Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

Ruling By Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements


Hugo Chávez and his Bolivarian Movement came to power in 1999 promising to refound the Venezuelan state and restructure the polity in ways that would build “popular power” through the promotion of grassroots participation, organization, and mobilization. Once in office, the Bolivarian forces launched a series of initiatives to sponsor organization and mobilization among supporters, which ranged widely in their functions and strategic purpose. State-mobilized organizations can be seen as operating in three different arenas of politics: the local governance arena; the electoral arena; and the protest arena. From an ideological standpoint, the Bolivarian Movement was oriented toward sponsoring organizations that could operate in the first of these arenas, helping realize Chávez’s vision of constructing a “protagonistic democracy” by establishing vehicles for citizen participation in local governance. In the terminology of this volume, these activities are best seen as a form of “infrastructural mobilization,” working to solidify political support and achieve the government’s longer-term aims.

Published By

Cambridge University Press


G. Ekiert, E. J. Perry, and X. Yan


This material has been published in Ruling By Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements, edited by Grzegorz Ekiert, Elizabeth J. Perry, and Xiaojun Yan. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press, 2020.