From Anti-Colonial Revolutions to Revolution in the Metropolis

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This article both describes and theorises the origins and course of the Portuguese revolution of 1974. It argues that it was intimately related to the anti-colonial revolution in the Portuguese African colonies of Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique both because the Portuguese Imperial structure that constituted a unity that once undermined in the colonies was rocked in the metropolis, and because of the military experience of a 13 year war. The primitive accumulation in the colonies required a dictatorial regime in the heartlands of the empire. The super-exploitation of the colonies needed the Salazar regime in Portugal itself. The latter slowly provided access to the basic elements of a contemporary existence but saw to it that working class and opposition organisations like unions were avoided or incorporated. When the revolution broke out on 25 April 1974, the moderating role of the unions was correspondingly absent. The article describes the unfolding of the revolution itself and shows the importance of control from below with workers commissions, and other forms of workers control, as well as the conjuncture of the global capitalist turning point with the defeat of the regular army in the colonies. It describes the course of the revolutionary years to the point of counter-revolution, bringing in the radical reforms in agriculture and industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-171
Number of pages27
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015


  • Counter-revolution
  • Dual Power
  • Forced Labour
  • Social Revolution
  • Stalinism
  • Workers' Commissions

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