Que se Vayan Todos

Social Creativity Advances

It's mid-winter here, although you can hardly call it winter - it feels more like a mild British spring. But partly due to the cold weather, the out door assembleas have grown smaller and many have decided to take over buildings, turning them into neighbourhood social centres which provide a permanent presence and meeting space. All kind of buildings are being occupied, and the idea is spreading rapidly.

In the Villa Urquiza neighbourhood they have occupied an old pizzeria. They serve a free meal everyday and free tea to Cartoneras who use the local station to return in the early hours of the morning to their homes in the sprawling suburbs. A large board in the street outside acts as a community notice board, where people can advertise any local jobs going, or share skills and neighbourhood information.

Several banks have been occupied. In Parque Lezama Sur, the assembly has occupied the abandoned Banco de Mayo. When I visited, there were children using the enormous steel door of the bank vault as a goal for a wild indoor game of football. In one corner people were cooking soup and a 'protest art' workshop was taking place in the main lobby. Videos being shown in one of the back rooms, showed the day the space was occupied, local people, young and old, forcing open the doors of the bank and rapidly transforming a space of private commerce into a collective space of cooperation and creativity. Bunches of wires from the banks old computer network hang down from the ceiling and someone had attached the banks mouse mats to all of them. Printed on the mats the banks corporate slogan announced: " Banco de Mayo, changing for you."

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