Power and Impotence

A History of South America under Progressivism (1998–2016)

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Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos delves into the history of South America to understand the rise and fall of the so-called 'progressive governments'. In the wake of mobilizations against neoliberalism in the 1990s, most countries elected presidents identified with change. However, less than twenty years after Hugo Chávez's victory, this trend seems to be reversed. The times of Lula are now Bolsonaro's. What happened? Supported by an extensive bibliography and hundreds of interviews, the author addresses each South American country, including those who did not elect progressives, in addition to Cuba. The national focus is enriched by an analysis of regional integration attempts, providing a detailed and necessary recent history of the subcontinent.

Originally published in Portuguese as Uma história da onda progressista sul-americana (1998-2016) by Elefante, São Paulo, 2018.

Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos mergulha na história da América do Sul para compreender a ascensão e queda dos chamados ‘governos progressistas’. Na esteira de mobilizações contra o neoliberalismo nos anos 1990, a maioria dos países da região elegeu presidentes identificados com a mudança. Contudo, menos de vinte anos depois da vitória de Hugo Chávez, essa onda chega ao fim. Os tempos de Lula agora são de Bolsonaro. O que aconteceu? Apoiado em extensa bibliografia e centenas de entrevistas, o autor aborda cada país, inclusive os que não elegeram progressistas, além de Cuba. O enfoque nacional é enriquecido por uma análise das tentativas de integração regional, oferecendo uma detalhada e necessária história recente do subcontinente.

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Biographical Note
Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos is Professor of Latin American Studies at the Federal University of São Paulo and a Research Associate at the Society, Work & Politics Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand. He is the author of Origins of Radical Thought and Politics in Latin America (UNICAMP, 2016) and Beyond PT. The crisis of Brazilian left in Latin American Perspective (Elefante, 2016).

Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos é Professor de Estudos Latino-Americanos na Universidade Federal de São Paulo e associado a Society, Work and Politics Institute (SWOP) na Wits University. Autor de Origens do pensamento e da política radical na América Latina (UNICAMP, 2016) e Além do PT. A crise da esquerda brasileira em perspectiva latino-americana (Elefante, 2016).
Review Quotes
It is to the enormous credit of this author that he has gone where few other writers would have dared to tread. From a courageous and remarkable survey of ten different countries of South America – the continent that witnessed the rise and decline of the 'Pink Tide' – Fabio Luis has distilled crucial lessons relevant not just to that part of the world but relevant for the Global South as a whole. He has powerfully highlighted the perils of merely moderating the thrust of neoliberal developmentalism rather than breaking with it altogether no matter how high the risk of 'disorder' this might seem to entail. This book is a great learning experience and a must read!
—— Achin Vanaik, Professor (retd.) of International Relations and Global Politics, University of Delhi

Fábio Luis presents a sober and incisive account of the flow and the ebb of the 'pink tide' across South America through an impressive analysis of recent political history in all but one of the countries on the continent, concluding that the pattern of 'permanent counterrevolution' in Latin America prevents a viable reformist path to development. It is a book that should be studied by all who are interested in the trajectory of an alternative to neoliberal politics in the Global South.
—— Karl von Holdt, University of the Witwatersrand

This book examines critically, in great detail, the ‘pink tide’ in nine Latin American countries, as well as the changing political and economic circumstances in Cuba. This is a key resource for understanding the recent political dynamics in one of the most important and influential regions in the world. Indispensible!
—— Alfredo Saad Filho, Professor of Political Economy, SOAS University of London

The shadows of Latin American progressivism emulate the darkness when the sun declines and the lights that marked an era fade. That's what this book is about, which offers a powerful and enlightening analysis of this historical period.
—— Alberto Acosta, former president of Constituent Assembly of Montecristi, Ecuador
Table of contents
About Power and Impotence
Acknowledgements

Introduction
 1 The ‘Progressive Wave’
 2 A National Approach
 3 A Methodological Note

1 Venezuelan Revolution: Underdevelopment despite an Abundance of Foreign Exchange
 1 Introduction
 2 Underdevelopment with Abundance of Foreign Exchange Reserves
 3 Bolivarian Revolution
 4 Dilemmas of the Venezuelan Revolution
 5 Crisis
 6 Final Thoughts

2 Conciliation and Order under ‘Lulaism’ in Brazil
 1 Introduction
 2 Preamble
 3 Strategies of Accumulation: Neodevelopmentism or Neoliberalism?
 3.1 Conciliation and Order
 3.2 Neodevelopment
 4 The Lulista Way of Regulating Social Conflict
 4.1 Articulation of Two Consensuses
 4.2 Conservative Modernization
 5 Lulism in Crisis
 5.1 From the June Days to Mobilizations for Impeachment
 5.2 Impeachment
 6 Final Thoughts
 7 Post-scriptum: the 2018 Brazilian Presidential Elections

3 Kirchnerism and Impasses of the Bourgeois Way in Argentina
 1 Introduction
 2 Perón and Peronism
 3 From the ‘National Reorganization Process’ to Neoliberal Democracy
 4 Kirchner Governments
 5 Cristina Kirchner
 6 Final Thoughts

4The Process of Change in Bolivia: Creative or Destructive Tensions?
 1 Introduction
 2 The Variegated Society between Revolution and Dictatorships
 3 Democracy and Neoliberalism
 4 Revolutionary Conjuncture
 5 The Process of Change
 6 Final Thoughts

5 Ecology versus Capitalism: Dilemmas of the Citizen Revolution in Ecuador
 1 Introduction
 2 Ecuadorian Formation
 3 From Re-democratization to Alianza País
 4 Political Economy of the Citizen Revolution
 5 Final Thoughts

6 The Deposition of Lugo in Paraguay and the Brasiguayo Question
 1 Introduction
 2 The Agrarian Question and Brazilian Presence in Paraguay
 3 Soy and Brasiguayos
 4 The Lugo Presidency (2008–2012)
 5 The Agrarian Question in the Lugo Government
 6 The Political Judgment
 7 Final Thoughts

7 Brazil and the Political Economy of South American Integration
 1 Introduction
 2 Neo-developmentalism
 3 Political Economy of Developmental Regionalism
 4 Developmentalism in Crisis
 5 The Petista Order in South America
 6 Final Thoughts

8 Chile and the Political Economy of the Real Neoliberalism
 1 Introduction
 2 Between the Popular Front and the Chilean Way to Socialism
 3 From Dictatorship to Protected Democracy
 4 Political Economy of the Concertación
 4.1 Concertación in Power
 4.2 Macroeconomics
 4.3 Education
 4.4 Labor Relations, Poverty and Debt
 4.5 Pension Fund Administrators
 5 Crisis
 6 Final Thoughts

9 Perversion and Trauma: Impasses of Contemporary Peruvian Politics
 1 Introduction
 2 New Left and United Left
 3 Alanism and United Left
 4 Sendero Luminoso
 5 Fujimori
 6 Fujimorista Legacy
 7 Final Thoughts

10 War and Peace in Colombia in Historical Perspective
 1 Introduction
 2 Background
 3 Roots of Violence
 4 Insurgency and Counter-insurgency in the 1980s
 5 Neoliberalism and Parapolitics
 6 The War Party in Power
 7 Dilemmas of the Peace Process

11 Where is the Cuban Revolution Going? Dilemmas of Primitive Socialism
 1 Introduction
 2 Revolution against Underdevelopment
 3 Reform or Update?
 4 Current Dilemmas
 5 Final Thoughts

Conclusion
 1 The Movement of History
 2 Regional Integration
 3 Nine Propositions
 3.1 Integration is a Dimension of the Latin American Revolution
 3.2 History Requires its Own Solutions to its Own Problems
 3.3 Latin American Integration will be Against the Economy
 3.4 Development must be Equal and Combined – with the People and the Planet
 3.5 Progress is Walking with your Own Legs, with your Head Where your Feet Step
 3.6 Values not only Opposed to, but Different from, those of Capitalism
 3.7 Equality in the Workplace Against Capital
 3.8 A Strong State that does not Eat Me
 3.9 There is no Alternative to Popular Power

Bibliography
Index
Readership
All interested in Latin American history and politics, and anyone concerned with current trends in world politics.

Interessados em história e política da América Latina, além de todos que se interessam em entender tendências contemporâneas da política mundial.
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