On the recovered factories in Argentina

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Mon Nov 18 21:15:22 MST 2002

The article that Xxxx Xxxxxx sent to the list is quite good. Maybe
Christian Castillo's hopes and wishes are far higher than what
reality should allow, and certainly his general outlook is not wholly
adequate. But the gist of the issue is adequately explained.

As to the debate that ensued, a couple of things.

The actual importance of the movement is that out of the crisis of
Argentinean capitalism rises a movement whereby workers discover that
they don't need to establish the fetishized relationship with the
product of their labour necessarily implied in the worker-boss

Thus, workers aren't "better capitalists than the capitalists".
Simply they work harder -and with far greater joy- when they are not
alienated from the product of their own toil, and they do it more
efficiently because the division of labor and the hierarchical order
is broken inside the plant: an accounts clerk can act as a janitor,
or a manager can help in loading trucks with the products.

The usual bourgeois saying, "these rogues would work harder if they
did it on their own time" is thus proven quite accurate, though its
meaning is completely inverted by the bourgeois point of view. Marx
once noted that in the Southern plantation of the United States the
very human necessity to establish a difference with cattle took the
slaves to be brutal with mules and other livestock, thus generating a
need for very coarse machinery and low quality animals. Same applies
in bourgeois society.

Anyway, the movement should advance towards the understanding that
the same methods that are applied -usually with support from the
State, the capitalist state, BTW- to individual plants and firms must
be applied to the whole State and the nation. The question of State
power remains as the core of the issue. If this is not understood,
then the recovered plants movement will not step ahead far further.

At best, what these factories will become is a group of industrial
kibbutzim where there is no surplus value extraction _within the
factory_ but which will be completely subsumed in the laws of motion
of capitalism immediately after product leaves the gates, or even
before, when the inputs are purchased.

Take, for example, the Ghelco ice cream factory mentioned on the
article. The sugar that they buy for their production comes from
superexploited workers in the Argentinean Northwest. Ghelco workers,
prima facie, won't pay the bosses of those workers higher prices in
order to alleviate the drama of their class brothers and sisters in
the North, because (a) the owners of the sugar mills would put the
surplus price in their own pockets, and (b) they would go bankrupt on
the market.

Some possible ways out of this Hobsonian situation might include
production agreements between recovered plants, which are taking
place already, so that they don't compete with each other. This would
be some form of "workers' cartels", reaping the advantages of
monopoly or quasi monopoly in a competitive market. But if this is
not generalized to the economy as a whole (and, again, this can only
be achieved through the struggle for State power) these movements
would only push back the laws of motion of capitalism. but would not
be elliminating them.


Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
"Aquel que no está orgulloso de su origen no valdrá nunca
nada porque empieza por depreciarse a sí mismo".
Pedro Albizu Campos, compatriota puertorriqueño de todos
los latinoamericanos.
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