The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.63/No.20           May 24, 1999 
25 And 50 Years Ago  

May 24, 1974
Lisbon - "The explosion of joy that swept the entire country yesterday has no parallel since the demonstrations at the end of the war marking the liberation of nations occupied by fascism-Nazism." That was the way Diário de Lisboa, the first paper to come off the press following the May 1 demonstrations, described the massive outpouring in celebration of the fall of the fascist government of Marcello Caetano.

As in the mass movements that followed the liberation in France and Italy, the Communist Party seemed clearly the politically dominant force in the May Day celebrations. The prevailing chant on the march was "O povo unido, jamais será vencido" (the people united can never be defeated), the same slogan as one used by the Popular Unity government in Chile in the last mass demonstrations before the military coup.

It was put across to the crowd in Lisbon by apparently well-coached CP cadres. The most deeply felt slogan was one word. The packed crowd always concentrated entirely on it when it was chanted: "Victoria, victoria!" Thousands upon thousands raised their fingers in sign of victory.

After forty years of fascism, the cozy relationship between the fascist government and big business is obvious to most Portuguese. The demand for an end to capitalism arises as naturally as it did in other European countries after the defeat of fascism. But there is no indication, despite occasional oratorical flights by CP and Socialist Party speakers, that any visible force intends to fight for socialism by calling on the workers to organize independently on a political basis to fight for their interests, to trust only in their strength and not in any bourgeois savior.

May 23, 1949
LAKE SUCCESS - The Latin-American resolution to restore diplomatic missions to Franco Spain was defeated but not lost in the United Nations session on May 16. If that sounds like double-talk, it is purely intentional - for the entire debate I heard reeked with hypocrisy.

Washington and London pulled the strings for Franco behind the scenes, while U.S. delegate Warren Austin abstained at the Assembly, and British delegate Hector McNeill sanctimoniously voted "no." But the real truth of the situation was exposed in sudden wrath by the Bolivian delegate, infuriated by his lack of support from the big powers.

"Some people here express amazement that four small Latin American countries dare to propose this resolution," he shouted. "But it is not we who have changed. It is you, the great powers, the United States and the United Kingdom, who set the policy.... There is a new political wind blowing in the world, and we have only dared to take notice of it."

Not one of the capitalist papers that I have read, reported this revealing outburst. They pretend that the vote was a "victory" for liberalism. But the facts prove it was only a tactical stage in the cold war against the USSR.

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