where does resistance come from?

10 10 2010

Sheila Cohen reviews Workplace Conflict: Mobilization and Solidarity in Argentina by Maurizio Atzeni (Palgrave Macmillan 2010).

This is a book which should be read by anyone interested in and committed to rank and file activism. There are two obstacles – the price, which as with so many “academic” texts is absurdly high [1] and the English, which can be hard to get your head around. This is no fault of the Italian author, but the publisher clearly has not forked out for the necessary editing – which, at £60 a throw, is a bit of a cheek.

The content and theoretical approach of Workplace Conflict make it more than rewarding, despite these obstacles. In fact it is something of a landmark in the analysis of working-class consciousness, carrying as it does theoretical and strategic perspectives which depart from the static and non-dialectical approaches found in more conventional analyses. This is a book which can suggest ways forward for the rank and file working-class movement. Read the rest of this entry »





light at the end of the tunnel

28 07 2010

by Alix Arnold, from ILA no. 333, March 2010 – translation by friends of The Commune

Underground Rail Transport in Buenos Aires:
Successful Struggles against the consequences of privatisation

At the peak of the economic crisis in Argentina, workers demanded – and secured – a six-hour day, citing the hazardous nature of the work. In 2005 they fired the starting gun to a wave of wage strikes in Argentina by enforcing a 44 per cent wage increase. After that the workers of the Subte (short for subterraneo: underground trains) made sure that their casualised work-mates in the cleaning and security services would also benefit from these gains. All these struggles would not have been possible with the old union apparatus. After years of underground organising efforts the Metrodelgados have established a new union. Read the rest of this entry »





self-management at zanon: “we showed that it is possible”

29 09 2009

Zanon: a factory in the hands of the workers, Argentina. Published by Wildcat in December 2003.

zanon

The Neuquén province, where Zanon is located, was one of the epicentres of the protests that swept Argentina in the 1990s. It was here that the piqueteros first emerged in the town of Cutral-Co, and there are many militant trade unionists. Unlike in most of Argentina, many of the attempted privatizations of state owned enterprises were defeated. In May 2006, teachers won a 40% pay rise following a month long strike. But most famous, is the successful takeover of the Zanon tile factory and its subsequent worker-run management. In 2000 the workers went on strike. The employer implemented a lock out and the workers responded by occupying the factory. In October 2001, the workers officially declared the factory to be ‘under worker control’. By March 2002, the factory fully returned to production. In April 2003, the courts ordered the police to forcibly take the factory out of the hands of the workers. In response the workers developed a broad based campaign and as the police began to move in over 3000 citizens of Neuquén formed a picket in front of the factory. During the period of worker control, the number of employees has increased from 300 to 470, and wages have risen by 100 pesos a month, and the level of production has increased. Accidents have fallen by 90%. Read the rest of this entry »





state capitalism and communism-from-below in latin america

28 09 2009

David Broder’s talk to The Commune’s recent Manchester forum

The class struggle in Latin America is one that has always roused great interest and a certain romanticism among the western left. The continent has seen a number of heroic struggles against often savage exploitation and state repression, whether by the industrial working class, landless peasants or indigenous peoples. But the politics of the Latin American left are complex and often mischaracterised.

zelayacorreachavezortegamorales

I’m going to talk about the recent history of Latin America and the relationship of US imperialism to national ruling classes; in what ways this has shaped the major left trends and the workers’ movement on the continent; and the different types of movement that exist today.  Read the rest of this entry »





manchester public meeting: populism and class struggle in latin america

15 09 2009

The Commune’s first Manchester forum, Saturday 26th September

The last decade has seen a wave of class struggle shaking neo-liberalism in Latin America, with trade unions, social movements and indigenous people across the continent stirred to action.

26thseptlatam

Many also think that leaders like Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia are ‘building socialism’, and the radical right and US imperialism have mobilised to try and crush them. July saw the most outrageous action yet as the Honduran military overthrew the centre-left president Manuel Zelaya.

Where is the class struggle in Latin America headed? What does the Obama administration mean for US relations with the continent? Are systems like Venezuela and Cuba a model for communists to follow? Come and join the debate at The Commune’s forum. Read the rest of this entry »





‘the take': argentina’s worker-managed enterprises

13 09 2009

Here we present Naomi Klein’s 2004 documentary The Take which looks at the actions of Argentinian workers during that country’s economic crisis earlier this decade. Hundreds of factories were occupied in resistance to mass redundancy: but further still, workers seized their workplaces restarted production under their own control.

A number of these enterprises are still going: indeed, last month the Argentinian state was forced to accept a permanent legal status for the $100m Zanón/FaSinPat (factory without bosses) ceramic tiles plant in Neuquén, which had been ‘stolen’ from its former owner by its four hundred workers. The film, reproduced in full below, features interesting interviews with the workers involved in these inspiring struggles.

Read the rest of this entry »





legal victory for self-managed ‘zanon’ factory in argentina

22 08 2009

by Marie Trigona

The workers at Argentina’s occupied ceramics factory, FASINPAT (Factory Without a Boss), won a major victory this week: the factory now definitively belongs to the people in legal terms. The provincial legislature voted in favor of expropriating the ceramics factory and handing it over to the workers cooperative to manage legally and indefinitely. Since 2001, the workers at Zanon have fought for legal recognition of worker control at Latin America’s largest ceramics factory which has created jobs, spearheaded community projects, supported social movements world-wide and shown the world that workers don’t need bosses.

fasinpatboxes
“This is incredible, we are happy. The expropriation is an act of justice,” said Alejandro Lopez the General Secretary of the Ceramists Union, overwhelmed by the emotion of the victory. “We don’t forget the people who supported us in our hardest moments, or the 100,000 people who signed the petition supporting our bill.” Read the rest of this entry »








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