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Workers Without Bosses: Solidarity With Argentina's Self-Managed Factories

fwd | 25.08.2004 14:18 | Free Spaces | Globalisation | Social Struggles | World

The workers of Brukman, one of about 200 self-managed factories in Argentina, need your help. Although they recovered their factory at the beginning of 2004 and are running it again, the factory has been damaged by police action, and many of the machines are not running at full capacity due to lack of spare parts and repair manuals. is a global network of people organizing assistance for Argentina's occupied factories. Our website contains information and ways to get involved, including organizing film screenings, getting machine parts, and working on a film to document it all.

You are invited to raise awareness of the Brukman struggle by organizing a film screening in your neighbourhood or workplace, and then helping the Brukman workers directly by finding the machine parts and technical manuals that they need to continue working without bosses in Buenos Aires. This is a global call-out to workers, activists, translators, and media producers: your actions can directly benefit one of the largest experiments in workers self-management that has ever taken place.

We are asking that people take whatever actions they can to secure the needed parts and manuals, whether that means securing support and funds from within their unions, organizing neighbourhood fundraising campaigns to purchase a needed part or manual, or simply stealing them from their factories and popping them in the mail if that seems practical.

We also want to spark a global discussion about the possibilities and practicalities of a democratically-managed world economy. We need media workers from across the globe to film their local discussions after film screenings, film the stories of people who attempt to get the parts, and contribute video and sound segments back to our project so that we can edit up a monster of a worker-controlled, self-managed, globally produced film. Many of us are involved in Indymedia in one way or another, and we see this project as an opportunity to offer practical assistance from an emerging self-managed media system to an emerging self-managed production system that is under dire threat. Argentina's worker-controlled factories are highly successful enterprises; at some point, the bosses are going to want them back.


In December 2001, the workers of the Brukman garment factory in Buenos Aires occupied their factory due to the collapse of the Argentine economy. They ran it successfully for well over a year.

18 April 2003: Midnight. Hundreds of police officers in riot gear evict the five workers staying on watch in the factory. Social movements in Buenos Aires mobilize to retake the factory, resulting in massive police repression.

Faced with unemployment in a country without any social benefits system, the Brukman workers mounted a campaign to recover their factory, in cooperation with other social movements. Across the street from their factory, they set up a working vigil, complete with sewing machines, tents, and a kitchen. Marches, street demonstrations, art workshops, and solidarity actions by other occupied factories such as the Zanon occupied factory in the far south of Argentina, finally resulted in victory by 29 December 2003.

On 29 December 2003, pressure from Argentina's social movements forced the government to allow the workers back into their factory. As the police withdrew, they stole one part from each machine in the factory, in an attempt to cripple its productive capacity.

Brukman needs your help!

Under the terms of the settlement with the government, the Brukman workers must pay the government for the factory within two years or the government will foreclose. The clock is ticking.

To view photos and see the machine parts that the Brukman workers need, go to

The workers of Zanon, another occupied factory in the south of Argentina, have a different request:

The idea {of the website} is very interesting, I would like to know if it is possible that through this international website, we could research on a leather strip we need for a machine. The parts and brand are: Optibelt (Germany) B 472, B 512, B 551, B 583.

I will send you a text about Zanon to put on the website, but right now my comrades are looking for information on these parts.

Information about what we have found out so far about these parts is at


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