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IN THE couRSE of capitalist development in Latin America, one of the fun­ damental political transitions has been the emergence of worker protest and an organized labor movement, along with the varied responses of the state to this new actor within society. During a relatively well-defined period in most countries, a historic change took place in the relationship between the state and the working class. An earlier pattern-in which repression was gen­ erally a far more central feature of the state response to worker organization and protest-gave way to state policies that launched the "initial incorpora­ tion" of the labor movement. State control of the working class ceased to be principally the responsibility of the police or the army but rather was achieved at least in part through the legalization and institutionalization of a labor movement sanctioned and regulated by the state. In addition, actors within the state began to explore far more extensively the possibility of mo­ bilizing workers as a major political constituency. The terms on which the labor movement was initially incorporated dif­ fered greatly within Latin America. In some countries the policies of the in­ corporation period aimed primarily at establishing new mechanisms of state control. In other cases the concern with control was combined with a major effort to cultivate labor support, encompassing a central role of a political party-or a political movement that later became a party-and sometimes producing dramatic episodes of worker mobilization. The alternative strate­ gies of control and mobilization produced contrasting reactions and counter­ reactions, generating different modes of conflict and accommodation that laid the foundation for contrasting political legacies. The analysis of these distinct patterns of conflict and accommodation of­ fers new insight into important contrasts among countries such as: whether a cohesive, integrative political center was formed or more polarized politics emerged; whether and how party systems came to channel social conflict; and, more specifically, why in some countries the electoral and trade-union arenas came to be dominated by parties of the center, whereas elsewhere par­ ties of the left came to play a far greater role. The analysis sheds light on alternative patterns of sectoral and class coalitions, distinct modes of cen­ trifugal and centripetal political competition, and contrasting patterns of sta­ bility and conflict. It also helps explain whether countries followed a demo­ cratic or authoritarian path through the period of new opposition movements and economic and political crisis of the 1960s and 1970s. The emergence of different forms of control and mobilization during the initial incorporation periods, along with their varied legacies, is the focus of this book. The study is based on a comparative-historical analysis of the eight countries with the longest history of urban commercial and industrial Overview 4 S H A P I N G T H E P O L I T I C A L A R E N A development in the region: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. It bears emphasis that single-country monographs and historical studies focused on each of these eight countries have commonly asserted that the years we identify as the initial incorporation periods were historical water­ sheds that had a major impact on the subsequent evolution of politics. 1 Yet these analyses, focusing as they do on individual countries, not surprisingly have lacked consistent criteria for identifying and comparing the incorpora­ tion periods, as well as for carrying out a comparative assessment of their legacies. The goal of this book is to provide a framework for this comparison and to offer a methodological and analytic basis for assessing the causal im­ pact of the incorporation periods on the national political regime. In focusing on the state's role in shaping the labor movement and on the reactions and counterreactions at the level of national politics produced by these state initiatives, we do not intend to suggest that workers and labor leaders did not themselves play a major role in constituting labor move­ ments. Their role has been amply documented,2 and at various points it plays an important part in the present analysis.3 However, our primary attention centers at a different level: the repercussions for the larger evolution of na­ tional politics of alternative state strategies for dealing with the labor move­ ment. At this level of analysis, one can identify fundamentally contrasting trajectories of change that merit sustained attention in their own right. In that the book seeks to trace out these...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780268077105
Related ISBN
9780268017729
MARC Record
OCLC
966859884
Pages
904
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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