We really are in a golden age of documentary (not to mention non-fiction writing). Last night, we went to a terrific theater in the city, the Red Vic, a worker-owned coop and part of the No Boss Network, and saw a film entitled The Take. It's about the burgeoning occupied factory movement in Argentina. Facinating piece.
Here's the basic breakdown. During the go-go 90s, Argentina's president Menem was doing everything the IMF asked him to do--privatize, privatize, privatize. They ran up massive debt and had nothing to show for it, and their economy went into a free fall it has yet to recover from completely. At the end, when the currency was on its way to becoming worthless, everyone who could get their money out, did so, and Menem locked the doors on the banks, fueling a further run and panic. Then the people took to the streets, and Argentina really got chaotic for a while.
The story of this film is the story of workers who refused to take their unemployment as a fact of existence, and refused to let the bosses dictate when they would have jobs. When factory owners closed the doors, the workers re-opened them, and expropriated the facilities. It isn't easy, but it is working on a small scale, and it has become a part of Argentina's economic recovery. The film is wonderfully done, and I highly recommend it.