The elections 2022, and the recent history of Brazil, are an example of how social constructions such as political parties are able to survive and succeed over long periods of history. They can do this if they are rooted in the social, economic and political structure of a country and they combine that rootedness with the talent and coherence of leadership. This is the history of the Partido dos Trabalhadores, the PT (Workers Party), and of its leader, Lula da Silva. Once again, at 76 years of age, he is a candidate for president and he has a real chance of winning , even in the first round of the presidential elections on October 2nd, 2022.
The election of Gabriel Boric as President of Chile has attracted international press attention and generated much hope, excitement and debate among political and social activists in Latin America and other regions of the world. So what can we expect? Some preliminary answers and context to understand the historic victory.
The Frente Amplio (Broad Front) government of Uruguay, one of the most stable, fruitful and serene experiences of the “new Latin American left”, is going through a very dramatic electoral process with likely profound impacts in the country and in the region. Daniel Chavez appraises the results of the Uruguayan experience and suggests what might be relevant for other counter-hegemonic processes in the region and the world.
The government of the Portuguese Socialist Party supported and pressured by an alliance with the Communist Party and the Left Bloc have shown that it is possible to implement an effective anti-austerity programme as a member of the EU.
Jair Bolsonaro's victory on October 28 turns Brazil towards the extreme right and backwards in several aspects of its democratic transition initiated with the 1988 Constitution, especially those related to social justice, environment, human rights and the economy. Understanding why he was elected and what he represents is key to grasping the new Brazil emerging from the election and what to expect for the near future.
For the first time Brazil has elected a president without the support of the poorest or the destitute. Though 55 percent of the electorate opted to steer the country into the abyss, people with lower incomes did not vote for Bolsonaro. In the new Brazilian Congress the military and police caucus overshadows all others.
Blaming citizens for their alleged populist or anti-democratic turn is misleading. Without the active involvement of the economic elite, both foreign and domestic, authoritarian capitalism could not have emerged in Hungary.
The forces that shaped modern Brazil made the rise of a figure such as Lula da Silva all but inevitable. Conditions in Brazil today mean his imprisonment is certainly not the end of this chapter in the nation's story. Pablo Gentili, Executive Secretary of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), analyses the parallel between Brazil's history and the story of its most charismatic leader.
Following their participation in the international symposium that we coordinated last June on “Progessive governments and post-neoliberalism in Latin America: End of a golden age?” at the University of Grenoble, France, we thought it would be worthwhile going back over the Latin American context with the sociologists Edgardo Lander (Venezuela) and Miriam Lang (Ecuador). Both of them have a sharp critical view, very often at odds concerning the present scene, and both have participated actively in recent years in the debates on the initial balance sheets of the progressive governments of 1998-2015, in particular those of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Miriam’s case and of the Transnational Institute in Edgardo’s case.
Puerto Rican intellectual Enrique Toledo responds to Edgardo Lander's comments on the (Latin American) left's unconditional support of Chavismo and its lack of critical analysis (Original interview in English here). This response was originally published in Spanish by La Diaria. The article was translated into English by TNI with the author's consent. Please find the original Spanish article on La Diaria here.
The Transnational Institute (TNI) in the Netherlands is issuing an open call for essays/short papers and artistic collaborations for its forthcoming report on the issue of counter-power. Abstract deadline extension: 17 September
The Latin American left’s unconditional support of Chavismo has reinforced the negative tendencies of the Venezuelan experience. Many leftists around the world have not learned from past mistakes and end up endorsing “mafia governments” such as that of Nicaragua, and that “when the Venezuelan model collapses”, the international left may simply “look elsewhere”.
In an inspiring and thought-provoking exclusive interview with TNI, Egyptian award-winning novelist shares her thoughts on culture, power, authoritarianism, the Tahrir revolution, and the capacity of social movements to transform our world.