On July 31, 2018, Buenos Aires’s subway system was overtaken by a public intervention under the name “Operación Araña,” co-organized by Ni Una Menos - a feminist social movement focused on gender violence -, the Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion, unionized metro workers, and more than seventy organizations, with the overall intention of affirming women’s autonomy and calling attention to several social issues with direct impact on their lives. This study weaves a series of reflections on some of the specific features of the Operación Araña intervention that can shed light on how and why the new feminist wave in Argentina has gained such momentum while gauging its impact on redefining what we understand as activism. Drawing from Judith Butler’s notions on the performative political potential of the assembly (Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, 2015), this article unveils the various forms of embodied resistance staged in the public space by this new surge of activists, popularly called the “green tide” after the color identifying the Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion. In claiming a unique and radical performative space wherein to exercise agency and display new forms of organization, the green tide also has by the same token laid claim to a reconfigured public space conducive to new forms of sociality and the preservation of all lives.

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Copyright © 2020 Mariela Méndez. This article first appeared in Estudos Históricos (Rio de Janeiro) 33:70 (2020), 280-297.

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Méndez, Mariela. "Operación Araña: Reflections on How a Performative Intervention in Buenos Aires’s Subway System can Help Rethink Feminist Activism." Estudos Históricos (Rio de Janeiro) 33, no. 70 (May-August, 2020): 280-297.