£23.99 | $41.95

11 June 2009
ISBN: 9781848131835
276 pages

Latin America

International Relations, Politics

Reclaiming Latin America

Experiments in Radical Social Democracy

Contributions by Ernesto Vivares, Francisco Dominguez, John Crabtree, Valeria Guarneros-Meza, Guy Burton, Julia Buxton, Sara Motta-Mera, Leonardo Diaz-Echenique, Sue Branford, Patricio Silva, and Javier Ozorio and edited by Steve Ludlam and Geraldine Lievesley

Reclaiming Latin America is a one-stop guide to the revival of social democratic and socialist politics across the region.

At the end of the Cold War, and through decades of neoliberal domination and the 'Washington Consensus' it seemed that the left could do nothing but beat a ragged retreat in Latin America. Yet this book looks at the new opportunities that sprang up through electoral politics and mass action during that period.

The chapters here warn against over-simplification of the so-called 'pink wave'. Instead, through detailed historical analysis of Latin America as a whole and country-specific case studies, the book demonstrates the variety of approaches to establishing a lasting social justice. From the anti-imperialism of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas in Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba, to the more gradualist routes being taken in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, Reclaiming Latin America gives a real sense of the plurality of political responses to popular discontent.


'An excellent book - timely, scholarly, balanced and accessible to a wide range of interested lay readers and undergraduates'. - Peter North, University of Liverpool

'This is a timely book that explores the salient developments on the Latin American left, which has recently made inroads without parallel in the continent’s history. Editors Geraldine Lievesley and Steve Ludlam provide an overview that synthesizes the outstanding features of leftist and moderate leftist movements and governments, followed by individual chapters that focus on those nations where the left’s advances have been the most dramatic. The editors’ handling of various theoretical categories such as populism and social democracy is most convincing. Taken together these essays present a balance between common denominators and rich diversity. They show how the left is 'new' in light of its support for independent social movements but at the same time duplicates the practices of the old left, such as the strategy of alliances 'from above'. - Steve Ellner, author of Rethinking Venezuelan Politics: Class, Conflict and the Chavez Phenomenon

'...represents an important step towards gaining further leverage on the ever-changing politics of the region. It is sure to serve a wide audience and provoke additional discussion and debate.' - Erika Moreno, Creighton University, in Bulletin of Latin American Research

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors
Tables & Figures
Introduction: A 'pink tide'? - Geraldine Lievesley and Steve Ludlam
1. Is Latin America Moving Leftwards? Problems and Prospects - Geraldine Lievesley
2. The Latin Americanization of the Politics of Emancipation - Francisco Dominguez
3. Venezuela: The Political Evolution of Bolivarianism - Julia Buxton
4. Venezuela: Reinventing Social Democracy from Below? - Sara C. Motta
5. Bolivia: Playing by New Rules - John Crabtree
6. Nicaragua: The Return of Daniel Ortega - David Close
7. Cuba: Recovery and Change - Steve Ludlam
8. Mexico: Political Parties and Local Participation - Valeria Guarneros-Meza
9. Brazil: Has the Dream Ended? - Sue Branford
10. Brazil: Third Ways in the Third World - Guy Burton
11. Chile: Swimming against the Tide? - Patricio Silva
12. Argentina: Reforming Neoliberal Capitalism - Ernesto Vivares, Leonardo Diaz Echenique, and Javier Ozorio
Conclusion. Nuestra América, the spectre haunting Washington - Geraldine Lievesley and Steve Ludlam

About the Authors:

Geraldine Lievesley is a Senior Lecturer in politics at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on Latin American and Cuban politics. She is a member of the Society for Latin American Studies and the Cuba Research Forum. Recent books include the co-edited In the Hands of Women: Paradigms of Citizenship (2006); The Cuban Revolution (2004); and Democracy in Latin America (1999).

Steve Ludlam is a Senior Lecturer in politics at the University of Sheffield. He has researched on labour history and politics in Britain and Cuba. He was a founder member of the Political Studies Association's Labour Movements Specialists Groups, and is a member of the Society for Latin American Studies and the Cuba Research Forum. He edits the series Critical Labour Studies. Recent co-edited books include Labour, the State, Social Movements and the Challenge of Neo-liberal Globalization (2007); Governing as New Labour (2004) and Interpreting the Labour Party (2003).