Above Photo: The anniversary event of the El Maizal Commune initiated with an act symbolizing the networks built between communards. (Venezuelanalysis)
A flagship commune in Venezuela responds to the US blockade by diversifying its production.
El Maizal Commune lies in the fertile lands between the Lara and Portuguesa states in western Venezuela. Founded in 2009, this rural commune has since become an important political and economic force in both the region and the country. It not only produces huge amounts of corn every year, but also raises cattle and pigs, along with a growing number of additional side enterprises. Most importantly, El Maizal Commune forges new social relations and new human beings: people committed to the socialist project that Chávez promoted during his lifetime.
This summer, we took the challenge to leave Caracas – where a pragmatic capitalist restoration is generally seen as the best way to respond to the economic crisis and sanctions – to investigate how Venezuela’s most successful commune confronts the current multi-crisis. We embarked on the difficult journey (gasoline shortages have turned what should be a five-hour trip into a day-long odyssey) to talk to El Maizal’s seasoned communards about how they see the country’s situation, the solutions they have learned through experience, and the future they project for the besieged country.
In the first part of this three-part series, we talked to several communards about the impact of the sanctions and the creative solutions they have employed during the blockade. In part II, El Maizal’s workers explain the commune’s new production strategies and the importance of political education in these difficult times.