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FEJUVE: An Anarchist Community In Bolivia Still Going Strong!
There is an anarchist community that got started back in 1979 and pretty much recreated a night watchman state that allows people to live a free life under a participatory democracy. This community is in El Alto, Bolivia and it is known as the Federation of Neighborhood Councils-El Alto or FEJUVE for short. That is right - this is a libertarian community that has been running for two generations and three years & it is still going strong! It is not some small community either of a few hundred or a few thousand people living together in some kind of small neighborhood. As of 2008, over one hundred fourteen thousand people were living in FEJUVE in a great participatory democracy: a democracy based on individual participation by citizens in political decisions and policies that affect their lives, especially directly rather than through elected representatives. There are three official languages that are spoken in FEJUVE: Spanish, Aymara, and Quechua. The latter two languages are spoken by the indigenous Aymara and Quechua people who helped to join with the local community and radical miners to help this community back in the early 1980s.
How does the basic government for this particular community work? Well, it works as a democratic federation of neighborhood councils working together to organize things for their society while giving people a direct say in how the community will work. Each neighborhood council has two hundred members that elect their own leadership & anyone can be a part of their neighborhood council as long as they are not real estate speculators, political party leaders, or former collaborators with the dictatorships that plagued Bolivia.
The economy is also interesting in how it functions. There is an informal economy where public and private enterprises work together in general harmony. You have public workers and enterprises run by the neighborhood council on one side and on the other, you have different traders and sole proprietorships where a person or small group of people hired by a sole trader work to provide for the community through the anarchist society's private sector. Taxi and bus drivers, public and private, work with a trade union that mostly works to regulate routes and allocate itineraries for when each driver should arrive at or depart from expected locations. Over seventy percent of the population of this society earns a living from small family businesses as part of a growing economy that continues to rise and shows how a place can function without a monopoly on force from the state under an economy pretty similar to anarcho-mutualism.
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