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Commune or Nothing! Venezuela’s Communal Movement and its Socialist Project

Commune or Nothing! Venezuela’s Communal Movement and its Socialist Project

Forthcoming Winter 2023

A front-row seat to Venezuela’s most innovative socialist project, with important lessons for movements worldwide

Commune or Nothing! Venezuela’s Communal Movement and Its Socialist Project opens a window on one of the most ambitious revolutionary projects of our time, as it took shape in a country suffering the cruel consequences of US imperialism. In recent years, repeated coup attempts and U.S. sanctions, combined with falling oil prices, have plunged Venezuela into a series of severe shortages leading to malnutrition, sickness, death, and mass migration. Still, as author Chris Gilbert shows, the Venezuelan people have not been passive in the face of these

Mészáros and Chávez: The Philosopher and the Llanero

What made István Mészáros’s life so fascinating, and relevant to issues of socialist construction, was that, having seen both sides of the Cold War, he came to perceive both “real socialism” and twentieth-century capitalism as two variants of the same system. He called this the capital system. The basic commonality among most countries of both the East and the West in the twentieth century was the extraction of surplus labor from workers who did not control their own work processes. | more…

Mészáros and Chávez: “The Point from Which to Move the World Today”

István Mészáros was a global thinker strongly committed to anti-imperialist struggles. In this respect, he allied himself with those fighting for socialist transformation in the Philippines, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, and elsewhere. He argued that in the descending phase of capitalism there was a “downward equalization of the rate of exploitation,” by which he meant a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions, enforced by a global system of monopolistic competition. | more…

Johandri Paredes

A Commune Called ‘Che’: A Socialist Holdout in the Venezuelan Andes

The Che Guevara Commune is far removed from the bustle of Venezuela’s huge coastal cities. You reach it by following a steep winding road from the shores of Lake Maracaibo into La Culata National Park. Lush vegetation and tall bucare trees provide good shade for coffee and cacao, which has only begun to be farmed in recent decades in this region, due to the migration triggered by the construction of the Pan-American Highway along the lake’s perimeter in the 1950s. | more…

Extraordinary Threat: The U.S. Empire, the Media, and Twenty Years of Coup Attempts in Venezuela

Forthcoming in June 2021

In March 2015, President Obama initiated sanctions against Venezuela, declaring a “national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela.” Each year, the U.S. administration has repeated this claim. But, as Joe Emersberger and Justin Podur ague in their timely book, Extraordinary Threat, the opposite is true: It is the U.S. policy of regime change in Venezuela that constitutes an “extraordinary threat” to Venezuelans. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans continue to die because of these ever-tightening U.S. sanctions, denying people daily food, medicine, and fuel. On top of this, Venezuela has, since 2002, been subjected to repeated coup attempts by U.S.-backed forces. In Extraordinary Threat, Emersberger and Podur tell the story of six coup attempts against Venezuela. | more…

Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuela, the Present as Struggle: Voices from the Bolivarian Revolution

Venezuela has been the stuff of frontpage news extravaganzas, especially since the death of Hugo Chávez. With predictable bias, mainstream media focus on violent clashes between opposition and government, coup attempts, hyperinflation, U.S. sanctions, and massive immigration. What is less known, however, is the story of what the Venezuelan people—especially the Chavista masses—do and think in these times of social emergency. Denying us their stories comes at a high price to people everywhere, because the Chavista bases are the real motors of the Bolivarian revolution. This revolutionary grassroots movement still aspires to the communal path to socialism that Chávez refined in his last years. Venezuela, the Present as Struggle is an eloquent testament to their lives. | more…

Planning from Below: A Decentralized Participatory Planning Proposal by Marta Harnecker and José Bartolomé

Planning from Below: A Decentralized Participatory Planning Proposal

Political scientist, author, and activist, Marta Harnecker has devoted her life to collaborating in building radical democracy in Latin American communities where people have, for generations, experienced crushing poverty and a near complete loss of control over their lives. In South America and the Caribbean, but especially in Cuba and Venezuela, Harnecker has worked directly with disenfranchised workers and peasants. From the ground up, she has helped to build new structures and methods that bring to virtually unknown towns and provinces the full meaning of the Bolivarian revolution. In this latest work, Harnecker, with Spanish economist José Bartolomé, shares some of her wisdom on how this is being done, and how communities everywhere can gain empowerment. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 71, Number 2 (June 2019)

June 2019 (Volume 71, Number 2)

The situation in Venezuela has become extremely dire due to Washington’s heightened economic warfare, its continuing attempts to engineer a political coup, and its growing threats of massive military intervention—all aimed at bringing down the Bolivarian Republic. The recent seizure of Venezuelan oil assets in the United States and its gold reserves in British banks, as well as the sanctioning of Venezuelan oil sales, have come on top of a long series of economic sanctions—beginning with the Obama administration and now intensified under Trump’s—that constitute nothing less than a modern form of siege warfare, extended to food supplies and medicine. But the Venezuelan Revolution has managed to resist in the face of the economic and political warfare of the most powerful imperialist nation in the world, and the reasons why are to be found in the nature of the Bolivarian Revolution and the Venezuelan people themselves. | more…