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(en) [Portugal] Response to the PCP's historical revisionism By ANA(pt)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 30 Jun 2021 09:05:46 +0300


In defense of libertarian anti-fascist militants in the face of the PCP's erasure attempts ---- The tendency within the labor movement to carry out attacks on other communist and socialist currents within it is historical. There has been a struggle for hegemony within the movement over the last century, always at the expense of the will of thousands of workers. We acknowledge this with complete sobriety. However, we believe that there are limits to pettiness and intellectual dishonesty bordering on the lack of respect for the thousands of workers who resisted the dictatorship within and through the CGT. We have no interest in fighting for a fictitious hegemony of what was a mass movement, and not ideologies, contrary to what some seem to want to do. After the centenary of the PCP, the comrades decided, and rightly so, to write some texts describing what these 100 years of struggle were then. Yet,

The first piece of historical revisionism appears under this rich paragraph - rich, meaning nonsense:

"But despite the struggle of the workers and the efforts of the PCP, the CGT, dominated by the anarcho-syndicalists and losing influence, refuses the Party's attempt to create a united front against fascism, which ends up falling to the ground."

They also add that:

"At the beginning of 1924, the PCP, defending the need for a solid unity of action by the workers in the face of the advancing danger, tried to establish with the CGT a front of union unity against fascism. A meeting is even held for this purpose, but the attempt fails due to the anti-communist positions of the anarcho-syndicalists, who dominate the CGT. In 1925 the Party participates in the parliamentary elections forming a bloc with the so-called democratic forces of the left."

It remains unclear what anti-communist positions would have the anarcho-syndicalists of the CGT, bearing in mind that they were overwhelmingly communists. If the authors of the text had taken the trouble to read the minutes of the Congresses, whether of the CGT or of the Union Youths, they would have discovered that both organizations had as their objective the socialization of the means of production by the workers themselves and libertarian communism. The CGT never refused to fight with other anti-fascist factions, as happened in the years of the revoltism with the republicans and in the strike of 18 January 1934 with the socialists and communists. He only refused to submit to the leadership of a political party that split the trade union movement by founding the ISV, weakening the union unity which they later accuse the anarcho-syndicalists of sabotaging. The CGT also never laid down its arms, continuing to organize strikes against fascism, to clandestinely publish editions of the newspaper A Batalha, to seek to organize revolts with anti-fascist republicans who always refused to supply arms to the workers and by continuing their propaganda and unionizing more workers. The CGT had already warned of the threat of fascism to the working class since 1924, but had no intention of joining a PCP that invested in parliamentarism and that had caused disorder in the organization of the working class and of the Union Youths. In fact, this is one more of the historical legacies of the communist party that insists on guiding the proletariat along legalistic, reformist and parliamentary paths.

The text continues, this time stating that:

"In 1929, the PCP began to organize itself under the conditions of clandestinity that were imposed on it. Bento Gonçalves, young worker from Arsenal, union activist, will play a decisive role in combating anarchist conceptions, in linking the Party with the working class, in its transformation into a Leninist-type party. Party and mass organizations are created, a diversified underground press is developed. The struggles against exploitation, hunger, unemployment and fascism multiply, the solidarity movement develops. At the center of all this effort is the PCP, which definitively gains the confidence of the working class, becomes its leading political force and the fundamental party of the anti-fascist resistance."

In fact, until the late 1930s the working class continued to be mostly organized in the CGT and the anarchists continued to be the main anti-fascist force in Portugal. The PCP would not gain such confidence on the part of the working class until the 1940s. However, it is not surprising that a party that was hostile and combative to the CGT from an early age before being hostile to such "left democratic forces" that They are so proud to have militated with, now, after 100 years, to erase the role of Portuguese anarcho-syndicalists who bravely and combatively resisted the first years of the dictatorship, resorting to any and all means, and not getting stuck with legal impasses.

Below we find another revisionist pearl, worthy of the behavior of any fascist calling for the union of the "Portuguese people":

"Fighting tendencies towards class collaboration and anarcho-syndicalism, tirelessly fighting for the economic demands of the workers, the Party actively seeks the unity of the working class. Among the results of this intense activity are the conduct of strikes and fights against unemployment and the reorganization of the most important unions."

The contradiction between seeking unity of the working class and fighting anarcho-syndicalistism, creating the Intersindical that divided this same working class, previously united in the CGT. It is particularly hypocritical to see the leaders of the III International and ISV complain about lack of unity when it was known that the creation of the PCP had been an attempt to disunite the Portuguese labor movement under the pretext of "correct class positions" and "fighting the class traitors" before fighting fascism. It is not surprising that the CGT lost its influence and strength since, while on the one hand it was being destroyed from within due to splits in the anarcho-syndicalist movement, which we remember with regret, it also had to deal with attacks and attempts at sabotage by supposed comrades . The text advances,

"On January 18, 1934, a strike of insurrectionary characteristics took place in various parts of the country. The National Labor Statute (inspired by Mussolini's Carta del Lavoro) had entered into force, which decreed the illegalization of free unions. The working class reacts immediately. These demonstrations and strike actions took place all over the country, but it is in Marinha Grande that these actions reach greater proportions (34). As of January 18, the PCP will definitively assert itself as the party of the working class, as the great dynamizer of the anti-fascist struggle. Footnote - The strike, still influenced by anarcho-syndicalistism, develops with insurrectional characteristics all over the country, but reaches greater proportions in Marinha Grande."

Although the PCP today remembers January 18, 1934 positively, we do not forget that when the CGT sought to unite the unions and jointly plan the strike, the PCP refused to participate in it. Bento Gonçalves says "«We have put ourselves in the field of using the legal conditions. Any form of illegal fighting was still there not even mentioned, not even subtly. In essence, we said that the unions were still governed by the old alvará. It was therefore necessary to fight on that basis. Convene general assembly meetings in order to get workers to vote against the National Labor Statute. What was necessary to demonstrate very loudly and publicly that the workers were against the fascization of the Unions, that they continued to have the right of independent organization." The Party intended to fight fascism for legalism and would only accept to participate in the strike after the Intersindical had done so first, against the PCP's position. However, it refuses to plan and coordinate its actions with other unions, preventing the organization of a united front. Bento Gonçalves would later describe the strike as an "anarchist". Not wanting to ignore the CGT's faults in the failure of the strike, the Communist Party did everything to harm it. A bomb exploded on the 17th that alerted the authorities, rejected planning the strike together and refused to postpone the strike, something the CGT had requested as they were not fully prepared on the 18th. However, it refuses to plan and coordinate its actions with other unions, preventing the organization of a united front. Bento Gonçalves would later describe the strike as an "anarchist". Not wanting to ignore the CGT's faults in the failure of the strike, the Communist Party did everything to harm it. A bomb exploded on the 17th that alerted the authorities, rejected planning the strike together and refused to postpone the strike, something the CGT had requested as they were not fully prepared on the 18th. However, it refuses to plan and coordinate its actions with other unions, preventing the organization of a united front. Bento Gonçalves would later describe the strike as an "anarchist". Not wanting to ignore the CGT's faults in the failure of the strike, the Communist Party did everything to harm it. A bomb exploded on the 17th that alerted the authorities, rejected planning the strike together and refused to postpone the strike, something the CGT had requested as they were not fully prepared on the 18th.

Therefore, it is in Marinha Grande, a town with around 9,000 inhabitants and 2,000,000 glass workers, that the strike reaches its greatest proportions. Although it involved far fewer workers than in other locations such as Silves and Almada where the anarcho-syndicalists were hegemonic. Despite having only been under workers' control for about 1 hour and around 9 in the morning the strike was completely defeated. The press reports that only 200 workers would have participated in the strike, a clear minority, which would explain the low number of wounded and the rapid withdrawal of the strikers. The Communists of the PCP were in fact in the majority in Marinha Grande and that is the only reason why the party overvalues what happened there. On the other hand, and returning to the examples of Silves and Almada, many more workers were moved by the anarcho-syndicalists. Thousands joined the strike in Almada and it continued throughout the 18th and partially on the 19th. In Silves, the strike was also general throughout the 18th and partial during the 19th and 20th. These examples are enough to reveal the PCP's inability to mobilize workers and the real impact that the strike had in the areas of greatest anarcho-syndicalist influence.

Finally, what we consider to be the most dishonest, revisionist and a clear lack of respect for the thousands of men and women of the CGT who resisted fascism in its early stages by giving their own life:

"Of all the political parties existing at the time of the establishment of fascism, the Portuguese Communist Party was the only one that knew how to resist and forge itself in the struggle. Footnote - Anarchists and Socialists have laid down their arms and disappeared from the scene."

In our conception of reality, this type of comments would deserve to be mocked were it not for the respect we have for the historical memory of every human being who has resisted fascism through armed or union struggle. It remains for us to stay, once again, in what has become repetitive in the development of the Portuguese Communist Party, astonished by the strictly tribal attitude with which they approach

http://uniaolibertaria.pt/resposta-ao-revisionismo-historico-do-pcp/?i=1
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