Brazil: Manifesto in Defence of Flasko under workers’ control

The Flasko factory which has been occupied and run under workers’ control for the past eight years needs your help. We are publishing a manifesto produced by the workers of the factory that we ask you to sign your name to. Please take part in the solidarity campaign and spread the word.

For the immediate declaration of Flasko, the Workers’ Village and the Factory of Sports and Culture as entities of social interest

June 12, 2011, marked the eighth anniversary of the occupation under workers’ control of the Flasko factory in Brazil. Faced with the capitalist crisis and the decision of the bosses to close the factory, the workers mobilised and organised themselves to keep it open as part of their struggle to defend jobs. They occupied the factory and took over control.

Without bosses and under workers’ control, the working week was reduced to 30 hours without loss of pay.

Without bosses, the workers and other families from the area organised the occupation of land adjacent to the factory where they build the Workers’ and People’s Village which provides housing for more than 560 families.

Without bosses, the workers reactivated an abandoned warehouse where they started the “Sports and Culture Factory”, where they organise cinema screenings, theatre plays, judo lessons, football, dance and other cultural activities, as well as training courses.

From the beginning the workers called for the nationalisation of the factory under workers’ control, taking into account the debts that the bosses had accumulated with the State.

From the beginning the workers joined the wider struggle of the working class. They defended agrarian reform together with the landless agricultural labourers; they were part of the struggle for housing with the workers in the cities; and they defended the rights and the struggle against the bosses in dozens of other factories. They participated in the struggle to defend public services such as healthcare and education, together with the people and the public sector workers.

They participated in the struggle for the renationalisation of the railways with the railway workers, for the renationalisation of the Vale do Rio Doce mining company and the Embraer aerospace manufacturer, and for 100% state ownership of the Petrobras oil company.

The Flasko workers organised, as part of the Occupied Factories Movement and with the Cipla and Interfibra workers, eight caravans to the capital Brasilia demanding the nationalisation of the factory.

The workers organised countless conferences, meetings and national and international gatherings, as well as demonstrations all over Brazil, always discussing and sharing their experiences with their class brothers and sisters.

Today, they are campaigning for the Sumaré-SP regional government to declare the Factory and adjacent areas, as being of “social interest”, as a step towards the expropriation of the previous owner, so that the factory can be nationalised under workers’ control.

For this reason, we are calling on all workers’ and student organisations, parties and political organisations as well as personalities, to help the workers of Flasko to continue their struggle until victory, by signing this manifesto and organising activities in support of the Declaration of Flasko as an entity of Social Interest. This would allow for the legalisation of the more than 560 houses in the Workers’ Village, and the transformation of the Sports and Culture Factory into a genuine state-owned sports and culture centre, and, above all, the nationalisation of the factory, so that it would become state-owned, under the control of the workers who have resisted for eight years with their sweat and struggle.

Sumaré, April 25, 2011

See list of signatures here

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Original Portuguese appeal

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