Documentary a Day: The Take (2004)

Director: Avi Lewis

The Take is a documentary that follows the phenomenon of worker takeovers of factories in Argentina towards the beginning of the 2000s.  The film goes through the historical conditions that lead to crisis in Argentina and how Neo-Liberal market reforms totally devastated the country long before the economic crisis that would eventually come home by the end of the decade.  The response by many workers in Argentina was to “fire the boss” and run factories and resume production as collectives, not organized along capitalist lines.  Not only is the class consciousness of the workers themselves in Argentina demonstrated in a very positive light here, but the communities in which factories like the one featured in the film tend to fully back the workers efforts.

Argentina at the time was in a political uproar, and in the midst of a Presidential election that resulted in a social democratic government that remains today.  The workers movement, as documented in this film, began to respond to the crisis by fighting back and taking matters into their own hands.  They were more than willing to fight back police attempts to retake the factory, and interviews with the factory owner reminded me of a scene in Godard’s Tout Va Bien where the boss tries to justify capitalism and property against a worker uprising (which resulted in the boss being kidnapped in that film).

The documentary does take a “libertarian socialist” stance on the phenomenon, claiming that it is an example of how spontaneous actions by workers are preferable to organizations like Communist parties, which of course Leninist would not agree with.  But all Leftists alike can acknowledge that the film does have a very optimistic tone about workers’ power.

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