Wednesday, February 13, 2013

[olympiaworkers] The machines of self-management have been switched on!

From Viome

After 3 days of intense mobilization, the factory of Vio.Me. has started
production under workers' control earlier today! It is the first
experiment in industrial self-management in crisis-striken Greece, and the
workers of Vio.Me. are confident this is going to be only the first in a
series of such endeavors.
The march was massive and vibrant.

The mobilization kicked off with a big
assembly of the workers and solidary organizations and individuals in
a central downtown theater on Sunday evening. Here the course of
action of the solidarity movement was discussed, and everyone had the
chance to take the microphone and to express their opinion on the workers'
Really talented artists played in support of the Vio.Me struggle.

On Monday evening there was a march in
the city center followed by a huge benefit concert with several well
known folk bands and singers. Among them Thanassis Papakonstantinou,
one of the most important contemporary Greek songwriters who is in a
sense "part of the movement" since he always supports with word
and deed the efforts of society for self-determination. The
attendance exceeded everyone's expectations. Unfortunately about a
thousand people didn't manage to get in, as the stadium was packed.
The stellar moment of the night was when the workers took the
microphone and explained their vision of another society, based on
social justice, solidarity and self-management. Five thousand people
were applauding, shouting and chanting songs of support. It was then
that everyone realized that this endeavor is bound to succeed!
One of the Vio.Me. workers addresses the people.

Early next morning the mobilization went on with a vibrant march towards
the factory. The workers were
already in their positions and the production was triumphantly
kick-started in front of the cameras of national, local and
alternative media. The workers organized a guided tour of the factory
and explained all the details of the production process to journalists
and participants in the solidarity movement.
The first batch of products produced under worker's control!

There is still a long
road ahead: The costs of production are high, access to credit is
impossible and getting a part of the market in
times of recession is uncertain. The workers are however optimistic:
The proceeds from the benefit gig and the donations of supportive
groups and individuals collected through should be
enough to keep the company afloat in the first few months. And the
support of the social movements means many of the products will be
distributed through the existing structures of social and solidary
economy. The workers of Vio.Me. are already researching new cleaning
products, based on non-toxic ecological ingredients, apt for home
use. The factory makes quality building materials (mortars, plasters,
tile adhesive paste and jointing materials, waterproof grouts, etc.)
and the workers know very well how to improve the quality even more
while lowering the production costs and hence the price. The
challenge is now to find a market for these materials, which
unfortunately are too voluminous to be transported across long
distances, and should be sold within Greece or the surrounding Balkan
The 40 workers of Vio.Me. and hundreds
of participants in the solidarity movement have for three days
lived an unforgettable experience, which however is only the start of a
long and difficult road. Now more than ever we need to be united and
strong, determined to build a new world based on solidarity, justice
and self-management!

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