30 May 2010

2010.05.30_it's a weird socialist conspiracy!

I now present you with a seriously fantastic video about the reality behind motivation.

If only I could draw like that while I talked, people might understand me.

26 May 2010

2010.05.25_el bicentenario, about time for a new revolution.

Nobody likes the honk of a car horn. Especially when it's being misused. Misused like "hi" is cool, but misused like "I'm really pissed off cause I'm sitting in traffic and maybe if I honk everyone will move and then I can drive really fast" is not. There is one exception to this rule -- when they're pissed off because a protest is blocking the street. This is nice. It reminds me that there are still protests with the object of disrupting; of forcing people to pay attention. It's a refreshing break from the "We're so pissed off we're going to take to the streets and and and... block the sidewalk." I'm used to all the protests now. So much that at times I don't even bother walking to the window to see what they're marching for. It's hard to remember the days when I was home, longing for more movements, complaining about being at war everyday while protesting the wars once a year. When I stop and think about it, it's a dreamland.

Millions, like seriously miiiillions, of people flocked to my apartment this weekend (and the blocks surrounding my apartment too, but whatever). It was the bicentennial of the revolution of May, the revolution from which many parks and streets derive their names, the revolution that launched Argentina's campaign for independence.

200 years of independence is a big deal. Everywhere there are concerts, art exhibits, historical exhibitions, lectures, parades. Some people are freaking out and others are crying. The energy and passion could and should start a whole new revolution. Normally this level of patriotism grosses me out more than a misused car horn, but, like Kelly said, it's more charming when it's a small country in big debt. All of the most popular kids in South America showed up -- Evo Morales (Boliva), Hugo Chavee (Vene), Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Jose Mujica (Uruguay), Sebastian Pinera (Chile), Lula (Brazil)... and of course Christina K. They say that the gov threw down more than 350 million pesos for their little party. Much of which was originally destined for... yep... social services.

In New York, they lit the Empire State Building in the blue and white of the Argentinean flag. Here, the whole city is dressed in blue. I keep waiting to hear Eiffel 65, but it never happens. By the way, I always thought that song said "I'm blue. If I was green I would die, if I was green I would die, if I was green I would dieee." While not grammatically perfect, it makes sense.

The whole five-day spectacle was admittedly impressive, but for me, the highlights weren't planned. On Thursday, the day before the official festivities commenced, thousands of indigenous came from all over Argentina to take the streets of Buenos Aires, forming what may have been the largest indigenous march in Argentina's history. Their message: We are still here, and, the last 200 years have kind of sucked. For elaboration on why, see Marie's article and radio report. And then on Sunday, downtown was flooded by heavy rains, attacking the ginormous LCD-screens, drowning the food stands, and leaving only the hardcore to hold the nearest table/chair/door above their head and loyally watch their favorite band. I wish I could say I had my camera for both marvels, but I didn't, for either. I did for the rest, though!

09 May 2010

2010.05.08_despenalizacion ya!

It had the lowest ratio of rowdiness to size that I'd seen in a march, but what it lacked in signs and noise it made up for in smiles. It was the Marcha Mundial de la Marihuana -- division Buenos Aires.

Saturday afternoon the smell of joints and the muffled sound of a march lured me out to the balcony. As we ran downstairs to join the action, we passed the doorman, who broke from his conversation with a cop momentarily, "Ah, vas a..." "a fumar un porro!" we answered laughing. What's one pig gonna do up against eight thousand potheads, right?

Everything felt different. Instead of flyers, they passed joints. Instead of high-rising clouds of fireworks, there were low-rising clouds of pot smoke. Instead of jumping up and down and keeping pace with the drum beats, they walked slow and looked around a lot. Instead of loud banging drums and amplified yells attacking your conscience, muffled and discordant chants could be found. The revolutionary newspapers and magazines were replaced by stands of hemp patches and pipes, and one burned-out lady selling cotton candy. Everyone had their sunglasses, and the skaters had their skateboards. In an instant, a dude walking his bike in front of the a row of marchers holding a bandera got distracted, and suddenly the bandera and the bike were one. Everyone stopped and laughed. Normally such a disruption may have detracted from the march, but today it only added to it. I think the most movement I saw all day was when an ambulance passed through a nearby intersection and everyone jolted to a halt to locate the source of the sirens, stashing their cigs in their pockets.

It was like no demonstration I'd been to. If you weren't already high, the altered state of the march was enough to make you feel high. Or maybe it was the contact smoke. I'm not going to go into why marijuana should be decriminalized, legalized, and utilized, because I don't want to insult the intelligence of my audience. Here are the pics.

02 May 2010

2010.05.01_dia internacional de los trabajadores!

One of the many things that Argentina has going for it is a wide array of prominent radical leftist parties. Both theoretically and observationally, it seems clear that the preservation of the radicalism that served to found these parties is largely due to said wide array. For a contrary example, look at the United States, where many liberals adhere to the democratic party because they don't think they have other viable options. In a similar manner, many socialists that have finally given up on the democratic party adhere to the socialist party that offers the most promise. In a society where few socialist options exist, if the vanguard socialist party loses its way, many socialists are bound to lose their way as well -- party because they've grown to identify with and defend the party, and partly because there aren't other viable options available. But here in Argentina there are lots of options. And if your party or union starts to defect to the center, you're on to the next, because you can. The irony in all this is that while most socialist/radical organizations strongly believe in maintaining the militancy of the left, most socialist organizations would kill (completely figuratively speaking of course?) to see the other organizations wither away like the transient Marxist state, thereby inadvertently killing one of the principle methods of ensuring the survival of militancy.

On that note, even though I'm not a party-people, it gives me great joy to see hundreds of different shades of red in one demonstration. The same way that my nose scrunches when I see hundreds of copies of the same flag (ahem, let's tone it down, Partido Obrero).