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A Time of Closure? Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, after the Workers' Party Era

  • TERESA R. MELGAR
Abstract

Participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, has long been held up as a model of how grassroots social movements, in alliance with a Left party in power, have deepened democracy in a highly clientelistic context. But what happened to this democratic reform when the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers' Party, PT), which supported this initiative while it held the mayorship of Porto Alegre for 16 years, lost political power? This article examines the shifting fortunes of the participatory budgeting process following the defeat of the Workers' Party in the 2004 local elections. It explores how and why succeeding local administrations weakened participatory budgeting amid the changing political configuration of Porto Alegre, underscoring the critical role played by considerable executive branch powers in the process. The article concludes by examining what questions this raises for the sustainability of local democratic reforms.

El presupuesto participativo en Porto Alegre, Brasil, se le ha visto desde tiempo atrás como un modelo de cómo los movimientos sociales de base, en alianza con un partido de izquierda en el poder, han profundizado la democracia en un contexto altamente clientelista. Pero ¿qué pasó con esta reforma democrática cuando el Partido de los Trabajadores (PT), que apoyó tal iniciativa cuando ocupó la alcaldía de Porto Alegre por 16 años, perdió el poder? Este artículo examina las cambiantes fortunas del proceso de presupuesto participativo tras la derrota del PT en las elecciones locales de 2004. Explora cómo y por qué las administraciones locales que le sucedieron debilitaron el presupuesto participativo al interior de la cambiante configuración política de Porto Alegre, al mismo tiempo que enfatiza el papel crítico jugado por los extensos poderes de la rama ejecutiva. El artículo concluye preguntándose acerca de la sostenibilidad de las reformas democráticas locales.

O Orçamento Participativo em Porto Alegre, Brasil, há muito tempo tem sido visto como um modelo pelo qual movimentos sociais de base, em aliança com partidos de esquerda no poder, têm aprofundado a democracia em um contexto altamente clientelista. Mas o que aconteceu com esta reforma democrática quando o Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), que apoiou esta iniciativa durante os dezesseis anos que esteve na prefeitura de Porto Alegre, perdeu seu poder político? Este artigo examina as mudanças de rumo do Orçamento Participativo após a derrota do PT nas eleições de 2004. Explora ainda como e por que as administrações locais subsequentes enfraqueceram o Orçamento Participativo em meio à mudança na configuração política de Porto Alegre, ressaltando o papel fundamental desempenhado por agências do poder executivo neste processo. O artigo conclui examinando quais são as questões levantadas para a sustentação de reformas democráticas locais.

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1 Baierle, Sérgio, ‘Shoot the Citizen, Save the Customer: Participatory Budgeting and Bare Citizenship in Porto Alegre, Brazil’, in Koonings, Kees and Kruijt, Dirk (eds.), Megacities: The Politics of Urban Exclusion and Violence in the Global South (London: Zed Books, 2009), pp. 120–40; Paulo Muzzell, ‘O PT e a eleição municipal em Porto Alegre’, 8 Oct. 2012, available at http://rsurgente.opsblog.org/2012/10/18/o-pt-e-a-eleicao-municipal-em-porto-alegre/.

2 I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer for this formulation.

3 Members of the Workers' Party are known as petistas, from the Portuguese acronym PT.

4 See, for example, Baiocchi, Gianpaolo, Heller, Patrick and Silva, Marcelo, Bootstrapping Democracy: Transforming Local Governance and Civil Society in Brazil (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011); Baiocchi, Gianpaolo, Militants and Citizens: The Politics of Participatory Democracy in Porto Alegre (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005); Abers, Rebecca Neaera, Inventing Local Democracy: Grassroots Politics in Brazil (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000); Heller, Patrick, ‘Moving the State: The Politics of Democratic Decentralization in Kerala, South Africa and Porto Alegre’, Politics and Society, 29: 1 (2001), pp. 131–63; and Fung, Archon and Wright, Erik Olin (eds.), Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance (London and New York: Verso, 2003).

5 See also Nylen, William, ‘An Enduring Legacy? Popular Participation in the Aftermath of the Participatory Budgets of João Monlevade and Betim’, in Baiocchi, Gianpaolo (ed.), Radicals in Power: The Workers’ Party (PT) and Experiments in Urban Democracy in Brazil (London: Zed Books, 2003), pp. 91112, which examines relatively similar questions for two municipalities in the state of Minas Gerais.

6 Although subsequent studies suggest the occasional coexistence of the PB's rights-based approach to public goods with clientelism, most analysts argue that Porto Alegre's ‘combative’ community movements, which helped launch the PB, seriously envisaged participation in budget-making as a means to reduce clientelism. See Baierle, Sérgio, ‘The Explosion of Experience: The Emergence of a New Ethical-Political Principle in Popular Movements in Porto Alegre, Brazil’, in Dagnino, Evelina and Escobar, Arturo (eds.), Cultures of Politics, Politics of Cultures (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998), pp. 118–41. For studies that explore how clientelism may coexist with the PB, see Ottmann, Goetz, Democracy in the Making: Municipal Reforms, Civil Society and the Brazilian Workers' Party (New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2009); and Navarro, Zander, ‘O “orçamento participativo” de Porto Alegre (1989–2002): um conciso comentário crítico’, in Avritzer, Leonardo and Navarro, Zander (eds.), A inovação democrática no Brasil: o orçamento participativo (São Paulo: Cortez, 2003), pp. 89128.

7 Although Luciano Fedozzi provides a conservative estimate given methodological difficulties in getting an accurate number of PB participants, he still demonstrates the rise in participation. Accordingly, 628 participants attended at least one of two rounds of PB regional assemblies in 1990; in 1991, this figure rose to 3,086; in 1992, it was 6,168; and by 1999, it had increased to 11,726 participants. If the thematic assemblies were included, attendance for 1999 would rise to at least 14,776 participants. Fedozzi, Luciano, Observando o orçamento participativo de Porto Alegre: análise histórica de dados: perfil social e associativo, avaliação e expectativas (Porto Alegre: Tomo Editorial, 2007), p. 23.

8 Silva, Marcelo Kunrath, ‘Participation by Design: The Experience of Alvorada and Gravataí, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’, in Baiocchi, (ed.), Radicals in Power, pp. 113–30.

9 Benjamin Goldfrank, ‘Urban Experiments in Citizen Participation: Deepening Democracy in Latin America’, unpubl. PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2002.

10 Abers, Inventing Local Democracy.

11 Wampler, Brian, Participatory Budgeting in Brazil: Contestation, Cooperation and Accountability (University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2007).

12 Wampler, Participatory Budgeting in Brazil, p. 36.

13 Fedozzi, Luciano, Orçamento participativo: reflexões sobre a experiência de Porto Alegre (Porto Alegre: Tomo Editorial and Observatório de Políticas Urbanas e Gestão Municipal, 1997), pp. 108–9.

14 Wampler, Participatory Budgeting in Brazil, p. 50.

15 Ibid., p. 51.

16 Ibid., pp. 50–1. See also Nickson, Andrew, Local Government in Latin America (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1995), pp. 120–1; and Dias, Marcia Ribeiro, Sob o signo da vontade popular: o orçamento participativo e o dilema da câmara municipal de Porto Alegre (Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro: Editora UFMG and IUPERJ, 2002), pp. 4950.

17 Avritzer, Leonardo, ‘Living Under a Democracy: Participation and its Impact on the Living Conditions of the Poor’, Latin American Research Review, 45: Special Issue (2010), pp. 166–85.

18 The World Bank estimates that a ‘historical average of close to 50 per cent’ of the municipal allocation for ‘investments’ has been subject to PB decision-making. To illustrate what this means, from 1993 to 1995 under Mayor Tarso Genro, the municipal government's annual average total expenditure was approximately Reais$ 463 million, and of this, an annual average of 14.4 per cent or about R$ 67 million was allotted to investments. Using World Bank estimates of PB decision-making power, this suggests that the PB directly decided on some 7.2 per cent of total expenditures, or about R$ 33 million annually. Figures computed from data in Pozzobon, Regina Maria, Os desafios da gestão municipal democrática – Porto Alegre (São Paulo: Instituto Pólis and Centro Josué de Castro, 1998), p. 23. See also Bank, World, Brazil: Toward a More Inclusive and Effective Participatory Budget in Porto Alegre, vol. 1: Main Report (Report No. 40144-BR) (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2008), pp. 48, 56.

19 The city was divided into 16 PB regions in 1989 to reflect patterns of popular organisation and mobilisation, replacing the initial delineation of PB regions based on existing administrative divisions. See Baierle, ‘The Explosion of Experience’, pp. 128–9.

20 Unlike the proposed budget, the Investment Plan under all petista administrations was not presented to the City Council for approval, as the authority to draw up the budget and specify investments was, by law, lodged with the executive branch. The innovation introduced by the Workers' Party administrations was to submit the Investment Plan element to the PB process. As the PB expanded in the 1990s, opposition legislators began demanding to approve the Investment Plan as well; however, this was often rebuffed by petista administrations on legal and constitutional grounds, generating further hostility towards the PB among the opposition. See Fedozzi, Luciano, O poder da aldeia: gênese e história do orçamento participatívo de Porto Alegre (1st edition, Porto Alegre: Tomo Editorial, 2000), p. 130; and Dias, Sob o signo da vontade popular, pp. 171–2.

21 Harnecker, Marta, Delegando poder en la gente: el presupuesto participativo en Porto Alegre (Havana: Centro de Investigaciones Memoria Popular Latinoamericana, 1999).

22 Computed from data in CIDADE, ‘Execução orçamentária’, De Olho na Cidade (May 2011), p. 3.

23 Elizete Menegat, ‘“Coragem de mudar:” fios condutores da participação popular na gestao urbana em Porto Alegre’, unpubl. Master's thesis, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 1995, p. 143; Abers, Inventing Local Democracy, p. 77.

24 See Wampler, Participatory Budgeting in Brazil, for a somewhat similar argument concerning the mayorship.

25 See, for instance, Marquetti, Adalmir, ‘Orçamento participativo, redistribuição e finanças municipais: a experiência de Porto Alegre entre 1989 e 2004’, in Marquetti, Adalmir, de Campos, Geraldo Adriano and Pires, Roberto (eds.), Democracia participativa e redistribuição: análise de experiências de orçamento participativo (São Paulo: Xamã Editora, 2008), pp. 3154; ‘Participação e redistribuição: o orçamento participativo em Porto Alegre’, in Avritzer and Navarro (eds.), A inovação democratica no Brasil, pp. 129–56; and Democracia, eqüidade e eficiência: o caso do orçamento participativo em Porto Alegre’, in Verle, João and Brunet, Luciano (eds.), Construindo um novo mundo: avaliação da experiência do orçamento participativo em Porto Alegre-Brasil (Porto Alegre: Guayi, 2002), pp. 210–35.

26 Robson Becker Loeck, ‘Comportamento eleitoral em Porto Alegre nas eleições de 2004: o voto nas regiões do orçamento participativo’, unpubl. Master's thesis, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, 2008, p. 55.

27 José Fortunati, who was then vice-mayor, took over the mayorship when Fogaça decided to run for the governorship of Rio Grande do Sul halfway through his second term.

28 Baierle, Sérgio, ‘Porto Alegre neoliberal: a decapitação social-capitalista de líderes comunitários e os limites do novo gerencialismo público inclusivo’, Coleção Cadernos da Cidade, 12: 15 (2009), p. 37, my translation.

29 Interviews with various participatory budgeting activists, Porto Alegre, Jan.–March 2007.

30 Computed from data in CIDADE, ‘Execução orçamentária’, De Olho na Cidade (May 2011), p. 3.

31 CIDADE, ‘Execução orçamentária’, p. 3.

32 Dias, Sob o signo da vontade popular.

33 Goldfrank, ‘Making Participation Work in Porto Alegre’, in Baiocchi (ed.), Radicals in Power, p. 41.

34 Goldfrank, ‘Urban Experiments in Citizen Participation’ and ‘Making Participation Work in Porto Alegre’, pp. 27–52.

35 Dias, Sob o signo da vontade popular.

38 Quoted in Dias, Sob o signo da vontade popular, p. 119, my translation.

39 Dias, Sob o signo da vontade popular. See also Melo, Marcus André, ‘Democratizing Budgetary Decisions and Execution in Brazil: More Participation or Redesign of Formal Institutions?’, in Selee, Andrew and Peruzzotti, Enrique (eds.), Participatory Innovation and Representative Democracy in Latin America (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2009), pp. 1739.

40 Dias, Sob o signo da vontade popular.

41 Ibid., pp. 163, 230.

42 Nylen, ‘An Enduring Legacy?’, pp. 91–112. Petista administrations governed Betim in 1993–6 and João Monlevade in 1989–92.

44 See Fedozzi, Observando o orçamento participativo de Porto Alegre. See also CIDADE, Quem é o público do orçamento participativo 2000 (Porto Alegre: Prefeitura Municipal de Porto Alegre and CIDADE, 2002); and Desobrando o orçamento de Porto Alegre (Porto Alegre: CIDADE, 2000).

45 Interview with Carlos Todeschini, Workers' Party legislator, Porto Alegre City Council, Porto Alegre, 22 Jan. 2007.

46 This policy was implemented by Workers' Party administrations in the city from the early 1990s until its suspension in 2003.

47 Marquetti, ‘Orçamento participativo, redistribuição e finanças municipais’, pp. 31–54.

48 João Verle, who was then vice-mayor, took over as mayor of Porto Alegre in 2002 when Tarso Genro gave up the position to run for the governorship of Rio Grande do Sul.

49 Computed from data in CIDADE, ‘Execução orçamentária’, p. 3.

50 Baierle, Sérgio, ‘Governança ou “negociança?”’, in Com Fogaça, Porto Alegre mudou para pior! (Porto Alegre: Partido dos Trabalhadores de Porto Alegre, 2007), pp. 1920.

51 See ‘Porto Alegre Awaits Fed Approval for US$159mn WB, IDB Loans’, Business News Americas, 16 Oct. 2006, available at http://member.bnamericas.com/news/infrastructure/Porto_Alegre_awaits_fed_approval_for_US*159mn_WB,_IDB_loans; and World Bank, Brazil: Toward a More Inclusive and Effective Participatory Budget, p. 57.

52 In this article, all US dollar conversions for 2005 are based on the exchange rate of R$ 1 = US$ 0.425; those for 2006, on R$ 1 = US$ 0.468.

53 CIDADE, ‘Orçamento participativo: o que o governo Fogaça tem feito com os recursos do orçamento?’, De Olho no Orçamento (May 2007), p. 2.

54 Baierle, Sérgio, ‘Whittling Down the Potential of Participatory Budgeting?’, The Governance Link, 4 (July 2008), pp. 14.

55 CIDADE, ‘Participação é conquista: faça o OP valer’, De Olho no Orçamento (May 2007), p. 1.

56 CIDADE, ‘Orçamento participativo’, pp. 2–3.

57 Muzzel, Paulo, ‘Na prefeitura de Porto Alegre, 2011 ainda não começou’, De Olho na Cidade (May 2011), p. 1.

58 Conselheiros(as) e Delegados(as) do Orçamento Participativo, ‘Carta aberta à população – II’, 28 Oct. 2005, typescript, my translation.

60 Prefeitura Municipal de Porto Alegre (PMPA), ‘Governança Solidária Local documento-de-referência’, no date, typescript.

61 Cezar Busatto, ‘Todos pela Governança Solidária Local’, 16 Oct. 2005, p. 3, typescript, my translation.

62 CIDADE, ‘Como fica o Orçamento Participativo com a Governança Solidária Local (GSL)?’, Boletim CIDADE (April/May 2005), p. 1, my translation.

63 Interviews with various PB activists, Porto Alegre, Jan.–March 2007.

64 Conselheiros(as) e Delegados(as) do Orçamento Participativo, ‘Carta aberta à população – II’. In early 2006, an open letter circulated by PB councillors of the Eixo Baltazar region also claimed that they had not been invited by municipal officials to these meetings. See Laura Elisa Machado and Silvio Alexandre, ‘Atenção: estão acabando com o OP na Região Eixo Baltazar’, typescript, 24 Jan. 2006.

65 Interview with Daniela Tolfo, CIDADE staff member, Porto Alegre, 29 Jan. 2007.

66 Interviews with various participatory budgeting activists, Porto Alegre, Jan.–March 2007.

67 PMPA, ‘Governança local é debatida com conselheiros do OP’, typescript, 20 Feb. 2005. Government officials in charge of the GSL programme also repeatedly emphasised this point in various interviews conducted in March 2007.

68 Computed using the 2007 exchange rate of R$ 1 = US$ 0.515 from data in PMPA, ‘Orçamento 2007’ (Porto Alegre: Gabinete de Programação Orçamentária, PMPA, 2006), available at http://lproweb.procempa.com.br/pmpa/prefpoa/gpo/usu_doc/orcamento_2007.pdf.

69 Centro de Assessoria Multiprofissional, ‘Orçamento participativo perde espaço na Prefeitura de Porto Alegre’, Jornal Vento Sul (March 2007), pp. 1415.

70 Baierle, ‘Porto Alegre neoliberal’, p. 37.

71 Ibid., pp. 27, 33, 37.

72 Baierle, ‘Porto Alegre neoliberal’.

73 Baierle, Sérgio, ‘Urban Struggles in Porto Alegre: Between Political Revolution and Transformism’, Cadernos da Cidade (2004/5), pp. 146.

74 Baierle, ‘Urban Struggles in Porto Alegre’ and ‘Porto Alegre neoliberal’.

75 Baierle, ‘Urban Struggles in Porto Alegre’, p. 39. For studies that explore similar debates in Brazil and elsewhere, see Dagnino, Evelina, ‘Citizenship in Latin America: An Introduction’, Latin American Perspectives, 30: 2 (March 2003), pp. 317; Dagnino, Evelina, Olvera, Alberto and Panfilchi, Adolfo (eds.), A disputa pela construção democrática na América Latina (São Paulo: Editora Paz e Terra, 2006); and Paley, Julia, Marketing Democracy: Power and Social Movements in Post-Dictatorship Chile (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001).

76 Interviews with various participatory budgeting activists, Porto Alegre, April–May 2013.

77 Fernanda Bastos, ‘Demandas atrasadas chegam a 858 na Capital’, Jornal do Comércio, 14 Sep. 2010, available at http://jcrs.uol.com.br/site/noticia.php?codn=40092.

78 Paulo Muzzell, ‘Prefeitura: Fortunati fecha 2012 no vermelho’, Sul 21, 5 April 2013, available at www.sul21.com.br/jornal/2013/04/prefeitura-fortunati-fecha-2012-no-vermelho/.

79 The coalition that supported Fortunati's campaign for the mayorship is composed of nine parties, mainly on the centre-right, including the Partido Democrático Trabalhista (Democratic Labour Party, PDT), Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement, PMDB) and Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro (Brazilian Labour Party, PTB).

80 Conselheiros(as) e Delegados(as) do Orçamento Participativo, ‘Carta aberta à população,’ 21 July 2005 and 28 Oct. 2005, typescript; and ‘Chegou o momento de o povo dizer um basta ao desmonte do controle social de Porto Alegre,’ no date, typescript, my translation.

81 Baierle, ‘Shoot the Citizen’, pp. 120–40.

82 In October 2007, for instance, Porto Alegre-based NGOs organised an international conference on ‘The Future of Participatory Democracy: Technical Fix or Popular Sovereignty?’ to discuss the problems faced by participatory budgeting and other similar reforms. This has led to the formation of an international civil society network on these issues. CIDADE is a local NGO that serves as a contact organisation for this network.

83 Melo, ‘Democratizing Budgetary Decisions’, p. 29.

84 Brian Wampler, ‘Private Executives, Legislative Brokers and Participatory Publics: Building Democracy in Brazil’, unpubl. PhD diss, University of Texas at Austin, 2000, p. 255 n. 275.

85 Wampler, Participatory Budgeting in Brazil, p. 35.

86 Ibid., p. 36.

87 Nylen, ‘An Enduring Legacy?’, p. 92.

88 Wampler, Participatory Budgeting in Brazil, p. 51.

89 See, for instance, Chavez, Daniel, ‘Sub-Municipal Decentralisation at the Crossroads: The Transition from Participatory Budgeting to Local Solidary Governance in Porto Alegre, Brazil,’ in Beard, Victoria, Silver, Chris and Miraftab, Faranak (eds.), Decentralization and the Planning Process (London: Routledge, 2007); and Baierle, ‘Shoot the Citizen’, pp. 120–40.

90 Márcio Luiz, ‘Após derrota histórica em Porto Alegre, PT projeta mudanças’, G1, Rio Grande do Sul, Eleições 2012, 8 Oct. 2012, available at http://g1.globo.com/rs/rio-grande-do-sul/eleicoes/2012/noticia/2012/10/apos-derrota-historica-em-porto-alegre-pt-projeta-mudancas.html.

91 de Araújo Passos, Manoel Caetano and Noll, Maria Izabel, Cadernos de ciência política: eleições municipais em Porto Alegre (1947–1992) (Porto Alegre: Núcleo de Pesquisa e Documentação da Política Rio-Grandense e Política Comparada no Cone Sul da América Latina, 1996).

92 Dias, Sob o signo da vontade popular, p. 156.

93 Luiz, ‘Após derrota histórica’.

94 See, for instance, PT, Porto Alegre, Diretório Municipal, Bancada de Vereadores, ‘Prefeitura distorce processo do Orçamento Participativo’, 14 May 2009, available at http://ptpoa.com.br/txt.php?id_txt=1345; ‘Adeli questiona ausência de Fogaça nas reuniões do orçamento participativo’, 11 May 2007, available at http://ptpoa.com.br/txt.php?id_txt=435; ‘Orçamento participativo agoniza em Porto Alegre’, 6 April 2009, available at http://ptpoa.com.br/txt.php?id_txt=1282; and ‘Lideranças pedem mais transparência e interatividade no Orçamento Participativo’, 14 May 2010, available at http://ptpoa.com.br/txt.php?id_txt=1613.

95 Interviews with various participatory budgeting activists, Porto Alegre, April–May 2013.

96 See Goldfrank, ‘Urban Experiments in Citizen Participation’.

97 See Wampler, Participatory Budgeting in Brazil.

98 See Abers, Inventing Local Democracy; and Fedozzi, O poder da aldeia.

99 See Avritzer, Leonardo, Participatory Institutions in Democratic Brazil (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2009); and Grindle, Merilee, Going Local: Decentralization, Democratization and the Promise of Good Governance (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007). For studies that engage with issues of institutional design but address other questions, such as its impact on the quality of participation, see Chavez, Daniel, ‘Montevideo: From Popular Participation to Good Governance’, in Chavez, Daniel and Goldfrank, Benjamin (eds.), The Left in the City: Participatory Governments in Latin America (London: Latin America Bureau, 2004), pp. 67101; Goldfrank, ‘Urban Experiments in Citizen Participation’; and Baiocchi et al., Bootstrapping Democracy.

100 Avritzer, Participatory Institutions in Democratic Brazil, p. 71.

101 Ibid., p. 132.

102 See, for instance, Fedozzi, Observando o orçamento participativo de Porto Alegre.

103 Marquetti, ‘Orçamento participativo, redistribuição e finanças municipais’, pp. 50–2.

104 Nylen, ‘An Enduring Legacy?’, p. 91.

105 Chavez, Daniel, ‘The Watering Down of Participatory Budgeting and People Power in Brazil’, Participatory Learning and Action, 58 (June 2008), p. 59, available at http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G02859.pdf.

106 Baierle, ‘Shoot the Citizen’, pp. 133–4.

107 Nylen, ‘An Enduring Legacy?’. See also See Baiocchi et al., Bootstrapping Democracy, pp. 90–3, for the subsequent reintroduction of the PB in João Monlevade with the return to power of the Workers' Party in 1996.

* For helpful comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this paper, I am especially grateful to Gay Seidman and Patrick Heller. I also thank Vera Amaro, Sérgio Baierle, Luciano Brunet, Carlota Cortez, Mara Loveman, Jorge Maciel, Adalmir Marquetti, Rafael Martins, Teresita Melgar, Jane Pilar, Marcelo Silva, Carlos Todeschini, Daniela Tolfo, Márcia Tolfo, participatory budgeting activists in Porto Alegre, and the anonymous reviewers of the JLAS for their insights and for making the research for this paper possible. For enabling me to present early versions of this paper to conferences, I gratefully acknowledge support from the University of the Philippines, the Philippine Social Science Center and the Philippine Sociological Society.

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