January 22, 2019

Abstract, The Political Economy of Progressive Uruguay, 2005–2016

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The Political Economy of Progressive Uruguay, 2005–2016


by Gabriel Oyhantçabal


The 2005 election of the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) to the national government initiated a new stage in Uruguay’s recent history characterized by capital accumulation, increase of income for the working class, and the development of social policies. An analysis of the particularities of this historical period challenges official and liberal positions that attribute them exclusively to the capacities of government authorities. Progressiveness expresses a particular way of valorizing capital emerging from the crisis of neoliberalism that is characterized by the linking of capital accumulation with wage increases and social policies made possible by external conditions including the increase of ground rent and flows of foreign capital.



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January 17, 2019

Abstract, Neodevelopmentalism and Dependency in Twenty-first-Century Argentina: Insights from the Work of Ruy Mauro Marini

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Neodevelopmentalism and Dependency in Twenty-first-Century Argentina: Insights from the Work of Ruy Mauro Marini
by Mariano Féliz


For Ruy Mauro Marini, writing in the mid-1990s, neodevelopmentalism in Latin America ended with the moratoria on debt repayment in Mexico and Brazil in the early 1980s, which ushered in an era of International Monetary Fund control. For him this demonstrated the inability of the Latin American bourgeoisie to achieve autonomy at the international level. Neodevelopmentalism returned in early-twenty-first-century Argentina in the local context of a new class politics and a wider context marked by the emergence of China in the world economy and the influence of Chavismo. It consisted of an economic policy that consolidated the new hegemonic groups led by transnational capital through the superexploitation of labor and nature and the revival of the myth of development expressed by the notion of “growth with social inclusion.” For a time the project was characterized by high rates of profit and high levels of (albeit precarious) employment, but, as the global crisis of 2008 revealed its limitations and the “fine-tuning” of economic policy produced a decline of real incomes and consumption, it led to fragmentation of the political spectrum and a realignment of its principal actors. Mauricio Macri’s election to the presidency in 2015 represented a counterrevolution that, as Marini predicted decades ago, would involve more violent superexploitation and stronger imperialist influence.



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January 15, 2019

Abstract, Pink-Tide Governments: Pragmatic and Populist Responses to Challenges from the Right

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Pink-Tide Governments: Pragmatic and Populist Responses to Challenges from the Right
by Steve Ellner


The downturn in international commodity prices after 2008 heavily impacted leftist and center-leftist Latin American governments, leading to economic contraction and political confrontation and culminating in a series of setbacks beginning in 2015. Adversaries to the right ascribed the problems to the flaws inherent in the model that those governments had adopted. As could have been expected, some government critics pointed to the model of leftist-style populism as the root cause. Ironically, the Mexican scholar Jorge Castañeda, who had viewed Brazil’s Workers’ Party as the quintessence of the “good left” in contrast to the “populist left” personified by Hugo Chávez, by 2015 classified the nation’s president Dilma Rousseff as a populist and pointed to her allegedly populist policies as responsible for her downfall (Castañeda, 2015; Castañeda and Morales, 2008: 9–11). Other analysts on the right attributed the political and economic woes faced by progressive governments to economic interventionism, a model they considered to be tantamount to socialism (Ellner, 2015; 2016).




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January 10, 2019

Abstract, Chronicle of a Defeat Foretold: The PT Administrations from Compromise to the Coup

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Chronicle of a Defeat Foretold: The PT Administrations from Compromise to the Coup
by Ricardo Antunes, Marco Aurelio Santana, and Luci Praun


The period in which the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores—PT) was in power in Brazil was characterized by limits and contradictions with regard to policies on employment, unions, and the fight against poverty. An analysis of the factors that contributed to the end of the 14-year cycle of consecutive presidential terms highlights the combined impacts of the international economic crisis, a deepening political crisis with charges of corruption, the destabilization of the party’s political alliances, and mass discontent intensified by fiscal adjustment measures that further penalized the already stressed working class. The PT once in power did not motivate resistance, advances in social and union struggles, or social movements, and when it finally attempted to reach out to other social movements it was too late. With the coup represented by the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in 2016, Brazil entered once again into what Florestan Fernandes has called “preventive counterrevolution.”



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January 8, 2019

Abstract: The Limits of Pragmatism: The Rise and Fall of the Brazilian Workers’ Party (2002–2016)

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The Limits of Pragmatism: The Rise and Fall of the Brazilian Workers’ Party (2002–2016)
by Pedro Mendes Loureiro, Alfredo Saad-Filho


Under favorable external circumstances, the pragmatic political and economic strategy of Brazil’s Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party—PT) helped to secure short-term political stability, boosted growth, and supported an unprecedented distribution of income. However, it also meant that the PT had to accommodate to rather than transform the constraints on growth in Brazil and that stability would involve unwieldy political alliances preventing deeper reforms. When it was confronted with deteriorating global economic conditions and increasingly ineffectual economic policies, the PT’s strategy immobilized the party, facilitated the dissolution of its base of support, and expedited its ouster from power. The Brazilian experience suggests that political pragmatism can, within limits, support progressive economic change but that the outcomes depend heavily on external circumstances and the stability of the political coalitions supporting the administration.



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January 3, 2019

Abstract, Walking the Tightrope of Socialist Governance: A Strategic-Relational Analysis of Twenty-first-Century Socialism

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Walking the Tightrope of Socialist Governance: A Strategic-Relational Analysis of Twenty-first-Century Socialism
by Marcel Nelson




The process of socialist transformation in a democratic context presents many quandaries including walking a tightrope between pursuing substantive transformation that challenges existing social relations and remaining in power in view of political opposition stemming from such a challenge. The experiences of twenty-first-century socialism in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela provide different examples of ways of balancing the two imperatives. Nicos Poulantzas’s writings on the state shed light on the importance of deepening democracy as part of any process of socialist transformation and on the limits of such a strategy.

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