Thoughts on Argentina's Conjunctures :: Recuperating Work, Recovering Life (2005-2007)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Interview with Eduardo Murúa, President of the National Movement of Recovered Enterprises of Argentina

Conducted during his trip to Canada last year in June 2006 by Jennifer Moore
Translated by Marcelo Vieta

Eduardo Murúa, president of Argentina's MNER (National Movement of [Worker] Recovered Enterprises) has taken more of a back-seat role in the effort to organize Argentina's almost-200 worker-recovered enterprises as of late. Between 1997 and 2005, Murúa was very active in lobbying for a national law of expropriation for these workers' coops, assisting militant workers in the occupation of failed firms and restarting production under self-management, and for reforming Argentina's bankruptcy laws to better favour worker-recovered firms. As of late-2005, Murúa has, in a sense, gone underground, due to the fragmentation of the once-influential MNER due to internal differences between its most politically active protagonists as to what political tactics the movement should take, how the recovered enterprises should face their continued economic challenges within the still-powerful neoliberal system and in light of President Nestor Kirchner's centerist labour policies, and -- more concretely -- with the handling of the ongoing economic difficulties of one of the first worker-recovered enterprises, IMPA, early last year.

Despite the more subdued role that Murúa has chosen to take as of late, and some of the controversies that might surround his leadership (all currently open to debate in Argentina), there is no question that he has played a central part in articulating the path to self-management for Argentina's worker-recovered enterprises. For a good account of this, see, in particular, Magnani's blog and book by the same name, El cambio silencioso and my forthcoming writing on the plight of IMPA, MNER, and Murúa's recent attempts to salvage the economically-challen and deeply fractured IMPA and his other initiatives.

The following interview was conducted in June 2006 while Murúa was in the Toronto, Canada and the Southern Ontario region for various public talks, meetings with local unions, and visits to local workers' coops (for some info on this visit, go here.) In the interview (see the end of this post) he expresses clearly and with passion his vision for a different Argentina, one where wealth might be distributed more equitably and where work doesn't necessarily, in contrast to Peron's much-quoted vision, equal dignity if one's work continues to be permeated by alienated and exploitative forms of labour. In this sense, Murúa moves beyond his militant Peronist roots and sounds more like a traditionalist Marxist, although in other comments he also come close to sounding like an autonomist (for similar sentiments expressed by Murúa in another place and also in English, see the recently published collection of interviews on Argentina's worker-recovered enterprises in the online journal Affinities, assembled by TSCI.

Download the PDF version of the June 2006 Eduardo Murúa interview here.