MANIFESTO FOR THE PORTUGUESE PEOPLE
ON THE INTERNATIONAL CRISIS
Humanity is facing a crisis endangering civilization itself
It is the most profound crisis since the fall of the Roman Empire. It is a global crisis
political, economical, military, cultural, and environmental.
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A system of rule that uses the enormous scientific, technological and financial
power of the USA is developing a world strategy with fascist-like
The so-called neoliberal globalization functions as a complement and instrument
of this imperial power system. It claims to be an autonomous phenomenon that
has developed independent of ideologies, driven by the internal logic of the
market, a market sanctified as an ever-present and uncontrollable force
situated outside of human reason and of the power of nation-states.
This falsehood obscures a dangerous reality. As Thomas Friedman, former advisor
of Madeleine Albright affirmed while making a defense of globalization, this
globalization only exists and advances because it is held up by an
invisible fist that has a name: The Army, Navy and Air Force
of the United States of America.
This imperial system, whose hub is in Washington, cannot develop its framework
of terror on its own, in isolation. It has allies. These are big capital and
the governments of two dozen countries, namely those of the European Union
(despite many contradictions), of Japan, of Canada, of Australia and of Israel.
All together these countries represent less that 15% of the population of the
earth and consume or control 85% of the world's wealth.
The imposition of neoliberal policies by the center of power on the people of
the periphery has led to the current crisis of civilization. The logic
inherent to this system leads to new wars of aggression, which are inseparable
from the seizure and strategic control of new sources of natural resources.
The language used to justify this violence is perverse. Supposedly these
aggressions are carried out to preserve democracy and peace. This language was
used to justify the 1991 Gulf war, the intervention in Bosnia, the
dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the bombardment and occupation of Kosovo, the
invasion of Somalia, the attempt at genocide of the Palestinian people and the
aggression against the people of Afghanistan.
The installation of a chain of U.S. military bases in the vast territory of
Central Asia, from the Caucasus to the Western boundaries of China, coincides
with the penetration by giant transnational corporations; the missiles that
destroy Afghan cities and murder defenseless populations there,
defend these corporations' interests.
As in the Roman Empire, the logic of this machinery makes aggression a
permanent necessity. The system of rule is unable to survive without endemic
violence. U.S. state terrorism has become a condition for its survival. One of
its fundamental components is the neutralization and manipulation of the
consciousness of the masses through bombardment with disinformation preceding
each aggressive war.
In these weeks the primary target is Iraqsuddenly demonized as a threat
to humanity. Baghdad, by accepting unconditionally the return of UN inspectors,
has demonstrated that it possesses no weapons of mass destruction. But the USA
immediately made new demands. They want war, they want to destroy Iraq and they
want its oil.
Bush, spokesperson for the machinery of power, doesn't hide his intention to go
on with further aggression. In his Axis of Evil he has included
Iran and North Korea. But the Pentagon does not exclude the possibility of
interventions in Colombia and in Cuba. China also feels threatened.
The aggressive character of the USA brings to mind, in a much different
historical context, that of the Nazi Reich, which began with the annexation of
Austria, followed by the demands on the Sudetenlands, Munich and the
destruction of the Czechoslovak state, the invasion of Poland and the Second
The governments of the rich countries emerge as accomplices of this irrational
strategy. The people reject it. This resistance found its expression and
voice in the [anti-globalization] struggles like those of Seattle, Prague,
Melbourne, Quebec City, Barcelona, Genoa and others, and in gatherings like the
World Social Forum, which met twice in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
These movements have accomplished an extremely important task. They mobilized
millions of people in the battle against neoliberal globalization, confirming
that the people, as the real subject of history, repudiate the monstrous scheme
of society that is trying to force them to become the object of a global
dictatorship of capital.
These great movements and Social Forums demonstrate the existence of a strong
will to resist. Everyone is in agreement with the slogan: Another world
is possible. But which other world? When you raise this question, the
difficulties begin. It is not the same thing to reach an agreement for
action against a common enemy (a formulation of Karl Marx) and to be in
agreement on the desired result of this action. The agreements fall apart at
the moment when each one tries to explain what they mean by another world
Two broad, contradictory tendencies can be identified.
One of these starts from the conviction that a reform of capitalism is viable.
Its defenders recognize that the contradictions are increasing between the
private appropriation of the wealth produced by societyappropriation by a
tiny minority of the population--and the growing socialization of production.
Never has the inequality among humans been as shocking as it is today. But this
tendency believes that this situation can be changed within the system itself,
that this system should be susceptible to humanization. They assert that given
the collapse of real, existing socialism that social revolution
under present conditions is absolutely impossible, that there would remain no
other option for the left today outside of struggling for reforms of
real, existing capitalism.
The other tendency points toward a head-on confrontation with the system.
During a recent debate in Padua, Italy, Toni Negri and the Canadian Naomi Klein
clearly represented these two positions. The Italian suggested a path that
excluded a struggle for power, the Canadian declared herself for struggle
through direct and not symbolic actions.
The Spanish Marxist thinker Sanchez Vasquez, in a declaration published in the
Mexican daily newspaper «La Jornada», synthesized this duality,
affirming that a large part of the left had renounced socialism as the
alternative to capitalism, assuming a posture in favor of changes
possible within the system, but losing the perspective of a truly emancipating
alternative which can only come from a system that destroys the foundations of
This duality of antagonistic perspectives is at the heart of a debate,
especially in Europe, which has gained enormous significance.
In the last few years, workers parties with great traditions have renounced
their revolutionary programs, gradually integrating themselves into the system,
allying themselves with parties, which carry out neoliberal policies while in
Some have renounced Marxism, choosing instead social democracy; others assert
that they are struggling for a renewal of Marxism.
Obviously, Marxism is a dynamic and not a static ideology. It must be in a
permanent state of renewal, in theory and in practice. But its creative renewal
is incompatible with the integration of communist parties into the system.
Marxism cannot renew itself by renouncing values, principles and objectives
that are part of its revolutionary essence and by gradually adopting ideas,
projects and methods of action that are capitalist in nature.
Contrary to what the forces serving capital affirm, the era of revolutions did
not end. The capacity demonstrated by the social movements to mobilize millions
of people, including those inside the USA, show precisely that readiness of the
peoples, as subject of history, to struggle against the monstrous project of a
society to which imperialism is trying to turn them into simple objects of a
global dictatorship of capital, in the context of a gradual militarization of
The confused but frenetic theorizing about the death of ideology that, under
the pretext of demonizing the Soviet Union, criminalizes all revolutions
worldwide has now become a component of the offensive developed on a world
scale against those communist parties that have remained faithful to their
Politzer had already said that "for the critical mind, intellectual
independence consists not in retreating before reaction, but in refusing to
The survival of the Cuban Revolution faced with the most prolonged and cruel
blockade in history, the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people, the combat
of the Colombian FARC set before us the limits of imperial power, demonstrating
that in certain historical circumstances it is possible to resist, if necessary
with arms, the most potent world power.
In a eloquent and timely essay about the rebirth of communism, the French
philosopher Georges Gastaud reminds us that in the gigantic struggle of the
exploited against the exploiters, the class content of contemporary
universalism confronts humanity with objectives, which for their revolutionary
significance were unimaginable a few years ago. For example, in combating
imperialist globalization in Europe, the goal for clear-thinking communists
should be transferred from the reform of the European Union from the
break with the treaties of Maastricht, Nice and Amsterdam, from a rupture with
the single currency guided by the Frankfurt Bank, and with a professional army
guided by NATO.
In other words, by ruptures that lead to global crisis that capitalism is
unable to resist. The final result would be the destruction of the system of
power that represents today a threat to the very survival of humanity.
The philosopher doesn't generalize. The rupture, as he conceives it, would
come about as the result of multiple and diverse types of actions at different
times and places.
The defenders of movementism forget that all the great revolutions,
before they began, seemed as if they were absolutely impossible. Yet they
They also forget that without revolutionary organizations there can be no
revolution. It is a romantic illusion that, by themselves, the dynamic of the
social movements and of the great forums that condemn the effects of capitalist
globalization will bring us near the goal expressed concisely by the humanist
slogan, Another world is possible.
History does not repeat itself. But just as the causes that have brought about
the great revolutions have not disappeared, the organized rebellion of the
exploited against the system of power that threatens us with a worldwide
military dictatorship with fascist-like characteristics presents itself as a
In that rebellion against the system it falls to the revolutionary communist
parties to play an irreplaceable role in combat against the common enemy and in
the contribution of a strategy adequate for mobilizing, ideologically arming
and organizing the immense masses of the proletariat of the new typetoday
the majority of the planetfor the struggle.
The creative renovation of Marxism leads to the strengthening of the communist
ideal, and never to the capitulation of the revolutionary party. It aims for
the continuation of the road opened by Marx and Lenin in order to take on the
legacy coming from the sans culotte, from the Paris Commune, and from the
October Revolution of 1917, demonized by the enemies of humanity's progress.
The future of Portugal is inseparable from the course that history may take.
The outcome of the crisis of civilization that we are going though is at this
moment unpredictable. The destiny of the Portuguese people depends on the
result of the great struggles that are drawing near and involve all of
humanity. Thus, our people need to take on the role in this clash of
incompatible forces that lives up to that played by the people who were the
driving force of the April Revolution .
The task is not easy. A peripheral and backward country, Portugal is integrated
in the 15 countries of the European Union, an artificial union of economically
unequal states that are politically and militarily aligned, fundamentally, in a
situation of dependence to the strategy of the imperial power system that alone
rules the planet.
Its state and government made vassals are dragged along by a false community
whose decisions made in the name of the people reflect the will
of the imperial power.
Mass media that causes alienation, instruments of social control, do everything
possible to misinform the Portuguese people. They present imperial wars of
aggression against defenseless peoples as ethical actions, indispensable for
peace, freedom, and democracy.
The lie assumes such proportions that the system of power that promises to
eliminate terrorism from the planet is militarizing the planet through a
strategy of state terrorism that creates hierarchies of peoples, dividing them
into good guys and bad guys.
It is urgent to denounce the revision of history and to disentangle the
monstrous misrepresentation of reality that stupefies and numbs the Portuguese
people, among others.
In these weeks when President Bush is reaffirming his decision to transform
Iraq into the target of the next war of imperial aggression, the protest
against using the base at Lajes as a platform for attacking that Arab people is
imperative for the defense of national dignity, along with rejecting the
participation of elements of our armed forces in the next Gulf War.
The attack on reason assumes such absurd forms that the most powerful war
machine the world has known since the Nazi Third Reich presents itself as a
messenger of good and a higher level of democracy.
But history has not ended. The tide of people's resistance is rising, albeit
slowly. The battle is for all humanity. In it the people of April are present.
Lisbon, 14 October 2002
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English translation by John Catalinotto, Andy McInerney and Carl Glenn.