In Commune: Altos de Lídice

VA's new series "In Commune" will explore communes and their role in the Bolivarian Revolution.

Outside of Venezuela, communes are a little known aspect of the Bolivarian Revolution, yet the development of the communal state is integral to the vision of 21st century socialism laid out by former President Hugo Chavez.

In this series, In Commune, Venezuelanalysis will explore different experiences of rural and urban communes to help better understand what these highly interesting bodies mean, how they have been put into practice, and what they could signify for the continuity of the Bolivarian Revolution in the current situation of political and economic imperialist aggression.

Video Series “In Commune”

Chapter One: The Altos de Lídice Commune

“We need to transcend to the communal government…to the structures of communal power, popular power, self-government, communal auditing, and general self-management.”

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, Aló Presidente Teórico N. 1, June 11, 2009

The Altos de Lídice Commune is an urban commune located in western Caracas. Formed less than two years ago, the commune emerged from the need to create collective grassroots solutions amidst a devastating economic crisis and US unilateral sanctions.

Access to medicine, adequate medical attention and nutrition are all aspects of communal health which have deeply affected the quality of life of the inhabitants of Altos de Lídice and almost all Venezuelans in the midst of the current unilateral sanctions, and for this reason healthcare became the initial focal point of the Altos de Lídice Commune. This committee, alongside community doctors of the state-run Barrio Adentro program, created a meticulous process of assessment and planning to assess the holistic needs of the commune in the area of healthcare. The solution was to create an integral Communal System of Healthcare, which included increasing access to local medical attention, a popular kitchen and a self-managed communal pharmacy all of which are strictly guided by principles of transparency and processes of communal auditing. The rigorous organization and ethics of the Health Committee set the stage for the communal development which followed.

“A commune without a factory, without land for planting, without socialist trade, is not a commune…”

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, Aló Presidente Teórico N. 1, June 11, 2009

Altos de Lídice is currently focused on the development of the communal economy, creating several productive units in the areas of urban agriculture, recycling and maintenance, and repairs. These units or communally owned companies provide work for the inhabitants of the community, as well as much needed products and services and resources which are in turn invested in other communal projects. Part of the production of the urban agriculture unit are used in the popular kitchen, the recycling company uses the profits to maintain public areas, creating a sustainable basis for self-government.

Altos de Lídice has also looked beyond their territory, understanding that one commune alone does not make a revolution. The commune has heeded the call made by the El Maizal (rural commune in Lara and Portuguesa States) to build a national network of communal production and distribution, supporting communes with little access to distribution channels, supplying other communes with quality products at fair prices prices and promoting communal production as the solution to improving national production.

The spokespersons of the Altos de Lidice comment that they have begun to understand that the principal elements of the communal model promoted by the late President Chávez, of self-government, self-sufficiency and co-management, combined with collective will, are the key not only to resist the economic war, or solve specific problems in their community, but also for the deepening of the Bolivarian Revolution, even in the midst of imperialist aggression.