Social movements and the state in the post-neoliberal era
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CitationOtero, G., Gürcan, E. C., & Mackinlay, H. (2020). Social movements and the state in the post-neoliberal era. Buen Vivir and the Challenges to Capitalism in Latin America, 71-91.
The purpose of this paper is to critically engage two main strands in social movements political practices – and the corresponding literature – on Latin American development since the neoliberal turn in the 1980s, but especially after the 1994 Zapatista insurrection. These two main strands are the autonomists or “social left,” focused on civil society; and the symbiotic or “political left,” focused on the electoral field. We will then focus on the case of Mexico, where the left-of-centre Morena (National Regeneration Movement) party won the elections by a landslide in 2018, with Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) as its presidential candidate. Politically, a major feature of the neoliberal era is that most countries had returned to or initiated liberal democratic regimes after authoritarian or military governments by the 1990s. After the seeming defeat of the revolutionary strategy of direct assault on the state, the ruptural route, the question became whether progressive forces would focus on gaining state power via elections, the symbiotic route; or on trying to influence state policy via social movement mobilization from the bottom-up, i.e. the autonomist, or intersticial route.