Globalization in a Time of Neoliberalism: Politicized Social Movements and the Latin American Response

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This article examines the emergence of new, highly politicized social movements in Latin America as a response to deteriorating economic and social conditions and the related growth of neoliberal economic policies advocated by International Financial Institutions like the IMF and the World Bank and by national political elites. It argues that the decline of bureaucratic authoritarianism and the growing democratization in the region have helped to move the struggle for more equitable societies and the empowerment of popular sectors away from armed struggle toward new repertoires of action conducted in civil society by new social and political movements. An overview of the phenomenon, examines the Zapatistas in Mexico, the National Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), the breakdown of traditional parties and the rise of the Chávez movement in Venezuela, recent political movements in Bolivia, the rise of neo-populism in Peru, and the political and economic crisis that delegitimized governments and politics in Argentina and led to popular assemblies and demonstrations that removed successive governments from power in 2001 and 2002. Finally, a case study of the Landless movement in Brazil (the MST) is offered as an example of how such movements develop and contest power.

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Journal of Developing Societies, v. 19, issues 2-3, p. 308-333