6757 - The formation of a neoliberal civil society in Latin America: The case of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation Network

Time again progressive movements have been toppled in Latin America after WW II until the 1980s. Many reactionary insurgencies were aided by foreign interventions, mainly supported, orchestrated or led by the United States. Toward the end of the Cold War, however, democracy became a crucial element in the fight against the socialist second world. Remaining authoritarian dictatorships were dismantled across Latin America, and elected left wing governments like President Lula’s PT in Brazil were no longer perceived as a fundamental threat to capitalism and liberal democracy. In fact, staff of the neoliberal international umbrella think tank Atlas Economic Research Foundation pointed to the strength of neoliberal civil society organizations across Latin America when confronted with calls for external intervention to prevent the rise of PT in Brazil and other progressive political forces across the sub-continent. Local neoliberal forces were suggested to be strong enough indeed to cope with the threat of left wing governments, and were regarded more effective than the previous turn to authoritarianism and repression.

The paper will follow up on the presentation of neoliberal networks of think tanks and intellectuals in Latin America in order to better comprehend and assess the scale, scope and depth of neoliberal civil society formation processes. The primary empirical material will be the Latin American think tanks registered on the website of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation (currently 112 think tanks), not least because the spread of neoliberal think tanks has so far not been sufficiently appreciated in the survey literature. Of special interest are the strategies and tactics of the Atlas network against left wing governments in Latin America, in particular against Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.

Palabras claves: transnational advocacy networks, neoliberalism

Autores: Fischer, Karin (Institut für Soziologie, Abt. PEF, Austria / Österreich)


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