Portugal: socialists go fishing in communist lake – an example of a wider trend?

The Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Guterres, has challenged the parties to the political left of his Socialist Party, to modernise and to participate in the political debate concerning the government of the country. What he intends by this is a blatant affirmation that if the leftist parties do not change (modernise), they will never gain votes. This attack is predictably against the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and the Left Block (Bloco de Esquerda, BE). In an audacious act of political initiative, Antonio Guterres opens the door for the reformist faction in the PCP to join the Socialists, hoping to halve the Communist vote in Portugal from its historically guaranteed 10 – 15% to a politically insignificant 5 – 7%, more manageable and more convenient to the status quo in this type of parliamentary democracy. The fact is that the PCP has been the standard-bearer of the victims of social injustice in Portugal throughout its history. It is an extremely well-organised party and the integrity of its members is unquestionable. In a typical parliamentary session, the PCP presents more proposals than any other party (and is also especially active in the European Parliament). Generally, the mass media only mention Communist parties nowadays when they catch the scent of scandal or some negative attribute, another coal to throw on the fire. The Communist Parties everywhere, not just in Portugal, must react by defining very clearly what they are and where they stand. As a first step, they can speak out against the rampant corruption which takes place outrageously to the left and right of the political centre in many European countries. Communist Party members, in general, are organised, professional citizens whose main objective is the social progress in their countries. This does not come from a sense of self-gain. It comes from a collective notion of responsibility. Certainly mistakes have been made in the past, and will be in future, because Communists are human and humans err (fortunately, because such is human nature). However, to concentrate on the ills of Communists, around the world, the mass media is committing a huge mistake by providing those more astute with the fuel to fan the flames of a “conspiracy story”. When speaking of political corruption, nowadays, how many times are Social Democratic or Socialist Parties involved, and how often and Communist Parties involved? Any Communists who are eventually involved in corruption scams, are usually those who have crossed over the political line into the welcoming arms of the Socialist Parties – or even Social democrats, for the more audacious. If one is honest and objective, one has to admit that this is the truth, not a flight of fantasy. Real Communists, true Communists, with a capital C, are proud to be what they are and what they will always be. They will always question how to improve the society in which they live, they will always dedicate themselves to the good of the community, not just the self. They will always have the courage to stand and fight for their beliefs, whatever the scenario around them and despite the political cowardice of others. In short, Communists are friends. Friends to the political left, friends to the political right. Communists are different because they are not governed by notions of self-gain. They are what they are – dedicated, determined, professional. If Socialist parties want to poach, let them try. Any Communist Party members who want to cross the political line are welcome to do so – freedom of thought is fortunately a norm and not an ideal – but wherever they are, and whatever nationality they have, Communists everywhere will know what they have to do: fight for their principles with their heads held high. As Frank Zappa said: “you are what you is”.


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