In the great documentary The Take, Naomi Klein explores the Movement of Recovered Companies in Argentina, a movement that turned abandoned factories into worker cooperatives. The Facultad Abierta at the University of Buenos Aires has been surveying these companies, providing important information about them and and about the worldwide worker cooperative and worker self-management movements. Several of us at Coop DC signed a letter with Naomi Klein and many others in support of the Facultad Abierta. Here is the letter:
Subject: Open Letter in Support of the Facultad Abierta
March 4, 2014
To whom it may concern,
We, the undersigned parties, practitioners and academics, members and supporters of cooperative and solidarity economy movements around the world, hereby affirm our support for the Facultad Abierta, that it should be able to continue and indeed expand its vital work in the service not just of Argentina but of our broader international community.
Active since 2002, no other institution has been more valuable than the Facultad Abierta—an academic and activist center at the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, University of Buenos Aires—in documenting, understanding and publicizing the development of Argentina’s movement of nearly 200 bankrupt businesses “recovered” by their former employees and converted into worker cooperatives.
Through their comprehensive surveys of these empresas recuperadas—conducted in 2002, 2004, 2009 and 2013—they have provided invaluable information to North American specialists and scholars to better study and understand this unique world phenomenon.
Through their dissemination of the inspiring stories they have encountered, the Facultad Abierta has shared empowering and instructive case studies with thousands of people either looking for a different relationship to work or simply looking to stop exploitation and mistreatment at their workplace.
Through their on-the-ground work in service of this community of empresas recuperadas—for example at their Documentation Center located inside the renowned Chilavert Cooperative—the Facultad Abierta continues to play an active role in ensuring that the recent Argentine experiment with worker self-management may serve as an inspiration for generations to come.
As participants in and supporters of the diverse solidarity economies developing throughout the world, we cannot overstate the importance of the Facultad Abierta to our international community. We take this opportunity to thank the Facultad Abierta and lend our ongoing support in its important quest to understand and make known the rich experience of Argentina’s empresas recuperadas.
– Ethan Earle & Brendan Martin, The Working World
Supporters of this Statement / Firmantes en apoyo de esta declaración:
Noam Chomsky, Author & Academic
Eduardo Galeano, Author
Naomi Klein, Author
Danny Glover, Actor & Activist
Avi Lewis, Filmmaker
Anthony Arnove, Author & Publisher
Michael Hardt, Author & Academic
Richard Wolff, Democracyatwork.info
Gar Alperovitz, Professor of Political Economy, University of Maryland; CoFounder, The Democracy Collaborative
Melissa Hoover, Executive Director, U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives
Cheyenna Weber, Project Coordinator, SolidarityNYC
Chris Michael, Founding Director, NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives
Emily Kawano, Coordinator, U.S. Solidarity Economy Network
Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo, Grassroots Economic Organizing Collective
Jeff Deasy, Board Member, NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives
Rafay Khalid, Worker Cooperative Financial Consultant
John Lawrence, Psychology Department, College of Staten Island, City University of New York
Johanna Bockman, Associate Professor of Sociology, George Mason University
Adam Trott, Staff Developer, Valley Alliance of Worker Co-operatives; Worker/Member, Collective Copies
Sergei Kostin, CODEPINK
Len Krimerman, Professor of Philosophy (Emeritus), University of Connecticut
Peter Ranis, Professor of Political Science (Emeritus), City University of New York
Majda Radovanovic, Ironbound Community Corporation
Michael Johnson, Grassroots Economic Organizing Collective
Melissa Young, Producer, Argentina-Hope in Hard Times and Shift Change
Michael Menser, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Brooklyn College/CUNY; Chairman of the Board, Participatory Budgeting Project
Allison Basile, DC Time Bank
Carmen Huertas-Noble, Associate Professor, CUNY School of Law; Founding Director, Community & Economic Development Clinic