By George Ciccariello-Maher

Latin America’s experiments in direct democracy

Since 2011, a wave of well known uprisings has swept the globe, taking form within the Occupy flow, the Arab Spring, 15M in Spain, and the anti-austerity protests in Greece. The calls for were different, yet have expressed a constant dedication to the beliefs of radical democracy.

comparable experiments began to appear throughout Latin the United States twenty-five years in the past, simply because the left fell into decline in Europe. In Venezuela, bad barrio citizens arose in a mass uprising opposed to neoliberalism, ushering in a central authority that institutionalized the communes already forming organically. In development the Commune, George Ciccariello-Maher travels via those radical experiments, chatting with a vast variety of group contributors, employees, scholars and govt officers. Assessing the initiatives’ successes and screw ups, Building the Commune presents classes and notion for the unconventional activities of this day.

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Anyone who is elected—just like all elected officials under the 1999 Constitution—is subject to community oversight and can be recalled from power. ”4 Economically, communes are explicitly “socialist spaces,” which means that they aim to produce the things that people need locally through socialist enterprises. These enterprises are explicitly noncapitalist and defined by who owns the means of production. They can be either state-owned or, more commonly, directly owned and managed by the communes themselves.

Young army recruits sprayed entire apartment blocks with automatic gunfire, killing many who lived and looked just like themselves, leaving bullet holes that are still visible today. In a single incident, the army opened fire on a crowd gathered on the Mesuca stairway in the poor slum of Petare in eastern Caracas, killing more than twenty. When all was said and done, hundreds if not thousands had been slaughtered—the numbers have never been agreed upon because bodies were simply dumped into the mass graves that are still being unearthed today.

And it was these councils—with the grassroots energy and territorial identity they embodied—that would later come together under the aegis of the broader units known as the communes. In the chapters that follow, I track the emergence of the Venezuelan communes not only from above but from below. 5 Before the Venezuelan state took on the task of building the communes from above, revolutionaries were building them from below. As a result, the relationship between the communes—the seeds of a future nonstate—and the existing state has been far from smooth.

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