Department of Sociology Professor Paul Almeida is one of the coordinators, along with Professor Jorge Cadena-Roa of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), of a recent issue of the Mexican Journal of Foreign Policy, known as Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior, which focuses on elections and social movements in Latin America. The journal is published via the Mexican Government's Diplomatic Academy — El Instituto Matías Romero.
Besides Almeida, issue No. 122 of the journal also includes contributions from researchers at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA, who worked with colleagues in Mexico, Chile and Honduras to identify complex relationships between social movements, political parties, elections, governmental actions, the performance of legislatures, democratic governance and processes of co-evolution.
In the opening article, Almeida and Cadena-Roa note that this century's social movements in Latin America have challenged governments, legislative decisions, and public policies and have also transformed party systems that functioned with relative stability for decades.
They explain that these changes show the need to consider movements and parties not in an exclusive way, as if they were the oil and water of politics, but in terms of their changing relationships and combinations. Some movements, the authors state, provide the catalyst for the formation of new parties or electoral coalitions. Similarly, the actions of political parties also have consequences for social movements, governments, legislatures, street protests and subsequent electoral cycles.
"After conceiving of this project with Alianza MX and Instituto Matías Romero in 2020, three governments have been elected in Latin American that drew enormous electoral support from massive social movement and labor union campaigns against neoliberal economic policies. These recent electoral victories include the cases of Chile, Colombia and Honduras," Almeida said. "The contributors in this special journal issue address how subaltern parties at times are able to capitalize on the people-centered resources of social and labor movements to get out the vote and win elections over well-entrenched traditional political parties."
The University of California's Alianza MX program supports the UC in order to continue its long history of strong partnerships and innovative collaborative efforts with Mexico.
Almeida is the UC Merced faculty representative of Alianza MX. The initiative was formed in 2019 through the integration of three preexisting UC systemwide programs: the UC Institute for Mexico and the United States (UC MEXUS), Casa de la Universidad de California en Mexico (Casa de California) and the UC-Mexico Initiative.
The full issue of Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior is available online.