Please include this in the ourmedia list, it's definetly promoting community media. Saludos. Marie Trigona

Grupo Alavío seeks university, cultural and  community-based sponsors to host screenings for our Fall Tour 2005.

Argentina’s social movements reflected in film: Worker self-management, constructing a new subjectivity

Grupo Alavío

Dates: November 3th—30th

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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 capitalism. 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. In addition, Alavío has organized community television transmissions in local barrios.

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.

Mujer, 12 min, 2004: Marcela, Carmen and Margarita were arrested by plain clothed policemen while leaving a protest outside the city legislature. Marcela and Carmen live in situation of prostitution. Margarita works as a street vendor and runs a local soup kitchen. They were protesting a misdemeanors code, targeting the poor: street vendors, prostitution and youths. For over 15 months these women along with 12 other men have been held as political prisoners.

Diana, 10min, 2004: Diana, a militant transvestite from the suburbs of Buenos Aires is arrested during a scuffle with police. Her sisters tell her story and daily struggle.

1 de Mayo (resistance of a love, 7 min, 2004: Video poem narrating the marks left behind from an encounter, love, reconstruction and resistance.

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.

The Face of Dignity, A Memory of MTD (Unemployed Workers Movement) of Solano

58 minutes, 2002

In the shambles of an economically ruined Argentina, a new practice of protest emerged, blockading roads. Since 1997, what is now known as the unemployed workers movement has taken root. Without access to the factory and utility of tools for liberation—strike, sabotage, and occupying the factory, unemployed workers sought out new practices for struggle. Today road blockades are used to prevent merchandise from arriving to the market. Through these means, unemployed workers demand the right to work and dignified salaries. One of the most important experiences that emerged in these years was Unemployed Workers Movement-MTD (Movimiento de Trabajadores Desocupados) in Solano (inside Quilmes, a city in the province of Buenos Aires). MTD's formation was based on the principles of horizontalism, direct democracy, autonomy from the state and power, and the integral political formation among members. Work, capacitation, democratic debate of ideas, sharing life in the struggle for work, dignity and social change are some of this memory's content.

Martín, 2002, 7 minutes

Synopsis: Martín, 27 years old, Argentine, brother, compañero from the barrio Florida in Solano was killed during a fight with another piquetero. The experimental narration explores inner-violence and questions the absurdity of the system’s violence that is imposed on us. "Some day, some day soon this hate among pairs, among equals

will be replaced, it will convert itself into a struggle for liberation. We will clearly identify the enemy and put an end to exploitation. That day, along with Martín on the corner, we will remember the road blockades, we will laugh and toast to freedom."

Chronicles of Freedom (organizing resistance) , 45min, 2002

June 26, 2002 two activists Darío Santillán-22 and Maximiliano Kosteki-25 from Argentina’s unemployed workers’ movement were killed during a road blockade of Pueyrredón Bridge in police repression. The repression was part of a known and announced government plan to control growing social protest. 33 were wounded from lead bullets, 160 detained and hundreds injured from rubber bullets. Unquestionably, the deaths and repression have left an unforgettable mark on the movement—generating internal debates and self-criticisms. "The specific intervention within this film deals with taking back the voice of compañeros that participated in the resistance June 26, 2002 and motivate debate," says Fabián Pierucci from Grupo Alavío. Chronicles of Freedom provides a space for protagonists and this particular audience to see themselves represented and reflecting own practice of struggle. Within interviews, the film’s protagonists generate debates surrounding the right to identity, self-defense and organizing to confront state repression. How do we continue after the state’s explicit willingness to kill to sustain system of exclusion and exploitation? How do we continue the struggle? How did we fail? How should we organize ourselves? This film intends to explore these themes, through the testimonies of compañeros that participated in struggle and audiovisual recording from various groups on the bridge.



Marie Trigona is a writer and filmmaker who forms part of video collective Grupo Alavío. Her 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

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