Argentina: Worker’s Self-Managed Enterprises join in in the combat against covid-19

As stated on the Fever About page, “our role is not to propose solutions to help capitalism solve this crisis”, as long as “all capitalist solutions lead to the maintaining of exploitation”. In Argentina, self-managed enterprises form a small sector of the economy, comprising about 15,000 workers. Although this piece may not be exactly a struggle report, it is a report on some of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on these self-managed plants and on the situation of their workers. Together with other reports on Fever, we hope this information will stimulate public debates.

The ‘90s and the beginning of the years 2000 was a time when a lot of jobs were destroyed in Argentina, which generated high poverty and unemployment. Only a few sectors of the working class which had formal employment were able to come out victorious in their struggles, and maybe the most famous cases were the fights against the closure of enterprises and the recovery of them under the form of cooperatives self-managed by their former employees.

If what these former employees find ahead of them, after the hard battle against their bosses, is the complicated challenge of sustaining the enterprises in the capitalist competitive enviroment, in many occasions some of these enterprises offer themselves as a support to ongoing proletarian struggles.

In this moment of crisis due to the new coronavirus, many of these enterprises have iniciated, by their sole determination, a productive restructuration, at least parcially, in order to produce hygiene elements which are lacking even in the hospitals, such as alcohol gel, desinfectants, masks, packaging for many of these elements, etc. On this group of enterprises there is also de case of a plant which is not yet under the legal form of a cooperative, since it is still an ongoing struggle in which the workers are occupying the plant. It’s the plant of Ansabo, and it’s workers have offred the plant’s courtyard for organizing mutual help in their neighborhood. Ansabo is a plant that produces paper, and it’s workers are occupying it since July 2019, when it was announced that the plant would be closed. There have been some negotiation since then, which enabled the workers to self-manage the production with the support of the local municipality. This case shows us how the coronavirus crises influence ongoing struggles from before the crises, as well as the worker’s self-managed enterprises which are the result of past struggles.

Below we copied a list with some exemples of what is being produced:

Flexible Packaging Mataderos, alcohol gel packaging.
Textiles Pigüé, masks and camisoles.
Plastics Salvadores (ex Oropel), alcohol gel packaging.
Farmacoop (ex Roux Ocefa laboratory), alcohol gel.
Textil Network Cooperativa (federation of textil cooperatives), masks, coveralls and liners.
Hotel BAUEN, hotel for quarantine isolation (individuals in transit)
Gotan, hospital furniture.
Madygraf (ex Donnelley press), masks and desinfectants.
Cooperativa Textil Traful Newen de Neuquén, masks for hospitals and health centers.

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