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Title Zanon Under Attack
 
Subtitle <a href="http://argentina.indymedia.org/">ARGENTINA</a>: WORKERS' RIGHTS
 
Description <p>The workers of the self-managed <a
href="http://www.obrerosdezanon.org/">Zanon ceramics factory</a> are
once again under attack by the government and business interests trying
to evict them in the southern province of Neuquen, Argentina. Since
2001, the employees have successfully managed the factory, setting an
example for the working-class worldwide that workers can produce and
manage even better without a boss or owner. Over the past four years,
workers have battled against eviction threats and intimidation, but in
the past few weeks the government and security forces representing the
factory’s old ownership have used tactics of torture and kidnapping –
reminiscent of Argentina’s military dictatorship (1976-1983) in which
30,000 people, mostly activists, were disappeared in the dirty war.
<p/>
<p>On Friday, March 4 a group of four individuals (three men and a woman)
kidnapped the wife of an employee at Zanon. They forced her into a green
Ford Falcon, a model of car security operatives used to kidnap activists
during the dictatorship, sending a chilling reminder of the dirty war.
They tortured her and cut her face, hands, arms and breasts. They gave
details of how they carefully followed her and have detailed information
about her movements. In response, this woman, who had never participated
in a protest, led the march on International Women's Day in Neuqen.
<p/>
<p>Links: [<a
href="http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=42&ItemID=7403">1</a>
| <a href="http://argentina.indymedia.org/news/2005/03/270475.php">2</a>
| <a href="http://argentina.indymedia.org/news/2005/03/270439.php">3</a>
| <a href="http://argentina.indymedia.org/news/2005/03/270405.php">4</a>]
<p/>
More information: <a
href="http://buscador.argentina.indymedia.org/news/?keyword=zanon&author=&display=&year=&month=&day=&medium=&category=0&sort=&limit=20">Argentina
Indymedia</a> | <a href="http://www.obrerosdezanon.org/">Zanon website</a></p>

 
Article Text <p>Zanon’s workers and social movements are mobilizing to stand up to death
threats and attacks – to tell the government that workers and their
families will not give in to the threats. More than ever the workers,
with the support of the community and other sectors acting in solidary,
are proving their strength as a sucessful case of self-management.</p>

<p>Some 5,000 protestors participated in a march to Neuquen’s government
house on March 8 to denounce cases of death threats, phsyical attacks
and torture. Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, social movements and human
rights groups organized another protest outside of the provincial
government’s offices in the city’s center.</p>

<p>On Friday, March 4 a group of four individuals (three men and a woman)
kidnapped the wife of an employee at Zanon. They forced her into a green
Ford Falcon, a model of car security operatives used to kidnap activists
during the dictatorship, sending a chilling reminder of the dirty war.
They tortured her and cut her face, hands, arms and breasts. They gave
details of how they carefully followed her and have detailed information
about her movements. Again, on Saturday, the woman was attacked by the
same group of people in her home. Police were guarding at the front of
the house, but the group snuck in through the back door.</p>

<p>While the men were cutting her they threatened to kill Raul Godoy, Zanon
worker and General Secretary of the Ceramists’ Union; Mariano Pedrero,
the union’s lawyer; and another worker, Alejandro López. At a press
conference at Hotel Bauen (a hotel managed by its workers) in the the
city centre of Buenos Aires, López reported that the woman’s attackers
threatened: “We want you to go home with your face and hands dripping
with blood, and tell Godoy and López what is going to happen to them,
that this has to do with Zanon. That union is going to run with blood.”</p>

<p>In the past weeks, Godoy and Lopez recieved telephone death threats and
messages. Delegates from the subway’s wildcat union, which recently won
a 44% wage hike after week-long strikes, have also recieved phone
threats. Many workers expressed that these threats are not a
coincidence. The government is targeting Zanon because it is at the
vanguard of the many recovered factories and enterprises that are
proving that occupying and taking over production is a solution for
workers to defend their jobs. They have also said that it is not a
coincidence that the delegates from the subway are also receiving
threats. Subway workers set an example that it is possible for the
working-class to fight for wage hikes, even though the Argentinian
average monthly salary has been stagnated at 600 pesos (200 dollars) for
over a decade.</p>

<p>“This government is holding political prisoners, women in Caletta Oliva
and around the nation. We are not going to wait for a death inside Zanon
to go out into the streets,” said Elisa, a worker from Brukman, a suit
factory in Buenos Aires run by a worker cooperative. Workers from the
Chilavert printing factory, Bauen Hotel and other re-occupied
enterprises also participated in the actions in defense of Zanon.</p>

<p>Subway workers who have been organizing wildcat strikes have expressed
their committment to defend Zanon. “Zanon has helped to coordinate
workers in struggle. We are ready to do whatever is necessary to defend
the struggle of the compañeros in Neuquen,” said Arturo, a subway
delegate. Organizations are mobilizing a caravan to Neuquen on
Wednesday, March 16.</p>

<p>In 1908, women went on strike and occupied a textile factory in New
York. The management and owners locked the women in and lit the plant on
fire. One hundred and twenty-nine women died inside the factory. “Nearly
one hundred years later, a working class woman was tortured. We decided
that the act for International Women’s Day (March 8) should take place
in front of the provincial building of Neuquen to denounce the threats
and to protest against a boss and government which tortures women and
puts them in jail,” declared an activist from women’s rights group Bread
and Roses.</p>

<p>Alejandro Lopez, outside of Neuquen’s provincial offices, expressed
passionately the importance of standing up to the government and
security forces even in the face of threats. “Today is International
Women’s Day, and I want to say just one thing about what March 8 means
for us. The wife of a compañero, who was kidnapped and then tortured,
has decided to stand up. Even though her attackers made sure she knew
details of how they followed her for over a month. They told her that
they had followed her entire family-husband, daughter, and parents. Even
though they cut her arms, breasts and face, in a brutal and cowardly way
to intimidate her, after they left her out of the car, after she went
through all of this, she decided to stand up and confront her attackers
in the best way she could. Yesterday (a day before the March 8 protest)
she told the workers at Zanon that today she was going to lead the march
in Neuquen. This is not a question of honour. That this woman who never
participated in a protest and today, International Women’s Day, led the
march, marks a victory for the workers in Zanon and all of the
compañeras in struggle.”</p>

<p>The workers from Zanon have declared that they are going to intensify
the battle against these threats and defend their factory. However, they
are making it clear they are not on the defensive. “We have a lot of
enemies to fight against—the bosses, the bureacratic unions, provincial
government and the national government. We are not going to accept that
this national government, which says it respects human rights, can turn
a blind eye to our reports of death threats and a case of a compañera
who was mutilated,” said Lopez. He added, “It’s probable that the
situation will get worse, so we need to fight even stronger. We are
going to take the conflict to a national and international level.”</p>

<p>The workers of Zanon have self-organized and managed the factory,
gradually increasing production without any government subsidies. They
have hired over 200 new workers. They have defended the factory against
five eviction orders along with compañeros from unemployed workers
organizations and other social movements. “They aren’t going to win by
threatening us and telling us that we can’t run a factory.” The workers
are prepared to temporarily stop production and fight. Lopez concluded
the protest in Buenos Aires by saying, “We are strong in our position
and we aren’t going to take a step backward – we are going to continue
with our fight for the expropriation of our factory.”</p>
 
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