(thetake.org) In suburban Buenos Aires, thirty unemployed auto-parts workers walk into their idle factory, roll out sleeping mats and refuse to leave.
All they want is to re-start the silent machines. But this simple act – The Take – has the power to turn the globalization debate on its head.
In the wake of Argentina’s dramatic economic collapse in 2001, Latin America’s most prosperous middle class finds itself in a ghost town of abandoned factories and mass unemployment. The Forja auto plant lies dormant until its former employees take action. They’re part of a daring new movement of workers who are occupying bankrupt businesses and creating jobs in the ruins of the failed system.
But Freddy, the president of the new worker’s co-operative, and Lalo, the political powerhouse from the Movement of Recovered Companies, know that their success is far from secure. Like every workplace occupation, they have to run the gauntlet of courts, cops and politicians who can either give their project legal protection or violently evict them from the factory.
The story of the workers’ struggle is set against the dramatic backdrop of a crucial presidential election in Argentina, in which the architect of the economic collapse, Carlos Menem, is the front-runner. His cronies, the former owners, are circling: if he wins, they’ll take back the companies that the movement has worked so hard to revive.
Armed only with slingshots and an abiding faith in shop-floor democracy, the workers face off against the bosses, bankers and a whole system that sees their beloved factories as nothing more than scrap metal for sale.
With The Take, director Avi Lewis, one of Canada’s most outspoken journalists, and writer Naomi Klein, author of the international bestseller No Logo, champion a radical economic manifesto for the 21st century. But what shines through in the film is the simple drama of workers’ lives and their struggle: the demand for dignity and the searing injustice of dignity denied.
Please support the filmmakers by buying this documentary on DVD.
Also there´s a book published in the subject:
The Silent Change, by journalist Esteban Magnani, has been translated to English. This new edition features a foreword by Working World co-founder Brendan Martin that situates the movement in the context of the current financial crisis.
Esteban Magnani was a key member of the crew that made The Take, and made extensive use of transcripts of the 240 hours of footage we shot for the film in writing this book. He has also been a member of The Working World since day one, and still works daily with recovered companies, helping them produce more and hire new workers through solidarity financing.
This new edition of The Silent Change includes Esteban’s update on the persistence and continued growth of democratic workplaces in Argentina. For anyone wanting to learn more about the extraordinary movement portrayed in the film, this book is a must-read!
Click to buy The Silent Change on amazon.com