The article linked below in its introduction gives an excellent outline of some South American social movements and how they were formed. What makes current movements unique is the demand of diverse and historically oppressed peoples to participate in democratic political processes. As Petras points out, Argentina's Workers movement exemplifies the organization of groups that were previously thought to be impossible to organize. In that specific case it required the desperation caused by the economic crisis of 2001 to encourage people to break class and social barriers to unite against the corrupt government. A unique form of organization and democratic participation in the workplace rose from the mayhem of crisis that provides an example that we should learn from as the world economy begins its downward spiral. See the article to learn the inspirational qualities of this recent movement toward participatory democracy. -Editor
The Unemployed Workers Movement in Argentina
By James Petras
Latin America has witnessed three waves of overlapping and interrelated social movements over the last twenty-five years. The first wave, roughly from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, was largely composed of what were called “the new social movements.” They included human rights, ecology, feminist, and ethnic movements as well as Non-Government Organizations (NGOs). Their leadership was largely lower middle class professionals, and their policies and strategies revolved around challenging the military and civilian authoritarian regimes of the time.
The second wave developed into a powerful political force from the mid-1980s to the present. Largely composed of and led by peasants and rural workers, the mass organizations of the second wave engaged in direct action to promote and defend the economic interests of their supporters... (Click here to read full article)