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By George Ciccariello-Maher

Latin America’s experiments in direct democracy

Since 2011, a wave of renowned uprisings has swept the globe, taking form within the Occupy move, 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.

related experiments started to appear throughout Latin the USA twenty-five years in the past, simply because the left fell into decline in Europe. In Venezuela, negative barrio citizens arose in a mass uprising opposed to neoliberalism, ushering in a central authority that institutionalized the communes already forming organically. In construction the Commune, George Ciccariello-Maher travels via those radical experiments, talking to a large variety of neighborhood participants, staff, scholars and executive officers. Assessing the tasks’ successes and screw ups, Building the Commune presents classes and suggestion for the novel events of at the present time.

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Deploying their enhanced policing powers to cleanse neighborhoods of marginal populations, these rich enclaves trumpeted their safety in contrast to other, less fortified areas. The same year Chávez was elected, Chacao outlawed the informal street vendors who make up a considerable segment of the city’s workforce; faithful to its brand, the municipality has more recently declared its intention to become Venezuela’s first “graffiti-free” zone. Urban decentralization was seen as a cure-all by a ruling class that was utterly oblivious to just how deep the shit had gotten.

The same year Chávez was elected, Chacao outlawed the informal street vendors who make up a considerable segment of the city’s workforce; faithful to its brand, the municipality has more recently declared its intention to become Venezuela’s first “graffiti-free” zone. Urban decentralization was seen as a cure-all by a ruling class that was utterly oblivious to just how deep the shit had gotten. As it turned out, though, the urban poor were no anomaly, but living, breathing symptoms of the system itself, the natural products of a class of elites that lacked then—as it lacks today—any coherent alternative for Venezuela’s economic and social development.

A radical with deep roots in barrio and youth movements, and with a militant emphasis on popular participation and culture, Iturriza oversaw the revitalization of Chávez’s vision and the dramatic expansion of the communes. ” As I write this, the real-time tally of registered communes on the ministry’s website reads 1,546, in addition to more than 45,000 communal councils, and thousands of EPSs already registered by 2013. In a major step forward, 2014 saw the communes begin to stretch their authority upward, consolidating an integrated national structure.

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