A call for solidarity with the occupied Vio.Me factory

We continue to share, in the english language, news and reflections on the Vio.Me factory occupation-coorperative, in Thessaloniki; on this occasion, a call for solidarity, as the occupation is once again threatened with appropriation.  

The Vio.Me occupation resists as an example in europe not only of workers’ self-management, but of the needed connections that can and must exist between a self-managed factory and the broader society of which it is a part, for the former to contribute to develop non-capitalist forms of social organisation and mutual aid.

Below, we share the call of solidarity, in translation from the french, the original english language announcement of the occupation, and a recent video-news report by the unicorn riot media collective.

VIO.ME IS NOT FOR SALE

On June 13, 2019 the lands belonging to VIO.ME will be auctioned. A very low starting price increases the risk of the plant being turned into a pile of scrap metal.

We, the employees of the cooperative VIO.ME and those in solidarity who supported this struggle for eight years, we find ourselves once again in a difficult situation. A series of auctions will begin on June 13th.

By struggling to maintain jobs and support our families, we managed to self-manage the factory, under the control of the production workers, with the assembly as the decisive body.

We managed to earn a modest salary and avoided begging for the crumbs that power offers in exchange for dignity and speech.

We have succeeded in making the plant known in Europe and worldwide: 55% of our production is sold abroad.

We have managed to keep the plant running for more than six years and not let it fall apart like so many other factories. Above all, we produce products that are useful for society and that respect the environment, are of a high quality and at the same time accessible to the most modest families.

We managed to prevent the auction (and our eviction) 15 times from the factory, by interposing our bodies, to show that there is no question of dying without fighting against possible liquidation.

What we have done best is to find ourselves in the street alongside those who suffer injustice. To show that some do not lower their heads and do not retreat before a power.

We have succeeded in uniting bodies and souls, to be comrades in our common struggles so that our needs become rights.

As we have managed to keep the plant constantly open to society by organizing events that many people have enthusiastically supported.

We address you, colleague, comrade in struggle, who were with us during the actions by which we have proved that we can make possible the impossible.

To you, who were at our side in the courts and felt the tension as time passed and no one appeared as a buyer, before we left the scene, at the end of the procedure, shouting loudly ” Cops and judges hear it well, Vio.me will remain in the hands of the workers! “

We are seeking your support once again to defeat the new auction, June 13, 20, 27, September 19 and October 24, 2019.

We call you to our side, to keep alive the only example that gives us the right to say “if they can not, we can,” and so that other factories can follow our example.

Because we do not need them to be saved, they do not need us to destroy ourselves.

Workers in struggle and
those in solidarity with the Workers’ Cooperative of VIO.ME.

The factory of Vio.Me (Industrial Mineral) starts production under workers’ control!

“We are the ones who knead and yet we have no breadwe are the ones who dig for coal and yet we are cold.
We are the ones who have nothing and we are coming to take the world “Tassos Livaditis (Greek poet, 1922-1988)

IN THE HEART OF THE CRISIS, THE WORKERSOF VIO.ME. ARE AIMING FOR THE HEART OFEXPLOITATION AND PROPERTY.

With unemployment climbing to 30%, workers’ income reaching zero, sick and tired of big words, promises and more taxes, unpaid since May 2011 and currently withholding their labour, with the factory abandoned by the employers, the workers of Vio.Me. by decision of their general assembly declare their determination not to fall prey to a condition of perpetual unemployment, but instead to struggle to take the factory in their own hands and operate it themselves. Through a formal proposal dating from October 2011 they have been claiming the establishment of a workers’ cooperative under full workers’ control, demanding legal recognition for their own workers’ cooperative, as well as for all the others to follow. At the same time they have been demanding the money required to put the factory in operation, money that in any case belongs to them, as they are the ones who produce the wealth of society. The plan that was drawn up met with the indifference of the state and of trade union bureaucracies. But it was received with great enthusiasm by the world of the social movements, which, through the creation of the Open Initiative of Solidarity in Thessaloniki and afterwards with similar initiatives in many other cities, have been struggling for the past 6 months to spread the message of Vio.Me across society.

Now it’s time for worker´s control of Vio.Me.!

The workers cannot wait any longer for the bankrupt state to fulfil its gratuitous  promises of support (even the 1000-euro emergency aid promised by the Ministry of Labour was never approved by the Minister of  Finance). It’s time to see the Vio.Me. factory –as well as any other factory that is closing down, going bankrupt or laying off its workers- reopened but its workers, and not by its old or new bosses. The struggle should not be limited to Vio.Me., in order for it to be victorious it should  be generalized and spread to all the factories and businesses that are closing down, because only through a network of self-managed factories will Vio.Me be able to thrive and light the way towards a different organisation of production and the economy, with no exploitation, inequality or hierarchy.

When factories are closing down one after another, the number of the unemployed in Greece is approaching 2 million and the vast majority of the population is condemned to poverty and misery by the governing coalition of PASOK-ND-DIMAR, which continues the policies of the preceding governments, the demand to operate the  factories under workers’ control is the only reasonable response to the disaster that we experience every day, the only answer to unemployment; for that reason, the struggle of Vio.Me. is everyone’s struggle.

We urge all workers, the unemployed and all those who are affected by the crisis to stand by the workers of Vio.Me and support them in their effort to put in practice the belief that workers can make it without bosses! We call them to participate in a nationwide Struggle and Solidarity Caravan culminating in three days of struggle in Thessaloniki. We urge them to take up the struggle and organize their own fights within their working places, with direct democratic procedures, without bureaucrats. To participate in a general political strike in order to oust those who destroy our lives!
Aiming to establish worker’s control over factories and the whole of production and to organize the economy and society that we desire, a society without bosses!

It’s Vio.Me.’s time. Let’s get to work!
Paving the way for workers’ self-management everywhere!
Paving the way for a society without bosses!

Open Initiative of Solidarity and Support
to the struggle of the workers of Vio.Me.

From unicorn riot media …

Unicorn Riot brings you inside the worker-run and occupied Vio.Me. factory. We are guided through the facility by Nicole, a worker in the factory in one of our three part video series on Vio.Me. Workers have successfully self-managed the production of environmentally-friendly cleaning products for the last six years in the occupied factory Vio.Me. There are no bosses in this factory on the east side of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.

Workers have successfully self-managed the production of environmentally-friendly cleaning products for the last six years in the occupied factory Vio.Me. There are no bosses in this factory on the east side of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. Workers have been in full control since occupying the factory in 2013, two years after the workers had stopped receiving paychecks from the business due to the parent company having filed for bankruptcy.

A radical new approach to healthcare is reclaiming equal relations between specialists and patients while building a community of health from inside an occupied factory in an industrial Greek metro. The Workers’ Healthcare Center of the self-managed occupied factory Vio.Me. has provided free holistic healthcare services to the broader community for the last three years in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki. Unicorn Riot visited the healthcare center in late 2018 and spoke with Dimitra Pouliopoulou, a psychologist who volunteers at the center, to learn more.

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