Gramsci and the Twenty-first-Century Latin American Left
by Steve Ellner
Neoliberal Hegemony and the Pink Tide in Latin America: Breaking Up with Tina?
Chodor Tom Neoliberal Hegemony and the Pink Tide in Latin America: Breaking Up with Tina?London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 205 pp.
Marxist social scientists, among others, have used various theoretical frameworks to explain the rise of neoliberalism in the 1980s and the popular reaction against it. Marxist economists, for instance, use the theory of the falling rate of profit (which Marx viewed as an eventual consequence of technological development) to explain the economic crisis in the 1970s and capitalism’s response in the form of globalization and neoliberalism. (Marxists are divided as to whether the same tendency continues to this day, a debate with important implications for anti-neoliberal strategy.) In another example, the political scientist Eduardo Silva (2009) in Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America applies Karl Polanyi’s “double movement” concept (in which laissez-faire formulas generate popular resistance) to the emergence of anti-neoliberal movements in Latin America beginning in the 1990s. In the book under review, Tom Chodor relies on theories formulated by Gramsci to shed light first on the phenomenon of neoliberalism worldwide and then on the distinguishing features of Venezuelan politics in the age of neoliberalism in the 1990s and in the twenty-first century. For this purpose, Chodor contrasts Venezuela under Hugo Chávez, whose movement he characterizes as “counter-hegemonic,” with the changes under President Lula designed to favor the Brazilian bourgeoisie, which he labels a “passive revolution.” Both concepts are derived from Gramsci’s writings.
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