Venezuela installs Decolonial School: Commune or Nothing

Lara, April 19, 2023 (Mincomunas Press) – This Wednesday, more than 200 community members from the country’s central-western region participated in the Decolonial School: Commune or Nothing opening. This training space seeks to promote the exchange of ideas and the construction of knowledge in the territories on communal thinking, management, and horizon, to nurture the daily work in the organizational, productive, psycho-community, and spiritual areas.

In this activity, developed in the Julio Perez Rojas auditorium of the Governor’s Office of Lara State, the Vice Minister of Communal Economy, Hernan Vargas, explained that this decolonial school’s objective is to initiate a debate and critical reflection process on liberating community practices, from a spirit that reflects, among other qualities, the daily actions of thousands of people who confront and resist capitalism and, beyond this, resist the values of modern/colonial civilization.

“The debate begins, for example, on the relationship between the construction of the commune and the need to make a decolonial turn. In this route, we will have great contributions from professors and philosophers who have worked on the historical decolonization subject, such as Ramon Grosfoguel and Katya Colmenares, with whom we started this first cycle. We will also discuss what the commune means as a necessity in the face of the current geopolitical crisis of imperialism that goes around like a wounded beast attacking everywhere; likewise, what the commune means as a hope for the future, for the reproduction of life”, said the Vice Minister.

Regarding the communal decolonial school session in the center-west, Vargas detailed that this dynamic includes the participation of 32 communal experiences from the following states: Barinas, Portuguesa, Yaracuy, Zulia, Falcon, Apure, Merida, and Lara.

“This first moment of the communal decolonial school will last three days. We will have collective spaces for reflection and debate with communal men and women; several work tables, as well as moments of exchange to promote a collective action that will allow the construction of a new civilizing project that reproduces life in the community”, Vargas emphasized.

Communal power is service, not domination.

During the first master class of the Decolonial School Commune or Nothing, entitled “The commune as an alternative to the civilizational crisis of the planet,” the Puerto Rican sociologist Ramon Grosfoguel stressed the enormous importance of the formation of communards to carry forward a profound process of cultural, political and economic decolonization.

“We must make conscious the commune as a solution to the civilizing project of death of modernity; the commune as a horizon of Bolivarian socialism; and the commune as a security project, in the face of the onslaught of imperialism. These are three aspects of the commune that are strategic and vital. Therefore, this decolonial school has a fundamental function in the political formation sense,” the philosopher expressed.

Grosfoguel reiterated that Commander Hugo Chavez saw the communal project as a decolonial proposal because he knew very well is impossible to fight the current domination model without communes.

“There cannot be decolonization without communal men and women. We must work for communal political authority; overcome the logic of domination internalized for centuries, and dismantle the colonial historical narrative. The communal project cannot be patriarchal or racist. It cannot be individualistic, nor can it be destructive of life,” he warned.

The sociologist added: “A component of Venezuela’s decolonial communal school is the search for a change of subjectivity and dominant values, for true transformation. The modern subject thinks in his own interest, while the decolonial subject thinks in communitarian terms, in service to the community, and then it establishes a fundamental difference when building a new civilizing project.

On this responsibility, Mexican researcher Katya Colmenares Lizarraga called for building a mystique of the communes.

“We must think of the commune as communities of life. The commune gives back to human beings their essence: life in the community. The spirit of the communes is what we have to nurture for it to reproduce itself. The path is not easy, but it is a solution, a form of humanity in harmony with life,” she said.

Professor and philosopher Katya Colmenares insisted that Venezuela, as part of the global South, has “the challenge of thinking about the economy to be had within the commune and, above all, how to weave an alter-reflexive commune. That is to say: from the other, from diversity and community life.”

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