Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bolivarian Democracy

Venezuela’s Secret Grassroots Democracy
With all international eyes on the December 3rd Venezuelan presidential elections, a totally new and revolutionary experience of Venezuelan grassroots democracy has completely slipped below international radar.

These new communal councils were being called a new form of grassroots local government, in which the residents of the local community would have the ultimate decision-making power in their neighborhood. It was said that these councils would even receive funds from the government to carry out community and public works projects that previously could only be acquired through a long and protracted struggle with the local mayor’s office.

It is not Hugo Chavez that is impacting Latin America as much as it is the Bolivarian Revolution from below. The development of constiuent assemblies of the people, a form of counter power to the bourgeois state. It is occuring in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and even Mexico. Old style 18th Century parliamentary democracy is being challenged by direct assemblies of the people. It began with the Workers Party in Brazil under Lulu when provinces controled by the WP held mass constiuent assemblies to deal with developing provincial and municipal budgets.

It arose during the Argentinian melt-down, when facing fiscal catastrophe, the people assembled themselves into constiuent assemblies, as well as economic cooperatives to create a counter economy against the declining Argentinian dollar.

Chavez only took the idea and institutionalized it as part of a program for the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela. It is now spreading along with election of left wing governments in the region. This is what real democracy looks like. It is what Murray Bookchin called Municipal Libertarianism. Local neighbourhoods create assemblies that run their areas, and set up representative councils or federations made up of the local assemblies. Thus creating a counter or dual power situation against the existing state or government. In Latin America it has been effective in countering the padrone system of local government.

Pity we don't have it in Canada, we are stuck with the old decrepit British Empire model of colonial governance; parliament. And look at what they did this week, recognize Quebec, err, Quebekers, err no make that Pure Laine Quebecois, as a people, err no as a nation, err as a.....???? Without asking the people themselves in Quebec or the ROC what we wanted. Time for a
Constiuent Assembly in Canada.


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