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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 March 2018
Why do new parties split? Scholars of new party schisms shy away from leadership-centred explanations for fear of excessive voluntarism and thus fail to conceptualise differences between leaders systematically. This article challenges that trend, arguing that externally appealing, internally dominant leaders generate cohesion in new parties. It analyses why some externally appealing leaders are internally dominant, while others are not, and argues that this variation can make the difference between schism and survival. The article supports its argument through a representative case study: the fatal (and consequential) schism of Peru's United Left coalition in the late 1980s.
¿Por qué se dividen los partidos nuevos? Los estudiosos de las rupturas de nuevos partidos se alejan de explicaciones centradas en liderazgos por miedo a caer en un voluntarismo excesivo y por ende fracasan sistemáticamente en conceptualizar las diferencias entre líderes. Este artículo desafía tal tendencia, argumentando que líderes con popularidad externa y dominio interno son capaces de generar cohesión en los nuevos partidos. Analiza por qué algunos líderes populares al exterior son internamente dominantes, mientras que otros no lo son, y defiende que tal variación puede marcar la diferencia entre la ruptura y la supervivencia. El argumento se apoya en un caso de estudio representativo: la fatal (y significativa) división de la coalición Izquierda Unida de Perú a fines de los años 1980.
Por que partidos novos se separam? Acadêmicos que estudam as cisões dos novos partidos se afastam de explicações centradas em lideranças por receio de um voluntarismo excessivo, logo falhando sistematicamente em conceituar as diferenças entre líderes. Esse artigo contesta essa tendência, e argumenta que líderes que têm apelo externo e dominância interna geram coesão em partidos novos. Também analisa o porquê de alguns líderes com apelo externo serem dominantes internamente enquanto outros não, e argumenta que essa variação pode fazer diferença entre cisão e sobrevivência. Este artigo corrobora seu argumento através de um estudo de caso representativo: a fatal (e significativa) cisão da coligação da Esquerda Unida do Peru, no final dos anos 80.
The author would like to acknowledge Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, whose generous research grant made the fieldwork for this article possible.
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3 Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’.
4 For a list of successful new parties in Latin America, see ibid.
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7 Many patronage-based new parties in Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama and elsewhere suffered debilitating schisms during the third wave. See, for example, Mainwaring, Scott, Rethinking Party Systems in the Third Wave of Democratization: The Case of Brazil (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999)Google Scholar.
8 Levitsky and Way, ‘Beyond Patronage’.
11 LeBas, From Protest to Parties. Levitsky and Way, ‘Beyond Patronage’. Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’.
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13 Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’.
15 During a five-week trip to Lima, Peru, I conducted interviews with 14 IU members and one scholar who was not an IU member but has researched IU in depth (Martín Tanaka). In this article, I cite interviews with seven of those individuals: six IU members (Javier Diez Canseco, Henry Pease, Aldo Panfichi, Santiago Pedraglio, Mario Munive, Antonio Zapata) and the aforementioned Martín Tanaka.
16 I found the archives of the left-leaning La República particularly useful. See below.
17 Here, I refer especially to Herrera, Guillermo, Izquierda Unida y el Partido Comunista (Lima: Termil, 2002)Google Scholar. Herrera, Izquierda Unida is a factual and painstakingly detailed account of IU's genesis, development and fatal split. Many of the highest-quality sources on IU were written before the publication of Herrera, Izquierda Unida, including Cameron, Maxwell, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru: Political Coalitions and Social Change (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994)Google Scholar; Roberts, Kenneth, Deepening Democracy? The Modern Left and Social Movements in Chile and Peru (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998)Google Scholar; Tanaka, Martín, Los espejismos de la democracia. El colapso del sistema de partidos en el Perú (Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 1998)Google Scholar. However, see Adrianzén, Alberto (ed.), Apogeo y crisis de la izquierda peruana: hablan sus protagonistas (Stockholm: Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, 2011)Google Scholar.
18 In my interview with moderate, independent IU leader Henry Pease, he noted that 150,000 IU membership cards were distributed in the late 1980s. Moderate, independent IU cadre, Aldo Panfichi, and IU scholar, Martín Tanaka, provided valuable details concerning the sources of Barrantes's appeal to ordinary voters. Radical IU cadre and PUM member, Mario Munive, informed me of PUM's rapid expansion in 1985 and 1986. (See case study section ‘The Argument at Work’ below.)
19 The aforementioned Panfichi observed, based on personal experience, that IU members did not regard Barrantes as their true ‘leader’ (see case study section below).
20 Both Left editorialist Fernando Tuesta, in a La República editorial, and radical IU elite and member of Unión de Izquierda Revolucionaria (Union of the Revolutionary Left, UNIR), Horacio Zevallos, in a quotation cited in Herrera, Izquierda Unida, indicated that Barrantes's unspectacular record prior to joining IU made him a questionable choice as coalition leader (see case study section below). These pieces of evidence support my argument that, in the case of IU, Barrantes's background significantly affected his position of power within IU.
21 The aforementioned Henry Pease, radical IU leader Javier Diez Canseco, IU leader Santiago Pedraglio, and IU scholar Martín Tanaka all opined, in conversation with me, that differences in the leadership characteristics of Lula and Barrantes played a significant role in the parties’ divergent outcomes (see case study section below).
22 Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’.
24 Noam Lupu, ‘Building Party Brands in Argentina and Brazil’, in Levitsky et al. (eds.), Challenges of Party-Building, pp. 76–99; Party Brands in Crisis: Partisanship, Brand Dilution, and the Breakdown of Political Parties in Latin America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016)Google Scholar.
25 Mustillo, ‘Modeling New Party Performance’. Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’.
26 Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’.
28 Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’.
29 This article does not assume that leaders are always male, but there are several passages in the coming pages that require the use of gender pronouns, and instead of using ‘he or she’, ‘his or her’, and ‘him or her’ repeatedly, I use masculine gender pronouns for purposes of readability and uniformity. The article could have used feminine pronouns, but this might have confused readers, given that all the leaders cited in the article are male.
32 Weber, Max, Politics as a Vocation (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1965)Google Scholar. Panebianco, Political Parties.
34 Some party brokers establish cross-factional ties without moral authority or ideological appeal – e.g., Helmut Kohl (Ansell and Fish, ‘The Art of Being Indispensable’), Carlos Menem (Levitsky, Transforming Labor-Based Parties). Some have moral authority but lack, or come to lack, cross-factional ties (e.g., Cárdenas after retiring from active involvement in the PRD) or ideological/programmatic representativeness (e.g., Lula in the mid-1990s, when radicals controlled the PT). And, of course, a party member may align ideologically with most active rank-and-file members but, not occupying a leadership position, lack moral authority and cross-factional ties. On Lula in the PT, see Hunter, Wendy, The Transformation of the Workers’ Party in Brazil, 1989–2009 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
35 Ideological representativeness (and consistency) can contribute to a leader's moral authority (e.g., Cárdenas vis-à-vis the PRD base). Both ideological representativeness and moral authority make it easier for a leader to forge cross-factional links (e.g., Lula, Cárdenas).
36 E.g., the primary system in the major US parties.
37 Nogueira-Budny, Daniel, ‘Great Promise, but Poor Performance: Understanding the Collapse of Venezuela's Causa Radical’, Journal of Politics in Latin America, 6: 1 (2014), pp. 109–36Google Scholar.
38 González, Victor Hugo Martínez, Fisiones y fusiones, divorcios y reconciliaciones: La dirigencia del Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) 1989–2004 (Mexico City: Plaza y Valdés, 2005)Google Scholar.
39 Panebianco, Political Parties.
40 Hunter, Transformation of the Workers’ Party.
42 FREPASO's leader, Carlos ‘Chacho’ Álvarez, was electorally indispensable and internally dominant, but FREPASO collapsed in the early 2000s after Álvarez's exit. See, for example, Medina, Juan Abal, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Argentine Center-Left: The Crisis of Frente Grande’, Party Politics, 15: 3 (2009), pp. 357–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
43 The 10 per cent minimum serves to exclude niche or regional parties, which may persist but do not seriously contend for national power. The four-election minimum serves to exclude flash parties, which rise to national prominence but quickly collapse (e.g., IU, Argentina's FREPASO).
44 AP boycotted the election.
46 IU parties had ties to a range of popular and middle-sector organisations, both class-based (e.g., peasant, labour and teachers’ unions) and territorially based (e.g., shanty-town associations). Some of these ties dated back many decades (e.g., the Partido Comunista Peruano's [Peruvian Communist Party, PCP] ties to the Confederación General de Trabajadores Peruanos [General Confederation of Peruvian Workers, CGTP].
47 Interview with Aldo Panfichi, a moderate, independent IU cadre, 27 Dec. 2010.
48 Interview with Martín Tanaka, IU scholar, 13 Jan. 2011.
49 Herrera, Izquierda Unida. Tanaka, Los espejismos. Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru. Roberts, Deepening Democracy? Interviews with Panfichi and Tanaka.
50 Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, pp. 254, 324. See also Herrera, Izquierda Unida, p. 359.
51 Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, p. 80.
52 Herrera, Izquierda Unida, pp. 379–80, 444, 459). Osmar Gonzales, ‘La izquierda peruana: Una estructura ausente’, in Adrianzén (ed.), Apogeo y crisis, p. 40.
53 Herrera, Izquierda Unida, p. 345.
54 Ibid., p. 379. See also Tanaka, Los espejismos, p. 137. This paragraph shows that Barrantes meets the operational criteria for high external appeal (i.e., most factional leaders considered him IU's most electable member).
55 Tanaka, Los espejismos, p. 139.
56 El Salvador's FMLN, Uruguay's Frente Amplio (Broad Front, FA), Brazil's PT, Mexico's PRD.
57 Among IU's constituent parties, only the tiny Partido Socialista Revolucionario (Revolutionary Socialist Party, PSR) was not Marxist-Leninist. Also, independent Left Christians such as Henry Pease and Rolando Ames did not identify as Marxist-Leninist.
58 Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, pp. 224, 230.
60 Herrera, Izquierda Unida, p. 441.
61 Tanaka, Los espejismos, p. 136.
62 Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, pp. 80, 93. Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, pp. 253–4. Herrera, Izquierda Unida, pp. 504, 456–7, 462–3. Gonzales, ‘La izquierda peruana’, p. 39.
63 Radicals reserved a special animosity for APRA given APRA's ideological shiftiness and opportunism in previous decades, and therefore advocated ‘frontal opposition to [Alán García's] APRA government’ (Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, p. 250).
64 Radicals in IU opposed the Shining Path but also held the Peruvian state responsible for engaging in a brutal ‘dirty war’. They accused both organisations of intentional, unconscionable brutality and criticised IU moderates for referring to military human rights violations as mere ‘excesses’ (Herrera, Izquierda Unida, p. 308). Radicals preferred to struggle against the Shining Path on their own, without collaborating with the armed forces. For more, see Tamara Feinstein, ‘How the Left Was Lost: Remembering Izquierda Unida and the Legacies of Political Violence in Peru’, unpubl. Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013. Feinstein details the difficulty, for IU radicals, of simultaneously opposing – and, at times, simultaneously confronting – both the Shining Path and the Peruvian state.
65 See ibid., where Feinstein argues that, amid the escalating political violence of the Shining Path in the late 1980s, differences within IU concerning the permissibility of armed struggle led to the coalition's rupture.
66 Herrera, Izquierda Unida, p. 379.
67 Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, pp. 252–3.
68 Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, p. 80.
69 In late June 1989, Jorge Hurtado Pozo (a.k.a. ‘Ludovico’), one of the leading figures in UNIR, stated that ‘elections should not be the priority; it is necessary to mobilize the struggle of the workers’ (La República, 29 June 1989, cited in Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, p. 93). See also Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, pp. 253–4.
70 Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, p. 80. Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, pp. 252–3.
71 Barrantes briefly joined the Soviet-aligned PCP but exited amid rising Sino-Soviet tensions. Barrantes also briefly joined the Unión Democrática Popular (Popular Democratic Union, UDP) coalition to run on the 1980 presidential slate of the larger coalition, the Alianza Revolucionaria de Izquierda (Revolutionary Left Alliance, ARI); he did not, however, belong to or affiliate with any of the UDP's constituent parties (i.e., Vanguardia Revolucionaria [Revolutionary Vanguard, VR], Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria [Movement of the Revolutionary Left, MIR]). The ARI coalition ultimately selected Hugo Blanco as its candidate. During this time, Barrantes did maintain a fairly close, though informal, relationship with Patria Roja (Red Fatherland, PR), the core constituent party of UNIR.
72 Barrantes was one of relatively few figures on the Peruvian Left who had participated in both the traditional Marxist Left (through his brief affiliation with the PCP) and the new Left forces that proliferated in Peru in the 1960s and 1970s (through his brief affiliation with the UDP). One of the PCP's top leaders during the 1980s, Guillermo Herrera, thus described Barrantes as a hinge between the old and new Lefts in Peru. IU members and analysts commonly used terms such as ‘balancing factor’, ‘balancing leader’ and ‘transactional element’ to refer to Barrantes. Political analyst Fernando Tuesta, in a 1987 editorial, described Barrantes as a ‘sum of opposites, equal to zero’ (Fernando Tuesta, ‘¿Era Barrantes imprescindible?’, editorial in La República, 3 June 1987).
73 Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, p. 248.
74 Barrantes was a vice-presidential candidate on the ARI ticket in 1980.
75 Marcial Rubio, paraphrased in Tuesta, ‘¿Era Barrantes imprescindible?’ This paragraph makes clear that Barrantes did not meet the operational criteria for high or medium moral authority (i.e., he did not enter IU with an extraordinary source of mystique, credibility or respect, nor had he been a consistently active Left cadre or leader).
76 Quoted in Herrera, Izquierda Unida, p. 119. Original source not provided.
77 Tuesta, ‘¿Era Barrantes imprescindible?’
78 Gonzales, ‘La izquierda peruana’, p. 39.
79 Interview with Panfichi.
80 Interview with Mario Munive, radical cadre, PUM member, 22 Dec. 2010.
81 Gonzales, ‘La izquierda peruana’, p. 39. Herrera, Izquierda Unida, pp. 456–7, 462–3.
82 Herrera, Izquierda Unida, p. 360.
83 Ibid., p. 460–2, 475. The previous two paragraphs show that Barrantes did not meet the operational criteria for high ideological/programmatic representativeness (i.e., most of IU's active members did not generally support Barrantes's ideological/programmatic positions).
84 Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, p. 248.
85 Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, Chapter 5. Herrera, Izquierda Unida, passim.
86 Herrera, Izquierda Unida, p. 370.
87 Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, pp. 324–5 note 60.
88 See Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, Chapter 5. Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, Chapter 8. Herrera, Izquierda Unida, passim. Gonzales, ‘La izquierda peruana’, p. 39.
89 Neutral bloc leaders opposed divisions within IU for several reasons: they did not want to annul the decade-long effort to institutionalise a united Left party; they believed that a future IU government would need the support of the radical parties and their social movement partners; and they worried that the radical parties, if separated from IU, would be less capable of steering Left youth away from the Shining Path. See Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, Chapter 5. Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, pp. 250, 324 note 59.
90 In Jan. 1989, IU held its first and only national congress, and, in the lead-up to the congress, 130,000–150,000 IU membership cards were distributed.
91 The last two paragraphs demonstrate that Barrantes did not meet the operational criteria for strong cross-factional ties (i.e., he did not meet with, or consistently support the inclusion of, a large majority of IU factions).
92 Herrera, Izquierda Unida, p. 484. Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, p. 79. For a comprehensive historical analysis of the IU's polarised first congress – and, in particular, of the dispute between moderates and radicals regarding whether to reject armed struggle categorically – see Feinstein, ‘How the Left Was Lost’.
93 Roberts, Deepening Democracy? Interview with Antonio Zapata, Jr., radical cadre and intellectual and PUM member, 13 Jan. 2011.
94 I wish to thank several anonymous referees for urging me to grapple more thoroughly and explicitly with the objections raised in this paragraph.
95 To be sure, there is a difference between a coalition composed of parties and a party composed of factions. Yet, as noted earlier, the neutral bloc did seek to make IU a party – and almost succeeded. Had Barrantes not defected in 1989, IU might well have become a party. Why Barrantes defected before IU could become a party is, in a sense, the question of my case study.
96 Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’.
97 Roberts, Deepening Democracy?, p. 9.
98 Tanaka, Los espejismos, p. 135. The higher estimate (150,000) comes from the author's interview with Henry Pease, moderate, independent IU leader, 21 Dec. 2010.
99 E.g., Argentina's FREPASO, Ecuador's Izquierda Democrática (Democratic Left) and Movimiento de Unidad Plurinacional Pachakutik – Nuevo País (Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement – New Country), Bolivia's MIR. See Lupu, Party Brands in Crisis; Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’; Kenneth Roberts, ‘Historical Timing, Political Cleavages, and Party-Building in Latin America’, in Levitsky et al. (eds.), Challenges of Party-Building, pp. 51–75.
100 Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’. Roberts, ‘Historical Timing’.
101 Taylor, ‘One Step Forward’, p. 113. Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, p. 93. Tanaka, Los espejismos, p. 135.
102 Cameron, Democracy and Authoritarianism in Peru, p. 78). See also Taylor, ‘One Step Forward’.
103 The 1990 presidential election results are consistent with the view that Barrantes had unrivalled external appeal within the IU, and that his coat-tails decisively contributed to the coalition's national rise. A large segment of voters fled to non-Left tickets, especially that of Alberto Fujimori. The IU retained the parties’ organised constituencies and the IU brand. Barrantes retained the hard-core personalistic vote. The fact that the former (the IU parties’ organised constituencies plus the IU brand) defeated the latter (Barrantes’ personal brand) is notable but does not suggest that Barrantes’ coat-tails were unnecessary for the IU's national rise. Barrantes may have needed the IU, but the IU evidently needed Barrantes as well.
105 Borjas, Adriana, Partido de la Revolución Democrática: Estructura, organización interna y desempeño público, 1989–2003 (Mexico City: Ediciones Guernika, 2003), pp. 507–8Google Scholar. Tania Rodríguez, ‘Estrategias políticas, desafíos organizacionales y campañas presidenciales en democracias emergentes: Los casos del Partido dos Trabalhadores y del Partido de la Revolución Democrática’ (unpubl. PhD diss., Colegio de México, 2010), p. 257.
106 Following his near victory in the 1989 Brazilian presidential election, Lula unexpectedly lost the 1994 presidential election in a landslide. After near victory in Mexico's 1988 presidential election, Cárdenas finished a distant third in Mexico's 1994 presidential election.
107 Seawright and Gerring, ‘Case Selection Techniques’.
108 Perhaps most tellingly, in 1993, at the peak of internal moderate/radical tensions, and just months after the PT's ‘extreme Left’ factions had won the internal election for the National Directory and National Executive Council, Lula's ‘candidacy as party president met with overwhelming internal consensus’ (Hunter, Transformation of the Workers’ Party, pp. 121, 122). Shortly afterward, the party, still under radical control, unanimously nominated Lula as its 1994 presidential candidate.
109 Borjas, Partido de la Revolución Democrática, p. 293.
110 Rodríguez, ‘Estrategias políticas’, pp. 254, 263. Martínez, Fisiones y fusiones, p. 99. Prud'homme, Jean François, El PRD: Su vida interna y sus elecciones estratégicas. Documento de trabajo, no. 39 (Mexico City: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas [CIDE], 1996), p. 12Google Scholar note 30. Prud'homme, Jean François, ‘El Partido de la Revolución Democrática: Las ambivalencias de su proceso de institucionalización’, Foro Internacional, 171 (2003), p. 118Google Scholar.
111 Borjas, Partido de la Revolución Democrática, p. 303. Greene, Why Dominant Parties Lose.
112 Borjas, Partido de la Revolución Democrática, p. 299.
113 Martínez, Fusiones y fisiones, p. 101. On the PRD's weak institutionalisation, see also Borjas, Partido de la Revolución Democrática, pp. 445–60; Prud'homme, ‘El Partido de la Revolución Democrática’, 104, 118; Bruhn, Kathleen, Taking on Goliath: The Emergence of a New Left Party and the Struggle for Democracy in Mexico (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997), p. 190Google Scholar; Mossige, Dag, Mexico's Left: The Paradox of the PRD (Boulder, CO: First Forum Press, 2013)Google Scholar.
114 Bruhn, Taking on Goliath, p. 190. Borjas, Partido de la Revolución Democrática, p. 451.
115 Hunter, Transformation of the Workers’ Party, pp. 3, 36, 122.
116 Keck, Margaret, The Workers’ Party and Democratization in Brazil (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 81Google Scholar. Ribeiro, Pedro, Dos sindicatos ao governo: A organização nacional do PT de 1980 a 2005 (São Carlos, São Paulo: Editora da Universidade Federal de São Carlos, 2010), p. 251Google Scholar.
117 Rodríguez, ‘Estrategias políticas’, p. 208.
118 See Keck, The Workers’ Party, passim; Hunter, Transformation of the Workers’ Party, passim; Ribeiro, Dos sindicatos ao governo, passim; Secco, Lincoln, História do PT (1978–2010) (São Paulo: Ateliê Editorial, 2011)Google Scholar, passim.
119 Hunter, Transformation of the Workers’ Party.
120 For example, whereas Cárdenas unilaterally vetoed early calls for a unanimity requirement in the PRD's national executive committee, Barrantes tried and failed to do the same in the early 1980s.
121 These interviews took place on 13, 6, and 10 Jan. 2011, respectively. In addition, in the already cited interview with the author, Tanaka, when prompted, argued that the differences between Barrantes and Lula were analytically significant.
122 Levitsky et al., ‘Introduction: Challenges of Party-Building’.
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