by George Ciccariello- Maher
Latin America's experiments in direct democracy
Since 2011, a wave of popular uprisings has swept the globe, taking shape in the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring, 15M in Spain, and the anti-austerity protests in Greece. The demands have been varied, but have expressed a consistent commitment to the ideals of radical democracy.
Similar experiments began appearing across Latin America twenty-five years ago, just as the left fell into decline in Europe. In Venezuela, poor barrio residents arose in a mass rebellion against neoliberalism, ushering in a government that institutionalized the communes already forming organically.
In Building the Commune, George Ciccariello-Maher travels through these radical experiments, speaking to a broad range of community members, workers, students and government officials. Assessing the projects' successes and failures, Building the Commune provides lessons and inspiration for the radical movements of today.
"Democracy has been emptied of its content, and Building the Commune offers an alternative model for political organization: the Commune, whose roots are in 1871 Paris but whose contemporary emergence is in Venezuela. A sharp and important book that puts at center-stage the ambitions of ordinary people to govern themselves." --Vijay Prashad, author of The Poorer Nations
"In the post-Chávez era in Venezuela, one under-reported institution stands out as the repository of popular aspirations: the Commune. George Ciccariello-Maher brilliantly describes their activities against the background of increasing political strife. Essential reading for all those anxious about the future of Venezuela." --Richard Gott, author of Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution
About the Author:
George Ciccariello-Maher is Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He is the author of We Created Chávez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution and Decolonizing Dialectics.