Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Industrial Anarchist Co-ops

By Marcello Balve

, a group of twenty unemployed factory workers gathered on a treeless sidewalk in downtown Avellaneda, an industrial suburb of Buenos Aires. They came loaded with poles, plastic sheeting, scrap lumber, and rope. In short order, they raised a tent before a nine-story brick factory known as the Cristalux Glassworks. The factory, recognizable by its billboard-sized bas-relief of a worker blowing glass, had once employed a workforce of twelve hundred. Now it stood abandoned and shuttered.

It was late fall in the Southern Hemisphere, and night temperatures dipped into the low forties. The wide, bleak avenue offered no shelter from wind, rain, or sun. The tent was just an orange tarp strung up between the factory’s main gate and a light post, the sides anchored to crates. But the workers were determined to keep the tent fastened to the gate until they could go back inside. More than one hundred ex-employees eventually joined the protest, either lending their bodies or bringing food.

What strikes me about this article and others I have read in the past few years is that certainly, at some point in the future, our society will look like this, will react like this, will have to cope like this. Surely you do not think that we wil be able to ride this wave of oil-induced affluence forever? At one point, when our oil is to costly for the average working class or middle class worker, we will need to revise our strategies and create sustainable worker-owned businesses.

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