Genocide in the Neighborhood: State Violence, Popular Justice, and the 'Escrache'

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by Colectivo Situaciones, Translated and Edited by Brian Whitener

Common Notions

12/12/2023, paperback

SKU: 9781942173861


Another justice is possible. Genocide in the Neighborhood documents the theories, debates, successes, and failures of a rebellious tactic to build popular power and transformative justice.

Genocide in the Neighborhood explores the autonomist practice of the "escrache," a series of public shamings that emerged in the late 1990s to honor the lives of those tens of thousands disappeared and exterminated under the Argentinean military dictatorship (1976 to 1983) and to protest the amnesty granted to perpetrators of state violence.

Through a series of hypotheses and two sets of interviews, Colectivo Situaciones highlights the theories, debates, successes, and failures of the escraches-those direct and decentralized ways to agitate for justice that Brian Whitener defines as "something between a march, an action or happening, and a public shaming."

Genocide in the Neighborhood also follows the popular Argentine uprising in 2001, a period of intense social unrest and political creativity that led to the collapse of government after government. The power that ordinary people developed for themselves in public space soon gave birth to a movement of neighborhoods organizing themselves into hundreds of popular assemblies across the country, while the unemployed took over streets and workers occupied factories.

These events marked a sea change, a before and an after for Argentina that has since resonated around the world. In its wake Genocide in the Neighborhood investigates the nature of rebellion, discusses the value of historical and cultural memory to resistance, and tactfully deploys a much-needed model of political resistance that has recently been given new life by feminist groups across Latin America organizing against patriarchal violence.


"A long decade before Occupy Wall Street, Argentineans poured into the streets to reject austerity and short the circuits of neoliberal capitalism, proving that state violence was no match for popular refusal. But this is not a book about Argentina or even Latin America as a whole, a brutal laboratory where neoliberalism was imposed in blood and fire. It's about a way of thinking that is also a doing, about what the concrete experience of rebellion teaches us about how the world moves, and how to turn that movement into thought. Find yourself in this book." -- Geo Maher, author of Building the Commune and A World Without Police

"This is a book born in the barricades, neighborhood assemblies, and factory occupations of Argentina's 2001 uprising against neoliberalism. Written by movement participants, it's an inspiring account of the rebellion and a grassroots model of how to research and theorize a movement that forged a new way of doing politics from below. The English translation of such a classic book that's been passed around revolutionary circles for decades is a cause for celebration and hitting the streets!" -- Benjamin Dangl, author of The Five Hundred Year Rebellion: Indigenous Movements and the Decolonization of History in Bolivia

About the Contributors:

Colectivo Situaciones is a collective of militant researchers based in Buenos Aires. They have participated in numerous grassroots coresearch activities with unemployed workers, peasant movements, neighborhood assemblies, and alternative education experiments. Their other works appear in translation in 19 and 20: Notes for a New Insurrection and Grupo de Arte Callejero: Thought, Practices, Actions, both published by Common Notions.

Brian Whitener is an Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University at Buffalo and author of Crisis Cultures: The Rise of Finance in Mexico and Brazil. Other writing or translation projects include Face DownDe gente común: Arte, política y rebeldía social, edited with Lorena Méndez and Fernando Fuentes and the translation of Grupo de Arte Callejero: Thoughts, Actions, Practices. He is an editor at Displaced Press and has been investigating new political and artistic movements in Latin American and autonomist political theory for the past twenty years.