The Crisis of Developmentalism and the Rural Labor Movement in North‐East Brazil

Anthony W. Pereira

in The New Politics of Inequality in Latin America

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780198781837
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598968 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 The Crisis of Developmentalism and the Rural Labor Movement in North‐East Brazil

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Explores the emergence of a combative rural labour movement since the late 1970s in North‐east Brazil, with primary emphasis on the state of Pernambuco. Confounding the emphasis on autonomy, pluralism, and multi‐ or non‐class organization in the ‘new social movements’ literature, the author finds an ‘old’ union‐based, state‐linked, class‐based movement under a corporatist union structure acting much like a ‘new’ movement—adopting a combative strategy able to win significant rights for its members in some localities. Historical analysis demonstrates that this contemporary union movement was built on the foundations of rural mobilization in the early 1960s—in the form of the Peasant Leagues—that was much more in keeping with the ‘new social movements’ characterization. In explaining the emergence of a combative ‘old’ social movement on the foundations of a ‘new’ one, the author focuses on changes in both rural class structure and mobilization strategies that took place under the post‐1964 Brazilian military dictatorship.

Keywords: class structure; corporatism; developmentalism; land tenure/land occupations; populism; rural unions; social movements (new, old)

Chapter.  10220 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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