The Reformist Communists have survived the Stalinist-style purges from the orthodox, conservative wing of the Portuguese Communist party, which regards a difference of opinion as dissent.
A National Conference for the Renewal of the Communist Party has been arranged for 22nd March, in Lisbon, at which new ideas will be discussed. One such idea is the launching of a Left Platform, or a united front between the Socialist party, the Portuguese Communist Party and and the Left Block, to present a common candidate for the 2006 Presidential election.
This, argue the reformists, will have several advantages. Firstly, it will be an opportunity for the Socialist party to mark a clear definition of itself as being more than another centre-right party, an alternative to the right-wing PSD/PP government as the pendulum swings back and forth over the line. This habit has been increasingly damaging to Portuguese society, as when one of these parties gains control of the government, there is a wave of professional substitutions at every level, not always putting the most competent people into decision-making positions.
Secondly, it would be an opportunity for the Left to present an alternative policy to the Portuguese people and thirdly, a united left would present a candidate with a stronger possibility of winning an election than a fragmented force with the parties fighting among themselves.
The Reformists do not intend to constitute another political party. What they do intend is to bring the Portuguese Communist Party forward into the 21st century with a discourse which has some substance with the population.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru