Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/756/16315
Portugal: Revolutionary spirit in fighting austerity
On 2 March, under the slogan "Screw the Troika - the people are the best rulers", over 1.5 million people (out of a population of 10.7 million) reclaimed Portugal's streets, in what even the media has speculated may have been the country's biggest ever demonstrations.
The demonstrations sent a clear message to the Troika - EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - as their representatives visited Lisbon for the seventh time to oversee the brutal austerity cuts imposed on the country.
As well as the need to stop the Troika, hundreds of thousands in front of the finance ministry expressed their demand to bring down the government.
These demonstrations, bringing together workers, the poor and soldiers in every town of the country, showed that the Portuguese people are up for a fight and are determined to force this government and its policies from the scene of history.
The task now is to build a movement strong and militant enough to bring down the coalition, armed with the necessary ideas and programme to chart a way out of the mass misery of the capitalist crisis.
A 24-hour general strike is needed as an immediate step towards an all-out struggle to bring down the government.
Last September, the same platform brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets, sending the government into disarray and forcing it to cancel important austerity announcements.
However, the momentum to force the government out was not seized upon. The same mistake must not be repeated.
Armenio Carlos, Secretary-General of CGTP (main trade union federation) said on 2 March: "Today it is clear that this government has no political legitimacy, has no moral legitimacy, has no ethical legitimacy to continue to govern... The government has became the problem that prevents the solution" (Euronews.com).
However, Carlos is not giving a lead, ie to implement the steps necessary to bring down the hated politicians.
The organisation of those who made history on 2 March into democratic committees of action in workplaces and communities; an immediate campaign to force the CGTP leaders into the calling of a general strike to bring down the government; the occupation of strategic buildings, the main workplaces, etc, are urgent tasks of the hour.
Alongside this, the mass left parties (Left Bloc and Communist Party, who already share almost 30% in opinion polls) have been handed an historic responsibility to channel the movement through a political programme to end the misery of capitalism and austerity - ie to refuse to pay the debt, no to austerity, nationalisation of the banks and commanding heights of the economy under democratic workers' control and management.
Such a government could immediately inspire the struggles in Greece, Spain, Italy and all over Europe in a joint battle to end the dictatorship of the Troika and the markets.
The demonstrations were soaked through with the legacy of the April 1974 Portuguese revolution. Following on from the repeated singing of "Grandola Vila Morena", in protest actions in previous weeks, the demonstrations ended with the mass singing of this hymn of the 1974 revolution, reflecting how 38 years after the event, the capitalist crisis has dragged revolution back onto the agenda.
The only lasting way to complete its legacy is to carry through the socialist revolution today.
In The Socialist 13 March 2013:
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