The Take

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The documentary film “The Take” or “La Toma” shows Argentina in the midst and the aftermath of an economic collapse as unemployment skyrockets and almost half the country plummets below the poverty level. In the beginning of the documentary, shows an emerging economy transitioning into first world status comparing it to Australia or Canada where Argentina was considered the most prosperous middle-class in Latin America. However, the country took a turn for the worst under the presidential reign of Carlos Menem who drove the country into mass bankruptcy resulting in extreme poverty, exorbitant debts and record-breaking unemployment.

The actions of Carlos Menem with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund transformed a developing country into a real life nightmare with children rummaging through garbage, banks encased in graffiti and mass riots. This was knows as the largest sovereign debt default in world history as banks froze all bank accounts and the wealthy moved their money offshore while everyone else lost any access to their life savings. Middle-class Argentines survived on next to nothing only splurging on the bare necessities. As the wife of Freddy Espinosa, an ex-factory worker puts it “If I pay the debt, the girls don’t eat. If the girls eat, I don’t pay the debts.”

After years of unemployment and poverty resulted in the emergence of The National Movement of Recovered Factories which is ex-workers restoring abandoned factories with no financial assistance, equipment or raw materials but simply semi-skilled, desperate and hopeful workers with a head-strong slogan, ‘Occupy, Resist, Produce.’ In the midst of the Takeover, we see companies such as Forja San Martin, an auto-parts factory and Zanon Ceramics, companies that crumbled along with the economy of Argentina but are slowly re-emerging as a result of the worker’s cooperative. This is a movement where the workers’ run and operate the company, all salaries are equal and decisions are...
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