Karen Ann Faulk. 2008. “If They Touch One of Us, They Touch All of Us: Cooperativism as a Counterlogic to Neoliberal Capitalism”. Anthropological Quarterly 81(3):579-614
Through an ethnographic examination of the BAUEN, a workers’ cooperative and part of the recuperated businesses movement, this article considers the emergence of a logic of cooperativism in Argentina in recent years. In analyzing this idea of cooperativism, I distinguish three different but interrelated aspects: formal cooperativism, affective cooperativism or compañerismo, and community outreach and support. I show how this logic of cooperativism relies upon a discourse of corruption to delegitimize the cultural conceptions implicit in neoliberalism as applied in Argentina and opens a space for the emergence of new and revitalized conceptions of work and the citizen.
“Cato the Younger” argues that the next phase for the “Occupy” movement should include “aggressive, proactive occupations” of workplaces.
Italy’s Occupied Self-Managed Social Centres and Argentina’s recovered factories like FaSinPat, Hotel Bauen, and the Brukman factory are proof that this kind of action can make a huge change on the ground. Hell, you don’t even have to look outside the US for examples of these kinds of occupations having impacts big and small. The Flint Sit-Down Strike is one of the watershed moments of American labor history in that it organized the largest American company for the first time and took the UAW from a disparate group of small locals and made them into being a strong union with international reach, and the Republic Windows and Doors Occupation got the workers employed by that factory the back pay they were owed and a chance at getting back to work instead of having their factory dismantled piece by piece, as was going to happen if UE 1110 hadn’t taken action. It eventually got them back to work, kept their union intact, and now puts food on the tables of the people who got hired back after Republic was bought out by Serious Materials. None of this could have happened without the occupation.
This is the future of Occupy, because it has to be the future. Protesting corporate greed is necessary, but actually doing something about it is even more necessary. Occupying foreclosed homes and putting unhomed families in them is a step in this direction. It confronts the banks and the sheriffs that abet the unhoming of people and does good for the victims of this process. As such it would fit to occupy closed factories, warehouses, and stores and reopen them in direct confrontation with the banks that created the crisis that shuttered these workplaces to begin with. It is the logical extension of reoccupying foreclosed homes. Eventually, I would want to see someone living in a reoccupied home in a neighborhood full of reoccupied homes go to work in a reoccupied factory, because that would mean Occupy is doing something that every progressive movement should do, and that’s construct parallel structures to the ones you are fighting against. Doing so enables you to embody the change you want to see in the world in a way that an individual activist can’t, which is absolutely vital for long-term growth and permanently establishing the movement.
Vivir la Utopia: Documental sobre el Anarquismo en España durante la guerra civil