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Announcement :: Labor
Worker Self-Management: Constructing a New Subjectivity in Argentina: Grupo Alavío
by Lucy Parsons Center
Address: 549 Columbus Avenue in Boston's South End
07 Nov 2005
On Saturday November 12th at 4 p.m., Maria Trigona, a member of the Grupo Alavío anarchist collective from Argentina, will be at the Lucy Parsons Center to talk about the history and current state of the Argentine working class struggle to reclaim factories and create and maintain worker self-management, and Grupo Alavío's role in supporting the struggle. Three of Grupo Alavío's documentaries will be shown. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles, and Maria's talk will be bi-lingual.
Worker Self-Management: Constructing a New Subjectivity in Argentina: Grupo Alavio
Saturday, November 12th
The Lucy Parsons Center
549 Columbus Avenue
La Foresta Belongs to the Workers, 52min, 2005
This is Grupo Alavío's most recent documentary. The film tells the story of a group of workers who are fighting to recuperate La Foresta meatpacking plant in La Matanza, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires city. Most of the factory employees have worked there for decades, through the good times and bad times. In 1999, the plant went bust, a series of businessmen rented the facilities, making quick profits and then abandoning the factory for greener pastures. In January 2005, the last such renter, MEYPACAR, told the remaining 186 workers that the plant would be closing temporily for renovations. MEYPACAR never reopened the plant. Grupo Alavío's film follows the 70 workers who've put up a legal fight to keep their factory and start up production without a boss or owner, under worker-self management.
The BAUEN Workers' Cooperative, 20min, 2004
The Hotel BAUEN was an emblematic symbol of neoliberalism in Argentina. The hotel was constructed in 1978, in the glory of the military dictatorship, with government loans and subsidies. In the height of Argentina's economic meltdown, the owners ransacked the hotel and closed the hotel's doors, leaving the workers in the streets. In March 21, 2003 the workers decided to occupy the hotel. The workers cleaned up the hotel and slowly began to rent out services. With over 150 workers employed at the hotel, BAUEN hotel has become a symbol for the working class. "With worker self-management/organization we are in a process of creating workers in solidarity, people who aren't only worried about a wage. Instead they're trying to improve social conditions, culturally and politically," explains Marcelo. BAUEN cooperative is a real example of a group of workers planting seeds so that future generations can create new social relations. The workers are carrying out a secret dream that we all have, the revolutionary wish to be our own bosses.
ZANON (building resistance), 18min, 2003
In 2001 Zanon's owner fires the workers at Latin America's largest ceramics plant in the Southern Province of Neuqun. After resisting outside the plant, the group of workers decide collectively to recuperate and put the plant to produce. In the film, Zanon ceramists narrate their day-to-dam work, struggles and hopes to continue production under worker control.
Marie Trigona is a writer and filmmaker who forms part of the video collective Grupo Alavío. For more than 10 years, Alavío has been participating in working class struggles in Argentina and supporting them with video materials. They are an anarchist group producing video materials, although they are not video activists. Currently, Alavío is working with many of Argentina's recuperated enterprises, filming documentaries and organizing screenings for workers to reflect on their practices of worker self-management. The group has produced documentaries, among many others, about the Zanon ceramics factory occupied and managed by its workers since 2001, Chilavert printing factory, employee run BAUEN Hotel, Workers' Cooperative Casique Pismanta Hotel and Spa, and La Foresta, a meatpacking plant to start up production. In addition, the group holds workshops in economy and video for the workers at Zanon and La Foresta.
mtrigona (at) msn.com
alaviocine (at) yahoo.com.ar
Nationwide in Argentina, thousands of factories have closed and millions of jobs have been lost in recent years. Today, unemployment stands at 19.5% and underemployment at nearly 16%, meaning that over a third of workers (approximately 5.2 million) cannot find adequate employment. Half of the population lives in poverty. But many workers have stood up to resist against this destiny. In Argentina, there are some 180 recuperated enterprises employing 10,000 workers. Argentina's occupied factories and enterprises represent the development of an advanced strategy in defense of the working class and in resistance against capitalism. The experiences of worker self-management/organization have directly challenged capitalism's structures by questioning private property, taking back workers' knowledge, and organizing production for objectives other than profits.
Making technologies and skills accessible and available to exploited people by democratizing audiovisual production and language is a priority for Grupo Alavío. Fundamental to Alavío's work is the group's integration into struggling organizations. This allows the group to establish collective spaces for audiovisual narration and to actively participate with activists in social struggles. We also strive so that materials take on a life of their own, when they can be used by the compañeras/os in struggle as a tool for skills training, organizing and to generate direct actions. Many times the factory occupied by workers, the changing room of transport workers organizing a wildcat strike, land squat or barrio is the first place where we premier our documentaries. The group has produced over 50 films dealing with many social conflicts: unemployed worker organizations, political prisoners, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, state repression, inner-violence, subway workers struggling for a 6 hour workday, art and Iraq. In addition, Alavío has organized community television transmissions in local barrios.
This work is in the public domain
Re: Worker Self-Management: Constructing a New Subjectivity in Argentina: Grupo Alavío
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08 Nov 2005
FIRE THE BOSS! ECHAN LOS PATRONES!
In the wake of the rebellion outside Bush's Summit of the Americas...
Come hear from Argentina's Recovered Factories and Unemployed Worker Movements!
Tuesday. November 8. 5 pm.
45 Mount Auburn Street
Just blocks from Harvard Square
Carlos Alberto Barra - Unemployed Worker Movement (MTD Allen)
Noelia Lecerfs - Worker at recovered enterprise Hotel Bauen
Eulalia Alicia Perez - United Cooperative of Shoe-Makers Ex-Adidas Factory
Elsa Montero - Worker at recovered health clinic Clinica Fenix (x-IMECC)
Sponsored by Harvard Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM)
In 2001, Argentina’s economy collapsed. Factories began closing and foreign banks began pulling their money out of the country, leaving the poor of the country to fend for themselves. But the workers in Argentina didn’t take this lying down. Instead they started to organize.
Workers took control over their factories, seized the machines and once again started to produce, without the boss. The unemployed movements continued to provide for the unmet needs of their communities, creating bakeries, cooperatives, and community gardens to provide food and jobs.
Workers from Argentina and North America will share their experiences on the shop floor, in their communities, and in the streets. We will create a space where we can learn from each others struggles, find common ground, and forge strategies for international solidarity.
Carlos Alberto Barra is coming from the Movimiento de Trabajadores Desocupados (MTD - Unemployed Worker Movement) Allen in Rio Negro.
MTD Allen is a movement of unemployed workers that uses direct action street blockades to demand everything from political reforms to food. They attempt to live outside of capitalism, producing everything possible themselves in workshops like an organic farm, chicken and rabbit
hatcheries, a community kitchen, a hair cuttery, and a canned foods group. The MTD Allen maintains a collective space for meetings, popular education, productive workshops, and collective meals. Through the Coordination of Autonomous Organizations MTD Allen works with other
unemployed movements who share similar goals, like MTD Cipolletti, MTD Solano, and MTD Guernica.
Noelia Lecerfs is coming from the recovered Hotel Bauen in Buenos Aires.
Hotel Bauen is a 4 star hotel in downtown Buenos Aires of 120 workers. In March of 2003, the workers took over the installations of the hotel in
order to maintain their source of work. It has been a very difficult struggle in the last year and a half. In one year they were able to quadruple the number of workers, make the hotel function, which has now become a meeting space for many social movements and at the same time a cultural center. Winning the expropriation of the hotel is expected soon. The hotel has almost been evicted many times. With the threat of evictions imminent, the workers maintain a permanent assembly. Hotel Bauen has a very impressive system of making democratic decisions which still managing to run a 24 hour hotel.
Eulalia Alicia Perez from the United Cooperative of Shoe-Makers (CUC) Ex-Adidas Factory
La CUC is one of the most important shoe and sports companies in the whole country. This factory, which was called Gatic, once made shoes for ADIDAS and made shoes and sports clothes for the National Soccer Team. At the end of 2001, a new director decided to fire all the workers at the main plant and ran off with the machines. The workers answered (with the help of family, neighbors, and students) by setting up tents outside the factory, resisting for almost a year in the street. At the end of the year, they re-opened the plant and the workers returned to work. In September of 2003, the workers again began to lose pay, and tired of the same old history, on October 17th, they decided to take over the plant. They formed the Cooperative of United Shoe-makers and on December 22 they won expropriation.
d) Elsa Montero from the Clinica Fenix (x-IMECC):
IMECC is a worker-run clinic of 54 doctors, nurses, cooks, housekeeping, and other specialists. In June of 2003 the clinic had shut down; it had been a long process, where salaries were cut over and over and eventually the owners stopped showing up. Elsa says, “they owed me over a year and a half of salary." Instead of losing their jobs and becoming part of the growing number of unemployed, workers decided to return to the machines lying vacant in the clinic and open the doors to patients. They began by going to the government to demand expropriation, but when talks failed they took the factory, defending it in shifts throughout the day and with help with other occupied factories. Today, IMEC is a shining example of workers like doctors, nurses and janitors running a democratic clinic.