Portugal: The revolution of 1974-1975

Photograph by Alfredo Cunha

The Portuguese experience between 1974 and 1976 shows that revolutionary activity does not develop as the result of strategies devised by system analysts or bourgeois planners … It emerges in the course of the struggle itself, and its most advanced forms are expressed by those whom it is a necessity to struggle.

Hundreds of thousands of workers entered the struggle. But the enemy constantly appeared before them in unexpected garb: that of their own organisations. Every time they set up an organisation they found it manipulated by so-called vanguards or leaders who were not of their class and who understood little of why they were struggling. Even the groups who paid lip-service to a critique of state capitalism did so because of their weakness. They were forced to support the base organisations for the time being. They were no less Leninist for having a critique of state capitalism for their denunciations proved to be denunciations of particular sets of bureaucrats, not critiques of the system per se.

The revolutionaries – on a massive scale were found to be part of the problem, not part of the solution. In this the Portuguese experience may prove to be a pre-figuration of revolutions to come. The lessons should be pondered while there is yet time. The alternative is clear. It was put concisely many years ago: ‘the liberation of the workers is the task of the workers themselves’

Phil Mailer, Portugal, The Impossible Revolution?

The Portuguese revolution brought a tremendous upsurge of political activity. Though it was brief, it gave rise to a dynamic mass movement involving people from all levels and sectors of society. Revolutions must not only bring changes in political structures; transforming a society requires transforming the lives of ordinary people too. In Portugal in 1974 and 1975, ordinary people challenged the social order forcefully, turning a military coup into an attempted revolution.

Their political activity arose in the context of their everyday lives. … The movements were concrete in their demands and their actions; people did not act in response to an abstract ideology. This was the revolution’s strength: because it was directly related to the lives of individual participants, they could appropriate the revolution and make it their own.

John L. Hammond, Building Popular Power: Worker’s and Neighbourhood Movements in the Portuguese Revolution

The Portuguese Revolution was a massive movement of social disobedience. The very dynamics of the day of April 25, which transformed a military revolt into a street insurrection in Lisbon, with unexpected and spontaneous popular participation, is an aspect little emphasized. What happened after April 25 was not foreseen in the plans of the rebel soldiers. The expanded possibilities were the fruit of popular intervention. Likewise, the second military intervention, on November 25, 1975, which ended the revolutionary period, signifies the end of possibilities that were considered impossible before April 25. It is the return to “normal” possibilities, the return to a society of obedience.

“Portugal: une révolution, cinquante ans d’état démocratique et, au final, le retour des monstre d’hier…”, Interview with Charles Reeve, lundi matin #425 (23/04/2024)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Portuguese revolution of 1974-1975, a revolution framed by two coups d’état: the overthrow of the fascist regime on the 25th of April, 1974, by a group of career military officers and the men they commanded (known as the “MFA-Movimento das Forças Armadas”) and the intervention of conservative elements of the military on the 25th of November, 1975, disbanding and arresting more “leftist” military units in the Lisbon area, then inaugurating a more widespread action against the revolution and creating the conditions for a “liberal-parliamentary democracy”.

It cannot be said of the coup d’état of April 25, 1974, that it was the revolution, that it was a “revolt consciously oriented towards radical change”, that it was a “conscious achievement of a collective subject”, to paraphrase the historian, Enzo Traverso and his work, Revolution, An Intellectual History (2021). Or that the coup was a moment in which the “masses seemed (and believed) themselves to be able to “politically” assume their own collective future”, to quote Étienne Balibar (“L ‘Échec des revolutions?”, Une histoire global des révolutions, La Découverte, 2023)

The now official narrative of the revolution reduces the 25th of April 1974 to an intervention of a part of the armed forces in the political life of the country – with good cause – and the subsequent processes of “constitutionalisation” of a new political order (which even at this level, were marked by dissensions, tensions, contradictions), assured by a further military intervention. Between these two “moments”, there was a great deal of uncertainty and unpredictability that does not allow us, we believe, to speak of a “revolution” unequivocally, as someone like Enzo Travesso lays out.

Assuming then a distinction between revolt and revolution, and recognizing that it is always difficult to draw the distinction between the two, it can be said that there is no revolution without revolt, and often a sequence of revolts, and that revolutions, if conceived as processes of “creative destruction ”, in which one order is destroyed and a new one comes to light (Enzo Traverso), that revolutions in some sense announce the end of revolts.

The “April Revolution” is inseparable from revolt: from the revolt of colonized populations against the colonial regime – the Portuguese revolution began in the country’s African colonies; from the revolt of the armed forces against an endless colonial war with no possible victory; from the revolt of the population of Lisbon and beyond who refused to abide by the military’s order to stay indoors, unleashing waves of popular protest; from the multiple revolts of different parts or sectors (economic, social, cultural) of the population (e.g., until the end of 1975, one million hectares were managed by rural workers – with some 600 cooperatives -, a fifth of the entire agricultural territory, more than a thousand factories were occupied under worker control or self-management, unused buildings were taken over by neighborhood committees to be used as daycare centers, clinics or other social uses, 35 thousand houses were occupied for housing) (Phil Mailer, Portugal, The Impossible Revolution?, 1977), which had as a common thread, at least until November 25, 1975, to desecrate/desacralise the established order, to disorder an order experienced and felt as tyrannical and oppressive, that is, an order centered on private property, on the authoritarianism of political power, on colonialism and its associated racisms, on patriarchy, on the deprivation and prohibition of knowledge, on a hierarchy of values and social functions, on the naturalisation of poverty and misery, etc..

In 1974-1975, not only were a dictatorship and an empire overthrown; the capitalist system was radically called into question; there was a profound transformation of social relations, there was a desire to change daily life.

Victor Pereira, C’est le peuple qui commande, 2023

Revolutions make history, they constitute institutional and legal orders; revolts make “the continuum of history blow up” (Walter Benjamin, Theses on the concept of history, 1940); revolutions look to the future, revolts call on the “tradition of the oppressed” (Benjamin); revolts are examples of what Gilles Deleuze called a becoming (“Becoming is never imitating, nor doing like, nor adjusting to a model, be it justice or truth. There is no end to start from, nor an end to which one arrives or should arrive at. Nor are they two terms that interchange. The question “what is one becoming?” is particularly stupid. Becomings are not phenomena of imitation, nor of assimilation, but of double capture, of non-parallel evolution, nuptials between two kingdoms.” Gilles Deleuze Claire Parnet, Dialogues, 1996); or in the words of Emanuele Coccia – and against Hannah Arendt (On Revolution, 1963) and an entire tradition of interpreting “revolution” as the birth of the new –, “To be born means to be nothing more than a reconfiguration, a metamorphosis of something else” (Metamorfoses, 2020). If then revolutions are born from revolts, they inevitably betray them, that is, every revolution is doomed to fail, at least from the standpoint of the revolt.

This failure, in Portugal, came to be called “democracy”, or, to be more precise, the “Third Portuguese Republic” which was born on a day today referred to as “Freedom Day”, a day that corresponds to the calendar date: 25 April 1974.

For those unfamiliar with the Portuguese revolution and to celebrate and remember what in fact the revolution was, we share below a chapter from Charles Reeve’s 2018 essay, Le Socialisme Sauvage [Wild Socialism], dedicated to the Portuguese revolt. While we have misgivings about Reeve’s tendency to class reductionism, it remains one of the best recent accounts of these events. And his defence of what he calls “wild socialism” – a socialism that espouses direct action and direct self-government, without delegation or representation of power – is one with which we have affinities.

(Chapter 13): A Non-Party Form of “Wild Socialism”: The Portuguese Revolution (1974-1975)

The Presence of Revolutionary Ideas

Following a sequence of violent social revolts, the Portuguese Republic was founded on October 5th of 1910, with the active participation of revolutionary workers, syndicalists and anarcho-communists, who with arms in hand, confronted in the streets the armed forces of the monarchy, leading the people of Lisbon in insurrection. Organised in workers associations, where militants of the socialist party predominated, the weak but combative Portuguese workers movement adhered to, on the occasion of the First National Workers Congress [I Congresso Nacional Operário] of 1909, revolutionary syndicalism and the ideas of emancipation of the Congress of Amiens.[1] At the time, there was a strong attraction to direct action and anti-legalism, in consonance with the violence of class relations as they existed in Portuguese society.[2] The republican bourgeoisie rapidly retook control of the situation, limiting the right to strike taken in practice by the workers and framed it by the right of owners to lockout their workers. Pinto Quartim, a well-known anarcho-syndicalist, asked himself: “What does the government do, what has it done, to benefit the people? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Life is increasingly expensive. Poverty invades homes little by little. Hardship is general. […] This on the economic side. From the political perspective, we live in a true Bastille. […] Throughout the whole country, lastly, the most vile persecutions are being carried out against those who work, against all of those who demand another piece of bread, a little more freedom. It is simply ignominious! And for this the people created a Republic! For this, so much blood was spilt and so many sacrifices were made!”[3]

The workers movement radicalised itself and tried to oppose this situation resorting to the general strike – the first in 1911 and a second in 1912. Bourne down upon, the bourgeoisie reacted as was done in Europe at the time, redoubling the violence. New forces of repression were created, and a panoply of laws against “social crimes” and anti-militarist propaganda were promulgated. The general strike of 1912, set off in solidarity with the mass strike of salaried agricultural workers in the centre and the south, the so called “Alentejan insurrection”, extended to the urban centres and paralysed the country. In the country-side, more than 20,000 rural workers went on strike. Overtaken, the republican government accepted that a commission of syndicalists begin direct conversations with the large land holders, which was understood as a beginning of the recognition of workers’ power. But the bourgeoisie took fright and opted to trust the intervention of the army, which unleashed an implacable repression. In a country in which the historical debility of the bourgeois class always left a political space for the army, this constituted the beginning of a long process of a hardening of power. Frutuoso Firmino, industrial graphic worker and well known militant of the young, Portuguese revolutionary syndicalist movement, arrested by the police of the new republic during the general strike, drew very pragmatic conclusions: “The reactionary bourgeoisie employed against us, it is true, the ignoble means that tyranny always employed, but it was also unmasked. […] We now knew that the bourgeois republic is as despotic as the most reactionary monarchy. […] And we, abandoning the fraud [of parliamentarianism], […] threw ourselves with open arms into revolutionary syndicalism, the only social formula to resolve our situation.”[4]

The revolutionary workers movement was crushed and its militants imprisoned and deported to the colonies. Four years later, the Portuguese proletariat would be sent as cannon fodder to the bloody battle fields of the First World War, in the trenches of Flanders and in southern Africa.[5] Frutuoso Firmino was not wrong: in a handful of months, the enemies of social emancipation had revealed themselves as they truly were, in this small, poor and backward society of south-western Europe. Between political confrontations and brief dictatorial adventures, the parliamentary political regime slid towards a more elaborate and coherent authoritarianism. This path would end, in 1926, in the military coup that four years later would give rise to the Salazar regime, known as the Estado Novo; a Maurrasian inspired fascism that endured for almost half a century.[6] With the objective of pacifying social relations, the labour unions were placed under the control of the state, salary negotiations were reduced to a minimum and strikes were prohibited. The garrotte of repression strangled the libertarian militants and organisations, and the young communist party.

This summary allows for a broad understanding of the fleeting, yet rich, trajectory of Portugal’s anarcho-communism and revolutionary syndicalism, at the beginning of the 20th century. The statist and authoritarian currents of socialism, largely marginal at the beginning of this period, only forcefully resurfaced after the destruction of the libertarian movement by the Salazar regime. Practically disappeared on the eve of the Second World War, libertarian socialist currents nevertheless left their mark on the society, where they had created a large network of clubs, associations and cooperatives. Anarchism equally marked the literary and artistic movements of the time. We can mention Antero de Quental (1842-1891), member of the “geração de 70” with the renowned writer Eça de Queirós (1845-1900), translator of Goethe and Proudhon and one of the founders of the Portuguese section of the International and, after, of the first socialist party. Later, two of the greatest Portuguese writers of the 20th century, Aquilino Ribeiro (1885-1963) and José Maria Ferreira de Castro (1898-1974) acknowledged the influence of anarcho-syndicalist ideas in their work. Still, the brutality of the period and the repression of the radical instruments of the proletariat did not completely erase filiations and legacies. The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) itself – which would later become of the most Stalinist parties of the Komintern – was born of a revolutionary syndicalist current. In its first period of existence, the attraction to Bolshevik ideas (hardly known in this very isolated part of Europe) cohabited with libertarian values and practices of direct action. From the 1930s on, the defenders of Stalinist Bolshevism took the reins of the party, establishing as a priority the need to eradicate anarchist principles, considered as the “unconscious enemy” of the adoption by the party of the authoritarian communism and Stalinist patriotism of the time.[7] It was the recognition that the spirit of the older libertarian communism remained alive among the militants. After, with the passing of the years, the communism of the party, moulded and hardened by a forced clandestine existence and by the ferocious repression of the regime, was reinforced and slowly assumed integrally its role in the political opposition to the regime. Nevertheless, during this almost half century, the party benefited in its clandestine life from the aura and the ethical force of the grass roots militants who had been formed and trained in the school of the revolutionary workers movement of the beginning of the 20th century.[8]

The Revolution of 1974          

The revolutionary events of 1974-1975 were the confirmation that the ideas of this libertarian communism of direct democracy had not been definitively strangled by the garrotte of fascism and the Stalinist conceptions of socialism.

After the Second World War, the country had transformed itself. Taking advantage of a new impulse of industrialisation, the regime initiated a closer relation to Europe at the same time that it maintained the old dictatorial political structures and an archaic colonial system. A mass emigration to the cities and to the rest of Europe, as well as ever more intense strikes in the new industrial centres, modified the relations between classes. The weight of the new working class created a situation of social instability.[9] After the strikes of 1968-1969, the regime alleviated the direct control over the labour unions and allowed the creation of workers commissions in large industries so as to channel “legitimate demands”. Despite these timid efforts to liberalise the methods of control of workers, the omnipresence of repression rendered the situation explosive. The army found itself mined from within by a massive and spontaneous opposition to the colonial wars.[10] The incapacity that the regime demonstrated again and again to find a way out of the colonial problem also blocked its modernisation and its integration in an evolving capitalist Europe. On the historical path of a poor, backward and fragile capitalist society, Portuguese fascism quickly revealed itself as inseparable from the colonial system and its ideology. For this reason, the advent of the war was the heralding, veiled but ineluctable, of its end. The 25th of April of 1974, a military coup lead by an organisation of young officers, the Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA), toppled the old dictatorial regime, bogged down since 1961 in a colonial war on three fronts (Mozambique, Angola and Guinea-Bissau).

The fall of an authoritarian regime inevitably brings with it the disorganisation of the state. It was what happened in Portugal, where the military coup was immediately followed by large social movements and political confrontations that lasted for almost two years. A second military intervention, on the 25th of November of 1975, was necessary to re-establish capitalist order and its private property, and finally initiate the process of the country’s integration in European capitalism.

It is today confirmed that the majority of those involved in the coup of the 25th of April initially sought a modernisation of the old regime and of its institutions, and the putting into place of a neo-colonialist project, but the popular social classes, with their spontaneous and direct intervention in the events, altered the scenario and forced them to change their plans.

For the workers, the end of the regime meant first the defeat of an oppressive and repressive world, the possibility of expressing themselves and gathering freely. Suddenly, the improvement of their fragile and modest lives seemed possible. The factories stopped, places of work were occupied, workers commissions were created made up of elected (in assemblies) and recallable delegates, debates erupted throughout society and the horizon of possibilities expanded. Demands multiplied: salary increases, reduction of working hours, paid vacations, a lower intensity of the rhythm of work and employment security, along with the removal from workplaces of informants and authoritarian managers. The hierarchical system, often associated with fidelity to the regime, was put into question. A profound desire revealed itself: to have more power over society, to impose a different distribution of social wealth, to change life. The movement unleashed by youth, students and workers, spread like a fuse, at a time when the memories of the experiences of self-organisation of the early strikes were still fresh.[11] In urban areas, the ideas of May 68 had spread through the militant activity of extreme leftwing political groups and, sometimes, through the informal channels of emigration. The fear of the regime and its repressive forces vanished; the collective determination amplified the agitation, above all in the new industrial centres that had already had experiences of struggle. In a few days, in the midst of the general euphoria, the country was paralysed. The bourgeoisie, overtaken by panic, made a few concessions and a minimum salary was instituted. But by that time, this was no longer sufficient to neutralise an impulse of contestation that largely bypassed the frame of short term demands. In July of 1974, a new wave of strikes erupted, affecting services, state sectors, communications, the new automobile factories and a part of the steel industry, the shipyards, transport and the press. The workers sensed that the “revolution” had not been carried out to satisfy their interests, having strictly political objectives, and that the new leaders were hesitant and dragged their feet. The very end of the colonial wars seemed to be newly questioned, which provoked riots in the military barracks, accelerated the disintegration of the military institution and motivated the new political authority to find a quick solution for the colonial question. In fact, this second wave of strikes created the first significant division in the democratic process underway, as had happened in 1910, at the time of the establishment of the Republic.

After the fall of old regime, the local administrations, the media and state apparatus vacillated. Fissures opened in what was normal before the amplitude of a movement that escaped from the control of opposition political parties, parties which had unexpectedly emerged from illegality. In a first moment, political power seemed unclear, while the bourgeoisie maintained economic power. In this new, still nebulous, political context, the military shared control of the state with an unstable coalition comprised of classical left-wing parties and the Stalinist communist party, and assumed for themselves the role of guarantors of the new parliamentary democratic order. But the insubordination of soldiers and the emergence of a populist-radical military tendency meant that the very armed forces were marked by political confrontations. In this confusing game of contradictory interests, the first task of the newly established order was to confront the expanding and increasingly politicised social conflicts and integrate the movement of strikes and the energy of the revolt in a frame of negotiation, while at the same time protecting the new parliamentary institutions. It was necessary to isolate and, after, to neutralise those actions that frightened the bourgeoisie: demands of equality relative to the organisation of work, protests against the prison system, the occupation of houses and land, the creation of commissions that attributed to themselves the right to administer local, everyday life. The purging of company administrations and directors also weakened the functioning of the economic and political system. In modern authoritarian regimes – whether they are of a private, capitalist nature or state centred –, in public and private entities, two functions are often confused: that of political repression and that of protecting social relations.[12] The newly born democratic parties declared their opposition to the social movement in the name of political realism and the defence of the parliamentary system, while the military remained almost immobilised by its internal crisis. Despite these fragilities, the state apparatus began to function anew, repressed the first strikes and promulgated a new strike law which prohibited picketing, work place occupations and politically motivated strikes.[13] A period of instability thus began in the relations of power between classes, which created spaces devoid of power. Fear, product of fifty years of an authoritarian regime, made its reappearance with the help of an intense propaganda that distilled apprehension and distrust: the “provocateurs” and the “adventurists” replaced the communists of the older discourse. The communist party now insisted on the necessity of not burning stages and of moderating demands. “A mudança não é a revolução!” [“Change is not revolution!”], declared one of its slogans.

The Autonomous Movement of Self-Organisation

In the spontaneous strikes and occupations, the principle of self-organisation was adopted as something natural, especially since labour unions were non-existent. The old fascist corporatist union had been out of the game for some time, even though during the old regime, unionists of the communist party had infiltrated its structures here and there, with the aim of developing oppositional political work.[14] At the beginning of the movement, the desire for direct democracy was its driving force and the recourse to general assemblies was generalised. Workers committees and commissions, grass roots university organs, were elected to lead the struggle and organise the occupations. To some extent, strike newspapers were published everywhere. The identification between the employer class and the old regime was total, and many company owners and managers fled the country. The direct actions of expropriation of goods and the sale of products were accompanied in some cases by experiences with the equalisation of salaries and the rotation of tasks, and even, sometimes, the exchange of goods between occupied companies.[15] There was the concern to control the elected representatives, imposing upon them imperative and revocable mandates, and the representatives that would meet with the employers or with the ministries were often accompanied by large delegations. Newspapers and radio stations were placed under their workers’ control and these became the voices of the social movement.[16]

The direct link between the base and its delegates, as well as the wide spread concern with controlling the mandates of those elected, were the translation of a spirit that was far removed from the rules of labour unions prepared to negotiate with company managers and owners. Without this being assumed consciously, a situation arose that in large part invoked the ideas and practices of the older revolutionary syndicalism and the more subversive ideas of the decade of the 1960s, which established as a non-negotiable demand the necessities and desires expressed by the collective in struggle. In the face of increasing repression, the strikes became harsher and a minority of workers were radicalised. Sensitive to the need of coordinating actions and of expressing a social alternative independent of the political parties, some more combative workers’ councils promoted meetings between the workers of different companies and factories, meetings which played an important role. “With the increase in the struggles after the 25th of April, the labour unions’ and political parties’, – which claimed to represent the working classes -, distance and sabotage of these struggles became evident, and therefore the need for contacts and the exchange of experiences between comrades in struggle emerged.”[17] The project that slowly took shape from this experience distinguished itself radically from state centred conceptions of socialism defended by the classical communist organisations, beginning with the communist party. In a society that was emerging from a long totalitarian night, it was, once again, an unpredictable and wild perspective that manifested itself and which would inevitably collide with the political strategy of the party. Having emerged from a clandestine existence with a great popularity, the communist party had joined the provisional government created by the military. For its leadership, this was a tactical interregnum in its socialist project based on the nationalisation of the economy and state intervention in society. In the meantime, in factories, neighbourhoods and occupied lands, the proliferation of self-management engendered a large debate about a form of social organisation starting from below, based on the spontaneously created organisations. An independent project that opposed the authoritarian project of state capitalism defended by the communist party began to be outlined. The experiences of expropriation and of the self-management of companies and factories, the occupation of the large agricultural estates of the south of the country by salaried agricultural workers, the constitution of production cooperatives and the efforts at self-management, all fed the debates and the opposition to the project of state socialism, which obviously presented itself as the only “realistic”, non-utopian, option.

During months of permanent social agitation, the two currents, which represented two conceptions of socialism, confronted each other, while also combating the forces that defended the private capitalist order (the socialist party, allied to the greater part of the military) and its ties to western capitalism. The confrontation was ideological, but it also unfolded on the terrain of production: on the one hand, in the factories, around the nature of the workers’ councils and the limits of their power, and, on the other hand, in the rural areas of large agricultural estates [latifúndios], where the movement of land occupations spread like wild fire from the beginning of 1975.

The Communist Party against the Extreme-Left   

Sixty years after the Russian revolution, the Portuguese revolution of 1974-75 followed a similar political dialectic. The workers’ councils, spontaneously created during the movement subsequent to the fall of the former regime, quickly became places of confrontation between independent, radical currents – described as “without party affiliation” [apartidárias] for their refusal to be controlled by any single political party – and the communist party. The later, equipped with a well oiled – by its many years as a clandestine organisation – bureaucratic apparatus, set as its immediate objective to integrate all of the spontaneous and independent organisations in structures respectful of the logic of the state. The workers’ councils should fuse into the single labour union, the Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses (CGTP). To reach this goal, the party could count on the Intersindical, a structure composed of union cadres created during the strikes of the last years of the old regime.

In a first moment, the energy of contestation of the period rendered the project incidental, as the workers’ councils struggled to preserve their independence with aims that went beyond simple “labour demands”. The communist party then threw itself into a fight against the strikes and struggles that escaped its control, actions that went beyond the limits of the possible at that moment and which perturbed its strategy of power and the defence “of the national effort to save the economy in crisis”, a crisis which the party blamed on some “powerful capitalist families”! Transformed into the realistic defenders of the new order in gestation, the party and its Intersindical supported military interventions in the strikes and they organised street demonstrations against a supposed “striking for the sake of striking”.[18] In doing so, they gained new sympathisers and members among “normal” citizens, while tarnishing their image among more radical workers, which the party accused of being “provocateurs” and “reactionary agents”. “What interests the PCP [Portuguese Communist Party], as it does all hierarchical and pyramidal parties, is to legally transform itself into a sort of company that at the opportune moment will distribute places of power to its committees and service directors.”[19] The communist party however was not only present in the factories. In little time, it had acquired a considerable power within the state. Its cadres had invaded the new Ministry of Labour, with the complicity of other political forces and who recognised in the party distinctive qualifications for the management of the labour force and the control of the social movement. They intervened in strikes on the side of company managers, invoking their knowledge of the workers’ problems. On the other hand, workers’ delegations were invited to ignore their imperative mandates and to moderate their demands in the name of the defence of the interests of the national economy. The party also supported the first repressive, legal measures against the social movements, notably, the law of August 1974 that prohibited strikes while the collective contractual agreements were in vigour and authorised the use of lockouts in the case of wildcat strikes. Other party cadres were nominated to the administrations of state-nationalised companies, as well as to the administrations of organs of ideological manipulation: universities and the media.[20] As a complement to this colonisation of the state apparatus, which was part of its goal of a programmed rupture with the private capitalist order, the communist party also infiltrated the military. Acts of insubordination and of rebellion were denounced in the name of safeguarding the “união povo-MFA” [unity of the people-movement of the armed forces], a formula that in fact justified the tactic of “entry” [entrismo] in the Captains’ Movement. As one of its members stated, no country, not even those of the older democracies, permits open appeals to desert and political agitation within the armed forces.[21]

The grass roots movement found in its midst two important obstacles to the development of its autonomous potentialities. The first was the intense activity of left-wing vanguardists who incessantly oriented the ardour of the workers towards the construction of Leninist parties that sought to compete with the communist party. During the Portuguese revolution, “leftism”, more than being the mere agitation of marginal groups, was a real force in the social movement.[22] In 1964, the Maoist tendency was one of the first of Europe to construct itself politically in opposition to the communist party. This rupture was not only the fruit of the conflict between the Soviet state and the Chinese state, but was also the result of divergences that arose within the PCP relative to its strategy of the peaceful overthrow of fascism and the forms of support for the anti-colonial struggle. The Maoist tendency influenced the thought, the attitudes and the actions of more combative and radical workers, marking the base organisations of the revolutionary period. Generally, leftist militants sometimes supported and created organs of horizontal coordination, but they always did it in view of traditional socialism, separating union activity from political action and reserving this last for the new revolutionary political parties in gestation.

Furthermore, the confidence that the more committed workers placed in the populist, military currents – considered by the greater part of the extreme-left as the armed wing of the revolutionary vanguard – revealed itself to be the greatest obstacle to the affirmation of the committees’ and councils’ independence.[23] From the beginning of the revolution, the relations of the military with the worker’s movement were ambiguous. On the occasion of the first strikes, the workers saw the soldiers as allies, as “mediators”, while these last sought to seduce the more radical workers and dominate the conflicts, in a situation that was for them completely foreign. In the society, the army rapidly began to behave like a new police force.[24] With the continuation of social agitation, direct intervention against the strikes became normal and the military found its place in the new democratic order. Despite this, the leftist entry [“entrismo”] into some military units and the populist attitude on the part of some of the captains responsible for the coup, influenced by various Marxist ideologies, contributed to the image of the armed forces as being “at the service of the people” and, more, to the illusion of a military force allied to the revolutionary workers.[25] This illusion dissipated brutally on the 25th of November of 1975, when a second military intervention clearly re-established the democratic order of private property.

During these agitated months, the retreat of the struggles transformed the grassroots organisations into places of political confrontation, which ended up exhausting the workers and suffocating the potentialities of autonomy. There was a return to normality in the centres of production and the greater part of the workers’ councils were absorbed in traditional labour union actions, being integrated into the newly emerging unions. At the same time, the communist party conquered majorities in the union leaderships and created the CGTP [Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses], succeeding also in getting the approval of a law that instituted a single labour union, something which allowed it to imagine the complete control of the work world.[26] The few radical workers’ groups met in the federation of workers councils – Inter-Empresas –, a structure that still played a fundamental role in the mass demonstration against unemployment on the 7th of February 1975, when tens of thousands of workers marched behind the banner: “Unemployment is the inevitable consequence of capitalism, which we have to destroy to construct a new world”. The opposition of the military, and above all, of the communist party, to this current in defence of the autonomy of struggles, progressively isolated it until it disappeared.

Leninist politics is essentially opportunistic, a function of the objectives that it set for itself. In this way, the communist party can take advantage of the unions to reinforce its control over the workers, in the same way that it can try to reduce their role when they threaten its power.[27] It can defend workers’ control or oppose it, according to its real presence in the factories. The urgent task was to integrate the grassroots organisations in a centralised union structure, a necessary condition to then impose nationalisations under “workers control” and, in time, to place the economy under state control. In the Portuguese experience – some decades after the Russian revolution –, the project of workers control attracted above all extreme left-wing tendencies, for it allowed them to structure their power in factories. Accordingly, this idea was initially defended by all of the Leninist organisations to the left of the communist party, from the well established Maoist groups to the fragile Trotskyist groups. Some Maoist factions, seduced by the grassroots and “anti-bureaucratic” rhetoric of the rebel currents of the Chinese “cultural revolution”, were nevertheless sensitive to the independent power of the base organisations, while other tendencies criticised the actions of those who claimed a model, however vague and poorly articulated, of “self-management”.[28] The fact is that for the majority of the vanguardist parties, these experiences, despite their weaknesses and their isolation, favoured the autonomous development of grassroots workers’ councils and consequently the weakening of the domination of the process by the political organisations.

For the Bolsheviks, during the Russian experience, “workers control” referred to a transitory situation, a stage judged to be necessary for the construction of a society under state control. For the Portuguese extreme-left of 1974-75, the necessity of creating a dual-power situation within factories and industries was a stage to reach. This situation should generate the conditions for creating, starting from the workers’ councils, the cadres of the new revolutionary party that aspired to conquer political power. For the vanguardists of all kinds, “workers control”, a “workers state” and a state controlled economy constituted the three pillars of a single conception of society.

Agrarian Reform or Collectivisation

The movements that developed in the countryside of the centre and south of the country after April 25 were equally rich in potentialities. The driving force for these struggles was fed by revolts of the still recent past and by the rage against the large farm-estate owners [latifundiários] which carried over from the fascist period. The large and successful strike in 1962 for the eight-hour work day was the most important reference. The land occupation movements demanded in a confused and badly expressed manner another way of living, a rupture with the misery and social injustice that had reigned in the region for centuries, conditions which had not changed since the Alentejo insurrection of 1912. The older, utopian egalitarian hopes, based on messianic myths that persisted among this landless proletariat, joined together with the social uprising animated by the fall of the old regime – which was, in these regions, entirely associated with the large farm-estates.

The demand for an end to seasonal work – a system to which salaried agricultural workers had had to submit for decades and which was at the root of the reigning endemic poverty – was the spark that ignited the prairies of the south of the country. The resistance of the large farming estate landowners to the demands made by the communist party labour unionists, well established in the region, provoked, in the Spring of 1975, more intense conflicts and land occupations. The greater part of these occupations were initially led and organised by cadres and militants of the communist party. These last always endeavoured that these actions be recognised by the putchist military forces, often made up of soldiers who had ties with the local population and who openly sympathised with the occupations. Distinguishing themselves from this model tolerated by the new authorities, other occupations took place, triggered independently and explicitly embodying egalitarian aspirations, along with a desire to expropriate the owners and transform social relations. The most well known example was the Torre Bela estate, occupied in April of 1975.[29] Nevertheless, it was the model of occupations carried out under the direction of the farm workers union – controlled by the political apparatus of the communist party – that imposed itself. The militants of the party opposed any form of occupation directed towards a collectivisation of lands, initially labelled “anarchist”. The bureaucratic model of the communist party was that of creating agricultural cooperative companies comprised of small land owners or by farm workers who became salaried employees. They took on the name of Unidades Colectivas de Produção (UCP) [Collective Production Units] and they were organised in the image of the agrarian cooperatives-companies of the Soviet Union and of the East European countries. Consequently, rules of economic efficiency and productivist logic, a rigid organisation of work and a salary hierarchy, were introduced, all in accord with the demands of a state economy into which the cooperatives had to be integrated. During this period, the communist party had taken on control of all of the institutions in the countryside of the south, from city governments to casas do povo [Trans. Note: the “people’s houses” were corporatist social and labour centres created by the fascist regime to address agricultural workers’ needs]. They also disposed of a solid technical structure capable of intervening in the UCPs, as well as providing the necessary support for access to credit from a banking system that had also been nationalised. And yet, the triumph of this model was painfully difficult and incomplete. On the occupied properties, the party cadres had trouble in completely suppressing collectivist tendencies and the ideals of emancipation. The slogan of the party, “A terra a quem a trabalha” [“The land to those who work it”], responded above all to the cooperative model made up of individual farmers and it emphasised the continuation of private property. Often opposed to it was another slogan: “A terra a todos os que trabalham” [“The land to everyone who works”], a slogan that responded to the more collectivist aspirations of salaried agricultural workers who did not want to distribute land, but rather work it in common. At times, workers would remind party functionaries that the cooperatives should operate according to the principle of inequality – “those who earn more should give a little to support those who earn less and who have more needs”.[30] In fact, later studies demonstrated that the model of the UCPs faced a silent and underground resistance on the part of the farm workers, including among militants and sympathisers of the party. They aspired to better conditions of life, without this implying that they identified with a productivist project. In the absence of anything better, they contented themselves with their new status as salaried workers, while resisting the criteria of productivity and efficiency introduced by the party cadres. This was one fundamental reason for the failure of the land reform launched by the communist party. After the second military coup, in November of 1975, the model of private capital integrated in European-wide agro-industry, reintroduced by the socialist party, would erase the last vestiges of the spirit of equality and social justice that had survived under the bureaucratic model.

The bureaucratic model of the UCPs simultaneously reproduces the individualism of the small land owner and the values of the salaried farm workers. By contrast, there was, in the spirit and the operating principles of the land occupations, along the model of Torre Bela, despite the fragilities and the contradictions, elements of an answer to an essential question: how to self-organise such that the production of food necessary for the reproduction of social life remains under the control of the collectivity? They were experiences in which the collective was assumed consciously, far from the directives of the Ministry of Agriculture and economic imperatives defended and spread by the cadres of the agrarian reform. One of the protagonists of Torre Bela described the way in which the collective functioned as follows: “A project in which there were no salaried workers, people lived from the distribution of production and earnings, in which equal payment for women was fought for. Each participant had an account. The value of work days was stipulated beforehand. Each took from the canteen food for the family, which was discounted from the account. And when the cooperative could, monetary remunerations were distributed according to the credit on the account.”[31]

It is possible that none of those who participated in the occupations that took place outside of communist party strategy had any direct knowledge of the rural communitarian experiences of the early 20th century. And while the oppression of the authoritarian regime had strongly contributed to the erasure of these practices associated with the project of libertarian communism, something had remained and was passed on from generation to generation. And when the struggle reignited, the repression of the memory faded before the force of the movement. The two events embodied the same spirit, the same desire to put an end to social injustice, to try, collectively and freely, to construct a new life. These were references to a vision of socialism different from its authoritarian version.

The two enemies of “wild socialism”

The Portuguese revolution remained an isolated event, confined to the national territory. It nevertheless coincided in time with a wave of social agitation and of autonomous workers struggles in neighbouring Spain.[32] “These struggles were characterised by practices of anti-capitalist struggle (direct democracy, elected and revocable delegates…). This “other workers movement” developed in factories, in schools and in neighbourhoods. It affirmed itself during the dictatorship, reaching its peak between 1970 and 1977. The autonomous struggles took place at the margins of the (still clandestine) political parties and labour unions. These were evidently struggles against Franco’s regime, but they also had a strong anti-capitalist dimension, to the extent that they went beyond representative democracy, that is, they did not accept the logic of the social compact that would come to be the basis of the post-Franco transition, nor did they adapt to it.”[33] Accordingly, the violent repression of this autonomous movement[34] was correctly interpreted as the act of “consolidation of the transition pact”[35]; a compromise signed by an authoritarian regime in decomposition with the Democratic Convergence Platform of the PCE [communist party] and the PSOE [socialist party].

The cycle of autonomous struggles in Spain and the Portuguese revolution unfolded in very similar social and political circumstances. However, the two movements did not establish any direct relations, despite the most intense moments of the Portuguese revolution having been passionately and enthusiastically followed by those struggling in Spain. The collapse of the authoritarian regime under the pressure of collective action was undoubtedly a motivating and encouraging factor for the development of the self-organisation of the Spanish workers. But things remained where they were and the real convergence that seemed possible did not take place.

Despite their limits and their contradictions, the Portuguese events had an importance that went well beyond the borders of this small country. They gave rise to a vast movement of interest and solidarity in all of Europe and they influenced diverse political tendencies, from the classic left to the new extreme-left born of May 68. The sectarian tactics of the communist party and its antagonistic relations with the socialist party, fierce defender of the forces of market capitalism and of anti-soviet western interests, weighed heavily on the divisions of the European left. In France, in particular, the crisis of the unity of the left and the emergence of anti-totalitarian ideology in the 1970s led to a situation in which the socialist party replaced the communist party as the dominant force on the left.[36] And on the margin of the “institutional politics of the system”, the currents of libertarian socialism equally found material for reflection in the more independent and radical practices of the Portuguese events.

The Portuguese revolution of 1974 was the last significant social movement in Western Europe before the collapse of the state-capitalist bloc. The Soviet leadership did everything it could to guard the PCP against any effort to take power and establish a state controlled economic system in Portugal. This position translated the incapacity of the Soviet bloc to expand, for geopolitical reasons, but also because of the exhaustion of its mode of production. In truth, these two reasons were but one: they announced the historic failure of the model. The Portuguese revolution and May 1968 were the last two significant social movements of the second half of the 20th century in which were strongly manifest the principles of “wild socialism”: direct democracy and grass roots action independent of vanguard parties. This political current confronted its two declared enemies, which fed on the values and practices of the old labour movement: the forces of social-democracy, subject to private capitalism, and pro-Soviet and extreme-left Stalinist formations that defended socialist projects founded on the domination of the State over society. The Portuguese movement went further than May 1968 along the path of searching for the direct sovereignty of producers; it initiated limited practices of self-government of production and of society and it established some of the foundations upon which to ground a reorganisation of society guided by non-capitalist principles. Though limited, these initiatives, which were not foreseen, came to perturb the strategies of bureaucratic socialism, and in particular, the plans of the communist party, which had difficulty in securing its base. When, on the 25th of November 1975, the part of the army that had remained loyal to the forces of private capitalism intervened to put an end to the social agitation and restore democratic order, the leadership of the party opted for a wait and see attitude. Soon after, Álvaro Cunhal expressed his relief in seeing the forces of the extreme-left, which created difficulties for the tactic of a democratic alliance with the army and other political forces that the party wanted to preserve, driven off. In a speech of 1976, he stated that the defeat of the left-wing of the military, from the tragic lessons and the dangers that it engendered in the short term, created new conditions for the unity of those forces concerned with defending freedoms, democracy and the revolution.[37]                  

The memory of these “wild” excesses, fecund in emancipatory potentialities – materialised in the original formula of “non-political partyism” –, was subsequently erased by the propaganda of the commodity order which reduced the Portuguese revolutionary episode to a simple moment of democratic transition at the centre of the system of the “end of History”. The revolution had nevertheless a great significance. Representative democracy imposed itself, not at the end of a linear process of democratic demands, but, on the contrary, in the sequence of a counter-revolutionary action aimed at suffocating the aspirations of an egalitarian order of justice, which once again serves to underline the authoritarian nature of parliamentary democracy and inter-class consensus. The conformism of normality and ignorance completed the work of forgetting. However, the values of solidarity, equality, social justice and self-government continued to be transmitted in the words of a song by José Afonso’s that came to symbolise for the future the universalist spirit and the libertarian nature of this ever so rich movement: “Grândola, vila morena/Terra da fraternidade/O povo é quem mais ordena/Dentro de ti, ó cidade. …  Em cada esquina um amigo/Em cada rosto igualdade”. [“Grândola, swarthy town/Land of fraternity/It’s the people who lead/Inside you, oh city. … On each corner there’s a friend/In each face there’s equality”][38]

[1] Its newspaper was the daily A Batalha, widely read among literate workers. The weekly O Sindicalista, with a revolutionary syndicalist orientation, was directed by Alexandre Vieira, one of the most influential figures of the Portuguese workers’ movement of the early 20th century, publisher of Émile Pouget and others.

[2] Before the 5th of October of 1910, bombs as “goods of first necessity” were spoken of in Lisbon and the making of explosives became a truly “artisanal industry”… The anarchist writer Joaquim Madureira wrote: “On the 5th of October, we saw bourgeois order bombs and proletarians use them.”

[3] Pinto Quartim (1887-1970), “Oh, a República!…”, Terra Livre, 24 de Abril de 1913.

[4] Frutuoso Firmino, Da Casa sindical ao Forte de Sacavém, Afrontamento, 1971.

[5] At the Battle of The Lys (April 1918), the Portuguese Expeditionary Force, of twenty thousand men, lost nine thousand. General Gomes da Costa, subordinate to Foch and co-responsible for the massacre, would become in 1919 the president of the republic under the military dictatorship that preceded and prepared the ground for the Salazar regime. A perfect continuity!

[6] The corporative constitution that established the bases of the Salazar regime was promulgated in 1933. The labour unions were integrated in the Estado Novo, whose three pillars were: the Church, the single Party and the Army.

[7] The expression is taken from the party’s newspaper, Avante, of April 16, 1931. The artisan of this Bolshevisation was Álvaro Cunhal (1913-2005), who would then affirm himself as the great historical leader of the PCP. He led the party until the revolution of 1974 and into the subsequent period.

[8] João Freire, Les Anarchistes du Portugal, CNT/Nautilus, 2002. Carlos da Fonseca (1940-2017), Introduction à l’histoire du mouvement libertaire au Portugal (http://vosstanie.blogspot.com). Alexandre Vieira, Subsídios para a história do movimento sindicalista em Portugal, 1908-1919 (1926), in F. Avila, J.M. carvalho Ferreira, C. Orsoni, C. Reeve, Portugal, l’autre combat. Classes et conflits dans la société, Spartacus, 1975 (http://arqoperaria.blogspot.fr/2015/09/portugal-lautre-combat-classes-et.html).

[9] At the end of the Second World War, industrial workers represented 24% of the active population, but only 3% on the eve of the Portuguese revolution of 1974.

[10] Jorge Valadas, “Lettre à mon voisin qui a fait la guerre coloniale : Écho actualisé des déserteurs portugais”, Jef Klak, April 2017 (https://www.jefklak.org/lettre-a-mon-voisin-qui-a-fait-la-guerre-coloniale/).

[11] The large strike at TAP [Transportes Aéreos Portugueses], in the summer of 1973, was lead by grassroots workers committees.

[12] The political police of the Portuguese fascist regime (the PIDE), with its network of informers, was often compared to the Stasi of the German Democratic Republic.

[13] In September of 1974, the repression of the strike by TAP’s ground personnel by left-wing military factions, with the establishment of the militarisation of work, was the significant event of this period. 

[14] During the fascist regime, depending on the periods and the possibilities, the communist party urged its militants to work from within the only corporatist labour union and even to try to rise to positions of leadership. This had little success, for, in the end, the leaders always had to be nominated by the regime.

[15] The film, Nous, ouvrières de Sogantal (1974-1977), by Nadjeda Tilhou [Alter Ego Production, 2008], tells the story of the strike of the workers of the clothing factory, “Sogantal”. After the flight of the management, and the French owner, the young workers occupied the factory and continued production under self-management.

[16] There is little material in French about this social movement. An important selection of texts, documents and testimonials about this period, as well as a chronology of the first year of the revolution, can be found in Portugal, l’autre combat. Classes et conflits dans la société, op. cit. Many documents, analyses and essays about the Portuguese revolution have been gathered together online (http://arqoperaria.blogspot.fr/2015/09/portugal-lautre-combat-classes-et.html). See also: “Mouvements de gestion directe au Portugal”, Autogestion, nº 33 and 34, January-March of 1976.

[17] Folha Informativa [Information Bulletin] nº 1, Reuniões de Trabalhadores Inter-Empresas, Lisboa, January 2, 1975.

[18] During the national postal workers strike of July, 1974, the communist party mobilised its militants against the strike pickets and defamed the strikers, accusing them sometimes of playing into the hands of the fascists, who were waiting in the wings. 

[19] Strike news bulletin of the workers of the newspaper, Jornal do Comercio, Lisbon, September, 1974.

[20] José Saramago, future Nobel Literature prize winner, was at the time a member of the communist party. Assistant director of the newspaper, Diário de Notícias, until November 25, 1975, he fired during this period some three dozen journalists who were hostile to the party line. In 1991, Saramago distanced himself from the PCP, criticising it for a lack of internal democracy …

[21] Statement to the newspaper, Expresso, June 22, 1974.

[22] Regarding the importance of the extreme left tendencies in the Portuguese revolution, see: Charles Reeves, L’Experience portugaise. La conception putschiste de la revolution social, Spartacus, 1979, p. 28.

[23] On the disastrous consequences of these ideas for the social movement, see Charles Reeves, op. cit.

[24] In July of 1974, an uprising occurred in the Lisbon prisons. The prisoners demanded an amnesty. The army intervened and fired on the insurrectionists.

[25] Some military units were connected to groups that were to the left of the communist party, to Maoists and other extreme-left groups. The COPCON [Comando Operacional do Continente], a military corps that was originally given the task of maintaining order, also came to approach these tendencies. Its commander, Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho, became the emblematic figure of the extreme-left tendency in the army and in the society.

[26] The effort to create a union organisation close to the positions of independent socialists and communists, the Base-Fut (Frente Unitária dos Trabalhadores/Workers United Front) was largely a failure. Years later, a labour union was created close to the socialist party and the right, the União Geral dos Trabalhadores (UGT), with a weak expression among workers.

[27] It was the case in Russia, in 1921, on the occasion of the confrontation with the Workers’ Opposition. See chapter five of this book.

[28] Raquel Varela, “Contrôle ouvrier et nationalisations dans la révolution portugaise: réformisme ou socialisme”, Revue Période, April 2015 (http://revueperiode.net/controle-ouvrier-et-nationalisations-dans-la-révolution-portugaise-reformisme-ou-socialisme). Raquel Varela, an academic with a Trotskyist background, published the work História do Povo Português na Revolução Portuguesa, 1974-1975, Bertrand Editora, 2014.

[29] Regarding this occupation, see the film by Thomas Harlan, Torre Bela, 1975. In 2011, José Filipe Costa directed another film, Linha Vermelha, about the conditions under which Thomas Harlan filmed and the creation of the myth of Torre Bela.

[30] Phil Mailer, Portugal, The Impossible Revolution?, 1977, p. 288 (re-pub. PM Press, 2012, at http://libcom.org/library/portugal-impossible-revolution-phil-mailer) [Portugal, A Revolução Impossível?, trad. Port. Luís Leitão, Lisboa, Antígona, 2018]. Written by someone who participated in the events, this book remains one of the most important works about the Portuguese revolution.

[31] Interview with Camilo Mortágua, member of the Torre Bela cooperative, conducted by Alexandra Lucas Coelho, “O que é feito da nossa revolução selvagem?”, Público, August 3, 2009.

[32] The major moments of this cycle of struggles (1970-1977) were the insurrectional strikes of Vitoria, in 1976 and the strike at the company, Roca, in Gavà, Catalonia.

[33] Santiago López Petit, interviewed by Salvador López Arnal, El Viejo Topo (http://elviejotopo.com/revista/el-viejo-topo-num-325) and at http://rebelion.org. About this period: Fondation Espai en Blanc (coord.), Luchas autónomas en los años setenta, Traficantes de Sueños, 2010. See also Francisco Quintana (coord.), Asalto a la fábrica. Luchas autónomas y reestructuración capitalista, 1960-1990, Alikornio, 2002.

[34] On the 3rd of March of 1976, in Vitoria, the police fired on strikers, killing 5 and wounding more than a hundred.

[35] Carlos Garcia V., “Vitoria: enero-marzo”, in Días rebeldes, crónicas de insumisión, Octaedro, 2009, p. 278.

[36] This evolution was analysed by Michael Christofferson, Les Intellectuels contre la gauche. L’idéologie antitotalitaire en France (1968-1981), Agone, 2014.

[37] Álvaro Cunhal, Discursos Políticos, Edições Avante, 1976. In a text covering the revolutionary period, the communist leader would confirm, eighteen years later, this analysis. Álvaro Cunhal, A Revolução Portuguesa. O Passado e o Futuro, Edições Avante, 1994.

[38] Mercedes Guerreiro and Jean Lemaître, Grândola Vila Morena. Le roman d’une chanson, Aden, 2014.

Suggested Readings:

Phil Mailer, Portugal, The Impossible Revolution, 1977


Phil Mailer, Portugal – A Revolução Impossível, Antígona, 2018

History of ten years – Encyclopedie des Nuisances (https://libcom.org/article/history-ten-years-encyclopedie-des-nuisances)

Maurice Brinton, Portuguese Diary 1: August 1975 (https://libcom.org/article/portuguese-diary-1-august-1975-maurice-brinton)

Maurice Brinton, Portuguese Diary 2: 1976 (https://libcom.org/article/portuguese-diary-2-1976-maurice-brinton)

John L. Hammond, Building Popular Power: Worker’s and Neighborhood Movements in the Portuguese Revolution, 1988

Charles Downs, Revolution at the Grassroots: Community Organizations in the Portuguese Revolution, 1989

Ronald H. Chilcote, The Portuguese Revolution: State and Class in the Transition to Democracy, 2010

Charles Reeves, Le socialisme sauvage, 2018

O 25 de Abril começou em África, 2020

Fernando Rosas, Revolução Portuguesa, 1974-1975, 2022

Victor Pereira, C’est le peuple qui commande : la Révolution des Œillets: 1974-1976, 2023

For reviews of Charles Reeve’s book, Le Socialisme Sauvage, see the Fifth Estate and the Union Communiste Libertaire.

Film Suggestions:

Colectivo de Trabalhadores da Actividade Cinematográfica, O Povo e as Armas, 1975

Daniel Edinger e Michel Lequenne, Setubal ville rouge, 1976

Alberto Seixas Santos e Solveig Nordlund, A Lei da Terra, 1977

Thomas Harlan, Torre Bela, 1977

Robert Kramer, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Portugal, 1977

Manuela Serra, O Movimento das Coisas, 1978/1985

Rui Simões, O Bom Povo Português, 1981

Sérgio Tréfaut, Outro País, 1999

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