The Take


Harvard’s Legal Left took me to dinner and a movie and didn’t ask me for sex afterwards. I had a good time anyway. With more time, I’ll describe the conference hosting the movie. I promised my companero who could not stay that I would take notes.

Still from the movie The Take showing Forja workers voting.

The movie focuses on the workers at one factory that management closed as “inefficient” and describes their struggle to organize themselves and take over the factory. It depicted their occupation of the factory, getting the factory back into production, and appearances in court in the hope of obtaining legal title – expropriation. [Perhaps “eminent domain” is more familiar.] The movie ended on an optimistic note for the workers.

There was a discussion period afterwards. A woman asked, [since the movie was made in 2004], How are they doing now? The answer was somewhat non-specific. According to the film, Forja was part of a subtantial movement [200 factories] in Argentina. The assumption seemed to be that it had not be totally quashed. This ZNet article from March 2006 claims that 180 factories were still successfully operating.

Necessitarians of the Right undoubtedly concluded at the outset that these worker run factories are destined to fail. Necessitarians of the left concluded that they could not fail. But many, many social experiments have failed underestimating the difficulty. You can believe, as I do, that change is possible without ignoring that it is hard. A caveat has been pointed out by Professor Roberto. Expropriating a factory helps only those who happen to be working there at the time. Will there be new hires and how will they be treated? What happens if some factories in the movement suceed while others fail? I observed that in using the expropriated machines, the workers adopted significant portions of the previous mode of production. At some point, they will need to reinvest. The machines will wear out. Will they fail to invest and lose their livlihoods or will the reinvest in a way that leads to a better mode of production?

I must tell you about Professor Myrta, but I have to go. BBL

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1 Comment »

  1. the guy by the door … » Blog Archive » They’re Alive! Harvard Law Students Protest Gonzales!

    April 29, 2007 @ 6:03 pm


    […] Ok. I’m being just a bit melodramatic. I discovered that Harvard Law School is not totally a branch office of the Federalist Society, when the Legal Left took me to dinner1, again when Unbound had their Resistance conference, and again on the 4th anniversary of the invasion. But I am still getting over the Milgram reception given to Chertoff. […]

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