Politicizing Sadness

More than five years after the insurrection of that Argentine December of 2001 we bear witness to the changing interpretations and moods around that event. For many of us sadness was the feeling that accompanied a phase of this winding becoming. This text rescues a moment in the elaboration of “that sadness” in order to go beyond the notions of “victory and defeat” that belong to that earlier cycle of politicization which centered on taking state power, and, at the same time, in order to share a procedure that has allowed us to “make public” an intimate feeling of people and groups. Sadness arrived after the event: the political fiesta-of languages, images, and movements-was followed by a reactive, dispersive dynamic. And, along with it, there arrived what was later experienced as a reduction of the capacities of openness and innovation that the event brought into play. The experience of social invention (which always also implies the invention of time) was followed by a moment of normalization and the declaration of “end of the fiesta.” According to Spinoza, sadness consists in being separated from our powers (potencias). Among us political sadness often took the form of impotence and melancholy in the face of the growing distance between that social experiment and the political imagination capable of carrying it out.

Politicizing sadness sums up our intention to resist, to re-elaborate what came to light in that collective experiment under a new dynamic of publicness, because far from shrinking or having stopped, the process which opened then is still an underlying dilemma within present-day Argentina. In this context and with that intention, a diverse group of collectives that shared the lived experience of political transversality in Argentina in recent years-Grupo de Arte Callejero (GAC), the educational community Creciendo Juntos, the Movement of Unemployed Workers (MTD) of the neighbourhoods of Solano and Guernica, the communication collective lavaca, and Colectivo Situaciones-met for several weeks at the end of 2005. Inevitably, we write this text from our own perspective on what was then discussed, which implies-also inevitably-to write in tune with a dynamic that is still under way. Continue reading “Politicizing Sadness”