Archive for the ‘Occupying workplaces’ Category

by Tatiana Cozzarelli*

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: In a battle reminiscent of David and Goliath, some 600 food packaging workers occupied their factory in June after multinational PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest companies, abruptly closed down its Buenos Aires location. Yesterday night, it looked as if the battle would be lost by the workers. Perhaps many would bet against these working class “sudacas” (Latin Americans) who dared defy a Yankee corporate giant, the leadership of their own union, and Argentina’s right-wing government.

During the day, Judge Rodriguez Mentasty upheld an eviction order to force the workers off PepsiCo’s property, where they made products for Pepsi, Lay’s, Quaker, Doritos, Starbuck’s Ready-to-Drink, 7UP, Cheetos, Aquafina, Mountain Dew, Gatorade and Tropicana. Just hours later, police encircled the factory and a helicopter droned overhead.

A steady stream of supporters arrived to defend the plant, many of whom were militants of the Partido de Trabajadores Socialistas (PTS – Socialist Workers Party). The PepsiCo workers and allies held strong in the factory, many anticipating the worst: a violent crackdown, a definitive end to their jobs.

But as the hours wore on, the cops (more…)

1054Thanks to Barrie Sargeant for passing the following statement on to us. 

IUF (Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers Worldwide) Statement, March 3:

Four hundred workers in Dunedin, New Zealand have been fighting to save their Cadbury plant since parent company Mondelez announced on February 15 that it plans to close the facility. Cadbury Dunedin is the city’s largest private sector employer, and indirectly supports a far larger number of jobs.

The former Kraft Foods Inc. bought UK-based Cadbury in 2010 in a takeover that was financed with massive debt. When Mondelez was spun out of Kraft in 2012, that debt remained on the new company’s books. Mondelez workers around the world have been paying for the takeover with sell-offs, closures, outsourcing and downsizing to fund outsize returns to (more…)

Occupation of Paris Bakery, Dublin, 2014.

Occupation of Paris Bakery, Dublin, 2014.


In May/June 1968 French capoitalism was shaken by factory occupations, university occupations, mass militant street protests and barricades; we need this fighting spirit now

In May/June 1968 French capitalism was shaken by factory occupations, university occupations, mass militant street protests and barricades; we need this fighting spirit now

Some articles on what strategies might be a lot more useful than subordination to the capitalist Labour Party:

CTU class collaboration strategy fails workers

On the EPMU-SFWU merger and the unions we need

Which way forward for workers and unions

This is an Australian piece, but also very relevant to the NZ situation: What will it take to rebuild the unions?

When workers occupy


imagesAntonio Gramsci (1891-1937) was/is a major Marxist thinker, but also one who has been seized upon by reformers who want to smooth down the sharper edges of capitalism rather than get rid of it altogether.  Today, 79 years after his death – he died on April 27 – we are reprinting a set of articles that first appeared in issue #114 (2007) of International Socialism journal.  There are things in this which various folks at Redline might disagree with, such as the use of the term Stalinism’, but the articles in general present an analysis of Gramsci well worth reading and also an antidote to the attempt by ‘radical democrats’ to remake Gramsci in their own likeness.  We have left the IS journal introduction as it was in that publication . . .

The violent conquest of power necessitates the creation by the party of the working class of an organisation of the military type…capable of wounding and inflicting grave blows on…the bourgeois state apparatus…at the decisive moment of struggle.
– Antonio Gramsci to a fellow prisoner of Mussolini in the early 1930s

downloadDuring the lifetime of great revolutionaries the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonise them, to hallow their names while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarising it.
– Lenin, State and Revolution

Few cases better fit Lenin’s comment than that of Antonio Gramsci. Since his death on 27 April 1937 those with attitudes the polar opposite of his have attempted to appropriate his ideas. So the organisers of the conferences in London on the anniversary of his death, in 1977 and 1987, claimed the Gramsci of the Prison Notebooks as somehow justifying their own trajectory from Stalinism to Eurocommunism, and from Eurocommunism to a version of Labourism hostile to the party’s left. The main trend in ‘Gramsci studies’ since then has been, if anything, even more to the right. The name ‘Gramsci’ has gained a respectability in academic circles that ‘Lenin’ and ‘Trotsky’ will never have. Meanwhile, the revolutionary ideas of the real Gramsci are treated as (more…)

Laurence ScottElsewhere on this blog we have argued the importance of workers’ occupations when resisting workplace closures and/or mass redundancies.  Here, we run material from the frontlines of an historic occupation that took place at an engineering factory in Manchester, England in 1981.  The Laurence Scott occupation, although it took place well over 30 years ago and on the other side of the world, is of enduring significance.  The forces arraigned against each other at Laurence Scott’s are typical of most such disputes, including the tactics of the bosses, the role of the state and the role of the top union officials.  Also of enduring importance is the need for politics that are up to the requirements of these kinds of struggles.  Indeed, all the problems that confront our class in vital industrial disputes were there at Laurence Scott in 1981.

This article is in three parts, by three different authors: Dave Hallsworth, Kate Marshall and Pat Roberts.

  1. The Road to the Occupation
  2. The Occupation
  3. The Sell-Out and Lessons

SnipeThe three parts look at the background to the dispute, the politics of the union officialdom, the problems that workers faced from the start and how revolutionary-minded workers in the factory, and their supporters outside it, dealt with the problems confronting them, the evolution of the dispute, its outcome and lessons for workers who want to fight rather than just be walked over.


Part 1: The road to the occupation

by Dave Hallsworth

On 7 April 1981, Arthur Snipe, owner of Doncaster-based conglomerate Mining Supplies, announced the closure of the Manchester plant of his recently-acquired group of companies – the Laurence Scott and Electromotors group.   Mining Supplies bought up the Scott group only a few months previously for a knockdown price of ₤6.5 million.  At the time market value was estimated by independent accountants to be around ₤18.5 million.

At the time of the takeover Snipe gave the usual assurances about maintaining the LSE Group as a going concern and guaranteeing jobs and conditions.  But Snipe didn’t spend ₤6.5 million for fun.  Like all capitalists he wants to get the highest rate of return on his investment.

Following the announcement that the factory would close on 10 July the workforce began to discuss its response.  There was agreement that some action had to be taken to (more…)