Venezuela’s National Network of Communes Statement to the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly

Below is a statement by the communal movement in Venezuela.  In  spite of what it states about the role they think the communes deserve to play in the economic life of the country,  the communes actually have had little impact on national production. However, some of its proposals reflect the demands and sentiments of the organized chavista movement at the base, seeking greater control of their own destiny.  The communes have a greater presence in the small cities than large, in areas outside of large cities and the countryside.

https://www.aporrea.org/poderpopular/n315102.html

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28 sep. 2017 – Since May 1st, May Day, when President Nicolás Maduro  called for the start of the Constitutional Assembly process in the Republic, several popular assemblies have been set up, where the organized population began to generate and systematize proposals, assuming that the debate on the design of a new Constitution could not be defined only by those in the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), but that street parliamentarism should have a fundamental  role in the contributions.

WITHOUT A COMMUNAL  ECONOMY THERE  WILL BE NO SOCIALISM OR  REVOLUTION!

FOR A COMMUNAL CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

Against the imperialist economic sanctions we promote the constituent power of the communal economy

We men and women of the Venezuela, militants of the Bolivarian Revolution, spokespeople of communes and communal councils, of collectives and popular movements articulated through the National Network of Communal Members, exercising the non-transferable sovereignty of the people and as depositaries of the original constituent power, being faithful to the legacy of Commander Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, taking into account our historical responsibility and the call of President Nicolás Maduro, we went to the National Constituent Assembly, the National Government and the whole country, in order to make clear our position against the new imperialist aggression and to present the proposals to face the serious economic situation that we live as a people.

CONSIDERING

That the Venezuelan people are going through a critical situation resulting from a new scenario of the class struggle that we have called Economic War, carried out by a sector of the international and national right, that is, the parasitic bourgeoisie in alliance with bureaucratic sectors within the State, which is expressed in the galloping inflation, hoarding , reduction of food production, and speculation in medicines, hygiene articles, clothing, footwear and other necessities, attacks  on electric, gas, water services, fixed and cellular telephones, internet, attacks on the currency and points of sale, extraction of cash; all of which are triggering situations of poverty, human right to food, health and life.

That the situation is aggravated, with the new imperialist aggression turned into economic sanctions and the threats of military intervention against the noble and brave people of our country.

That the Venezuelan people do not subordinate their sovereignty to any imperialist force, or to the Creole right, or any person in government that seeks to kidnap popular sovereignty. The Venezuelan people, the son of Bolivar and Chávez, will be respected!

That the Venezuelan people have identified the external and internal enemies, that the time has come to fight effectively with all the weight of the law, against the corrupt sectors within the government bureaucracy that sabotage the public administration, embezzle from the national treasury, hamper the advance of popular organization and carry out actions in favor of the Economic War against the people.

That in the face of economic sanctions we demand urgent, concrete, conjunctural and structural solutions of socialist character to the problematic generated by the Economic War. We are the common people who resisted the guarimbas, who shed our blood,  victims of the political violence carried out by the MUD,  we who heroically came out to DEFEAT once again  the empire, by  voting  massively for the Constituent Assembly and which today requires the ANC to take measures where the people are power.

Capitalism by its nature generates exclusion, poverty and destruction of the planet, as a result the Venezuelan people have decided to advance with the Bolivarian Revolution towards the construction of a communal ecosocialist model that surpasses capitalism.

The Commune of  Chavez  is the organizational, political and economic tool through which the people materialize their historical claim while confronted with the political, economic and socio-cultural capitalist exclusion, and is the basis of the Communal Socialist State, heroic creation of the People that will replace the Current Bourgeois Capitalist State.

Only the commune, with its organizations and social-productive networks and social and popular movements, can successfully face in a sustainable way the Economic War on the right. It is the people in full exercise of their constituent power in permanent revolution.

The orientations on the communal economy in the Plan of the Homeland Law show that Comandante Chavez did not think the socio-productive organizations and networks of the communal economy as only a small, marginal microeconomic activity, but as the basis of the new great socialist economic structure of the country, as Social Property, directed and commanded by the people organized in communes and councils of workers, peasants and peasants, fishermen!

That a new socialist, non-rentier, post-oil economic model which respects and preserves life on the planet can be established only within the commune, with its socio-productive organizations and networks, aiming at the Communal State,  as part of and in harmony with our Pachamama.

The economy is the structural basis of society. Therefore, the Bolivarian Revolution without a socialist economy in the hands of the organized people, one that attends to the needs of the people and not to the market, that is productive, efficient, dignifies the worker, with predominance of social ownership of the means of production, with planned distribution and with the organization of consumption;  this is possible only  through the commune and its various levels of aggregation. There will be no socialism, no Revolution, without the commune and its communal economy.

That in 17 years of Bolivarian Revolution, we have had concrete progress in terms of popular organization, participation and political awareness, the formation of more than 40,000 Communal Councils, about 2000 communes and now it is time for to make a definitive and decisive advance to assume Economic Power through the Communal Economy.

That for the advancement of the Bolivarian Revolution it is necessary to constitutionalize the People’s Power and the communes with their different levels of aggregation, in their leading role, permanent and binding on the rest of the powers.

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

1.-  We strongly reject the interventionist actions of the United States government against the Venezuelan people with its sanctions and threats, whose obvious intention is to appropriate the country’s natural resources! Trump gets your dirty hands out of Venezuela!

2.- We support President Nicolas Maduro in the fight against imperialism, economic war and corruption.

3 .-We demand applying the full weight of the law against sectors of the parasitic bourgeoisie and officials involved in the gross fraud in the granting of foreign exchange, especially in resources for medicines and food.

4.-We ratify our historic decision to move forward with the Bolivarian Revolution in the transformation of the country towards the eradication of the present Bourgeois Capitalist State and the establishment of a Socialist Republic based on the empowerment of the People and the exercise of its political, economic, social and cultural hegemony, in the new Communal Democratic and Social State of Law and Justice. “Either the Revolution is self-government of the people or it is no revolution!”

5.- We propel forward the Commune of Chávez and the Communal State, as the concrete revolutionary historical road that the glorious Venezuelan people began more than 200 years ago, and which seeks their liberation, eradicating any political, economic or military power that intends to conquer it. Communes and their aggregation systems must be “the political form” where working people are government.

6.- We demand urgent and effective measures for the problems of inflation, food and medicine shortages, cash availability, gas and public service sabotage, resulting from the Economic War, which violate the human rights of the population and which are attacking the political, economic and social process of the Bolivarian Revolution. The economic issue must be present in all sessions of the ANC. These measures must be taken with the people exercising command, directing, controlling, governing, from their organizations, movements councils and communes.

7.- “Because man does not live by bread alone,” activate the constituent power of people,  fulfill the historical debt of educational, cultural and communication transformation, which  destroys the old practices of traditional capitalist education, and replaces it with one oriented in the philosophical approach and practices of liberating education, that builds new contents, new educators, new relationships, pedagogical structures and practices, education for life, productive work, democracy and freedom, to accompany the new post-oil production model and to promote the values ​​of Bolivianism, sovereignty, self-determination, unity of the great homeland and anti-imperialist consciousness and practices.

8.- Resume  expanding the project of the Universidad Campesina de Venezuela Argimiro Gabaldón in the hands of peasants and peasants, and communal members without despotic intermediation of the government bureaucracy.

9.- To write a chapter on the communes, the Communal Socialist State and the communal economy of direct or mixed social property in the new Constitution. It seems that many have not yet assimilated “Commune or Nothing” raised by Chavez. It is necessary to change the territorial legal framework. They cannot be subordinated to the Municipal Government. The commune must be incorporated as the new cultural heritage with the values ​​of the people! The commune is organized joint life, people’s government with responsibility, satisfaction of needs, economic, food, internal security, putting human values ​​before individual interest.

10.- To raise the Commune and the Communal Economy, with its socio-productive organizations of direct or mixed social property and their socio-productive networks, as proposed by the Chavista people organized to face the Economic War. You cannot confront capitalism with more capitalism. It is necessary to promote the Communal Economy as the new socialist post-oil model. Neither can the Bolivarian Revolution be limited to the sharing of social benefits. There are already communes that produce food, build homes, have transportation and are self-sustaining, even in the middle of the Economic War. Rural and urban communes have integrated to create new circuits of production, transformation, distribution and consumption,  complementary to each other, with social relations of production without exploitation.

11.- Require that the communes have their budget  and constitutional status. Being the fundamental cell of the new Communal Socialist State, anchored in the territory, the commune must receive resources for economic and social development.

12.- We denounce  the institutions of the state that interfere with the communes. With blocks on and conditions on the registration of communes and their socio-productive organizations, on scarce and inopportune financing, scarce advice,  and interventionism of some local and regional governments that have tried to control Popular Power and insist on intervening in the communal councils and communes based on various mechanisms of blackmail, as is currently occurring in the renewal of communal council vocations. We propose that the Ministry of People’s Power for Communes and Social Movements be led by communal members elected in the communes. The Agropatria company[1] and SUNAGRO[2]  have become obstacles to productive economic activity, and  we demand intervention in these institutions to place peasants, peasants, and communal leaders under their control. We request the decentralization of the distribution  functions of agricultural inputs, direct distribution of Pequiven[3] and companies providing agricultural inputs to the communes and the re-energizing of BioPatrias.[4]

13.- We address to the country that  communal members have been persecuted, imprisoned and even assassinated by ultra-right forces, some even acting within institutions of the state. We demand justice and punishment for the guilty parties.

14.- We denounce the criminalization of the communal members  who are building  the Communal System of Food  Production and Distribution, where we have had battles to preserve our waters, our lands, our ancestral knowledge, our seeds, our culture.

15.- We commit ourselves to build the confederation of communes, with regional parliaments as a form of organic construction of the “new life” based on the common good.

16.- We  demand that the TV program, Comunas Al Mando, the only program produced and directed by communal members,  be transmitted by live TV.

ON THE COMMUNITY ECONOMY

17.- Demand that the new constitution include the communal economy and its socio-productive organizations of direct and mixed social ownership and their socio-productive networks, where the communal economy is not considered as one more motor of the economy, but as a powerful axis that is present in all 14 economic motors, proposed by President Nicolás Maduro , and in all economic areas developed in the country. This will enable the development of projects with clear, feasible goals and targets for sustainable socialist production in: animal and plant food production, primary or processed in agro-industries, bio-inputs, animal feed, natural and synthetic medicines, medical equipment, mining, development industrial, chemical, petrochemical, biotechnology, personal hygiene products, footwear, clothing, housing, grooming, transportation, IT, audiovisual, distribution, maintenance, tourism and all types of services. This must be carried out without depending on “market forces”, but with planned distribution, according to the needs of the community. Covering all costs and stipulating a surplus according to the law. Having a constitutional status, socialist communal socio-productive organizations must be incorporated into the Commercial Code.

18.- As part of a new structure of Popular Power based on the Republic of Councils, approved at the 5th Meeting of the National Network of Communal Members, it is proposed to activate the National Council of Economy, made up of spokespersons of the Councils of Economy of the communes, producers and peasant farmers, who will be in charge of directing economic processes in the country, developing economic policies and plans, defining priority areas and areas, including topics such as local currencies, communal banking, administering resources for advice, direct financing to Socialist Production Enterprises [EPS], carrying out and supervision of projects and training, as well as establishing a National Comptroller’s Office with authority to follow up on all resource management processes in the country, including its incorporation in the law of price controls, authority  to review cost structures, among others.

19.- Develop a National Plan for the Promotion and Execution of Socialist Communal Social-productive Projects (Socialist Productive Socialist Plan), for all 14 remaining economic engines of the Bolivarian Economic Agenda, including the formation of Monitoring Committees of Social Productive Communes, covering the socio-political, administrative and technical aspects and the autonomous registration of these organizations. Each commune must mold at least 10 EPSD [Empresas de Propriedad Social Directa –  Direct Social Property Enterprises], plus the UPF[5]  in order to  articulate and strengthen the Socioproductive Networks of the Communes. In its first stage, this plan will cover everything from training and financing to start up and monitoring the project in its first year. The objective is to turn the communal economy into a new wave of mass socialist production, where the people themselves can generate decent jobs for the people.  All of us must be producing!

20.- To transform the public companies of gas, electricity, telephones, water, and internet services into companies of direct or mixed social property,  transferring their assets and with the participation of organized people. Citizens’ assemblies should be held on this subject.

21.- We demand the fulfillment of the mandates of the Law Plan of the Homeland, proposed by Commander Hugo Chávez, in the aspects referring to the Communal Economy, such as those raised in the objectives:

– 1.4.8.4. Creation of Direct Social Property Companies for export products.

– 2.1.4.6. Contribute to the socio-economic well-being of the environment where the productive units are based, applying the point-and-circle strategy, allowing for popular participation in social and economic processes; as well as social comptrollers.

– 2.3.2.1. Develop the Communal Economic System with the different forms of socio-productive organization: Direct and Indirect Social Property Companies, Family Production Units, Solidarity Exchange Groups.

– 2.3.2.4. Transfer of companies of Indirect Social Property to agencies of Popular Power.

– 3.1.16.5. Creation of companies of direct social property of nonmetallic minerals.

– 3.2.3.5. Develop industrial processes at the community level linked to the demands of large and medium-sized national industries.

– 3.2.4.2. Develop economies of scale and complementarity in the social productive fabric in order to build a new economic metabolism, contrary to the logic of capital by implementing a system of contributions of surpluses of companies directly and indirectly owned.

– 3.4.5.3. Creation of communal transport companies. Program of communal tourist enterprises.

22.- We propose incorporating the CLAPs constitutionally into the structure of the socio-productive networks of the communes as Direct Social-Owned Enterprises. They cannot be entities outside the communes, because they are strategic organs for the planned distribution of food and basic necessities. To be self-sustaining and to break the oil dependence, they cannot go against the popular organization.which is really sustainable. On the other hand, CLAPs cannot be “committees”, since they carry out an economic activity that is distribution, which has costs, and requires energy and work that must be remunerated and generates surpluses. The people who work in the new EPSD that are formed from the CLAPs must receive a remuneration and labor benefits for their work, according to the Ley Organica del Trabajo [LOTTT, the Bolivarian labor law], to be able to dedicate itself fully to the distribution activity in dignified conditions, at the time of being equipped with transportation, warehouses  and other resources for the distribution of food and basic necessities, in each commune. In this way it can be a factor of empowerment, popular sovereignty and sustainability.

23.- Demand the fulfillment of the resources approved President Nicolás Maduro for the project of the Great Communal Company of Production, Distribution and Consumption of Food, to end the economic war.

WE DO NOT WORK ANY LONGER FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT WORK, WE DO NOT WORK FOR THE BOURGEOISIE!

AGAINST ECONOMIC WAR – FOR SOCIALIST COMMUNAL PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION!

WORKER, PEASANT AND COMMUNAL CONTROL OF PROPERTY, PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND IMPORT OF FOOD, MEDICINE, GOODS AND SERVICES!

WITHOUT A SOCIALIST COMMUNAL ECONOMY, THERE WILL BE NO SOCIALISM, NO REVOLUTION !!!

FOR THE MAKING OF THE COMMUNAL ECONOMY THE CENTRAL AXIS OF ALL THE ENGINES OF THE BOLIVARIAN ECONOMIC AGENDA !!!

COMMUNES TO COMMAND, COMMUNES TO GOVERN!

[1] Agropatria is a government Enterprise, which supplies fertilizers, pesticides, etc. to the campesinos. It used to be a private company, and was nationalized by Chavez in order to better serve the campesinos. However, there is much criticism of its poor functioning, even that is it worse than the prior private version.

[2] Sunagro [Superintendencia Nacional de Gestión Agroalimentaria, National Oversight Board of the Argo-food Management] is part of the Minstry of Peoples Power for Food.  www.sunagro.gob.ve

[3] Pequiven is a public Enterprise tied to the oil sector, which manufactures fertilizers. There are criticisms concerning its productivity.

[4] Biopatrias undertakes projects such as guaranteeing the refrigeration and maintenance of bio-inputs to agricultural production

[5] Unidades de Produccion Familiar – Family Production Units. These are often orchards, gardens, or family food processing operations.

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