By Gerardo Rojas
On April 25 a new meeting of President Nicolás Maduro with spokespersons of communes, “constituyentistas”, ministers of the social area, aimed at the kickoff of the “Communal Offensive 2019” but once again it became an event without clear objective, without the projection of a coherent and integral policy (1) , nor collective contributions (in fact we do not even listen to any spokesperson or community spokesperson present), there began 20 days of debate to present in mid-May conclusions that define the tasks to be done.
There have been innumerable debates and concrete proposals made in recent years by comuneros and community members, to propose a new agenda. Someone could say that we are in another context and that they should be reevaluated, but in reality the vast majority of them are fully valid. It goes without saying that there has been no political will for development.
It is clear that for the government the “priority subject” to make alliances at this juncture are private entrepreneurs, national and foreign, and any action that seeks to retake spaces for the organized people to promote popular self-government and social ownership of the media, production has, to say the least, everything against it, when it is not directly criminalized, as happened with the comuneros who claimed the privatization of Arroz del Alba (2) .
However, it is an opportunity to share once again the ideas of Comandante Chavez on the commune, because the definition and intention of the government on it is increasingly diffuse, as are its lines of work.
An idea that stands out in the President’s speech is that it tends to enunciate the commune as a social sector that joins the youth, workers, students, militias, so to speak, this characterization is one of the explanations, certainly not the only one, of the loss of direction over the communal issue in the government.
For Comandante Chávez: “the commune must be the space where we are going to give birth to socialism”, with the constitution of self-government, from a logic of political aggregation that starts from the communal council and constitutes its own instances assuming participative and protagonist democracy as a basis fundamental to it, also articulating with the various sectoral organizations present in its field.
What is required to build a Community Development Plan as a guide for action (which must be articulated with the Nation’s Development Plan, the Plan of the Nation) and that in the aggregation is constituting a multi-scale Popular Government System (Council Communal – Commune – Federation – Confederation – Motor Development District – Strategic Axes of Territorial Development) and multi-dimensional (social, political, economic, defense), for the promotion of mechanisms of co-responsibility with the State and Government in each of its instances. (3)
It is important to note that in addition to the communes, the common, the communal, is raised as a political key that transcends the commune as a territorial instance; it is the synthesis of a political proposal that groups the construction of the Popular Government System (as Chavez put it in the Blue Book), but also the articulation of the popular subject in a broad sense, with the workers who assume the management of the factories, with the peasantry that promotes the control of the land for production at the service of the people, with the student body mobilized in defense of public and free education, but also committed to the technical and scientific development of the Homeland, as well as women and sexual diversity in struggle for all the claims that have not yet materialized.
This armed political / social is part of the fabric that builds hegemony from the keys raised by Comandante Chávez, including:
“The communes must become a unified national system”
The commander shared a reading with us in the Aló Presidente Teórico Nº1, which should be taken into account in this new context, of brutal attacks by the empire, with a real threat of military intervention, with blockade and illegal sanctions promoted to generate an aggression against all the population: “The Revolution must, on pain of perishing, of being captured, radically modify the vision of the world proper to capitalism, must undertake actions that reconstruct the social fabric, and for this it is most important to elevate the local to the universal level. Establish political, social, economic, organizational and spiritual relationships from the base to the national level -from the nucleus, I would say, from the cell to the whole national level “.(4)
“For the conformation of a Communal State, repoliticizing the battle, without managing the policy”
“It is not going to happen that (socialism) will fall from the sky, we have to give birth to it, push it, build it” – for that “we must dismantle the bourgeois state … what challenges do we have to turn the old counterrevolutionary state into a revolutionary state … There is a tendency that it is dangerous, which is that the Communal Council rolls up like the snake, rolls itself into a cave, and isolates itself from the global political struggle and stays that way as if it were good, give me money for this project, for this project here and that staying only in the utilitarian would be a serious error. First of all, the fight is political, it is ideological, we have to re-politicize the battle … we have been focussed a bit on managing politics, management, the work, the road, that is important. But careful, all of this larger effort must be signified by the political, by political awareness.(5)
I put it in other words as the goal of the government action in revolution in the “Golpe de Timon” (6) : “change the geographical-human socio-territorial and cultural relationship.”
“The hegemony of Social Property must be imposed”
“We are proposing the socialist model where the hegemony of social property must be imposed, not of private property and we are talking about social property in different variants, direct social property, indirect property, communal property, community, mixed models, mixed models of property even but always in socialism with the hegemony of social property over non-social property.
That is important to have clear, in that way, I say, as we progress along the way, it will continue to grow in Venezuela, social ownership of the means of production, on the means of production I said! …
The land must be social property, the land … Capital, that is another factor of production, but not for capitalism, no, it is to put it at the service of socialism.
Technology, labor, training and the organization of workers. These are the factors of production, the means of production and when one says capital we are talking about machines, machinery. The tools, the factory. Now those machineries, those tools, those factories must be owned by the people, social property directed and planned by the workers, and you have to prepare for that boys, for that girls.
Social property of the means of production, property relations, production relations … distribution system, that is also a very important system, distribution, it must be planned so that it is egalitarian and what happens in capitalism does not happen, and it will continue to happen as long as there is capitalism, speculation, the example we already made and, on the other hand, the appropriation of the product by the capitalists and a minority that takes the great benefit. No. That should generate benefits for all, an equal, fair distribution system. Fair trade and not free trade, which is unfair.
And in fourth place: consumption. The consumption, guarantee the satisfaction of the needs of all, those four, do not lose sight of those four systems of relationships that are defining the economic system; it defines it, or it is defined by the capitalism that is the nonsocial system, or we go by the socialist one. Where are we going to build the socialist homeland? (7)
“It is not reform what we are doing here, it is a Revolution”
“The world crisis of capitalism must be an opportunity for us in Venezuela, not to save the capitalist model in Venezuela, no! But to accelerate the dismantling of the capitalist system and at the same time accelerate the construction of Bolivarian Socialism, that is a strategic reflection, a strategic line rather … Beware of those currents, which do not define themselves very well, is it socialism, is it capitalism, beware of reformism. It is not reform that we are doing here, it is revolution, it is a revolution … It is not market economy, nor human capitalism, nor putting masks on capitalism, no, it is liquidating capitalism and building socialism. That’s what it is about. ”
“A strategic line of work, of thought and of action in the government, in the local, regional governments, in the communities, in the Party of course, ah! If that means some shudder or some structural shudder, well, who said that this path is the path of the rose garden? who said? Have I ever told you guys, have I invited you to a picnic? Have I ever told you: No, we’re going down the easy road, on the wide highway …? no no! No, no Revolution is made by highways, no! the road as the great Argimiro Gabaldón said, hard, difficult, but this is the road, this is the road, the only road that will lead us to the construction of the socialist fatherland. It is not the path of capitalism or reformism, in addition to the ecological, economic, world food crisis, this congress is installed in a moment of reactivation – so to speak – of the imperialist offensive in Latin America and the Caribbean. At a time when the continental right subordinated to the empire, the “piti-yanki” right wing, the counterrevolutionaries are all united and also subordinates to the empire unite with their European allies.(8)
Based on this political framework, undoubtedly part of the contributions of the Bolivarian Revolution to world revolutions, there are multiple proposals that have been made and handed over to President Maduro (9) on more than one occasion, but as a new debate to make proposals with emphasis on those that promote the communal economy, we believe that we should start with a national day of transfers to the communal government (a mandate of law that has never been fulfilled) that starts from a clear management model, based on transparency and real fulfillment of plans and goals, both of the Government and of popular power, emphasizing the correction of previous mistakes that we must take up self-critically.
An act of justice would be initiated by the transfer of land, taking into account the significant number of rural communes highlighted by President Maduro in the act (10), which would be a real contribution to the promotion of the communal economy and concrete means to contribute improved living conditions of the people, because “The land must be social property”.
Assuming what was proposed by Commander Chávez for the promotion of social ownership and starting from the production of the field, social ownership systems must be built on the means of production, with their distribution and consumption system, guaranteeing closures of productive circuits. With delivery of communal land ownership titles, Planting Plans and an Agroindustrial Plan, guaranteeing inputs and technical support in terms that make the proposal viable, that is, starting from conditions that ensure sustainability for both the government and the grassroots organization.
This policy must be accompanied by a justice and security plan that guarantees life and puts an end to the impunity of the hundreds of cases of hired assassinations of peasant and peasant leaders promoted by the old and new landlords, only after the departure of what was the Peasant March, on July 12 to date, 19 murders were counted.
In the act the President spoke of a plan of communal seeding of 250,000 hectares, it would be important to make public more details, communes involved, the goal of the same, itemize, and especially on days of rain and sowing: how many seeds and supplies are guaranteed to meet that goal? If not, it will be some other number, said into the air without being able to track it and above all, to contribute to the strengthening of the communal territories and their instances of self-government.
Most of these communal initiatives start from the articulation and organization of the small producers of their areas, there is a real power to be developed and that undoubtedly guarantees the territorialization of production policy, which must be complemented with the delivery of land from communal property, necessary to build a system that develops the various properties for the promotion of socialism.
The transfer plan must be completed with the incorporation into it of agricultural and / or agroindustrial infrastructures, parallel with or ending in the territorial areas of people’s power. Among them there are some belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture and Land, Ministry of Food and various institutions, even many have already been requested by the comunerxs without to date having had any response, this would mean the leverage not only of agricultural production but also of the production of animal protein.
It goes without saying that many of these infrastructures have been or are about to be delivered by the government, under terms that have not been fully clarified, to alliances with the private sector, which could perfectly be promoted by communal management if only the few working conditions will be considered that they have made public in agreements with employers, although by minimum logic, there should be differentiated terms that allow the leverage of social property into the hands of the people.
All the above can sound like a lot of “bullshit” if it is not assumed that it is time for the development of social property as one of the government’s means of action, so that the people assume the protagonist role of the salvation of the Homeland in moments of real dangers of military intervention of the empire, sabotage, blockade and sanctions that directly attack the entire population, with as much emphasis on making our capacities for production impossible.
Starting from the fact that the Bolivarian Revolution always proposed alliances with private business (under favorable conditions to the State and government) but also assumed that “the hegemony of social property must be imposed”, in the most difficult moments it is necessary to reaffirm the path of socialism, although it means “some shuddering or some structural shuddering, well, and who said that this path is the path of the rose garden?”
In Venezuela human lives are at risk because of the threats of the empire and its lackeys but also the possibility of rearming a revolution that assumes democracy in the political, social and economic, socialism as a horizon. They are necessary referents to sustain in the face of the advance of the extreme right wing that is fighting, using all possible means, to maintain the global power that currently in dispute with emerging powers.
In this dispute there is no alternative to the logic of capital, therefore, so to join a block in this conflict depriving us of the possibility of sustaining the utopia, motivation of millions who are supportive and militants of the Bolivarian revolution in the country and the world is also a defeat. Without any doubt that the union of peoples, governments and nations is essential to face the difficult situation, once again, the reference for these relations is Chávez and his contributions to what diplomacy should be for a multipolar world.
An important part of what is necessary to reaffirm the socialist horizon of the Bolivarian Revolution, thus defending the Homeland, sovereignty and peace (in which we will continue militating in any circumstance) is expressed in the communal, many of us have it very present and we have bet in it, but it is clear that the Government has not.
- Reflections on 9 years of the Aló Presidente Teórico Nº 1: About the “dialogue” of Maduro with the Communes: https://gerojasp.wordpress.com/2018/06/12/reflexiones-a-9-anos-del -alo-presidente-teorico-no-1-a-purpose-del-dialog-de-maduro-con-las-comunas /
FREEDOM FOR COMMUNITY MEMBERS, by Elías Jaua Milano: https://eliasjauavzla.wordpress.com/2019/04/13/libertad-para-los-comuneros/
“The commune must be the space where we are going to give birth to socialism”: Regarding the approach of Hermann Escarrá: https://gerojasp.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/la-comuna-debe-ser- el-espacio-donde-vamos-a-parir-el-socialismo-a-purposito-de-los-planteamiento-de-hermann-escarra /
Aló Presidente Teórico N ° 1: http://www.todochavez.gob.ve/todochavez/6287-alo-presidente-teorico-n-1
Aló Presidente N ° 366: http://www.todochavez.gob.ve/todochavez/4232-alo-presidente-n-366
Golón de Timón: a guide for the construction of Socialism that Chávez entrusted to us: https://gerojasp.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/golpe-de-timon-guia-para-la-construccion-del-socialismo -which-chavez-nos-encomendo /
Intervention of the Commander President Hugo Chávez, in the closing of the II National Congress of Social Economy of the National Polytechnic Experimental University of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces, Unefa 2009: http://www.todochavez.gob.ve/todochavez/1323 -intervention-del-comandante-presidente-hugo-chavez-en-la-clausura-del-ii-congreso-nacional-de-economia-social-de-la-universidad-nacional-experimental-politecnica-de-la-fuerza -armada-nacional-bolivariana-unefa-2009
Intervention of the Commander President Hugo Chávez during the installation of the first Extraordinary Congress of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV): http://todochavez.gob.ve/todochavez/1384-intervencion-del-comandante-presidente-hugo- chavez-during-act-of-installation-of-first-congress-extraordinary-of-party-socialist-united-of-venezuela-psuv
Agreements approved by President Maduro in the Presidential Council of Communes in session of August 15, 2015: https://gerojasp.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/0-agenda-de-gobierno-comunal-para -la-patria.pdf
“To date there are 3,094 registered communes of which 884 are rural communes, 706 urban and 1459 suburban or mixed communes, while in regard to the Communal Councils 47,896 registered”: http: //vtv.gob. go / debate-national-plan-of-offensive-communal-2019 /
Translated by JRE\EF