Progressive regimes find themselves in a serious crisis. Those who are not satisfied with denouncing the predictable machinations of "imperialism" should seek the internal reasons for the failure of the proclaimed "socialism of the 21st century". Why have such regimes, which owe their emergence and early successes mainly to the mobilization of the masses, been unable to maintain the active support of the majority of the population? The answer is sought here by resorting to the record of the Latin American left. The purpose is to demonstrate how Lenin's organizational concept has reached Latin America, beginning with the interventions of the Communist International. We examine whether and how this legacy has influenced the protagonists of "progressivism" as well. The reflection in the main part is based on the central position of Hugo Chávez and his ambivalent relationship with the historical heritage of the left.
Klaus Mechkat is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at the University of Hanover (1975-2000). He received his Doctorate from the Free University of Berlin and has been a guest professor at the universities of New York, Medellín, Concepción and Cali.
A German version of the book has been published by VSA Verlag Hamburg.