Participatory democracy in action: Practices of the Zapatistas and the Movimento Sem Terra

  • Starr A
  • Martínez-Torres M
  • Rosset P
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Abstract

Participatory democracy has been studied as an auxiliary to state processes and as an institutional and cultural part of social movements. Studies of the use of participatory democracy by the Zapatistas of Mexico and the Movimento Sem Terra (Landless Movement—MST) of Brazil show a shared concern with autonomy, in particular avoidance of demobilization through the clientelism and paternalism induced by government programs and political parties. Both movements stress training in democracy (the experience of “being government”) and the obligation to participate. Detailed examination of their governance practices may be helpful to communities building democratic movements in other places.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Democracy
  • Governance
  • MST
  • Movimento Sem Terra
  • Social movements
  • Zapatistas

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