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From Istanbul to Thessaloniki Occupation, Self-Management, Production

category greece / turkey / cyprus | workplace struggles | news report author Monday November 11, 2013 19:07author by Özlem Arkun - DAF (Revolutionary Anarchist Action)- Meydan Gazetesi Report this post to the editors

KAZOVA: WEAVING FREEDOM LOOP BY LOOP

They are Kazova workers, resisting since January 31 and now producing while resisting. They are the ones who are trying to change the world as well as their lives which have totally changed since they were put on leave for a week on January 31.
meydangazetesikazova.jpg


From Istanbul to Thessaloniki OCCUPATION, SELF-MANAGEMENT, PRODUCTION

KAZOVA: WEAVING FREEDOM LOOP BY LOOP

“…They are the ones who create from nothing, they are Kazova workers, they are the real gods. They have taught us resistance loop by loop.”
Beşiktaş Municipality Subcontractor Worker- Rıdvan Çalışkan

They are Kazova workers, resisting since January 31 and now producing while resisting. They are the ones who are trying to change the world as well as their lives which have totally changed since they were put on leave for a week on January 31.
They were told, they were going to take their unpaid salaries and overtime fees when they came back from leave. However when they returned from leave, they were met by the company lawyer in the factory. The bosses Ümit Somuncu and Umut Somuncu were long gone, along with 100,000 sweaters, 40 tons of yarn, all of expensive but light machines. They took out the motors and cards of the machines that they could not take with them and reversed the circuits rendering the machines unusable. During a week of leave, official reports showed a consecutive three days of absence for all workers and they were fired without compensation. Kazova workers were in a quandary that day. They went back home. However this was not an ending, but a fresh beginning in their lives for all of them.

We are no longer like in January 31. In January 31, we were desperate, unconscious and ignorant. So, we didn't trust anyone and we were afraid. So we were oppressed. But now we learned and we are continuing to learn. Our teacher is resistance. The resistance has taught us and is still teaching” says Kazova worker Bülent Ünal and adds “At first we were timid and shy. We couldn't shout slogans, we couldn't hold banners. We learned. We were gathering on Şişli Square every week and walking to the factory. But this action couldn't get our voice heard. We learned that some assets were stolen from the factory again while we were doing walks on Wednesdays. This time the thieves were the managers of the factory. On April 28, we pulled up our tent in front of the factory. From then on our resistance became a tent resistance.”

28 After setting up their resistance tents in April, they have prevented the machines, yarn and sweaters from being stolen. Meanwhile the bosses went to prosecution office to file a complaint against Kazova workers for allegedly stealing. Then security records of neighboring factories were also investigated and it turned out that the thieves were boss's own men. Regardless, there were no action on these men, but investigations were conducted on workers.

However they did not give up, did more actions, joined actions for solidarity with other workers who were fired, got beaten with batons, got smothered by gas, did not give up and continued to resist.


And they decided to seize the junk machines in the factory for their dues, they prepared. On June 30, they occupied the factory, seized the machines and assets inside. They took back what the bosses stole from them, what were already theirs.

When they wanted to get a part of their dues by selling these machines, the police stopped them, attacked and took four in custody. Then 8 workers locked themselves in the factory and started hunger strike. While Bülent Ünal, one of the workers, is talking about the period, he is describing the situation as “The Boss stealing our labor, taking away machines was no crime, but us trying to get a fraction of our dues was crime. … The police came to the factory on complaints by bosses Ümit Somuncu and Umut Somuncu. Again investigations we conducted about us. Again we were the accused. No one said anything to the bosses.

While continuing hunger strike, they continued growing the resistance. They were in solidarity with other resistances, they learned solidarity by resistance.

Kazova worker Yaşar Gülay, while telling about the difficulties they faced in the period, adds: “We know just as well that we are going to face even more problems. Economic problems, police, we will face a lot of problems. But we think we can solve all of them. Because we are not alone. Because we have changed the demands of our resistance. Our demands are not limited to our dues. This, is a resistance of honor. This is a small example of the war between the establishment and the people. And we are together with our people in this war. We are not alone and we will not be.

Kazova workers started their machines that they we producing with for year, for the first time for themselves, on August 31 and since then they are producing for themselves. On one side they are continuing their resistance in front of the factory, on the other side they are weaving their sweaters with the fire of their resistance.

When they occupied the factory they started by finishing the half complete sweaters and with the return they got from selling those in forums, they repaired the machines that their bosses broke. They have rendered three weaving machines working and they are continuing to produce. In Bülent Ünal’s words; “Now we are producing ourselves on these machines. We are producing without a boss on top of us. We will continue to produce indeed. We no longer want a boss on top who will steal our labor. Now, we will own our own labor”, they say.

They are determined not to let the parasitic and robber bosses lift. Now they are struggling not for salary and compensation, but for their future. They want the machines that the bosses stole from them, and their case against the bosses is still in court. If they win the case, they are planning to take the machines and continue to produce in their own workshops with freedom.

As they are walking on the path of cooperativization step by step, running their machines with power of producing by resisting and resisting by producing, knowing they are not alone, with the power of being organized. They are running their machines for bread, justice and freedom. And they are weaving loop by loop a world without bosses with their sweaters.*

*The sweaters made by resisting Kazovaworkers themselves are available in Taksim 26A.


VIO. ME.: RESISTING BY WEAVING SOLIDARITY

Both kneading bread, and without bread, it's us
Both taking out coal and freezing from cold, it's us
We are the ones, who have nothing, but who will take the world in their hands

Tasos Livaditis

These lines are from a declaration by Vio Me. workers who occupied their factory last February and have been running their machines for themselves. On the shore across Aegean, they have started out in a different language, but with same feelings. For bread, for justice, for freedom...

In May 2011, after their boss disappeared with the falling profit rate of the company due to economic crisis, Vio Me workers started their watch in front of the factory. The workers who were not getting their salaries and compensations while they were working, could not get their unemployment pay because the bosses disapeared without formally closing the factory. However the 400,000 Euro worth of products were still in the factory and that was their only security. So they didn't trust the Filkeram Johnson Union saying that they will get their dues when they end the watch in front of the factory, but they trusted themselves and their organization, and their watch continued for months.

They started resisting like this and in the meetings they made, they decided to run the factory as a cooperative. And prepared step by step; when they had nothing, to take everything at hand...

Producers of construction material, Vio. Me factory workers saved from their unemployment pay and called all workers and the unemployed for solidarity to buy the expansive raw materials to start producing.

Besides they had to legalize the cooperative because the state law did not let the workers to start a cooperative of their own. And the only way to do this was to come together, grow solidarity and organize.

Vio. Me workers, went to many resistances, joined many panels and talks. They told about their struggle everywhere they went. They weaved the resistance along with many groups, unions and individuals in solidarity. In Thessaloniki and Athens Vio. Me Solidarity Initiatives were set up. And a convoy including Volos and Patras was realized in Greece. This convoy set up for solidarity with Vio Me workers was joined from all of Greece, and thousands of people walked to Ministry of Work and the workers of Vio. Me presented the cooperative draft that they prepared meticulously in their meetings using directly democratic decision making process. After the meetings the workers were told that the response would take two weeks, so they went back to Thessaloniki.

But the ministry never responded. And they declared that they will occupy the factory again as they did since the beginning relying on themselves and their organized power. On the day of February 12, 2013, they have occupies the factory with everyone in solidarity and started the machines of self-management. They also have run the machines that they had run for years for the bosses, for the first time for themselves and today they are still running them.

The workers have seen various pressures and deadlocks of the state during their resistance and in these days they are dealing with the state pressure about the electric bill that the bosses left. In spite of all, Vio. Me workers and everyone in solidarity with them continue to resist.

And they know that their struggle is very critical not only because it is questioning the parasitic position of the boss, but also it is the most realistic solution to closed factories and unemployment since “This method of struggle is the method to create a world without bosses, it means the workers seize the means of production”.

And they know; “A struggle of a single union is not enough to unchain the people from capitalism and end this crisis, struggle of this union should be the struggle of all workers and worker unions”.

Vio. Me workers are continuing to resist since 2011, weaving solidarity, carrying their struggle, and since last February, resisting by producing. From all over the world, from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Germany, Serbia Turkey, Egypt, their comrades are greeting their struggle, they know they are not alone, they know, they continue to produce, to resist and they know;

…Viomihaniki Metalleutiki workers can't change the world by themselves. But if they are left alone nothing changes. This is the struggle of all workers and the unemployed. This is the struggle for all of us. We are going to win!

Creating Tomorrows Reality

As Both Kazova workers and Vio.Me workers go on the same path from self-management to cooperativization, tomorrow's reality is solidified before our eyes. As Bakunin said, they are “not only creating ideas, but the reality of the future.” By occupying, resisting and producing, they are building relationships without exploitation from today, and here and now, starting today, step by step, with endurance, loop by loop they are creating a world without bosses.

On the other side, these self-managing workers are breaking the core of not only the relationships in factories, but all relationships of ruler-ruled, exploiting-exploited. Rejecting the convention of society and creating cracks in the relationships of power and hierarchy that were thought as indispensible, starting today, creating the model of another society, a liberating society that takes its own decisions and produces practical solutions for problems.

They, the workers without boss, are sowing the seeds of freedom into the cracks they opened in capitalism, growing them with the fertility of solidarity, light of self-management and making them green by acting their dreams together. As these seeds growing in the cracks of capitalism push their roots deeper and deeper, the workers are smashing this system of exploitation and creating a new world without bosses from today.

You can find the original version in Meydan Gazetesi (Anarchist Newspaper Meydan)
http://meydangazetesi.org/gundem/2013/10/istanbuldan-se...rkun/

Related Link: http://meydangazetesi.org/gundem/2013/10/istanbuldan-se...rkun/

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