Venezuelan ANC Delegate Suggests "Communal Senate"

Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly (ANC) delegate Hermann Escarra advocated Tuesday the creation of a new bicameral legislature with one chamber representing the country’s communes. 

By Lucas Koerner
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ANC delegate Hermann Escarra
ANC delegate for Miranda state Hermann Escarra calls for a national senate elected by communes. (VTV)

Caracas, October 10, 2017 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan National Constituent Assembly (ANC) delegate Hermann Escarra advocated Tuesday the creation of a new bicameral legislature with one chamber representing the country’s communes. 

During an interview on the Venezuelan state television program “Encendidos”, Escarra proposed the establishment of “a senate elected by the communes, which has its origin and active participation in the communes, which without a doubt would be a deeply democratic senate”. 

According to the legal scholar, the legislative body would be comprised of two senators chosen by communes in each state, which he said would exist alongside a chamber of deputies modeled on the current National Assembly. If enacted, the senate would give real political weight to the over 1700 communes represented in the Venezuelan communal parliament, which currently exists as an internal coordinating body among communes.

While it has yet to be formally presented before the ANC, Escarra’s proposal marks the first time that the communes have been placed in the spotlight since the citizens’ assembly was sworn in at the beginning of August. 

Communes are territorialized organs of self-governance that combine grassroots participatory democracy embodied in local communal councils with social ownership of the means of production. 

Although communes were hailed by late President Hugo Chavez as the central axis of the Bolivarian socialist project, social movements have recently accused the government of excluding the grassroots bodies from official discourse and policy. 

Elected on July 30, the ANC has 24 sectoral delegates representing communes and communal councils. 

Last month, activists from the commune movement picketed the headquarters of the ANC in Caracas, demanding the body take action on a range of critical issues, including the communal economy, corruption, and food distribution. 

In particular, they demanded that the ANC place the communes at the center of forthcoming legislation aimed at addressing the country’s severe economic crisis.