Today marks 14 days to save Argentina’s famed worker-occupied building, after 14 years of continuous working for the community and providing jobs for 140 people.
The building was taken over by its staff as part of the fábricas recuperadas movement during Argentina’s early 2000s financial crisis, as the original owners had dealt with their financial troubles by abandoning it. Currently hotel chain Mercoteles is claiming ownership of the site, which has become a major hub for left-wing organising in Buenos Aires. In a video, Bauen workers explained:
The group that bought the Bauen was built with the help of the dictatorship and they abandoned it without paying a million-dollar debt and leaving 70 families in the street.
Hotel Bauen co-op members are currently fighting a legal battle against a judge’s ruling last month to evict them on April 19th, based solely on the veto of right-wing President Mauricio Macri. They had previously been confident that they would beat the case overall, as they had won Senate support to expropriate the building to their care before Macri intervened in December last year. Team member Ataliva Dinani explained:
The legal route is not a utopian dream on our part, there is a mechanism in Section 83 of the Constitution which would allow deputies and senators to ratify the ruling to expropriate the Bauen, despite the veto by Macri.
The judge’s ruling backing Macri and starting the eviction process was issued on March 1st, as sessions started in Congress, and Bauen is appealing on the basis that the authorising of public force to evict them on the urging of Mercoteles is jumping the gun. The relevant section of the constitution states:
If a bill is totally or partially rejected by the Executive Power, it shall return with the objections to the originating House; the latter shall reconsider it and if it is confirmed by a majority of two-thirds of the votes, it shall be sent again to the revising House. If both Houses approve it by such majority, the bill becomes a law and is sent to the Executive Power for promulgation.
Separately, the group is also challenging the constitutionality of Macri’s veto, which they say doesn’t respect international laws on labour rights and the right to a dignified life.
But the co-op isn’t just waiting around for legal judgements, and is also holding a major conference in the building on April 11th to build support for eviction resistance, which has been booked out. They plan to hold vigils on April 18th and 19th at the doors of the hotel.