• Grassroots Democracy and Environmental Citizenship in Tigre, Argentina

      Beezley, William H; Helmus, Andrea Marie; Beezley, William H; Oglesby, Elizabeth; Moore, Sarah A (The University of Arizona., 2009)
      Alarmed by contamination provoked by a terrible flood, residents from the river delta city of Tigre, Argentina formed an environmental asamblea--a horizontally organized neighborhood action group to address environmental stress from water contamination and unchecked development. The decision to form an asamblea reflects a larger trend in political participation underway since Argentina's 2001 crisis. In 2001, widespread discontent with neoliberalism provoked many to participate in asambleas, since asambleas use direct democracy to collectively make decisions. This format reflected the peoples' disillusionment with representative democracy, authoritarian politics, and traditional channels of participation. Years later in Tigre, the asamblea has been an effective means to formulate a new vision of participatory democracy, and a citizenship that includes the environment as a right and responsibility. The actions and ideas of the asamblea have challenged neoliberal hegemony in the community, demonstrating the promise of grassroots alternatives in weakening dominant paradigms.