This group of powerful thinkers and doers will share their experiences and visions — from Venezuela’s comunas, to Mississippi’s Cooperation Jackson, to New York City in the 2050s —and beyond.
Each drawing from their unique theoretical perspectives and practical experiences, the speakers will address how socialist communes can be used to abolish capitalism’s logic, based on the exploitation of the human being and the expropriation of nature, along with the range of oppressions (including racial, gender, sexual, and colonial oppression) in capitalist society.
SPEAKERS: Kali Akuno, Cooperation Jackson spokesperson and co-author of Jackson Rising Redux: Lessons on Building the Future in the Present.
John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review Editor and author most recently of Capitalism in the Anthropocene: Ecological Ruin or Ecological Revolution.
Titled after the rallying cry of Venezuela’s communards, “¡Comuna o Nada!,” Commune or Nothing! portrays an expanding network of socialist communes pursuing the strategic goal of overcoming the entire capitalist social metabolism and also the state formations upon which the capital system relies.
«Invaluable! With clarity and insight that could only come from years of study and practical engagement, Chris Gilbert provides a historical and political framework for understanding the complexities involved in attempting to build new societies in the womb of the old.
Chávez was clear. An unambiguous commitment to bottom-up socialist construction is a historical necessity for the people of our region and the world. Gilbert’s magnificent contribution traces how that can still be achieved…»
—Ajamu Baraka, National Organizer, Black Alliance for Peace
Chris Gilbert’s account gives readers a front-row seat on the country’s communal movement as he chronicles the efforts of grassroots initiatives and gives voice to the communards living and working in communes such as El Panal, El Maizal, Che Guevara, and Luisa Cáceres. He blends these firsthand accounts of communal construction with theoretical reflections and historical insights. The central story of the book is how Venezuelan communes bring people together to democratically determine their ways of living and working, thus generating a new, non-alienated social metabolism that the communes also work to extend to the whole society.
Commune or Nothing!, like the trailblazing movement it depicts, offers important lessons not only regarding the construction of socialism in Venezuela, but for socialist praxis worldwide.
«Written by a fellow traveler in our movement, this book uses the lenses of Marxism, social reproduction theory, and history to understand a concrete process of socialist construction. In so doing, it reveals the enormous emancipatory potential of Venezuela’s communal movement and also its challenges.»
—Bárbara “Anacaona” Martínez, spokesperson, El Panal Commune
«In this theoretically informed study, Chris Gilbert reveals how productive forces (human and material) are developing in the Venezuelan communes as they struggle to overcome obstacles both economic and political. We learn here along with Gilbert and the communards themselves how the establishment of social relations of protagonistic democracy and direct social labour builds new capacities, pride and dignity.»