Mérida, December 8, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com)– With the regional elections over now and ten years since Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was first elected, the president promoted the construction of participatory democratic communes as the main element in the next stage of the revolution.
"The commune is the fundamental element of the third stage of socialism," said Chavez, speaking at an event titled "Socialism and the third period of the Bolivarian revolution," which was attended by all the newly elected PSUV (United Socialist Party of Venezuela) governors, as well as National Assembly legislators, ministers, and national and regional leaders of the PSUV.
Chavez encouraged the governors, mayors, and regional legislators to propel the development and strengthening of the communes as a strategic line for the construction of socialist democracy and people's power. He also said they are an important part of their plan for building socialism from below.
According to Article 16 of the failed constitutional reform proposed in 2007, a commune would be the basic organizational structure of the country, and a self-governing body made up of several organized communities united together and organized as a form of participatory democracy. Each commune would be made up of several of the now-existing communal councils.
Communes could also integrate, for example, socialist factories, Mercals (subsidized grocery stores), collectives, communally owned gas stations, and social programs known as missions.
"The communes are like nests of cells where they must cross lines, the popular government, the people's power," Chavez said.
The governor of Guarico state, William Lara, added his support for the formation of communes across the width and breadth of Venezuela at the event, saying that the event itself was important to encourage the interweaving and coordination of the local, regional, and national governments under the structure of just one government with the construction of Bolivarian socialism as its main objective.
Lara said the creation of communes would allow for increasingly effective government management, "through the various proposals that would be created by the communities, based on their problems and specific aims…the government would come directly to the people without any intermediary other than the community."
At the event Chavez also emphasized the importance of "eradicating the betrayal" of officials elected on his party's ticket, but who then switch to the opposition. "I ask god that not one traitor more comes out of our ranks," he said.
The newly elected should be "aware that the people voted for a project that is socialist democracy…to part from this project would be a betrayal of the people who voted for him [sic] as a candidate for socialism."
Finally, he designated a vice presidents' council to work on the formation of brigades in charge of executing various productive projects. The council would be run by the vice president of the country and the vice president of the PSUV.
The council would not just deal with infrastructure projects, but also agricultural production, and processing of primary material. Referring to the council, and the aim to create communes, Chavez said, "It is necessary to give the people the means of production, in this case, machinery."