Are There Left Alternatives? A Debate from Latin America

Carlos M. Vilas

Abstract


To what extent or in what senses are we witnessing a new situation, and to what extent or sense are we facing a renewal or updating of the dilemmas and conflicts that the Latin American left has been debating since its very beginnings? Are we facing something quite new, or rather the recomposition of a political scene which, notwithstanding what is new about it, seems very like the traditional panorama of Latin America? The first section will address these issues; section II will then consider the transformations of the socio-economic structure of Latin America and their impact on the redefinitions of the left. The third section examines some of the tensions that have arisen between the contents and achievements of the proposals of the left, and the institutional framework of representative democracy - the case of the EZLN in Chiapas providing a particularly graphic illustration of these tensions. Finally, section IV offers some thoughts on the spaces within the existing structures and institutions to which the left apparently has access. I would like to stress that the purpose of this piece is to identify a problematic, rather than to discuss all its contents and projections.

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