The Party and the Multitude: Brazils Workers Party (PT) and the Challenges of Building a Just Social Order in a Globalizing Context*

Gianpaolo Baiocchi

Abstract


What is the role of Brazils Workers Party (PT) in its sponsorship of the World Social Forum, and what is the signi?cance of this relationship to the struggles to build a more just social order? Some have criticized the pres-ence of the PT in the Forum, juxtaposing its partisan motives to the democratic impulses of the multitude. This article challenges this reading by tracing the development of the PT in the last decade, bringing to light the ways the partys development challenges traditional narratives about leftist parties. In particular, this article discusses the way that the successful resolution of the challenges of governance in local and regional levels through participatory solutions has progressively transformed the party towards a party of radical democracy that values non-instrumental relationships to social movements and unorganized sectors of civil society. This radically democratic stance is represented in the way that the PT spon-sors, but does not control or seek to control, the WSF or its proceedings. Re-imagining the relationship between social movements and political parties is an urgent task in the struggle for global social justice and the PT serves as a useful model. Abandoning this relationship as implicitly suggested by advocates of the multitude would be to the detriment of the struggle for global justice.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2004.305

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