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Portuguese Communist Party: Alvaro Cunhal hails winds of change

06.06.2002 | Source:



The historic leader of the Portuguese Communist Party, Dr. Alvaro Cunhal, has spoken out against the orthodox wing and moves towards the reformists, claiming that the party needs to adopt a policy of broad dialogue to address its problems.

The main problem facing the Portuguese Communist Party is firstly, one of organisation and secondly, one of communication. Despite the constant efforts of Pravda.Ru to contact this party at its headquarters, through telephone calls, e-mails and direct visits, the numerous contacts made in these meetings expressed interest in collaborating with Pravda.Ru but promises were never translated into action.

From our contacts with the PCP, a total lack of communication and direction is apparent, mainly because the party is clinically rent down the middle between the orthodox Central Committee, which maintains a discourse referring to the Portuguese revolution of 25th April, 1974 and an insistence on Marxist-Leninist terminology, which the vast majority of the Portuguese population either does not remember or does not understand, and the reformist wing.

The reformists want a greater internal dialogue within the party to discuss alternative ways to reach the population, but until now the Central Committee has maintained a stranglehold over the party and its members. Alvaro Cunhal now steps forward and claims, in a written document, that the PCP must leave its “blind discipline” and “repressive measures”, pointing out that 11 out of the party’s 13 statutes regarding discipline mention sanctions against those breaking the rules.

In his document, Alvaro Cunhal states that “blind, rigid and repressive discipline is incompatible with the party’s principles. He claims that common sense must rule over “military discipline” and an “unquestioning obedience to orders”.

Due to health problems, the historic leader of the PCP, now 88 years old, cannot attend Central Committee meetings, but his voice is still heard by communists and non-communists in Portugal. The message is to change with the times, while remaining loyal to the principles of communism but adapting a discourse which means something to the population.


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