You've probably heard a lot about the Bolivarian regimes in Latin America by now - but have you heard about Venezuela's 1,500 grassroots-lead communes which have been their driving force? In this article, originally published in ROAR magazine's first issue, George Cicciarello-Maher guides you through the political mobilisations of contemporary Venezuela.
George's new book, Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela, is out now and 40% off until Sunday 30th October. Click here to activate the discount.
George Ciccariello-Maher is a writer, organizer, and professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University. He is the author most recently of Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela, and is currently a visiting researcher at the Instituted for Social Research at the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) where he is researching popular self-defense movements. Here he picks 5 essential book for rethinking the history of communal power in Latin America and beyond.
The Latin American commune dates to long before the events of Paris 1871. Never emerging fully-formed—why would we expect it to?—the history of the commune cuts into and across much broader struggles for popular self-government that began before colonization. Just as the Spanish comuna can encompass everything from a local community to a fully-fledged collectivist society, so too do we need to excavate the real, living history of the commune in a nuanced way that does not sacrifice social content to any predetermined form.