[News] Venezuela - The commune holds the solution to the crisis

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Aug 17 14:59:56 EDT 2018


https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14005


  Interview with Angel Prado (Part I): “The commune holds the solution
  to the crisis”

By Angel Prado and Ricardo Vaz  - August 17, 2018
------------------------------------------------------------------------

/El Maizal commune is located in the middle of the Venezuelan plains, 
between the Lara and Portuguesa states. With a history of struggle and 
construction of popular power, it is a flagship of the communal movement 
in Venezuela. In this interview we talked to Angel Prado, communal 
spokesman, about the political project that El Maizal is pushing 
forward, the questioned mayor’s elections of December, the role of the 
commune in the current context, and how the issue of the commune should 
enter into the new constitution (1)./

*With idea of moving forward with the commune (2), there have been 
discussions about the “communal city.” Can you explain what this is all 
about?*

With the political experience and strength we have in this territory and 
with the work we have been doing, El Maizal has found itself in a 
collective leadership role for all this area of Simón Planas, and 
perhaps also in the rest of Lara state. We have gotten a lot of 
solidarity and many friends among social and popular movements in Lara 
and throughout Venezuela. So with all this experience, and knowing that 
this process cannot be held back – it is growing day by day with popular 
initiatives, proposals and participation – we believe that it is time to 
stop thinking just about El Maizal and move towards a bigger 
organization, at a higher level, in order to build our dream of 
socialism, as President Chávez used to say.

Far from being a utopia, I think it is something achievable. Here in El 
Maizal there is a commune, which is permanently under construction, but 
which has been moving forward, and for us this progress makes sense. 
That is why we have dedicated our lives to this. We have the political 
clout to go to other territories and call on people to organize in a 
communal city, in a large organization that will contribute to 
developing the plans and projects addressing the needs of the people, 
but especially with the people themselves building and defending such 
projects. More than a discourse, we need to offer tangible results so 
that people can see for themselves that this makes sense.

The communal city project is not going to be easy. The principal enemy 
is the right-wing, because the communal city at some point will imply 
“communalizing” the territory. That project involves a broader scope and 
more power, in particular taking charge of means of production: 
factories, companies, etc. So we will be struggling for power in the 
face of forces that already exist. The bourgeoisie, for economic 
reasons, wants to put the brakes on Chavismo. Sadly, the reformist 
sectors in our camp are also looking to rein in on on the tendencies and 
political currents that threaten the privileges that some politicians in 
our government, or people close to them, have become accustomed to.

*There is also a struggle inside Chavismo…*

I think there is some political exhaustion, worn out politicians that 
have no initiative anymore. There are many politicians that might be 
over the hill, perhaps they believed that Chavismo was going to die with 
Chávez, or that president Maduro was going to be overthrown. Many have 
dedicated themselves in these past years to accruing riches and 
privileges while keeping popular participation at an arm’s length. But 
at least here in Simón Planas they have another thing coming, because 
here there is a political force that will not be stopped and which does 
not depend on one person. In my case, I simply take on the role of a 
spokesperson, one that is accountable and who always acts coherently 
accordingly to our people’s interests. What’s more, while we are here 
talking, there are people out there working, holding assemblies, having 
meetings, organizing activities, voluntary work projects, etc.

There is a very interesting dynamic which keeps the spirit of the 
commune alive. The communal city will bring together all the activity 
that has taken place in the area in a broader sense, involving multiple 
territories around here where the people relate in one way or another to 
the political and communal movement in Simón Planas.

*What is the current status of the Simón Planas mayorship issue?*

When we discuss this issue, it is important to recall the context in 
which it happened <https://venezuelanalysis.com/News/13546>. In 2017 we 
were facing a very tough crisis: an economic, political, and (I would 
also say) moral crisis, a crisis of values. There was, and still is, an 
international aggression against Venezuela, as if punishing us for 
having gone through this very interesting revolutionary process together 
with Chávez. But, despite being a very tough year, 2017 was also a year 
of great achievements and advances from the communal perspective, both 
in political and electoral as well as productive terms.

When President Nicolas Maduro proposed the National Constituent Assembly 
(ANC), we, as the organized pueblo here in Simón Planas, took to the 
trenches, participated in that election, and won with over 80% of the 
vote. I had been charged with being the territorial candidate to the 
ANC. Then came the regional and municipal elections, in October and 
December, respectively. In the municipal elections, our community 
proposed that we participate in that process, and the communal movement 
of Simón Planas again assigned me the responsibility of being the 
candidate for mayor.

Then a lot of things happened. Unfortunately, both right-wing political 
forces and by forces within our government harassed us. These are 
regrettable things, that come from people that hold a great deal of 
power. We were denied the chance to run on the ticket of the PSUV’s (the 
governing party) and that of other parties of the patriotic coalition, 
but we managed to do it with the Patria Para Todos party (PPT). What 
followed was a great victory for the communards. We really routed the 
PSUV, handing them their first defeat in this municipality, which is one 
of the more Chavista and “PSUVista” municipalities of all Venezuela.

*What happened after the election?*

Despite winning in the midst of threats, blackmail and pressure, our 
victory was not recognized (perhaps that was to be expected). Our votes 
were assigned to the PSUV candidate. We went through a whole legal 
process with the electoral authorities – we filed an appeal before the 
Supreme Court – but so far there has been no response. Our position is 
that, if the communards’ victory in Simón Planas is not going to be 
recognized, at least the results should be voided and new elections 
held. Everything we have done is legal, so we hope for a resolution to 
this case.

Unfortunately, there have been no pronouncements. Instead, the issue has 
been ignored. Nevertheless, we know that having the mayor’s office is 
not indispensable for our project. We will not stop producing, we will 
not stop organizing, we will not cease to vote for the Revolution nor to 
support president Maduro. We have always made this clear. We have never 
wavered on our support for Nicolás Maduro, because we believe that with 
Maduro in the presidency we can continue to move forward and not towards 
confrontation. Because of a municipality, or the actions of a party, or 
because at one point the government did not pay heed to us, we are not 
going to lose sight of the strategic enemy. We remain Chavistas.

*What role, in your opinion, can the commune play in the current 
Venezuelan context?*

 From my point of view, if the government looked more closely at the 
communal issue, it would realize that the commune holds the solution to 
the crisis we are living through and could ideologically deepen the 
Chavista project (the task of building socialism that Chávez set for us).

The commune, with its dynamic of production and participation, can also 
help free us from our dependence on private capital and on government 
patronage. So long as, the “cells” are built across the country and we 
also work to develop people’s political conscience, a new culture and 
new relations between communities that prioritize the common good, then 
we can make strides towards this model of society that comandante Chávez 
proposed.

Unfortunately, there are big contradictions inside the state, between 
the state and the popular social movements, and between the state and 
the commune. Because the government is very powerful economically, it 
has the capacity to make big decisions, and sometimes with a single 
blow, it can put an end to interesting experiences. In El Maizal we have 
had the determination, the strength and the ability to withstand the 
blows dealt to our organization, to our experiment. There have been acts 
of sabotage, but we have resisted.

Beyond resisting, we also need to go on the offensive against the enemy 
before us, whether it is the bourgeoisie, the oligarchy, or reformism. 
The reformists aim to protect a system that sidelined a class which for 
a long time accumulated riches to make way for a new bureaucratic 
bourgeoisie that, despite its revolutionary discourse, pays no heed to 
the people’s cries. We are not willing to live under those conditions, 
we are not willing to let Chavismo fall, nor to let reformism do in 
Venezuela what perhaps took place in Brazil or Argentina, where there 
have been significant setbacks.

*Notes*

(1) In a forthcoming article, we will delve into the productive 
activities of the El Maizal commune, as well as its complex relationship 
with the state.

(2) The commune was proposed by Chávez as a fundamental unit of popular 
power for the construction of socialism. Bringing together communal 
councils and other organizations, the idea of the commune is to allow 
the community to wield power directly through assemblies, gradually 
taking control of both the means of production and the various instances 
of political power. Chávez presented many of these ideas in his landmark 
broadcast Aló Presidente Teórico #1.

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