Revolution and Counter Revolution in Portugal
Translated from the supplement to the July-August 1975 issue of Revista de América, Buenos Aires, Argentina, a journal of the Socialist Workers Party of Argentina. Transcribed from an International Information Bulletin, March 1977, published by the Socialist Workers Party of the United States.
The whole movement of the left agrees that Portugal is today one of the main revolutionary centers of the world, and without doubt, the axis of the European revolution. For many of us, it represents just as surely the highest peak of the class struggle on an international scale.
This elementary agreement with respect to the importance of the Portuguese revolution today vanishes as soon as we begin to consider some of the problems it poses. It is a workers’ revolution, or a popular-democratic revolution? What is the Armed Forces Movement [MFA – Movimento das Forcas Armadas]? What is the character of the government? Is it something new for Marxism or is it already well known? What is to be done in face of the pact the MFA has forced upon the working-class parties holding a majority, the Socialist and Communist parties, by which they recognized its right to govern the country for a number of years? Do we allow the sovereign attributes of the already elected Constituent Assembly to be cut down in this way? Do we defend the legal rights of the Maoist groups outlawed by the government? Do we agree that the daily Repùblica – a private enterprise, but at the same time an unofficial organ of the Socialist Party – should cease to be published as such because of a joint maneuver of the CP and MFA – or a sector of it? Where do we stand on the struggle between the SP and CP? And in Angola, the main former Portuguese colony, what do we do concerning the troops stationed there? Should they remain to intervene in the civil war that has been unleashed between the three liberation fronts? Or should they withdraw and let the FNLA [Frente Nacional de Libertação de Angola – Angolan National Liberation Front] – linked to Zaire – defeat the opportunist MPLA [Movimento Popular de Libertacão de Angola – People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola] – linked to the CP and willing to make a pact with the Portuguese government and Portuguese imperialism? Various answers have been given to these and other questions of more or less importance.
The world Trotskyist movement is no exception. An intensive discussion has been going on within its ranks, and different answers have been given to these questions. The articles we are publishing in this issue of Revista de América (articles by Gus Horowitz, Livio Maitan, Ernest Mandel, Andrés Romero, and Fernando Sousa, and an editorial from Rouge on the daily Repùblica) are contributions to this lively but responsible polemic, which only Trotskyists are capable of conducting on the basis of revolutionary Marxist principles. We do not agree with them in every respect; that is why we thought it advisable to write this extensive article, which we do not regard as a definitive answer, but as another contribution to the debate. Distance, the lack of exhaustive documentation, make us all the readier to modify our point of view if other facts and other interpretations prove to be more accurate.
A final clarification. This article was written for the last issue of Revista de América, which was scheduled to go to press on June 23. Because of this, I did not deal with Mandel’s interesting article, which I had not yet seen. The delay in printing the article permitted me to make some corrections in form and content, which did not, however, alter its general line.
Nahuel Moreno, Buenos Aires, July 10, 1975
Last updated on 30.12.2002