What will become of the communal councils? As some critics warn, perhaps they will mainly become a tool for consolidating Chávez’s control. Or they might take on power of their own, but without transforming the rest of the Venezuelan government. Or maybe they will indeed create a national political system of participatory democracy.
By Michael Fox – Venezuelanalysis.com, Nov 28th 2006
With all international eyes on the December 3rd Venezuelan presidential elections, a totally new and revolutionary experience of Venezuelan grassroots democracy has completely slipped below international radar.
By Betsy Bowman and Bob Stone - Dollars & Sense, Jul 29th 2006
Cooperatives are at the center of Venezuela’s new economic model. They have the potential to fulfill a number of the aims of the Bolivarian revolution, including combating unemployment, promoting durable economic development, competing peacefully with conventional capitalist firms, and advancing Chávez’s still-being-defined socialism.
By Federico Fuentes - Green Left Weekly, Apr 26th 2006
For Chavez, the only way to get rid of poverty was to give power to the people. On April 9, on Chavez’s weekly Alo Presidente TV program, the Bolivarian revolution took another important step forward with the enactment of a new law on communal councils.
Spaces for small enterprises, especially cooperatives, have been opened by a great number of Venezuelan local governments, public institutions, and enterprises, including Venezuela’s oil company, PDVSA. The cooperative production model has increasingly come to define the development strategies of the “Bolivarian Revolution.”
Venezuela looks to me like Uncle Sam's worst nightmare. I was humbled by Bolivarian ingenuity and steadfastness and by my own continued citizenship in the world's most rogue and brutal nation, against which I and other radicals have had such limited organizing success. Hopefully my country can follow Venezuela's lead rather than crushing its aspirations.
Worker management is a real alternative. If co-management succeeds in Venezuela, it will be an inspiration to workers everywhere. And, if co-management fails, it will strengthen the rule of capital; the message to workers will be that there is no alternative.
Ever since the election of President Chavez, Venezuela's social movements have become more active than ever in the country's social and political life. This article explores some of the dimensions of and reasons for this involvement.