The left’s conceptions of democracy have long suffered from a Manichean liberalism-socialism opposition. The world-systemic discourses of liberalism, democracy, socialism, and nationalism tended to become reified and polarized in the power struggles of the Cold War. Political and intellectual prolocutors of the Western core powers successfully fused the liberal ideology of the capitalist world-economy with the notion of democracy, when, in fact, as Chilean sociologist Jaime Osorio reminds us:

At least until the mid-19th century, the terms liberalism and democracy were in conflict. The first called attention to liberties and gave special emphasis to economic freedom. Liberalism’s defenders rejected democracy because they believed that the search for equality under governments of the majorities would call liberal principles into question. 1