Argentina: Hotel Bauen's Workers Without Bosses Face Eviction
Marie Trigona :
Argentina’s worker occupied factory movement is rallying across the country for a national expropriation law in the face of eviction orders and legal uncertainty. At the forefront of the worker recuperated enterprise movement is the BAUEN Hotel, just one of the 180 worker-run businesses up and running in Argentina.
After four years of successful worker management, a federal court issued a 30 day eviction notice to the workers of the hotel on July 20. If the workers do not successfully block the eviction order legally or through political actions the hotel could be lost and 154 workers out of a job.
A network of worker run factories and worker organizations are mobilizing not only against the possible eviction of the cooperative from the BAUEN Hotel, but also for a long-term legal solution for the 10,000 workers currently employed at Argentina’s recovered factories and businesses. At worker assemblies and rallies, hundreds of workers without bosses are using the slogan: si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos! (if they touch one of us, they touch all of us!)
The BAUEN hasn’t only just shown that workers can efficiently manage hotel services, but have also demonstrated creativity in opening this space to the cultural and social movements in the city. On a local level, BAUEN Hotel has become a prime example of coalition building and development of a broad mutual support network. In the midst of legal struggles and successfully running a prominent hotel, the cooperative's members haven't forgotten their roots. The 19-story worker run hotel has become a political center for movement organizing.
The eviction order came as the BAUEN cooperative was spearheading a Federation of Self-Managed Worker Cooperatives (FACTA) for worker-run businesses to strategize how to overcome market challenges collectively. “It’s difficult for a cooperative to become viable, without capital resources and state subsidies,” said Fabio Resino, a legal advisor at the BAUEN Hotel. According to Resino, the 30 cooperatives in this federation are building a productive network for the commercialization of self-managed produced goods to at least have a chance to survive in a dog-eat-dog market.