Appeal for Support to Workers in Buenos Aires, Argentina


In Occupied Factory, Production Continues under Workers Control, But…
Brukman Workers Face Imminent Police Attack

by Earl Gilman


[This is an edited version of a message posted on March 28, 2002, to the news groups Argentina_Solidarity@yahoogroups.com and Workersdemocracy@yahoogroups.com ]

Buenos AiresThe workers at the Brukman factory are expecting a POLICE ATTACK on their factory sometime after next Tuesday (April 2).  They are organizing a march Tuesday morning to the Ministry of Labor at 9 a.m.

The occupation of the Brukman factory by the workers and ongoing production by the workers themselves represents a threat to the very nature of capitalism. The Asambleas Populares are discussing mass mobilization in case of attack. Printing workers are discussing following the Brukman workers’ example and taking over their factory. At the court hearing yesterday every major politician was present to show solidarity with the employers. The judge claimed she had “lost patience” with the workers.

They are asking for international solidarity. We need to protest and leaflet throughout the world at Argentinian consulates or embassies this week! Get your union brothers out on the picket line! Support the Brukman workers’ call for municipalization of the factory under workers control.

If you can carry out actions, inform the Brukman workers at their e mail address: jjforevergo@terra.com.ar

Their telephone number in Buenos Aires is 43081448.

Or contact Earl Gilman: giltapia@igc.org

The statement below is a sample petition that the Brukman workers drafted:

Sample Petition:

SUPPORT THE STRUGGLE OF THE WORKERS AT BRUKMAN

Since December 18 workers at the clothing enterprise BRUKMAN CLOTHING have been fighting to defend their jobs.  The company did not carry out its legal responsibilities, such as contributing to pension and disability funds.  It ended up offering workers certificates worth $2. Faced with the demands of the workers and their refusal to accept further mistreatment, the owners of Brukman abandoned the factory, leaving the workers without anything.

Organizing themselves democratically and making all their decisions in their own meetings, they decided to remain in the plant in defense of their rights, having the support of neighborhood Asambleas, human rights organizations, and leaders of social and labor organizations from the rest of the country.

The owners are again attempting to regain control of the factory, through the method of a preliminary hearing on bankruptcy.  They made a criminal complaint, which resulted in an attempt at our violent eviction on March 16. The judge, however, closed the case on the grounds that it was a labor dispute and not a criminal question.

We the undersigned demand justice for the workers. We energetically demand the reopening of the factory with all the workers. We oppose any means which uses force or repression against the workers. We hereby express our support for their democratic organization.

More Background on the Brukman Workers’ Struggle

[from a March 21 e-mail message by Earl Gilman]

Only a few blocks from the Congress building in Buenos Aires, 54 clothing workers in the Brukman factory are manufacturing clothes under workers control. Mr. Brukman, the owner, disappeared after offering the workers $2 a week.  To prevent Brukman from removing the machinery, the workers occupied the factory, sewing clothes in the daytime and taking turns standing guard at night. After several months, Mr. Brukman reappeared and demanded his factory back. On March 16, seventy policemen showed up to kick out the three women standing guard. The police entered, but soon faced the neighborhood Peoples Assembly who began to blockade the street. The police put away their clubs and tear gas and withdrew. By evening, the workers had reoccupied the factory and resumed production.