Venezuela--an Experiment in Participatory Democracy

John Gilmore

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What is happening in Venezuela has been very problematic for some people in the United States. This is not surprising, because it has also been for many people in Venezuela, especially the very wealthy and powerful Venezuelans who consider themselves more European than the others. What is going on is a battle between the social darwanists who think they are on the top and should be allowed to stay on top by throwing their power around, because they are superior, and those who think that people should work together on this earth to create win win situations for the whole society instead of a very rich and powerful minority.

Venezuela is the second biggest producer of oil in the world, yet almost 60% of the people are in poverty, depending what scale you look at to measure poverty. This has moved the government to create a new constitution that was drafted by study groups throughout the country, made up of the common people that permit the government to nationalize oil companies and to use the money to support the people, with special preference to those who have been ignored by the powerful.

The money has gone to set up free higher education for everyone one, set up literacy schools for everyone, provide free public education including meals for everyone and to supply them with special uniforms, if they cannot afford them, finance cooperatives for women, indigenous people and disenfranchised people, provide free 24 hour a day medical clinics in every barrio, provide medical training for individuals in the barrios, so they can become doctors in their own communities. The Venezuelans refer to this as a Democratic Revolution, because they are creating probably the only participatory democracy in the world. What upsets the U. S. the most is that people are using their resources to uplift their own communities and countries before doing global trading. They are not interested in selling their resources to Multi-national corporations anymore.

Everything is not perfect there, of course, but if there is any mess it is created by the majority of the people. One problem there is the denial of racism against people of African descent. Since Chavez is a person of some African heritage, this racism has been brought to light, especially when they used racial slurs against him during a coup attempt. As of now the people are working in small groups to re-write the constitution. Many of the Venezuelans of African Descent are giving their input and will hopefully put something into the constitution making discrimination illegal and giving preference to coops started by African Americans. This type of legislation is already present for women and Indigenous people, whish is really causing a lot of anger from those who identify with their Spanish Decent and claim to be white Europeans.

It is amazing that the U. S. , who should be applauding this action, is the major country against it. I can refer to what is happening as Power to the People . It seems that many in the U. S. are still very much against that. Living one´s spirituality, I think, includes taking care of the poor, loosing the bands of the oppressor and announcing the acceptable reign of God, or the embodiment of love. They are not doing this perfectly in Venezuela, but it seems that they are moving toward a vision that the great teacher Jesus spoke of called the Kingdom of Heaven. It is interesting that a Christian nation, like the U. S. claims to be, won´t see this.

Dr. John W. Gilmore is a writer of spiritual direction books and fantasy novels addressing systemic social issues and alternatives to the Dominator paradigm. He is a Massage Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher, Reflexologist, martial arts instructor and minister at the Universal Cyber Circle of Creation Spirituality. You can learn more about his books and his Practical Spirituality at

Please see our book, Reunion of Souls, Dr. John W. Gilmore. A book of deep spirituality in Sci-fi form. This is a deep exploration on creating a partnership world.


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