtains, of course, valuable knowledges – above all descriptive ones – regarding the objects on which it does research. But this descriptive operation is in no way subsequent to the formation of the object, because the form of the object itself is already the result of objectualization. This is so to the extent that university research is much more effective when it best uses those objectualizing powers. In this way, science, and particularly that science which is called “social”, operates more as separator, and reified, of the situations in which it participates than as an internal element in the creation of possible experiences (both practical and theoretical).

Researchers offer themselves as subjects of a synthesis of experience. They are the ones who explain the rationality of what happens. And they are preserved as such: as necessary blind spots of such synthesis. They themselves, as meaning-giving subjects, remain exempt from any self-examination. They and their resources – their values, their notions, their gaze – are constituted in the machine that classifies, coheres, inscribes, judges, discards, and excommunicates. In the end, the intellectual is the one who ‘does justice’ to the matters of truth, as administration – adaptation – of that which exists regarding the horizons of rationality of the present.


We have talked about commitment and militancy. Is it that we are proposing the superiority of the political militant with regard to the university researcher?

We do not believe so. Political militancy is also a practice with an object. As such, it has remained tied to a mode of instrumentality: one that connects itself to other experiences of a subjectivity always already constituted, with prior knowledges – of strategy – equipped with universally valid statements which are purely ideological. Its form of being with others is utilitarian: there is never affinity, always ‘agreement’. There is never encounter, always ‘tactics’. In sum, political militancy – especially that of the “party” – cannot constitute itself as an experience of authenticity. Already at the beginning it gets trapped in transitivity: what interests it of an experience is always ‘something other’ than the actual experience. From this point of view, political militancy, including militants from the Left, is as external, judgmental and objectualizing as university research.

Furthermore, neither does the humanitarian militant – i.e. the one who works within NGOs – escape from these manipulative mechanisms. The now-globalized humanitarian ideology constitutes itself from an idealized image of the world already made, unmodifiable, in front of which we can only dedicate efforts to those places, more or less exceptional, where misery and irrationality still reign.

Not only do the mechanisms unleashed by solidarity humanitarianism foreclose any possible creation, but they also naturalize – via their compassionate charitable resources and their language of exclusion – the victimizing objectuality that separates everyone from their subjectifying and productive possibilities.

When we refer to commitment and to the “militant” character of research, we do so in a precise sense, connected to four conditions: (a) the character of the motivation that underpins research; (b) its practical character (elaboration of situated practical hypotheses); (c) the value of what is being researched – the product of research can only be dimensioned in its totality in situations that share as much the problematic being investigated as the constellation of conditions and preoccupations; and (d) its effective procedure – its development is already itself a result, and its result leads to an immediate intensification of the procedures that are being employed.


Any idealization strengthens the mechanism of objectualization. This is an authentic problem for research militancy.

Idealization always results from the mechanism of attribution (even if the latter is not given under the modality of scientific or political pretensions). Idealization – as any ideologization – expels from the constructed image anything that could make it fall as an ideal of coherence and plenitude.

As it turns out, however, any ideal, contrary to the beliefs of idealists, is more on the side of death than on the side of life. The ideal amputates reality from life. The concrete – life itself – is partial and irremediably inapprehensible, incoherent and contradictory. As long as it persists in its capacities and potenciaslife does not need to adjust itself to any image that gives it meaning or justifies it. It is the other way round: it is in itself the creative source – not object or depositary – of the values of justice. In fact, any idea of a pure or full subject is nothing but the preservation of that ideal.

This mechanism of idealization is clearly at work in the figure of the excluded as used to define the unemployed in Argentina; as we have pointed out: ”Exclusion is the place that our biopolitical societies produce to be able to include people, groups, and social classes in a subordinate way.”*(6)

Hence idealization conceals an inadvertently conservative operation: hidden behind the purity and vocation for justice that seem to give it origin is, once again, the root of dominant values. Hence the righteous appearance of idealists: they want to do justice, that is to say, they desire to materialize, effectuate, those values they hold as good. Idealists merely project those values on the idealized (at the moment when that which was multiple and complex turns into object, of an ideal) without coming to interrogate themselves about their own values; that is to say, without having a subjective experience that transforms them. This mechanism comes to reveal itself as the most serious obstacle for the researcher-militant: originating in subtle and almost imperceptible forms, idealization gradually produces an unbridgeable distance. This is so to the extent that researcher-militants only see what they have projected into what is already a plenitude.

That is why this activity cannot exist unless very serious work is done on the research collective itself; in other words, the latter cannot exist without seriously investigating itself, without modifying itself, without reconfiguring itself in the social practices in which it takes part, without reviewing the ideals and values it holds dear, without permanently criticizing its ideas and readings, in the end, without developing practices in all the possible directions.**(7)

This ethical dimension points to the very complexity of research militancy: the subjective work of deconstructing any inclination toward objectualization. In other words: doing research without an object.

As in genealogy, it is a question of working at the level of the ‘criticism of values’. It is about penetrating them and destroying ‘their statues’, as Nietzsche affirms. But this work that is oriented by – and towards – the creation of values is not done by mere ‘contemplation’. It requires a radical critique of current values. That is why it implies an effort of deconstruction of the dominant forms of perception (interpretationvalorization). Therefore, there is no creation of values without production of a subjectivity capable of submitting itself to a radical criticism.


One question makes itself evident: is it possible to engage in such research without at the same time setting in motion a process of falling in love? How would a tie between two experiences be possible without a strong feeling of love or friendship?

Certainly, the experience of research militancy resembles that of the person in love, on condition that we understand by love that which a long philosophical tradition – the materialist one – understands by it: that is, not something that just happens to one with respect to another but a process which, in its constitution, takes two or more.*(8) Such a love relation participates without the mediation of an intellectual decision: rather, the existence of two or more finds itself pierced by this shared experience. This is not an illusion, but an authentic experience of anti-utilitarianism, which converts the ‘own’ into the ‘common’.

In love, in friendship, as opposed to the mechanisms that we have been describing up to this point, there is neither objectuality nor instrumentalism. Nobody restrains him or herself from what the tie can do, nor is it possible to leave it uncontaminated. One does not experience friendship or love in an innocent way: we all come out from them reconstituted. These potencias – love and friendship – have the power to constitute, qualify, and remake the subjects they catch.

This love – or friendship – constitutes itself as a relation that renders undefined what until that moment was kept as individuality, composing a figure integrated by more than one individual body. And, at the same time, such a qualification of the individual bodies that participate in this relation causes all the mechanisms of abstraction – deployments that turn the bodies into quantified exchangeable objects – so characteristic of the capitalist market as the other objectualizing mechanisms we have mentioned.

That is why we consider this love to be a condition of militant research

We usually refer to this process of friendship or falling in love with the – less compromising – name of composition. Unlike articulationcomposition is not merely intellectual.*(9) It is based neither in interests nor in criteria of convenience (political or other). Unlike accords and alliances (strategic or tactic ones, partial or total) founded in textual agreements, composition is more or less inexplicable, and goes beyond anything that can be said about it. In fact, at least while it lasts, it is much more intense than any merely political or ideological compromise.

Love and friendship tell us about the value of quality over quantity: the collective body composed of other bodies does not increase its potencia according to the mere quantity of its individual components, but in relation to the intensity of the tie that unites them.


Love and friendship: Research militancy does not intend to be a new party line. It works – necessarily – on another plane.

If we sustain the distinction between ‘politics’ (understood as struggle for power) and the social practices in which processes of production of sociability or values come into play, we can then distinguish the political militant (who founds his/her discourse in some set of certainties) from the researcher-militant (who organizes his/her perspective beginning with critical questions about those certainties).

Yet, this is the distinction that is often lost from sight when a social practice is presented as a model and carelessly turned into the source of a party line.

This is how some believe they have seen the birth of a “situationist” line, as the idealized product of language or even the jargon of the publication and image that, apparently, the notebook*(10) transmits – at least among some readers – of the experience of struggle we have worked with.

Detractors and supporters of this new line have turned it into the motive of disputes and conspiracies. In this regard, we can’t help but admit that, of all the possible outcomes of this research, these reactions are the ones that motivate us least, both because of the manifest lack of productivity that results from such repudiations and supports and because of the form in which such idealizations (positive or negative alike) usually replace a more critical look at those who make them. Thus, a too finished position is rapidly adopted in the front of what intends to be an opening exercise.


Let’s take one more step in the construction of the concept of research without an object, of a thought that resists becoming a ‘knowledge’. Interiority and immanence are not necessarily identical processes.

Inside and outside, inclusion and exclusion, are (if we are allowed such an expression) categories of the dominant ideology: they usually hide much more than they reveal. Research militancy is not about being inside a social practice, but working in immanence.

Let’s say that the difference can be presented in the following terms: the inside (and so the outside) defines a position organized from a certain limit that we consider relevant.

Inside and outside refer to a location of a body or element in relation to a disjunction or a boundary. To be inside is also – in this line – to share a common property, which makes us belong to the same set.

This system of references raises questions about the place where we are situated: nationality, social class, or even the position in which we choose to situate ourselves with regard to, say, the next elections, the military invasion of Colombia or cable television programming.

In the extreme, ‘objective’ belonging (that which derives from the observation of a common property) and ‘subjective’ belonging (that which derives from choosing with regard to) come together for the happiness of the social sciences: if we are unemployed workers we can choose to enter a piquetero movement; if we belong to the middle class we can choose to be part of a neighborhood assembly. Through determination – common belonging to the same group, in this case social class – choice (in the group of commons with which we will group) becomes possible – and desirable.

In both cases being inside implies respecting a pre-existent limit that distributes places and belonging in a more or less involuntary way. It is not so much a question of disavowing the possibilities that derive from the moment of choice – which can be, as in the case of this example, highly subjectivating – as it is about distinguishing the mere ‘being’ and its ‘inside’ (or ‘outside’, it doesn’t matter) of the mechanisms of subjective production that spring up from disobeying these destinies. At the limit, it is not so much a question of reacting in front of already codified options as it is about producing the terms of the situation ourselves.

In this sense it is worthwhile to present the image of immanence as something other than the mere being inside.

Immanence refers to a modality of inhabiting the situation and operates from composition – love or friendship – in order to bring about new possible materials of such a situation. Immanence is, then, a constitutive co-belonging that passes transversally or diagonally through the representations of the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’. As such it does not derive from being there, but requires an operation of inhabiting, of composing.

Summing up: the notions of immanence, situation, composition are internal to the experience of research militancy. Names which are useful for operations that organize a common and, above all, constitutive becoming. If in another experience they become jargon of a new party line or categories of a fashionable philosophy – something that does not interest us in the least – they will, for sure, obtain a new meaning on the basis of those uses which are not ours.

The operational difference between the ‘inside’ of representation (foundation of belonging and identity) and the connection of immanence (constitutive becoming) has to do with the greater disposition this last form confers us to participate in new social practices.


It seems like we have come to produce a difference between love-friendship and the forms of objectification against which the – precarious, we insist – figure of the researcher-militant rises up.

Nevertheless, we have not yet entered the fundamental issue of the ideologization of confrontation.

Struggle activates capacities, resources, ideals, and solidarities. As such it tells us about a vital disposition, about dignity. In it, the risk of death is neither pursued nor desired. That is why the meaning of the dead comrades is never full, but painful. This dramatic character of struggle is, however, banalized when confrontation is ideologized, to the point of being postulated as an exclusionary meaning.

When this happens there is no room for research. As it is well known, ideology and research have opposite structures: while the first is constituted from a set of certainties, the second only exists on the basis of a grammar of questions.

Nevertheless, struggle–the necessary, noble struggle–does not in itself lead toward the exaltation of confrontation as the dominant meaning of life. There is no doubt that the limit may appear somewhat narrow in the case of an organization in permanent struggle, such as a piquetero organization. And yet, to take this point for granted would be to prejudge.

Unlike the militant subjectivity that is usually sustained in a given sense by the extreme polarisation of life – the ideologisation of confrontation*(11) – experiences that seek to construct another sociability are very active in trying not to fall into the logic of confrontation, according to which the multiplicity of experience is reduced to this dominant signifier.

Confrontation by itself does not create values. As such, it does not go beyond the distribution of the dominant values.

The result of a war shows who will appropriate existence. Who will have the property rights on the existing goods and values.

If struggle does not alter the ‘structure of meanings and values’ we are only in presence of a change of roles, which is a guarantee of survival for the structure itself.

Once we have arrived at this point, two completely different images of justice are sketched out before us, and in the end that is what it is about. On one side, the struggle is for the ability to use the judging machine. To do justice is to attribute to oneself what is considered just. It is to interpret in a different way the distribution of existing values. The other side suggests that it is a question of becoming creator of values, of experiences, of worlds.

That is why any struggle that is not idealized has those two directions that start from self-affirmation: toward ‘inside’ and toward ‘outside’.


Militant research does not look for a model of experience. Moreover, it affirms itself against the existence of such ideals. It will be said with good reason that it is one thing to declaim this principle and something very different to achieve it in practice. One could also conclude that – and here is where our doubts start – in order for this noble purpose to become reality it would be necessary to make ‘our criticism’ explicit. If the demand is looked at carefully, one would see the extent to which what is being asked of us is to keep the model – now in a negative way – in order to compare the real experience to an ideal model, a mechanism that social sciences use to extract their ‘critical judgments’.

As can be seen, to develop a new image of thought from a practical experience of knowledge production is not a minor issue, since it concerns forms of justice (and judgment is nothing but the judicial form of justice). This article cannot offer anything that resembles a juridical event, nor does it provide resources to make judgments on other social practices. Rather, the opposite is true: if we as ‘authors’ have pretended anything at all, that has been to offer a diametrically opposite image of justice, founded in composition. What is this good for? There are no preliminary answers.

Till always

September 2003

This article is composed of fragments of two different articles which addressed the mode of intervention that we intend to create: militant research. We reproduce parts of ”For a Politics beyond Politics”, an essay published in the book Contrapoder: una introducción, edited by our Colectivo and published by Ediciones De Mano en Mano in November of 2001. We also pick up a good deal of the text ”On Method” which prefaces the book La Hipótesis 891: Más allá de los piquetes, co-written by our Colectivo and the Movement of Unemployed Workers of Solano, also published by De Mano en Mano, in November 2002.

[i] La Hipótesis 891, the book cited above, deals with what has been opened by this experience of struggle and thought known as “piqueteros”.

[ii] See our book 19 y 20. Apuntes para el nuevo protagonismo social,published by De Mano en Mano in April 2002.

*(1) The night of December 19th, 2001, thousands of Argentineans occupied the streets, squares and public places of the major cities. The following day, after three dozen had died in street fights with the police, president Fernando de la Rúa resigned. The revolt boosted the period of intense social creativity that began with the formation of the unemployed workers movement – also known as “piqueteros” for their practice of blocking roads – in the second half of the 1990s. In the month that followed the revolt, hundreds of popular assemblies sprung up in neighbourhoods across the country. Many factories and businesses that had gone bankrupt were taken by their workers and began to run under their control. Several of these initiatives came together forming circuits of trade based in solidarity principles, helping to provide the necessities of life for the millions who had been marginalized from an economy crippled by its obedient observance of the recommendations coming from the International Monetary Fund and other transnational ”development” agencies. (Tr.)

[iii] James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, London, New Haven 1992.

*(2) In Spanish there are two words for ”power”: “poder” and “potencia”, which derive from the Latin words “potestas” and “potentia”. Colectivo Situaciones’ understanding of power is rooted in this distinction they take from Spinoza. While “potencia” is a dynamic, constituent dimension, “poder” is static, constituted. Potencia defines our power to do, to affect, and be affected, while the mechanism of representation that constitutes “poder” separates “potencia” from the bodies that are being represented. To preserve the emphasis of this distinction, the Spanish word “potencia” is used, where appropriate, throughout this chapter. (Tr.)

[iv] The figure of the “researcher-militant” was presented for the first time in Miguel Benasayag and Diego Sztulwark, Política y situación. De la potencia al contrapoder, Buenos Aires: Ediciones de mano en mano 2002.

[v] See in particular the beautiful pages of the book by Jacques Rancière, The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation , Stanford/California 1991. For Jacotot all pedagogies are founded in an ‘explication’ of something given by someone from a superiority of intelligence, and produces, above all, ‘explicated kids’. On the contrary, ‘ignorant schoolmasters’ teach without explicating. They can teach what they do not know because they organize their experiences according to a radically different principle: the equality of intelligence.

*(3) Each situation is part of a system of relations, networks, connexions, transmissions and distributions of power. Cf. Colectivo Situaciones, 19 y 20. Apuntes para el nuevo protagonismo social: Situation refers to a capacity to cut off the space-time that is ”both condition and product of the emergence of meaning” (p. 19). ”Situation does not mean local. The situation consists in the practical affirmation that the whole does not exist separate from the part, but in the part” (p. 26). ”The situation can be thought of as a ‘concrete universal’.” ”We can only know and intervene in the universal through a subjective operation of interiorizaton from which it is possible to encounter the world as a concrete element of the situation. Any other form of thinking the world – as external to the situation – condemns us to an abstract perception and practical impotence” (p. 30n.). (Tr.).

**(4) Literally, “De mano en mano” means ”from hand to hand”. The publishing house was created by the student group El Mate, to which the members of Colectivo Situaciones originally belonged. Mate is a South American infusion that is usually drunk in group from a gourd that is passed from hand to hand. (Tr.)

***(5) The authors use “objetualizar” in the double sense of transformation into an object of research and to be transformed into an object as opposed to becoming a subject. (Tr.)

*(6) Cf. 19 y 20: Apuntes para el nuevo protagonismo social, p. 100n. The excluded are constructed as subjects of needs, uncapable of creative self-activity, whose actions always have an a priori interpretation. The concepts of unemployed and excluded, which come from the external gaze of the government, the media, NGOs, and most academics, have the effect of reducing the intensity and power of the real people who have been impoverished by neoliberalism. In contrast, the unemployed workers movements call themselves “piqueteros”, a subjectivity not limited to the confrontations that are part of the road blocks it refers to but which designates a struggle for dignity that goes beyond a request of incorporation in the society of wage-labour. (Tr.)

**(7) These multidirectional practices, each of which has constituted a significant moment in the development of Colectivo Situaciones, include joining in processes of collective reflection some of the most creative expressions of Argentina’s new protagonism, including the unemployed workers’ movement of the district of Solano, in Greater Buenos Aires; the peasants’ movement of the northern province of Santiago del Estero; HIJOS, the organization of the children of the disappeared during the dictatorship; Creciendo Juntos, an alternative school run by militant teachers; several instances from the neighbourhood assemblies and the now dismantled barter network, and a number of other groups, including alternative media and art collectives such as Grupo de Arte Callejero. Colectivo Situaciones’ practices have also involved encounters with intellectuals both in Argentina – including Horacio González, León Rozitchner, and the editors of the journal La Escena Contemporánea – and abroad – including Antonio Negri, Paolo Virno, Maurizio Lazzarato, John Holloway, the historic leaders of Uruguay’s legendary MLN Tupamaros, and several collectives, including the Italian DeriveApprodi and the Spanish Precarias a la Deriva. Many of these encounters have resulted in published interviews. (Tr.)

*(8) This materialist tradition of the concept of love includes Spinoza and the recent readings of his philosophy by Antonio Negri and Gilles Deleuze. Negri points out that love constitutes the exhuberance of being in Spinoza’s ethical materialism (cf. Antonio Negri, The Savage Anomaly: the power of Spinoza’s metaphysics and politics, Minneapolis 1991, p. 152ss.). For Deleuze and Felix Guattari, love and friendship define the relation of immanence between the philosopher and the concept s/he creates (What is Philosophy? New York 1994, pp. 1-12). (Tr.)

*(9) The critique of articulation is developed in full by Colectivo Situaciones in the last chapter of their book 19 y 20: Apuntes para el nuevo protagonismo social. Articulation is the type of relation established by hegemony, in which the different parts of a network are ordered around a centre. In this relation, being part of the network constitutes a norm and dispersion appears as a defficiency of the parts. In contrast, relations of composition lead to the formation of multiple counterpowers which form diffuse and eccentric networks. (Tr.)

*(10) This refers to the series of research notebooks Situaciones, published by De mano en mano. Each of these notebooks summarizes the militant research activity of Colectivo Situaciones with a different grassroots movement. (Tr.)

*(11) The movements that compose what Colectivo Situaciones defines as Argentina’s new protagonism, those with which the collective has been practicing research militancy, are characterized by a refusal to constitute themselves as frontal opponents. Like the Zapatistas, they reject the logic of confrontation and, instead, carefully invest in the creation of experiences, practices, and projects that affirm the desire to expand life. ”Between the power that destroys and the practices of counterpower there is a fundamentally asymmetric relation” (Colectivo Situaciones, El silencio de los caracoles, accessed 11 January 2004). (Tr.)

The Shock of the New. An Interview with Colectivo Situaciones (25/04/2003)

Marina Sitrin (lobo suelto! 01/09/2018)

Buenos Aires, April 25th, 2003.

By Marina Sitrin

The social movements that exploded in Argentina in December 2001 not only transformed the fabric of Argentine society but also issued a ringing testimony to the possibility of a genuinely democratic alternative to global capital. The whole world was watching.

For all the theories about what constitutes and how to make revolutions, in essence they are nothing more than ordinary people coming together to discuss and fight for social possibilities that were previously beyond the horizon of historical possibilities. At its root, it is about the creation of new dialogues.

Colectivo Situaciones is a radical collective in Buenos Aires dedicated to stimulating these dialogues. They have tried to facilitate the most far-reaching aspects of the discussions that have unfolded among the social conflicts in Argentina through their books, which are (literally) structured as dialogues.

These discussions transcend national boundaries. Marina Sitrin interviewed Colectivo Situaciones while in Argentina this spring, where she was working on her forthcoming book, which will be a collection of interviews exploring the Argentine uprising through the political and personal experiences of those involved. She was awarded a grant by the IAS in July 2003 in support of her work (see “Grants Awarded” for more information).

Reprinted here is an excerpt from her interview. This interview explores the difficulty of creating concepts adequate to the new Argentine social movements, some of the political vocabulary that has emerged from these movements, and the meaning of engaged theoretical work. It was conducted in Buenos Aires on April 25th, 2003.

Chuck Morse

Colectivo Situaciones emerged from Argentina’s radical student milieu in the mid 1990s and, since then, have developed a long track record of intervention in Argentine social movements. Their books are dialogues with the unemployed workers movement, explorations of the question of power and tactics of struggle, and conversations about how to think about revolution today.

Their radical views pertain to practice as much as theory. They are genuinely a collective and all of their projects are collectively produced. Presently, in addition to their publishing work, they are also working in a collectively run, alternative school.

In a note printed on the back of many of their books, they describe their work as follows:
[We] intend to offer an internal reading of struggles, a phenomenology (a genealogy), not an “objective” description. It is only in this way that thought assumes a creative, affirmative function, and stops being a mere reproduction of the present. And only in this fidelity with the immanence of thought is it a real, dynamic contribution, which is totally contrary to a project or scheme that pigeonholes and overwhelms practice.

Radicals have often been criticized for imposing ideas and dogmas upon events instead of attending to their real nuances and complexities. Colectivo Situaciones has tried to overcome the strategic and intellectual impasse that this creates by advancing a contextually sensitive approach to the world. I asked them to explain their method and to give background on their collective.

At a particular moment we began to see what, for us, was a fundamental lack of options for left libertarians and autonomists in general. We began to feel very dissatisfied with the discourse on the Left—of the activists, the intellectuals, the artists, and the theoreticians—and began to ask ourselves if we should put our energy in the investigation of the fundamentals of an emancipatory theory and practice. Since that day, we have continued pursuing that same question and, since that day, things have been appearing, like Zapatismo. Certain people also began appearing in the theoretical camp, asking very radical questions, and they influenced us a lot. We studied them, got to know them, and exchanged a great deal. Also, in Argentina there began to emerge very radical practices that also questioned all of this, carried out by people who were also searching.

During this process, certain key ideas kept appearing to us that we decided to develop and see where they would lead. One of the ideas that we came across was that, as much potential as thought and practice have, they cannot reach their full potential if not based in a concrete situation. In some respects, this is pretty evident, or should be, but normally developing a thought or practice within a situation is not easy. We decided to immerse ourselves in this work. We do not think that situations can be created, and this is the difference that we have with the Situationists of Europe in the late 50s and early 60s, who believed that a situation could be created, and who tried to create situations. We think not: situations are to be entered or taken on, but cannot not be invented by ones’ own will.

This gives rise to what Gilles Deleuze said: “creation as resistance, resistance as creation.” We consider our own collective an experience of resistance and creation, to create resisting in the area of thought, linked to practice.

However, for us it is difficult to speak in general terms. When you say “Piquetero movement,” you are creating a homogeneity—an equality of circumstances, of characteristics, of a quantity of things—that in reality does not exist. This has to be seen in context. We work in concrete experiences and part of our work consists of attempting not to make generalizations. We believe there are points, or practical hypotheses, that develop in distinct moments, and that each movement, each concrete situation, develops in a particular, determined form. For example, the influence that Zapatismo has had is evident as an inspiration, but to say that the Argentine movement is the Zapatista movement would be an absurd generalization. What we are working to make more general is the concept of “new social protagonism.” This concept is not something that lumps together various phenomena, but is rather a concrete way of working in specific contexts, that we believe will advance and radicalize the question of what social change means today. Not everyone has the same work, the same answers, nor develops in the same way. But, shared is the new social protagonism’s radicalism in posing these questions as well as bringing forward its practice. Generalizing is difficult because it hides the complexity of concrete situations.

Through the Argentine uprising many people began to see themselves as social actors, as protagonists, in way that they had not previously. I asked Colectivo Situaciones how such a rapid radical transformation could take place and how it could be so widespread.

The parties were a huge fraud for all the people, for everyone in general, but doubly so for those that had an emancipatory perspective. In addition, it is evident that the Argentine state failed, not only the political parties. The state in default, totally captured by the mafias, a state that neither manages to regulate nor generate mediations in society, ended up destroying the idea, so strongly installed in Argentina, that everything had to pass through the state. Thus, between this and the global militancy that was developing, the ideology of the network, plus the presence of the Internet and the new technologies, the new forms of the organization of work… these things reinforced the ideology of horizontalism. This also coincides with the most important ideas of the new social protagonism: Decisions made by all; the lack of leaders; the idea of liberty; that no one is subordinated to another; that each one has to assume within him or herself responsibility for what is decided; the idea that it is important to struggle in all dimensions; that struggle doesn’t take place in one privileged location; the idea that we organize ourselves according to concrete problems; the idea that it is not necessary to construct one organization for all, but that organization is multiple; that there are many ways to organize oneself according to the level of conflict one confronts; the idea that there is not one dogma or ideology, but rather open thinking and many possibilities. It also has to do with the crisis of Marxism, which was such a heavy philosophical and political doctrine in the 60s and 70s. Also, in Argentina, the collapse of the military dictatorship produced very strong experiences, such as the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, who showed early on that political parties are not an efficient tool for concrete, radical struggles.

But now there is an ambivalence, because there are many people doing very important things at the level of this new social protagonism: in a school, a hospital, a group of artists, a group of people creating theory; and perhaps the notion of horizontalism is not the most important for them. For example, we are working in a school where, of course, everyone makes decisions together, but not because the participants adhere to a horizontalist ideology, but rather because the situation itself makes us equals in the face of problems.

Thus, it seems there is a distinction. Many times, in assemblies, we see a discussion of horizontalism as a political identity. We say that it is not about the theme of horizontalism, but about political identity . We say that one is not organized according to pure imaginaries—I am a revolutionary, a communist, a Peronist, an autonomist… but rather one works on concrete problems. For us this is where nuclei of greater power exist: in some assemblies, neighbors, without anyone convoking them, without a political power, with any political representation, start discussing what it means to say that they want to play a leading role in something; what it means to take charge themselves, that the state is not going to take responsibility for them, that society is unraveled, is disarmed, disintegrates if there is not the production of new values by the base. Thus, this self-organization is very important from this point of view. Previously there were the piqueteros , who have a much longer history than the assemblies , and discovered all of this before.

The word “horizontalism” is part of the new political vocabulary that has emerged out of the Argentine movements. It is used by many in these movements—from the piqueteros and assemblies to those who have occupied factories—to speak of the political relationships being formed. I asked Colectivo Situaciones to share their thoughts on the meaning and usage of this word.

There is a question of leadership. The politics of horizontalism, in the most moral sense, supposes that when a group of people exercise leadership or are very active or tend to be organizers, that there is a danger of verticalism or institutionalization. To us, it seems that this can only be known in the context. What happens if every time a person talks a lot or is very active that person is accused of being an institution that restrains the movement? To us it seems that this reveals a significant exteriority of the situation and a big moralization.

Many times, in a simple perspective, it would seem that there is horizontalism when everyone speaks equally, because nobody does more than the others. But it is necessary to see that often subjugation is not the subjugation of a person: it can also be the subjugation of an ideal, or subjugation in the impossibility of doing things. There is the impotence and sadness that can exist in forms that appear horizontal from the outside.

Thus, we don’t celebrate the fact that there are assemblies in the abstract. Many assemblies don’t interest us, because even though everyone speaks, there isn’t really an opening, there isn’t really active power ( potencia) . Whereas other groups that are accused of not being sufficiently horizontal are creating possibilities and hypotheses and changing the lives of the persons so much that they generate a very strong attraction and very strong power. For example, think of Zapatismo . As in Zapatismo , as in some MTD (Movimiento de trabajadores desocupados/Unemployed Workers’ Movement)—like the MTD of Solano—there are people who are the most horizontal of the horizontals that question if there is sufficient horizontalism. But, to us it seems unnecessary to try to make an experience that functions a model for the majority.

Horizontalism is a tool of counter-power when it is a question—power is socialized, it is democratized, it is the power of all—but horizontalism is a tool of power when it is a response, when it the ends the search, when it shuts down all questions. Horizontalism is the norm of the multiplicity and the power of the people who are different, not of those who follow the conventional. The risk is that horizontalism shuts you up and becomes a new ideology that aborts experimentation. That is the risk.

Although Colectivo Situaciones’ books are highly theoretical—and often difficult reading for native Spanish speakers—they are decidedly anti-academic and try to produce a militant, engaged theory. I asked them to explain their approach to me.

Something that interests us is the struggle against academic thought, against classical academic research. It is often said that militant investigation is good, because it manages to show things closely, very internally, but that it is not good because it lacks distance and does not permit objectivity. We are developing an idea that is precisely the contrary. [We believe that] only by adopting a very defined perspective is it possible to comprehend the complexities and tensions of a situation. What we have is a position of work that demands deep practical engagement: it implies a lot of time, a lot intensity, a lot of study, and a high level of sensitivity. For us, it is not an obstacle to knowledge, but the only form that goes with the development of truly complex thought. Our experience is that, in the end, the Argentine academy—not only in the university, but also in the mass media and arts—tries to grasp what is happening without being engaged or fully developing ideas. We see very clearly the difference between us and them. Our work functions in exactly the opposition sense….

Translated from Spanish by Chuck Morse and Marina Sitrin

Argentina’s Economic Collapse (Memoria Del Saqueo 2004)

La Dignidad de los Nadies (2005)

Too much is known about what is possible: an introduction to the Colectivo Situaciones

Facundo Abramovich and León Lewkowicz (lobo suelto! 16/08/2020)

All the noise of the already thought about prevents listening to the present, the unknown.

Henri Meschonnic

Doing a political reading means putting it into context in the city, in the theory of the city in the broadest sense.

David Viñas


It is not easy to think an era through a work nor to make a text speak it in the present. It is accordingly possible to understand the difficulty that the “right thinking”, conventional leftist is going through: as soon as their time fails to provide them with answers, impotence blocks the effectiveness of their thought. The eternal logic of searching history for lessons – or mistakes to “learn not to repeat” – is challenged with the emergence of unforeseen phenomena or situations of a new kind. Perhaps the problem does not lie so much in the selection of texts, but rather in our hermeneutics: the “difficulty” is solved, in part, in the way we the readers decide to face the texts.


Thus, two types of reading can be pointed to: the reading that scholars and accumulators of information resort to and, on the opposite side, that which functions as an enabling input for an active reading for new struggles.

An archive can only be understood as a derivation of these ways of reading. Thus, on the one hand, we find the inert academic museum and, on the other, the militant archive where the concepts and knowledge of other times can also be part of the struggle in the present. One presupposes knowledge as an end in itself, the second as a search for new collective openings.

We write and publish this at a time when the retreat of progressive governments in the region and, in particular, the brutality of the Alianza Cambiemos government force us to review the last two decades in search of explanatory keys. The inauguration of the new millennium under the struggles against neoliberalism can be, in this context, an essential starting point for those of us who endeavour to understand and combat our current situation.


It is even more difficult to read these texts when the period of radicalisation called “2001” (which we can call, like Mariano Pacheco, De Cutral-Có a Puente Pueyrredón, 1996-2002) appears increasingly obscure. Multiple readings, demonisations and claims have been made about these years. In 2015, the electoral campaigns of the different political spectra were based on the phantom of “not going back” to 2001.

So what is this thing called “2001”? What is that “thing” today? Above all, “2001” as a question, as a ghost that echoes in the looting, each December, in the pickets, in the popular kitchens, in the economic indices, in the struggles, in the IMF, in the social movements, in the women’s movement, in bartering, in security discourses, in macrismo, in kirchnerism. The appeal to “2001” was a constant to order or disorder, whether from the speeches of the governments –and their allies– to the experiences that, from below, think about how to change what is.


The Colectivo Situaciones is one of many experiences that emerged at this time. The period led them to abandon the group El Mate, which emerged in the Faculty of Social Sciences of the UBA, to focus their militant efforts on the new experiences that arose in the City of Buenos Aires and in the southern suburbs. In that sense, CS was not a “lost patrol”, but a permanent dialogue with heterogeneous experiences and theoretical elaborations: MTD Solano, the Coordinadora Aníbal Verón, H.I.J.O.S., Madres de Plaza de Mayo, ATE, CTA, MOCASE, MLN-Tupamaros, the Universidad Trashumante, the school Creciendo Juntos de Moreno, Zapatismo, Mujeres Creando, Grupo de Arte Callejero, Toni Negri, Miguel Benasayag, Luis Mattini, Rubén Dri, León Rozitchner, Suely Rolnik, Horacio González, Jacques Rancière, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Colectivo Simbiosis Cultural, Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar, Paolo Virno, John Holloway, Ignacio Lewkowicz, Mauricio Lazzarato, Peter Pál Pelbart, Mezzadra, Amador Fernández-Savater, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Santiago López Petit, Espai en Blanc, the Precarias la Deriva Collective, the publisher Traficantes de Sueños and so many others. Within this network, it was proposed to produce a thought equal to the re-composition of the popular movement, after years of a “democracy of defeat”, where, whoever governed, the political program was the same. There are many texts that are part of the “Situaciones Archive”. Each of them was written as a concrete analysis of concrete situations. It is made up of 14 books, 67 articles and statements, 14 conferences and interviews. Furthermore, like any work, it has its shifts and detours, its continuities through other media. One of them –without which this archive would not have been possible– is Tinta Limón Ediciones, which after more than 10 years continues to produce and edit, being an input that is increasingly consulted by new and old generations who are in the ring for new ways of life.


For example, what is militant research. Well, it’s an investigation. But what is the theoretical framework? What do I know: tell me what the problem is, and then I’ll tell you what we can read. And when does it end? I don’t know, it depends on funding, I have funding to study social movements for a year. Then we said: no, not like this.

In these months, the bibliography has been extensive on how macrismo arises interpreting 2001. However, a series of urgent questions is left unanswered: What 2001 do we read? How do you think of an emancipatory politics once the State is no longer the center that organises the meaning of society (that is, after the passage from a “subjectivity of citizenship” to a “subjectivity of the market”)? How can we rethink the State after popular or progressive governments have tried to restore it as the center for organising lives? Was this politics effective or does the territorial dispute with actors of new dimensions (drug trafficking, police, leaders, churches) force us to rethink our struggles? Doesn’t 2001 continue to demand a thought beyond the State? Have the wounds inflicted by the 19th and 20th of December, 2001, already closed?

That is why the work of CS is interesting: it allows for an epistemology of current struggles. The CS defines itself as an attempt to carry out an “’internal’ reading of the struggles, a phenomenology (a genealogy), and not an ‘objective’ description”, since “thought assumes a creative, affirmative function” from which “the struggles persist and grow, and that is a starting point“. An open area, then, where “thought abandons any position of power over the experience in which it participates.” Furthermore, the figure of the militant researcher allows us to avoid the two sterile drifts already mentioned: that of academic thought that, far from contributing to emerging struggles, uses them merely as an “object of study” and that of the ‘anti-intellectual’ militant, who without direction, remains sad and powerless when reality is not transformed at the pace of their will. In some way, the militant researcher raises the questions that Deleuze signaled in Foucault: “What new type of struggles are there, if there are any? What new type of resistance to power? Is there today, here and now, a particular role that would be the role of the intellectual? What does it mean here and now to be a subject? We could add: what powers do you fight against? and the question about the historicising vocation (with what other experiences, times and struggles does one dialogue with?).


To think about and inhabit a situation is a radical gesture in itself: it consists in conceiving os what is new in each moment of creation and experimentation for standardised life (in the sense that it takes us “beyond”). It is about seeing and re-evaluating the acting potential-power, of observing what possibilities are opened in the proper time of crisis, that is, in each moment where the premises that organise our lives fall. Situational, CS clarifies, does not mean local, but “consists of the practical affirmation that the whole does not exist separate from the part, but rather in the part”, that space-time cut-out where meaning is made.

Too much is known about what is possible in various senses: because, at times, we know very well how to live in a neoliberal way, because so-called “Leninism” (those who spoke on behalf of Lenin), far from thinking about concrete situations, tried to apply the same scheme in different experiences (Party, Vanguard, Truth-Program, takeover of the State, etc.) and this incapacity was expressed again in those years. CS expresses a still latent need: to rethink emancipatory theories and practices that have not been effective. It is not a utopian claim to “the impossible”, but rather an operation that consists in rigorously observing openings, fissures. If too much is known about the possible, the challenge consists, as is affirmed following Badiou, of thinking as if one were making a “hole”, piercing, the knowledge (the known-possible) in –and of– a situation.


“How to inhabit an era whose keys we cannot fully understand?”, asks the CS in Contrapoder (2000). Eighteen years later, the question haunts us: what counterpowers are at work, here and now? Counterpower, says Negri, is resistance, insurrection and constituent power. Like the piqueterxs in that cycle of struggles, who “in the middle of no man’s land work resisting the unregulated game to found new social, political and cultural consistencies.” Where is the capitalist game being disarmed to affirm and activate new consistencies, a new distribution of the sensible?

The irruption of the women’s movement and of dissident sexualities, the current CTEP [Confederación de Trabajadores de la Economia Popular], new labour union experiences, the emergence of ex-children, all show that a new strategic hypothesis cannot do without a new “cartography”. Part of these recent experiences deserve to be considered in the light of the 2001 period: perhaps yesterday’s popular kitchens explain today’s greening and popular feminism; perhaps the only possible reconciliation is between H.I.J.O.S and ex-children in search of truth and justice; perhaps the MTD [Movimientos de Trabajadores Desocupados] can, even today, illuminate the current organisational experience for workers in the popular economy; perhaps, just perhaps, in the old CTA [Central de Trabajadores de la Argentina] we will find the germ of a new grassroots unionism.


If anything reminds us of that time, it is the current “defensive-strategic” situation, where a substantial modification of the correlations of forces in favor of the dominant bloc would imply a long-term defeat for the popular movement. However, resistance to the consolidation of the neoliberal project can lead us to new political and social experiments.

In times where the “2019 debate” threatens to overshadow the whole of our discussions, the concept of autonomy seems to have been left behind in the fire of the past. However, the questions it involves cannot be quickly dismissed. It is not an empty claim that leads to a swift anti-statist imposture, but an actualisation for (and in) our time. Prudence and audacity in thought, in search of a new social radicalism; prudence and boldness as weapons against the present.

There are many pending tasks to render possible a counteroffensive. The Archivo Situaciones is a humble contribution: an attempt to put on the table certain theoretical and practical keys that will engender new questions in the years to come.

September 2018


Año 2000 y 2001

1 – Libro: Política y Situación. Diego Sztulwark y Miguel Benasayag.abr-00
2 – Declaración pública frente al golpe: Resistir es crear24/03/2001
3  – Segunda declaración del colectivo Situaciones: Marines de los Mandarines marzo/2001
4 – Cuaderno número 2: la experiencia MLN-Tupamaros.may-01
5 – Acompañar la resistencia y multiplicarla (A propósito de la represión en la provincia de Salta).20/06/2001
6 – Libro: Cuaderno número 3: MOCASE.01-sep
7 – Notas para la reflexión política (a propósito de la lucha piquetera)20/09/2001
8 – Dossier: Borradores de investigación #02sep-01
9 – Libro: Contrapodernov-01
10 – La fuerza del ¡”NO”! Cuarta declaración del Colectivo Situaciones (sobre la insurrección argentina de los días 19 y 20) 25/12/2001

Año 2002

11 – Asambleas, cacerolas y piquetes.(Sobre las nuevas formas de protagonismo social)12/02/2002
12 – Libro:  19 y 20. Apuntes para el nuevo protagonismo socialabr-02
13 – Quinta declaración del Colectivo Situaciones. Ante el golpe en Venezuela. -Imperialismo e imperio-13/04/2002
14 – Ante la salvaje represión ocurrida en la Argentina el día 26 de junio26/06/2002
15 – Argentina, December 19th and 20th, 2001: A New Type of Insurrection. By Colectivo Situacionessep-02
16 – Revista ContraElPoder. Entrevista al Colectivo Situaciones (Bs.As/Madrid Septiembre 2002)sep-02
17 – ¿Cerca de la revolución?sep-02
18 – Los efectos del diciembre argentinooct-02
19 – Cuaderno 5+1 Mesa escrache situaciones. oct-02
20 – Anexo a la edición española: Sobre el Club del Trueque.Por el Colectivo Situacionesnov-02
21 – La sociedad paralela: una revolución en el desiertonov-02
22 – Libro: Hipótesis 891, más allá de los piquetes. (Colectivo Situaciones y MTD Solano) nov-02
23 – Argentina Piquetera30/11/2002
24 – Entrevista al Colectivo Situaciones[1]. Buenos Aires, (UTPREBA)dic-02

Año 2003

25 –  Carta a los compañeros del Colectivo Editor de DeriveApprodi28/02/2003
26 –  Argentina. A través y más allá de la crisismar-03
27 – Entrevista al cura Berardomar-03
28 – The Shock of the New. An Interview with Colectivo Situaciones By Marina Sitrin25/04/2003
29 – Causas y azares18/05/2003
30 – De príncipes y velatorios. Bs-As.12/09/2003
31 – Sobre el Investigador militantes (Para Canadá)(20/09/03)
32 – El silencio de los caracoles (Algunas hipótesis para conversar con los zapatistas, desde Buenos Aires, a diez años de su insurrección)17/10/2003

Año 2004

33 – Algo más sobre la Militancia de Investigación29/02/2004
34 – El carnaval de un poder destituido. Entrevista al Colectivo Situaciones. Por Sandro Mezzadra.jun-04
35 – De umbrales y lenguajes (Notas sobre la conflictividad post 19 y 20)29/06/2004
36 – Política de las imágenes. Buenos Aires, 22 de septiembre del 2004. Diego Sztulwark y Verónica Gago22/09/2004
37 – Libro: Universidad Trashumante.oct-04
38 – Agujero Negro (Cuaderno PRESAS)07/12/2004

Año 2005

39 – Taller del maestro ignorante. MTD Solano y Colectivo Situacionesene-05
40 – Altitude Sickness.Notes on a Trip to Bolivia*. By Colectivo Situacionesmay-05
41 – Intuición y movimiento (Prólogo a Mujeres Creando)01/06/2005
42 – Apuntes sobre Acá no… de Juan Pablo Hudsonjul-05
43 – Blanco Móvil – en diálogo con el Grupo de Arte Callejerooct-05
44 – Entrevista al Colectivo Situaciones. Por Sandro Mezzadra.oct-05
46 – Libro: Bienvenidos a la selvadic-05
47 – Libro: Mal de altura.dic-05
48 – Diagrama argentino de la normalización: trama y reverso.10/12/2005

Año 2006

49 –  Colectivo Situaciones y la “nueva gobernabilidad” latinoamericana. Entrevista en LaVaca23/01/2006
50 – Notas sobre la noción de “comunidad” a propósito de Dispersar el poderfeb-06
51 – ¿Hay una “nueva gobernabilidad”?16/03/2006
52 – Por una nueva madurez de los movimientos. Por el Colectivo Situaciones. Texto leído en el Global Meeting. Venecia, 30/03/2006
53 – Entrevista a Maurizio Lazzarato: Gobierno del miedo e insubordinación. Por el Colectivo Situacionesjun-06
54 – Leer a Macherey (Hardt y C.S 2006)01/07/2006
55 – Entrevista a Paolo Virno: La madurez de los tiempos: la actualidad de la multitudsep-06
56 – Preguntas para compartir (A propósito de la desaparición de Julio López)23/10/2006
57 – Libro: ¿Quién habla?dic-06
58 – La construcción de un poder destituyente, para Página/12.20/12/2006

Año 2007

59 – ¿La vuelta de la política?13/02/2007
60 – Politizar la tristeza13/02/2007
61 – Carta a nuestras hermanas Sonia y María17/05/2007
62 – Un devenir pos-humano. Entrevista a Franco Berardi “Bifo”Octubre-2007
63 – Postscript. Diálogo entre Alice Creischer y el Colectivo Situaciones.(Berlín – Buenos Aires)10-octubre-2007

Año 2008

64 – Introducción a “Politizar la tristeza” (Para Barcelona)jun-08
65 – Anotaciones para compartir en El Levante. Rosario.20/09/2008
66 – Libro: Un elefante en la escuela. Pibes y maestros del conurbanonov-08
67 – Palabras previas a Los ritmos del pachakuti, Raquel Gutierrez Aguilarnov-08
68- Entrevista a Peter Pál Pelbart. Cuando uno piensa está en guerra contra sí mismo… Por el Colectivo Situaciones. En Filosofía de la desercióndic-08

Año 2009

69 – Romanticismo (Respuesta a Grimson) 13/05/0913/05/2009
70 – Cartografías disidentes (28.5.09)28/05/2009
71 – Video: Entrevista Situaciones
72 – Libro: Inquietudes en el impasse.sep-09
73 – Libro: Conversaciones en el impasse.sep-09
74 – Conferencia: “Inquietudes en el impasse a partir de la situación latinoamericana”-10/12/2009

Año 2010

75 – Entrevista a Jacques Rancière: “Desarrollar la temporalidad de los momentos de igualdad” por el Colectivo Situaciones. En Noche de los proletariosmar-10
76 – Conferencia en Granada: “La investigación militante en el impasse”.05/03/2010
77 – ¿Nostalgia del presente? Por Verónica Gago y Diego Sztulwarkmay-10
78- El campo minado del bicentenario. Por el Colectivo Situaciones 18/05/2010
79 – Educación liberadora: pedagogías críticas, colectivas y dialógicas. Riobamba, Ecuador (Verónica Gago y Diego Sztulwark)20/10/2010
80 – Entrevista del Colectivo Situaciones para Radio La Tribudic-10
81 – De aperturas y nuevas politizaciones. A propósito del fallecimiento de Néstor Kirchner06/12/2010

Año 2011

82 – De chuequistas y overlockas. Una discusión en torno a los talleres textiles (Colectivo Simbiosis y Colectivo Situaciones)abr-11
83 – Notas de la coyuntura argentina01/12/2011
84 – Después del neoliberalismo. A 10 del 2001.dic-11

Año 2012

85 – Manifiesto de infrapolítica. El pasaje de las micropolíticas de la crisis a las del impasse. Verónica Gago y Diego Sztulwark10/01/2012
86 – Discutir la Multitud: Cacerolas bastardas01/09/2012

Año 2013

87 – Por una política más allá de la “vuelta” a la política. Entrevista a Mario Santuchoabr-13

Algunos artículos sin fechar

88 – Notas sobre el posneoliberalismo en Argentina. Por Verónica Gago y Diego Sztulwark (Colectivo Situaciones)
89 – La ambivalente relación entre la lucha de los movimientos y la nueva gobernabilidad latinoamericana. Artículo a Jungle Word.
90- La crisis, el protagonismo social y la investigación militante.Notas en el impasse. Por Diego Sztulwark, Verónica Gago y Sebastián Scolnik (Colectivo Situaciones)
91 – ¿Postneoliberalismo?
92 – Segundo intercambio con Espai en Blanc
93 – Artículo para Common
94 – Situaciones por Situaciones para LaVaca
95 – Tres afirmaciones sobre nuestra militancia
96 -Movimiento y autonomia
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