On February 22 to the 25th, 600 participants from 52 revolutionary organizations – including communes, popular movements, food distribution networks, and political parties – gathered in a historic meeting in the El Maizal Commune in solidarity with the communes of the municipality of Simón Planas, Lara State. The communes of this municipality have led a tireless battle over the last several months to demand respect for the electoral victory of their communal candidate for mayor, communard Ángel Prado, who was denied votes in last December's mayoral elections due to a prohibition on his candidacy by the National Constituent Assembly, of which he is an elected delegate.
The gathering was inspired by the response of the communes of Simón Planas, who in the face of this electoral injustice have taken on a legal battle to reclaim the mayorship through filing appeals with Venezuela's National Electoral Council and Supreme Court, and are also pushing forward with the intitiative to create a "communal city" between the different communes in their municipality. The three day meeting became a space for discussion amongst the movements on the construction of the communal state and the communally-run socialist economy as a political horizon for the Bolivarian Revolution.
With the example of the El Maizal Commune at the forefront, the participating organizations agreed that conforming communal cities, confederations of communes, and national networks for communal production and distribution, are priorities in the struggle.
Declaration of Simon Planas
Meeting in Solidarity with the Commune Movement of Simon Planas
25 of February, 2018
We, the Chavista people, communards, campesinos and campesinas, militants of the Bolivarian Revolution, have assembled during these days in the El Maizal Socialist Commune, firstly, because we stand in solidarity with their struggles, because we recognize ourselves in them, and because we feel they are our own. We stand in solidarity because we consider it a question of principle that the will of the people of Simon Planas, expressed on December 10, 2017 with the election of comrade Angel Prado as mayor, be respected.
That will has been disrespected. But that does not intimidate us. It is not the first setback the revolutionary people have suffered, and nor will [its rectification] be the final victory: because sooner or later, the communard people will occupy the mayorship of Simon Planas and they will put it at the service of all.
But we want to reaffirm it, one more time: we understand perfectly well that the struggle of the people of Simon Planas goes beyond the mayorship. What is at stake here is much more than a mayorship. Those who have still not understood anything are those who accommodate themselves to the old bourgeois institutional framework and govern badly for the benefit of few.
Here what is fundamentally at stake is the destiny of our homeland, today brutally besieged by the global imperial powers at be who believe they have the right to carve up the world as they please without regard for the will of the people. What is at stake is the control of our resources. And what is also at stake is a political experiment that for the same global powers is extremely inconvenient given its national, popular, revolutionary, and anti-oligarchic character.
If we have to refer exclusively to what is happening in our country, what is at stake is the necessity to strengthen ourselves and remain united in order to keep at bay and eventually defeat the anti-national political and economic powers that promote the breakdown of the country, its economic asphyxiation, the suffering of the popular majorities, violence, and who most recently reached the extreme of openly calling for foreign military intervention.
But what also is at stake is the need to strengthen ourselves in order to halt the advance of reformism, of those who attempt to turn back on the road we walked with Chavez, above all in the economic field. The historic moment demands that we unite, organize ourselves in order to be capable of reaffirming the radically democratic, communal, and socialist horizon of the Bolivarian Revolution.
For this reason, we are here today in Simon Planas, manifesting our solidarity: because we believe that this is the strategic wager of the people that have decided to take a step forward to build the communal city; because we believe this is the correct path; because we are convinced that what is happening is an example to follow for all of us. Because here Chavez lives and will continue living wherever we find ourselves. Because you can be sure that we will keep fighting.