Representatives from 225 communes met over January 31 to February 1 in Barinas in western Venezuela to discuss strengthening the communal economy.
Communes are made up of elected representatives from the communal councils, grassroots bodies that bring together local neighbourhoods.
The conference was called and organised by the Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ). The CRBZ is a current in the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).
The CRBZ said it called the conference in the “framework of the new revolutionary cycle” and the implementation of the Homeland Plan, originally drafted by late president Hugo Chavez. Its main aim was to continue developing the communal economic system “as a tool for deepening socialist popular power”.
The conference hoped to exchange experiences between communes, develop the communal socialist management model, strengthen communal economic activity, and strengthen bodies such as communal economic councils and committees, communal parliaments, communal banks, and socialist production enterprises.
There were 567 delegates from 225 communes taking part in the conference. The vice-minister for the communal economy, Amador Hidalgo also attended.
Out of the conference, the CRBZ issued a statement: “We’re in a revolution, and revolutions go from one battle to another. The parasitic oligarchy, particularly their financial, commercial, and import fractions, aligned with the empire’s plans, isn’t completely renouncing the oil income they lost when comandante Chavez arrived in government.”
The CRBZ said it sees the communal economy as part of the fight against such an “oligarchy” which dedicates itself only to “speculation and importing’ and not to producing.
The statement expressed its “commitment to the Bolivarian revolution, defending the legacy of Hugo Chavez, the unity of Chavismo, and unconditional support to ... Nicolas Maduro”.
It said that, “democratising property, generating new forms of social property such as communal ones, is necessary for strengthening participative and protagonistic democracy”.
Agreements reached at the conference included to: recognise the Commune Bank as the finance institution to work with public banks; generate special financing funds for the Commune Bank to raise production; create a plan for communal fairs and markets; promote technical and political education schools; create a communal transport network; and transfer responsibility for land, supplies, and machinery in commune territories from the state to the communes.
[Abridged from Venezuela Analysis.]