This article by Massimo Modonesi on the elections in Venezuela and Argentina is usefully read alongside the Álvaro Reyes article I posted last week. In the context of these elections, the endurance of “other geographies” articulated through the EZLN and others seems to suggest that pessimistic declarations of “an end” (e.g., this by Greg Grandin) reveal more about their authors’ statist conception of politics than about the exhaustion of revolutionary activity. Here’s Modonesi:
[We] begin with the characterization of the progressive Latin American cycle as a totality of different versions of passive revolution – that is, following the intuition of Gramsci, a series of processes of significant but limited structural transformations, with a conservative undertone, pushed forward from above and through demobilizing and subordinating political practices. These are expressed principally through the devices of caesarism and transformism as modalities of emptying out, from top to bottom, channels of popular organization, participation and protagonism. Passive revolution is a formula that seeks and achieves a hegemonic exit to a situation of an equilibrium of forces, or a “catastrophic equilibrium” – a formula reflected in the experience of Latin American progressivism in the decade of the 2000s. We can analyze the current moment through this lens in order to problematize and deepen our understanding of the hypothesis of the end of the cycle, by highlighting a central and determining feature of the conjuncture: the relative loss of hegemony, which is to say the growing incapacity to build and sustain a broad cross-class consensus, and strong popular roots, both of which characterized the earlier stage of consolidation of these governments.