The new social mission that just got started in Venezuela seems really pretty great, and I’d recommend that anyone with an interest in community building and gentrification read through this pamphlet (if you speak Spanish).
Basically, the thesis is that a big obstacle in developing socialism in a country like Venezuela has been a geographical one; that is to say, that the form of urbanization which dominated Venezuela for decades was not meant to build community, but rather haphazardly created housing units in cramped spaces with no communal zones. This form of urbanization gives rise to a familial clan-mentality, by making the principal sites of socialization inside individual homes, and engenders crime, by not creating spaces of healthy social activity for youth. In addition, it turns massive population concentrations—frequently on the outskirts of cities—into peripheral zones in both the literal and figurative sense, being distant from traditional city centers and also distant from social services, jobs, entertainment, and public space.
The plan is revamp people’s existing communities, creating communal spaces for sports, local decision-making assemblies, and culture, while also changing the periphery-core dynamic of the cities to more equitably distribute social and economic institutions. The “Great Mission” also includes the renovation of homes and streets, and the “beautification” of every neighborhood through the creation of a new “revolutionary aesthetic,” the particulars of which are to be decided by community assemblies, funded by the federal government, and then implemented with the efforts of the community itself in collaboration with technicians and experts.
This effort is part of the long-term plan to develop the “Communal State” in Venezuela, which is to replace the existing bourgeois state apparatus that was inherited from the “Fourth Republic,” which ruled the country from 1958-1998.