The April Revolution is a major milestone in the history of Portugal, a realization of the people's will, an affirmation of freedom, social emancipation, sovereignty and national independence.
For 48 years, the workers, the people, thousands of democrats and patriots developed the struggle of antifascist resistance, for democracy and freedom, wherein PCP and successive generations of communist militants assumed a prominent role. The victory over fascism, unleashed by the Armed Forces Movement (MFA) on April 25, 1974, was possible because of this resistance struggle that brought together the workers' movement, the intellectuals, the youth and student movement, the democratic movement, and the struggle against the colonial war.
The depth of the revolutionary transformations carried out, and the correspondence between the resulting democratic achievements and the desires, needs and aspirations of the Portuguese people, are the basis of the extraordinary progress in Portuguese society achieved with the April Revolution, whose accomplishments and conquests are still today references and essential values.
The celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 25th of April is an important moment that calls upon the intervention of all democrats and patriots toward the recognition of successive generations of fighters, whose action was indispensable for the liberation of the people and the country from the yoke of fascism; for the recognition of the military of April; for the appreciation of the achievements of April against the falsifications, mystifications and concealments promoted by their enemies; for the promotion of the values of April in the struggles of the present and in the democratic and independent future of Portugal, especially among the new generations.
Triggered by the heroic military uprising of the Armed Forces Movement, soon followed by a popular uprising – including on May 1st 1974 – the April Revolution put an end to the fascist dictatorship and the colonial war, returned freedom to the Portuguese people, opened the way for the construction of a democratic Portugal, a Portugal of development, peace and progress, and fulfilled dreams and objectives for which successive generations fought for almost half a century.
The fascist regime was the terrorist dictatorship of the monopolies (associated with imperialism) and the big landowners. Promoting the concentration and centralization of capital and the formation of monopoly groups, the fascist dictatorship imposed by force the conditions for the accumulation of large fortunes based on exploitation and oppression.
The years of the fascist dictatorship constituted one of the darkest periods in the history of Portugal, with a history of persecutions, arrests, torture, murders, corruption as a state policy, widespread misery, poverty and illiteracy, of a colonialist country, simultaneously dominated by imperialism.
The great democratic achievements resulting from the Revolution – fundamental rights, including the formation of political parties, the right to vote, the end of censorship, freedom of trade union organization, the rights to demonstrate and strike; the adoption of a wide range of social measures, such as the increase in wages and pensions, the extension of paid vacation to 30 days, the establishment of a national minimum wage (SMN); the rights of women and youth, equality and the fight against discrimination; agrarian reform; nationalizations and workers' control; the widespread access to education, health and social security; the development and democratization of culture; the end of the colonial war, recognizing the right to independence of the peoples of the colonies; democratic local power; the development of a foreign policy of peace and cooperation and of safeguarding national independence and sovereignty – ensured the democratic regime, the end of the power of monopoly groups, the democratization of Portuguese society, the development of the country and the improvement of the living conditions of the people.
The April Revolution demonstrated that the true democratization of Portuguese society is inseparable from a regime firmly anchored in a political, economic, social and cultural democracy.
Culminating a long and heroic struggle of the working class, the workers, the popular masses and democratic forces, the April Revolution was not a sudden revolutionary act but a complex and convoluted process, in which the forces of reaction and the fascist past tried everything to impose a new dictatorial power and impede the course of democratization of national life. The transformations, reforms and democratic conquests of the revolution, achieved by the combined dynamics of the struggle of the masses and the action of the MFA, ensured extraordinary progress in Portuguese society and were in themselves a condition for the defence of freedom and democracy.
The working class, the workers, the popular masses and the progressive military – "the captains of April"–, united in the People-MFA alliance, were the protagonists of the democratic conquests, in a process wherein PCP intervened as an essential and determining political force.
Conquests that were later enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, approved and promulgated on April 2, 1976, which incorporated the heritage of the progressive process toward liberation, the path to economic, social and cultural development and the affirmation of a free, independent and sovereign Portugal.
Conquests that are projected in today's Portugal and are a reference in the construction and future development of Portuguese society.
The defence of the values of April, the demand for compliance with the Constitution of the Republic and the realization of the rights and project it enshrines gain redoubled relevance in the face of the country's serious situation.
The April Revolution changed Portugal, putting it on the path of social emancipation and progress, but the counter-revolutionary process, decades of right-wing politics, oriented towards favouring and reconstituting the power of monopoly capital, the submission to external impositions, the interference and demands of imperialism, Portugal's entry into the EEC/EU and subsequent accession to the Euro, the destruction of the productive apparatus, the privatization and alienation of companies and strategic sectors and the squandering of public goods have led to increasing limitations and perversions of democracy (by curtailing the potentialities opened with the April Revolution) and to a growing vulnerability and external dependence of the country.
Economic groups use their dominance over the economy and national life to accumulate billions of euros of profits. As in the past with the successive right-wing governments of PS [Socialist Party], PSD [Social-Democratic Party] and CDS [Popular Party], today the absolute majority government of the PS is also an instrument at the service of these interests and objectives.
The expression and promotion of reactionary forces and projects – namely PSD, CDS, Chega and IL (Liberal Initiative) –constitute a threat to workers' and people's rights, to democratic freedoms, democracy and the future of the country. At the same time, there is the development of an anti-democratic offensive, with a strong anti-communist bent, aimed at limiting and conditioning the action of the Party and mass organizations, and attacking the interests of the workers and the people.
In the current national political framework, when limitations of important social, economic and political rights increase; the economic and social situation worsens; the living conditions of the workers and the people are rapidly degrading; inequalities and injustices are accentuated – with the people paying the cost for profits that increase scandalously; the economic and political dominance of big capital increases; options for submission to external interests are deepened, weakening the affirmation of national independence and sovereignty; and when, at the same time, operations to whitewash the history and nature of fascism are multiplies, the celebrations of 50th anniversary of April 25 have particular importance.
The protagonists of right-wing politics and those politically responsible for the structural problems of the country, the spokespersons and ideologues of the ruling classes try to deny, mischaracterize and call into question the true meaning of what April was and what it represents for the Portuguese people. They attempt to rewrite history, whitewash the terrorist nature of the fascist dictatorship, silence the heroic struggle of the workers and the Portuguese people and, in particular, hide and falsify PCP's unique and decisive role in resisting the fascist dictatorship, in creating the conditions for the April Revolution, in its development and in defending its achievements. To erase the revolution's profound economic and social transformations, they falsify facts and events that marked the revolution, they try to erase its most genuine and democratic character, they try to rehabilitate those who conspired against April, they disguise that there were and still are those who want to erase what it actually represented. They insist on attacking the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, preventing the realization of the rights and project it enshrines, aiming to further mutilate and impoverish it, and diminish and erase the progressive elements it contains and projects.
The April Revolution went a long way in transforming Portuguese reality. Its achievements and conquests remain or left deep marks on our collective experience. Realizations and achievements that are values in themselves, by the experience and transformational value of their realization, among other examples, in the liquidation of monopoly capital, in the realization of universal social rights, in the political participation and intervention of the popular masses – confirming these as an indispensable force for transformation and advancement.
The April Revolution opened up a time of new values and new meanings about freedom as belonging to the people and the individual; about the nature of the state and the possibility of its configuration according to the interests and needs of the people and the country and not as an instrument of capital destined to perpetuate exploitation; about the meaning of economic development with the objectives of improving the standard of living of all, of a fair and balanced distribution of national wealth, of national independence; about the role of the individual, as a worker, as a citizen, their material and cultural well-being, dignity and the improvement of their living conditions, their social and political participation; on national independence, assumed as a condition of freedom, identity, sovereignty and peace.
Values that are heritage and inspiration for all those who yearn for a better life in a fairer society. Values that are projected as realities, objective needs, experiences and aspirations in the democratic future of Portugal. Essential values in the struggle for the rupture with right-wing politics and for the patriotic and left-wing alternative.
The situation of Portugal today, while continuing to reflect the lasting impact of April's achievements and despite the mutilation or destruction of many of them, does not reflect what the country could be if April's project, inscribed in the Constitution, had been developed and consolidated. The setbacks in the social, economic, political and cultural levels and in national independence resulting from the counter-revolutionary process, from decades of right-wing politics – contrary to the values and Constitution of April – demonstrate the need for the struggle for an alternative politics, anchored in the values of April, that responds to national problems and leads the country to progress, development and social justice.
Portugal needs a policy that ensures the implementation of the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and its broad conception of democracy in the political, economic, social and cultural dimensions. A policy that values work and workers; defends the productive sectors and returns strategic sectors to public control; values and empowers public services and affirms the social functions of the state; guarantees the defence of the environment, territorial planning and the promotion of effective regional development; achieves the effective subordination of economic power to political power; affirms a free and sovereign Portugal in a Europe of peace and cooperation.
Today it is even clearer that the real possibility of a Portugal with a future lies in the defence and affirmation of the values of April and in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic, in the realization of its objectives, values, project of national development and individual and collective emancipation.
Considering the important celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 25th of April, PCP will actively participate in a very diverse set of initiatives to be carried out by the popular, associative or trade union movement, of a democratic and popular nature. PCP will also organize a series of initiatives of its own, contributing to denounce the 48 years of fascism, to affirm the importance of the April Revolution, to promote the values of April that PCP committedly incorporates in its struggle and in its project of advanced democracy. The richness of this diversity of initiatives and their promoters is also a mirror and tribute to the Portuguese revolution, its liberating role, its mass character and its achievements.
For PCP, commemorating April 25, 1974 implies informing and clarifying what was the fascist oppression and terror, what was the resistance and the antifascist struggle, the struggle of the workers and the people, of the Democrats and Patriots.
It is commemorating the military uprising of the captains of April and the immediate popular uprising that transformed it into a Revolution, the conquest of freedom, peace and the democratic regime enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic and its political, economic, social and cultural components.
It is affirming the resistance to the counter-revolutionary process and the struggle for a rupture with right-wing politics and for the patriotic and left-wing alternative, for advanced democracy-the values of April in the future of Portugal, for socialism.
The Portuguese Communist Party, the party of the working class and all workers, the party of freedom, peace, democracy and socialism, calls on all democrats and patriots, those who aspire to freedom from exploitation and oppression, that they employ their will, their voice and their struggle, to affirm and project the values of April in the future of Portugal.