Film Review: Solidarity Economics in Italy

Film Review: Solidarity Economics in Italy

Everywhere You Look


In their 2012 film “Shift Change”, filmmakers Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin introduced viewers to workers who make the case for democratic control and ownership of production. The film highlighted successful examples like the Mondragon Corporation in the Basque Country in Spain and the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as smaller projects (including coffee shops and bakeries).

In their new film, “WEconomics,” Young and Dworkin show viewers what cooperativism looks like not just in a single workplace, but on a social level—an ecosystem of many co-ops. This time the successful model is Emilia-Romagna, a province in Northern Italy that has “one of the highest concentrations of cooperatives in the world.”

As in “Shift Change,” the story is told—very effectively—by the people interviewed, a mix of co-op leaders and one academic. But this time, instead of watching workers assemble washing machines on a factory floor, we’re watching people stroll through the scenic streets of Bologna, sit in piazzas sipping fair-trade espresso, shop for shoes made locally with all-natural materials and no chemicals, work with children and the elderly, and refill their bottles with the local Sangiovese wine. (more)

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