Social Movements and State Power: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador

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    James Petras, Henry Veltmeyer

    Publisher: Pluto Books

    Year: 2005

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 292 pages

    ISBN: 9780745324227

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The 2003 electoral victory of Lucio Gutiérrez in Ecuador was met with the same sense of optimism that greeted the election of Ignacio 'Lula' da Silva in Brazil, and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Gutierrez's victory was viewed as a major advance for the country in its 500 year-long struggle for freedom and democracy.

In Bolivia, Evo Morales similarly came within an electoral whisker of achieving state power in 2002, and in 2003 Nestor Kirchner became President of Argentina.

Many journalists , academics and politicians speak of a "left-turn" in Latin America, characterizing these regimes as "center -left". They came to power on the promise of delivering a fundamental change of direction that would steer their countries away from neo-liberal economic policies, and towards greater social equity. Their success awakened major hopes on the Left for a new dawn in Latin American politics.

This book challenges these assumptions. It critically examines their agreements with the IMF, their social and economic policies, and the economic ties of leading policy makers, as well as the beneficiaries and losers under these regimes.

Latin America is unique in that it has experienced two decades of popular resistance to neo-liberal policies: each of the four countries examined here has a rich history of diverse indigenous and working class movements coming together to promote radical political change.

The authors examine the political dynamics between the state and its agenda, and the strategy of mass mobilisation taken by the mass movements. They explore the intensifying conflicts between the movements and their former allies in the state.

About the Authors

James Petras is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He is the author of numerous works on Latin America and global development, including Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia (Pluto, 2009) and Social Movements and State Power (Pluto, 2005).

Henry Veltmeyer is Professor of Sociology and International Development Studies at Saint Mary's University, Nova Scotia, Canada and Adjunct Professor of Development Studies at Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas, Mexico. He is the co-author of Social Movements and State Power (Pluto, 2005) and The Critical Development Studies Handbook (Pluto, 2011).

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