Political Anatomy of the South American Conjuncture: Images of Development and New Social Conflict in the Present Period


The essay trans­lated below was first pub­lished in Novem­ber 2014 on Lobo Suelto, a blog linked to the Argen­tine mil­i­tant research group Colec­tivo Situa­ciones. Its appear­ance fol­lowed the reelec­tion of Brazil’s Dilma Rouss­eff, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, and the elec­tion of Tabaré Vásquez in Uruguay (who returned to the office for a sec­ond, non-con­sec­u­tive term on the the pop­u­lar­ity of his pre­de­ces­sor and party-mate José Mujica). Despite these osten­si­bly “pro­gres­sive” vic­to­ries, San­dro Mez­zadra and Diego Sztul­wark argue that the region’s period of left-wing state dom­i­nance may have reached its lim­its, and in some cases, fal­len into out­right con­ser­vatism. Con­se­quently, they call for a re-activi­a­tion of polit­i­cal strug­gle at the grass­roots level to over­come the iner­tia of the polit­i­cal cycle. This analy­sis con­tin­ues to res­onate, as sev­eral suc­ces­sors to the orig­i­nal pink tide lead­er­ship are gear­ing up for another round of elec­toral pol­i­tics this year, with a gen­eral elec­tion in Argentina (Octo­ber 25) and an impor­tant par­lia­men­tary vote for Venezuela’s Nico­las Maduro (Decem­ber 6). The out­comes of these elec­tions and the polit­i­cal tra­jec­to­ries gen­er­ated by them will call for yet more con­junc­tural analy­sis; Mez­zadra and Sztul­wark there­fore offer an essen­tial the­o­ret­i­cal start­ing point. With this in mind, we present the fol­low­ing trans­la­tion with the occa­sional edi­to­rial addi­tion of in-text links to Eng­lish-lan­guage cov­er­age of ref­er­enced events.

I. How should we read the tri­umph of the Movimiento al Social­ismo (MAS) in Bolivia, the Frente Amplio (FA) in Uruguay, and the Par­tido dos Tra­bal­hadores (PT) in Brazil?

The recent elec­toral cycle in Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay per­mits us an ini­tial eval­u­a­tion of the polit­i­cal period of so-called pro­gres­sive gov­ern­ments in South Amer­ica, as well as of the region’s pat­tern of devel­op­ment, gen­er­ally called neo-devel­op­men­tal­ism or neo-extrac­tivism.

Above all, it offers an oppor­tu­nity to ask how South Amer­ica has changed dur­ing the past decade. Indeed, a mate­ri­al­ist analy­sis – and not just a pol­icy analy­sis, focused on the “achieve­ments” of the pro­gres­sive gov­ern­ments – requires a view of the polit­i­cal anatomy of soci­ety in terms of its sub­jects, changes and con­ti­nu­ities in its social fab­ric, and new prob­lems posed by a more aggres­sive phase of the global eco­nomic cri­sis that has affected the region.

To begin, the tri­umph of the forces in gov­ern­ment (PT in Brazil, MAS in Bolivia, and FA in Uruguay, with their respec­tive coali­tions) per­mits us to affirm the per­sis­tence of a “pro­gres­sive” polit­i­cal cycle – very clearly in the case of Bolivia where the polit­i­cal con­sol­i­da­tion of the gov­ern­ment was extra­or­di­nar­ily force­ful, and in a more lim­ited way in the case of Uruguay and Brazil, where both an orga­nized con­ser­v­a­tive oppo­si­tion and, beyond the elec­tions them­selves, per­sis­tent mar­ket pres­sure have shown them­selves capa­ble of restrict­ing the future scope of the gov­ern­ments’ polit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tions.

What does this elec­toral rat­i­fi­ca­tion mean? In prin­ci­ple it extends the “porous” char­ac­ter that pub­lic insti­tu­tions have had with respect to the period of strug­gles that, dur­ing the past decade, man­aged to over­throw the legit­i­macy of the neolib­eral con­sen­sus of the 80s and 90s. This rat­i­fi­ca­tion pro­longs and affirms the defeat through­out the region of purely neolib­eral efforts, by elites, to retake direct polit­i­cal con­trol. In that sense, it holds open the pos­si­bil­ity for a region-wide devel­op­ment of a polit­i­cal dynamism unen­cum­bered by the hege­mony of the neolib­eral West.

But the con­sol­i­da­tion of these gov­ern­ing expe­ri­ences can­not be assessed only with ref­er­ence to the impasses that pre­cip­i­tated the cur­rent period more than a decade ago. The ten­sions of the present con­junc­ture, derived from a new con­fig­u­ra­tion of South Amer­i­can soci­eties as well as from a new regional and global con­text, pose a series of more pre­cise ques­tions regard­ing the mean­ing of these elec­toral vic­to­ries.

In the case of Brazil, whose influ­ence over the region is obvi­ous, what has been put in ques­tion is the capac­ity of the new gov­ern­ment to rein­vent Lulismo’s insti­tu­tional “poros­ity” fol­low­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive turn of pub­lic pol­icy in the Dilma Rouss­eff era and the PT’s retreat from orga­nized mil­i­tancy.

This is not merely a rhetor­i­cal point when we recall that the move­ments that erupted in many Brazil­ian cities dur­ing June 2013 force­fully man­i­fested a series of con­flicts linked to pub­lic trans­porta­tion, repres­sion in the fave­las, urban gen­tri­fi­ca­tion (above all around the World Cup and the Olympic games), and the harsh­est fea­tures of the devel­op­men­tal­ist model. These move­ments expressed a struc­tural mod­i­fi­ca­tion in Brazil­ian soci­ety and posed a chal­lenge that might well have been an oppor­tu­nity to rein­vent those afore­men­tioned “porous” mech­a­nisms. This pos­si­bil­ity, nonethe­less, was not real­ized. And although it is true that those move­ments did not man­age to impose them­selves polit­i­cally – they were barely rel­e­vant in the elec­tions – what is cer­tain is that they illu­mi­nated a new social land­scape vio­lently ignored by the state and the Par­tido dos Tra­bal­hadores.

Sim­i­lar phe­nom­ena through­out the region show the inten­tion of var­i­ous gov­ern­ments to uncrit­i­cally tie the con­ti­nu­ity of the “pro­gres­sive” polit­i­cal period to the neo-developmentalist/neo-extractivist model. This sit­u­a­tion obliges us to real­is­ti­cally con­sider sce­nar­ios of clo­sure, polit­i­cal exclu­sion, and grow­ing social vio­lence in the future.

The inten­si­fi­ca­tion of vio­lence, includ­ing both struc­tural vio­lence aris­ing from the mode of accu­mu­la­tion and the more dif­fuse but omnipresent vio­lence in poor urban neigh­bor­hoods, trans­verses regional geopol­i­tics, affect­ing coun­tries with “pro­gres­sive” gov­ern­ments as much as those that are openly con­ser­v­a­tive – though not always in the same way. The recourse to mas­sacre, of which Mex­ico sets an extreme and per­verse exam­ple, sig­nals the extent to which ter­ror has returned to the con­ti­nent as a means for the man­age­ment of social con­flict, appeal­ing to fear and pre­vent­ing any col­lec­tive eval­u­a­tion on the new archi­tec­ture of power.

II. What can we expect from a con­sol­i­da­tion of the cur­rent pat­tern of devel­op­ment?

The estab­lished devel­op­ment model in Latin Amer­ica, with its clear inter­nal dif­fer­en­ti­a­tions, was con­fig­ured around a suc­cess­ful rene­go­ti­a­tion of its inser­tion into the global mar­ket as a sup­plier of raw mate­ri­als (grains and extrac­tive goods). These activ­i­ties provide the for­eign reserves nec­es­sary to sus­tain the poli­cies of “social inclu­sion” at the same time that they per­mit the state to play a more active role.

The admin­is­tra­tion of these processes is com­plex and has dif­fer­ent lev­els. On the one hand, the cycle itself depends for its func­tion­ing on exter­nal fac­tors that can­not be guar­an­teed in the long term. On the other hand, given the con­tra­dic­tory struc­ture of mul­ti­lat­eral global dynam­ics – rep­re­sented above all by the for­ma­tion of the BRICs – its man­age­ment requires a spe­cial geopo­lit­i­cal sen­si­tiv­ity, and regional inte­gra­tion becomes a key ques­tion for the inter­nal affairs of each coun­try. Fur­ther­more, neo-extrac­tive economies sup­pose a high level of struc­tural vio­lence (in both rural and urban areas) and it is not clear, at least in pub­lic polit­i­cal dis­course, how it is that gov­ern­ments are weigh­ing the advan­tages of cap­tur­ing rents against the con­sid­er­a­tion of future projects for the devel­op­ment of higher-qual­ity democ­racy.

Faced with these ques­tions, the pro­gres­sive ide­o­log­i­cal dis­course does not provide accept­able answers. They tell us of a sim­ple evo­lu­tion­ary line with the promise of con­tin­u­ing every kind of improve­ment. We know very well that things do not work that way: the so-called neo-devel­op­men­tal­ist model has already pro­duced pow­er­ful effects (link­ing con­sump­tion and vio­lence) through­out the region, and has sub­stan­tially mod­i­fied social behav­iors and class struc­tures. The results of this pat­tern of devel­op­ment are already present among us, with all their con­tra­dic­tions.

Among the most sig­nif­i­cant changes in the present land­scape, we should high­light the emer­gence of new “mid­dle classes,”1 as well as the mas­si­fi­ca­tion of con­sump­tion, and the trans­for­ma­tion of a con­tin­u­ing poverty under the effects of this mas­si­fi­ca­tion. In the sub­jec­tive order, these shifts are accom­pa­nied by an intense new cen­tral­ity of the theme of inse­cu­rity, which serves to repro­duce the the agenda of the right. In fact, “mid­dle class” and “secu­rity” are two sig­ni­fiers being simul­ta­ne­ously rede­fined by the same dynamic: the inten­tional pro­duc­tion of a new social sub­ject, intrin­si­cally dis­ci­plined by the polit­i­cal dis­posi­tifs of medi­a­ti­za­tion, secu­ri­ti­za­tion, debt, and rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

III. What are the stakes of the con­junc­ture?

If, as we have argued, the pat­tern of devel­op­ment appears to be con­tin­u­ing with­out change – at least in the short term – and if the con­quests of the period of anti-neolib­eral in the 90s con­tinue to be legit­i­mate and can­not be ignored, the ques­tion “What are the stakes of the present con­junc­ture?” points to some­thing else.

We are refer­ring to the strug­gle to inter­pret and polit­i­cally artic­u­late the social muta­tions that have occurred through­out the region. In this strug­gle, racist and clas­sist dis­courses aim to harden inter­nal bor­ders, mov­ing the col­lec­tive imag­i­nary and pub­lic pol­icy in a puni­tive direc­tion and focus­ing on secu­rity, reaf­firm­ing the inter­nally hier­ar­chi­cal char­ac­ter of national space (and using nation­al­ist rhetoric to do it).

Unfor­tu­nately, the “pro­gres­sive” gov­ern­ments are not immune to these trans­gres­sions, nor do they always effec­tively take up the task of con­tain­ing them. It is there­fore easy to see how, in Brazil, per­sis­tent vio­lence in the fave­las is dis­placed time and time again from the neo-devel­op­men­tal­ist agenda, or how the Argen­tine state gives a racist and clas­sist treat­ment to young peo­ple from ghet­tos and infor­mal set­tle­ments. (This cur­rent crim­i­nal­iza­tion of poor, immi­grant cit­i­zens is noth­ing but a new chap­ter in a larger story.)

IV. Argentina’s con­junc­ture, Argentina in the con­junc­ture

The pres­i­den­tial elec­tions planned for 2015 will be a dif­fi­cult process of tran­si­tion, marked by, among other things, the intense weight of the strug­gle that the national gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to pur­sue on the plane of inter­na­tional finance. The cur­rent posi­tion of the Argen­tine gov­ern­ment with respect to the so-called vul­ture funds has cre­ated an oppor­tu­nity to fully open up the finan­cial world as a space of strug­gle, but this pos­si­bil­ity, in order to be effec­tive, will require an intense inter­nal polit­i­cal mobi­liza­tion. And, on the regional and global lev­els, it will mean the pro­posal of con­crete strate­gies for chal­leng­ing the artic­u­la­tion of finan­cial flows, includ­ing the cen­tral­ity of the dol­lar as the sov­er­eign global cur­rency.

The com­plex­ity of the sit­u­a­tion becomes clear when we look at Europe, ever firmer in its role as an obsta­cle to revis­ing the archi­tec­ture and power of finance or chang­ing the global frame­work: reces­sion and cri­sis, which con­tinue to be par­tic­u­larly sharp in South­ern Europe, con­sti­tute, in them­selves, the cause of a vicious cir­cle that pre­vents the con­ti­nent from play­ing a role in the dynamic refig­u­ra­tion of finan­cial and mon­e­tary man­age­ment.

It is nec­es­sary to add, when look­ing at Europe, that the rise of nation­al­ist forces from the right, like Le Pen’s Front National in France, only rein­forces the continent’s role as an obsta­cle to change. Only a rup­ture with neolib­er­al­ism from below could per­mit the emer­gence of new cor­re­la­tions and con­fig­u­ra­tions of forces to make pos­si­ble a Europe capa­ble of play­ing an expan­sive role at a global level.

The case of Asia is dif­fer­ent. The impor­tance of Argentina’s swap with China and of the diver­si­fi­ca­tion of its national reserves as part of its con­flict with the vul­ture funds may sig­nal a still unclear but more mul­ti­lat­eral future sce­nario. Iner­tia, how­ever, per­sists with respect to the pat­tern of devel­op­ment, and there is a lack of polit­i­cal ini­tia­tive to revise the ten­den­tial link between Chi­nese loans and the con­sol­i­da­tion of mega-extrac­tive activ­i­ties. And it must be said that this link makes future changes in the Chi­nese eco­nomic model an extremely impor­tant prob­lem for Argentina and for the region.

Under these com­plex con­di­tions, the ten­dency toward a con­ser­v­a­tive national con­sen­sus inside and out­side Kirch­ner­ism based on the afore­men­tioned racist and clas­sist phe­nom­ena is a reac­tionary fac­tor inso­far as it pre­vents any inno­v­a­tive or demo­c­ra­tic wagers at the social level. These wagers would be the nec­es­sary con­di­tions to fur­ther the strug­gle on the ter­rain of global finance.

It is there­fore wor­ry­ing, in this sense, that the elec­toral field is dom­i­nated by con­ser­v­a­tive and right-wing can­di­dates, with­out any vis­i­ble alter­na­tive able to expand those inno­v­a­tive ele­ments that, in their moment, sig­naled a vir­tu­ous cir­cle between gov­ern­ment and col­lec­tive mobi­liza­tion (human rights orga­ni­za­tions and social move­ments).

In effect, Kirch­ner­ism has gov­erned by com­bin­ing, over the course of years, a voca­tion for inno­va­tion with a recog­ni­tion of – and pact with – con­ser­v­a­tive pow­ers, as much in local and provin­cial gov­ern­ments as in orga­nized labor.

The large unions, ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the last decade’s eco­nomic reac­ti­va­tion and of a gen­eral rep­re­sen­ta­tive par­ity for work­ers, are a notable piece of gov­ern­men­tal­ity. They are cur­rently being recon­fig­ured in the face of ampli­fied labor con­flict caused by infla­tion, reces­sion, and lay­offs. In this con­text, the appear­ance of young union­ists with a demo­c­ra­tic spirit of strug­gle – and an incli­na­tion to ally them­selves with left par­ties – is gain­ing trac­tion against the pow­er­ful, old union bureau­cracy, itself often allied with the gov­ern­ment.

To high­light the full com­plex­ity of the polit­i­cal process it’s worth not­ing the deval­u­a­tive pres­sure of the export sec­tor, the nego­ti­a­tions with investors (includ­ing China and Rus­sia) inter­ested in strate­gic zones like infra­struc­tural devel­op­ment and the Vaca Muerta region, and the con­stant threat of desta­bi­liza­tion by rightwing groups – increas­ingly asso­ci­ated with nar­co­traf­ficing and auton­o­mized police forces – as dur­ing the hot month of Decem­ber 2013.

All of these ten­sions rever­ber­ate within Kirch­ner­ism, chal­leng­ing the numer­ous mil­i­tant col­lec­tives that are a part of it.

On the one hand, the gov­ern­ment cre­ates sce­nar­ios of polit­i­cal con­fronta­tion and mil­i­tant mobi­liza­tion and tries to com­pen­sate for the effects of an infla­tion rate greater than the incomes of infor­mal work­ers by dis­trib­ut­ing resources through social pro­grams. But on the other hand, it finds itself increas­ingly com­pro­mised by the fea­tures of a pre­car­i­ous gov­ern­men­tal­ity, leav­ing it with few options dur­ing the elec­toral period.

The ambiva­lence of the government’s poli­cies is that although they post­pone the need for a con­ven­tional cur­rency adjust­ment, they weaken the very bases nec­es­sary to coun­ter­act this need, recre­at­ing a divi­sion between for­mal and infor­mal work­ers and link­ing the financ­ing of pub­lic poli­cies to the cre­ation of infla­tion.

V. Can the vic­to­ries of recent strug­gles be a demo­c­ra­tic vec­tor for the future?

The out­come of this last decade’s polit­i­cal cycle is very impor­tant not only for Latin Amer­ica but also for the globe. This impact is due above all to the fact that Latin Amer­ica has been the only place on the whole planet where “left” alter­na­tives to neolib­er­al­ism have been attempted in the last decade: from the rejec­tion of free trade agree­ments to the procla­ma­tion of 21st-cen­tury social­ism; from the rel­a­tive reverse of the ten­dency toward pri­va­ti­za­tions to the rise of anti-debt pol­i­tics; from the poli­cies of human rights and social inclu­sion to the cre­ation of South Amer­i­can inte­gra­tion efforts like the Com­mu­nity of Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the entry of new sub­jects into the state, like Evo Morales in Bolivia.

These imag­i­na­tive efforts have served as an inspi­ra­tion for new polit­i­cal expe­ri­ences all over the planet, as is occur­ring now with the expe­ri­ence of Podemos in Spain and the attempt to stir a pow­er­ful reac­tion from below against the Europe of neolib­eral adjust­ment.

Hav­ing reached this point in our dis­cus­sion, we must clar­ify a bit what it is we mean by “neolib­er­al­ism.” In addi­tion to a (Wash­ing­ton) con­sen­sus over struc­tural adjust­ment and pri­va­ti­za­tion, neolib­er­al­ism has become a mode of social gov­er­nance and a pow­er­ful microp­o­lit­i­cal dynamic (affects, beliefs, desires), cir­cu­lat­ing and dom­i­nat­ing in dif­fer­ent spheres of social life.

A first ele­ment of our assess­ment of regional attempts to con­struct a “post-neolib­eral” process in South Amer­ica shows that these efforts have been con­cen­trated pri­mar­ily at the state level, based on the pre­sump­tion that neolib­er­al­ism equals unreg­u­lated mar­kets. The polit­i­cal will con­sti­tuted at this level has embod­ied a neo-devel­op­men­tal­ist ideal, open­ing impor­tant debates and propos­ing valu­able reforms with­out elim­i­nat­ing, nonethe­less, the fea­tures of a neolib­er­al­ism that per­sists as much in its struc­tural fea­tures (finan­cial hege­mony, con­cen­tra­tion of land), as in its repro­duc­tion “from below.” The “busi­ness” form and the rules of com­pe­ti­tion con­tinue to deci­sively orga­nize and man­age con­crete social exis­tence in a large num­ber of spheres.

Indeed, the polit­i­cal will that has acted from the state in the name of eco­nomic growth and the improve­ment of vast inequal­i­ties has not man­aged to over­come exten­sive degrees of social dis­par­ity nor to sub­vert deep struc­tural hier­ar­chies.

This leads us to pro­pose a cer­tain dis­so­nance between the polit­i­cal will of the state and the polit­i­cal poten­tial of the intense insur­rec­tions and revolts of the 90s in many South Amer­i­can coun­tries. These strug­gles declared the cri­sis of neoliberalism’s polit­i­cal hege­mony, strength­en­ing and mak­ing vis­i­ble a plu­ral group of excluded sub­jects: work­ers, campesinos, the poor, and the indige­nous. Fol­low­ing this, a process of ple­beian appro­pri­a­tion spread through­out the space of the pub­lic (most evi­dently and per­sis­tently in Bolivia under Evo Morales). The pres­ence of these sub­jects, begin­ning with the rise of “pro­gres­sive” gov­ern­ments and the com­plex sys­tem of recog­ni­tions that came with it, forced the open­ing of a new process of regional inte­gra­tion.

And yet, the lim­its of the project of social inclu­sion pro­posed by these pro­gres­sive gov­ern­ments ended up weak­en­ing the poten­tial to deepen the processes of ple­beian democ­ra­ti­za­tion. As it hap­pened, inte­gra­tion through con­sump­tion and the project of cre­at­ing a new “mid­dle class” did not per­mit any real con­fronta­tion with the struc­tural vio­lence linked to neo-developmentalism/ neo-extrac­tivism, a vio­lence sys­tem­at­i­cally denied by these very gov­ern­ments. This dynamic has reached the point where vio­lence is a con­sti­tu­tive fea­ture of pro­gres­sive cit­i­zen­ship itself, cre­at­ing a new space of social con­flict over the role of the state.

In light of a hypo­thet­i­cal sce­nario of sta­bi­liza­tion (neo-devel­op­men­tal­ism, con­ser­v­a­tive con­sen­sus) obtained by the “pro­gres­sive” gov­ern­ments them­selves, is it pos­si­ble to imag­ine that the achieve­ments of the past decade’s move­ments could act as the basis for a re-open­ing of polit­i­cal pro­duc­tiv­ity and a new vir­tu­ous cycle between move­ments and polit­i­cal spaces? Or has this cycle already been exhausted?

Again, it is a mat­ter of con­sid­er­ing the role of the state. The recent polit­i­cal period, as can been seen in the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of Venezuela and Ecuador, shows that even when the state plays a valu­able role in the con­struc­tion of alter­na­tives, it can in no case be relied upon as the exclu­sive strate­gic agent. This is because processes of change tend to exhaust them­selves in a ster­ile state cen­tral­ity if there are no modal­i­ties of artic­u­la­tion for the emer­gence of new, non-state-cen­tric sub­jects and the con­fig­u­ra­tion of a regional polit­i­cal space beyond the national scale.

If it is true that the Latin Amer­i­can sce­nario has been sta­bi­lized despite the con­tin­u­a­tion of a “pro­gres­sive” period, is it pos­si­ble to rethink the rela­tion­ship between pol­i­tics and the cur­rent pat­tern of devel­op­ment?

The new socio-ter­ri­to­rial con­flict linked to this pat­tern of devel­op­ment is a chal­lenge to the last few decades’ ten­dency toward democ­racy – we have already men­tioned the clas­sist and racist vio­lence asso­ci­ated with it. This con­flict is essen­tially reac­tionary, since it serves as the prac­ti­cal route for the sub­or­di­na­tion of anti-neolib­eral ple­beian rebel­lion. This sit­u­a­tion forces us to imag­ine new, more rad­i­cal mean­ings of “social inclu­sion.” We refer to the pos­si­bil­ity of rean­i­mat­ing col­lec­tive vital­i­ties around key nodes of the infor­mal and self-employ­ment econ­omy, around pre­car­i­ous work and strug­gles for land and dig­ni­fied hous­ing that, freed from the dis­posi­tif con­sist­ing of the con­sump­tion pat­tern, cheap indus­try, and neo-extrac­tivist econ­omy, could form part of a coali­tion of forces to inspire new social and polit­i­cal dynam­ics.

But this coali­tion is not imag­in­able with­out con­sid­er­ing the col­lec­tion of expe­ri­ences and strug­gles linked to the strate­gic task of pro­duc­ing a new sub­jec­tiv­ity. These expe­ri­ences are rooted in the mate­rial power [poten­cia] opened by these strug­gles rather than in an attrac­tion to tran­scen­den­tal author­ity [poder]. We have in mind here new ways of life and their col­lec­tive pro­duc­tion around health­care, edu­ca­tion, and human rights. The pro­duc­tion of these ways of life can offer a pos­i­tive mate­ri­al­ity for the con­struc­tion of autonomous cit­i­zens’ self-defense net­works in neigh­bor­hoods and ter­ri­to­ries fac­ing ever greater dynam­ics of vio­lence.

Far from look­ing back­ward and hop­ing for answers in the move­ments that began the recent period, as if noth­ing impor­tant had changed in the span of a decade, it is worth recall­ing that the mate­rial base cre­ated by those move­ments con­tin­ues to serve as a con­di­tion for polit­i­cal pro­duc­tiv­ity and to gen­er­ate new under­stand­ings of devel­op­ment.

The orig­i­nal ver­sion of this text can be found on Lobo Suelto

– Trans­lated by Robert Cavooris 

  1. The scare quotes aim to prob­lema­tize the use of this sim­plis­tic cat­e­gory whose polit­i­cal func­tion is to indi­cate a sort of homoge­nous inclu­sion, dis­plac­ing a much more plu­ral and het­ero­ge­neous real­ity. 

Authors of the article

teaches Political Theory at the University of Bologna, has long been engaged in activist projects, and is an active participant in the "post-workerist" debate (see particularly Euronomade). Among other books, he is, with Brett Neilson, author of Border as Method.

is a member of Colectivo Situaciones, a militant research collective based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In addition, he is involved with the publisher Tinta Limón, regularly blogs for Lobo Suelto, and participates in the Instituto de Investigación y Experimentación Política (IIEP). Two recent Colectivo Situaciones books have been published in English: 19 & 20: Notes for a New Social Protagonism and Genocide in the Neighborhood.