The Pink Tide: Strategy and Socialist State Power
Before the rise of Syriza, Podemos, Jeremy Corbyn, and Bernie Sanders, there was the “Pink Tide”—a wave of electoral victories that brought to power, in the early 2000s, left-wing governments in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, and elsewhere throughout Latin America. Emerging from a decade of indigenous democratic struggle, and openly rejecting the so-called Washington Consensus, the governments of the Pink Tide set about enacting an egalitarian agenda aimed at reducing inequality, socializing essential services, ending malnutrition, and bolstering indigenous, women’s, and LGBTQ rights. In the ensuing years, Pink Tide countries saw substantial economic growth coupled with decreases in inequality and poverty—as well as increases in public health, literacy, and popular political participation. Yet, by 2016, the Tide was said to have “ebbed’; and today, revanchist right-wing governments preside in Brazil and Bolivia, while the post-Chavez regime is deeply embattled, both domestically and geopolitically. How can we understand the rise and apparent decline of the Pink Tide? And, what lessons does it hold for activists and organizers, and for socialist politics, today?
In this course, we will consider the origins, context, policies, struggles, and complicated legacy of the Pink Tide, examining in particular the cases of Brazil, Bolivia, and Venezuela. We’ll seek to understand the Pink Tide as a multifaceted period of transformation, and situate it within the 21st-century international order. How did global geopolitical arrangements, particularly U.S. hegemony, affect the Pink Tide’s trajectory, and how, in turn, did progressive Latin American governments shape geopolitics? What are we to make of the Pink Tide’s success—and failures? And what, in the Pink Tide’s wake, is the future of socialist governance, both in Latin America and beyond? Readings will be drawn from English and (in translation) Spanish-language writers, and may include Perry Anderson, Tariq Ali, García Linera, and Eduardo Galeano, among others, as well as primary source documents and interviews.
Course ScheduleThursday, 6:30-9:30pm EST
September 17 — October 08, 2020