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The Triumph of Politics

George Philip, Francisco Panizza

ISBN: 978-0-745-65548-2 May 2013 Polity 280 Pages


The Triumph of Politics offers a comparative and historical interpretation of Venezuela's Chavez, Bolivia's Morales and Ecuador's Correa - South America's most prominent ‘21st century socialists'. It argues that the claims of these 21st century socialists should be taken seriously even though not necessarily at face value.

The authors show how the consensual market oriented policymaking that characterized almost all of South America in the 1990s has now given way to something quite different. Polarization and intense political conflict have returned to much of the region. Although the Left has not always been the beneficiary of this changed pattern, the ‘21st century' governments of Chavez, Morales and Correa have been agenda setters. The questions raised by their emergence, style of governance and policy orientations resonate across Latin America and beyond. It is likely that the kind of politics with which they have been associated will be influential in the region for quite some time to come.

Acknowledgements vi

List of Abbreviations vii

Introduction: The Triumph of Politics in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador 1

1 The Military and the Rise of the Left 13

2 The Politics of Mass Protests 41

3 Populism and the Return of the Political 68

4 Personalism, Plebiscites and Institutions 102

5 The Politics of Oil and Gas: Twenty-First Century

Socialism in Practice 123

6 The Fault Lines of Latin American Integration 149

Conclusion 174

Notes 185

References 194

Index 215

"An immense contribution to understanding what is most distinctive about the rise of the new left in the region."
European Review of Latin American and Carribean Studies

"Brings the region's leftist politics into a fresh and serious light. A middle ground for a more objective assessment of socialist politics in Latin America was missing - until now."
Global Journal

"Philip and Panizza's highly accessible opus takes a far more nuanced approach to the question of plebiscitary democracy than do US political scientists."
International Affairs

"In their highly detailed and perceptive work of comparative political science, Philip and Panizza make it clear that it is time to begin thinking seriously about a democratic future that looks nothing like we once thought it would."
The European Legacy

"This book carefully dissects the politics and policies of the three most prominent radical regimes in Latin America. It is informative, perceptive and balanced and makes a major contribution to the debate on the nature of the Left in Latin America."
Alan Angell, St Antony's College, Oxford

"George Philip and Francisco Panizza are to be congratulated on writing this timely and much needed analysis of contemporary Latin American politics. With their focus on the '21st century socialism' of Chavez, Morales and Correa, the authors locate the return of populism, economic nationalism and anti-imperialism within the history of the region and within a comparative overview of the 'Pink Tide' of left-of-centre governments of recent decades. This book will be essential reading for all those interested in radical democratic politics."
Maxine Molyneux, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London