Throughout history, workers have taken over their workplaces and converted them to cooperatives, in which the business is owned and controlled by workers themselves.
In recent decades, as multinational corporations outsource their operations to the Third World, and capitalist recession results in closures, the trend towards workplace recuperation is accelerating. During the Argentine financial crisis of 2001, thousands of workers took over their factories and converted them to cooperatives. Now, around 200 factories and workplaces in Argentina are owned and controlled by workers. In the former ‘rust belt’ states of the northern US, more factories are being recovered by workers as their former corporate owners move production to the Third World. In some cases, workers raise the capital to buy the enterprises through crowd funding, through their trade unions, or with help from community finance groups and NGOs. In other cases, such as that of New Era Windows in Chicago, workers have occupied their plants and taken over their enterprises through direct action. As of 2015, former Ingham employees in South Australia are campaigning to take ownership of their turkey processing plant, after the Ingham corporation closed it last year. Workplace recuperation is one way in which ordinary people can take control over their own lives and over the economic system.
As long our economies are owned and controlled by private companies for private profit, people and the environment will take a backseat. Workers’ control offers an alternative.