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Submitted by martin on Wed, 18/11/2015 - 14:16

The Solidarity 384 article on Portugal says the Portugese SP is a "neo liberal" party and seems to suggest that the Left Block shouldn't have entered governement with them. I think this misreads the situation.

Whilst the Portuguese SP back in 2008-2012 implemented harsh austerity, the programme the new leader of the SP Antonio Costa ran on in this election is not Neo Liberal. It seems straightforwardly Keynesian and social democratic. So they promised to match the Troika's targets for reducing the deficit but Costa pledged to do this not through austerity but boosting disposable income to households.

Reuters reports "He proposed to boost incomes, hiring and growth in order to cut the budget deficits while scrapping austerity measures and cutting taxes, asserting that would still allow deficits to reduce in line with the Euro convergence criteria". "Also, he pledged to roll back a hugely unpopular hike in value added tax on restaurants and reinstate some benefits for civil servants "

Obviously Hollande's Socialists in France stood on pretty much the same thing and then ended up imposing more austerity themselves. However there has been a rising tide of Anti-Austerity agitation in Portugal and the country is moving leftward. Costa himself seized power of the SP against a neo-liberal former leader.

Our article seemed to suggest the Left Bloc is mistaken to form a united front governement with the SP, and it will end up behaving the same way as the left wing in Syriza did when the Tsipras governement caved and imposed the new memorandum.

I don't think this is inevitable and given the Portugese working-class desire for a anti-austerity government to be formed, left wing deputies should support the formation of that goverment.

The nature of that government and the Left's intervention with in it can be determined by struggle on the streets, in the unions and by struggle within the Left Bloc itself.

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