LeaderLuiz Inácio Lula da Silva
FounderLuiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Founded2003; 19 years ago (2003)
MembershipWorkers' Party
IdeologySocialism of the 21st century
Social democracy[1][2]
Social liberalism[3]
Liberal socialism[4]
Democratic socialism[5]
Left-wing populism
Historical (first phase):[9]
Third Way[10][11][12]
Political positionCentre-left[A][13][14]

^ A: The Workers' Party is a left-wing party, but Lula himself is a moderate within the party and is considered close to 'centre' in the Brazilian political spectrum.[15]
Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei talking with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Lulism (Brazilian Portuguese: Lulismo) is a political ideology describing the 2006 consolidation of segments of Brazilian society previously hostile to social movements and the Workers' Party behind political forces led by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.[16] The controlled reformism and limited structural change focused on the poorest sections of society.[17] The lower classes, who had distanced themselves from Lula, accepted his candidacy after his first term as President as the middle class turned from him. The rhetoric and praxis which united the maintenance of stability and state distributism are the origins of Lulism.[16] While advocating socialism, Lulism aims for a 'social liberal' approach that gradually resolves the gap between the rich and the poor in a market-oriented way.[3][18]

Brazilian manufacturers, banks and retailers benefited from the consumption-led and credit-fueled government economic model.[19] According to André Singer, who coined the term: "The convergence of interests of the private industry sector on one side, and of the organized labor force on the other, led to the stability that allowed this political system to take the form of a sort of consensus".[20] This equilibrium allowed the government to gradually make significant changes in policy. In the Lulism movement, non-confrontation is a sine qua non for development. It is part of the Latin American leftist wave known as Socialism of the 21st century.[21]


The word Lulism was coined by André Singer, a political scientist and Lula's press secretary from 2003 to 2005 and spokesperson during his presidency from 2002 to 2007.[17][22][23][24] Originating in the 2002 presidential campaign, Lulism departed from the left-wing politics of the Workers Party until late 2001[16] and abandoned the concepts of organization and mobilization. Since Lulism is a model of enforced change within order, mobilization is unnecessary and conflict is eliminated.[23]

A 2009 article written for the Instituto Millenium said that "liberals are cornered" after "more than six years of Lulism". Patrícia Carlos de Andrade adopted that view: "According to her, the term 'liberal' is mistranslated in Brazil as 'rightist' or 'supportive of military dictatorships'. In the war for public opinion, the so-called left always got the better, Singer says".[25]

Lulism sought reconciliation between Lula and the large Brazilian conservative sector.[23][26] Ironically,[27] it is a conservative social pact combining the economic policy of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995–2002) with the distributive policies of Lula's government (2002–2010).[22]

Under the auspices of conciliation,[28] Lulism represents an "appeasement of social conflicts, of which the bourgeoisie has always [been] too afraid, especially in a country of great inequality as is the case of Brazil" because it envisions a "reduction-agenda poverty and inequality, but under the aegis of a weak reformism".[27] This social change model is explained as a "conservative variant of modernization" in which the state has a "prominent role in leveraging the poorest", ensuring that Brazilian social structural problems will not be touched (in other words, without conflicting with the financial interests of the conservative elite).[28] Lulism "concocted new ideological, under-union banners that seemed to combine" continuity of the Lula and Cardoso governments in macroeconomic policy based on three pillars, namely inflation control, a floating exchange rate and a budgetary surplus.[16]

Another feature distinguishing Lulism as a political movement is its nonpartisan character. It overlaps the political parties, including the Workers Party founded by Lula.[29] Although the movement was anchored in Lula's charisma, Lulism differs from other movements surrounding political leaders (such as Peronism in Argentina) in its lack of a cult of personality around the former Brazilian President.[citation needed]

With later events in Brazilian politics, such as the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, the arrest of Lula on 7 April 2018 and President Michel Temer's reform of labour laws,[30] some political commentators are arguing for a second phase of Lulism, now more radical and more left orientated.[31]


Several Latin American politicians such as Ollanta Humala, José Mujica, Mauricio Funes, Fernando Lugo and Henrique Capriles have cited Lulism and Chavism as political models and alternatives to the Washington Consensus.[32][33]

See also


  1. ^ Samuels, D. (2004). From Socialism to Social Democracy: Party Organization and the Transformation of the Workers’ Party in Brazil. Comparative Political Studies, 37(9), 999–1024.
  2. ^ "Is Social Democracy Possible in Latin America?". Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b Alejandro M. Peña, ed. (2016). Transnational Governance and South American Politics: The Political Economy of Norms. Springer. p. 240. ISBN 9781137538635. In this manner, while the social liberalism of Lulismo favored the agenda of the local actors advancing sustainability and CSR projects in Brazil, and further tilted the discursive field in favor of the transnational sustainability ...
  4. ^ John Ashley Soames Grenville, ed. (2010). A History of the World from the 20th to the 21st Century. Psychology Press. p. 702. ISBN 9780415289559. Lula da Silva set out to show that contemporary 'liberal socialism' can work with the market and capitalism for the benefit of all the people, while promoting public serviccs.
  5. ^ Gomercindo Rodrigues, ed. (2009). Walking the Forest with Chico Mendes: Struggle for Justice in the Amazon. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292774544. Later, as the military regime waned, he was one of the national founders of the Workers' Party (PT), personally allying with the urban union leader, now president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He, Lula, and the PT in turn allied themselves with the cause of democratic socialism around the world.
  6. ^ Francisco Luiz Corsi; José Marangoni Camargo; Agnaldo dos Santos; Rosângela de Lima Vieira, eds. (2014). Economia e Sociedade: o Brasil e a América Latina na conjuntura de crise do capitalismo global. Editora Oficina Universitária.
  7. ^ Giuseppe Cocco; Bruno Cava, eds. (2018). New Neoliberalism and the Other: Biopower, Anthropophagy, and Living Money. Lexington Books. p. XIX. ISBN 9781498526678.
  8. ^ "Lula's Political Economy: Crisis and Continuity". NACLA. Retrieved 2022-03-16.
  9. ^ Oliveira, André de (28 January 2018). "Lincoln Secco: "TRF-4 pode ter criado um lulismo mais radical, sem Lula e sem o PT, como é o peronismo"". El País (in Portuguese). Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  10. ^ Schreiber, Leon Amos (2011). The third way in Brazil? Lula's presidency examined (Thesis). Stellenbosch University. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  11. ^ Luiz C. Barbosa, ed. (2015). Guardians of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest: Environmental Organizations and Development. Routledge. p. 43. ISBN 9781317577645. Lula da Silva's form of economic liberalism can be classified as “socialist neoliberalism.” This means that one uses the wealth generated by the market to finance social programs to lift people out of poverty.
  12. ^ C. Wylde, ed. (2012). Latin America After Neoliberalism: Developmental Regimes in Post-Crisis States. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 206. ISBN 9780230301597. In Brazil Lula too adopted fiscally conservative policies
  13. ^ Claire Rigby (14 November 2016). "How Lula's party fell from grace: the toppling of the Brazilian left". New Statesman. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  14. ^ Daniel Gallas (29 March 2016). "Dilma Rousseff and Brazil face up to decisive month". BBC News. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Lula, Brazil's popular ex-president, battles for 2022 political comeback". France 24. 12 June 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2022. Upon his return to Brazil, and ahead of an upcoming trip to the United States, Lula will continue to make full use of the electoral strategy that won him the presidency in 2002: Talking to a variety of people, and negotiating with and rallying political forces beyond his Workers’ Party (PT), particularly from the centre of the political spectrum.
  16. ^ a b c d Singer, André (2009). "Raízes sociais e ideológicas do lulismo" [Social and ideological roots of Lulism]. Novos Estudos - CEBRAP (in Portuguese) (85): 83–102. doi:10.1590/S0101-33002009000300004.
  17. ^ a b "Brazil: Is 'Lulism' over?". Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  18. ^ Richard Sandbrook, ed. (2014). Reinventing the Left in the Global South: The Politics of the Possible. Cambridge University Press. p. 155. ... President Luiz Inácio (Lula) de Silva during his first term (2003–6) followed social-liberal policies ...
  19. ^ Casanova & Kassum 2014, p. 32.
  20. ^ "BNCC's Mission". Brazilian-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  21. ^ "Lula +10: results and evolution of "Lulism"". Brazilian-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  22. ^ a b Werneck, Paulo (19 August 2012). "Cientista político André Singer explica sua tese sobre o lulismo". Folha de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  23. ^ a b c Galhardo, Ricardo (30 September 2012). "André Singer: 'O lulismo não é um monopólio do PT'". Último Segundo. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Lula + 10: Achievements, directions and challenges of the social transformations in Brazil". NorLARNet. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  25. ^ Allan, Ricardo (3 June 2009). "Conversa com Patrícia" (in Portuguese). Instituto Millenium. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  26. ^ Gindre, Gustavo (28 June 2013). "Gustavo Gindre: Dilma e o esgotamento do lulismo" (in Portuguese). Viomundo. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  27. ^ a b Becker, Fernanda; David, Anthony (3 January 2013). "Os impasses do "lulismo"" (in Portuguese). Brasil de Fato. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  28. ^ a b Keinert, Fábio Cardoso (November 2012). "Os sentidos do lulismo: reforma gradual e pacto conservador" [The meanings of Lulism: gradual reform and conservative pact]. Tempo Social (in Portuguese). 24 (2): 255–260. doi:10.1590/S0103-20702012000200014.
  29. ^ Duarte, Rachel (7 October 2010). "Em 30 anos de PT, Lula se tornou maior do que o partido" (in Portuguese). Sul 21. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  30. ^ "L13467" (in Portuguese). 4 July 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  31. ^ Oliveira, André de (28 January 2018). "Lincoln Secco: "TRF-4 pode ter criado um lulismo mais radical, sem Lula e sem o PT, como é o peronismo"". El País (in Portuguese). Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  32. ^ Gutiérrez, Estrella Gutiérrez (6 October 2012). "Consenso de Brasília, modelo para armar na América Latina" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  33. ^ "Lulismo seduz América Latina mas é difícil de copiar". O Globo (in Portuguese). 23 June 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2012.