The struggle against the Colonial War and the Salarazist dictatorship were the roots of a profound revolution that questioned not just the political regime but, above all, the structural bases of capitalist and colonialist systems and of the dictatorship.

By Em Luta – Portugal.

 

During the revolutionary process of 74-75, workers and students went to the streets and occupied barracks, industries, schools and companies. In the song Liberdade, by Sérgio Godinho, some of the main demands were summarized: peace, bread, housing, health, education. Today, under the cloak of democracy, most of those demands suffered a setback.

Today Portugal is member of the UE, a war machine that puts people against people and closes the doors to immigrants and refugees while it takes part on wars that plunder resources from Syria, Iraq, Africa, etc.

Bread is denied to thousands of families in Portugal. Poverty raises associated to unemployment, low wages, precarious jobs, and miserable pensions: there is no dignified life to the ones who live of their workforce. This is why the rate of migration is similar to the 60s’.

Together and in contrast with real estate speculation, there are empty and abandoned houses; evictions in Black neighborhoods in Lisbon suburbs; homeless people; youth still living with their parents; and unaffordable mortgages. Dignified housing is, today, a denied right.

Public health was one the biggest conquests on the afterwards of April 25. The destruction of labor and workers’ rights and the non-investment throughout successive governments opened space for private health care companies and to a constant decline of public health.

Free education as defined in the Constitution is a mirage. School until the age of 6 is completely private; university studies manage exorbitant bribes; and mandatory school has been target of constant attacks, causing degradation of its quality and results.

What does not Move Forward Moves Backwards

Among the companies, not only rights and stability were achieved as well as –although unevenly – workers’ democracy regarding workers’ control of the companies and their fates.

The Bank was nationalized in March 11, 1975, with lower credits for the population and better conditions for bank workers. In 1989, a constitutional modification permitted the re-privatization of the Bank. Currently, the state pays private losses with public funds. Industry and other sectors were re-privatized, providing worst services, or simply closing as the new owners preferred “easy” investments on financial speculation.

The revolution gave Portuguese nationality to everyone born in Portugal. Currently, young children of immigrants – Black on its majority – have to struggle to get nationality even if they were born and grown in the country.

We Need Another April 25!

The revolution of April 25 did not take the demands all the way, as the Socialist Party [PS] – with connivance of the Portuguese Communist Party [PCP] – stablished a bourgeoise democracy in the image and likeness of European social democracy instead of a workers’ democracy. These same parties had been on the front line of dismantling April’s achievements, imposing attacks – like the PS – or demobilizing workers – like the PCP.

Today, April 25 demands are more current than never. In the capitalist system, under dictatorship or democracy, the interests of bosses and bankers rule bleeding the children of working class. As the song said: “there is only real freedom when there is freedom to change and to decide, when it belongs to the people, what the people produced.”[1]

Currently, during times of austerity and a “geringonça”[2] that speaks a lot but does nothing for the workers, we have to resume the struggle for Peace, Bread, Housing, Health and Education.

Another April 25 is needed! A revolution that does not limit to democracy but goes all the way fighting capitalism, in Portugal and the world, giving to the working peoples what the working peoples produce.

**

Originally published @ Em Luta #5.

Translation: Eduardo Correia Neto.

Notes:

[1] “Só há liberdade a sério quando houver, liberdade de mudar e de decidir, quando pertencer ao povo, o que o povo produzir.”

[2] Something poorly done, with a fragile structure.