Lula, the Workers' Party and the Governability Dilemma in Brazil

Lula, the Workers' Party and the Governability Dilemma in Brazil

by Hernán F. Gómez Bruera


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While scholars, activists and pundits from around the world have heralded the Lula years as a breakthrough for poverty reduction and the forthcoming emergence of Brazil as a dynamic economic superpower, many of their counterparts in the country as well as a number of Brazilianists elsewhere, have expressed great disappointment.

Tracing back the trajectory of Brazilian Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores - PT), Hernán F. Gómez Bruera explores how holding national executive public office contributed decisively to a pragmatic shift away from the party's radical redistributive and participatory platform, earning the approbation of international audiences and criticisms of domestic progressives. He explains why a unique party, which originally promoted a radical progressive agenda of socio-economic redistribution and participatory democracy, eventually adopted an orthodox economic policy, formed legislative alliances with conservative parties, altered its relationship with social movements and relegated the participatory agenda to de sidelines.

Touching on multiple dimensions, from economic policy and land reform to social policy, this book offers a distinct explanation as to why progressive parties of mass-based origin shift to the center over time and alter their relationships with their allies in civil society. Written in a clear and accessible style and featuring an enormous wealth of firsthand accounts from party leaders at all levels and within different factions, Gómez Bruera offers much needed new insights into why progressive parties alter their discourses and strategies when they occupy executive public office.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781138926387
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 06/08/2015
Series: Routledge Studies in Latin American Politics
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)

About the Author

Hernán F. Gómez Bruera has a PhD from the Institute of Development Studies, at the University of Sussex, with and academic interest on Latin American and Brazilian politics, progressive parties and social movements. His first two books are Desde el Sur (Altamira, Buenos Aires) and Conversaciones sobre el Hambre: Brasil y el derecho a la alimentación (CEDRSA, México). He has worked as a consultant for international organizations, as a political analyst and as a freelance journalist.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The challenge of governability for progressive parties Part I: The PT before Lula 2. The formative phase of the PT and its socio-political field 3. Moving towards the state: the reconfiguration of the PT field 4. Social and elite-centred strategies at work: The PT in sub-national executive office Part II: The Lula Years 5. Political governability under Lula: The elite-centred perspective in ascendancy 6. From the "Lula Monster" to an icon of the "responsible Left" 7. Participation without counter-hegemony 8. Securing social governability: Dealing with allies in civil society 9. Accomplishments within the balance of forces 10. Final Remarks

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