The Take

Reddit recently brought to my attention this little but very uplifting video

In the comments spgreenlaw mentioned that this was part of a move called The Take. Well, I’ve just watched it and it was brilliant.

The movie is basically about the struggle of the workers of an abandoned factory to take it under worker’s control. It is a real life example of the difficulties that syndicates and cooperatives face when trying to get what most of us would consider as only fair.

If you wish to see what worker’s self-management means and how capitalists will put private property rights over human lives, perhaps you should see it as well.

12 thoughts on “The Take

  1. Glad you liked it. The best part about The Take, for me at least, was seeing that worker management could be so effective and come about so organically. Obviously they are still operating in a larger capitalist system, and thus have to play by that system's rules, but the progress forward is significant, and the fact that these recovered factories were using surplus capital to better their communities when their government failed to do so is telling. It's extremely encouraging.

  2. Pretty cool video. Seems to me the government is the problem though, not the capitalism. If people want to make a collective work and they are successful, that's great. The problem here is that the company was receiving corporate welfare. Not only that, but the former owner wanted to use the government to get the place back. The government blows hard. Good for those people!

    1. Please tell me how exactly would the workers be entitled to the factory under capitalism.

      This video simply shows aptly the reason why the government exists: To protect the capitalist class. If they didn't exist, either they would be created, or capitalism would collapse

  3. I'm glad we at least agree that government is evil. I also think we agree that mercantilism is even worse. Marx said capitalism when he meant mercantilism, creating this deep rift of confusion between our "camps". I don't think you and I really disagree on all that much. Capitalism is grassroots, bottom up not top down. The largest most powerful companies are completely vulnerable to small startups with innovative ideas or more efficient ways of doing things. It's only when government starts stepping in and regulating that large companies get protection. Look at anti-trust regulation or the FCC and you'll see what I mean.

    1. Unfortunately, you do not know what Marx said at all. He never talked about 'Capitalism' as this word is a recent conception (conceived at the start of the 20th century to be exact) and extremely ambiguous. You wish to make 'Capitalism' equal 'Laissez-faire' but that is not necessarily the case. Capitalism is simply a system where the Capitalist mode of production is the dominant form. As such Marx's critique applies whether we are talking about 18th Century Capitalism, 20th Century Corporatism or your vision of a future laissez-faire society.

      In short, you try to obscure the issue with definitions.

      My previous question is still unanswered as well. How exactly would the workers in this scenario be entitled to the factory, even under your idea of Capitalism

  4. Honestly, I haven't seen the whole documentary and I'm not sure if how they acquired the company could be considered ethical. It seems like it was theft to me, but I don't know the circumstances. I think a more useful observation is how once the workers took control of the company they made it their private property, complete with exclusion rights and self defense.

    Again, I'm not against this type of economic arrangement. If it works for them that's great. One problem I see is exposing every decision to a democratic vote where majority takes all. What happens when a minority of workers are the experts on a certain procedure? If they have figured out systems of campaigning and platforms to get ideas through that is great, but doesn't that create a power structure as well?

    Also, is hiring and firing democratic as well?

    "Who thinks this factory should employ more members of the community?" [all hands go up]
    "Who thinks bob smells and shouldn't work here anymore?" [all hands go up]

    I guess I see problems with democratic models in general and I would like to hear of some alternative socialist political structures [I use that phrase loosely, I don't know what terminology you would prefer] that go further to protect the rights of individuals like bob.

    1. Honestly, I haven't seen the whole documentary and I'm not sure if how they acquired the company could be considered ethical. It seems like it was theft to me, but I don't know the circumstances.

      This part of the documentary does not have any more background. It is basically disconnected from the rest of the story to show how a succesful worker's takeover worked. As such, you already know all the information about this specific factory.

      But you are correct. With your value group (among which is protection of private property) this act of the worker would be considered theft and thus something that must be forcefully disbanded by the state and/or by the private hired guards of the capitalist (if we're talking about a stateless society). In no case would the workers in a laissez-faire society have a rightful claim to the factory.

      And this is why we continue to disagree quite a lot.

    2. I think a more useful observation is how once the workers took control of the company they made it their private property, complete with exclusion rights and self defense.

      Ah, you see, this is not private property of the workers. Were that the case, the workers would be allowed to sit at home and then hire a bunch of other workers to work the factory for them, while they skim the profits. But this is not possible in our scenario.

      What we have here is possession. The ownership of the factory is determined via usage. The workers use the factory now and thus they lay a rightful claim to the surplus value they produce.

    3. One problem I see is exposing every decision to a democratic vote where majority takes all. What happens when a minority of workers are the experts on a certain procedure? If they have figured out systems of campaigning and platforms to get ideas through that is great, but doesn't that create a power structure as well?

      This is a strawman really. We do not mean this when we talk about democracy. Not that absolutely everything is decided by a vote. Only when there is a disagreement that cannot be resolved via discussion is there a need to vote and then only by the people affected. In your example of workers being experts in a certain procedure, more likely as experts they would by default agree on what to do in regards to that procedure. If not, then they can surely vote amongst themselves to decide.

    4. Also, is hiring and firing democratic as well?

      "Who thinks this factory should employ more members of the community?" [all hands go up]
      "Who thinks bob smells and shouldn't work here anymore?" [all hands go up]

      Yes. The only alternative is hierachical. In the sense that there is one big boss who decides who stays and who goes, and I don't see how that is better.

      Especially because the workers have a stake in the factory and want to work for its wellbeing it means that decisions would be made with those best interests in mind and with further control where a disgruntled managers couldn't simply fire people he doesn't like.

      Of course if someone does not fit in the community (which is unlikely to be simply that they "smell") then the majority should have the option to ostracise them. Why would the minority opinion have more weight (ie, I am lazy and I smell but I still demand to be employed, otherwise I'm being oppressed)

    5. Also, is hiring and firing democratic as well?

      "Who thinks this factory should employ more members of the community?" [all hands go up]
      "Who thinks bob smells and shouldn't work here anymore?" [all hands go up]

      Yes. The only alternative is hierachical. In the sense that there is one big boss who decides who stays and who goes, and I don't see how that is better.

      Especially because the workers have a stake in the factory and want to work for its wellbeing it means that decisions would be made with those best interests in mind and with further control where a disgruntled managers couldn't simply fire people he doesn't like.

      Of course if someone does not fit in the community (which is unlikely to be simply that they "smell") then the majority should have the option to ostracise them. Why would the minority opinion have more weight (ie, "I am lazy and I smell but I still demand to be employed, otherwise I'm being oppressed")

    6. I guess I see problems with democratic models in general and I would like to hear of some alternative socialist political structures [I use that phrase loosely, I don't know what terminology you would prefer] that go further to protect the rights of individuals like bob.

      The problems you see with democratic models are more likely based on the sham of a democracy that the western nations employ. I can't give you any particular example of a socialist society as this would be made by the people living in it, not dreamt up by me. It is up to them to choose how and when to apply democracy, if they want a written constitution etc. The rights of the individual are protected by the fact that they have a say in the democratic process and unless they are a total twat it's unlikely they would be kicked out. In fact, most instances of people being kicked out of places are because there is an authority above them that doesn't like something particular, rather than the majority not liking them.

      As such, because of the same process, you have the option to try and convince others that your vision of a structure is best. And in the end, if you can't convince anyone it is obvious that this community is not for you and you always have the option of finding another community. The only thing that you're not allowed to do is to attempt and own capital you do not use.

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