The Take
October 17, 2005

Tonight I wandered down the street to take in the "Monday Movie", a weekly by-donation movie, with a friend. The theatre is adjoined to the mental hospital, so there was an interesting mix of activist-types, homeless, and complete nutters.

I'd heard about "The Take" (NFB, woot!!!) a while ago, given my interest in co-ops and documentaries in general. It's a film by Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein, which showed the struggle of Argentinian workers to revive their bankrupt factories after the collapse of their IMF-sponsored economy. Given that their backwages were nearly as great as the factories they occupied, cancelling debts with property seemed positively reasonable. The major struggle however, was establishing their legitamacy in the courts -- which ultimately came to courting the legislators.

Thinking about co-operatives and why they haven't taken off, I start once again to wonder if economic hardship is a requirement for their success (or at the very least, a convenient kicker). When times are good, people are easily lulled into submission; content with their lot, only the greedy seem to get ambitious. Say what you will about different economic models, but i'd say co-ops are a hell of a lot more efficient than anything else out there. I disagree with the statement that co-ops are only one part to the solution to the mess that globalization has created; why not keep running with that idea, and decentralize all decision-making to the local level, which is, essentially, (wait for it) anarchism! (not bomb-throwing, but dissolution of authority).

After the film, the organizer had a surprise for us: a conversation with the director by speakerphone. It was also an interesting night since the BCTF strike action (BC Transit shutdown, all parkades full, and random pickets all over) had played out that morning. Anyways, Avi had lots to say and we learned a bit about how things are playing out for the people in the film (very well).