Portuguese Defense Minister Jose Pedro Aguiar-Branco launched a broadside on Wednesday against the “all-absorbing social State,” which he charged creates “the temptation for a totalitarian State.” In his remarks before the National Defense Institute, Aguiar-Branco called for Portugal’s Constitution to be rewritten to eliminate this “danger.”
Aguiar-Branco, a lawyer and PSD party politician, was reading from JP Morgan’s May 28, 2013 memorandum “The Euro Area Adjustment: About Halfway There” which argued that the major obstacle to imposing fascism in Europe is the existence of the anti-fascist constitutions which were adopted in Europe following World War II. Morgan complained that those constitutions enshrined such things as “constitutional protection of labor rights” and “the right to protest if unwelcome changes are made to the political status quo.”
Portugal’s Constitution, adopted in the wake of the bloodless overthrow of the 50-year-long Salazar dictatorship in 1974, still contains the general welfare provisions which distinguished that “revolution,” and on that basis, the Constitutional Court has thrown out Troika-demanded austerity measures as unconstitutional twice this year. Likewise, Portugal’s public sector workers are exercising their “right to protest” again on Friday, in what is expected to be one of the biggest general strikes ever, against not only the latest cuts in pay combined with increased work hours (effectively a double cut), but against the cuts in social services (health, education, etc.) that have led to such results as an increase in infant mortality.
As in Greece, fascist Troika policies have driven Portugal into a death spiral. The National Statistics Institute reported at the end of October that Portugal’s population fell for the third year in a row in 2012, and the trend is worsening, with live births dropping, deaths rising, and the negative net immigration rate accelerating every year since 2010. Marriages are down to 3.3 per 1,000 people, a sharp collapse from the 4.4 per thousand in 2007, a marker of the deep pessimism of today’s new Dark Age.
Dismissing this government as a pack of “criminals” who are out to get rid of the social State and the Constitution, Socialist Party heavyweight and former President Mario Soares reiterated in October that Portugal’s best route out is to follow Argentina’s example and not pay the debt.
“What the Troika is doing to us is robbery,” he charged; we are “subject to some usurers who rob all Portugal’s money through immense interest rates.”