Co-founder & main organiser of Workers’ Economy network, Andrés directs the Programa Facultad Abierta and Centro de Documentación de Empresas Recuperadas, Buenos Aires University
The following text on the history of the workers’ economy, written jointly with Marcelo Vieta, will be read by Marcelo:
“This network of experiments in workers’ self-management has grown since it began in 2007. That was the year of the first in the series of Encuentros Internacionales de la ‘Economía de los Trabajadores’ (International Gatherings of the ‘Workers’ Economy’). In them workers who have recovered and run their own enterprises (ERTs is the Spanish acronym) have joined with cooperative and solidarity economy protagonists, union members, social justice advocates, and activist scholars from round the world.
“This ‘Workers’ Economy’ network has organized six international encuentros: Buenos Aires in 2007 and 2009; Mexico City 2011; Joao Pessoa, Brazil 2013; Punto Fijo, Venezuela 2015. The most recent, again in Argentina in 2017, was at two worker-recovered firms: Hotel BAUEN and Textiles Pigüé in Buenos Aires province.
“In 2014, the network initiated three regional chapters with their own bi-annual conferences: 1)South America; 2) Euro-mediterranean; 3)North America, Central America, the Caribbean. Initiated by the University of Buenos Aires’s Programa Facultad Abierta and several Argentine worker-recuperated firms, these regional gatherings have each hosted hundreds of participants. Over the years 40 countries have been represented.
“Energy comes from Latin America’s many ERTs, social and solidarity economies, from Greece’s Vio.Me, France’s Fralib, Italy’s Ri-Maflow and Officine Zero, and Chicago’s New Era Windows. Rojava’s women’s co-ops, the Zapatistas and other indigenous groups, and progressive unions in Canada, the US, South Africa, Europe and Latin America have joined in. New regional chapters are afoot in Africa and Asia.
“Administered collectively and democratically by an international committee working with local organisers for each encuentro, these inclusive events are gratis so as to establish linkages and networking opportunities for self-managed workers and other alternative economy protagonists around the world.”