Participatory Democracy in Action

Participatory democracy has been studied as an auxiliary to state processes and as an institutional and cultural part of social movements. This paper examines the use of participatory democracy as a form of organization of society. It examines three case studies: the Zapatistas (México), the Movimento Sem Terra (Brasil), and the Autonomen (Germany).

This was the first paper in what was to be a larger project including the Venezuelan participatory processes and the Argentine empreses recuperadas and asambleas. It was inspired by the 2006 conference held to celebrate the work of Dick Flacks at his retirement.

We were disappointed with the disinterest and incredulity that greeted the manuscript, and especially by Eric Olin Wright’s dismissal of any forms of participatory democracy independent of the state.

This is an intermediate version of a paper eventually published in Latin American Perspectives, before they axed the lit review and the Germans.