A pointer to a new(ish) blog: Left Turns? Progressive Parties, Insurgent Movements, and Alternative Policies in Latin America. It’s an investigation into the so-called “turn to the Left” in Latin America, from Chávez in 1998 and on through Kirchner in Argentina or Bachelet in Chile to, most recently, Lula’s re-election in Brazil and the prospect Ortega might return to the presidency in Nicaragua.
The blog is one element in a broader project, with which I’m involved in collaboration with (among others) Max Cameron, Eric Hershberg, and Andy Hira. For more on that project, see our conference proposal.
As is probably too obvious, I’m more or less responsible for the “insurgent movements” element. I had to sneak “insurgency” in somehow. Here’s how we describe that section:
From Venezuela’s Caracazo of 1989 to Mexico’s Zapatista campaign from 1994, and from the Argentine protests of December 2001 to the Bolivian protests that came to a head in October 2004, a multitude of new movements have emerged, often marginal or even actively opposed to traditional organizations such as unions or NGOs. Some of these spectacular displays of popular protest quickly disappeared. Others created the conditions for the electoral successes of a new breed of leaders. Each has often appeared spontaneous and surprising, generating new strategies of protest and grassroots self-organization or appropriating old tactics in new ways. We will ask how far left-leaning governments are expressions of such social insurgencies, whether they translate movement demands and desires into action, or whether rather they function as reactive pressure valves: venting steam, but little else. In other words, as well as examining the differences between left parties and movements across national and cultural borders, it is also necessary to examine the tensions between social movements and the electoral campaigns that claim to be their vehicles.
The “multitude” is also smuggled in there; again perhaps too obviously, I’m interested in seeing how much this so-called “left turn” fits with the framework that poses constituent against constituted power.
More is to come, including some cross-posted entries from here to there and vice versa.