Portugal: No to IMF/EU intervention!

For a 24 hour general strike as the first step!

No to the intervention of the IMF and the European Union!

We won’t pay their debt!

For a 24 hour general strike as part of a programme of resistance against the endless austerity!

End the dictatorship of the capitalist markets!

Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI in Portugal) is calling on the trade unions and youth organisations, parties of the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary Left, to mobilise immediately in order to reject the intervention of the EU and IMF. The brutal austerity, linked to this, which will be imposed on workers, young people and the poor in Portugal will represent a so-called “economic hell”.

Facing huge international speculative attacks, the Portuguese State has been placed on the edge of bankruptcy by the same rating agencies who had classified the bank Lehman Brothers ‘AAA’ in 2008, just before this bank collapsed, opening the door for the devastating capitalist crisis that we are experiencing now.

This EU/IMF intervention was requested when the national banks, which earned billions in recent years, posed an ultimatum to the government by withdrawing funding of the state – showing clearly who really runs the country – after having received billions in State guarantees.

This ‘economic help’ is aimed at helping the banks and big business, and will be accompanied by jobs cuts, more and more wage cuts, an accelerated destruction of public services and social cuts devastating working class families, etc. In other words, it will be at the expense of the misery of millions, as all commentators confirm.

We must remember that in Greece and Ireland, IMF and EU intervention has not resolved any of the problems of workers and youth. It has actually considerably worsened them! In short, a bail-out will mean endless austerity for millions of people only to enrich even more the untouchable fortunes of the bankers and speculator

Political crisis

The hypocrisy of the capitalist parties has no end in sight. The PSD, who rejected the PEC IV (fourth austerity package), supposedly “because Portuguese people cannot stand more sacrifice” now announces that “this help is only an interlude, and the new government will negotiate terms that will restore confidence of the markets”.

Passos Coelho took care to ask us not to go out in search of those responsible for this disaster. He did so because such a search would bring us to the doors of his party, the PSD, the PP and the PS of Socrates, among others!

And Socrates himself is now seen playing the victim, “remembering” that he is “on the left”, despite having imposed the first three PEC packages and implemented a regime of servitude to big business at the expense of working families.

Taking into account the inevitable response of workers and youth to coming attacks, these politicians – spokespeople for the ruling class – want desperately a majority government, including a possible PP-PSD-PS grand coalition.

It is in the context of a grave threat to the living standards of workers and their families that workers should participate in the coming elections.

Graffiti says "IMF out of here"!

For a united front to fight for a workers’ government!

Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Portugal), as we have consistently, continues to defend the building of a working class political alternative. We defend a united front between the parties of the left, including the Left Block and Communist Party (which together enjoy over 20% support) and CGTP trade union federation. Such a front could fundamentally challenge the idea that “austerity is inevitable” which is pushed by all the capitalist parties.

We welcome the announcement of discussions between the leaders of the PCP and Left Block, who met last Saturday, with a view to formulating a common approach to the current crisis. However, this must be built upon as elections approach. What is needed is a mass movement to reject this intervention and fight for an alternative to brutal austerity. A Left united front should develop as the political voice of such a movement, calling mass meetings and rallies to build for the electoral battle, but also the major class battles which must be fought out on the streets and in workplaces.

As well as this, a minimum programme of alternative proposals – for the rejection of the deal, against the payment of the private bankers’ debts, and for investment in jobs and services and democratic public ownership of the banks and resources as an alternative to austerity – should be agreed and presented in common by the Left Parties in the elections. This would open up the possibility of fighting for a workers’ government, to break the dictatorship of the markets and IMF, and implement socialist policies.

It is certain that a government of the capitalist parties in any combination will have to be resisted by huge mobilisations. Neither the elections, nor the existence of a “caretaker government” should in any way stall the mobilisations of the working class. The trade unions must call an immediate general strike against the IMF/EU intervention, as the first step in a sustained programme of action and struggle, including a series of general strikes and co-ordinated actions. As well as this, the international offensive of EU/IMF austerity must be met with workers’ action across borders. We must co-ordinate an international fightback with workers facing these same attacks around the continent, such as in Greece and Ireland, which too have been subjected to years of misery in the name of a “bailout” from these vultures.

The PS are responsible for years of anti-worker policies. And the PSD and PP represent the same policies, except with maybe an even greater ferocity and rhythm. A mass sustained struggle with a perspective to win by workers and youth, and a serious left alternative being presented in the elections, could have an earth-shattering impact in Portugal. The anti-democratic way in which this bailout (and the years of savage austerity attached to it) is being agreed, by a caretaker government which was not even elected, shows the rotten nature of capitalism! This is in effect, a financial ‘coup’, against all democratic principles! Portuguese people must decide the future of our country.

International capitalism and its institutions including the EU and IMF have only poverty and attacks to offer the Portuguese people. Only on the basis of breaking the international dictatorship of the markets and IMF and fighting for a socialist Europe, based on the democratic planning of the economy to meet people’s needs, can a road out of this disaster be charted.

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April 2011