Ex-communists are accused of being nothing, neither Communists nor Socialists, a species of political opportunists who see their former privileges and perks usurped by their former comrades who change their political colours like chameleons.
On the other hand, those who cling to the Marxist-Leninist doctrine and continue to base their discourse on Revolutionary precepts, without any thought as to how to captivate new voters from different generations, do little to further the noble cause.
What remains to be said, in Portugal and everywhere else where Communist Parties exist, is that there remains a valid political space for these ideas. Parliamentary democracy is deemed to be the order of the day on the threshold of the third millennium and any state which does not classify as a state of law, based upon a Parliamentary democracy, is considered as a pariah.
However, Parliamentary democracy, as Winston Churchill said, is the best of a range of bad options and there will always be a tendency towards elitist practices, a removal of the elected from their electors, which will illuminate a void for political opportunists, in the noble sense of the word, to exploit.
With the Socialist Parties moving inexorably towards that fine dividing line between themselves and Social Democracy, the notion of the market economy dominating every turn and every decision, what exists in most countries is more and more two collections of beings, some grey men and others supposed leaders, waiting for Mr. Right to appear with a decent enough TV image to bring the crowd to power.
What one Party does is not that different from what the opposition would do. What is engendered is a mechanism in which the “boys” grab all the jobs and put their lackeys in place, with fat salaries and watertight contracts. The plutocracies thus set in place are like a perpetual motion engine, stability being achieved by a constant swinging of the pendulum between Social Democrats and New Socialists, both fans of the market economy and an ever-increasing reduction of public spending, until a point where the word “public” becomes hounded out as a political blasphemy.
The Communists indeed have a role to play in the middle of this move towards the centre, which leaves an enormous space open for those who champion the causes of the people who are not represented by the new supposedly representative plutocracies in parliamentary democracy. There are too many citizens who are discontented with parliamentary democracies to be let down by defeatist thinking by those who championed the cause of the voiceless from the beginning: the Communists.
The Communists can rightly continue to champion the cause of those who doubt the credibility of the system. The Communists have a golden opportunity to take their rightful place on the left of the New Socialists, who have chosen to adopt the middle ground, hovering above the political centre and choosing the more popular policies from just left and just right of centre.
The Communists will always exist as the champions of the discontented. In the third millennium, they may never again be the majority but they will always have a valid and eternal function as the voice of the silent minority.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru