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BAUEN, day 78

Chapter 11

Resistance and self-management

The eviction ordered by judge Paula Hualde unleashed a wave of solidarity with the BAUEN workers that grew endlessly from then on. If there is one thing the recovery of the downtown hotel had, it was solidarity. It received all kinds of groups of popular struggle in its rooms and its hospitality, which led to that open-door policy coming back toward them in the difficult times that followed.

The news of the eviction order dropped like a bomb that, instead of destroying, built a barrier of solidarity that crossed very diverse political and social sectors, even at the international level. The workers’ BAUEN had already turned into a global point of reference for self-management. Immediately, a press conference was organized that overflowed the Utopia bar with were union representatives, political parties, recovered businesses, human-rights organizations, university students, and intellectuals.

The hotel workers felt that this was not merely about political relationships, especially those who had worked for the Iurcoviches, like Arminda, who declared that (she had worked) “with that business for twenty years, and I know those people very well. Right now, we don’t have anything to negotiate with them, because the BAUEN is ours, it’s going to be ours, even if they don’t like it.” And the answer was a large mobilization, close to 5,000 people, which, logically, far exceeded the members of the BAUEN cooperative, that loudly addressed Commercial Court n.° 9, a few blocks from the hotel. This visit would be repeated several times over the years.

The day the workers were meant to leave the building, August 21, 2007, a massive concert was organized in the doorway, on Callao avenue, where various musical groups played, hundreds of supporters turned out, and at least one side street was closed off. There, an assembly was improvised that was extended the whole length of the avenue, in which Fabio Resino asked the crowd if were ready to support the BAUEN:

Compañeros: The BAUEN workers, like so many workers, where we’re able, make decisions in assembly. So, we’re going to transform this act into a big assembly, and we want to ask you if you’re ready to stand together with the workers to the end. Raise your hands if you agree, compañeros! Long live the struggle of the BAUEN! Long live the businesses managed by their workers!

Of course, the answer was unanimous. The eviction order was not carried out, and the cooperative appealed the measure. That gave the workers a certain peace, while the dispute was still in the judicial sphere.


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