Barrial Túpac Amaru

Uprising for Spatial and Gender Justice
A movement that emerged against inequitable neoliberal policies in Argentina and evolved into a political party in 2012, embracing unemployed workers, marginalized queer, and Indigenous women, transforming resistance into action through spatial subversions and transformative community building


Gender based discrimination and criminalisation have a long history in Argentina, particularly for women who belong to marginalised communities, such as Indigenous women, women of colour, and women who identify as queer. Climate change also exacerbated existing inequalities by disproportionately affecting Indigenous women who often have limited access to resources, decision-making power, and financial stability. During the 1976-1983 dictatorship, Argentinian women who have been politically active have faced criminalisation and persecution by the state and were often subjected to detention, torture, and disappearance.


In 1999, the Organización Barrial Túpac Amaru (Túpac Amaru Neighbourhood Association or Túpac Amaru) was founded in Jujuy, a province in the north-western region in Argentina, by political activist and Indigenous leader Milagro Sala. The association was established as a response to the neoliberal, inequitable policies of then-President Carlos Menem, which disproportionately impacted marginalised communities in Jujuy and throughout Argentina. It took its name from Túpac Amaru II, an Indigenous leader who fought against Spanish colonial rule in the late 18th century. Through multiple activist actions, the association’s main objective was to address the shortage of affordable housing in Jujuy and other marginalised areas, and to support the development of housing solutions for all. By utilising funds by the National Emergency Housing Fund, Túpac Amaru implemented several housing developments, healthcare facilities and community amenities for religious and cultural events in Jujuy, which were designed and built with the participation of the local community. Through the implementation of the Federal Programmes (2004), during Nestor Kirchner’s presidency, Túpac Amaru managed to grow its community and work. In 2012, the association became a political party and sought to bring the concerns of marginalised communities to the forefront of political discourse addressing social welfare, education, employment, and healthcare needs. By 2015, Túpac Amaru “had 70,000 members, provided work for 5,000 individuals in the organisation’s five factories, and had over 250 cooperatives, with most of the workers being women”.1“Community Development in Organización Barrial Túpac Amaru, Argentina | Critical Perspectives on International Planning.” <> [accessed 2 February 2023]. The party’s leadership was primarily composed of queer and Indigenous women, who were not only involved in building the movement, but also in the construction of the housing projects in Jujuy, disrupting traditional binary norms. The party was often met with resistance from the political establishment, which sought to undermine its efforts and discredit its leaders, including Milagro Sala who was sentenced to jail in 2016 on charges that were widely criticised by many countries as politically motivated.

Through their work, Túpac Amaru challenged the dominant notions of public and private space and created new forms of community building that take into account the needs and aspirations of women in ethno-racial minorities and Indigenous communities. The organisation’s focus as a counter-hegemonic practice resists cultural, social and political norms that uphold the status quo, breaking down spatial barriers that kept large segments of Jujuy society from accessing certain privileged areas. Such alternative spaces and narratives subvert dominant ideologies and offer a vision of a more just and equitable future while empowering women of colour, queer, and Indigenous women to take leadership roles. While not specifically related to issues of climate, Túpac Amaru provides an inspiring example of how alternative forms of leadership and representation can disrupt and supplement the norms of the status quo. It is such models that are needed for climate justice to ally with social justice.


External links

CIPO-RFM—Indigenous Peoples Organisation of the Mexican Rainforest in Mexico 

WEP Nigeria—NGO working to address gender injustices on issues relating to the environment and economic and social rights of women and young people