Charles Reeve: contra as "raízes da amnésia", o "fértil território da imprevisibilidade"

Enquanto Charles Reeve não se decide a adoptar a opção do Jorge Valadas e a subir a bordo do Vias, que fazer, senão viajramos nós a bordo de textos como este, que, fazendo o balanço dos últimos quarenta anos da região portuguesa, descobre e nos descobre, contra "as raízes da amnésia", o "fértil território da imprevisibilidade"?  Aqui fica a abertura de Portugal: Forty Years of Democracy — e o link de acesso ao texto integral:

Forty years ago, on April 25, 1974, a military coup organized by a group of young officers, the Armed Forces Movement (M.F.A.), brought down the Salazar dictatorship, which had been embroiled since 1961 in a colonial war on three African fronts: Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea-Bissau. This led to a year and a half of exciting social movements, which made a strong impact on political forces in Europe, from the ultra-left to the right. Both the political instability created in the region and the important role played in the social movement and in the new government by the Communist Party (P.C.P.) weighed on the global balance of power between East and West. A second military putsch, on November 25, 1975, put an end to this period of agitation and reestablished the “natural order” of things. These events, relatively recent, still mark Portuguese society, influencing the social movements responding to the current crisis.

 The memory of April 25: Myth of the Victors

The official memory of April 25, 1974 is, as always, a construction by the victors. It is, in fact, the memory of November 25, 1975, the second coup, which reestablished parliamentary democracy, normalizing political life, and imposing a juridical framework of formal liberties and the respect for private property required for capitalist exploitation. Thanks to propaganda, habit, and forgetting, the popular memory of April 25 has finally disappeared into the official myth of the free market and democracy, the permanent delegation of power to a political caste. Though not completely, as we will see.

All sources confirm that the majority of the soldiers who rebelled on April 25 at first envisaged a modernization of the old regime, with a move to neocolonialism. Intuitively, by intervening directly, the popular classes anticipated this scenario and forced the military to modify their plans. Street demonstrations and attacks on the partisans of the old regime quickly led to strikes and workplace occupations, the formation of workers’ committees, the purging of business-owners and managers linked to the old regime, the expropriation of the great latifundia in the south of the country by agricultural workers, the creation of production cooperatives, and attempts at self-management. The end of the war was a widespread popular demand, provoking mutinies in the barracks and a rapid collapse of the military hierarchy.

The dynamism and breadth of this social movement led to its radicalization and promoted self-organization and the appearance of militant workers’ committees promoting self-management. This immediately confronted the authoritarian strategy of the powerful Communist Party, which, newly emerged from clandestinity, had joined with the provisional government installed by the military putsch. For a year and a half—a period of social agitation that ended on November 25, 1975—these two social tendencies were in conflict with each other, and also with the forces defending the private capitalist order, led by the Portuguese Socialist Party (P.S.P.), allied with the military hierarchy, and actively supported by the European and American governments.

The social forces demanding autonomous action, independent of the parties, to reorganize society under the control of those directly affected, were finally isolated, encircled by those defending an elitist vision of social organization, a version of state capitalism. These forces constantly tied the autonomous initiatives of the social movement to the state, giving the latter strength and legitimacy. The Portuguese experience shows, once again, that when the state gives a legal form to collective conquests it takes control of them and dispossesses the collectivity of its own power.

Despite the creativity and enthusiasm of this party-less (as the Portuguese called it) movement, one of today’s myths holds that the break with the authoritarian and colonialist regime was the generous work of the rebellious military—an idea benefiting from a century of military interventions in the political life of a weak bourgeoisie. This myth also provides comfort in today’s situation of powerlessness and lack of hope in collective struggle against the European crisis. The official memory of April 25 thus leaves unmentioned the spontaneous dimension of independent social movements, self-organizing practices, and direct democracy that characterized the period after the military coup, and emphasizes the construction of a system of parliamentary democracy.

Under the impact of today’s policy of austerity and social immiseration, however, other aspects of April 25, which seemed to have disappeared into the collective unconscious, have resurfaced: aspirations to equality and social justice, and distrust of institutional politics. It should be emphasized that—unlike in Greece—the current period of profound social crisis without new political perspectives has not favored fascist groups or those waiting for a leader. Salazarism remains a shameful reference in Portugal, even if superficial popular accounts can sometimes refer to it as a period “less bad” than the present. (Which in itself says a lot about the degradation of living conditions under democracy.)

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1 comentários:

joão viegas disse...

Je est un autre...

Muito bem.