Portugal: Witch hunt in Left Bloc?

Solidarity in defence of CWI members and symphthisers

Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI in Portugal) is being targeted by the leadership of the Left Bloc, with threats of expulsions and exclusions. This is as a result of our political positions and differences with the current leadership, as well as our role in building the party from below, attracting and collaborating with a wide layer of Left Bloc members who disagree with the current strategy and positions of the leadership. This includes our opposition to the policy of uncritical support to the PS government, and our role building the Left Bloc youth.

SR fully acknowledges the central importance of the Left Bloc, which has attracted a wide layer of youth and workers, especially in the current political cycle. We are completely committed to the construction of the Left Bloc as a mass party that defends and represents the interests of workers and youth, and we fully endorse the words and spirit of the founding documents of the Left Bloc, which states that the Left Bloc should be a “popular, plural, combative left with influence”. SR officially applied to be recognized as a tendency inside the Left Bloc, a formal organizational procedure allowed and regulated in the statutory documents. This is not a unique case restricted to Portuguese parties or the CWI in Portugal — many orgnisations and tendencies, including the CWI work in Die Linke in Germany and in PSOL in Brazil. Our case is also not unique within the Left Bloc — it was founded by distinct left organizations, some of them still operating as recognized tendencies inside the party (such as Esquerda Alternativa).

The spirit and regulations that govern the Left Bloc, and most importantly the desire and opinion of most of its membership, is for a congregation and confederation of left-wing members and organizations. This is crucial to provide a platform and organization where we can fight against the exploitation and oppression of the current system and to provide a solution for the 99% and not the 1%. Political divergences are accepted and a dialogue is encouraged.

That is why we were surprised when we learned that an Inquiry Committee has been opened against our members inside the Left Bloc, who have been not just open about their political affiliation but also have been some of the most hard-working and committed comrades, alongside others, in building the Left Bloc in the streets, workplaces, schools and universities, among workers and youth. On top of this, Francisco Raposo, who left the Left Bloc in 2007 after playing a leading role in the organization, was refused reafilliation, even after a political declaration explaining the evolution in his opinions. As the name implies, the Left Bloc is supposed to be a coalition, a Bloc, of left-wing people and organizations, to which Socialismo Revolucionário, as a Marxist collective, belongs. Accusations of “infiltration” by the leadership against a group which was always open about its objectives of building the Bloc as a party for mass layers of workers and youth, but also about its methods and analysis, are baseless and pernicious. They are akin to bureaucratic methods used by different reactionary leaderships to try to stifle debate and restrict the internal democracy that Left Bloc members so highly value.

As our declaration of request to be recognized as an official tendency states, we have done nothing more than answer the call made by the founders of the Left Bloc 17 years ago “..it’s time to invite everyone that agrees with our declaration to get involved in a movement (Left Bloc) capable of building a national political alternative… it’s time to call on everyone that shares the essence of these points of view to a new political initiative, a Bloc of the Left (Left Bloc) capable of strong proposals and being a sign of hope”.

Political differences with the leadership are not a reason to prevent the fighting left from joining an organization that aims to be a union of militants and organizations that genuinely look for an alternative for capitalism. As stated in the founding document, one of the objectives of the Left Bloc is to “open a cultural and political conversation in the left and to continue it”, which SR-CWI has always strived to do constructively and earnestly. Our comrades are among the most committed to build the Left Bloc from below, not just recruiting other activists but encouraging the political discussion necessary to devise the correct analysis and methods of action.

Socialismo Revolucionário knows that the Left Bloc is much more than the small layer of leaders which is using these undemocratic methods. The Left Bloc truly is a coalition of left-wing workers, youth and others that want to organize the fightback against capitalism and for a society that provides for the needs of the many and not the whims of the few. With the potential to be a mass party of and for the 99% in Portugal, these undemocratic methods adopted by a tiny layer and against everything the Left Bloc is and its membership stands for will only hurt the cause for which the Left Bloc was created.

This is a defence of democracy and pluralism inside the Left Bloc, not just for our democratic rights. It’s a fight for the construction of the Bloco as a mass workers party in Portugal.

A model letter of solidarity is attached, to send to (see below)

“We, the undersigned, socialists, trade unionists, are surprised and aghast at the intentions and methods of a small layer of leading Bloco members, which, in a blatant undemocratic maneuver, is trying to stop members of Socialismo Revolucionário from joining the Left Bloc, due to honest political differences with the leadership which are both allowed and encouraged in the type of party the Left Bloc was created to be. These comrades seem to be the target of a witch-hunt due to valid political opinions and criticisms which are completely in line with the pluralist nature of the Left Bloc.

An Inquiry Commission was set up, in the most blatant undemocratic and bureaucratic style, through a process that disrespected the statutory documents and in which only a small minority had a say.

We therefore call on the leadership of the Left Bloc to respect the statutes and the most elementary democratic practices, in the spirit in which the Left Bloc was created and operates, as well as the wishes of a wide layer of members.

The founding document of the Left Bloc states “it’s a movement that wants to promote the affiliation of everyone that agrees with its proposals and to congregate the support and commitment of organized currents (tendencies) of social and political intervention and with multiple other opinions.”

We request that you to stop this witch-hunt, dissolve the Inquiry Commission, readmit Francisco Raposo, allow SR members to join, and promote the democracy and pluralism that constitute the nature of the Left Bloc and are the reason so many genuine anti-austerity and socialist activists are attracted to it.

In solidarity and for democracy and pluralism, essential for a true left-wing mass workers party.


Send these message to:

And members of the Political Comission:



And printed letters to:
Rua da Palma, 268


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December 2016