Building a New Socialism
[A Reply for the Nation Symposium on Reimagining Socialism By Carol Delgado Arria, Consul General of the
To re-imagine and reinvent Socialism has been the Bolivarian Agenda and it is refreshing that progressives in the
As the authors point out, solidarity is extremely relevant. It can be a practice that allows new ways to think about ourselves as individuals, about society, as well as about North-South relations. This is why the Venezuelan government practices a number of non-market policies that are expressions social solidarity, such as the discounted heating oil program for poor communities in the
Although there is still much to be done and done better, in
We believe we must go beyond hierarchies that divide and exploit. In our still new socialist enterprises we are discovering the need for a new definition of work and tasks, new procedures for decision-making, and new norms for income distribution. We aim to move towards an economic model that replaces the market, top-down planning, corporate decision-making, and alienating divisions of labor, in favor of participatory planning and substantive equality.
In our polity we need grassroots popular power, local assemblies, and informed active citizens, which is why we have created 27,000 communal councils, on the road to 50,000 to be the infrastructure of a new type of government.
I was pleased to see Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher Jr. mention participatory budgets as something to learn from. Also, I was happy and hopeful to see the call to examine participatory economics, or Parecon, which to me addresses precisely the issues and offers highly relevant possibilities for truly 21st century economic production and allocation. Particularly interesting for us are the ideas of remuneration according to effort and sacrifice (instead of according to market criteria) and participatory planning (which provides a new popular power approach to allocation as a successful alternative to markets).
There are many "socialisms" and the