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factory occupations

Resist-Occupy-Produce

By Leroy Maisiri and Lucien van der Walt - Pambazuka News, May 24, 2018

The authors use the example of the working class in Argentina to demonstrate how social movements and working people can create alternative models of production that serve the interests of people and not of those of capitalism. 

Introduction

The remarkable “recovered factories” (fábricas recuperadas) movement saw hundreds of closed factories reopened by the workers, run democratically, creating jobs and helping working class and poor communities. It showed that there is only so much protesting can accomplish – at some point you have to create something new. But it also shows it is essential that such alternative sites of production form alliances with, and become embedded, in other movements of the working class, poor and peasantry, including unions and unemployed movements. This assists them in building larger struggles, and provides them with some protection from the capitalist market and the state.

It is, meanwhile, important for unions and social movements to start to systematically develop alternatives to capitalist—and state—run social services and media. However, it is simply impossible to escape capitalism by creating cooperatives, social centres or alternative spaces – almost all means of production remain in ruling class hands, secured by force and backed by huge bureaucracies. It is essential to build a mass revolutionary front of unions and other movements, embracing popularly-run social services, media and production, and aiming at complete socialisation of the economy and of decision-making through a revolutionary rupture.

Documentaries like The Take—a movie that has been widely seen in South African labour and left circles—have drawn global attention to a remarkable challenge to neo-liberalism. In Argentina, in South America, economic crisis saw a collapse in working class conditions. High unemployment, low wages, attacks on social services: we are familiar with such things in South Africa. But something happened, which is very different. In Argentina, from the 1990s, something new started.

The solidarity ecosystems of occupied factories

By Liam Barrington-Bush - ROARMag, January 16, 2017

At first glance it is a factory: heavy machinery, crates, palettes, industrial barrels and men doing manual labor. Little catches the eye, except maybe the homemade banners hanging up around the warehouse. They’re in Greek, so you might not be able to read them, but you can tell these are not the stock decorations from the ‘IKEA industrial chic’ catalog.

Over a couple of days, you might also notice that you’re unlikely to see those men doing the same specific jobs, day after day, as you would in most factories. They seem to rotate their roles, mixing up batches of soap, pouring them into frames and cutting it into bars, but also cleaning toilets, taking product orders and coordinating distribution.

However, overall, when you walk into VIO.ME, it mostly looks like countless other industrial workplaces in the north of Greece and beyond. At least, until you come back on a Wednesday or a Thursday and find part of the administrative office converted into a free health clinic for workers and the wider community.

… or when you arrive first thing any day of the week and see all the workers gathered together, sharing updates on the work and making sure they are all in the know around the pertinent aspects of the business for the day ahead.

… or if you go into one of the store rooms and discover members of different migrant solidarity groups sorting through donations that are stored at the factory, for ongoing distribution around Thessaloniki’s many migrant squats, camps and occupations.

Over time, you notice that beneath VIO.ME’s sometimes mundane veneer, a series of radical changes are taking place. These are changes that offer alternatives to how we organize work, community and society at large. While VIO.ME has become a hallmark of these shifts in Europe, what those who work and support the factory are discovering is not unique. It is spreading, offering an alternative vision of how radical changes might occur in the ways we work, live and relate to the planet as a whole.

Venezuelan Workers Occupy Abandoned Clorox Plant

By staff - HR Reporter, September 29, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

VALLES DEL TUY, Venezuela (Reuters) — Hundreds of workers on Friday were occupying two plants belonging to Clorox Co, the U.S. cleaning products maker that has left Venezuela because of the difficult economic conditions.

"We've temporarily occupied the plant because the boss has abandoned it," said Luis Pinango, one of more than 200 workers mounting a round-the-clock vigil at one of Clorox's plants in the Valles del Tuy district to the south of Caracas.

There was a similar situation at the second plant in central Carabobo state, said workers. They were furious at learning they had lost their jobs via a recorded phone message.

In the latest sign of dissatisfaction from private businesses with President Nicolas Maduro's running of the South American OPEC nation's economy, Clorox announced its exit on Monday, saying its business was not viable and that it would sell its assets.

Solidarity with Flaskô: a Factory Under Workers Control in Brazil

Press Release - Revolution News, May 16, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Flaskô is the only factory under worker’s control in Brazil, in Sumaré (São Paulo state). The workers have been occupying the factory since the bosses fled the country after the firm went bankrupt.

The factory has been occupied for 11 years, and was inactive for three months after the boss dismissed the workers and sold the machines. The occupation was made after occupations of two other factories (Cipla and Interfibra) of the same business group. In those factories, the state intervened, firing workers and dissolving departments.

The legal insecurity is severe – the machines and tools of the factory are being auctioned by the government – but luckily, there is no buyer.
The desired result of the bureaucratic process is the end of these concerns, and juridical instability of the workers. The former employer’s debts have made the worker’s fight end up necessitating nationalization, but under workers control.

There is a signature campaign online now to force the senators in Brazil to give Flaskô to the workers, and to nationalize it, absolving the workers of the debts accrued by their former criminal employers.

Read the entire article at this site.

Porto Marghera: The Last Firebrands

The Fine Print I:

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