Socialist Worker

‘We need each other’

Renato Soeiro from Portugal’s Left Bloc was one of several international visitors to the Respect conference

Issue No. 1978

“I bring greetings from the Left Bloc in Portugal to Respect, which we see as a sister organisation to our own. We stood in our first elections six years ago and won two MPs. In this year’s elections we won eight MPs. That means we can make a lot of noise. Imagine having eight George Galloways in Westminster — it would make the walls shake!

“Recently the first soldier from Portugal died in Afghanistan. We are told we don’t have the money for pensions, that we’re not able to control the forest fires that rage in our country — but we proudly control Kabul airport on behalf of Nato. The left Bloc campaign for Portugal to withdraw from Nato.

“The left in Europe needs the left in Britain. Thatcher and Blair have played a major role in pushing capitalism in Europe.We are now in a troubled but quite exciting period of reorganising the left.

“It’s sometimes confused and unstable and does not move as fast as we would like. We want a socialist society. We know where we want to go, but we don’t have a road map, because we don’t have a road — we are opening the road by building it with our own hands.”

Other international speakers included, Helena Cristina Perugia from Rifondazione Comunista in Italy, Christian Rialto from France’s Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire, Tomas Handel from Germany’s WASG and Colin Fox of the Scottish Socialist Party.

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