What is possible is just about always more than anyone expects, it can even be more than some dare hope. Challenging the capitalist consensus of "there is no alternative," journalists Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis's "The Take" reports from the occupied factories of Argentina.
When Argentina's once-wealthy economy imploded after years of free-market pillaging, foreign investors and the national elite pulled $40 billion out of the country in the middle of the night while the government froze individual savings accounts. Millions of people were financially ruined in the country with Latin America’s largest middle class. Capitalism was breaking its own rules. Free trade turned out to mean whatever financial markets dictated. For Argentina, they decreed an end to general prosperity after decades of growth.
An earthquake of popular revulsion drove out six governments in two weeks, but was unable to dislodge the state. Despite a national legacy of murderous military rule in the face of popular movements, crowds overflowed the streets smashing the banks now empty of cash with hammers, all the while singing “que se vayan todos” – they all must go. It wasn’t one party or politician rejected, but an entire political culture called simply, “el modelo.” The ruling elites made corruption a virtue by carrying out the Washington Consensus of neo-liberal austerity and capitalist brigandage. But it was the aftershocks of the uprising that got really interesting.
Starting at the Brukman shirt factory in Buenos Aires, an escalating series of factory occupations was launched by workers under the slogan "occupy, resist, produce." Over 200 occupations brought idle factories back to life despite police violence and police obstruction. Unable to withstand the uprising and with the economy in total shambles, the Argentine government relented, allowing for the temporary seizure of abandoned factories by unemployed workers.