The Cure for Layoffs: Fire the Boss!

Published on Thursday, May 14, 2009 by CommonDreams.org



by Naomi Klein & Avi Lewis
ナオミ クライン&アヴィ ルイス共著

In 2004, we made a documentary called The Take about Argentina's movement of worker-run businesses. In the wake of the country's dramatic economic collapse in 2001, thousands of workers walked into their shuttered factories and put them back into production as worker cooperatives. Abandoned by bosses and politicians, they regained unpaid wages and severance while re-claiming their jobs in the process.

2004年に私達はThe Take“ザテイク”と言うアルゼンチンの労働者がビジネスを経営する運動についてのドキュメンタリーフィルムを制作しました。2001年の劇的なアルゼンチン経済の崩壊の結果何千人もの労働者達が見捨てられ機能を停止している工場に侵入し労働者のコーポラティブとして工場での生産を再開しました。ボス達や政治家達に見捨てられた彼等は職場を取り戻す過程で未払いの賃金や解雇手当を手に入れました。

As we toured Europe and North America with the film, every Q&A ended up with the question, "that's all very well in Argentina, but could that ever happen here?"


Well, with the world economy now looking remarkably like Argentina's in 2001 (and for many of the same reasons) there is a new wave of direct action among workers in rich countries. Co-ops are once again emerging as a practical alternative to more lay-offs. Workers in the U.S. and Europe are beginning to ask the same questions as their Latin American counterparts: Why do we have to get fired? Why can't we fire the boss? Why is the bank allowed to drive our company under while getting billions of dollars of our money?


Tomorrow night (May 15) at Cooper Union in New York City, we're taking part in a panel that looks at this phenomenon, called Fire the Boss: The Worker Control Solution from Buenos Aires to Chicago.


We'll be joined by people from the movement in Argentina as well as workers from the famous Republic Windows and Doors struggle in Chicago.


It's a great way to hear directly from those who are trying to rebuild the economy from the ground up, and who need meaningful support from the public, as well as policy makers at all levels of government. For those who can't make it out to Cooper Union, here's a quick round up of recent developments in the world of worker control.



In Argentina, the direct inspiration for many current worker actions, there have been more takeovers in the last 4 months than the previous 4 years.


One example: 一つの例

- Arrufat, a chocolate maker with a 50 year history, was abruptly closed late last year. 30 employees occupied the plant, and despite a huge utility debt left by the former owners, have been producing chocolates by the light of day, using generators.
With a loan of less than $5,000 from the The Working World, a capital fund/NGO started by a fan of The Take, they were able to produce 17,000 Easter eggs for their biggest weekend of the year. They made a profit of $75,000, taking home $1,000 each and saving the rest for future production.

アルンファットと言う50年の歴史のあるチョコレートメーカーは昨年の暮れ突然閉鎖しました。30人の従業員は工場を占拠し、元の経営者が残した巨額の電気、ガス、水道代にも拘らず発電機を使いながら日の光でチョコレートの生産をしています。“ザ テイク”のファンによって始められたNGO投資財団“ザ ワーキング ワールド”からの5千ドル以下の借金で彼等は1万7千個のイースター エッグスを一年中で最も大切な週末の為に生産する事が出来ました。彼等は7万5千ドルの利益を得一人当たり千ドルの収入を得残りを将来の生産の為に貯金しました。

UK  ユナイテド キングダム 連合王国(英国の事)

- Visteon is an auto parts manufacturer that was spun off from Ford in 2000. Hundreds of workers were given 6 minutes notice that their workplaces were closing. 200 workers in Belfast staged a sit-in on the roof of their factory, another 200 in Enfield followed suit the next day.


Over the next few weeks, Visteon increased the severance package to up to 10 times their initial offer, but the company is refusing to put the money in the workers' bank accounts until they leave the plants, and they are refusing to leave until they see the money.

Ireland アイルランド

- A factory where workers make legendary Waterford Crystal was occupied for 7 weeks earlier this year when parent company Waterford Wedgewood went into receivership after being taken over by a US private equity firm.


The US company has now put 10 million Euros in a severance fund, and negotiations are ongoing to keep some of the jobs.


Canada カナダ

As the Big Three automakers collapse, there have been 4 occupations by Canadian Auto Workers so far this year. In each case, factories were closing and workers were not getting compensation that was owed to them. They occupied the factories to stop the machines from being removed, using that as leverage to force the companies back to the table - precisely the same dynamic that worker takeovers in Argentina have followed.


France フランス

In France, there's been a new wave of "Bossnappings" this year, in which angry employees have detained their bosses in factories that are facing closure. Companies targeted so far include Caterpillar, 3M, Sony, and Hewlett Packard.


The 3M executive was brought a meal of moules et frites during his overnight ordeal.



A comedy hit in France this spring was a movie called "Louise-Michel," in which a group of women workers hires a hitman to kill their boss after he shuts down their factory with no warning.


A French union official said in March, "those who sow misery reap fury. The violence is done by those who cut jobs, not by those who try to defend them."


And this week, 1,000 Steelworkers disrupted the annual shareholders meeting of ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel company. They stormed the company's headquarters in Luxembourg, smashing gates, breaking windows, and fighting with police.


Poland ポーランド

Also this week, in Southern Poland, at the largest coal coking producer in Europe, thousands of workers bricked up the entrance to the company's headquarters, protesting wage cuts.


US 米合衆国

And then there's the famous Republic Windows and Doors story: 260 workers occupied their plant for 6 world-shaking days in Chicago last December. With a savvy campaign against the company's biggest creditor, Bank of America ("You got bailed out, we got sold out!") and massive international solidarity, they won the severance they were owed. And more - the plant is re-opening under new ownership, making energy-efficient windows with all the workers hired back at their old wages.


And this week, Chicago is making it a trend. Hartmarx is 122-year old company that makes business suits, including the navy blue number that Barack Obama wore on election night, and his inaugural tuxedo and topcoat.


The business is in bankruptcy. Its biggest creditor is Wells Fargo, recipient of 25 billion public dollars in bailout money. While there are 2 offers on the table to buy the company and keep it operating, Wells Fargo wants to liquidate it. On Monday, 650 workers voted to occupy their Chicago factory if the bank goes ahead with liquidation.


To be continued...   続く………….

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, now out in paperback. Her earlier books include the international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies; and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). To read all her latest writing visit www.naomiklein.org.

Avi Lewis Avi is a filmmaker, journalist, and the host of Fault Lines on Al Jazeera English.

ejnews:今日は不況が続く中、世界中の労働者達が工場の占拠と平等な職場作りとによって破産した事業を復興させ搾取の無い雇用を達成していると言うニュースでした。此の様な会社の労働者による平等な参加と経営は過去にはロバートオーエンRobert Owenやプルードン、クロポツキン等によっても提唱されていてオーエンのcooperative movementコワポラティヴムーブメント(協同組合、コープ運動)は有名ですね。
 アメリカでは明日、月曜日(何時も5月最後の月曜日)はMemorial Dayメモリアルデイと言って戦争で亡くなった兵士を追悼する日で休みです。戦争で無くなられた人々の事を思うと、この様な祝日を作る必要の無い社会を我々は如何して未だ作り出せないのか非常に残念に思います。
処で、日本の自民党のある委員会の議員が自衛行為として敵を先制攻撃pre-emptive strikes against enemy出来る様に提案していると言うニュースが伝わっていますが、トンでもない話です。戦争は常に自衛と言う言い訳で始められると言う歴史上の事実を絶対に忘れてはいけないと思います。

Good Luck and Sweet Dreams !

にほんブログ村 海外生活ブログ アメリカ情報へ にほんブログ村 英語ブログ 時事英語へ にほんブログ村 英語ブログへ にほんブログ村 ニュースブログ 海外ニュースへ


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和久希世さん、コメントありがとうございます。此の記事を書いたナオミ クラインは“ザ ショック ドクトリン”と言うネオリベラル資本主義を批判したベストセラーの著書ですが、彼女の“ザ テイク”と言うアルゼンチンの労働者達が破産した工場を自分達の経営する工場として変えていくドキュメンタリー映画では、工場で働く労働者皆が過去にアナキスト達が提唱した平等で同じ賃金を得る支配者のいない共同体システムで、政府から国民の税金を幾ら注ぎ込まれても資本家の経営では大赤字を出し続けて破産した会社を経営者無しで成功させると言う話でした。或る女性の労働者が『ボスがいなくなると皆平等な賃金を貰い赤字も出ず工場を外国に移転する人用も無い、同じ方法で国の政治も出来るると思うよ。』と言っていました。アルゼンチンでは最近200社が労働者によって支配者のいない経営をし成功しているとの事です。ソ連やキューバ型の中央集権社会主義では無く、この様にコワップ型の労働者による経営で所有者のいない平等な、底辺から上に向かっていく様な、そして個々の共同体が横のつながりで結びつき大きな社会を有機的に組織すると言う社会が今までの国際金融資本機関独裁社会に変る社会の可能性が在ります。



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先日憲法改正を主張しているブログのコメント欄に書きました事を、このブログにもコピーしましたが、あのコメント欄は、コメントの応酬がいまだに続いており、年がいもなく私も、いまだに反論を繰り返してきています。 双方とも、最後に残ったコメントが一番印象深くなる