Comuna Under Construction

Comuna Under Construction

Comuna Under Construction

94 min
Single Channel Video
Austria/Germany/Venezuela, 2010

The assemblies are a central element of the film Comuna Under Construction. The film starts off in the well organized Consejo Comunal Emiliano Hernández located in one of the shantytowns of Caracas. It then shows the intentions of forming Comunas and a communal town in rural Barinas and ends in Petare, a gigantic shantytown of the agglomeration of Caracas where there are 29 Consejos Comunales intending to build the Comuna of Maca.

Is it even possible to bring together state and autonomy at all? Every one of the Consejos Comunales spokes-persons has positive as well as negative experiences with the institutions in store to talk about. In an assembly in Petare the grass-roots activist Yusmeli Patiño blames a high government representative: “We are losing our credibility because of the incompetence of the state institutions”. But there are also members of the institutions who make a big effort to accompany the basis in making its own decisions. Relations between the grass roots and the institutions are marked by cooperation as well as conflict. But the Consejos Comunales also have internal difficulties; participation has to be learned.

Both progress and setback mark the difficult process of people actually taking the power of deciding on their own lives and environment by themselves.

Dario Azzellini
A prolific author that focuses on social issues, revolutionary militants, migration and racism, people-centric economy, labor control, etc, in Latin America. His books have been published in several countries. One of his books La Empresa Guerra has been translated into Indonesian and published by Insist Press, Yogyakarta (2007). He is living and work in Berlin, in Germany and Caracas, Venezuela.