COMMUNISTS OF POST-PERESTROIKA IN PORTUGAL

After the effects of Perestroika have subsided and the influence of its author apparently lies dormant, the Portuguese Communist Party finds itself deeply divided in three factions. The first faction is the group which has already joined the Socialist Party on the political right wing of the PCP. Those who remain in the PCP have polarized into two groups – orthodox Marxist-Leninists and Reformers. The first group see no need to change their ideas and state that the moment will yet come when the Communist ideals of Marx and Lenin will make sense to the majority of the population. After Perestroika was abandoned – or betrayed – this group is left fighting for its political existence in a world which seems to have changed. It is here that the Reformers claim to have an advantage. They state that in a changing world, there must be an adjustment of ideas and wish to drop certain slogans and Marxist-Leninist references. The problem for this group is that there is little room for political manoeuvre, given that the Socialist party covers a vast area from political centre, through centre-left to pure left. If they fail to identify themselves as Communists, they take the same path as Willy Brandt or Olof Palme. The Portuguese Communist Party was founded by Dr. Alvaro Cunhal during the 40 years of Fascist Dictatorship in Portugal, which ended in the Revolution of 25th April, 1974. The Communist Party and the Armed Forces played a fundamental role in this Revolution. Given its success in resisting persecutions and oppression during the dictatorship and given that the PCP continues to have a power base translated in a stable 10% of the Portuguese electorate, there is little wish for the leadership to change. A possible scenario in future would be for the Reformists to join the Socialist Party and to leave the PCP to the pure Communists, who know what they are doing and who are waiting for the right moment to put their ideas into practice.

Tim Bancroft-Hinchey Correspondent of PRAVDA.Ru Lissabon

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