Portugal

A reader from Portugal wrote to us asking our opinion on the vote of the BE members of parliament in favour of the European Union bailout loan for Greece. In our opinion this position is scandalous.

Portuguese capitalism is one of the sick men of Europe. The "cure" the capitalists have in mind involves severe attacks on wages and working conditions. But now a backlash is taking place with huge strikes and demonstrations shaking the country, which is also producing radicalisation on the left.

Friday, March 2, witnessed a huge mobilisation of the Portuguese working class with 150,000 workers on the streets of Lisbon protesting against the “centre-left” Socialist government's economic policies. Not since the glorious days of the revolution of the 1970s have we seen such a mobilisation.

"Capitalism is dead in Portugal" wrote the Times in 1975. And yet today it lives. How was it able to survive? What lessons can we learn from the Portuguese Revolution of 1974?

25 April marks 45 years of the "Carnation Revolution" in Portugal in 1974-75, which brought down a hated dictatorship and threatened the foundations of the capitalist system. In the end however, the movement was brought back onto the safe channels of bourgeois democracy. This article, written by Phil Mitchinson in 2002, explains what happened and urges us to learn the lessons from this great event.

The defeat of the Portuguese socialists in the last round of local elections on December 18 has provoked the resignation of A. Guterres (the Portuguese Prime Minister and leader of the Socialist Party), and the calling of early elections in March. The main reason for the defeat has been Guterres' right-wing policies. This was not what the Portuguese workers had voted for.

The intensifying class struggle across Europe highlights the need for all revolutionaries to study the revolutionary history of the continent and to digest its main lessons.  In this context we republish here an article written in 1975 about the Portuguese revolution. Ted traces the roots of the revolution as well as analyzing its component parts. He brilliantly shows the overwhelming strength of the working class and its influence on all parts of society, including the army the bulk of which was ready for the most radical measures.

The movement of the Portuguese workers has been an inspiration to working people everywhere. After fifty years of brutal oppression under a fascist state, the Portuguese workers have demonstrated their unconquerable will to change society.