When Workers Take Control

Monday, July 19, 2021 - 1:00pm
Marcelo Vieta

How is it that sometimes workers take control of their workplaces, replacing capitalist owners? This has been the focus of Marcelo Vieta’s research on recuperated factories in Argentina, Europe and the US. Although they may take control just to save their jobs, they usually end up forming cooperatives. What is the social and economic context that leads to take-overs. Why is it that workers find the formation of a cooperative is their best option? How are their subjectivities transformed in cooperatives? What political and legal conditions are needed to secure worker cooperatives?

A professor at the University of Toronto, Marcelo Vieta’s writings explore how more cooperation, solidarity, and democracy may be fostered in the workplace and the community. His most recent book is Worker’s Self-Management in Argentina. He has also written about cooperatives and community development in Latin America, Cuba, Italy, and Canada.

Twenty years ago in Argentina the precarity of life under neoliberalism led workers to seize control of workplaces. One question that haunts us today is why in the US the erosion of their status has turned many white workers to the Right? Is it a lack of a historical memory of struggle or a deep-seated racism? Can a turn away from neoliberalism and the democratization of workplaces reverse this? We need a workers economy.