Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 January 2021
The growth of economic informality, the transformation of left party-union linkages, and the rise of political decentralization in Latin America have all empowered local “brokers" who are linked to national political parties but also substantially autonomous and often opportunistic. The leaders of left parties in the region – even parties that are externally mobilized or that advance programmatic platforms promoting greater inclusion of popular sectors – have often needed to negotiate with such actors to secure power and implement policies. In this chapter, we consider the resources that intermediaries offer to parties but also the challenges that broker-mediated incorporation poses for left parties. We then use new evidence from Brazil – n particular, from the experience of the externally mobilized, programmatic Workers’ Party (PT) – to show the necessity but also the fragility of alliances with such actors. We assess possible implications of the reliance on brokers for the sustainability of the “inclusionary turn" in Latin America.