Fascists or Revolutionaries ? Left and Right Politics of the Rural Poor
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This article compares rural support for authoritarian populism in the new democracies in western Europe and Latin America. Literature on mass-based peasant revolutions sees the rural poor as revolutionaries, but an earlier, Marxist view saw them as counter-revolutionary. What can we expect of rural people in new democracies? The article examines four cases of rural support for authoritarian populism and contrasts them with patterns of peasant leftism. Two factors explain the difference: (1) background factors (economic and social relations, the nature of land tenure) and (2) foreground factors (political leadership, organizational style, and rhetoric). The article considers these conclusions for the contemporary international context and draws implications for democratization today.