The overthrow of Caetano brought the broad masses, especially of the working class, into turbulent activity and intervention into politics on a scale never before seen in Portuguese history. There were demonstrations, strikes and political meetings involving tens, hundreds of thousands and even millions.

It was this movement of masses, in turn affecting the rank and file of the Army, Navy and Air force which put its stamp on the Portuguese Revolution.

The leading role was inevitably taken by the young working class, which in practically all its sections, in turn, revealed an enormous capacity to struggle. The CP and SP became mass organisations. The leadership of these organisations made no effort to organise factory and neighbourhood committees or Soviets interlinked on a local, area and national scale which could have united the mass of workers and peasants with the representatives of the rank and file soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Seeking some form of organisation the workers streamed into the Unions, a process still not completed, but where the majority of the workers are now organised. For an industrially backward country like Portugal, that is a remarkable achievement testifying to the capacity of the Portuguese working class. This embattled movement of the working class, affected in its turn the agricultural and white collar workers and the rank and file of the armed forces, whose mood also infected large layers of the officer caste, including the younger layer of the MFA officers, including even the middle layer of Majors, Captains and even Colonels. Even some admirals and Generals were affected by the prevailing mood of the population and of the Armed Forces. The programme which was adopted by the officer conspirators preceding the fall of Caetano, was a vague liberal one. But the removal of the Caetano clique was like the removal of the top of a volcano. The MFA was carried by the lava of the. revolution on paths which were entirely unexpected and unpredictable to them.

The social ferment in the working class and within the armed forces meant that a peculiar version of dual power developed in Portugal. The bourgeoisie lost complete control of its state, even the main prop of the officer caste was no longer reliable.

The 50 years of fascist rule, plus the fifteen years of colonial war had undermined all the shibboleths of the Army and the unquestioning acceptance of the rotting social system, by the officer caste.

The state according to Marx and Lenin, in the last analysis, can be reduced to armed bodies of men. With the ferment introduced by the overthrow of the regime, the  fraternisation with the masses by the soldiers and sailors, there was a questioning of the “normal” assumptions of class rule by many if not most of the officers, who had a hatred of the banks and monopolies, which had piled up millions through the fascist dictatorship and the seemingly never ending colonial wars.

As a stable force of repression the army was undermined by the movements of the masses. The officer caste from the first days of the revolution was split between the “Radicals”  and  “Socialists”  and  the Conservatives. Probably the big majority even of officers, especially the lower levels in constant contact with the rank and file, did not know in which political direction to look.

In the factories, elements of workers control were spontaneously introduced by the workers. The prerogatives of management were being challenged. The worst fascist foremen and managers were expelled. The untrammelled rights of hiring and firing were taken out of the hands of the management. Reforms in conditions of work, higher wages and even the opening of the books to inspection by the workers committees and trade unions in the factories, were widely achieved. In some cases this was done from the earliest weeks and months of the revolution.

Thus from the first days there was an unstable relation of forces, with a wobbly and unstable state machine under the pressure of the masses. The uncertain position of the management in the factories, the ferment among the soldiers, the discussion among officers, the stirring among agricultural labourers in the South, the ferment among the small farmers in the centre and north, put an intolerable strain on the ruling class. “Stability”, “Law and Order”, proper respect for management rights, and unquestioning discipline by the soldiers, no control by the “mob”, and by the “street” these were the worries of the rulers, as in every popular revolution.

They could hardly expect the rank and file of the armed forces to maintain obedience, after the example of the conspiracy of the officer caste, which was the immediate signal for the intervention of the working class and the broad masses in politics.

Hence it has been the dominating pre-occupation of the liberal bourgeoisie, throughout the revolution, even from its early days to restore “order” in the regiments and factories, and abolish the “anarchy” which they saw raging within Portuguese society. Hence, since the revolution began, the ruling layers have desperately tried to restore the “peaceful” status-quo, and the unchallenged rule of capital.

Spinola became President, due to the immaturity of the “radicals” among the MFA. He was fawned on by the leadership of the CP and SP; had it depended on their attitude the intrigues and plots of Spinola undoubtedly could have succeeded. But his activities from the first day amounted to a conspiracy against the young Republic. The helplessness and lack of theory and understanding of the processes of the revolution, of the leadership of the SP, CP and MFA aided reaction. These fed on each other. What blocked the path to Spinola’s conspiracies was the intervention of the masses, who were determined never again to submit to the totalitarian yoke of Fascist dictatorship. In each crisis (except the recent one for special reasons) the attempt to restore reaction, precipitated the movement of the masses.


Role of Workers

We have traced it as a law of the Portuguese revolution in our previous document, that every attempt at counter-revolution provoked the movement of the masses in a counter-movement.

At each stage the movement actually reached a higher level in the reaction of the masses to the provocations of the forces trying to bridle the masses and institute a new dictatorship and a new reign of terror. The masses have, with a sure instinct, defended the organisational and political gains of the revolution.

If we could recapitulate the main events:

1)The resignation of the first Prime Minister, the Liberal Palma, which pushed the government to the left, by the taking of Cabinet seats officially by the MFA and the pro-Communist Party Prime Minister Gonçalves.

2) The collapse of the Bonapartist rally of Spinola, leading to his resignation from the presidency.

3) The attempted Spinola coup of 11th March 1975 leading to the expropriation of the banks and insurance companies and thus the nationalisation of 60-70% of Portuguese industry, and the seizure of the large landed estates in the South and Centre of Portugal and the occupation of 1 ½ million acres of land-two thirds “illegally”.

Thus an enormous impetus was given to the revolution by these events.

In reality. the national and international bourgeoisie was helpless, only hoping against hope for a change in the situation. They could only calculate on riding out the storm of the revolution, clinging on precariously till there would be an ebb-tide, when they hoped they could re-assert their power.

The nationalisation, without compensation of the basic industries and finance, which has been endorsed in a clause in the Constitution, indicated the depth of the changes which have taken place.

But this is an expression of the movement of the masses in the previous phases of the revolution, the weakness of an ailing capitalism, and the balance of class forces in the previous and even the present stage.

It is still however a question of dual power: in the factories, state and privately owned there is a large element of control. Big sections of industry have been expropriated. But there is a new balance of forces in the armed forces. (To be dealt with in a later section). The momentum and direction of social forces and classes, has not yet been decisively decided. There is a big element of workers power which still remains. The question of the nature of Portugal is still to be decided by history. It remains a bourgeois state in the sense that the controlling forces of the state – Army and police, have slipped back into the hands of the “conservative” wing of the officer caste and thus of the bourgeoisie. But large elements of dual power remain. The untrammelled control of the bourgeoisie can only be achieved by a bloody crushing of the working class and agricultural labourers.

On the other hand the workers have only partially succeeded in putting their stamp on Portuguese society. The final result will be decided by a testing of class forces. But whereas a painless and peaceful trans­ formation of Portuguese society would have been possible now the road forward is through a hard and bloody struggle and even civil war. Thus dual power remains in Portugal – but there has been a shift, through recent events, in the direction of the regaining of firm control by the capitalist class.

The momentum of class forces, as explained in our previous document on Spain and Portugal had seemed to be moving towards a Military-Bonapartist solution – WITH THE CP as an obedient lackey, – on a proletarian Bonapartist basis. This would have meant the mobilisation of the masses and the extinguishing of the Capitalist ownership of the rest of the 30-40% of the economy, in private hands,

But the military-radical wing of the officer caste were incapable of taking advantage of their power and opportunities. As Carvalho admitted they have only a vague and cloudy idea of politics and social processes. They rather acted in a reflex way to events. But at the height of their power were incapable of initiating action or seizing control. Their differences with their “Conservative” colleagues were not seen as fundamental class differences – reflecting the irreconcilably opposed interests of capitalism and those of the working class, but differences between gentlemen of the officer caste, to be settled amicably in argument and discussion. It is true that the older layer of generals and admirals were retired, with different swings of the revolution. The stages in the revolution and nascent counter-revolution can be traced in the fate of the different sections of the officer corps. In the early stages the most reactionary officers were removed and retired through lowering the age of retirement. This also made room for promotion for the middle and lower layers of the officer corps of the armed forces.

But in the upsurge of the revolution, affecting the “other” ranks of the armed forces, the reactionary layers of the lower officers were silenced or forced to bide their time. Some were transferred, others even demoted or retired.

The “radical” officers had no clear aims or perspectives, but acted spontaneously to the pressures of the revolution and the movement of the masses.

This in itself however demonstrates the enormous shifts in society since the revolutions, following the Russian Revolution, after World War I.

This factor alone demonstrates the revolutionary potential of the revolution in Portugal, and oh a world scale, in the industrialised nations, in the present epoch. The bulwarks of capitalism have rotted on the Iberian Peninsula, to an extent not even conceived by Marx. Lenin and Trotsky. However revolutionary moods. particularly among the petit-bourgeois, and especially true of the officer caste, are fleeting. Old habits of thought and attitudes assert themselves, particularly where the working class – or rather its leaders – fails to act decisively in time. Revolution like most social activities is a question of timing, as well as of policy.

Something the ultra-left sects have never understood and will forever be incapable of understanding.

The hopeless position of Portuguese capitalism, and the impetus of the revolution with the masses violently repelled by the wars in Africa, and the nightmare of 50 years of totalitarianism, pushed the petit-bourgeoisie a well as the working class to the left, towards Socialism. The first general election results were a reflection of this process. But the moods of the petit-bourgeoisie are subject to violent swings – from one end of the political spectrum eve to the polar opposite. This in a sense is the swing which has been taking place in Portuguese society and especially within the officer corps.

There was an irresistible revolutionary perspective. But as the lesson of the revolution in Spain 1931-37, Germany 1918-1923, Britain in 1926 and innumerable other revolutions and revolutionary situations in industrialised  countries  have  demonstrated, without an organisation and leadership, versed with the method and imbued with the understanding of revolutionary policies of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky it is difficult if not impossible, to carry through the revolution to a conclusion. In the backward Colonial and semi-colonial countries, it was foreign imperialism which substituted largely for the national bourgeoisie, a weak and feeble class. Consequently with the expulsion of foreign imperialism, and the incapability of the national bourgeoisie to play the role of developing the productive forces played by the capitalists of the West in the past, it was relatively easy for the possibility of Proletarian Bonapartism to appear in some of these countries, as the latest example of Angola and Mozambique are in the process of demonstrating.

The shifts in power and the movement of class forces in Portuguese society had almost an uncanny mirror reflection in the Portuguese army and of its officer caste. The turbulent impulsion of the masses gave the “Radicals” the possibility of setting up the triumvirate of Gomes, Gonçalves and Carvalho, each of whom had the ambition to emerge as national leaders and were acting at cross purposes. Gonçalves acting as – but also using the CP as a tool, – Carvalho with the idea of making himself the Castro of Portugal, Gomes, veering with the wind of “public opinion”, i.e. of the moods of the petit-bourgeoisie and especially the officer caste.

Before that there had been a swing to the Right of the officer caste even in the Revolutionary Council which had put Right wingers in the leadership of the officers. This was counteracted by the defeat of the attempted Spinolist coup of March 11th.

In the membership and recasting of the Revolutionary Council of the Army, can be seen the ebbs and flows of the revolution, almost a barometer.

The officers and the army tops, have only been enabled to play this role, because of the lack of a Marxist leadership of the working class, which could have given political and organisational leadership to the working class and the rank and file of the armed forces. This would have meant that the majority of the officers too could have been won to the Socialist revolution. But playing a subordinate role to the workers and soldiers and not having the illusion of dominating events.

The fact that there were no Soviets or Workers and Soldiers Councils covering Portugal, from the first days of the revolution or at a number of turning points, is due decisively to the role of the CP. The bureaucratic and arrogant contempt of the leadership of the CP, especially Cunhal for the working class, their lack of revolutionary understanding, they have long forgotten the ABC of revolutionary strategy and tactics of Marx and Lenin, led them to grovel before the officer caste – A process they are continuing right down to the present time, when the bourgeoisie – for the present – have established a precarious and reactionary control of the armed forces. If it was not for the role of the CP it would have been impossible for Soares, and especially the Left Wing of the SP leaders, to refuse to participate in the Workers’ Councils had they been set up. The CP leadership without an iota of faith in the power and initiative and the social strength of the working class, far greater than its numbers within society, looks towards combinations with the military tops, rather than seeking strength from the rank and file workers and the rank and file of the armed forces as the basis for political activity.

They follow, belatedly the course of events. Thus u:e bureaucratic and totalitarian selection of “cadres” and leadership of the CP’s, their empirical adaption to events, make it impossible given the history of the CP internationally, for it to play the role of a Marxist party as conceived by Lenin and Trotsky. Thus the leadership in Portugal oscillated from a craven reformism, and cringing before the power of the monopolies and the MFA to a bureaucratic attempt to impose “Socialism” – i.e. totalitarian one party control – as an adjunct to the officer caste in the MFA and back again to a grovelling before the military.

The need for independent organisations of their own by the working class, to defend their needs and interests. led to the swift growth of the trade unions. New layers are being organised. The masses feel the necessity for organs of defence and struggle against the employers and against the state.

Especially as the counter-revolution – at this stage is forced to deck itself in a democratic disguise.

The fear of totalitarianism by the worker and petit-bourgeois masses, after the 50 year nightmare of Fascism, was played on by the Socialist party leader Soares, and by sections of the military. Cunhal and the CP gave credence to this spectre by their cynical and bureaucratic attempts to seize control, without reference to a vote of the base of the trade unions, municipal councils and the national press and TV. In the May Day demonstration of 1975 in Lisbon they tried to keep Soares out of the mass rally.

Their high handed attitude to the rank and file, on the one hand, and their grovelling submission to the military on the other repelled the Socialist workers. Without perspectives and honesty of purpose, without genuine democratic discussion, in their ranks or outside they have been incapable of “patiently explaining” the fundamental ideas of Marxism to the masses of even their own members. Organically linked to the conceptions of Stalinism and defending the totalitarian bureaucratic regime of Stalinist Russia they have been incapable of winning over – under exceptionally favourable conditions of revolution the mass of the population to the programme of the Socialist transformation of society.

How could they when their conception of “Socialist Democracy” is that of the one party totalitarian state. For a period this was the idea they were putting forward, after the mass movement had defeated the Spinolist conspiracy.

But even here it was not as an independent force, with the working class having the lion’s share of the initiative and a movement of the workers through organs of struggle to take control of society in its hands, but the working class, playing the role of auxiliary to the taking of control by the army, or a section of the army. The working class was to play the role of jackal to the military.

It was this which led to the support of Goncalves as a military fellow traveller.


Move to Right

The shifts in the army leading to the displacement of Goncalves as Prime Minister, by the more Right Wing Azevedo, were the first steps of the Socialist Party and sections of the military caste and the PPD to try and arrest the development of the revolution.

It failed to stem the movement of the masses. There were a series of strikes, to which the CP leadership gave support, though they were still represented in the government. At the same time there was ferment in the army, which did not want to pe used for purposes of repression. The changes in command in the armed forces, reflecting the pressures of the revolution and reflected in the moods of the officer caste, in their turn had an effect on the ranks of the ordinary soldiers and sailors and airmen.

With mass demonstrations outside Parliament of builders and other sections of workers exerting pressure on the Government the Government rested on thin air while it did not have control of the forces of state repression. It found itself in difficulties. Azevedo declared that the Government cabinet ministers found themselves besieged. The limits of their power was shown. They were not allowed to leave the building where the meeting was held, till they had conceded the demands of the workers in full.

Lisbon and Portugal were ‘ungovernable” Azevedo declared and suggested a transfer of Government from Lis­ bon to Oporto. The situation was fluid, the balance of forces not yet decided. In this atmosphere the Government decided to begin an offensive to gain control in their hands. They ordered troops to take out of the hands of the workers in the studios, of the TV and radio stations they had seized and broadcast reports and news from a “Left” (really ultra left) point of view.

This episode was like the seizure of the telephone exchange in Barcelona controlled by the CNT workers, by the Stalinist controlled forces in Spain in 1937.

It was a provocation and an attempt by the government to assert control and to destroy the elements of workers control in the mass media. The broadcasts by the workers were to be stopped in this way. But the soldiers fraternised with the workers in the radio and TV studios. The broadcasts continued. Then the transmitter of the national TV station of the former Catholic Church owned and controlled radio station were blown up by paratroops, at the instructions of the Government.

The CP playing the game of hunting with the hounds and running with the hares, maintained its position in the cabinet and the government, while joining in a “united front” with the ultra-left Maoist and “Trotskyist” groups.

During this period of turmoil and agitation within the working class and the armed forces they, together with the ultra-left conducted no preparations for a struggle against the government. The sects were all wind and fury. Carvalho found no contradiction in trying to strengthen and stiffen the commandos as an unquestioning disciplined force, under the reactionary Colonel Neves, (who it had been rumoured was involved with Spinola in the coup), and setting – in words – a course towards Castroism. Carvalho was in charge of military forces in Lisbon and theoretically the commandos came within his command. He approved the measures of tightening up discipline in the commandos, because he wanted one firmly disciplined military force which would obey orders unquestioningly. Such was his political naivete.

The bulk of the commandos were volunteers and not conscripts. They had done the dirty work in the African wars and were reactionary in comparison with other troops. They were the obvious choice for a Praetorian Guard.

No preparations whatsoever were made for a clash or for linking the soldiers with the workers in some organised way.

Everything was left hazy, unthought out and in reality unorganised. The government was desperate, its authority very weak, the officers were in very shaky control of the soldiers.

Spinola had tried to use the commandos for his coup. They were grouped round the Palace where he had his headquarters but in face of the mass demonstrations even they had proved unreliable. The attack on the means of transmitting information and the virtually despairing expedient of blowing up the transmitters when they failed, showed they had no force on which they could really rely to confront the TV and radio workers or for that matter of any section of workers at that stage.

As the paras realised that they had been used once again against “the people”, by reactionary forces, spontaneously they “mutinied”. They were indignant at the anti-working class role they were intended to play.

This provided the pretext for which the government and the reactionaries had been waiting. The paras remained passively at their air force bases, five in all. When the commandos marched in to disarm them there was no resistance in 4 of them, and in the fifth base with a thousand paratroops, there was only a token resistance with four killed.

The commandos were only 1,200 men and had there been any real resistance and organisation in the army and working class, explaining the significance of the events – preparing a mass movement – in advance – the commandos could have been brushed aside, or they would have been affected by the hot breath of the revolution as in the March days.

But the passivity of the mass, due to the false policies of the CP, the emptiness and lack of power and understanding of the ultra-lefts, the political ignorance of the “left” officers round Carvalho who needed leadership but could not give it, gave the reaction its chance. “Democratic” reaction, using the cover of Soares and the SP at this stage.

After the disarming of the paras, with no reaction form the workers and soldiers, the emboldened Government seized control of the state owned pr ss, which had been dominated by the CP editorially, when it came into state ownership with the nationalisation of the banks, which in Portugal financially owned the press. Their approved editors and staff were installed and the Stalinists and fellow travellers booted out.

Now a counter purge ruthless in its scope took place in the armed forces and the officer caste. From 200,000 men the forces have been reduced to 50,000 and with the intention of reducing it to nearly half that number, and of this 28,000 again half would be an elite corps of volunteers of 12,500.

Carvalho was arrested, put in prison and discharged from the army. Copcon the military police, originally intended as an organ of repression has been disbanded. The revolutionary Artillery Regiment disbanded. Admirals Couthinho and Soares retired. Gen. Fabiao who had not shown sufficient resolution against “mutinying troops” in their opinion, retired. Every officer with “Left” leanings, to the left of the SP leadership has been eliminated.

”Discipline” and the old barrack room “order” has been restored, most of the troops radicalised by the African wars and the events of April 25th have been discharged.

Through the working of conscription and the taking on of volunteers the Army has been transformed. It is not the Army which was fused and changed by the events and struggles of the revolution. How reliable an instrument of reaction it has become, still remains to be tested by history. Its rank and file, still comes from the workers and peasants and will be affected by the actions of the masses. Its officer-caste from the middle class, which has contradictory moods.

At its head are Colonel Neves, General Veloso and General Eanes, who according to reports were guilty of atrocities in the African wars, and were tarred with the attempted Spinolist coup. They are Spinolists without Spinola, and in their own right secret reactionaries biding their time for the future.

November 25th the date of the paratroop “rebellion” thus marks one turning point of the Portuguese revolution. A turning point, towards reaction but not as bad as the “Bien Negro”, the two black years of reaction, following the defeat of the Asturian insurrection in Spain.

The exceptionally favourable revolutionary situation in Portugal has changed to reaction, but reaction on the basis of revolution. It is a serious setback. But not yet a decisive defeat. In some ways it is not as serious as the July defeat in Russia in 1917.

It was due entirely to the sabotage of the CP which organised nothing but was prepared to profit if the masses had reacted spontaneously.

But the fear of totalitarianism hung over the Socialist workers, and the masses could not see the significance of these events. It was the lack of Marxist leadership which is evident throughout the events of the revolution. The Portuguese people will have to suffer dearly for this. The Army has become a serious counter-revolutionary force again. Its officers selected with a bourgeois ideology.

But nevertheless the atmosphere of revolution remains. Thousands, if not tens of thousands of workers are armed from the weapons given by soldiers. Hundreds of thousands have experience of arms· and the African wars. Thousands of former officers have revolutionary inclinations. Complete control of the army has not been established in open reactionary terms.

However, the armed forces, army, navy and air force have been reconstructed on classic bourgeois lines. But with a difference – 60 to 70% of industry remains expropriated from the capitalists. The land which has been expropriated remains in the hands of the State, the agricultural workers and the peasants: There has not been a return to before April 25th or even before March 11th. Thus these are only the first cautious steps of the bourgeois and Fascist or Military-Police counter-revolution, there can be no other. The revolution is too widely based in the actions, the nationalisations and the consciousness of the masses to be overthrown without a struggle.

The Portuguese workers will react as their Spanish brothers did in 1936 – when there will be an open attempt at a counter-revolutionary coup. They have too many bitter memories.

The defeat, following the November events, remains one of serious proportions, but not a decisive one which can decide the fate of the revolution for a whole epoch, like the Salazar coup of 1926. ,

The Stalinists comfort themselves with the illusions of parliamentary cretinism. They have quickly fallen to the opposition of the W. European CP’s, the Spanish, British, Italian and French of bourgeois democracy, which they previously espoused and now have re-adopted. Just when the relationship of forces has become more unfavourable for this “perspective”.

A bloodless revolution was entirely possible, and in fact has been partly accomplished. These elements remain intact. The CP and SP majority  of  the Constituent Assembly even adopted a Constitution endorsing the expropriations and which says the state must be based “on a transition· to socialism” as the moving force of Portuguese society. By “Socialism” is probably meant the nationalisation of the entire economy.

But with a hostile commanding staff of the armed forces the constitution is not worth the paper on which it is written, as the examples of Chile and Spain 1936 demonstrate.

The counter-revolution in the persons of General Veloso, General Eanes and Colonel Neves has to proceed with caution. It is only the first stage.

The second General Election of April 1976, was a test of forces. The anticipations of foreign and internal reaction were not realised. There was still a poll of over 54% for Socialism, if we take the SP f plus the CP, plus the ultra-left vote.

Despite the worse economic situation and the terrible conditions of the masses with much lowered standards of living, unemployment and hunger, these elections. compare favourably with the elections of 1933 in Spain 2 years after the revolution began in 1931. At that stage the revolution had not advanced as far as it has in Portugal. The Left-Republican-Socialist coalition majority was replaced with the Lerroux mainly Right-Republican, Monarchist and Gil Robles led Clerical Fascist, coalition majority in the Parliament.

Yet in Portugal, in spite of the crimes and mistakes of the CP, SP leaders and the stupidity and irresponsibility of the ultra-lefts there still remains a big majority for Socialism, even though the Portuguese working class is only measurably bigger, in proportion, than the Spanish working class of that period.

The revolution has advanced much further at this stage than it did in Spain up to 1933. The reaction has to be cautious lest it precipitate a movement of the workers and agricultural labourers which would inevitably infect even the “subdued” armed forces.

However the CD party, concealed Fascists which received only 7% of the vote in 1975, increased to more than double that number. This was not due as the bourgeois popular press of the West pretended, to changes in consciousness in Portugal – though there was some shift of part of the petit-bourgeoisie – to the right – but to the million refugees from the colonies These without perspectives, without jobs, ruined as they see it by the revolution, have been driven towards reaction. They have overwhelmingly voted for the reactionary CD and some for the PPD.

The CP practically held its ground and the Socialist party lost about 3% of its vote, still emerging as the strongest party in votes and members of Parliament.

The elections mark an interregnum. The constitution, at the insistence of the officers junta, is semi-Bonapartist, like the constitution in France, which gives enormous powers to the President. The old Government, Cabinet and Prime Minister Azevedo remains in office till the President selects a new one after his election.

The reaction has concentrated on the now chief-of-staff Eanes who has the support of the CD and PPD as a candidate. Eanes is a Spinolist without Spinola. There were rumours connecting him with the March coup. He played a principal role in the suppression of the paratroops in November 1975. He has assiduously eliminated the “left” officers and rank and file from the armed forces. He was feted at a dinner of rich, virulently reactionary and counter-revolutionary landowners in the North. They gave him and his staff symbolically knobkerries, knobbed walking sticks, of the type which had been used to beat rank and file Communists and “Leftists” and asked him to “clean-up” Portugal.

His inclinations are clearly reactionary, but for the moment, biding his time, he has preserved a diplomatic silence.

Soares, could easily have been elected President, had he stood. But despite the power this would mean, he is afraid that if he withdraws from the leadership of the Socialist Party. the Left would gain control. Therefore, this Right-Wing “Democrat” and “Socialist” prefers to support the candidate of the reaction. The candidature of a man who has not openly committed himself politically. According to reports this on the basis of an (at least implied) understanding that the next government will be a Socialist only minority government with Soares as Prime Minister.

The CP leadership, cringing like they did before Spinola, have declared they have nothing against General Eanes, despite his role in the November 25th 1975 events.

This attitude of Soares will have bitter consequences. Soares recommendation is like a man soaping the noose for his own execution. General Eanes has already tried to perfect the army as a “normal” and reliable tool of repression. He will remain chief-of-staff while President or have some crony of his as head of the army.

Like Spinola. but now under different conditions, he will gather the forces of reaction around him. He will take advantage of the temporary lull, in the political struggle of the workers. to prepare to gather complete power in his hands. “sanctified” by a majority in the presidential election.

It is like the vote of the German Social Democrats for the reactionary Yon Hindenburg. which was supposed to be a bulwark against reaction. but which prepared the wav for Hitler. The best that can be said of Eanes is that he is undoubtedly another Spinola only more calculating and crafty. not so impetuous. and biding his time.

The masses will pay dearly for Soares, narrow anti-Marxist stupidity, and the cynicism and debased crawling before apparent power of the Communist Party leaders. They are incapable of putting forward a programme of Workers Democracy. They repel the Socialist workers and the petit-bourgeoisie, both by their crude manoeuvres, and their attempts to ingratiate with the army reactionaries.

They have  forgotten, if  they  ever  knew,  the fundamental ideas of Marx and Lenin, on how to win the masses to a programme of Workers Democracy. They try to cling to the coat-tails of one or another General in the A med Forces Movement. They have not understood the first principle of Marxism. to rely on the support and understanding of the workers. soldiers and peasants. at the base of society. as the only sure and impregnable basis to build the power of the working class.

As a result of the policies of the CP and SP resulting in not carrying through the revolution to a conclusion, reaction has grown in strength and power. Soares “compromise” utopia of a “mixed economy” in Portugal with a 30% private sector (he has only accepted the nationalisation and a “movement towards socialism” because he could not hold the leadership of a united Socialist Party if he repudiated this), will rapidly be dispelled by the economic and political crises which will develop in the coming period.

It will satisfy nobody. The workers will feel cheated by a partial solution and demand more measures in the direction of Socialism. the remaining bourgeoisie will find the situation more and more intolerable. While the petit-bourgeoisie without perspectives, will become more and more maddened. They will blame the revolution for their plight.

The lack of a planned organisation of resources, the chaos of capitalism, added to the inefficiencies of bureaucratic control of the nationalised industries, and the never-ending inflation will prepare new upheavals and clashes within the population.


Danger of Reaction

The counter-revolution is gathering its forces. Whereas the attempts of Spinola were comical now there are serious dangers.

Sections of the small peasants in the North, have been antagonised by the bureaucratic mishandling of the land question, fearful of losing their tiny plots of land, they have gathered round the banner of the rich peasants and the big landowners. Behind the scenes the reactionary church, in Portugal. has played a role in inciting the peasants against “godless Communism”, which later will include the government in Lisbon.

The SP and CP leadership has been incapable of reaching these smallholders with a programme of aid by hiring of tractors, cheap credits, fertilisers, combined Co-Op use and purchase of materials and goods and sale of products. Elimination of usurious middle-men with state sales of products and so on. Without a Socialist programme of complete transformation of industry and the land, it is impossible to win over and convince the peasants of the advantages of a collectivised economy.

All moves in this direction, to be taken in conjunction with, and only with the voluntary consent and agreement of the peasants and smallholders themselves. No forcible, or arbitrary actions against the peasants. Together with the committees of workers, soldiers, and agricultural labourers there should have been the organisation and advocacy of committees of peasants.

In the wake of November 25th the big landowners and wealthier peasants tried to whip up sufficient support to reverse the land reforms. But inevitably this could only mean the beginning of counter-revolution and was resisted by even the “moderates” and Socialists, the Antunes wing of the Armed Forces Movement, and the attempts to gain a majority in the elections for the Right Wing and reactionary parties was defeated. The land reform still stands though technically two thirds of the land reforms are “illegal”, i.e. were the result of the direct action of the agricultural labourers and peasants, mainly in the South and Centre of Portugal.

But with the incapacity of the government to show any real solution to the increasing problems the reaction will grow in the North and become increasingly frenzied.

For the moment it will gather round General Eanes in the election campaign as a Bonapartist or semi-Bonapartist arbiter, balancing between the classes. The “agreement” implied or real, between Soares and General Eanes, will break down with the growing contradictions.

A serious focus for the reaction will be the million dispossessed and frenzied colonials. Many small business men, shopkeepers, artisans, professional people have lost everything and face a future of ruin, deprivation and unemployment on the present social basis in Portugal. Many have not even got a roof over their heads. Most have not got the remotest prospect of a job. Meagre handouts with inflation mean real hunger for many.

If they were given the prospect of a secure future, with growing prosperity, they could be won to the programme of Socialist revolution and Workers Democracy.

With the programme of the SP and CP they have been to driven to madness by the crisis. They are a perfect example of what Engels called the “frenzied petit-bourgeoisie”, with their colonial horizon. They have fantastic dreams of reconquering and regaining their privileged position in Africa. Recently they demonstrated against the Government in Lisbon with rhythmic chants of “Caetano”, “Caetano”.

A third serious resource of counter-revolution has been the PIDE officials, and the army officers arrested and imprisoned after the attempted coup of March 1975. They have been released. The officers are back in their old positions in the army and many of the PIDE torturers are back in the customs and police jobs they held formerly. The officers have replaced the left-wing officers retired and dismissed after November 25th 1975.

The PIDE and the officers who fled after the March coup attempt, have 7,000 heavily armed men waiting their opportunity in Spain to cross the border and commence operations.

Spinola claims a network of a secret armed organisation, waiting for orders, especially in the North of Portugal. Rumours of plots and coups abound.

Behind the scenes American imperialism, the EEC imperialists and the CIA undoubtedly are financing the reaction and have probably made connections with General Eanes. Having burned their fingers with urging Spinola to take action, they are biding their time. They are satisfied that the immediate impetus of revolution has been stemmed.

All these factors now make enormous barriers in front of the revolution. They make inevitable sharp conflicts and clashes and even civil war in the next stage.

The revolution in Portugal developed at a far more rapid pace than in Spain of 1931-33. From the beginning it was at a higher level, with reaction weaker at each stage. At each decisive point it would have been possible to carry the Socialist revolution to a conclusion. Real power was in the hands of the workers and soldiers. The proletariat was blocked by its own organisations.

The organisation of workers power could have been carried through peacefully. There was no possibility of organised resistance, as the events following the March coup demonstrated.

Now a stern and bloody road lies in front of the working class and the revolution in Portugal. The responsibility for this must rest with the leadership of the mass workers parties.

General Eanes, through whose hands the threads of a new conspiracy and a new coup seem inevitably to pass, is preserving his discretion. It must be unique in the history of revolutions, that both the reaction and the Socialist Party leadership should plump for the same candidate. But at least though the candidate has not declared his policy, his actions, his dubious past in the African war, his social background and his suppression of the paratroops, make him the best candidate for the reaction. Particularly because he has not proclaimed openly his political opinions. The attitude of Soares is light-minded and criminal under these circumstances.

It is clear that even if the coming Right Wing coup attempt is not initiated by the President-to-be General Eanes, he will back it if it has the slightest possibility of success.

But as President and in control, at least nominally, of the armed forces, he will be in a strategic position for the next inevitable attempt, which is lodged in the situation in Portugal, and the present relationship of forces between the classes, bourgeoisie, proletariat and petit-bourgeoisie.

The Fascist bombings are meant to create a climate of anxiety and chaos. In the North they have murdered CP militants and prominent rank and file trade unionists. After the election of General Eanes they will redouble their activities to give the pretext for the proclamation of a state of siege. These are the classic activities of Fascists in the modern epoch, where they play the role of auxiliaries, as in Italy, and Chile, for an army coup. They are too weak to seize power on their own account and can only play the role of a civilian jackal to a military police dictatorship.

However, while the balance has shifted, there is still dual power in Portugal. The bourgeoisie has not got complete control of the State machine, and the decisive section of industry is nationalised. Even in the private sector there remains a large element of workers control. From an economic and political point of view, the present situation is intolerable – from both class poles, and poses enormous stresses on society.

The partial victory of the workers has maddened the reaction. They are burning for revenge for their humiliation and loss of power and Empire. There are reports that Sa Carneira’s reactionary group has prepared lists of the CP and SP militants and shop stewards and TU fighters numbering 200,000 for Spinola’s clandestine organisation. As in Indonesia these are to be systematically slaughtered. The working class has had power so near to its grasp that the irreconcilable reactionaries and capitalists have been frantic. The strategists of capital believe that only a terrible bloodbath can give them “social peace” and tranquillity.

The instinctive reaction of the workers to every move towards reaction during the last two years, was an indication of their fighting spirit and general awareness of what was at stake.

That still remains. Soares hysteria about the danger of Stalinist totalitarianism, and the cynicism of the Stalinist leadership means that the working class was split and partially paralysed and perplexed by this split. Especially as there was no united organisation embracing the class, such as Soviets, where the unity, and clash of ideas could clearly have been expressed.

But at the first movement towards a coup, the working class which has turned towards economic struggles, as they have been at least partially blocked on the political front, would swing into united action.

They would close the ranks like the workers did, at least partially, against the common enemy in Spain in 1934. The masses, though not in the position before November 25th, when they had complete power in their grasp, if they were conscious of it, are still in a powerful position. Even on the parliamentary plane they defeated the hopes of reaction by voting a Socialist­Communist majority. And the parliamentary plane is not the strongest area of struggle for the working class.

The masses are armed, at least partially, and will fight in an embittered mood to retain the gains and conquests of the revolution. In reality they control industry, communications and even the working of the banks, through the militant bank clerks.

After the experiences of Franco, where hundreds of thousands were shot, during and after the fascist victory, and with the fresh lesson of Chile before them, the workers will mobilise hundreds of thousands of ex-combatants in the African wars, and even many hundreds and thousands of “Left” officers, whose very lives would be at stake would join the struggle.

The apparent political apathy of the workers would immediately end and there would be miracles of organisation and ingenuity by the workers. They would react as they reacted to the Spinolist manoeuvres.

The victory of reaction is not at all sure, and despite the good for nothing leaderships which have foreseen nothing and prepared nothing a victory for the workers as in Spain of July 1936, is extremely likely. The whole situation is in the balance.

It will have to be tested in the struggle of the two fundamentally antagonistic classes. 60% of a revolution is still not enough. The old ruling class is striving to restore the old class balance. Particularly as monopoly capital received not one escudo in compensation.

The owners of the rest of industry are still fearful of sharing the same fate. They feel uneasy, especially as in many factories the elements of workers control extend to the inspection of the books.

They cannot accept this indefinitely. They want to be, unchallenged masters in their “own” businesses. The election of Eanes would embolden them. With the army now under the firm control of the general staff – as Eanes believes – the reaction no longer has phantoms at its disposal as was the case with Spinola. In addition they have the heavily armed PIDE forces and other irregulars who have smuggled arms or who have been given them by reactionary officers.

However in the armed forces, most conscripts, remain to be tested. Under a mass movement it is not at all certain they would remain a disciplined tool of reaction. The lava of revolution and the experiences of the last two years are still too fresh. Even the commandos, under such conditions, could waver, as they did when faced with mass demonstrations, when guarding Spinola in the presidential palace.

The most ludicrous and comical position is that of Soares, the Social Democrat. Immediately the danger, as he saw it, of a Left coup was crushed, he spoke of the danger now being a Right Wing coup. His position is that of the petit-bourgeoisie scurrying between the mighty and antagonistic proletarian and bourgeois forces of society. Now fighting the danger from one side, now the other he wishes to “reconcile” these irreconcilable forces. But that has not prevented him from supporting General Eanes, and thus given an impetus to reaction.

His position of man in the middle is expressed in his dream of a stabilised Portugal, which would freeze the present social situation. The 60-70% of nationalisation must satisfy the workers while no new encroachments on capital in the rest of industry, or on the land, must be made. The capitalists must be satisfied with their 30% of industry and must invest, but not try and regain the commanding heights of the economy.

That way a democratic republic can be stabilised!

That is the most utopian dream of all in the grim situation of Portugal. There were 200,000 unemployed, to which have been added the demobbed soldiers and the refugees.

The traditional safety valves of the Empire and of work in W. Europe have been shut by the rise of unemployment there. The super-exploitation of colonial peoples, and the tribute of gold extracted for Portugal by the Mozambique labourers in the mines of South Africa has ended. Emigrants from Europe are returning and remittances are drying up.

Portugal could maintain its markets in textiles, chemicals, sardines, and other commodities, in Europe and abroad only by the most shameful exploitation of the Portuguese workers, under the heel of Fascism.


Economic Crisis

The Right-Wing journal the Economist, sober organ of British capitalism, in its issue of 13/9/75 explains the impasse of Portuguese capitalism. Sections of international capital which found Portugal a lucrative field of investment are now looking elsewhere for super profits, of a colonial or semi-colonial character. They will not return in any number unless these conditions also return.

“But (ITT) their reasons for closing their books cannot be seen purely as one outcome of the trend to workers control  or  government  chaos.  The Goncalves’s government enforcing workers control (?) Almost its last act, is in many ways extremely conservative, and admonishes the workers to increase productivity. At the base of private industry’s problems, whether foreign or Portuguese, is the over-night change from extreme laissez-faire capitalism to a normal degree of concern that workers get a fair wage, earned under acceptable working conditions, and benefit from employers contributions to social security, which are still lower than in other W. European countries. [18.5% of the wage]:

“It is easy for ITT and others to plead revolutionary chaos and insufficient authority to run their companies, but pre-revolutionary cost-benefit analyses were postulated on shamefully low wages and virtually non-existent social security contributions  “

“The electronics industry in Portugal was particularly vulnerable… Applied Magnetics closed its plant a year ago and ITT’s components subsidiary, Standard Electrica, may go the same way, unless the government decides to bail it out…

“The new workers committees have matured since they began a year ago. One electrical goods company boss says; “the workers’ committees are now far more cooperative and conscious of the companies problems than the unions. They represent a wider section of political opinion, they often include employees from accounts departments, and their control is often more a question of scrutiny and understanding of management and the company books, than of demands to run the show themselves. At Plessey, for example, the workers’ committee put up the idea of starting a new production line, which is now under way”.

Nevertheless Portuguese industry is in bad shape, investment has dropped catastrophically while entre­preneurs wait. to see what the government has in store for private enterprise. Recent statistics show a fall of 80% in investment compared with the 2nd quarter of last year, in the electrical, textile and chemical sectors. Falls of around 40% have been recorded in manufacturing industry generally. The construction sector has ground to a virtual halt.

“…Tourism and emigrants remittances are down sharply and previously they covered around 35% of the trade deficit…”

Industrial production fell 20% in 1974 and another 20% in 1975. Unemployment in 1975 was over 200,000 and the situation of the workless is desperate. 300 companies employing 200,000 workers are virtually bankrupt. 10% of the workers were unemployed in September 1975.

Inflation, according to the Economist of February 7th 1976 is now at a rate of 50% a month. 20% of the workforce 400,000 were unemployed at the end of February. That is one in five of the workforce. That would mean in the big countries of W. Europe an unemployment of 4 million, in proportion to population.

The hopes of the population were that after the elections things would improve.

But the organic sickness of Portuguese capitalism, and the conscious desire of Big Business to restore the “good old days” means that there can be no fundamental change in the position of the Portuguese economy, while the uneasy balance of forces between the classes remains.

It is a situation of either or. The German Social-Democrats sabotaged the 1918 revolution. The consequence fifteen years later was the victory of Hitler.

It will not take fifteen years before the showdown in Portugal perhaps not as many months.

The situation could only be solved in the interests of the working class, by a Workers Democracy. Workers power, involving planned production could draw behind it the mass of the petit-bourgeoisie and the peasants, and with a perspective of work and a future prosperity, even the refugees could be won especially if the idea of the revolution would be linked to the developing revolution in Spain, and the Socialist revolution in Europe.

Portugal is a small country and would be strangled economically by world capitalism, without the support of the workers of Spain and Europe, and the workers of the Soviet Union. But such a support and aid would be forthcoming with a genuine Workers Democracy. This road for the moment is closed because of the policies of the SP and CP leaderships.

But as in the case of Spain 1931-37 it is impossible to solve even the problems of “democratic” revolution, the land question on a bourgeois-democratic basis. This failure even to solve the bourgeois-democratic tasks by the Spanish CP and SP leadership was responsible for the debacle in Spain and the victory of Franco.

This could only have been done by sweeping away capitalism completely. Similarly the carrying through of 50% or 60% of the revolution – despite and against the policies of the CP and SP leadership in Portugal – cannot satisfy any of the classes. The proletariat is impelled by the logic of the situation to try and carry the revolution further, while the bourgeoisie will try and restore their lost positions politically and economically.

The dilemma of Soares is that in the red-hot atmosphere of Portugal attempts .to turn the screw further on the working class will result in an explosion. On the other hand the Portuguese and International capitalists will not be prepared to invest further without “political stability” and the cheap and “docile” labour of the past. Without workers management and control the large state sector will not function properly, even to the maximum extent of productive possibilities.

The weakness of Portuguese industry makes it difficult to compete on world markets on even terms.

Portugal’s deficit in the balance of payments is growing. Partial solutions of state ownership, exaggerate the problem by making industry lop-sided. It makes it difficult to organise an integrated investment plan, involving the entire economy and the entire population. Even the end of the slump and the beginning of a new precarious boom of the world capitalist economy will not bring much relief. Even a rise in the economy and a drop in the catastrophic figure of unemployment would merely aggravate the class tensions. It would satisfy neither the remaining entrepreneurs nor the working class.

The capitalist class wants to make a decisive comeback and the reaction is thirsting for revenge. There is no future for capitalism without the destruction of the organisations of the working class and a return of the expropriated property of the bankers and landowners. This would mean a regime which would make Salazar, Caetano and the Generals dictatorship in Chile seem like a pale humanitarian experiment.

But any attempt to reverse the remaining gains of the revolution – most of which still remain, like the nationalised industry and the land seizures, would meet with the furious resistance of the industrial and probably most of the white-collar workers, and certainly of the agricultural proletariat.

Soares and the Right Wing of the Socialist Party would even be prepared to make concessions to the capitalists and landowners in this sphere – in a vain endeavour to conciliate them but it would split the Socialist Party and the Right Wing might become a petit-bourgeois rump.

Like General Eanes, the Socialist Right-Wing leaders were “not happy” with the Constitution which calls for a “Movement towards Socialism,” but had to swallow it, on the basis of the present status quo. The alternative again would have been to split the Socialist Party.

The Right Wing under Soares had to console itself after all they could prevent further incursions. They take their stand on the “mixed economy” and try and bamboozle the workers that this is a guarantee of “democracy” and their “liberties” and “democratic rights”. As if everything that has been gained in the two years of revolution was not gained from the activity and power of the working class, and as if it was not only this power on which the working class can rest to defend all the gains of the revolution. Only by extending these gains can the revolution be secure from the gathering counter-revolution.

The bourgeoisie cannot accept indefinitely a constitution of this nature. They endeavoured to change the relations in the superstructure by trying to gain a Right Wing majority in the elections.

Even in retreat, the revolution was too strong. Now they are waiting for the election of their man in the presidential election. Soares has made virtually inevitable the election of “knobkerry Eanes.”

The masses will pay in blood, for the futile fussing and “clever” manoeuvres of Soares. Diplomatic intrigue, instead of bold explanations to the masses, means in the English proverb or expression that Soares is “too clever by half.”

He will outmanoeuvre himself, by these manoeuvres. He will bring from the Right what he is trying to avoid from the Left, lulling the proletariat and giving points of support to the counter-revolution.

Soares who at the beginning of the revolution was talking in fiery language of the dictatorship of the proletariat – in the dim and distant future of course – has been horrified by the course of events. By embracing Eanes he hopes to ensure stability. Like a man standing on the deck of a ship wrecked and on fire, he grabs at a pyromaniac with matches and dynamite at the ready. This can only create a bigger blaze and a bigger explosion.

The tragedy of Portugal, as of Spain and all the countries of Europe, since the degeneration of the Communist International in 1923, is that the mass organisations of the workers have acted as the major obstacles to prevent the transformation of society, for which the proletariat has moved instinctively into action. In Portugal the punishment for the opportunism of the Socialist and Communist Party leadership will not be long in coming, though the CP leadership supplemented this with bureaucratic “Ultra Leftism” on occasions.

But precisely the problem facing the Marxist tendency has been the isolation of Trotskyism – the inheritor of the tradition and ideas of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky – from the mass movement of the workers.

While the various “Trotskyist” sects – who have nothing in common with the ideas of Trotskyism – were creating imaginary mass movement and mass parties at the outbreak of the revolution in Portugal – like Spinolist adventurers of the Left: – we predicted the inevitability of the weak SP and the well-organised CP becoming mass movements.

In the absence of a mass revolutionary party it was inevitable that the masses should stream into the Socialist Party, as the upshot has shown, making the SP the strongest party in Portugal. These masses, as were the workers in the Communist Party, were seeking a path to Socialism – i.e. the revolutionary road.

But as all history has demonstrated they were not prepared to go over, join and support tiny “revolutionary” organisations, mainly students, with a “studentist” and not proletarian and serious approach. Even had they had the correct policies and not the immature and ultra-left policies of the Sects.

The Mandelists, Hansenites and others are completely blind to the lessons of the past six decades.

Unfortunately, even had they adopted the necessary tactical approach of working within the mass SP, they would have ruined the work, because of their strategic bankruptcy and their false policies.

But they have been content, as practically everywhere else, to adapt themselves to the petit-bourgeois students, instead of re-educating and re-constructing the ideas of the sincere students, turning them into proletarian revolutionaries, in approach and standpoint.

Now they are isolated completely from the revolution, with less mass support than in the early days. They are still overwhelmingly student based. This is a base of water rather than a firm foundation on which to build.

Meanwhile, again, as our tendency forecast there has developed, on the basis of events a ferment within the Socialist Party. A partly confused but definite Left Wing trend and opposition within the youth and within the Socialist Party to the Reformist and temporising trend of Soares and the Right Wing.

Undoubtedly over a period of more than two years, on the basis of the revolution, and with patient and friend! work and correct policies, explaining each stage of the revolution, it would have been possible to create a mass revolutionary current, even possibly challenging Soares for the majority of the Socialist Party. This starting with a handful of 20 or so Marxists, with a knowledge of theory and how to work, or the willingness to acquire these in study and discussion nationally and internationally.

On the basis of revolution, the masses and especially the active advance guard, discussing events from month to month, week to week, and even daily, can learn the lessons of events when pointed out by Marxists, in their organisations.

Undoubtedly they would be repelled by the strutting, irresponsible and posturing students self-styled “avant garde,” “Trotskyists” outside their organisations. This even if by some miracle they were putting forward correct policies, slogans, and were working with correct methods.

These crude and ultra-left tendencies push people away from them. Even with correct policies they would be too small to attract more than an individual worker here or there, disillusioned with the policies of the mass organisations. They have not the slightest chance of attracting a mass following.

Now, during the past two years an opposition has been growing within the Socialist Party. It began, almost immediately when the SP became a mass organisation. The stupidity of the Left-Reformist or Centrist leader of the Left current Manuel Serra, who split prematurely from the SP in the early stage of the revolution, dealt a temporary blow to the growth of the Left.

The organisation, he tried to build came in tow, for a time, to the Stalinists, and is now stagnating and disintegrating. With incorrect policies it was doomed from the start. But even with correct policies, the law worked out by our tendency that the masses move first through their traditional organisations has been crushingly borne out by the experience of the Portuguese revolution. Serra’s organisation is now just one of the multitude of sects that infect and infest the Portuguese revolution.

The reformist policies of Soares, are coming more and more into collision with the realities of class relations in Portugal and the need for decisive _Socialist policies. Consequently discontent and a growing radicalism have begun to appear within the rank and file, among the active members of the Socialist Party. ln its turn this has had its effect on the top layers of the Socialist Party. The Portuguese Socialist Minister of Agriculture has openly proclaimed the need for the nationalisation of all land, and refused to take action against “illegal” land seizures, despite Soares temporising.

It is because he fears that the Socialist Party would fall into the hands of the Left, if he took over the Presidency, that Soares has refused to stand and thus delivered the revolution into serious dangers.


The Tasks of Marxism

Without a thoroughly grounded Marxist wing, which could have tested itself and explained to the Left moving socialist workers the meaning of each event, and thus enriched and enhanced its stature, politically and organisationally, acting in a dialectical interaction of the Socialist Party and the tendency: the Left has wavered erratically. There is the danger that with undoubted Stalinist infiltration and pressure, the SP left and the youth will move more and more into the orbit of the Communist Party.

The tragic experience of the revolution in Spain in 1935-37 when Nin and Andrade insisted on an “independent orientation,” and the enormous opportunities to win to genuine Marxism, tens and hundreds of thousands of young and old socialists were lost, striking blows against the revolution and contributing to its defeat, is repeated on a new historical level.

The difference being, that there were no conscious Marxists at the beginning of the revolution in Portugal. Mandel and Co., immediately hared after the students, and this in turn decided their policy and standpoint as in France and other countries. The social composition, and the policies of these sects determine each other. Students with a Marxist policy and without the infantile diseases of Leftism – and its opposite Opportunism – working within the mass organisations have a role to play, once they understand the limits of studentism – and the handicap of student orientations and attitudes.

Even a small force of Trotskyists – genuine Trotskyists of our tendency, could have made a decisive difference. Even now, while it will be many times more difficult than for the tendency as in Greece, growing with the development of the SP from the first days of the revolution, it should be possible to create a Marxist tendency in the Socialist Party. Otherwise the Left will be reduced to futility and come into the control, or at least the orbit of the Stalinists, for want of a better alternative.

The Italian revolution is still experiencing the effect of the Nenni Lefts, in tow to the CP, then becoming even more opportunist and then again coming in tow to the CP. They have mutually acted as poles of degeneration one upon the other, competing in coalitionism and class collaboration. The way out of this impasse would have been the emergence of a Marxist current in the SP or CP. Similarly in Portugal the emergence of a strong Marxist tendency in the Socialist Party would have exerted a powerful attraction on the layer of devoted fighters and militant workers in the CP. They are critical but do not see a revolutionary alternative. They can only regard the ultra-left antics of the Sects with anger and contempt.

On the other hand the SP leaders looking to the left, some with an honest desire for revolutionary solutions, can only greet with laughter the pretensions of the sects. This it is which drives them closer to the CP, many are critical of Stalinism, but without clear policies of their own, and with the attraction of “unity” are drawn behind the policies of the CP.

The organisation of a powerful Marxist Left in the Socialist Party, would have given them no other way than to move in that direction on pain of isolation, from the Left-Wing of their own party. Many could have, under these circumstances been won completely to the banner and programme of Marxism.

Thus quality could have been transformed in to quantity and back again. Instead the grandiose and hysterical activities of the sects in creating mass “parties” Maoist and “Trotskyist” merely created impatience and disgust and plays into the hands of the CP and SP bureaucracy. This charade is now being played in Italy, where the Mandelists are putting up “independent” “Trotskyist” candidates in the elections. These gentlemen have not the foggiest idea of Marxist theory. or the rich tactical lessons of the last few decades. They “participate” in elections in France, Portugal, Italy and Britain without forces and without perspectives.

Yesterday they like the Healyites in Britain, were completely opportunist tendencies in the mass organisations. Today they are ultra-left with opportunist overtones. Tomorrow, when their student base dries up they will creep into the mass organisations with a remnant of their, in reality, phantom forces.

Most of their “anti-cadres” are so mis-educated that they are not worth half-a-dozen real militant workers, embedded in the trade unions, mass organisations and shop stewards committees and beginning to look for a Socialist alternative within the mass movement. The Hansenite-Mandelist-Healyite school is incapable of building a serious revolutionary organisation or theory. “Trotskyism” in its ludicrous guises, can have no attraction for those members of the SP especially, who have been pushed to the Left, by the titanic and magnificent movements of the proletariat during the revolution.

The repulsion from “Trotskyism” pushes them towards “unity” of action at least, with the Communist Party, especially in its present grovelling mood. Even, though yesterday they made agreements in many unions with the Maoists. against the haughty and bureaucratic attitudes of the CP where they seized – without elections – control of the unions.

In fact, without a Marxist alternative, the cynicism of the CP leaders, their derogatory attitude to the rank and file can have an appeal to some of the left leaders, who have not shed their petit-bourgeois attitudes of superiority, to the ordinary members of the Socialist Party and of the active working class.

All the developments in Portugal must be regarded from the background of the developing Spanish revolution. This will mightily influence further developments of the revolution in Portugal.

Within months however a new stage of the revolution is inevitable. It would seem that everything is standing still, waiting for the presidential election. But while the SP and CP’s attention is directed to the electoral plane, the reaction is systematically preparing its plans with the purging and consolidation of a “new” army. In the sense that the new compact body will be more disciplined and controlled, more a “reliable” weapon of the bourgeoisie. In addition, with the blind eye of the police and military authorities: in fact with their collusion bands of irregulars armed to the teeth are being prepared. Many like the “clandestine” “Portuguese Liberation Army” are in touch with the discredited Spinola, who is scheming his revenge for his class and personal humiliation. General Eanes has protested, that while “a personal friend of Spinola, he is no Spinolist”. This is correct, but only because General Eanes is a partisan of General Eanes and wants the leading position of Bonapartist dictator for himself.

The position of chief-of-staff and President are only ‘..stepping stones in this direction. Eanes is as “democratic” as the Chilean generals who proclaimed their love of “the Constitution” and ““Democracy” while preparing to destroy both.

The counter-revolution has a more difficult task in Portugal, than in Chile, because of the fresh awareness of the masses of the 50 years nightmare of Fascism and because every step forward of the revolution in Portugal, after its initiation by the officers, has been taken by the direct action and movement of the masses themselves.

Because they burned their fingers, the strategists of capital are proceeding with more caution and more deliberation. Like the Marxists, the enemy learns – at least empirically, if not in theory, from events.

They now understand that any move towards reaction will provoke an explosion among the masses. Therefore they are preparing for Civil War and a bloody settlement with the working class.

Civil War could take place within months or even weeks, following the presidential election.

The outbreak of new strikes, demonstrations, and clashes plus the bombs and provocations of the (Spinolist)-Eaneists will give the president pretexts for new elections, or just as likely the proclamation of a “state of siege” or “emergency”.

The presidency will be used as a rallying point, as was the intention of Spinola. But the army masses, and the workers affected by the revolution, made Spinola’s pretensions absurd.

The situation is far more serious and difficult for the working class now. But a mass movement of the workers – a general strike leading to clashes and insurrection – will have an effect even on the carefully selected army.

As the reply of the Spanish workers to the July 19th insurrection showed, even the army can be defeated by the movement of the workers, because of the effect on the rank and file soldiers given an alternative by the movement of the masses.

One thing seems certain, the masses will not accept destruction of the revolution without a fight, especially in Lisbon. That will probably mean bitter civil war, with supplies from America and the EEC to the capitalists forces and the Soviet Union despite its desire for detente being compelled to supply the workers forces, by the mood and reaction of Soviet workers.

Such a clash of class forces can only lead to the carrying through of the revolution to a conclusion. In the first battles all the industries and sizeable capitalist firms would be expropriated in the areas under the control of the workers.

But without a Marxist party with theory and organisation, the Stalinists, or those officers who would rally to the side of the workers, could gradually strangle the elements of workers democracy which would appear. Defeat of the counter-revolution would not necessarily lead to a victory for workers democracy. All these perspectives must be borne in mind in our work and in our perspectives.

One thing is clear, the European bourgeoisie does not regard with enthusiasm the possible development of civil war in Portugal. They are afraid oi its effects on Spain and the precarious class balance of forces in Western Europe. Then again they are not at all certain that capitalism would emerge victorious from the conflict. They do not look forward to the possible emergence of a workers state – even a deformed one on this side of the continent – which is much too close to Western Europe for comfort.

All Western Europe would be stirred. The Spanish workers would irresistibly be impelled into action. The workers of Italy, France, Britain and West Germany, not to speak of the smaller countries, would be affected by the mighty clash of opposed class forces.

Thus we see the precarious relationship of class forces in W. Europe at the present time.

All this should provide big opportunities for the Marxist tendency to grow and develop. We must bear national and international perspectives, of sudden changes and sharp turns, in our thoughts and as a guide to work constantly before us.

The explosion in Greece, with its concomitant of strikes and demonstrations, in recent days, is the first warning in the Greek revolution. As was the million strong demonstration of the Greek masses in Athens after the murder of Panagoulis.

The Greek and Portuguese revolutions are the first moves on the periphery of the European Socialist revolution.

Our immediate task is to try and create a Portuguese tendency in the Socialist Party. Much time has been lost through circumstances beyond our control. But our Spanish comrades,    though their main attention, naturally, should be directed to organisational, theoretical, and political work in Spain, must endeavour, with the help, financial and organisational of the centre, and of all international tendencies, to turn and work in the Portuguese Young Socialists and SP and through the UGT comrades in the Portuguese trade unions, to create a Marxist tendency in the speediest time that is possible.

The task of creating a new movement in Europe is ours and ours alone. Only we have understood that it is absolute fantasy to imagine that there is any other way of creating a mass Trotskyist movement except from within and out of the old workers movement.

In the light of the Greek and Portuguese revolutions and the events developing in France and Italy it is necessary to find the finance, connections, and manpower to build sections in these countries as a task of urgency.

While our attention above all must be devoted to the Greek, Spanish and Portuguese revolutions we must find a way of gaining points of support in Italy and France at least, for future developments there.

Routine must be avoided in our national and international work. It must be prepared. While not exaggerating our forces or undertaking tasks beyond our resources and strength, we must keep an attentive eye and ear on the development of the movement of the workers especially in the countries mentioned.

An understanding of the perspectives by all supporters will lead to the gathering of the necessary resources. In the light of these revolutions and events we should be reinforced in our understanding and resolution.

Events demonstrate anew that there is no other way to gather the forces of Marxism except the methods, policy, strategy, and tactics of our tendency.

May 29th 1976