Representatives from 225 communes met on 31 January and 1 February in Barinas to discuss strengthening the communal economy.
The conference was called and organised by the Bolivar and Zamora Revolutionary Current (CRBZ). The CRBZ is a current in the PSUV comprised of the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ), the Simon Bolivar National Communal Front (FNCSB), the Bolivarian Popular Workers’ Movement (MPBO) and the Simon Rodriguez Centre for Political Education and Social Studies (CEFES).
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 Hugo Chavez. Its main aim was to continue developing the communal economic system “as a tool for deepening socialist popular power”.
Specifically, the conference hoped to achieve an exchange of experiences between communes, debate and develop the communal socialist management model, strengthen the productive chain of communal economic activity, and strengthen specific organisations, such as communal economic councils and committees, communal parliaments, communal banks, and socialist production enterprises (EPS).
Other topics of discussion included judicial structures for developing the communal economic system, communal currency, and public and social policy.
567 delegates from 225 communes participated in the conference. The vice-minister for the communal economy, Amador Hidalgo also attended.
Coming out of the conference, CRBZ said in 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 control of the oil income that they lost when comandante Chavez arrived in government.” The CRBZ said they see communal economy as part of the fight against such an “oligarchy” which dedicates itself only to “speculation and importing’ and not to producing.
In the statement the conference expressed its “commitment to the Bolivarian revolution, defending the legacy of Hugo Chavez, the unity of Chavismo, and unconditional support to… Nicolas Maduro” and stated that “democratising property, generating new forms of social property such as communal ones, is necessary for strengthening participative and protagonistic democracy”.
Some of the agreements the conference reached include the following: To recognise the Commune Bank as the finance institution that will articulate with the public banks, to generate special financing funds for the Commune banks in order to increase production, to create a plan for communal fairs and markets, to promote technical and political education schools, to create a communal transport network, to generate new experiences in communal savings of both money and resources, and transfer responsibility for land, supplies, and machinery in commune territories from the state to the communes.