Note on the election in Portugal

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By RAQUEL VARELA*

A ship of madmen takes course when we let it, and so the country now has 48 far-right deputies with access to state resources

1.

There is no surprise with Chega's results for the Portuguese parliament in Sunday's election, I would even say that given the social situation we are experiencing, in the world and in politics, it could be worse.

Real wages have been falling for three decades, and since 2008 – strictly speaking since 2001, but sharply since 2008 – we have been governed by the PSD and the PS in austerity/captivation; according to the value of adequate income, 70% of Portuguese people do not get there with just one salary; public services have collapsed and private services are either terrible or require unaffordable costs to have quality; the State apparatus (now with access to Chega's 48 deputies, who are going to bathe there) is enjoyed by the PS and PSD; those who live here are forced to migrate, with a massive wave of migration coming in miserable conditions, without the unions responding with solidarity and effective organization; in workplaces, precariousness, harassment, free-for-all, scoundrels are taught; television and newspapers are a mirror of the absence of freedom of thought, brutality, noise and mediocrity.

The PSD called the old people a “grizzled pest”, the PS made civil requisitions against those who went on strikes; the left never broke with this, proposing hegemonic alternatives, busy with irrelevant issues; taxes suck the life and work out of thousands of resentful small business owners; there is not a single voice on the left saying that unemployment is intolerable, that living on subsidies is humiliating, that people cannot live hand in hand with social rates of this and that – quality public employment for all, democratic management, no It's on nobody's agenda today and that's what we need, quality public jobs.

The fair and sustainable ecological policy was replaced by “green” expropriations, a massacre of populations and farmers; and the war is enthusiastically supported, in the form of NATO, by the PS and PSD. Chega also supports all of this, but doesn't say it. He shouts, with a combat air. In the midst of this broth, 1 million people (who are not fascists) voted for a neo-fascist party, which was legitimized by the State and cherished – like few others – by the media.

80% of the voters who voted thought that even in this chaos, of poverty and ignorance promoted by the State, and the mass media, fascism does not deserve your trust. We woke up on March 11th with a more than predictable result of extreme right-wing strength in the State apparatus.

It started out being financed by businesspeople, now it may be that they get their cake – that the State finances the businesspeople who finance the extreme right and that the meal stops being just for the PS and PSD.

2.

Yes, we agreed with 48 deputies with access to State money, with influence in the Armed Forces. It's a bad day. But it only exists because there was no left-wing, democratic, egalitarian party capable of mobilizing the protest vote.

This is the only debate to have: how to build this alternative. Instead of abandoning people to political emptiness, media mediocrity and politics as usual (calling for more votes for them), resulting in this morbid and bizarre phenomenon, a neo-fascist party, which woke up on March 11th with 48 seats, not even having 48 people capable – cadres – of meeting the minimum standards in terms of education and use of the word to occupy such a position.

A ship of madmen takes course only when we let it. The fight has to be left-wing, radical, without fear of media noise against “extremisms” that want to equate fascism with resistance to fascism, nullifying and isolating a real left-wing response. It is not the Central Bloc that will save us from fascism, because it was the Central Bloc that produced it.

The future is in our hands. We are going to have to build an alternative and it will not be financed by businesspeople, nor by the State, nor will it have media affection, it will have to be financed by each one of us collectively, and be the result of effective and real participation – politics cannot be done in sofa or behind a computer, waiting for someone to perform miracles for us.

*Raquel Varela She is a professor of history at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She is the author, among other books, of Brief history of Europe (Bertrand). [https://amzn.to/3I1EOFs]


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