The Federation of Neighborhood Councils-El Alto (acronym: Fejuve; Spanish: Federación de Juntas Vecinales de El Alto) is a federalist mode of political organization of over 600 neighborhood councils that provide public services, construction and jobs to citizens of El Alto, Bolivia.
The first council was created in 1957 and was based off the traditional practices of the Aymara people and the need to respond to widespread poverty, corruption and violence throughout Bolivia and El Alto. Fejuve itself was created in 1979 after a mass meeting of neighbourhood councils decided to create an alliance. Since then, Fejuve has grown to be on par with the city government.
Councils have around 200 members that meet once a month and make decisions through discussion and consensus. Political party leaders, merchants, real estate speculators, and those who collaborated with the dictatorship are not allowed to be delegates between councils. The councils have been successful in blocking the Bolivian government's plan to privatise natural gas and water reserves, introduce new taxes and have been successful in creating the cities first public university.
The economy of Fejuve resembles syndicalism and mutualism in that there is a high degree of worker's self-management and common ownership despite operating in a very localised market economy. Councils are also able to pull together resources to build parks, schools, clinics, housing, cooperatives and install water connections, sewerage outlets, electrical cables and garbage collection services to fill the hole that the state and private sector have left.
Law and order
In response to the violence and corruption of Bolivia's state police, Fejuve has created its own justice system. Councils act as mediators between minor disputes with neighbours and practice a degree of restorative justice based upon traditional Aymaran customs. Communities also form collective self-defense groups which are known to execute thieves, rapists and murders whilst hanging dolls outside of the houses of victims as a warning to any future attackers.
- Zibechi, Raul (2009). Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces. AK Press.
- Gelderloos, Peter (2010). Anarchy Works.
- Achtenberg, Emily. "Community Organising and Rebellion: Neighbourhood Councils in El Alto, Bolivia". plannersnetwork.org.
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