The mass movements in June and July 2013 were the largest and most significant protests in Brazil for a generation, and they have shaken up the country’s political system. They expressed a wide range of demands about public service provision and governance, and concerns with corruption. Their social base was broad, starting with students and left-wing activists and including, later, many middle-class protesters and specific categories of workers. The deep and contradictory frustrations expressed by those protests were symptomatic of a social malaise associated with neoliberalism, the power of the right-wing media, the limitations of the federal administrations led by the Workers’ Party (PT), the rapid growth of expectations in a dynamic country, and the atrophy of traditional forms of social representation. This article examines the political dilemmas posed by those movements, and suggests constructive alternatives for the left.
The unraveling of the Washington Consensus in Latin America is part of a broader decline of US hegemony in the region and beyond. Four distinct approaches by Latin American analysts from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Cuba are introduced that examine different aspects of this decline.