Comrade Chavez, on Communes-Ask the People
statement by The National Network of Communards and *Translated by Rachael Boothroyd for Venezuelanalysis.com*
Comrade Chavez, If You Want to Know What
Happened to the Communes, Ask the People
Oct 26th 2012,
by Atenea Jiménez Lemon - The National Network of Communards
Where are the communes?
It worried us to hear the president asking "where are the communes".
Humbly, and with revolutionary determination we say to Comrade Chavez, if
you want to know where the communes are, then you should ask the people
directly! If you were to do this, then you would immediately find more that
80 commune experiences which are in the process of construction, which have
made both good decisions and mistakes, which have different levels of
integration, cooperation and harmonization, and you would find that that we
are building them with all of our might and dedication. To borrow from one
of our comrades in the guerrilla struggle in the mountains of Falcon, Edgar
Olivet, "The only thing which is real and lasting is that which is built by
the people through their effort and determination, anything else is simply
a mirror image of colonialism".
If you ask the Minister of Communes where the communes are, then she will
of course tell you that the communes haven't registered, that they didn't
meet a certain requirement for FUNDACOMUNAL, that they need more time to
become "proper communes", [i.e.] those that have community "battle rooms,"
communal brick-making or carpentry cooperatives, [and] maybe she would even
tell you that the Venezuelan people are extremely irreverent and that they
just don't want to construct the communes.
If you ask the governors and mayors, they'll tell you (with very few
exceptions) that they don't have the resources to put into practice those
government "policies," that they need more funds, and they will also leave
that unspoken question hanging in the air "Are you going to eliminate local
government and mayoralties?". Or they will tell you that the people who are
currently building the communes are anarchists, the ultra left, or finally
the most infallible argument of all, that there are a bunch of
counter-revolutionaries who have infiltrated the communes.
If you ask the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, the national leadership
will hesitate before answering, because they have neglected that
fundamental principle which should be revered by any revolutionary party;
"every socialist militant should be organically involved in the popular
movement," as understood in its diverse spheres and territorial
expressions. Others will answer that there are many collectives which are
promoting the communes and that they are autonomous. The majority will
argue that we are a vanguard, but that the "masses" aren't ready for the
However, if you ask the people, Comrade Chavez, we will tell you that:
1. Since 2009 a revolutionary movement called the National Network of
Communards has existed, and that we are constructing the communes through
our own knowledge and actions, because we aspire towards a communal way of
life, as a community, in socialism or communism.
2. We started by coordinating 16 communal processes in construction and
today we have more than 80 experiences, amongst which we have communes,
communal cities, communal territories, direct social property enterprises,
direct exchange markets, political training schools, community media and
revolutionary collectives and individuals.
3. We believe that the construction of the communes and their different
levels of organisation and integration should come from the efforts of the
people, and that the role of the revolutionary government should be to
facilitate that process, to accompany us in the long struggle which emerges
from changing from one form of government to another, to construct
participatory democracy, build a communal economy which goes beyond
businesses, and above all, construct what (Venezuelan educator, Simon
Rodriguez) Robinson was referring to: "that the people learn to govern
themselves". We learn to govern ourselves by doing it!
4. We have developed this training process working with our own
facilitators and methodological tools, supported by some comrades who have
managed to "infiltrate" public institutions of the State, with the central
idea of critically analysing our local, regional, national and
international reality in order to be able to transform it.
5. Thanks to fraternal debate we have made a series of contributions
towards the construction of the communes. Within that context, we have held
4 national forums with the participation of 400 spokespeople at each one,
as well as with the presence of international guests.
6. Since the national forum held in Carora in 2011, we agreed to hold
forums according to different topics or areas. We began with the communal
economic system, then communal political organisation, and for the coming
month in November we have planned a forum on communication. We will close
these area-orientated forums with the topic of political education, from
which we intend to create the communal school.
7. We have designed projects of great importance and some of them have been
put into practice through the contributions of each communard, contributing
to the dismantling of the rentier subculture that we still have. We would
do more if we had more decision making powers and more control.
8. We are creating communal legislation as part of some commune experiences
with the intention of making sure that the norms of communal living, which
are established democratically, are complied with. This legislation will
have a bearing on everyday life.
9. We are constructing a Communal Network for the Production and
Distribution of Food, currently in the vanguard district of Lara,
Portuguesa and Yaracuy, which will progressively drive forward the free
production of agrochemicals and contribute towards gaining our food
10. The difference in the amount of headway made in each experience in
terms of class consciousness and material gains is related to numerous
factors, one of them is the "unifying factor," that's to say, each process
identifies with a collective problem or aspiration which unifies and
mobilises participant; from the areas of tourism and agro- production, to
cultural matters such as the recuperation of values and the
self-recognition of the community.
11. We intend to keep pushing forward the proposal "Contributions to the
Programme for the Homeland," a manifesto which is full of reflections on
the contradictions within this revolution; attempting to create the
communes through the logic of the liberal bourgeois state, the fact that no
State in history has managed to destroy itself. The State was created for
the oppression of one class over another. We are that other class, the
exploited, oppressed and enslaved class. In that same order of ideas, we
believe that the revolution has opened up the possibility for us to create,
and that is why we should look after it, and in that sense criticism and
self-criticism is vital.
12. Up until now we have set out our objectives in the political, cultural,
economic, communicational, organisational and environmental spheres. In
terms of security at its various levels, the local, regional, national and
international, we still have a long way to go. Even though an assessment
indicates that we have made some headway, we need to gain more strength, as
historically we are justified, as a people who struggle against oppression.
13. Almost nothing about this appears in the national, regional and local
media, because evidently there are interests at play which are antagonistic
to our own; in the national system for public media (with some exceptions)
any form of popular power which is not co-opted is presented as somewhat
inconvenient, and furthermore, the priority of the public media is not to
show what the people have constructed or their different forms of
14. Finally Comrade Chavez, if you ask us directly we will tell you that
the communes and the workers' councils/workers control are a concrete
possibility for everyday socialism which can be carried out through
instruments and tools that we must also create, because they still don't
exist, that have not been created, we have to do this, to unmake and
remake, guided by certain basic signals which point us in the right
direction, knowing that the struggle is against the exploitation of the
human being and for the construction of a popular and permanent constituent
process, participatory and protagonistic democracy, solidarity,
mutual-support, legitimacy over legality, new socialist ethics, the
strengthening of our ability to co-manage and self-manage, participatory
planning, collective leadership, balancing our accounts, fraternal debate
and opening up a dialogue on knowledge, amongst others things.
All of this is nothing like any ministry or institution created up until
now, which leads us to believe that we should create a new space or
collective decision making body where the movements which are propelling
the construction of the communes feel as though they are represented and
can express themselves; where there is an alternating role for a legitimate
spokesperson (from the movement) to connect with the other institutes of
the State, in line with the second Socialist Plan (for the nation) and
committed to the fact that we will only be able to defeat imperialism and
its lackeys if we are united, united as that popular power which keeps
pushing forward determinedly, like the sun does with the moon every morning.
*Translated by Rachael Boothroyd for Venezuelanalysis.com*
*Source URL (retrieved on 26/10/2012 - 4:10pm):*
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