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Attack on Zanon repulsed
Por Michael Gatter (LRCI) - Monday, Oct. 07, 2002 at 12:01 PM

Scabs hired by the dismissed boss attacked Zanon, the ceramic factory occupied by its workers for more than a year. But this attack was repulsed. Another victory for this heroic struggle of the workers in Neuquen.

Workers Power Global, Vienna

The heroic struggle of the ceramic workers of Zanon in Argentina is at a turning point. For one year they have occupied the factory after the owner wanted to let the factory go bankrupt. For one year they have shown that workers can run the production themselves. Consequently they are an inspiration for many other workers faced with the bankruptcy of their factory.

But on Thursday, 3 October, the owner made a serious attempt to crush the occupation and to expel the workers from their workplaces. He assigned Oscar Montes – former General secretary of the ceramic workers union, which is part of the CGT Moyano – to organise a group of several dozens "barrabravas" (paid hooligans) of the football club Cipolletti and some ex-ceramic worker, many of them drunk.

While at that time most of the ceramic worker were at a demonstration in Neuquen they attacked the occupied factory with sticks and stones. Several workers were injured and many factory materials damaged.

The remaining workers defended themselves as well as possible and later the bulk of the strikers came back. A massive wave of solidarity action erupted: hundreds of activists of the regional unemployment movement MTD marched to the factory and blocked the provincial highway No. 7. Trade unions, human right groups and popular assemblies declared their solidarity.

Given this massive solidarity the leadership of the biggest union federation in the province, the CTA, was forced to call a solidarity strike for Monday 7 October. In addition it called its members to remain "on alert" because of the possibility that an attempt to end the occupation is possible.

Even the provincial deputies of the Alliance, the Party Intransigente and ARI, and the Socialist Party visited the factory on Thursday and expressed their concerns about the policy of the owner.

Raul Godoy, general secretary of the ceramic worker union and a member of the Trotskyist Workers Party for Socialism (PTS), denounced thae fact that "the company paid these barrabravas so that they could generate a conflict at the gates of the ceramic plant and to justify the expulsion of the workers by this".

Admittedly the barrabravas of Oscar Montes did their best to discredit their own cause. Not only did they attack the factory during a press conference of the Zanon workers, they even managed to threaten a group of journalists coming to them and attacked one of them, the journalist Wálter Perez. As a consequence all journalists boycotted the press conference of Oscar Montes.

This wave of solidarity from many sectors of the working class has put the scabs onto the defensive. Even the CGT Neuquen had to distance itself from the actions of its members. Neuquen's regional governor Jorge Sobisch, who is clearly on the side of the Zanon owner, claimed to be above the conflicting parties and offered his services as an arbiter. As a result the scab leader retreated claiming "we are not violent but we are nervous".

Today the scabs retreated from the gates of the factory and the Zanon workers – supported by the solidarity actions of the Neuquen working class – have repulsed this attack. Solidarity has won!

But the struggle continues; the capitalists and their friend in the government will continue to try to kick them out. National and international solidarity is decisive! The final solution can only be to finish off the system of capitalist ownership which puts profit before human lives!

Long live the struggle of the Zanon workers!


For more information look at the PTS website:
For photos look at the Indymedia Argentina website:

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