|"Through the recording and elaboration of audiovisual materials we are battling directly against the imagery of fascism. The camera is a tool, another arm, like a stick, molotov, miguelito or covering our faces", Grupo Alavío
|Making technologies and skills accessible and available to exploited sectors by democratizing audiovisual production and language is a priority of Grupo Alavío's work. For over 10 years, Alavío has been participating in working class struggles, supporting with audiovisual materials. As activists struggling for social revolution, the debate of whether the reach of the camera is enough is an inevitable discussion. "We are working to construct an identity and thinking that reflects the working class' and exploited sectors' specific interests and necessities. The camera is a tool, another weapon."
m, preparation, provision; picnic lunch; money advanced (to miners
or laborers); pl Inf. equipment, tools. During beginning of the 20th
century in Argentina laborers often carried an avío with
what provisions they needed when travelling in the countryside. They
would travel from harvest to harvest to work on different plantations
and farms. These workers, many who were immigrants, carried a tradition
of free worker or working only when they needed to. These workers were
called crotos (English translation Hobos). They got this name
because a government official named Croto passed a law to permit these
workers to ride free on cargo trains. Along with food and clothes, many
crotos carried inside their avío anarchist literature
and newspapers. They would distribute these materials among fellow workers
to raise consciousness of exploitation by the boss and to organize.
Grupo Alavío is a direct action and video collective working in Argentina. Since the early 1990's the group has been producing audiovisual material as a tool to create a new working class subjectivity. As a video collective we become available to the demands of organizations in struggle and often times our videos take on a life of their own. Many times the factory occupied by workers, the changing room of transport workers organizing a wildcat strike, land squat or barrio is the first place where we premier our documentaries. Alavío uses the camera as a political organ and as a tool, which the protagonists in the films appropriate and use to organize. We use videos as the anarchist crotos used the avío to organize and generate actions against the boss, state, macho, and church.
Solidarity With Zanon
Attack on Zanon Occupied Factory
The workers of Zanon and other social organizations mobilized in front of the central courthouse on April 21 to defend their factory against mounting attacks. At a moment when the courts and government must make a political and legal decision concerning the ceramics factory that has been producing under worker control since 2001 legal attacks, death threats and physical attacks against the workers have increased.
A delegation of 30 workers traveled some 1,200 kilometers to manifest their determination to defend the factory at all costs. Inside the courthouse a small delegation of workers presented a petition with thousands of signatures from all over the world in support of the workers of Zanon who have set an example that workers can produce and manage even better without a boss or owner.
With these actions we are marking a playing ground for the judge, said Raul Godoy, Zanon worker and General Secretary of the Ceramists' Union. This week the courts opened up the legal door for a cram down on the part corporate speculators trying to usurp the plant, profiting from the courts precarious legal and financial treatment of the workers legal fight for the plant.
This cram down opens the doors for new investors to gamble as new capital holders or stockholders in the Zanon Company and form another company in the plant. These new actors include three central interests who are acting legally: 1. Business interests in Neuquen represented by provincial Governor Jorge Sobich, with his neo-liberal government with strategic ties to former president Carlos Menem and the number one enemy of worker self-management/organization. Government with a ghost company can come in and take over the factory through stocks. 2. The former owner Luis Zanon, before shutting down the factory and firing the workers accumulated some 170 million dollars in debt. Most of this debt was accumulated from government subsidies, international grants (the IMF is the principal creditor), private companies and unpaid salaries to the workers. Another ceramics factory, part of the Zanon family bankrupt in Buenos Aires, presented as a shareholder as a company with a principle capital of 11,000 dollars created in November of 2004 that belongs to a 25-year-old man, named Gurrumin S.A. (meaning little man). This company had accords with the former owners so that under these ridiculous circumstances with little capital, they can take over a plant that is worth millions of dollars. Clearly this is a project taking a legal detour, to avoid legal blockades and paying millions of dollars in debt. 3. Vultures, or businesses that buy the debt from bankrupt companies, to open a legal case or sell assets. These actors
The national government has also acted as an accomplice in the Zanon conflict. President Kirchner during his presidential campaign tour in Neuquen, before his election in May 2003 said that if he was governor he would have solved the Zanon conflict within a month. Clearly, the national government with its progressive discourse has ignored the conflict so that the workers wouldnt smear Kirchners image as a president who respects human rights.
In March, the government and security forces representing the factory's old ownership have used tactics of torture and kidnapping - reminiscent of Argentina's military dictatorship (1976-1983) in which 30,000 people, mostly activists, were disappeared in the dirty war. These attacks have continued, targeting the same woman who in March was followed, kidnapped, tortured and attacked her home. On April 14, this woman was attacked in her home. While her compañero, who is a worker at Zanon went to the supermarket, a man entered the side door of her house and brutally beat her. She was hospitalized and is in critical condition. On March 4 a group of four individuals (three men and a woman) kidnapped the wife of an employee at Zanon. The forced her into a green Ford Falcon, a model of car security operatives used to kidnap activists during the dictatorship, sending a chilling reminder of the dirty war. They tortured her and cut her face, hands, arms and breasts. They gave details of how they carefully followed her and have detailed information about her movements.
Those in government are rooting for these types of attacks and they clearly have no intention of stopping them, by allowing the attackers to go free, said a press release from the factorys press commission. They added, the government of Sobisch and his right hand man, Minister Manganaro are keeping silent as accomplices in the face of these mounting threats and attacks.
The methodology of using terror to divide and defeat the working class has carried over from the military junta, 20 years in democracy. The national and provincial government has no intention to stop these attacks. They are using these tactics to intimidate and break unity among the workers inside the factory. Business interests are waiting for the workers to burn out in campaign to stop the attacks.
Meanwhile, the attacks have had the opposite effect. They have generated a furious reaction on part of the workers ad social organizations. An umbrella or network of solidarity, in Neuquen and throughout the nation, has been created. Subway workers, train workers, airline workers, other recuperated businesses and many other sectors have made it clear that the employees at Zanon will not be alone.
We only trust our compañeros to defend our safety and our factory, said a worker presenting a film by Grupo Alavío in Chilavert, a printing factory in Buenos Aires. Under this principle the workers are using to form self-defense teams to protect the workers and their families. Although, it is insufficient considering the tactics and resources that the state can use for terror, it represents a clear determination of autonomy and a political decision to defend their decisions inside the factory. In addition to producing ceramic tiles inside the factory and maintaining the plant, the workers must also ensure the safety of the compañeras/os against attacks on part of the states repressive apparatus. The workers consider that they are in a situation of war, where the workers must take on a clear offensive to defend their factories, with marches, political actions, solidarity and self-defense.
Currently, there are 410 workers at FaSinPat (Factory without Bosses), the company formed by Zanon employees. The factory has hired over 170 new workers in four years under worker control. The workers have a long-term objective of reaching a production rate 1 million square meters of ceramic tile per month, doubling current production. However, in the midst of attacks, the workers this month have been able to reach their short-term goal of increasing production from 300,000 to 400,000 meters per month.
The workers have repeated again and again that they are determined that they are going to defend their factory. We are willing to defend the factory with our lives, said a Zanon worker in Chilavert. The workers at Zanon are aware that theyre defending not only their jobs but also a political alternative for a working class free of exploitation and building new social relations.
In defense of Zanon and all worker occupied factories!
If they mess with one of us, they mess with all of us!
Permanent expropriation of all factories and companies producing under worker control!
For the release of all political prisoners!
GRUPO ALAVÍO has been producing audiovisual materials describing social conflicts and workers' struggles for almost 10 years. We consider our documentaries an intervention.
A fundamental axis for action is the application of media skills and technology. They provide tools to struggle and construct subjectivity from the interests and identity of the working class and oppressed sectors.
|Grupo Alavío - video y acción directa