The Take

After years of reporting and inspiring the antiglobalization movement, No Logo author Naomi Klein and her husband, TV producer/journalist Avi Lewis, tackle a question often posed by their critics: What do you have to offer in the way of economic alternatives? Hearing about a new grassroots economic movement taking root in economically devastated Argentina,...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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After years of reporting and inspiring the antiglobalization movement, No Logo author Naomi Klein and her husband, TV producer/journalist Avi Lewis, tackle a question often posed by their critics: What do you have to offer in the way of economic alternatives? Hearing about a new grassroots economic movement taking root in economically devastated Argentina, Klein and Lewis headed to Buenos Aires and found what you'd think could only be imagined by the most idealistic Marxist: Unemployed workers were returning to their bankrupted and abandoned workplaces, restarting the machines and running things themselves. The "granddaddy" of this new "recovered companies" movement is Zanon Ceramics, a privately owned tile company that was shut down when its owners declared the factory no longer profitable, despite the fact that Argentina's recently ousted president, Carlos Menem, had been pumping national subsidies into Zanon's coffers for years. Arguing that the company still owed much to the community, its former workers reclaimed the factory and resumed production. Armed only with slingshots, they staved off six separate eviction orders from Senor Zanon, who naturally wanted his factory back. Meanwhile, Zanon Ceramics was running more efficiently than ever, the 300-odd workers operating as a truly democratic, nonhierarchical assembly. Now former employees of the Forja auto-parts plant hope to follow in Zanon's footsteps, with Klein and Lewis on hand to capture their efforts on film. Members of the newly formed "San Martin" workers' cooperative are granted permission by a bankruptcy judge to inspect their former workplace to make sure that nothing has gone missing; Forja still owes its workers some $3.2 million in wages, and if the company is caught secretly liquidating its assets, the workers will have a case for taking over the factory. Their fate and the fate of the newly renamed "Forja San Martin" now lie in the hands of a judge. Lewis and Klein bring the economic convulsions of a nation down to a personal level by focusing on people like Maddy, a Zanon activist who's lost all faith in government and finds herself at odds with her mother, a devout Peronist; and Freddy Espinosa, the president of Forja San Martin, whose family's survival depends on the factory's future. Despite the setbacks suffered on all fronts, this slick and surprisingly emotional documentary is really a rare, optimistic critique of globalization, holding out the hope that once has capitalism has finally consumed itself, something far more productive will arise from the discarded bones and gristle.

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  • Released: 2004
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: After years of reporting and inspiring the antiglobalization movement, No Logo author Naomi Klein and her husband, TV producer/journalist Avi Lewis, tackle a question often posed by their critics: What do you have to offer in the way of economic alternativ… (more)

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