Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela

Author George Ciccariello-Maher in conversation with Greg Grandin at Verso Books in Brooklyn, October 4, 2016.

Join Jacobin and Verso Books books for the official launch of George Ciccariello-Maher's "Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela."

Since 2011, a wave of popular mobilizations has swept the globe, from Occupy to the Arab Spring, 15M in Spain and the uprisings in Greece. Their demands were varied, but what they share is a commitment to ideals of radical democracy, and a willingness to experiment with new forms of organization to achieve this. In fact, the countries of Latin America have been experimenting with such projects since 1989—just as left projects of all stripes fell into decline across Europe—in what was a moment of rebirth. Poor residents of Venezuela's barrios took history into their own hands in a mass popular rebellion against neoliberalism, much as the movements appearing worldwide are doing today.

In Building the Commune, George Ciccariello-Maher travels through the many radical experiments of Venezuela, assessing how they have succeeded and failed, and how they are continuing to operate. Speaking to community members, workers, students and government officials, Ciccariello-Maher provides a balance sheet of these projects, that movements throughout the world can look to for lessons and inspiration.

Building the Commune is part of Verso's Jacobin series, featuring short interrogations of politics, economics, and culture from a socialist perspective. The books offer critical analysis and engagement with the history and ideas of the Left in an accessible format.

More on Building the Commune:


George Ciccariello-Maher is Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He is the author of "We Created Chavez: A People's History of the Venezuelan Revolution," and a forthcoming volume called "Decolonizing Dialectics."

Greg Grandin, a professor of History at New York University, is the author of a number of prize-winning books, including most recently "The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World." Grandin is also the author of Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Empire (Metropolitan 2005), The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America During the Cold War (University of Chicago Press 2004), and Blood of Guatemala: A History of Race and Nation (Duke University Press, 2000).