Praxis, Learning, and New Cooperativism in Venezuela: An Initial Look at Venezuela’s Socialist Production Units

In this paper, I address the question as to the extent to which the participatory and democratic processes taking place as part of Venezuela's new cooperative movement can be said to be a component for the building of social relations that challenge those of capitalism.

By Manuel Larrabure
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I begin with a discussion of praxis and learning. Then, I attempt to situate the role of cooperatives and the participation therein within the context of capitalism. In the second half of this paper, I look at Venezuela’s new cooperativism and present preliminary findings based on an ethnographic study of three of Venezuela’s Socialist Production Units (SPUs), the country’s newest cooperative spaces. SPUs, I argue, are contradictory spaces where participants are experiencing a tension between reproductive and revolutionary praxis. In addition, they are spaces in which participants are acquiring important learning that challenges dominant market relations. Therefore, I conclude, SPUs are taking modest but important steps towards the building of Venezuela’s socialism in the 21st century.

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