Laboring Under Chávez: Populism for the Twenty-first Century.

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    • Abstract:
      ABSTRACT This analysis addresses two interrelated questions: what were labor conditions like under Hugo Chávez? and what do those conditions suggest about the relationship between populism and leftism in Latin America? The answer to the first question is unequivocal. Despite its socialist rhetoric, the Chávez regime fragmented and weakened organized labor, undermined collective bargaining, and exploited vulnerable workers in cooperatives. Thus the regime's primary foible was not its radical leftism but its pursuit of populist control at the expense of the leftist goals of diminishing the domination of marginalized groups and expanding their autonomous participation in civil society. This appraisal of labor politics under Chávez indicates substantial tension between the realization of these leftist goals and populist governance. It further suggests the need to distinguish more clearly between leftism and populism and their respective impacts on democracy. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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