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Federico Fuentes: ¿Cogestión es Revolución? Workers' participation during the first Chávez administration (1999-2006)
By Federico Fuentes
April 12, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Attempts to analyse Venezuela's experiments in cogestión (generally translated as "co-management") during the first Hugo Chávez administration (1999-2006) have tended to centre on form rather than content. Almost all have concluded that the government ultimately abandoned cogestión, and with its support for workers' participation.
However, rather than focusing on pre-established models or comparisons with historical experiences, the development of cogestión can be better understood as the product of a complex interaction between competing visions within the government and workers' movement in the broader context of attempting to create a uniquely Venezuelan model of socialism.
At the heart of these debates were the issues of ownership, production and distribution. The end result of all this was that by early 2007, cogestión came to resemble something quite different to its initial conception, that is: a mechanism for co-governance in the economic sphere and a necessary means by which to ensure integral human development.
While the term cogestión would disappear from government discourse in the second Chávez administration, much of the initial spirit of cogestión, and the lessons learned in implementing this government policy, would come to be encapsulated in Chávez’s theory of the “socialist triangle”, based on social ownership, social production and social needs.
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