COMMUNITY SECURITY IN CARACAS: THE COLLECTIVE ACTION OF FOUNDATION ALEXIS VIVE
This thesis is divided into two arguments. The first part is an argument for community security: a community-based vision of human security, which conflates development and personal security. Social movements then animate community security, addressing local problems and creating endogenous solutions. Arturo Escobar’s work on post-development theory and Raúl Zibechi’s new social movements as territories in resistance best explains this phenomenon. At the community level, I utilize Stephen Schneider’s work on community crime prevention and organic mobilization as complex and difficult to maintain. With this lens, I establish an analytical framework for community security movements based on the themes of identity, praxis, constituency and autonomy. Examinations on gender relations, networks, violence and production are also weaved into the analysis.The second part is an argument that a Caracas (Venezuela) based group is a community security movement and that this analytical framework is best fitted for understanding them. Though Caracas is among the most insecure and politically turbulent cities in Latin America, small pockets of peace exist in working class neighborhoods. This research focuses on one group in the western parish of el 23 de Enero (the 23rd of January). The group is the Alexis Vive Foundation. Their projects include crime prevention, endogenous development and self-managed production. I ask central questions about the alternative they present: Is it effective? Is it inclusive? Is it autonomous? In this way, I show that crime and development, especially in urban areas, are not mutually exclusive. I also build on the contributions of scholars, such as George Ciccariello-Maher, Sujatha Fernandes and Alejandro Velasco that focus on the political agency of social movements in Caracas.