[URBANTH-L]Query: documentary filmmaker seeks venues for U.S. screening of Argentinan film

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Sat Oct 1 20:09:55 EDT 2005

Hello fellow colleagues,

I'm writing to ask for help with possible contacts and/or universities,
unions, cultural centers, art spaces, etc that may be interested in
organizing a screening on worker self-management in Argentina. I'm planning
on visiting the US in November and will be in Pittsburgh, Boston, NYC and
perhaps some other places nearby. If anyone has any ideas or questions,
please feel free to contact me.

En solidaridad,
Marie Trigona

Worker self-management, constructing a new subjectivity in Argentina
Grupo Alavío

Dates: November 8th-30th
mtrigona at msn.com
alaviocine at yahoo.com.ar

Marie Trigona is a writer and filmmaker who forms part of video collective
Grupo Alavío. For more than 10 years, Alavío has been participating in
working class struggles in Argentina and supporting them with video
materials. Currently, Alavío is working with many of Argentina's recuperated
enterprises-filming documentaries and organizing screenings for workers to
reflect on their practices of worker self-management. The group has produced
documentaries among many others about the Zanon, ceramics factory occupied
and managed by its workers since 2001, Chilavert printing factory, employee
run BAUEN Hotel, Workers' Cooperative Casique Pismanta Hotel and Spa, and La
Foresta, a meatpacking plant to start up production. In addition, the group
hold workshops in economy and video for the workers at Zanon and La Foresta.

Nationwide in Argentina, thousands of factories have closed and millions of
jobs have been lost in recent years. Today, unemployment stands at 19.5% and
underemployment at nearly 16%, meaning that over a third of workers
(approximately 5.2 million) cannot find adequate employment. Half of the
population lives in poverty. But many workers have stood up to resist
against this destiny. In Argentina, there are some 180 recuperated
enterprises employing 10,000 workers. Argentina's occupied factories and
enterprises represents the development of an advanced strategy in defense of
the working class and in resistance against neoliberalism. The experiences
of worker self-management/organization have directly challenged capitalism's
structures by questioning private property, taking back workers' knowledge,
and organizing production for objectives other than profits.

Making technologies and skills accessible and available to exploited people
by democratizing audiovisual production and language is a priority for Grupo
Alavío. Fundamental to Alavío's work is the group's integration into
struggling organizations. This allows the group to establish collective
spaces for audiovisual narration and to actively participate with activists
in social. We also strive so that materials take on a life of their own,
when they can be used by the compañeras/os in struggle as a tool for skills
training, organizing and to generate direct actions. 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. The group has produced over 50 films dealing with many social
conflicts: unemployed worker organizations, political prisoners, Mothers of
Plaza de Mayo, state repression, inner-violence, subway workers struggling
for a 6 hour workday, art and Iraq.

Most recent films about Recuperated enterprises with English subtitles:
La Foresta belongs to the workers, 52min, 2005 is Grupo Alavío's most recent
documentary. The film tells the story of a group of workers who are fighting
to recuperate La Foresta meatpacking plant in La Matanza, on the outskirts
of Buenos Aires city. Most of the factory's employees have worked their for
decades, through the good times and bad times. In 1999, the plant went bust,
a series of businessmen rented the facilities, making quick profits and then
abandoning the factory for greener pastures. In January 2005, the last such
renter, MEYPACAR, told the remaining 186 workers that the plant would be
closing temporily for renovations. MEYPACAR never reopened the plant. Grupo
Alavío's film follows the 70 workers who've put up a legal fight to keep
their factory and start up production without a boss or owner, under
worker-self management.

Thermal Spa Cacique Pismanta Cooperative, 50 min, 2005
The old Pismanta hot springs hotel, located in the Iglesia Valley at the
foot of Argentina's Andes 180 kilometers north of the city of San Juan, has
undergone a notable remake that includes a new sauna, steam bath and spa.
The improvements were make by the work of the hotel workers who formed a
cooperative and took over management when the former concessionaire went
broke. The cooperative has hired 16 workers, mostly young people and
currently employs 33 workers. The hot springs area where the hotel is
located is named after Gabriel Pismanta, the son of Chief Angualasto. When
he returned to the valley he found his tribe enslaved by the Spanish
conquistadores. He led a rebellion against the colonists and went into
hiding with his family when the defeat was imminent. The Pismanta
cooperative workers consider their undertaking another rebirth of Pismanta's
spirit. They are determined to keep their hotel running and to protect the
purity of the extraordinary hot spring waters that make it a fountain of
health in the middle of the desert. They have a good chance of remaining in
charge of the hotel, but they - and other farmers in the Iglesia Valley -
face a threat far greater than the one pose to Chief Pismanta by the
conquistadores: a big mining company high in the Andes whose destruction of
glaciers and use of cyanide to separate disseminated gold ore from rock
threatens to pollute the valley's water supply.

The BAUEN Workers' Cooperative, 20min, 2004
The Hotel BAUEN was an emblematic symbol of neoliberalism in Argentina. The
hotel was constructed in 1978, in the glory of the military dictatorship,
with government loans and subsidies. In the height of Argentina's economic
meltdown, the owners ransacked the hotel and closed the hotel's doors,
leaving the workers in the streets. In March 21, 2003 the workers decided to
occupy the hotel. The workers cleaned up the hotel and slowly began to rent
out services. With over 150 workers employed at the hotel, BAUEN hotel has
become a symbol for the working class. "With worker
self-management/organization we are in a process of creating workers in
solidarity, people who aren't only worried about a wage. Instead they're
trying to improve social conditions, culturally and politically," explains
Marcelo. BAUEN cooperative is a real example of a group of workers planting
seeds so that future generations can create new social relations. The
workers are carrying out a secret dream that we all have, the revolutionary
wish to be our own bosses.

Zanon (building resistence), 18min, 2003
In 2001 Zanon's owner fires the workers at Latin America's largest ceramics
plant in the Southern Province of Neuquén. After resisting outside the
plant, the group of workers decide collectively to recuperate and put the
plant to produce. In the film, Zanon ceramists narrate their day-to-day
work, struggles and hopes to continue production under worker control.

Mate y Arcilla, 48min, 2004
The workers of the occupied ceramics factory Zanon, share their experiences
of worker self-management. The film's protagonists describe the process of
production and social process within the factory. Grupo Alavío premiered the
film inside the factory's lunch room with the workers who gave suggestions
for the film, the film's final edit came afterward.

Zanon community experiences: various shorts, 2004
These shorts were produced as part of a video work shop for the workers.
Music in solidarity with Zanon: musicians León Gieco, Rally Barrionuevo,
Ciro (Ataque 77) and other artists performed a concert in December, 2004.
The workers organized the super event, with more than 10,000 supporters from
the community of Neuquén.

Film about gender struggle:
Compañeras, 45min, 2005
Compañeras brings together four working women who give testimony of their
lives and daily struggles. MAGDALENA, works on a small farm in the province
of San Juan. KARINA is a train conductor. REGINA lives n Villa Fiorito, she
collects cardboard from the streets, classifies and then sells it. NINA is a
militant from the 70's, during which she exiled from Argentina to Nicaragua
and participated in the Sandanista revolution. Stories that mix with other
history, women who revidicate their identity as workers, but without easing
to be mothers, without giving up the struggle, continuing to be compañeras.

Other labor struggles:
For a 6 hour workday, 20min, 2004
Reducing the workday to six hours with a salary increase for all workers
would create jobs for more than 3 million unemployed and lift many out of
poverty. Subway workers who have been organizing wildcat strikes for salary
increases have spearheaded Argentina's movement for a six-hour workday. In
2003, subway workers (in all sectors from ticket office to train drivers)
won a six-hour workday. Since this victory, subway workers, other labor
conflicts, economists and unemployed workers organizations have formed a
movement for a 6-hour workday for all workers, with increased salaries. The
campaign also demands the release of political prisoners and the definitive
expropriation of all recuperated enterprises.

Marie Trigona's articles have appeared in NACLA-Report on the Americas, Z
magazine, Znet, Clamor Magazine, Buenos Aires Herald, Left Turn, Americas
Program: Interhemispheric Resource Center, Community Media Review, among
many others. She also reports from Argentina for Free Speech Radio News.

University lectures 2003
New York University , Colombia University, Bowling Green University, Ohio
State University, University of Pittsburgh, Colgate University, Antioch
College, Ohio State University. "Alternative Media and Social Movements in
Argentina" a presentation by Marie Trigona, Grupo Alavío video showing The
Face of Dignity: memories of M.T.D. Solano, Martìn, Chronicles of Freedom
(Organizing resistance) and discussing the current roles and criticisms of
alternative media. "Exploitation and subjectivity in working class
struggles" Media and Social Change course at Antioch College showing video
"Recuperating our work" Grupo Alavío and workshop
mtrigona at msn.com
alaviocine at yahoo.com.ar

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