Portugal: The Impossible Revolution (Book Review)

Short review of Portugal: The Impossible Revolution, which is available in the libcom library here.

Submitted by Juan Conatz on January 13, 2011

Reviewed by Fred Freedman

Every revolutionary struggle is accompanied by a flurry of "left" books on the subject. Portugal is of course no different. The problem is one of truth, interpretation, and who to believe. The left press is no less guilty of fraud and lies in reporting revolutionary events than the bourgeois press.

Phil Mailer's Portugal: The Impossible Revolution? is a clear analysis of the events in Portugal from April 25, 1974 to November 25, 1976 with a background chapter. It is clearly and simply written with little rhetoric. It is also openly libertarian, documenting the struggle of the Portugese people against both fascism and domination by Leninist parties whose picture of state power differs little from the fascists. The Portugese revolution is one of the three or four most important struggles for western leftists to understand and this goes a long way to shed light on the inevitable final battle that any successful revolution faces: the people vs. the parties. In Portugal this took on a special meaning, as the book makes clear.

The author, Phil Mailer, is an Irishman living in Portugal these past five years. He works with the libertarian paper Combate in Lisbon.