Despite protests from creditors the Zanon ceramics factory in Neuquen Argentina has won a historic three extension of its license to operate as a workers cooperative. The threat of eviction has temporarily been lifted and the factory continues to grow and increase output under workers control.
The creditors (who include the World Bank) can demand an auction of the equipment inside the factory at any time and the license can still be revoked without warning but most are seeing this as a humiliation for Argentina’s ruling elite.
The Zanon occupation is the most overtly political of all in the occupied factories movement and the authorities know that eviction is just not an option. Even if they could remove the 500 workers armed with catapults and homemade ceramic ammunition they would also have to contend with the local community.
The spirit of the occupation has extended far beyond the factory walls with the workers contributing to building projects for local schools and the construction of a health clinic in a nearby poor neighbourhood. When Socialist Worker visited the occupation last year the local teachers were on strike and blockading all the main roads in the area. They were just one of the groups who mobilized around ten thousand local people to protect the factory during the last eviction attempt in 2003.