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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Worker-owned and operated factories score a victory in ... ARGENTINA!
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Worker-owned and operated factories score a victory in ... ARGENTINA!


after cranking out the previous pretty uniformly gloomy post about argentina, i just so happened to run across the following, an article about a notable victory in the on-going battle of argentina workers for some justice and a bit of self-determination in the face of the horrendous abuses of the wave of privatization and summary firings that took place in the late 90s and early 00s...

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.


FASINPAT has operated under worker control since 2001 when Zanon's owners decided to close its doors and fire the workers without paying months of back pay or severance pay. Leading up to the massive layoffs and plant's closure, workers went on strike in 2000. The owner, Luis Zanon, with over 75 million dollars in debt to public and private creditors (including the World Bank for over 20 million dollars), fired en masse most of the workers and closed the factory in 2001-a bosses' lockout. In October 2001, workers declared the plant under worker control. The workers subsequently camped outside the factory for four months, pamphleteering and partially blocking a highway leading to the capital city of Neuquén. While the workers were camping outside the factory, a court ruled that the employees could sell off remaining stock. After the stock ran out, on March 2, 2002, the workers' assembly voted to start up production without a boss. Since the occupation, the workers renamed the factory FASINPAT (Factory without a Boss).

i tried to figure out the acronym FASINPAT and could only come up with "fabrica" (factory) "sin" (without) "patron" (patron?)...

when i was the general manager for the operations of an airline at a small airport, i used to tell the 34 folks who worked for me that they were perfectly capable of running things without a manager, ergo without me... steeped as they were in the u.s. form of patriarchal, authoritarian management, they simply couldn't imagine NOT having a manager... sigh...

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