[Argentina] Recovered Brukman Factory: Neither Closing nor Auction

Women of Brukman
ARGENTINA
Written by Members of the Cooperative 18 de Diciembre
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 20:48
For several years, the worker cooperative 18 de Diciembre, formerly the Brukman textile factory, has suffered a constant pressure from the lawyer Luis Caro and the Board of Directors of the cooperative to abandon our policy of pushing through production being state suppliers.
They boycotted everything we have tried: we lost the connection with Aerolineas Argentinas, to whom we provided with uniforms. They prioritized business with “fasones” [1], who use to pay a pittance for work, added to a deceptive administration in relation to production and accounting.
All this had and has a more than obvious goal: to demoralize the whole cooperative, “that just can’t continue” and it would be best to sell everything: the sewing machines, the irons, tools and the building.
Unfortunately, many comrades believe lawyer Luis Caro’s directives, a true mercenary who has done business at the expense of the cooperative.
We told him that it could not be sold off, because we struggled to recover it and preserve our dignity as workers. And in time we did it! With our heroic struggle and active solidarity of thousands of workers and people in the country and internationally.
Violence to impose closing and auction
Our resistance against closing and auctioning it was faced with violence. Permanent verbal threats were followed by a violent attempt to evict Rosa Corpos on January 23, who lives in the factory for several years with her ​​two children, a condition agreed with the cooperative until she could solve their housing problems.
With sticks, clubs and iron bars strange people to the cooperative along with members of the Board of Directors carried out the order given by attorney Caro: “we must remove her from the building.” The police arrived minutes before they could beat Rosa and several colleagues who were there to defend her.
As the vacations would start on the 26th, they wanted her out so that no one could witness the emptying of the factory they had planned for those days. They wanted to take everything, even the machines funded by the Ministry of Development of the Nation, all illegally, specifying what we have been denouncing: a fraud.
We’ll keep on fighting back in defense of our dignity as workers, to recover our source of jobs.
However, several actions paralyzed the emptying of the factory: The complaints of violence against those who oppose the sale, the intervention of INAES [National Institute of Cooperatives and Social Economy] before the constant wrongdoing and fraud attempts by attorney Caro and the Board of Directors, the public support formed due to radio and television broadcasts and solidarity of several cooperative, social and political sectors.
This does not prevent further attacks against us, slanders and summary, illegal expulsions ordered by call phone to the Board of Directors by Dr. Caro, because behind this mob action there is a profitable real estate business in which many local and national politicians are very interested. Furthermore, they would put an end to an example of struggle by which workers recovered a factory that had been abandoned by the owners.
We appeal to all sectors; cooperatives, trade unions, social, students and political organizations to lead a campaign against the sale of the recovered Brukman factory, today the “Cooperative 18 de Diciembre,” and to support our goal of being State providers, under the control of its workers.
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[1] – Fasones: entrepreneurs who buy the production from various workplaces to sell them as a single production of their own.
Note: the Brukman factory is located in the neighborhood of Once, near the center of Buenos Aires City. Due to the Argentine economic crisis in 2001, the owners were preparing to close down the factory.On December 18, 2001 about 60 workers (most of them women) took over the factory and began a recovery process to try to re-produce and ensure their labor supply. After an intense fight (and several attempts at eviction), in 2003 a cooperative was established to have the ownership of the factory. The struggle of Brukman workers became a symbol in the country and had wide international repercussion.

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