The Workers' Party And Democratization In Brazil

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The Workers' Party And Democratization In Brazil

By Margaret E. Keck
Yale University Press, 1992
315 pp. $35.00
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A fine first volume by a young scholar. This well researched and stimulating study analyzes the origins and evolution of a moving target: the Brazilian Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, known as PT), which grew from a small labor-union-based political organization in 1979 to winner of some 47 percent of the vote in the 1989 presidential election, the first direct presidential election in Brazil in three decades. At first an anomaly in Brazilian politics, and still so to some extent, the PT had a solid base in labor and social movements, took seriously the question of democratic representation (both in internal organization and with regard to electoral constituencies), and based its appeal primarily on programmatic items. It is not yet clear whether the PT can build from its unquestioned legitimacy as a vehicle for mass protest in the mid-1980s to become a fully institutionalized party in the 1990s. Despite the worldwide crisis of the left, it has already made an important mark on Brazil's politics.