Dario Azzellini

Occupy, Resist, Produce – Officine Zero

Officine Zero, former RSI (Rail Service Italia) was dedicated to the maintenance and repair of sleeping cars. When in December 2011 Italian train services decided to stop the night train service and invest in fast track trains, RSI closed. Some 20 workers out of the almost 60 employees strong work force did not accept the closing and took up the struggle. They found support among the activists from the nearby social center, “Strike.” In February 2012 they occupied their work place. Together they started a laboratory on reconversion, organizing public assemblies attended by hundreds of people. read more »

Occupy, Resist, Produce – VIOME

VIOME is a building materials factory in Thessaloniki, Greece, which was abandoned by its owners at the peak of the Greek crisis, in 2011. Subsequently it was occupied by its workers, and has been producing natural detergents under workers' control since 2013. Despite being an emblematic and inspiring struggle, today VIOME is under imminent threat of eviction. read more »

Crisis and workers' control: Speech at the Athens Biennale 2015-2017

Dario Azzellini is an assistant professor for sociology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

He has published several books, essays and documentaries. His latest books are 'An Alternative Labour History: Worker Control and Workplace Democracy' (Zed Books 2015) and together with Marina Sitrin 'They Can’t Represent Us. Reinventing Democracy From Greece to Occupy' (Verso 2014). read more »

Take back the factory: worker control in the current crisis

During the first decade of the current century, factory occupations and production under workers’ control seemed to be limited mainly to South America, with a few exceptions in Asia. It was beyond the imagination of most workers and scholars in industrialized countries that workers would or could occupy their companies and run them on their own. Nevertheless, the crisis that started in 2008 put workers’ control back on the agenda in the northern hemisphere. In the course of the current crisis, factory occupations occurred throughout Europe, especially in France, Italy and Spain, but also in other countries, including Switzerland and Germany, and in the US and Canada. read more »

Workers' control at Fralib: the brand with the Elephant

In France there are two cases of recuperated factories occupied by workers during the current crisis. One is the Pilpa Ice Cream Factory, which just started producing organic ice cream and yoghurt as a worker-owned and administered company after a long-lasting struggle. The other is the Fralib Tea Factory. Both were closed by their huge multinational owners to relocate production. read more »

Occupy, Resist, Produce - RiMaflow

In February 2013 former Maflow workers occupied the plant, together with precarious workers and workers from a nearby factory, which had been shut down after fraudulent bankruptcy. The 20 workers participating full time in the project completely reinvented themselves and the factory. They started recycling computers and electronic household devices, opened a bar and cafeteria, organize a flea market and cultural activities with the community, and have built alliances with local organic agricultural producers and together they have created a group for solidarity shopping. They plan to transform the factory into a plant for industrial recycling. read more »

5 Factories – Worker Control in Venezuela

In their second film regarding political and social change in Venezuela, after “Venezuela from Below”, Azzellini and Ressler focus on the industrial sector in “5 Factories–Worker Control in Venezuela“. The changes in Venezuela's productive sphere are demonstrated with five large companies in various regions: a textile company, aluminum works, a tomato factory, a cocoa factory and a paper factory. The workers are struggling for different forms of co- or self-management supported by credits from the government. “The assembly is basically governing the company”, says Rigoberto López from the textile factory “Textileros del Táchira” in front of steaming tubs. And machine operator Carmen Ortiz summarizes the experience as follows: “Working collectively is much better than working for someone else–working for someone else is like being a slave to someone”.

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Ours to master and to own

From the dawning of the industrial epoch, wage earners have organized themselves into unions, fought bitter strikes, and have gone so far as to challenge the very premises of the system by creating institutions of democratic self-management aimed at controlling production without bosses. Looking at specific examples drawn from every corner of the globe and every period of modern history, this pathbreaking volume comprehensively traces this often under-appreciated historical tradition. read more »

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