POLC99 Lecture 10 – March 15
Became a very disciplined party, working together, voting in a block, and expelling
members who were corrupt. The origin of the party was the new union movement of
Sao Paulo’s industrial poor in the 1970s. One of the founders and now Brazil’s
president is Luiz Ignacio da Silva (Lula). PT was very flexible; they realized that
they needed to reach out to indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, women’s
movements, rather than a metallurgic union.
1985: Mayoral elections PT won a number of key municipal races.
1989: they ran for the presidency, lost presidential race by only 6 percentage points.
2002: They ran again and won. Lula wins presidential office.
Keys to success:
•Governing track record, they were so good at the local level. They were able
to showcase their talent and how left-leaning groups could govern
successfully in a transparent fashion.
•Popular councils were introduced as the first experiment in governance:
citizens could tell PT mayors what their grievances were. They got a lot of
complaints at first, while having little resources to solve them. At that time
Brazil was not that decentralized.
•1988: Brazil underwent decentralization reforms, World Bank inspired.
Filtered money and resources and decision-making power to the local level.
Right time, right place.
•1990s: PT implemented participatory budgets, not just popular councils. It
became a model used around the world. PT used assemblies to discuss and
lay out municipal’s budgets throughout the year, where the money is being
spent and they allocated 10–20% of municipal revenues for local investments.
PT emphasized small-scale investment in communities, which had a greater
impact on the poor, rather than big flashy projects, which benefits future
•Side effects: Porto Alegre a popular campaign to increase and collect taxes in
the community. Tax reform to try and get more money for the local
government to work with.
Challenges of Representation:
•Overrepresentation of better organized communities
•Localized project demands, but what bout other communities, which have
•Each budgeting council had to come with one priority for the community and
one priority for the city as a whole.
•Redistributed resources in favour of the poor.