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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"The Take", we can: a new economy without bosses

The Take

Those under 25 probably are too young to remember "el corralito". one of the biggest collapses a developed country has ever faced. It happened in 2001, and the country, once the wealthiest of Latin-America, was Argentina. The responsible of that disaster, that put the country into bankruptcy, a devastating unemployment rate and the sudden misery of Argentinian middle-class, were their perennially corrupted political class, banks, and the perverse policies of IMF. The picture hasn't changed that much since then, don't you think? After 10 years the problem is now planetary.

That's why watching "The Take" in 2011 is still relevant and attractive. Anti-globalisation activist Naomi Klein (responsible of "No Logo") and director Avi Lewis (in his first film) goes deep into Buenos Aires to portray the cost of wild capitalism and market... but this is not a reporting documentary or anti-globalisation manifesto. Is a fierce, because is real, example that another world is possible, and another economical system can work. 

Capitalism has tried to teach us that enterprises, run by entrepreneurs (what a nice euphemism) are the engines of economy we cannot live without. Even more, these enterprises have a boss, a hierarchy of power that has to be preserved. Bullshit. "The Take" shows a different model. One where cooperation is based in the best incentive: the common success, not just an individual, personal gain. It is called cooperation. And in a cooperative, a factory run by workers, where cooperation rules the structure, you don't need a boss.

Through the experience of Forja San Martín, an abandoned factory taken by 30 ex-workers, that is learning, struggling and figthing to rebuild the factory, the film exposes us to a real phenomenon. Other examples, like the historical sewing factory Brickmann run just by women or Zanón, are explored, so our vision becomes wider and richer. "The Take" focus on the workers, creating a compelling piece of their fair David-against-Goliath challenge. They vote, they doubt, they disagree, the divide the profits equally, the effectively manage the factory. They succeed. They prove there's an alternative.

The film also tries to explore the political responsibilities of the economic disaster in the country. These are the moments were the documentary gets closer to Michael Moore's style, but even then, Lewis and Co are wise enough to focus the film in real people and their relation with politics (the familiar dichotomy in election time is vividly presented to us) instead of wasting too much time in already-known slags (from Carlos Menem to Anoop Singh). This film is about really important people: Freddy Espinoza, Lalo Paret, Matilde Adorno, Celia Martínez...and a long and relevant etc.

There are few complaints to make to "The Take" aside the needed period where the film goes back into recent history (summarises many things too quickly). I would add the annoying music (unnecessary) and a more important one: the final part where Forja San Martín process (the legal process) is speeded-up, probably dramatically cut in the editing room in order to make the film more dynamic, but seriously hurting its level of realism.

Today, with the Global financial crisis, seeing "The Take" poses a question: "why should we let the ones who made us fail into this situation repeat the same mistakes again? Why don't we try a new approach? We know we can do different.

SCORE: 7,5/10

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