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‘News From Nowhere’ – Building Communal Life In Venezuela

Chris Gilbert and Cira Pascual Marquina

In the Che Guevara Commune5 in the foothills of the Andes, a long-standing coffee cooperative, built years earlier through the hard work of seasoned cadres who are mostly from Colombia, opted to formally become a commune after Chávez’s 2009 declaration. In El Panal Commune in Caracas, a highly combative revolutionary organization spurred the formation of a bakery, textile workshop, and later developed urban tilapia and pig farming projects under communal property relations. In Cinco Fortalezas Commune in Cumanacoa,6 a group of revolutionary women whose families had been day-laborers, led the project to seize a sugarcane hacienda and then struggled to obtain the means for sugar processing... The state rarely transfers significant political power or resources without struggle, which means that the communes find themselves, in turn, wooing, demanding, and sometimes shaming the state into delivering over a portion of its oil rents and other incomes for the project of socialist accumulation.