Worker-run Production in Argentina, 6-years On

In Argentina, echoes of LIP? Production for Use? kibbutzim? or Mondragon? Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis in The Nation:

There were many popular responses to the crisis, from neighborhood assemblies and barter clubs, to resurgent left-wing parties and mass movements of the unemployed, but we spent most of our year in Argentina with workers in “recovered companies.” Almost entirely under the media radar, workers in Argentina have been responding to rampant unemployment and capital flight by taking over traditional businesses that have gone bankrupt and are reopening them under democratic worker management. It’s an old idea reclaimed and retrofitted for a brutal new time. The principles are so simple, so elementally fair, that they seem more self-evident than radical when articulated by one of the workers in this book: “We formed the cooperative with the criteria of equal wages and making basic decisions by assembly; we are against the separation of manual and intellectual work; we want a rotation of positions and, above all, the ability to recall our elected leaders.”

The movement of recovered companies is not epic in scale–some 170 companies, around 10,000 workers in Argentina. But six years on, and unlike some of the country’s other new movements, it has survived and continues to build quiet strength in the midst of the country’s deeply unequal “recovery.” Its tenacity is a function of its pragmatism: This is a movement that is based on action, not talk. And its defining action, reawakening the means of production under worker control, while loaded with potent symbolism, is anything but symbolic. It is feeding families, rebuilding shattered pride, and opening a window of powerful possibility.