The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
The angry cry of "Que se vayan todos" - they must all go - echoed throughout Argentina in December 2001.
Its people had had enough of corruption, mismanagement, foreign-imposed privatisations of natural resources and state industries, banking anarchy and galloping inflation, topped by the insulting arrogance and ineptitude of the ruling elites.
Subsequently the neoliberal government of right-wing bureaucrats - servile to the whims of the IMF and the World Bank - was swept away under pressure from the widest mass rebellion seen in decades.
The spontaneity of the popular unrest indicated a return to the "parliament of the street" which, in similar fashion, would four years later propel Evo Morales to power in neighbouring Bolivia.
Ordinary people had become the protagonists of national political life.
Marina A Sitrin, who describes herself as "a writer, lawyer, organiser, militant and dreamer" went to Argentina experience the novel, non-hierarchical politics shaping a brave new world.
In this book she weaves an endearing narrative charting the highs and lows of this experiment in a "horizontal democracy" imbued with traces of 19th-century Argentinian anarchism.
The most salient feature of these autonomous movements is the takeover by workers of relatively small factories - around 170 at the last count - abandoned by absentee owners and now run along co-operative principles where the decision-making is painstakingly collective.
The best known, Zanon Ceramics, has just won major technical and investment assistance from Argentina's mining ministry.
But as national politics remain dominated by traditional structures and institutions, the impact of niche initiatives is difficult to quantify. Yet remarkable spaces do now exist where activism is based on mutual respect, equality and a purposeful collective endeavour.
Zitrin recognises the political and human fortitude in such initiatives which are almost entirely absent in the "developed" world.