Flavio Goncalves|Introduction to the Portuguese National-Syndicalist Movement|01.12.2008
Introduction to the Portuguese National-Syndicalist Movement
Lecture delivered at the VI Young Eurasian Intellectuals Congress in the Moscow State University, 27th of November, 2008, Russia
When we mention National-Syndicalism people always remember the Spanish version and ignore the Portuguese version of the phenomenon, pushed by Rolao Preto and many other Portuguese activists.
National-Syndicalism was hated by both the New State dictatorship in Portugal and by the Communist opposition; the Communists like to forget that they were not the only political movement prosecuted by the government.
I will not give you the History of this movement, but solely it’s political leanings that caused it’s members to be considered as “Fascists” by the Left and as “Communists” by the Right.
It was a workers oriented movement that also had many intellectuals, they wore blue jean shirts because those were the shirts the Portuguese proletariat used at the time.
They defended the implementation of a family wage to the housewife’s, considering that taking care of one’s home and family was a very hard and important work that should be paid as such.
They had workers unions that included both farmers and factory workers along with white collar and blue collar workers, they were not Right-wingers nor Left-wingers given that they believed that those labels were just another way of dividing the Nation’s population.
They preached that wealth should only be produced by work, not by speculation and usury as it was then, and still is now: only hard work should be rewarded with the creation of wealth.
All families should have the right to a house, without mortgage, that is: you and your family should have a house without having to pay for it to the banks for the rest of your life to own it!!
Local power should be very strong as opposed to central power that corrupts, as all powers do.
They also opposed the accumulation of political, private and governmental positions, something still very fashionable in today’s Portugal, where politicians also work for private companies and even state owned companies gathering several wages instead of solely one.
They were also the first ones preaching anti-colonialism, Portugal should create something off the likes of the British Commonwealth instead of keeping it’s imperial rule, they were very much ahead of their time.
For preaching a creed that was beyond Capitalism, Liberalism and Communism they were forced into exile, prosecuted and sent to jail by the far-Right government and attacked on the streets by the far-Left and the Communists that hated their popularity among the working classes.
They were even referred to as “National-Communists” for defending a strong sense of national community at the same time that they supported class war (of the oppressed against the oppressors) and workers emancipation.
There is much to discover still about this movement given that the New State dictatorship did it’s best to erase it from memory and after the Portuguese revolution the Democrats did the exact same thing, we have still much to research about this movement that gathered under a single banner thousands willing to fight both a far-Right government and a far-Left empty opposition.