Commune or Nothing! Venezuela’s Communal Movement and its Socialist Project
By Chris Gilbert
208 pages / 978-1-68590-023-6 / $23
In September, the podcast Millennials are Killing Capitalism interviewed Chris Gilbert of venezuelanalysis.com, about his book Commune or Nothing! The conversation focused on Gilbert’s theoretical work, building on the work of feminist social reproduction theory, Marx’s theory of value, to put forth the concept of directly social labor as a key to the emancipatory possibilities of the commune. For Gilbert the commune represents a recovery of Marx, in particular the romantic Marx who saw revolutionary potential among the Iroquois Confederacy, Algerian peasants and Russian peasant communes.
Gilbert also shared some of the contributions of African Maroon communities and indigenous communal practices to the development of Venezuela’s socialist vision. And along the way he discussed a commune that is geographically the size of Manhattan and discuss currency experiments, communal banking efforts, and the process of “de-alienation” that Gilbert sees in the commune.
Had the interview been conducted after October 7th, the host writes, it “would’ve definitely warranted some attention in the conversation particularly as Gilbert talked about sanctions as total war and viewing Venezuela as a concentration camp, remarks that resonate with the Palestinian experience currently. This was also recorded prior to some of the recent developments in Venezuela including – among many other things – the Essequibo referendum, Biden threatening harsher sanctions against Venezuela, and the arrest of 32 people in alleged assassination plots.”