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BAUEN, day 48

The mere existence of an occupied hotel in the very center of the city of Buenos Aires quickly turned the BAUEN into a center of political and union activities. The MNER itself started to use the rooms for meetings and assemblies. October 11, 2003, for example, a debate was held about legislation for recovered businesses, led by “the Basque” Murúa, José Abelli, and lawyer Diego Kravetz (already a Deputy-elect), to which various legal experts were invited, including some who were not so friendly to social movements, like Daniel Sabsay. The discussion took place in the auditorium, and to get there, it was still necessary to cross a space where boards covered part of the entryway and hid parts under repair or waiting to be repaired.

As of then, it was no longer be members of the national business class, or military brass, or politicians representating the interests of big corporations who would give life to the hotel, or who would fill their rooms to seal strategic alliances. Now it would be social and popular organizations that would be welcomed in the rooms and meeting spaces in the building on Callao. The BAUEN cooperative began to take a central postion in the political life of the country and the city, which was just the reverse of the position of the boss-owned Bauen, which had been complicit in the dictatorship and menemismo.

Work also began on the rehabilitation of the bar. The old Bauen had a bar on the ground floor, but without a door to the street. That bar came back into service for the activities that had begun within the establishment, but boards still prevented access to Callao Avenue. Collectives began to meet there. For example, the group that was forming the magazine Question Latin American (a publication based in Venezuela) and which later rented offices in the hotel for a time, or the program UBACyT of Transfer Scientific-Technological for Recovered Businesses, formed, among others, by the Open Faculty Program of the School of Philosophy and Letters and representatives of other schools within the UBA, like Engineering and Social Sciences. Workers from the former Zanon and current FASINPAT (Factory Without Bosses) collaborated by donating ceramics, and in the middle of 2004 the bar was opened to the street, which was another source of revenue for the cooperative on the long path to rebuilding work. The bar was called Utopia.


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