Social Organization through the Internet: Citizens Assemblies in Argentina

Social Organization through the Internet: Citizens Assemblies in Argentina

Susana Finquelievich (University of Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-132-2.ch011
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Abstract

How can the Internet help organize a country’s population who wishes to change their political system? The crisis that crashed the Argentine financial system in December 2001 did not just generate a powerful social explosion; it also created a new citizens information outburst. The night of December 19, 2001, when thousands of indignant citizens went to the streets clattering their pots and pans to protest against the Etat de Siege was the first of many massive citizens’ public manifestations. In a few days, these demonstrations were organized through the Internet. Gradually, different neighborhood assemblies contacted each other through e-mail or their Web sites. Two weeks later, they had 3,000 people involved in inter-neighborhood Sunday meetings for debates and proposals. In September 2002, a national-wide meeting of neighborhood assemblies took place in Buenos Aires. Both leaders and members of these movements agreed on one thing: this massive organization could not have been implemented without the Internet. This chapter analyses this innovative ICT-supported massive citizens’ movement. Are they socially revolutionary, or socially conservative? Are ICTs a means, or a goal in themselves? Are ICTs — supported social movements a way to e-democracy? How can global citizen networks support these movements? These and other issues are developed as a contribution for an international debate.

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