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BAUEN, day 10

Prayers and WhatsApp messages Irrazábal asks for the floor: “Aware of how late it is, and of the imminent possibility of the loss of parliamentary status of a half-sanctioned bill that comes unanimously approved by the Chamber of Deputies, I am going to request that the work plan be modified.” The proposal is received with murmurs and agitation by the opposition Senators, but the vote takes place, after a certain stalling by Michetti. The result is favorable: 42 to 17.… Read More »BAUEN, day 10

BAUEN, day 9

The budget was voted on after 9:00 PM, with less than three hours remaining for the expropriation to be approved. Meanwhile, night had fallen, and people were waiting and worrying outside. Inside, they moved on to deal with the proposals from the floor, and the first was a bill about wetlands. The debate on this bill took time. The nervousness grew. There were several bills from the floor to be dealt with, and it was already obvious that there was… Read More »BAUEN, day 9

BAUEN, day 8

Legislative dueling Outside Congress, people were gathering to support the workers. The sun blazed down, adding one more difficulty. The tension in the air was palpable, and as more news arrived, addressing and approving expropriation seemed further away. At one point, those present were surprised to see a sky-blue and white flag rise slowly up the flagpole of the legislative palace, because instead of the warrior sun of the official flag, it had the word BAUEN painted on it. As… Read More »BAUEN, day 8

BAUEN, day 7

That relationship with Irrazábal was strategic. The Senator directed his whole team, especially his niece, Silvina Irrazábal, to work with the BAUEN cooperative and its expropriation bill. “Since the day I met her and we had the first meeting, Silvina talked with me daily,” relates Tonarelli. This is how meetings were organized with Alfredo Martínez, a radical from Santa Cruz, and with Juan Manuel Abal Medina, Senator from the Front for Victory for the province of Buenos Aires. Martínez was… Read More »BAUEN, day 7

BAUEN, day 6

The question for the cooperative was how to overcome this impasse, in which the law was half-approved (only by the Chamber of Deputies). It was mainly a matter of finding the right people in the Senate to talk with about moving towards passing the bill. The person who provided the starting point was Deputy Omar Plaini, then the administrative secretary of the recently unified General Confederation of Labor and leader of the newspaper-sellers union. Through Marcelo Amodio, director of the… Read More »BAUEN, day 6

BAUEN, day 5

A complicated year The expropriation bill presented by Deputy Carlos Heller and merged with four similar bills had recently been approved at a particularly delicate time for the country, when the [left-leaning] Kirchner government was on the way out, and [right-wing] Mauricio Macri was about to win the day in the second round of Presidential elections. From the point of view of a recovered business like the BAUEN, the ideal thing would have been to end up approving the law… Read More »BAUEN, day 5

BAUEN, day 4

Protesters flowed in and out. Workers from the hotel or from other cooperatives and recovered businesses, members of the Argentine Federation of Self-Managed Worker Cooperatives (FACTA), supporters, and activists in solidarity with the BAUEN rotated to assure a permanent presence throughout the whole day, as news and rumors circulated among them. Police watched over the scene and rerouted traffic on Entre Ríos. Congress was blockaded, and there was little possibility of getting much closer to the place where part of… Read More »BAUEN, day 4

BAUEN, day 3

The Cinderella of expropriation At the corner of the National Congress that leads to the Senate Chamber, at the intersection of Entre Ríos and Hipólito Yrigoyen streets, a group of around two hundred people blocked two lanes of traffic, holding a long sign. Some of the protesters wore a black t-shirt with white lettering, the back of which read: “Put on the BAUEN t-shirt.” Off to the side, dangling from the bars that protected the Parliament from the crisis of… Read More »BAUEN, day 3

BAUEN, day 2

About this book This book is a collective creation. Its authors, those of us who drafted it, did interviews, and collected material, are members of the Open Faculty Program of the University of Buenos Aires, a university extension team that has studied businesses recovered by workers since 2002. Emiliano Balaguer and Desiderio Alfonso worked on the documentary part and on putting together the body of information that established the core of the text, but the rest of the team collaborated… Read More »BAUEN, day 2

BAUEN, day 1

Introduction This is a story that does not have an end yet. The BAUEN hotel is possibly one of the best-known experiences of labor self-management in the world, a symbol of the ability of the workers to not only manage a company, but to take their fate into their own hands. It does not have an end, because the story is not over. As this book went to press, a new eviction order against the cooperative, issued by judge Paula… Read More »BAUEN, day 1