Support the workers of the Zanon factory (fwd)

From "Sun Wukong" <>
Date Sun, 03 Apr 2005 23:03:34 +0000

Forwarded message below; or just ignore that and go straight to the 

Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2005 10:04:48 -0700
From: "Richard Myers" <>
To: <>
Subject: [Working-Class] Support the workers of the Zanon factory

  As i type this, more than 21 thousand have signed a petition.=20
  The workers at the Zanon factory in Argentina have realized a dream-- =
they have created a business without bosses. Yet their dream is =
threatened, and folks from around the world are offering support.

  This petition will help, if just by demonstrating that working people =
in all nations are demanding solutions to the problems that confront us =

  The struggle of the Zanon workers is our struggle. They've taken some =
dramatic and inspiring steps, and we must support them.

  I've signed, and i hope that you will sign too!

  best wishes,
  richard myers

Dear friends,

Over the last week, the workers of the Zanon factory in Argentina have=20
received numerous death threats. The wife of a worker was kidnapped, had =

her face and chest slashed, and was threatened various times =C2 all in =
face of police and governmental indifference.

At the same time, a legal decision on the status of the factory is =
The judge in charge of the case, ignoring the excellent job the workers=20
have done in the three years since the administration of the factory has =

been in their hands, has put the workers at risk of being expelled from =

The citizens of the world must not stand for such abuses, which recall =
very worst of the military dictatorship in Argentina and only favour =
and business impunity.


We're writing to ask your help in defending an inspiring and courageous=20
workers' struggle in Argentina. The Zanon ceramic tile factory, a=20
democratic, worker-run factory in Patagonia, is facing a serious threat =
eviction, and the workers have asked us to gather international support =
their struggle.

For those of you who have seen our documentary, The Take, the Zanon=20
factory, and Argentina's wider movement of worker-run companies will be=20
very familiar. For those of you who haven't, this new movement of some=20
15,000 workers in almost 200 democratic workplaces is building hope and =
concrete economic alternative in the rubble of Argentina's disastrous=20
experiment with orthodox neoliberalism in the 1990s.

Recovered companies are run by assembly: one worker, one vote. In most =
them, workers have decided that everyone should receive the same salary. =

They are proving the viability of an economy run on an entirely =
value system, and they are growing. In the past year, Zanon has =
its workforce from 300 to 450: a 50% increase. What multinational=20
corporation or national government could boast of such a dramatic rise =
decent-paying employment in the middle of an economic crisis?

And Zanon has cultivated a deep and mutual relationship with the=20
surrounding community. For 20 years, the poor neighbourhood of Nueva=20
Espa=C3=B1a, across the highway from the factory, has been asking the =
government for health clinic. Zanon workers took a vote earlier this =
and in 3 months built and opened a brand new community health facility.

But now the provincial government is threatening to send in the =
to remove Zanon's precious machines. This is an illegal order, since =
force is Federal, intended to police Argentina's borders. On a second=20
front, the Federal judge presiding over the bankruptcy of the former =
is refusing to recognize the Zanon workers' co-operative (called =
-short for 'Fabricas Sin Patrones', Factories Without Bosses.)

The former owner received millions in public subsidies, and still =
amassed a=20
huge debt and bankruptcy: he has since been removed from his own board =
directors for "accounting irregularities". The workers' co-operative,
the other hand, is a major success: it is now producing 380,000 square=20
meters of ceramic tiles a month - a level of production higher than when =

the former owner closed the factory - and the workers do it without the=20
huge public subsidies (300,000 pesos per month) that he used to receive.

The Zanon workers have told us that a massive international petition in=20
support of their struggle could make a key difference with the various=20
levels of courts and governments.Zanon's highly successful combination =
direct action and direct democracy is a precious example of that other=20
world that is possible, that is growing before our very eyes.

We urge you to sign the petition (Copy and paste)=20

and do everything you can to encourage others to do the same.

Thank you for your time and support!

Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein

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