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Week 20: Debt, inflation, the PT, and the MST

Lecture powerpoint

Seminar Questions

  • Were Lula’s successes all thanks to Fernando Henrique Cardoso?
  • Did the election of Lula and the PT represent a new departure for Brazilian politics and national life?
  • Did electoral victory change the PT itself? How?
  • How did Brazil’s international profile shift under Lula and the PT? Is this significant?
  • What was the early relationship between the MST (Landless Workers' Movement) and the PT, and how did it shift over time?

Seminar Readings

•Skidmore, Brazil, Chapter 9, pp. 229-56

Politics and the PT:

Brazil since 1985: Economy, Polity and Society, eds. Maria d’Alvo Kinzo and James Dunkerley (2003), chapter 1 


•Leandro Vergara-Camus, “The Politics of the MST: Autonomous Rural Communities, the State, and Electoral Politics,” Latin American Perspectives, 36:4 (July 2009): 178-91

•Landless Movement (MST), “The Reality of the Brazilian Countryside,” in The Brazil Reader, pp. 264-7; see also articles and news on MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores sem Terra, Landless Workers’ Movement) website: [there is a version in English]

Further reading on the PT, social movements, land:

Alonso, Angela et al., ‘Environmental activism in Brazi: the rise of social movement’, in Thompson, Lisa and Tapscott, Chris (eds.), Citizenship and social movements: perspectives from the global South (London: Zed Books, 2010), pp. 132-159.

Richard Bourne, Lula of Brazil: The Story So Far (2008), chapters 1 (“A Tough Start in Life,” 3 (“The PT, the Workers’ Party”, 5 (“Overview of the First Term”).
Hunter, Kathryn, ‘The Partido dos Trabalhadores: Still a Party of the Left?’, in Kingstone, Peter R. and Power, Timothy J. (eds.), Democratic Brazil Revisited (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press), pp. 18-32.
Mészáros, George, Social movements, law and the politics of land reform: lessons from Brazil (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013).
Meyer, Carrie A. The economics and politics of NGOs in Latin America (Westport, Connecticut; London: Praeger, 1999, cc2000).
Pereira, Anthony W., The end of the peasantry: the rural labor movement in northeast Brazil, 1961-1988 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press).
Petras, James, and Veltmeyer, Henry, Social Movements and State Power (Pluto Press, 2005).
Veltmeyer, Henry et al., Neoliberalism and class conflict in Latin America: a comparative perspective on the political economy of structural adjustment (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997).