The idea that I have for this personal blog is not only to post personal writings but to use as a space to promote the work of collectives I am involved with. This blog originally started as Grupo Alavío’s blog, to help us with another way to update the group’s web contact. Here’s a bit about Alavío and our work. If anyone has any questions or comments please contact us at [email protected] or www.alavio.org
For more than 10 years, Alavío has been participating in working class struggles in Argentina and supporting them with video materials. Currently, Alavío is working with many of Argentina’s recuperated enterprises—filming documentaries and organizing screenings for workers to reflect on their practices of worker self-management. The group has produced documentaries among many others about the Zanon, ceramics factory occupied and managed by its workers since 2001, Chilavert printing factory, employee run BAUEN Hotel, Workers’ Cooperative Casique Pismanta Hotel and Spa, and La Foresta, a meatpacking plant to start up production. In addition, the group hold workshops in economy and video for the workers at Zanon and La Foresta.
Making technologies and skills accessible and available to exploited people by democratizing audiovisual production and language is a priority for Grupo Alavío. Fundamental to Alavío’s work is the group’s integration into struggling organizations. This allows the group to establish collective spaces for audiovisual narration and to actively participate with activists in social. We also strive so that materials take on a life of their own, when they can be used by the compañeras/os in struggle as a tool for skills training, organizing and to generate direct actions. Many times the factory occupied by workers, the changing room of transport workers organizing a wildcat strike, land squat or barrio is the first place where we premier our documentaries. The group has produced over 50 films dealing with many social conflicts: unemployed worker organizations, political prisoners, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, state repression, inner-violence, subway workers struggling for a 6 hour workday, art and Iraq. In addition, Alavío has organized community television transmissions in local barrios.
Avío m, preparation, provision; picnic lunch; money advanced (to miners or laborers); pl Inf. equipment, tools. During beginning of the 20th century in Argentina laborers often carried an avío with what provisions they needed when travelling in the countryside. They would travel from harvest to harvest to work on different plantations and farms. These workers, many who were immigrants, carried a tradition of free worker or working only when they needed to. These workers were called crotos (English translation Hobos). They got this name because a government official named Croto passed a law to permit these workers to ride free on cargo trains. Along with food and clothes, many crotos carried inside their avío anarchist literature and newspapers. They would distribute these materials among fellow workers to raise consciousness of exploitation by the boss and to organize.
Al in Spanish means to the. Alavío is a call out to take to the road. Summon to action. Call for workers to strike.
Grupo Alavío is a direct action and video collective working in Argentina. Since the early 1990’s the group has been producing audiovisual material as a tool to create a new working class subjectivity. As a video collective we become available to the demands of organizations in struggle and often times our videos take on a life of their own. Many times the factory occupied by workers, the changing room of transport workers organizing a wildcat strike, land squat or barrio is the first place where we premier our documentaries. Alavío uses the camera as a political organ and as a tool, which the protagonists in the films appropriate and use to organize. We use videos as the anarchist crotos used the avío to organize and generate actions against the boss, state, macho, and church.