Que se Vayan Todos

La Lucha es una Sola

15th Feb. 2002

Tonight, we are privileged to watch the different currents of this struggle as they converge in the Plaza de Mayo. Suddenly there is a commotion in the corner of the square, which ripples through the crowd as all eyes turn to witness the arrival of the piqueteros, heroic, like a liberating army entering the city. Masked-up, tattooed, and fierce, each carries a stick of iron or of wood, which they hold together to form a cordon around themselves. They are greeted with an enormous cheer as they flow into the square with an energy and attitude which is forceful, raw, and urgent. Fireworks explode over the crowd as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo come forward to greet them, their small elderly faces framed in the white head scarf bearing the name of their disappeared children. Rising above the crowd are the royal blue and white flags of the Mothers on one side and the wooden clubs of the piqueteros on the other. Framed by their trademark symbols, they embrace, and the night resonates with the chant from the entire plaza, "Piquete y cacerolazo, la lucha es una sola," picket and cacerolazo, the struggle is the same.

What we are seeing tonight is an incredible coming together of differences, a convergence that crosses so many boundaries of class and culture. It seems that every social sector involved in this rebellion is beginning to work together, and support each other. Revolutionary epochs are always periods of convergence - they are moments when seemingly separate processes gather to form a socially explosive crisis. Argentina is explosive right now - anything could happen - it's an enormous social experiment that could well prove to be the first great popular rebellion against capitalism of the 21st century.

By four in the morning the square has emptied. The crowd has slowly melted away, returning to their neighborhoods, and the city is silent again. Clusters of young people sit around on the grass talking, drinking, smoking - it could have been any Friday night out, in any city, but for the people painting the plaza with the names of those killed in December, or the small group huddled over a mobile silk-screen printing press, taking turns printing dozens of t-shirts with the simple slogan yo decido, I decide.

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