Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hotel Bauen workers' cooperative under threat



Minsun Ji, a longstanding organizer of day laborers and my student, is writing on cooperatives as an alternative to current predation (that to be a sociopath is often to have the characteristics of a CEO is one of the worst things about a contemporary capitalism which is intolerant of a decent lifestyle for all, which needs not just to deny a safety net to workers but to impoverish the middle class as well). Minsun is currently in Argentina and ran across the case of Hotel Bauen workers, who have successfully operated the hotel for 11 years but are now faced with eviction. The capitalists who did not repay loans and shut the building down have no decent claim on it. An international campaign is being mounted on the cooperative's behalf. I hope you will join.

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"Hi Alan

Hope you are well.

I am currently in Buenos Aires, to interview worker owned cooperatives, recuperated worker cooperatives, labor unions and community organizations to learn about their social movement.

Can you please help circulate this petition widely to your network? Hotel BAUEN workers are facing another eviction notice after operating the hotel for the past 11 years and they are launching an international campaign to get support. Thank you very much.

Minsun"

***

"In support of the self-managed workers of the Hotel BAUEN (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Tuesday, April 15 and Wednesday, April 16, 2014
International days of solidarity with Hotel BAUEN

We invite you to include your name in the worldwide petition being gathered on behalf of the self-managed workers of the Hotel BAUEN, located in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina. Click here to include your name in the petition: Collection of signatures in solidarity with the workers of the Hotel BAUEN Managed by Marcelo Vieta (University of Toronto) marcelo.vieta [at] utoronto.ca Survey


The workers of the Hotel BAUEN, after 11 years of successfully self-managing the hotel as a worker-recuperated enterprise (empresa recuperada por sus trabajadores), face permanent eviction next week. Numerous workers’ organizations, social movements, and people in solidarity with the Hotel BAUEN workers from around the world are expressing their solidarity with the workers.

Hotel BAUEN is one of the most emblematic worker-recuperated businesses in Argentina. Closed by its owners as part of a fraudulent scheme that left its workers out on the street at the end of 2001, the 20-story building located in downtown Buenos Aires was asset stripped and abandoned by its owners for more than a year before a group of former workers occupied the space on March 21, 2003. Thus began a process of 11 years of self-management that has created 130 jobs and made major investments in repairing the hotel’s infrastructure problems, all with very little external financing.

Hotel BAUEN, which was once a symbol of the corruption of power in Argentina, has now become a meeting place for social movements, unions, and workers’ organizations. Over the past decade, the hotel has hosted hundreds of organizing conferences and debates, as well as academic and cultural events.

Hotel BAUEN is not just an emblem of self-management. It is also a symbol for the collective memory of the collusion and corruption between economic power and the genocidal dictatorship that ruled and bloodied Argentina between 1976 to 1983. Hotel BAUEN was constructed in preparation for the soccer World Cup in 1978 and financed with loans from the national bank (BANADE) that were never repaid. Because of this outstanding debt, the state of Argentina could choose to recover the property of the hotel on behalf of its workers. Instead, although the debt has – still, to date – never been repaid by former owners, the courts have ruled that the company Mercoteles (a continuation of the original owners) is the owner of the building, effectively ordering the eviction of the worker cooperative. The worker cooperative in Hotel BAUEN has since appealed the ruling, but their lawsuit was rejected at all levels of the Argentine justice system.

On March 21, 2014, while the self-managed workers of Hotel BAUEN celebrated 11 years since the recuperation of the hotel, the court renewed the eviction order against the cooperative. The workers, along with many social organizations, are committed to resisting the order in the hopes that they will find a definitive solution that recognizes their work, investments, and the social, economic and cultural role of a self-managed enterprise, instead of rewarding corrupt businesspeople complicit with the the military dictatorship.

The signatures in the petition represent those who stand in solidarity with the workers of Hotel BAUEN. They represent a call for a solution that will permit the workers of Hotel BAUEN to continue self-managing the hotel as an example to the world.

Click here to include your name in the petition: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/R7HGGT8


To send an email of support to the Hotel BAUEN workers: prensabauen@gmail.com or andres.ruggeri@gmail.com

On behalf of the Hotel BAUEN workers,

Andrés Ruggeri, Professor and Director of the Open Faculty Program, Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, University of Buenos Aires

Marcelo Vieta, Assistant Professor, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto (effective July 1, 2014)"

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