Marxists and “left governments”

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 10:21

Sacha Ismail

“We are not a government party; we are the party of irreconcilable opposition… Our tasks... we realise not through the medium of bourgeois governments... but exclusively through the education of the masses through agitation, through explaining to the workers what they should defend and what they should overthrow. Such a “defence” cannot give immediate miraculous results. But we do not even pretend to be miracle workers. As things stand, we are a revolutionary minority. Our work must be directed so that the workers on whom we have influence should correctly appraise events, not permit

Portugal: settling for neoliberalism?

Published on: Wed, 11/11/2015 - 11:37

On 10 November, the conservative Passos Coelho government in Portugal, in office since 2011, fell. It is likely to be replaced by a government of the Socialist Party (SP, similar to pre-Corbyn Labour) supported by the Portuguese Communist Party and the Left Bloc.

Passos Coelho has carried through Portugal’s mandated cuts programme since it applied for a eurozone “bailout” in April 2011. The SP, which had gone for the bailout, crashed in parliamentary elections in June 2011.

In new elections on 4 October 2015 Passos Coelho lost his parliamentary majority. His bloc was still the largest

Portugal: the Carnation Revolution of 1974-5

Published on: Wed, 17/12/2014 - 10:47

Mark Osborn

Portugal’s revolution began on 25 April 1974, set in motion by a military coup against the country’s nearly-50-year-old fascist regime. It was effectively ended by another coup on 25 November 1975. Portugal started 1974 as a backward, isolated colonial power run by an authoritarian regime, and began 1976 as a state without colonies, on its way to becoming a stable bourgeois democracy, integrated into European capitalism. Mark Osborn tells the story.

Click here to download the whole of WL 3/46 as a pdf.

Portugal’s unstable democracy was overthrown in 1926 and a period of right-wing military rule

When the far left lined up behind the military

Published on: Wed, 17/12/2014 - 10:30

The ferment in Portugal reached its peak in summer 1975. The old top military command had been marginalised by the failure of its attempted coups on 28 September 1974 and 11 March 1975.

Power was in the hands of the loose-knit Armed Forces Movement (AFM), middle-rank officers, some close to the Socialist Party, some close to the Communist Party.

The Fifth Provisional Government, in office from 8 August to 19 September, was close to the CP.

Swathes of industry had been nationalised, and some was under workers’ control. Workers’ commissions and neighbourhood commissions flourished in the Lisbon

Organs of “popular power”

Published on: Wed, 17/12/2014 - 10:24

Text edited from International-Communist League pamphlet, The Revolutionary Left in Portugal (1977).

Portuguese Trotskyism entered the country via Paris after a couple of Portuguese students had been influenced by the ideas of the USFI [mainstream orthodox Trotskyists led by Ernest Mandel] in 1968.

At the time Caetano was overthrown there were nine Trotskyists in Portugal. Now [1975] the number is probably 6-700. Of these 4-500 are in the LCI, the “official” sympathising section of the USFI, and the remainder are in the PRT. The PRT originally split from the other Portuguese Trotskyists

The issues in Portugal, 1975

Published on: Wed, 10/09/2014 - 16:42

Workers' Fight

Documents from the discussions of Workers' Fight and the International-Communist League with the Portuguese revolutionary left, 1975-6.

Discussions with the Portuguese Workers' Coordinating Committee, mid 1975 (the pages of this pdf are in the wrong order, sorry, and the edges of some text are cut off, but the gist should be legible)

Discussions with left groups in Portugal during 1975

Discussions with left groups in Portugal during 1976

Background: calendar of events

Summary article by Dave Stocking ("Mike Evans"), International Communist magazine, 1976.

The Portuguese Revolution of 1974-5: “The left had no strategy and the right did”

Published on: Tue, 29/07/2014 - 17:28

Miguel Perez, a Lisbon-based socialist activist and historian who delivered a talk on the Portuguese Revolution of 1974-5, spoke to Solidarity about his view of events.

Why was there so much left-wing ferment in the Portuguese officer corps in the 1970s? Why did Portugal’s colonial war have such a big effect on the officer corps, the army and society?

The colonial wars in Africa exhausted the state. People found themselves pushed into a war they didn’t want. The officers knew, by looking at the experience that French colonialism had been through in Algeria, that the war could not be won. So

Portuguese government plans new cuts

Published on: Wed, 10/04/2013 - 12:42

On 5 April the Portuguese constitutional court ruled that some of the sweeping new government cuts (to holiday bonuses for civil servants and pensioners, unemployment and sickness benefits) were unlawful (5 April) were unlawful.

But Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho responded by reiterating his right-wing government’s intention to make the cuts. He says cuts are obligatory under the terms of an €78 billion EU/IMF bailout deal.

The court held that the tax rises which will take place under the 2013 budget are legal.

The government survived a no confidence vote on Wednesday 3 April, tabled by

General strikes in Spain and Portugal

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2012 - 13:21

Spain’s two main union confederations, UGT and CCOO, called a one-day general strike on 29 March over issues similar to those sparking the strike wave in Italy.

In a country with 23% unemployment, the new conservative government wants to change the law to make it easier for employers to sack workers.

The executives of UGT and CCOO met jointly, for the first time in history, on 9 March, to decide to call the strike.

The government’s proposals weaken collective bargaining by giving precedence to company-level agreements; allow employers to unilaterally reduce wages or change working hours and

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