CECOSESOLA: Building, here and now, the world we yearn for

I’ve been enthusiastically involved in Mutual Aid for three years. I’ve also been frustrated for those years, because I haven’t been able to tell others what a significant change Mutual Aid represents. Recently discovering Cecosesola will help with that, I think. “The theoretical frameworks for Protest and Social Movements are not sufficient to understand the emergent horizontal and prefigurative practices.”

The title of an article cited for this post, “CECOSESOLA: BUILDING, HERE AND NOW, THE WORLD WE YEARN FOR” is the definition of a term I recently learned, prefigurative.
(See: Prefigurative Societies and Mutual Aid).

What has been taking place in disparate places around the world is part of a new wave that is both revolutionary in the day-to-day sense of the word, as well as without precedent with regard to consistency of form, politics, scope and scale. The current frameworks provided by the social sciences and traditional left to understand these movements have yet to catch up with what is new and different about them. Specifically, the theoretical frameworks for Protest and Social Movements are not sufficient to understand the emergent horizontal and prefigurative practices. I suggest we think beyond these frames, and do so first by listening to, and with, those societies and groups organizing from below – and to the left.

People from below are rising up, but rather than going towards the top – ‘from the bottom up’, they are moving as the Zapatistas suggested, ‘From below and to the left, where the heart resides.’
Power over, hierarchy and representation are being rejected, ideologically and by default, and in the rejection mass horizontal assemblies are opening new landscapes with the horizon of autonomy and freedom.

Prefigurative Societies in movement by Marina Sitrin, Popular Resistance, December 21, 2022

Those who live in Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) communities have been on the front lines, building such communities for years. because they have never fully benefited from the systems of white superiority, dominance, and capitalism.

On September 29, 2022, Cecosesola received the Right Livelihood Award, a Swedish prize often known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” This award honors people and organizations that encourage social change. According to a statement issued by the Right Livelihood Foundation, the prize was given to Cecosesola for “establishing an equitable and cooperative economic model as a robust alternative to profit-driven economies.”

An Alternative to Capitalist Hierarchies: A Conversation with the Cecosesola Co-op.
A Venezuelan cooperative network that recently received the “Alternative Nobel Prize” tells its story by Cira Pascual Marquina, Venezuelanalysis, Nov 20, 2022

I have been amazed at how my Mutual Aid community functions. The services to those who are houseless, jail and court solidarity, and our free food project are some of the things we do. With no government support.

Something new is happening – something new in content, depth, breadth and global consistency. Societies around the world are in movement

Prefigurative Societies in movement by Marina Sitrin, Popular Resistance, December 21, 2022

For a long time, I’ve been looking for stories about large groups of people who have established Mutual Aid communities. I haven’t been quite sure what that would look like. The Mutual Aid community I have been part of is pretty small. The free food project usually involves about eighty people. A dozen of us filling and passing out the food boxes, about fifty people picking up food boxes, and about ten people from the places that donate the food. All of these people are part of our Mutual Aid community. That’s one of the keys of Mutual Aid, we’re all in it together. Working to avoid hierarchy.

I also wanted to find examples of large Mutual Aid communities because, when I explain what I know about Mutual Aid to others, they see us as just another one of the usual small community service groups. And they don’t see how the ideas of Mutual Aid could scale.

Those are reasons why I’m excited to be learning about Cecosesola


Cecosesola was established in Barquisimeto, capital of the State of Lara, in the central western region of Venezuela, as a cooperative integration organization on December 17, 1967. It is a meeting place where more than 50 community organizations are active, integrated in a network of production of goods and services that brings together more than 23,000 members from the popular sectors. Through this network, we develop a wide variety of activities such as: agricultural production, small-scale agro-industrial production, funeral services, transportation, health services, financial services, mutual aid funds, distribution of foods and household items. We are made up of about 1,300 associated workers who manage daily activities through participation that is open to everyone, without hierarchical positions.

Building, here and now, the world we yearn for by Cecosesola, Grassroots Economic Organizing, February 19, 2023, Popular Resistancs.org

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