Many young people and workers are asking themselves: why is it necessary one more left-wing party? There have already been enough parties. Haven’t they? The PS, PC, the Left Bloc (BE)[1] and even the MRPP (Maoist) or the PAN (environmentalists) is not sufficient? Maybe a new Left-wing party will split the already split Left? Won’t it? Isn’t it true that the Right-wing parties will benefit from this situation? This article aims at clarifying the reasons why we advocate that, in fact, the current parties are not satisfactory and that we need a real alternative and socialist movement.

If the current parties were sufficient and effective there wouldn’t have arisen alternative mass movements in Portugal and around the world, demonstrations (and camping sites) which were called and implemented by citizens who have felt as “à rasca”[2]  and without any political representation. We witnessed a popular assembly, on October 15, during an international event (with over 20,000 participants in Lisbon), which was called upon regardless of almost all the current Left-wing parties and even the Unions. It was this popular assembly that called for a general strike to stop Passos Coelho and the “troika”[3], because until then, the CGTP, led by the PCP, had not even come to this conclusion.

There is no doubt that all these facts express a suspicion (and perhaps a significant rejection) for the current Left. Further, if we review the policy of each of these parties, we will notice the reasons why an increasing number of people have been divorced from them. It is not by chance that the BE lost, on June 5, about 300,000 votes, it is not by chance that the PC only keeps its weight, or even sees its weight reduced, never recovering from the figures obtained in the 70’s (on the impact of the Portuguese revolution of April 1974), it is not by chance no one sees a PAN’s militant (if there is any) in the demonstrations, and, finally, it is no coincidence that the very MRPP, despite the BE masses electoral setback, does not advance, it just keeps the same voting record for decades and we can’t even see that they have increased the number of young activists; who are lacking in their ranks. But let’s see, one by one, which has been happening with the Left.

As far as the PS is concerned we will not spend more than a paragraph. This is a party that, even in the “opposition” wants to limit the budget cuts, imposed by the “troika” and Passos Coelho, to a subsidy (the other part could be cut away), and later, in a possible return to power, they can govern similarly to the PSD / CDS-PP coalition (Right-wing Parties).

With regard to the PC, so that we do not return too much in time, so that we do not refer to it as a party that for more than 40 years supported single party dictatorships in Eastern Europe (and currently holds its support for regimes such as Cuba and China), let’s just say that, in the current situation, it called (through the CGTP[4]) only a general strike a year, while Greece holds six or seven to fight austerity. Even the last, the strike on November 24, the PCP participated in the wake of the popular assembly’s appeal, referred to above, with more than 10,000 people, which approved a guideline that, so far, neither the PCP (nor the BE) had raised: the need for a new general strike, and the suspension of the debt payment to the French and German banks, otherwise the country would succumb, without any production capacity and without jobs.

On the other hand, everyone knows that the PCP has been a serious opponent of the manifestations of the “geração à rasca”, against the camping at the Rossio, the15 October’s platforms and against all manifestations that are not controlled by them. All these facts indicate that it is a party that remains, in essence, rather authoritarian and antidemocratic and its opposition to the governments of the PS and the right is more rhetorical than with the intent to effectively fight them.

About the BE, which we know very well, it is a party that promised too much but did very little. Soon, hundreds of thousands of votes and parliamentary illusion made ​​old revolutionary leaders into mere parliamentarians whose speeches and policies are institutionalized and colluding with the regime and the system that govern us. As we shall see: On the debt problem, BE has the same position as the PCP: we must pay it. Hence both advocate renegotiation. None of them has the courage to defend an immediate payment suspension of this immoral and unfair debt.

But perhaps what most evidences the impotence of these two Left-wing parties, BE and PC, is the policy they have for themselves. That is, both parties have never agreed on a unity that could dispute an alternative government to the governments of the PS and the Right, despite having the same propositions in many areas. Joining forces to fight the Right and the PS in power, they never did. Moreover, the BE found reasons that the Reason itself does not recognizes, to support Socrates’ candidate[5]. This support caused its own sinking, as well as the sinking of the Left in general during the last general elections.

BE, let’s say the truth about it, has the worst of each of the two parties which, at the beginning of its way, was presented as an alternative: from PS it takes the same strategy and political alliances, with Alegre, with Antonio Costa and even the programmatic moderation; from PCP, its leadership takes the internal authoritarianism in relation to the currents at his Left, it takes also the antidemocratic marginalization of its public expression, in short, a model of bureaucratic centralism typical of the Stalinist parties.

In our case, they did not dare to drive us out, but in practical terms, they pushed us out of the BE. It can be seen that, as of June 5 and in face of the catastrophic election’s results, they refused to call an extraordinary convention to review their policies critically and, conversely, they promoted a sectarian and antidemocratic internal operation, through plenary sessions of the “Motion A” (linked to the direction) in order to remove literally all critical sectors.

Regarding the MRPP, we are not going to talk about (in this article) more than one paragraph. It is a Party of the old Portuguese Left which might still keep in their headquarters the pictures of Stalin and Mao. It is a party that has been stagnated for decades, there are no young people in its bodies and it oscillates, (as always, who do not remember their support to Ramalho Eanes, the General that lead a coup in the 1974 revolution), between positions close to the PS (they also supported Alegre in the last presidential elections), to ultra-leftist positions. It is a party which merely issue warnings, and has been building up very little in the actual movements (or it does not even participate in), to boost the new protest movements.

From all this reality we come to the conclusion that it is missing a new Left, combative and uncommitted with the current regime, to put on the agenda the need for a new social revolution, a new 1974 April 25[6]. A truly anti-capitalist Left who defies the whole Left to unite in order to face the troika and the right-wing government. We are committed to this task.

Ruptura/FER is the IWL-FI’s section in Portugal whose cadres were part of BE since its foundation.

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[1] PS: Socialist Party (social-democrat); PCP: Communist Party of Portugal (Stalinist, euro-communist); BE: Left Bloc/Bloco de Esquerda (anti-capitalist electoral party)

[2] À rasca: from “geração à rasca”; a Portuguese idiom that means generation without a future.

[3] Troika: the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. Passos Coelho: Prime Minister of Portugal

[4] CGTP – Central Geral dos Trabalhadores de Portugal, a National Workers Federation lead by the PC.

[5] Socrates (PS): former Prime Minister of Portugal whose candidate, Manuel Alegre, lost the last election for the Rightist Passos Coelho.

[6] 1974 April 25: the date of the so called Carnation Revolution or “Revolução dos Cravos” in Portuguese.