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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Work, Dignity & Social Change

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. Members of four MTDs, autonomous groups of unemployed workers, discuss their hopes, dreams and accomplishments in building a better life for themselves in the aftermath of the country's economic collapse in 2001. We learn about a newly formed bakery, communal kitchen, community garden, and other projects that enable community residents to supply many of their own needs. One of the tools that they use are neighborhood assemblies. The video contains eight sections, each of which can be used to facilitate discussions. Topics include: how the movements got started; building and improving local education and health services; autonomy and horizontality (absence of hierarchy); race, gender and diversity; overcoming government repression; new social relations.

The suggested discussion questions for use by workshop facilitators will resonate with many of us: "Are we autonomous in the sense of being able to make our own decisions and set our own priorities? What dependencies do we have and how might we work toward self-sufficiency? Can we transform the world without taking power?"

The video is available as a free download at: and can also be obtained as a cd from the same source, or write Matt Feinstein, 4 King St, Worcester, MA 01610. Donations welcome!

For background on Argentina, see Betsy Bowman and Bob Stone, "Latin America's New Solidarity Economy: Argentina's Crisis," GEO # 70.