Happy Carnation Revolution Day

By Troy Southgate

Today marks the forty-sixth anniversary of the so-called Carnation Revolution (Revolução dos Cravos), but although large numbers of Portuguese continue to celebrate the events of April 25th, 1974, the entire occasion is but an annual display of collective psychosis. Not only was the possibility of authentic revolution shattered by the Communist Party (PCP) betrayal of Portuguese Anarchists – who, in a bloodless repeat of the Spanish Civil War, had made the mistake of collaborating with the forces of the authoritarian Left – but shortly after the pseudo-revolution had taken place the collapse of the Communist-Socialist alliance led to the appointment of Mário Soares as Prime Minister two years later and this cleared the way for Portugal’s wholesale capitulation to the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the tough austerity measures that followed.

My point, therefore, is that when the Portuguese celebrate April 25th they are commemorating a particular moment in time and the fact that this country’s vibrant revolutionary atmosphere was so quickly dampened by its subsequent collaboration with international capitalism means there is simply no equating 1974 with 2020. In fact it is even impossible to equate 1974 with 1976. It is rather like ordering the best dish in the house (Anarchism), having someone take your place at the table (Communism), allowing a second usurper (Centre Left) to grab the cutlery and then proceed to spoon-feed the greediest man in attendance (IMF). In short, even though the Portuguese continue to mark an event that led to a cruel betrayal they have since moved a further two steps away from satisfying their hunger and yet still talk of ‘freedom’ as though the dish had already been gratefully consumed.

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