Portugal 1974-5: The Carnation Revolution: Workers' Liberty 3/46

Portugal: the Carnation Revolution of 1974-5

Author: 

Mark Osborn

Portugal’s revolution began on 25 April 1974, set in motion by a military coup against the country’s nearly-50-year-old fascist regime. It was effectively ended by another coup on 25 November 1975. Portugal started 1974 as a backward, isolated colonial power run by an authoritarian regime, and began 1976 as a state without colonies, on its way to becoming a stable bourgeois democracy, integrated into European capitalism. Mark Osborn tells the story.

Portugal’s revolution began on 25 April 1974, set in motion by a military coup against the country’s nearly-50-year-old fascist regime. It was effectively ended by another coup on 25 November 1975. Portugal started 1974 as a backward, isolated colonial power run by an authoritarian regime, and began 1976 as a state without colonies, on its way to becoming a stable bourgeois democracy, integrated into European capitalism.

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When the far left lined up behind the military

The ferment in Portugal reached its peak in summer 1975. The old top military command had been marginalised by the failure of its attempted coups on 28 September 1974 and 11 March 1975.

Power was in the hands of the loose-knit Armed Forces Movement (AFM), middle-rank officers, some close to the Socialist Party, some close to the Communist Party.

The Fifth Provisional Government, in office from 8 August to 19 September, was close to the CP.

An article from Workers’ Fight 108, 6 September 1975, commenting on the “United Revolutionary Front” in Portugal.

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Organs of “popular power”

Text edited from International-Communist League pamphlet, The Revolutionary Left in Portugal (1977).

Portuguese Trotskyism entered the country via Paris after a couple of Portuguese students had been influenced by the ideas of the USFI [mainstream orthodox Trotskyists led by Ernest Mandel] in 1968.

Discussions between the I-CL, a forerunner of the AWL, and Portuguese Trotskyists in 1975.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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