Chavez takes the next step

The Economist reports:

WHEN Jorge Urosa, the archbishop of Caracas, said recently that Hugo Chávez was installing a “Marxist-communist” regime in Venezuela, the country’s leftist president called him a “troglodyte” and accused him of “instilling fear in the people.” Yet Mr Chávez, an avowed socialist, is openly seeking to introduce what looks like a novel form of communism. After taking over the courts and provoking an opposition boycott of legislative elections, he is now targeting state and municipal governments, currently the last bulwark against his rule among elected officials. By forcing them to compete for resources with pliable “communes”, he may starve them to death.

I’m not sure what is so novel about Chavez’s communism. It sounds as though the communes will control all aspects of their members’ lives, and membership is not voluntary:

Each commune will “regulate social and community life [and] guarantee public order, social harmony and the primacy of collective over individual interests.” Their courts will have jurisdiction over all residents, even though the communes are exclusively intended for socialists.

The Economist notes that the project is unpopular and unconstitutional, but it seems unlikely that either matters any more.

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