Since Friday, hundreds of laid off employees in Chicago took over their workplace and are staging an indefinite sit-in. With detectable class polarization surrounding the Wall Street bailout, this form of direct action is a welcomed development. The aim of the workers: To make sure they are at the very least given their due severance pay. Employees of the family owned Republic Windows & Doors were given three days notice of their layoffs as opposed to the lawful sixty days they are entitled to. Furthermore, Republic claims that Bank of America’s cancellation of their line of credit prevented them from appropriately paying out laid off workers.
In the recent Wall Street bailout, Bank of America took home tens of millions of the taxpayers dollars. In their brittle defense, they claim that the issue of severance for Republic Window & Doors workers is not within their financial obligations. A neo-liberal economic collapse and public resentment against big banks followed by direct action occupations of factories will ring a bell with anyone familiar with the situation in Argentina in 2001. However similar the narrative may appear, one crucial radicalization is missing. President-elect Obama and the Governor of Illinois can back the workers because the aim of their sit-in strike is to receive a fair layoff process. In Argentina, the living example of worker controlled recuperated job sites such as Zanon and Hotel Bauen lend suggestions to what it possible for those on strike in Chicago.
The logic of capitalism can be challenged. The factory need not a boss nor managers to be productive and the prospect of unemployment need not be so imminent.