New Book. Workers' Self-Management in Argentina
Updated: Feb 11, 2021
Workers' Self-Management in Argentina: Contesting Neo-liberalism by Occupying Companies, Creating Cooperatives, and Recuperating Autogestión
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Review of book in Marx & Philosophy Review of Books (Feb. 2021)
(Feb. 2021) “Cooperative enterprises, workers’ self-management and new forms of industrial democracy — these are the stirring themes animating Marcelo Vieta’s original and exciting book. Using a stunning set of interviews, buttressed by historical investigation and deep theoretical inquiry, Workers’ Self-Management in Argentina illuminates movements of occupation, recuperation and autogestión in Argentina in recent years. There is virtually nothing like this book when it comes to the study of lived practices of workers’ control today. Everyone searching for alternatives to neoliberalism and the domination of labor will relish this powerful and important work.”
David McNally, Cullen Distinguished Professor of History and Business, University of Houston. He is the author of Against the Market: Political Economy, Market Socialism, and the Marxist Critique (Verso, 1992) and Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance (PM Press, 2010).
“This book is a tremendous gift. A must read for scholars, activists and all who want to learn how to retake our lives and create something new. ... Vieta shows, by way of extended examples, that people can self-organize their work and life, in ways that are horizontal, effective and affective.”
Marina Sitrin, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is the author of Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina (Zed Books, 2012) and They Can’t Represent Us! Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy, co-authored with Dario Azzellini (Verso Press, 2014).
"Marcelo Vieta’s Workers' Self-Management in Argentina is one of the most important books on contemporary labour and democracy. The volume masterfully revisits and extends theory on autogestión (loosely translated as self-management in English) and places it in richly detailed historical, economic, and social contexts."
George Cheney, Professor of Communication, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He is the author of Values at Work:Employee Participation Meets Market Pressure at Mondragon (Cornell University Press, 2002) and co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Alternative Organization (Routledge, 2014).
In Workers’ Self-Management in Argentina, Marcelo Vieta homes in on the emergence and consolidation of Argentina’s empresas recuperadas por sus trabajadores (worker-recuperated enterprises or ERTs, also known as worker-recovered companies or WRCs in English), a workers’ occupy, company recuperation, worker co-op, and self-management movement that surged at the turn-of-the-millennium in the thick of the country’s neo-liberal crisis. Since then, around 400 companies have been taken over and converted to cooperatives by almost 16,000 workers. Grounded in class-struggle Marxism and a critical sociology of work, the book situates the ERT/WRC movement in Argentina’s long tradition of working-class activism and the broader history of workers’ responses to capitalist crisis. Beginning with the voices of the movement’s protagonists, Vieta ultimately develops a compelling social theory of autogestión – a politically prefigurative and ethically infused notion of workers’ self-management that unleashes radical social change for work organisations, surrounding communities, and beyond.