Post-Capitalist Struggles in 21st Century Latin America: Cooperation, Democracy and State Power
Larrabure, Manuel Eduardo
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This dissertation develops the concept of post-capitalist struggles. This concept highlights how a post-capitalist future is a recurring moment within the capitalist present and can be developed through struggles that express the latent powers found within what Marx called the collective worker. Using a comparative and historical framework, I examine four case studies in Latin America: Venezuelas socialist enterprises, Argentinas recuperated factories, the Chilean student movement and the Brazilian transit movement. In expressing new values and practices, such as collective management, solidarity and participatory democracy, and their ability to develop the political capacities to formulate clear demands and strategies through the state, these four cases can indeed be considered examples of post-capitalist struggles. However, as mere glimpses of the future, these struggles display number of contradictions and ambiguities, particularly in relation to democratic practice and political organization. This is most marked in struggles that originate in the sphere of capitalist reproduction. A comparative analysis of the four cases also reveals the possibilities and limits of Latin Americas pink tide. These are found in what I call the neostructuralist bargain. Through this bargain, vulnerable sectors of the population become the target of small economic reforms that evidence a departure from the neoliberal orthodoxy of previous decades. However, in exchange, horizons beyond liberal democracy are temporarily closed off and the institutions of liberal democracy acquire a renewed legitimacy. The exception to this is the case of Venezuela, whose Chavista government goes beyond the boundaries of neostructuralism. This is evident in the Venezuelan governments support of new institutions that express the values of participatory democracy. However, in all cases new political challenges come to the surface, particularly with the rise of the regions right wing.