What about the political impact of participatory budgeting and other instruments of citizen participation? Have they led to a democratisation of democracy in the sense given above (see Part I, Chapter 3), that is the combination of traditional mechanisms of representati ve government with direct or semi-direct democratic procedures for ordinary citizens? We have seen how important the political results were in the Porto Alegre. It is true that the party system has only been marginally modified, at least to the extent that party bureaucracy, internal and external power struggles and personal competitions have remained more or less the same. On that level, the main effect has been the hegemony of the Workers Party during three terms, a kind of exception in Brazilian cities. More decisively, the process of participatory budgeting has led to a marked reduction in cronyism; civil society has emerged as a new countervailing power; a plebeian public sphere has been created; and an institutionalised fourth power has been supported by participatory budgeting. 1 In other Latin American cases, even though it is fairly common to observe only some of these transformations, participation is rarely limited to a mere institutional mechanism. It has been part of a broader emancipation process involving the lower classes and their empowerment in politics. The multiplication of participatory budgets and the swing to the left in most South American countries have been part of the same development. The working class, who is often mixed-race, is starting to become socially accepted and to move beyond the ‘internal colonialism’ that had previously relegated it to a totally subordinate position (Brisset et al. 2006).