Massive Demonstration on the Streets of Argentina against Hunger and for Dignified Work

By Carlos Aznárez on July 20, 2016

Argentina 2Last Tuesday, people gathered on the streets to cook dinner in a common cooking pot and to give it out, in a hundred different places around the city of Buenos Aires. It was a political act of resistance of the Confederation of Workers of Popular Economy (CTEP) and Barrios de Pie (Neighborhoods Rising), to bring attention to the lack of food and work, a growing problem among the people and, especially, among the lower classes.

Men and women, with their faces weathered by the sun, carrying centuries of work in their genes, left their humble homes to march, in the chilling cold, towards the center of a city that would rather not see them, not feel them, have them hidden —partly because of the shame, and partly not to face the fear of being in their situation, although the crisis is making that possibility increasingly, more likely.

Youth, girls, boys, and elderly men and women also marched through the streets of Buenos Aires in a caravan that shows how poverty affects an important sector of the population. Although there are almost chronical social problems in the country, it’s undeniable that they have become worse in the last 6 months, since the right-wing, neoliberal and discriminatory government of Mauricio Macri took office and began applying policies dictated by the IMF.

The demonstration by the CTEP and Neighborhoods Rising also honored the anniversaries of the death of two great Argentine revolutionaries: Mario Roberto Santucho and Envar El Kadri. Their legacy was kept alive by the marching of those feet that carry misery and suffering, but also resistance and struggle.

Like winter flowers, the dispossessed walked and walked until they reached a hundred different places where, amidst the concrete, they brought out massive cooking pots. Most of them were located near chains of supermarkets, to point out the difficulty that poor people have to bring that food to the table. Despite their structural needs, they managed to fill the pots with everything they needed to cook a rich stew and feed the masses. A traditional food for humble people.

The fraternal groups ate in public while crowds of office workers, businessmen and students walked past them and glanced at the scene with a mix of shyness and envy. Because the laugh of the dining bunch was contagious, despite all the problems they endure, and children played with the banners that the adults have brought.

They want to satisfy their needs as any other human being, to stop suffering and start feeling, once and for all, welcome by the society. “We want dignified work”, said one, and added: “we want the ceasing of repressive policies for the people who work on the streets”. Indeed, in addition to the hunger, the inflation that exceeds 44%, and the tens of thousands of layoffs and the lack of opportunities for those who are born, grow and die in the poorest neighborhoods, there is also the violence of the police against the street merchants that sold their few products on the sidewalks.

Surrounding the steaming pots, life acquires a new meaning. The flavor fills everyone with strength to imagine a different kind of life. A woman adds two more demands to the list: one hand, they need to be able to build more houses, and basic services in the poor neighborhoods. And on the other hand they need something as elemental as food to distribute around the soup kitchens.

To make themselves seen by eyes that would rather remain blind, the crowds filled the streets with their slogans, banners and demands, and it was clear that resistance and struggle will keep getting stronger. Just a few days ago, there was another massive protest against the increase in the rates of basic services. And now, this protest delivers the message once again: we must stop the onslaught of Macri and his transnational ministers.

Source: The Dawn News