Tens of thousands of people marched in Portugal on Saturday, October 19th, against the proposed 2014 budget which includes yet another set of severe measures to make workers, pensioners, civil servants and working people in general pay for the crisis of capitalism.

Today, hundreds of thousands of Portuguese workers went on a 24 hour general strike. This is the fourth general strike in two years that the centre-right government has faced. Today’s strike though, was by far the largest show of strength by the unions in the past few years.

The recent ruling by the Portuguese Constitutional Court that four of the austerity measures in the government’s 2013 budget are unconstitutional is a major blow to the Portuguese ruling class. However, without the organisation of working people in defence of their rights, this ruling could mark a wave of devastating new attacks on ordinary Portuguese people. While we can celebrate the working class victory in the courts, we must realise that if the workers are to ultimately win the legal battle they, not the capitalist class, must be the ones making the laws.

One and a half million people took to the streets in 40 different cities in Portugal on March 2 in protest against austerity cuts and against the troika. This was one of the country's largest ever demonstrations on the same level as the one on September 15 and the huge mobilisations during the revolution in the 1970s.

The biggest demonstration in Portugal's history or, according to other estimates, the largest since one million people gathered in the streets of Lisbon on May 1st 1974 during the revolution. A huge human tide of hundreds of thousands of people, a million in total, came out on the streets of 40 cities and towns all over the country and overseas territories on Saturday, September 15. This was the response of the Portuguese people to the latest austerity package announced by the right wing government of Passos Coelho on September 7.

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