Workers Out of Control: Recuperations, Reverberations and Communalism from Argentina to Greece




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


‘Workers Out of Control’ is an investigation of the emergent phenomenon of self-managed work places as result of socio-economic crises in Greece and Argentina. By adopting a theoretical framework built upon constructivism and praxis-driven anarchism, I could spot the lack of a comprehensive understanding of these experiences as a ‘movement’. To address it, I suggested focussing on their common nature rather than sticking to the legal definition, hence investigating what autogestión (self-management) means for them. I conducted a year-long field research in both countries, gathering interviews and observations with a slow ethnomethodology inspired by the principles of the Extended Case Method, yet with a ‘storyteller’ attitude. From this participatory investigation I could co-theorise the concepts the workers themselves prefigured through their praxes. Starting from an understanding of what autogestión, a political-organisational philosophy, means for them, I then concentrate on three of its major features. Despite their distance, both Greek and Argentinian workers perform a recuperation of the organisational and political praxes from their past, together with a reclamation of the ancient cooperative spirit. Likewise, both are inspired and guided by the social movements that preceded them and became actors capable of reverberating transformation onto their communities. As a result, they can be viewed as embryos of Communalism. In other words, these workers recuperate their past, reverberate in their present and prefigure in a Communalist key. When combined, these three conceptual elements outline what I call the ‘horizon of autogestión’, the ethico-political trajectory of this movement. The dissertation beings and ends with a reflection on why these workers can be described as ‘out of control’ for their capacity to be autonomous and think independently. Notwithstanding the numerous contradictions, the apparently insuperable limitations and the impressive breadth of their desires, I claim they are entitled to hope. Adopting a scholar-activists positioning, we could keep reinforcing a positive alliance and preserving their alterity also at a narrative level. This is deemed particularly important during these hard times of destructive political winds all over the world. A constructive answer to the latter could only be a common, concrete, utopian prefiguration.





Research Institute