Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 June 2010

Portugal: Mobilisation against austerity reaches new level

WORKING CLASS people in Portugal are facing an unprecedented assault against wages, welfare provision and public services. Last week, the governing Socialist Party (PS) and the main right-wing opposition, the Socialist Democratic Party (PSD), joined forces in parliament to approve a second version of the Stability and Growth Plan (PEC) - a huge austerity programme destined to halve the 9.4% budget deficit in two years.

Cédric Gérôme

The new measures include income tax hikes, a VAT rise, cuts in central government funds to local councils, and a general increase of public transport costs.

A deep public anger against these measures is increasing. The ruling class, fearing a rise in social struggles, has pushed the political establishment to apply also some cosmetic measures against higher incomes, like a 5% cut in politicians and public sector managers' wages, and a rise in corporation tax of 2.5%.

This serves the purpose of arguing that "everybody pays an equal share of sacrifices." However, while the working class victims of the capitalist crisis are facing ceaseless belt-tightening measures, the four largest private banks are netting on average €4.35 million in profits every single day.

As the level of unemployment is reaching a record-high - on average, 243 jobs a day are being lost - new savage cuts in unemployment benefits are also on the order of the day.

And new attacks should be expected soon. Displaying its allegiance to the will of financial speculators, the government is already coming out with new proposals. 500 primary schools are being cut and highway fees levied. President Cavaco Silva has even urged people to 'forget about going on holidays abroad', supposedly as a way to help the country out of the economic crisis.

But like their Greek and Spanish counterparts, Portuguese workers have shown a tremendous willingness to struggle. The last weeks and months have seen a new stage in the scale of mobilisations. Even the police have taken to the streets to protest against their wages and conditions.

Huge mobilisation

On Saturday 29 May, a national demonstration called by the CGTP - the main union confederation- gathered more than 300,000 people in the streets of Lisbon, in a powerful response against the government's austerity agenda.

This mobilisation was the largest workers' demonstration in the country since the 1974 revolution and helped sharpen the enthusiasm and confidence of many workers for intensifying the resistance.

Significantly, while the smaller and conservative UGT trade union had refused to mobilise for this demo - arguing that it would represent a "threat to social peace"- many union rank-and-file members defied their leaders by joining the demo anyway.

Many workers saw this mobilisation as a step towards the building of a nationwide general strike. "Let's follow Greece: General Strike!" one demo banner read.

Yet the CGTP national leadership doesn't seem to be very keen in responding to this as it should. The widespread and popular slogan of "La luta continua" (continue the struggle) must not remain on paper, but needs to be translated concretely into the preparation of a militant agenda of struggles, beginning with a serious call and preparation for a 24-hour general strike.

This is what Socialismo Revolucionario, the CWI section in Portugal, is arguing for, as a first step to display the strength of the workers' movement and to organise the fightback - linking it to socialist proposals against the impasse of capitalist crisis.

Our appeal to the left parties (the Communist Party and the Left Bloc) for a united plan of resistance against the PEC, and for 'organisations of action' during the international week of protest and solidarity during 21-26 June, also received a warm response from many activists and young people.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 16 June 2010:

Millionaire ministers savage public services

'Bloodbath budget' day protests and meetings


Comprehensive education under attack

Opposing 'Dickensian' academy schools in Waltham Forest

National Shop Stewards Network

Come to the NSSN conference

Unison local government conference: Delegates face huge struggles

Northern Rock throws workers on the dole

Wales Unison: Socialist Party member elected

NHS Scotland - ConDemned to terminal decay

Southampton library staff strike to save jobs

Save the Big House

Socialist Party editorial

Labour leadership contest dominated by right wing

Socialist Party news and analysis

TUSC plans for future elections

BP's value plunges as oil spill worsens

Willetts approves tuition fees hike

Bloody Sunday report appears 38 years late

IDS's 'anti-poverty drive' attacks the poorest!

High speed trains and high priced fares

Why we don't back the Queen's pay claim

Fast news

Diary dates


Tower Hamlets: Jobs, homes and services - not the racist EDL!

International socialist news and analysis

Greece: A test bed for 'austerity' and resistance

Spain: Millions of public sector workers strike over brutal cuts

Portugal: Mobilisation against austerity reaches new level

Socialist Party Scotland launched at packed and inspiring meeting


Home   |   The Socialist 16 June 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleStriking Portuguese dockers show the way forward

triangleWirral Socialist Party: Portugal's Revolution 1974

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: How can austerity be defeated in Portugal?

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleManchester Socialist Party: The political situation in Portugal


triangleSouth African Airways workers win wage increase after strike action

triangleStrikes: more determined than ever

triangleRoyal Mail court ruling - national reps meeting and solidarity action essential

triangleIt's a strike to ensure the safety of the travelling public


triangleGloucestershire Socialist Party: Workers' democracy vs corporate 'leadership'

triangleFight for your future - join the socialists

triangleThe Great Big Socialist Party Quiz 2019


trianglePrince Andrew outrage exposes establishment

triangleTheatre: On Bear Ridge - an examination of loss, set in a post-apocalyptic world




South Africa

South African Airways workers win wage increase after strike action


Hong Kong

Hong Kong's uprising


Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Presidential election sees return of dictatorial Rajapaksa clan



Regime's fuel price rise sparks massive protests across Iran



Amazon bosses defeated in Seattle - Kshama Sawant reelected



Chile revolt continues: read eyewitness report



Bolivia: Right-wing coup ousts Morales


Kshama Sawant

Kshama Sawant reelected in Seattle



End repression in Chile - freedom for soldier David Veloso



Chile in revolt



Chile: An outpouring of rage against the capitalist system



Solidarity with the Kurdish people



Catalonia: Draconian prison sentences of independence leaders provokes mass protests and strikes



China at the crossroads: 70 years since the declaration of the People's Republic of China



Massive protests against Lebanon's corrupt elite

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019