Latin America

By Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis

On March 19, 2003, we were on the roof of the Zanon ceramic tile factory, filming an interview with Cepillo. He was showing us how the workers fended off eviction by armed police, defending their democratic workplace with slingshots and the little ceramic balls normally used to pound the Patagonian clay into raw material for tiles. His aim was impressive. It was the day the bombs started falling on Baghdad.

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By Maria Trigona

Inside the BAUEN Hotel, one of Argentina's worker-run workplaces, janitors, repairmen, receptionists and maids sit in an assembly with worried but determined faces and sheets of paper in hand. Each of the workers, some of whom have been working at the hotel since it was built in 1978, hold a court ordered eviction notice, a judicial document notifying the workers they must abandon the hotel or police will force them to leave.

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By Betsy Bowman & Bob Stone, GEO Collective

This Occasional Paper by editor/activists at Grassroots Economic Organizing is meant to stimulate dialog on the future of the grassroots economic democracy movement. This is a fully re-written update of an essay available since 1994 to GEO readers. We hope for wide use of this text, with attribution to the authors and GEO. Please email us with ideas/dialogue.

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By Betsy Bowman and Bob Stone, GEO Collective

The 6th World Social Forum held January 24th to 29th in Caracas was the highlight of our recent tour of newly democratized enterprises in Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela. We had been to the first regional social forum, the European Social Forum, in 2002. Our first World Social Forum was at once festival and oversized university, all aspiring to be the "world parliament in exile." We made our way to many stuffy rooms around town, some calmed by academics, others apulse with the energy of pioneers.

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Yes! Magazine, Winter 2008 Issue
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By Bob Stone (Based on dispatches by Marie Trigona)

Argentina's recuperated business movement held a fair-trade festival September 28, 2007 in support of the Bauen, a hotel in downtown Buenos Aires run by its workforce as a cooperative since 2003. There was indeed something to celebrate: an order evicting the co-op from the hotel had been temporarily suspended.

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By Betsy Bowman and Bob Stone

We rarely inquire about a commodity's origins in wage labor. This is especially true of restaurant meals and resort vacations. Our enjoyment might be undercut were we confronted, for example, with the stifling heat and indignity borne at Disneyland by the person in the Mickey Mouse suit. The suit's fixed smile compels its wearer to endure tail-pulling by pre-teens lest the spell of "being with Mickey" is broken and a refund is demanded.

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A VIDEO REVIEW by Frank Lindenfeld, GEO Collective

This video is about the struggles and successes of the unemployed worker movements in Agentina, intended for use by social change workshops. It is a useful complement to Naomi Klein and Avi Lewisâ??s film, The Take, about the recovered factories movement, where workers take over abandoned factories and re-start production under worker self-management. The dialogue in Work, Dignity & Social Change is in Spanish, with English subtitles.

By Ethan Miller, GEO Collective

Consider this: thousands of diverse, locally-rooted, grassroots economic projects are in the process of creating the basis for a viable democratic alternative to capitalism. It might seem unlikely that a motley array of initiatives such as worker, consumer, and housing cooperatives, community currencies, urban gardens, fair trade organizations, intentional communities, and neighborhood self-help associations could hold a candle to the pervasive and seemingly all-powerful capitalist economy.

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