Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 45

Elites and Economic Modernization in Portugal (1945-1995): Authoritarianism,

Revolution and Liberalism


Manuel Loff

Portuguese transition from authoritarian rule to democracy, in the 1970s, set a significantly
exceptional example in European political transitional processes of the second half of the
century. What could have been expected to be a plain military coup putting an end to a
48-years reactionary colonialist dictatorship at a very definite breaking point (a 13-years
Colonial War in three different African territories), evolved into a revolutionary process, both
politically and socially, described as the last socialist revolution in Europe. Between April
1974 and November 1975, Portugal seemed to be slipping away from the capitalistic
economical paradigm and the politico-military West of the 15 final years of Cold War. A
swift rupture was operated at both political and (to a lesser extent) institutional level, while
the state intervened in private enterprise in order either to take into the public sector, or at
least control, most of the financial sector and what had become self-managed industries
whose owners had left the country.
After a complex and extremely intense political and social process, which developed from
April 1974 to the end of November 1975, those who described themselves as the
revolutionary Left (communists and all components of the far-Left: Maoists, Trotskyists,
radicalized progressive Catholics), including an important military segment, were ousted from
power by an amalgamated coalition of moderate socialists, all right-wing parties, catholic
hierarchy, and a hardly compatible variety of military commanders, ranging from moderate
left-wing to ultra-right neo-Salazarists, internationally supported by Western European and
American governments. By then, decolonization of the Portuguese African colonies was
finally carried out, during the politically extremely hot summer and autumn of 1975
, under
the Cold War complex circumstances. A new Constitution was passed in April 1976,
parliamentary elections were held a few weeks later, and were won by the Socialist Party, led
by Mrio Soares, and general Ramalho Eanes, one of the military commanders of the 25
November coup, was subsequently elected President in July, supported by socialists and the

1 In Christoph Boyer, Friederike Sattler (Eds.), European Business Elites between the Emergence
of a New Spirit of Capitalism and the Erosion of State Socialism, forthcoming.
2 I have to thank for Bruno Monteiros generous and persistent help in finding some of the
bibliographical sources which I found essential to this research.
3 The expression Vero quente [hot summer] is currently used to describe that period of political and
social confrontation.
two right-wing main parties, the Peoples Democratic party (Partido Popular Democrtico,
PPD) and the Democratic and Social Centre (Centro Democrtico e Social, CDS).
The democratic normalization process (1976 onwards), as the hegemonic political discourse
depicts it, paved the way to the European integration negotiating process (1977-85),
moulding, after all, a post-authoritarian transitional period altogether a lot more similar to the
Spanish one than that very same discourse usually sustains. Apparently, one would expect to
see a whole new set of political, social and business elites took over the control of most of
political, institutional and economic instruments, in a systemic context in which the state was
still at the core of social engineering, with most social groups feeding high expectations either
in its transformation or control abilities, depending on the ideological perspective. I will try to
show that there were a lot more continuities than breaches between the elites who led the
economic modernization process of the 1960s, under the dictatorship, and the ones who did
guide Portuguese economic policies in the post-1974 Revolution 30-years long democratic
I. Salazarist authoritarian regime
48-year-long Salazars dictatorship, self-designated New State (Estado Novo), resulted from
the institutionalization of a military regime (1926-33), soon led by a civil elite organized
around a Political Economy university professor, Antnio de Oliveira Salazar (1889-1970),
propelled into power through his successful ability to federate all right-wing Portuguese
political factions of the 1920s, from Conservative Republicans to Organic Monarchists,
including modern extreme-right activists and a very well articulated group of Catholic
Clericalists (to which he belonged to) who became the crux of the new political system.
Salazar was appointed Minister of Finance for the second time in 1928
in a military-led
Cabinet, and was able to control quite effectively the whole state apparatus and the political
process, at least since 1930, (i) leading the creation of the new regimes single-party (the
National Union Unio Nacional, UN) in 1930, (ii) re-centralizing in Lisbon political control
over colonial administrations (Colonial Act, 1930) and re-launching an imperialistic
nationalist discourse (or rather endorsing a new colonial paradigm) as a cement holding
together economic and political interests supporting the new regime, (iii) producing a new
constitutional text (1931-33), imposing a pragmatic authoritarian platform where both

4 He left that same office a week after his appointment in June 1926, soon after the 28
May military
republicans and monarchists could meet
, (iv) attracting catholic hierarchy to a renewed
alliance with the state adapted to 20th centurys social and political conditions.
Salazar was formally appointed President of the Council of Ministers in 1932 and remained in
office for the following 36 years, until September 1968, when, at 79, a cerebral hmorrhage
incapacitated him and forced an uni-personal dictatorship to find a substitute in Marcello
Caetano (1906-80, former Minister of Colonies and, in some way, in the 1950s, a vice-
president, briefly mistaken for an appointed-successor, driven out of Government by Salazar
himself in 1958) for those which would be the final six years of the Estado Novo. Salazars
sharp ability to bring together all segments of the Portuguese ruling class at a crucial historical
stage, as it was mentioned earlier, assured him a long-term adhesion built upon an
unprecedented charismatic government, leading an essentially conservative and progress-
fearful elite through a complex path made of key economic options between a state-protected
economy based on large property agriculture and strong trading lobbies (prevailing from the
beginning of the dictatorship until the end of World War II and a state-coordinated
industrialization (launched in 1945-50) which could hardly prevent its inevitable social
consequences (urbanization, growing implosion of an until then sturdy rural society), in spite
of all the corporative system rhetoric.
Fundamentally, Salazarism meant, for Portuguese elites of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, a
clear and safe, self-described as specifically Portuguese, response to the process of social and
political massification which in Portugal was maturing in a relatively belatedly form a
precocious political evolution towards a Republican form of government (1910) and a
resultant strict separation between state and church, with no correspondence in its social
foundations: no universal suffrage was passed until 1975;
no undeniably massive political
and social movements pre-existed the creation of Salazarist single-party, militia, compulsory
labor unions and youth organizations; no massive schooling covered the whole territory and
the lower classes until the 1940s. In this sense, the expression Salazarism condenses more
accurately than Estado Novo the historical meaning of the whole political system dominating
Portugal between 1926-74, covering not only Salazars years (1932-68) but the whole
dictatorships historical experience, fundamentally shaped to the dictators persona.

5 The republic vs. monarchy debate mobilized Portuguese elites political discussions, at least since the
1890 crisis over colonial conflict with Britain, until 1933, when Salazar forced upon the monarchists the
continuity of a Republican form of government in order to secure right-wing republican support to the new
6 Male universal suffrage was passed in 1918, under the charismatic military rule of Sidnio Pais, and
enforced for a single election, before being immediately revoked in 1919, when the constitution of 1911 was
restored. See: Manuel Loff, Electoral Proceedings in Salazarist Portugal (1926-1974): Formalism and Fraud in a
150-year old Context of Elitarian Franchise, in: Raffaele Romanelli (ed.), How Did They Become Voters? The
History of Franchise in Modern European Representation, The Hague/London/Boston 1998, pp. 227-250.
Accordingly, historical legacy of what was a wide social elite consensus over the character
and over its political paradigm still plays a central role in what may be described as the
present day Portuguese dominant social groups obvious ambiguity towards the memory of
the dictatorship and of their own course throughout the final 15 years of the regime (1960-74).
Obvious continuity (family ties, class sociability) of a very significant part of pre- and post-
1974 social, economic and cultural elites in fact, a widespread phenomenon of post-
dictatorial societies is an important factor to consider when assessing discourses over the
dictatorship years produced in the upper-classes, not only of those who feel close to the
ideological nature of the elapsed regime, but more importantly of those who make clear their
hostility to it and, at the same time, tend to bail out, so to speak, their own relatives or next of
kin by and large, their class from the negative core of the past experience.
II. A traditionally elitist society
Socio-culturally speaking, and in broad terms, the Portuguese special case in Western
European context is based upon a clearly distorted social access to cultural modern practices
and forms. Schooling, scientific and technical qualification and press reading levels remained
until the mid-20
century phenomena as limited as political rights were. A fundamentally
broad-minded intellectual elite read, heard or dressed what Paris, London, and even Berlin
and Rome, produced in the second half of the 19
and the first third of the 20
centuries, but
looked upon the masses they were surrounded by in quite obviously derisive terms.
The 1910-26 republican experience, in which the state concentrated most of its efforts to
break the spine of catholic hegemony over education and cultural Bildung, replacing it, with
scarce results, by a liberal rationalistic educational philosophy, was soon replaced by a half-
century hard cultural and moral repression, exerted both by the state apparatuses and Catholic
Church, leaving very heavy consequences on mass culture representations. One of those, in
fact, has specifically to do with the core of this essay: a recurrent discourse on state prestige
and symbolic hegemony in society, on legitimatization forms of power exercise through
economic wealth, traditional social forms of prestige and professional qualification through
Studies made on the 1960 population census help to perceive an already modern society
heavily polarized between an upper layer, gathering great landowners and employers,
technically and scientifically highly qualified professionals, and large enterprise (over 100
workers) executives representing not more than 1 percent of male active population, and a
huge 61 percent composed of unskilled workers (21 percent), autonomous peasants and
fishermen (9 percent) and wage-earning and family workers in agriculture and fishery
(31 percent). At that turning-point of Portuguese social history, again, not more than 1 percent
of all active male Portuguese had a higher education, and only 5 percent had completed
secondary education.

The first generation of Portuguese true sociologists (a scientific domain deliberately banned
from Portuguese Acadmia by Salazarism) who had the chance to work with these social data
were relatively surprised with the oligarchic character of this high bourgeoisie, nearer to a
group unified through multiple family ties and education rather than to an abstract elite
whose members merely share leading positions.

The dictatorship led by Salazar took over power after a century of liberal modern state-
building which have never compromised the high-bourgeoisie grasp of social and economic
power, not even in the last 16 years of this historical cycle, the Portuguese First Republic
years (1910-26). Salazarist authoritarianism proved to be able to develop an intrinsically
effective way to seduce and control different segments of a national bourgeoisie frightened
with social unrest, representing such contradictory interests as the ones which could be
satisfied by a simultaneous exploit of both traditionalist and modernizing discourses. This
particular sort of hegemonic elite had been allowed to decades of undisputed power, affected
by both bureaucratization, i. e. parasitic use of political-administrative structures with some
cleptocratic shades, and aristocratization, i. e. a mimetic adoption of ostentatious attitudes
and behaviour distinctive of an idle aristocracy.

From a strict political and institutional point of view, an economically poor Estado Novo
(whole public expenditure amounted to 21 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in
1951-52, 20 percent in 1960-61, 26.1 percent in 1972-73)
would offer comparatively few
opportunities to a modern European elite, although those were probably proportional to the
statistically minuscule Portuguese elites of the 1930s and 1940s. A sequential analysis of the
authoritarian regimes strategy to recruit political elites and of the elites/state relation shows a
three-component coalition, gathering military, political direct representatives of the upper-
classes and catholic scholars, controling state apparatus all throughout the 48 years

7 See Manuel Villaverde Cabral, Classes sociais [Social Classes], in: Antnio Barreto/Maria Filomena
Mnica (eds.), Dicionrio de Histria de Portugal [Dictionary of the History of Portugal], Suplemento [Supplement]
(Vol. VII), Oporto 1999, pp. 328-337, here pp. 330f.
8 Hermnio Martins, quoted from Cabral, Classes sociais (fn. 6), p. 336.
9 Ibid.
10 See Alfredo Marques, Poltica econmica e desenvolvimento em Portugal (1926-1959). As duas
estratgias do Estado Novo no perodo de isolamento nacional [Economic Policy and Development in Portugal
(1926-1959). The two Strategies of the Estado Novo in the Period of National Isolation], Lisbon 1988, p. 184
(table 6).
dictatorship, in four different stages:
i) From the fall of the liberal regime (1926) until the end of WW II (1945), i. e. during the
continuing and clear process of fascistization, the military kept an important and inevitable
role while political repression fell more heavily over dissidence, bringing into the regimes
institutional ranks a representation of a relatively significant variety of social and regional
segments of the bourgeoisie.
This was the stage in which the more reactionary components
of the high-bourgeoisie (wealthy landowners and colonial merchants) kept inside of the
administration apparatus a more significant number of direct representatives.
ii) Postwar years paved the path to an actual industrial revolution: Portugal knew its first real
and intense modernizing boost only in the aftermath of WW II, while the rest of Europe was
engaged in reconstruction, a process which had inevitable consequences also in the
Portuguese case. Urbanization, intensive private and public investment in new productive
infrastructures, slow economic internationalization, and mainly state new planning policies
opened the gates to the apparent triumph of a first technocratic elite inside Salazarism. The
Development Plans (Planos de Fomento) [implemented by the dictatorship] after WW II,

industrial growth (), expansion of the education system, particularly post-secondary
technical and scientific (), all these trends converged towards a higher level of social and
political participation, though merely illusive in some cases, of a social segment whose main
characteristics were higher education, being an active part of the Public Administrations
Technical Departments, of big corporations and liberal professions
. Not only economic
planning, with all its complex bureaucratic organization, offered a vast range of opportunities
to a new generation of qualified Salazarist technicians. The post-WW II process of
modernizing Portuguese Colonial Administration, adapting in order to resist to the world-
wide impact of decolonization, offered a variety of professional, political and business
opportunities. As for elite composition, both military and traditional bourgeoisie lost a
significant amount of power in favor of these bureaucrats representing the more modern
fractions of urban bourgeoisie, namely those connected to industrial capital. Catholic
reactionary scholars, essentially close to the dictators profile, remained, nevertheless, in

11 See Maria Carrilho, Foras Armadas e mudana poltica em Portugal no sc. XX. Para uma explicao
sociolgica do papel dos militares [Armed Forces and Political Change in Portugal in the 20
century. Towards a
Sociological Explanation of the Role of the Military], Lisboa 1985.
12 Four Planos de Fomento [development plans] were adopted by the Estado Novo regime: 1953-58;
1959-64; 1965-67 (Plano Intercalar Intermediate Plan) and 1968-73; a fifth (the fourth Plan excluding the
1965-67 one) was ready to be implemented for the 1974-79 period when the 25
April 1974 revolution
suspended its application.
13 Jos Manuel Leite Viegas, Elites e cultura poltica na histria recente de Portugal [Elites and Political
Culture in Portuguese Recent History], Oeiras 1996, pp. 85f.
control of most political higher decision-making posts.
iii) Armed guerrilla activity of national liberation movements in Portuguese African colonies
opened a 13-year war cycle (1961-74) that changed the whole course of Portuguese modern
History. Salazars decision to hold on! (Aguentar! Aguentar!), to resist to any political
change processes, compromised the future of his regime. All state policies had to endorse the
war effort, which inevitably jeopardized the impact of the embryonic social policies the
regime had been forced to consider when it realized how potentially explosive were the vast
and hasty series of social and economic changes. Again, during this period, military elite took
control of a very significant part of national resources: all defence policies consumed
48 percent of all ordinary tax revenue in 1973, the last complete year of war; 15 years earlier,
before war in Africa started, they were responsible for 36 percent; during this same period,
social expenditure in policies such as education and health rose from 18 percent to 28 percent,
but they were unbearably insufficient and ineffective; on the whole, defence absorbed
133 billion Escudos from 1961 to 1973, while all public economic investment along the same
period did not exceed 62 billion.
Nevertheless, we were dealing here with a broader military
elite, representing a wider range of social groups: from 4.850 officers existing in 1960 in the
Army, Navy and Air Force (plus 342 of the Complementary Rank Quadro Complementar
of the Air Force), the Portuguese Armed Forces had 6.884 officers in 1973-74 (plus circa
1.800-2.000 more of the same Complementary Rank of the Air Force), i. e. plus 42 percent
(plus 69 percent considering these latter).
Alongside the military, that technocratic segment
of the civil elite which were socially rising since the postwar period kept their expectations
intact, hoping the regime would have to grant them more visibility to produce the necessary
measures to contain social and political unrest.
iv) The 1968 Government re-shufflement, with perceived-as-reformer Marcello Caetano
replacing a physically incapable Salazar, opens a final six-year stage of this 1961-74 war
period. Caetano would soon proved impotent to change the political course of the war
presuming he had ever wanted to change it but he did try to go beyond the modernization
project of the 1945-68 period, an autarkic industrialism based upon imports substitution,
searching instead for (in vain, as recent history is still proving) a specialization line of
national production in areas in which Portugal had comparative advantage, articulating it with
foreign markets, especially European, granting, on the other hand, greater importance to

14 See: Amrico Ramos dos Santos, Abertura e bloqueamento da economia portuguesa [Opening and
Hindrance of Portuguese Economy], in: Antnio Reis (ed.), Portugal Contemporneo [Portugal Today], Vol. V,
Lisbon 1989, pp. 109-150; Eugnio Rosa, A economia portuguesa em nmeros [The Portuguese Economy in
Statistics], Lisbon 1975.
15 See: Carrilho, Foras Armadas (fn. 10), pp. 440-442.
social factors education, social welfare, health disregarding the effective conditions
which may have allowed or prevented such aims to be accomplished. In this sense, Caetano
and the politicians who were close to him, recruited amidst that technocratic elite made of
those social segments of higher scientific and technical qualification, seem to point out
towards a social state subtle form to change the primary meaning of the corporative state
but evading the regimes democratization and liberalization problem
. In literature, it is
often discussed about connections between what has been described as the modernizing
undercurrent embodied by the Marcelist group inside Salazarism, close to which we will find,
in the 1968-74 years, a reformist sector who, after the 1971-72 breakup with Marcello,
retrieved their political autonomy, and the so-called modern capitalist interests. To Jos
Manuel Leite Viegas, it is an unacceptable simplification to mechanically identify the
economic liberal thought conveyed by modernizers and the industrial, finance and trading
capital interests, committed to develop and modernize its connections with the democratic
industrialized countries economy. The fact remains that expansion of this politico-social
thought was reinforced because it did not collide, and partly adjusted to
such interests.
Additionally, it has been pointed out that the highest representatives of those modern capital
lobby, the owners of the strongest Portuguese industrial corporation, CUF (Companhia Unio
Fabril), the Mello family, have surely had some influence in [president] Amrico Toms
who paid them much attention decision to appoint Marcelo Caetano
, a close friend of the
Mello, to succeed to Salazar, in the Autumn 1969.
In this final dictatorial stage, the Marcelist period, so evidently full of contradictions and
growingly uncontrolled tension, the authoritarian regime proved its inability to eventually
integrate and articulate all these politically pragmatic technocrats, although they were frankly
elitist as far as their governance framework was concerned. Politically speaking, the liberal
group of Members of the National Assembly, the Estado Novo parliament, known as the
Liberal Wing (Ala Liberal) most of whose members would converge in the creation of the
right-wing Peoples Democratic Party (Partido Popular Democrtico, PPD)
in 1974 ,
integrating the 1969 single party (the Unio Nacional, UN) electoral ticket by a special
invitation of Caetano himself, was virtually the political nucleus publicly recognized as best

16 Viegas, Elites (fn. 12), pp. 101f.
17 Op. cit., p. 102.
18 Fernando Rosas, O Marcelismo ou a falncia da poltica de transio no Estado Novo [Marcelismo or
the Failure of Transitional Policy in the Estado Novo], in: J. M. Brando de Brito (ed.), Do Marcelismo ao fim
do Imprio. Revoluo e democracia [From Marcelismo to the End of Empire. Revolution and Democracy],
Lisbon 1999, p. 15-59, here p. 45.
19 Francisco S Carneiro and Francisco Pinto Balsemo were the two first right-wing Prime-Ministers
(1980-83) in the democratic period and had been members of the Ala Liberal under Caetano.
representing that reformer movement, although even at the state political institutions and
public administration level, there have been other centres for instance, the Central
Department for Planning (Secretariado Tcnico da Presidncia do Conselho/Departamento
Central de Planeamento) where political and socioeconomic thought was being elaborated
and renovated
. Already when the whole set of illusions created by Caetanos promise of
Renovation in continuity (Renovao na continuidade) were fading away, this growingly
exasperated selective group of elitist liberals created in 1970 a society for the Study of
Economic and Social Development (Sociedade de Estudos para o Desenvolvimento
Econmico e Social, SEDES), apparently committed to create an alternative route between
the regime forces and the traditional opposition, () [by then] moving leftwards its gravity
There was more, nevertheless, to this generation of bright and ambitious young technocrats
produced by Lisbon, Oporto or Coimbras Economy & Management,
Engineering and Law
Schools. Social change and economic modernization, together with war, produced a
surprising change in an extremely elitist university like the Portuguese. In 1962, a student
movement left Salazar stunned: a politically, initially very cautious, student strike in Lisbon
spreaded to Coimbra and, partially, to Oporto; police invaded Lisbon University against the
will of its rector, none less than Marcello Caetano, and violently charges on those who were
the sons and daughters of this very narrow and conservative Portuguese bourgeoisie, some of
them, naturally, relatives of relevant Salazarist leaders. Since then, university benches became
a focal point of the anti-Salazarist fighting and the intensely politicized student movement was
able to reach larger segments of society when their activists came out of the university and
into corporations, offices, factories, public services, after being forced (in the case of the
young men) into two to four years of military service, more than half of those spent in some
African war front.
Two obvious consequences came out of this process: i) the authoritarian regime became
unable to ensure its own generational renovation, at least through the same ways proved
effective in the past; when Salazar stepped out of power and was replaced by Caetano, in
1968, the latter had already to deal with a number of young technical managers, often
appointed by himself to some second-line economic department position, who did not share
any longer some of the essential elements of Salazarist political culture; ii) that portion of

20 Viegas, Elites (fn. 12), p. 86.
21 Antnio Reis, A abertura falhada de Caetano: o impasse e a agonia do regime [Caetano's Missed
Opening: Impasse and Agony of the Regime], in: Reis, Portugal (fn. 13), pp. 45-60, here p. 53.
22 See: Carlos Gonalves, Emergncia e consolidao dos economistas em Portugal [Rise and
Consolidation of Economists in Portugal], Oporto 2006.
those involved in these consecutive Academic crisis
(expression through which literature
describes all sorts of strike movements, symbolic mournings and other forms of students
protest), although perceived as politically subversive, inevitably took hold of their share of
leading positions in private enterprise, and even in state administration, namely in areas in
which the modernization process required technical skills and a new attitude employers and
state were obviously unable to find outside the university.
These men mostly, although a few women were already opening their way through the
political and entrepreneurial elites were young enough (25-40 years old) when in 1974, the
democratic revolution came to expect to live most of their adult years ahead of them
participating quite freely in public affairs, and the few of them who fought dictatorship in its
final years legitimately took credit for public relevance earned in it. Taking the wide
ideological range of political activists of the revolutionary period of 1974-76 into
consideration, a significant number of the leading personalities of the Socialist and far-Left
Parties (namely the very prolific Maoist), and a less significant part of those of the Portuguese
Communist Party (Partido Comunista Portugus, PCP), had fought, one way or the other, their
first political struggle (and, most of the times, single one under the dictatorial regime) as
student activists in the 1960s and 1970s. After the 1976 so-called democratic normalization,
they sat on a large number of parliamentary and governmental seats ever since. After severely
shifting rightwards their ideological views, frequently from Maoist to clearly liberal and
conservative positions for instance, former Prime-Minister (2002-04) Jos Manuel Duro
Barroso, presently president of the European Commission , they won university chairs,
managed to edit the most popular media and were called to executive positions in some of the
larger corporations operating in Portugal.
In fact, as it could be expected, all those who became either Head of Government (eleven
Prime-Ministers) or of State (four Presidents of the Republic, two of them having been Prime-
Minister before) under the 1976 constitution (thus, excluding the two presidents and three
Prime-Ministers of the Provisional Governments under military rule during the 1974-76
revolutionary process) were members of this post-1945 modern bourgeois elite, university
produced, except for the last three Prime-Ministers J. M. Duro Barroso, 2002-04, Pedro
Santana Lopes, 2004-05, and Jos Scrates, 2005-today, all three were born in 1956-57 and

23 In spring 1962 (Lisbon and Coimbra: demonstrations, police raids, student strikes), in 1965 (Lisbon and
Oporto: student strikes, more than 60 student leaders were expelled from university, arrested, tortured, and some
sent to African war fronts), in 1967 (two thousand students volunteered, facing a government ban, to help people
affected by tragic floods in the Lisbon area), in 1969 (Coimbra: student leaders facing up to the president and
members of government were imprisoned, a student general strike, the university was closed down by the
government for two months). After 1969, students protest became permanent until the fall of the dictatorship.
about to start their degree in 1974, even if the first of these had started his political activity
still under the dictatorship.
Table 1: Portuguese statespersons under the 1976 constitution
with political/professional activity before 1974
Year of birth
Political posts Other relevant activities
Mrio Soares
Min. Foreign Affairs,
1974-75; Min. of State,
1975; PM, 1976-78 and
1983-85; President of
Republic, 1986-1996
Historian and lawyer; opposition activist, first PCP (until
1952), then Liberal-Republican (1952-64), finally Socialist
(Socialist Action and PS, 1964-); secretary PS, 1973-85; series
of arrests, deportation to S. Tom (Africa, 1968), exile in
France (1970-74); Member of national and European
Parliament (1999-2004); creates Mrio Soares Foundation,
Antnio Ramalho
President Republic,
Military officer; several missions of war in African colonies;
head of Program Department national Television (RTP), 1974-
75; head of operations in 25
November 1975 military coup;
President of Democratic Renovator Party (PRD, 1986-87)
Nobre da Costa
Min. Industry and
Technology, 1976-77;
PM, 1978
Engineer; Companhia Portuguesa de Siderurgia, 1953;
EFACEC, 1969.
Carlos Mota Pinto
Min. Trade and
Tourism, 1976-77; PM,
1978-79; Deputy PM
and Min. National
Defence, 1983-85
Lawyer; professor at Law School, University of Coimbra;
Member of Constitutional Assembly, 1975-76; President of
PSD, 1984-85
Maria de Lourdes
Min. Social Affairs,
1974-75; PM, 1979-80
Engineer; CUF (Head of Project Dep.), 1954-1960; young
Catholic leader, 1956-58; Corporative Chamber, 1969-1974;
Executive Council UNESCO, 1976-1980; Presidential candidate
1986 (7 percent of the votes); Member of European Parliament
(with PS), 1987-89.
Francisco S
Assistant Min. PM,
1974; PM, 1980
Lawyer; Member of National Assembly (Liberal Wing), 1969-
73; President of PSD, 1974-75 and 1976-80.
Francisco Pinto
Assistant Min. PM,
1980; PM, 1980-83
Lawyer; press and (after 1992) TV businessman; Member of
National Assembly (Liberal Wing), 1969-73; Member of
Parliament (1979-87); President PSD, 1981-83.
Anbal Cavaco
Min. Finance and Plan,
1980; PM, 1985-95;
President of Republic,
Economist; Professor of Economics and Finance Institute at
Technical University Lisbon, then Catholic University, 1966- ;
President PSD, 1985-95.
Jorge Sampaio
Under-Sec. State
Cooperation, 1975;
President Republic,
Lawyer; student leader, 1960-62; opposition activist until
1974; Left Socialist Movement (MES, far-Left) activist, 1974-
78; Member of Parliament, 1979-89; Secretary PS, 1989-91;
Mayor of Lisbon, 1989-96.
Antnio Guterres
PM, 1995-2002 Engineer; young Catholic non-anti-Salazarist militant;
Assistant Professor at Technical High Institute Lisbon;
Member of Parliament, 1976-83 and 1985-95; Secretary PS,
1992-2002; Vice-President, then President of Socialist
International, 1992-2002; UN High-Commissioner for
Refugees, 2005- .
Jos M. Duro
Under-Sec. State
Internal Administration,
1985-87; Sec. State For.
Affairs and
Cooperation, 1987-92;
Min. For. Affairs, 1992-
95; PM, 2002-04
Lawyer; Maoist activist (Revolutionary Movement for the
Reconstruction of Proletariats Party), 1973-78; Assistant
Professor Law School at University Lisbon, then (private)
Lusada University; President of PSD, 1999-2004; President of
European Commission, 2004- .

Nevertheless, in this group of the eleven most relevant statespersons in the last 31 years of
Portuguese history four either socialists or considered to be left-wing, five Social-
Democratic Party members (Partido Social-Democrata, PSD) or considered to be right-wing,
two right-wingers (Ramalho Eanes and Nobre da Costa) hard to classify because of very
ambiguous political contexts they operated in who had started their professional or political
activity under the authoritarian regime, only three (Soares, Sampaio and Barroso) had been
actually engaged in political activity openly against the dictatorship, one of which at 17 years
of age when the regime fell. Of the other eight characters, another two (S Carneiro and
Balsemo), although having politically collaborated with the regimes single party, carried out
an attempt to renovate and liberalize it, cutting their ties with it (1973) soon before it fell. The
remaining six (one military officer, five civilians), 25 to 50 year-old when the dictatorship
broke down, had either collaborated with the regime, serving in official posts (Eanes had been
an effective and committed officer in the Colonial War,
Pintasilgo had been a member of the
regimes upper chamber and performed special United Nations missions for Caetano), worked
discreetly at the university when repression fell harder over the student movement (Mota
Pinto, Cavaco Silva, Guterres), or had been working in high executive positions in the biggest
industrial corporations (Nobre da Costa and previously mentioned Pintasilgo).
III. A time for change: economic development and social tension in the 1960s and 1970s
A sort of flashing glance at Portuguese society in those final 15 years of dictatorship, running
from the 1958-62 permanent political crisis to the 1974 military uprising which ended it,
suggests the perception of a permanent movement: a large, a very large part, indeed, of the
population moved from one place to the other, slowly in a first stage but growingly faster.
Most of them were, as usual in these circumstances, men, and mainly young male adults, in a
rush to change radically their lives, running from the deep country rural areas to coastland
(sub)urban areas (Metropolitan Lisbon, mainly, and Oporto, secondarily), but mostly

24 As almost every military officer who joined the Armed Forces Movement (Movimento das Foras
Armadas, MFA) before it overthrew the dictatorship. Eanes, in any case, did not join the MFA before the
April 1974 triumphant coup.
emigrating to Europe France (62 percent) in the first place, but also West-Germany
(13 percent), Luxemburg the U.S. East Coast, Canada, Venezuela, but not Brazil anymore,
as most Portuguese emigrants would have done in the previous hundred years. If they hadnt
done it before they went to the Army, they were to bear a whole new weight of state
interference in their lives, heavier than in any other moment in Portuguese History: since
1961, Salazars Government was pushing young men into war in Angola, and after 1963 to
Guinea, and after 1964 to Mozambique, forcing them to endure a two year military service,
quickly doubling it into four years in 1968 when military administration was already scraping
the barrel for potential soldiers.
Politically, the Colonial War years (1961-74), the final years of the regime, were lived in
Metropolitan Portugal, especially in the late 1960s and early 1970s (Caetanos period), as the
regimes violent agony. Growingly confronted by a consolidated industrial working class,
strengthened by the massive emigration which pushed up wages and provided for
comparatively better social conditions, the regime had to face new urban young activists who
reinforced communist underground organization, but also a new far-Left that, after 1963,
broke up with the PCP in ideological disputes that reproduced at a Portuguese scale both the
Sino-Soviet rupture and the Guevarist urge for armed struggle against the dictatorial
Demographically, the thirteen long years of the colonial armed conflict, holding permanently
no less than 250 thousand military active in three different African colonies, represents a
definite landmark in social change processes in Portuguese modern history. Never in
Portuguese history so many people have seen their lives and social experiences changed in
such a short period. Portugal became the only country in Europe to lose population in the
1960s (from 8.9 million in 1960 to 8.6 million in 1970) due to a massive emigration (1.4
million from 1960 to 1973, over 40 percent illegally). The end of the war and the inevitable
subsequent decolonization process produced the opposite result, thus, confirming the negative
impact of the conflict: in 1981, the population census registered already 9.8 million people,
half a million of which were so-called retornados (Portuguese brand of the French pieds
noirs) who fled from the newly independent States of Africa (a significant part of whom
Capeverdian and of Hindustani origin) in 1974-76. Another 100.000 were repatriated soldiers
from the African war fronts, and 182.000 other were returning emigrants, mostly from
The fact remains that inwards and outwards migrations produced a cutback, in only ten years
(the 1960s), from 20 percent to 35 percent (according to each specific area) of the population
of the Eastern North-to-South strip of Portugal, and (sub)urbanized a conspicuous part of the
Portuguese. After 150 years of systematically unsucceeded socio-economic modernization
expectations (more than actual planning, virtually absent from the political culture of the
Portuguese elites until the 1950s), rural Portugal, a deeply conservative, mostly (Northern and
Central areas) religious, educationally unqualified society, who had embodied until then the
core of Portuguese historical identity, and had severely played down the countrys rhythm of
change that Portugal was irrevocably disappearing, mostly through sheer de-population.
Until then, over-dimensioned agricultural Portugal would not represent, in 1973, more than a
fourth of the active population (around 800.000 people), producing not more than one eighth
of the GDP, whilst thirteen years earlier, in 1960, they were still almost 45 percent of the
active population, producing twice (25 percent) of that part of the GDP. It had been, in fact, a
low-technology and low-productivity industrialization which, after the 1950s, propelled such
a significant change, finally paving its way through Portuguese economy, bringing together
half of the GDP in the mid 1970s, at the moment in which democracy replaced the
authoritarian regime. The service sector was already, nevertheless, the one generating more
employment in Portugal (27.7 percent in 1960, 37.3 percent in 1970, almost 1.2 million
people, a little bit ahead of the industrial sector), but its scarce productivity (still attracting
mostly unskilled workers to unqualified jobs, offering mostly a sort of services coherent with
a still very traditional and servile society) provided a comparatively low share of the national
wealth (38.4 percent of the GDP in 1960, 36.1 percent in 1970).
Nevertheless, a change had started before the 1960s. Salazar had already introduced or was
forced into it by a whole complex of circumstances a significant change in his economic
policies in the 1950s. At the end of WW II, a number of factors concurred to push the regime
into a significant change in its economic policies, with all the obvious consequences
deductible from an authoritarian regime context:
i) A significant amount of capital had been amassed by different social groups all throughout
the war, especially by those few who could benefit from the neutrality status of Portugal,
eventually profiting from its geographical position and political ambiguity of its Government
(formally stuck to an old diplomatic alliance with Britain, thus, attracting some benevolence
from the Anglo-Americans; ideologically perceived as pro-Axis until 1943, developing a
swift and economically efficient trade-relationship with Nazi Germany).
ii) Defeat of Nazi Germany and the Allied victory under an antifascist coalition flag
strengthened the most emblematic and lasting united opposition movement assembled
under the Portuguese dictatorship.
A clearly radicalized relevant fraction of a new urban
working class, growingly impressed and mobilized by the Communist Party (PCP), had, thus,
to be, from the dictatorships point of view, disciplined and tamed through a different set of
economic and social policies.
iii) A new stage was opening in international economy, especially in the West, where
economic international co-operation and planning procedures were keynesianly being laid
down has the best remedies to face both reconstruction and competition, at least ideological,
from the socialist bloc led by the Soviet Union.

After WWII, as Alfredo Marques underlines, a second strategy pops into the [regimes]
agenda. Its configuration takes place, mainly, during the 1950s and it culminates in the last
years of the decade, the moment the Second Development Plan (Plano de Fomento) is
enacted. According to Marques, the global aim to which [this strategy] points out is the
constitution of a developed and autonomous capitalism (), aiming to economic growth and
structural transformation. Its driving force lies, nevertheless and contrary to the extroversion
strategy emerging in the 1960s Salazarist economic policys third stage in the internal
market, thus an endogenous dynamic being predominant over the external impulse of capital
accumulation. This all happens in a context of national autonomy. Such a strategy was based
on active support to the constitution of a new industrial capital, mainly through capital
concentration and centralization, in which, naturally, State plays a new and decisive role.
Interestingly enough, and reversing the trend in all other political and symbolic features of t he
Estado Novos evolution, in the whole history of the Portuguese dictatorship, this set of
economic policy measures are those which remind, in some of its aspects, the
interventionism of paradigmatic European dictatorships (German and Italian). Anyway, the
whole process of carrying out this strategy soon headed to a total failure.

What could be described as what had become an inevitable industrialization process under
state control developed along three parallel lines through which Salazars regime tried to
respond to a new stage in Portuguese history:
i) An intense state intervention in economy through central planning, attracting to a new alliance

25 Fernando Rosas, Unidade antifascista [Antifacist Unity], in: Fernando Rosas/Jos Maria Brando de Brito
(eds.), Dicionrio de Histria do Estado Novo [Dictionary of the History of the Estado Novo], Vol. 2, [No place
specified] 1996, p. 991-996, here p. 992. Sequentially, it brought to life the National Unity Anti-Fascist Movement
(Movimento de Unidade Nacional Anti-Fascista, MUNAF) in 1943-45. Then it reunited in the Democratic Unity
Movement (Movimento de Unidade Democrtica, MUD, 1945-48) and its youth association (MUDJ, 1946-48),
finally created a broad movement supporting the very first presidential opposition candidate (General Norton de
Matos, 1948-49).
26 Marques, Poltica (fn. 9), pp. 25f.
new sections of the bourgeoisie on the grounds of economic nationalist rhetoric, trying to make
sure they would be as state-dependent as had been the Agrarian-Industrial Alliance mentioned
by Alfredo Marques who both supported and was intimately connected to the regime,
emerging in the last years [of the 1920s], its apogee [being] achieved at the end of the 1930s
and during the next decade.

ii) A new gasp of the corporative system in the mid-1950s
the 1956 second corporative
legislation impulse, paving the way to new corporations created between 1957 and 1966

offered Salazar, not only the bureaucratic means to control social and economic change, and
to try to promote the one pattern of change admitted by the regime, but also the possibility to
renovate the bureaucratic elites, attracting a whole series of catholic intellectuals and
who would be, together with Salazarist young technocrats, the nucleus of a new
Estado Novo leading generation, committed to economic modernization without questioning
political authoritarianism. In addition, this new corporative discourse that spread all the way
through every sectorial policy represented another Salazarist attempt to smarten the 1930s
typically fascist Third Way (anti-liberal capitalist, anti-socialist) rhetoric, and to claim a
paternalistic social concern from above towards growingly anxious and dissatisfied working
classes. The whole logic under which Salazar himself overlooked the most massive process of
social change the country underwent was still completely reactionary. At the very moment in
which thousands were starting to abandon rural Portugal and flooding into Lisbon and Oporto
suburbs and soon after into Paris or the Rheinlands, for instance , the dictator praised
agriculture in opposition to industry, because of its greater stability, its natural roots in the
soil and closer connection with food production, constituting a basic assurance of life itself
and, due to the moral values it impresses into the soul, an endless source of social resistance
of those who will not let themselves be obsessed with illusions of getting rich through
indefinite means, but aspire, above all, for a sufficient life, healthy, deep-rooted to the earth,
although modest.

27 Op. cit., p. 24.
28 Howard Wiarda, Corporativismo [Corporatism], in: Baretto/Mnica, Dicionrio (fn. 6), p. 421-425,
here p. 423.
29 Six in 1957, two in 1959, three in 1966; after twenty years of a halt to which the evolution of our
corporative system was brought to, as Adrito Sedas Nunes puts it in 1954 (see: Adrito Sedas Nunes, Situaes e
Problemas do Corporativismo [Condition and Problems of Corporatism], Lisbon 1954, p. 38). The first corporative
wave spread throughout the 1930s, under a clear Fascist spell: after the 1933 constitution establishing a Corporative
state, instating the Cmara Corporativa as its second chamber, Salazar passed the National Labour Statute (Estatuto
do Trabalho Nacional, a clear Portuguese adaptation of Mussolinis Carta del Lavoro - see DL No. 23,048 and
23,050, 23.09.1933).
30 Wiarda, Corporativismo (fn. 27), p. 423.
31 Salazar, 1953, quote in: Fernando Rosas, O Estado Novo (1926-1974) [The Estado Novo], in: Jos
Mattoso (ed.), Histria de Portugal [History of Portugal], Vol. 7, [No place specified] 1994, here p. 457.
iii) A slow, controlled, often contradictory
but steady choice for what a probably too
condescending view would describe as an opening to Europe in the 1960s, abandoning the
1940s-1950s project of a nationalistic and autarkic development in favour of economic
liberalization and European integration.
The fact that Salazar chose to concede to the
economic managers inside his administration and to accept Portuguese status as a founding
member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), in 1960, as well as his Government
signing (April 1962) the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), more than a
starting point of a significant change process, should be read as a result of that contradictory
process initiated with Salazars similar concession in the 1947-48 process of adhesion to the
Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC, turned into Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, in 1960), tardily benefiting from the
Marshall Plan funds. According to Rollo, the OEEC integration has represented not only one
of the first steps towards [economic] opening, and moreover to Portuguese economys
internationalization, but the Marshall aid, through mechanisms it put into motion, ()
concurred to what was still an incipient industrialization process, () paving the way to new
forms to look at economic policies through economic planning materialized in a series of
development plans [Planos de Fomento], promoting a new technical elite formed in contact
with and working inside a number of international institutions (first of them all, the OEEC),
an additional knowledge on the workings of international trade and an intensive learning on
how to deal with the new instruments of the international monetary and financial system that
came out from Bretton Woods
. From this point of view, the formal creation of a
Portuguese Economic Area (Espao Econmico Portugus)
, although reinforcing the same
trend towards bureaucratic planning and economic rationalization, offering, again, a number
of opportunities to a new generation of qualified bureaucrats recruited into the ranks of a
growingly agonizing regime, was never an effective alternative to a clear Europeanization of
Portuguese foreign trade, while the relative position of the trade with former colonies is not
only weak but it suffers an expressive cut: in 1958 and 1968 it represented 20 percent of

32 See details in Fernanda Rollo, Salazar e a Construo Europeia [Salazar and the European Building],
in: Antnio Costa Pinto/Nuno Severiano Teixeira (eds.), Portugal e a Unificao Europeia, [Portugal and the
Unification of Europe], revista Penlope No. 18, Lisbon 1999, pp. 51-76.
33 David Corkill, O desenvolvimento econmico portugus no fim do Estado Novo [Portuguese
Economic Development at the End of the Estado Novo], in: Fernando Rosas/Pedro Aires Oliveira (eds.), A
transio falhada. O Marcelismo e o fim do Estado Novo (1968-1974) [Failed Transition. Marcelismo and the
End of the Estado Novo], [No place specified] 2004, pp. 213-232, here p. 215.
34 Rollo, Salazar (fn. 31), p. 64.
35 See Decree-Law (Decreto-Lei, DL) No. 44,016, 08.11.1961. Manuel Ennes Ferreira, Espao
Econmico Portugus/Mercado nico Portugus [Portuguese Economic Area/Integrated Portuguese Market], in:
Fernando Rosas/J. M. Brando de Brito (eds.), Dicionrio de Histria do Estado Novo [Dictionary of the History of
the Estado Novo], Vol. I (A-L), [No place specified] 1996, pp. 312-315.
[Metropolitan Portugal] foreign trade, while in 1973 it could no longer exceed 12 percent
Table 2: GDP growth rate (1960-80)
Period GDP growth rate (%)
1960-65 6.44
1965-70 6.20
1970-75 4.37
1975-80 5.06
1960-70 6.32
1970-80 4.72
Source: Antnio Barreto (ed.), A situao social em Portugal, 1960/1995 [The Social Situation in
Portugal], Lisbon 1996, table 5.05.

Table 3: Portuguese GDP per capita/EU 15 GDP per capita (1970-90)
Year Portugal/EU 15 (GDP per capita) (%)
1970 53.2
1973 61.2
1975 60.6
1980 58.5
1985 55.7
1990 64.2
Calculations according to data in: OECD Factbook 2006: Economic, Environmental and Social

Table 4: Labor/Gross National Income (1960-90)
Year Labour/Gross National Income (%)
1960 44.84
1965 43.80
1970 44.51
1973 43.71
1975 59.30
1976 57.79
1980 44.52
1990 41.82
Source: Antnio Barreto (ed.), A situao social em Portugal, 1960/1995 [The Social Situation in
Portugal], Lisbon 1996, table 5.09.

Social and economic change was obvious at the end of the 1960s, while the war was pushing the
dictatorship into a blind alley, and a highly contradictory one: economy was growing, emigration
and military draft was opening new job opportunities for women, education rates were finally
heading up, but political dissatisfaction and social unrest had never been so evident since 1945.
Additionally, Caetanos short period in power was a stage of strong expansion of a

36 Santos, Abertura (fn. 13), pp. 140f.
monopolistic nucleus of the larger capital corporations, the Magnificent Seven
Table 5: Portuguese main financial corporations (the Magnificent Seven) (1973)
Corporation CUF Esprito
Borges BNU
under control







Share of







Share of







to foreign
Pedriney UK
R. Noled
F.N. Kity Bank
connections in
W. Moreira
St. Gobain
G. Tire
Lon Levy
rican Corp.
Soc. Gn. Bel-
IT Chrysler
Source: Santos, Abertura (fn. 13), p. 119.

Inescapably described as an oligarchy, intrinsically associated to an authoritarian state who, in
the words of the post-1974 period largest individual fortune in the country, Belmiro de Azevedo,
solved Labour Relations troubles for us
, and who conceived most of its post-WW II
economic policies counting on their actual support and allegiance, these Magnificent Seven were
enormously favored by the 1945-60 autarkical industrialization, preparing themselves to face the
controlled internationalization Portuguese economy underwent along the 1960s and 1970s,
carefully choosing their foreign partners (British, French, German, some Belgian and U.S.).
Foreign investment, central to processes of technological transfer, was now attracted through
different sorts of administrative, tax and bureaucratic means right from the beginning of
Caetanos rule, at the end of the 1960s. Strategy outlined in that period focused on a double
association: one between national and foreign capital who jointly played the role of the
[economic] systems engine; another between [national capital] and a net of small and middle

37 Op. cit., pp. 116-120.
38 Banco Portugus do Atlntico.
39 Banco Nacional Ultramarino.
40 A monographic description of these financial corporations and their industrial investments in: Maria
Belmira Martins, Sociedades e grupos em Portugal [Societies and Groups in Portugal], Lisbon 1973.
41 Interview to Mnica, in: Maria Filomena Mnica, Os grandes patres da indstria portuguesa [Big
Entrepreneurs of Portuguese Industry], Lisbon 1990, p. 138.
companies, (...) who on the whole would build up the main branch of the national capital
Nevertheless, the foreign investments role in Portuguese economy modernization process
should not be overrated: so clearly scarce until 1968, although having increased
significantly as soon as the war started in Africa, in 1961, it did not get, according to Ramos
dos Santos, globally speaking, a strategic control over Portuguese economy
. At any rate,
foreign direct investment amounted at the beginning of the 1960s to around 10 percent of
private capital middle- and long-term investment, but it would rise to almost a fourth of it
in 1973. Thus, Lus Salgado de Matos considers the penetration of foreign companies in the
[Portuguese] economic web to be very strong: out of the 100 largest Portuguese industrial
companies, 42 had foreign capital participation, and the same happened with 16 out of the 50
biggest commercial companies
These Magnificent Seven economic groups have initially developed an industrial expansion
strategy, creating or buying companies in productive sectors, [but] from 1968-1969 onwards
they point out to new directions: service, real estate and tourism companies, investment and
stock market management societies. In the final years [of the dictatorship] there was also a
growing presence in trading business and media
. Each of them, at any rate, evolved
differently: in an industrial/financial capital equation, (i) the older (and also two of the three
largest) corporations (CUF, Champalimaud) had rooted in industry their starting point and
accumulation ground, extending later their activity towards finance; (ii) the reverse course,
from finance towards industry and services, was followed by prototypically state-well-
connected Esprito Santo corporation (the third of the three biggest), as well as one of the best
examples of Oporto area financial tycoons, Pinto de Magalhes, one of the second league
coroporation leaders, though deeply interconnected with the Magnificent Seven; (iii) hybrid
expansion processes were developed by BPA or the Borges group. Corporation strategies
towards internal and colonial markets and their relation with foreign capital was also
diversified: (i) Esprito Santo and Burnay were solidly articulated with foreign capital,
followed, after 1968-69, by CUF; (ii) BNU, Esprito Santo and Champalimaud were deeply
rooted or articulated with colonial exploitation and openly lobbied for the prosecution of the
war effort in Africa; (iii) on the contrary, CUF and Borges based their expansion process

42 Amrico Ramos dos Santos, Grupos econmicos/Conglomerados [Economic Groups/Conglomerates],
in: Rosas/Brito, Dicionrio (fn. 34), pp. 406-409, here pp. 406f.
43 Santos, Abertura (fn. 13), p. 119.
44 Lus Salgado de Matos, Investimento estrangeiro [Foreign Investment], in: Rosas/Brito, Dicionrio
(fn. 34), pp. 491-495. Santos mentions around 270 companies [at the end of 1973] participated or controlled by
multinational companies: 150 focused on mining or imports substitution; 95 on the exports market, taking profit
from local low costs; 14 on pharmaceutical and chemical imports and distribution; 20 on real estate speculation, see:
Santos, Abertura (fn. 13), pp. 118f.
45 Op. cit., p. 118.
essentially on protected metropolitan economy, relatively independent from foreign capital
Capitalistic concentration, together with a financial system huge expansion, was, thus, the mot
dordre under Marcello Caetanos rule 1968-74: bank deposits grew from 132 million
Escudos in 1968 to 328 million in 1973, two-thirds of which were under control of the
Magnificent Seven, an amount which had tripled in those five years; a growing proportion of
the financial system gains came from stock-market speculation, without which it would be
impossible to understand the great monopolistic acceleration of that period; in 1972,
16.5 percent of the industrial companies produced 73 percent of all industrial goods.

Eventually, grosso modo, in April 1974 Portuguese economy was dominated by 44 families,
most of which controlled [these] seven large financial groups, and through them holding control
over two-thirds of private investment, 75 percent of the banking system, 55 percent of the
insurance market, four of the most important industrial activities concerning productivity, profit
rate and technology (beer, tobacco, paper and cement); (...) all industrial basic activities (iron and
steel, chemicals, shipbuilding and maintenance, heavy metalworks and mechanics); (...) most of
shipping; on the whole, these included the largest eight industrial companies and five of the
main export companies
These speedily growing financial corporations became a strategic standpoint for professional,
as well as political, opportunities to the younger members of the urban bourgeois elite of the
1960s and 1970s. In the first place, they were the natural field of operation for all those 44
families, 14 of which were the dynamic basis of the monopolistic nucleus
. But furthermore,
there was a growing interpenetration of [these financial corporations] and the state, in which
a new technocracy becomes predominant, circulating between different executive positions
inside the corporations, and in some cases between corporations and the state apparatus
In fact, some of the most characteristic features of the institutional and social role of this new
technocratic elite, emerging in modernizing Portugal in the second half of the century, is that
it obviously benefited from both capitalistic concentration and state intervention, and had a
central role both under Salazars and Caetanos authoritarian state and during the
revolutionary 1974-76 period and, when the revolutionary experience was brought to an end,
to what hegemonic ideology describes as the normalization process of the late 1970s and
1980s. Tracking down individual itineraries of some of these elite members throughout the

46 Santos, Grupos econmicos (fn. 41), p. 408.
47 Op. cit., p. 407.
48 Santos, Abertura (fn. 13), pp. 116, 118.
49 See Santos, Grupos econmicos (fn. 41), p. 408. These were: Mello; Esprito Santo; Champalimaud;
Quina; Mendes de Almeida; Queirs Pereira; Figueiredo (Burnay); Feteiras; Bordalo; Vinhas; Albano de
Magalhes; Domingos Barreiro; Pinto de Magalhes; Brando de Miranda.
50 Santos, Abertura (fn. 13), p. 118.
final 15 years of the dictatorship and the first 20 of the democratic regime, it is quite evident,
the pragmatism of choices and strategies of both individuals and these corporations, and even
of the authoritarian state in its final stage. Apparently, one could have opposed the regime in
university rallies, then get a job at some planning or strategy department in a corporation
whose interests and policies were interdependent from the states, and finally be appointed to
some second-rank economic policy-design administration department before the 1974
revolution. If this professional and institutional tour and an obviously political one, although
many would deny it would have been successful, and not too compromising, it would be
highly probable to find these same individuals in socialist, right-wing or so-called technical
administrations after 1976.
IV. Elites and Revolution
After 13 years of war fought in three African territories, almost a whole generation of young
Army captains in his late twenties-early thirties organized themselves in an Armed Forces
Movement Movimento das Foras Armadas (MFA) while carrying, in fact, most of the
military efforts burden, and engaged on a conspiracy, initially on professional grounds,
which evolved through the Autumn 1973, Winter 1973-74 and, becoming impossible to
refrain by either military hierarchy or the political police, got definitely politically menacing
to the regime in February 1974. On 25
April 1974, with almost not a single shot fired by the
rebel forces (only the political police resisted by force and shot dead four civilians who
approached its Lisbon headquarters), the regime fell into the hands of politically
inexperienced young officers who, simultaneously, called two of the most graduated Army
generals (Antnio de Spnola, immediately appointed president by his fellow high-ranking
officers, and Francisco da Costa Gomes, who became Chief-Commander of the Armed Forces
and replaced Spnola as president in October 1974) to get hold of power, asked democratic
opposition leaders to participate in government and, most of all, opened wide the gates for
political participation, improvising a transitional process to democracy which turned fastly
into a social, political and cultural Revolution.
The previously prepared MFA programme was soon most evidently surpassed by a
surprisingly strong popular movement, shaping a revolutionary experience apparently
astonishing in Western Europe since the beginning of Cold War. Massive political
participation became an identifiable sign of the revolutionary period (1974-76), historically
unimpaired before and after it. This political mobilization would prove to be substantially
ephemeral in the long run, but the truth remains that no other electoral process in Portugal
attained the participation level (91.2 percent) of the 1975 election of the Constitutional
Assembly when, for the very first time in Portuguese history, universal suffrage was
introduced, allowing every citizen over 18 to vote. The two years that separate the 1974
military coup from the 1976 approval of the democratic constitutional text opened in
Portuguese modern history the most complete and archetypical revolutionary cycle,
historically [representing] the deepest and most threatening shake suffered by an oligarchy
which had always ruled in Portugal, undamaged and self-assured
. Inside this chronological
specific stage, an even more intense revolutionary period may be drawn between the aborted
Spnolas right-wing coup of 11
March 1975 and the victorious anti-communist one of
November that same year, following which an important number of left-wing military
officers were arrested for some months and all major military and political departments still
led by left-of-socialists were taken into the hands of right-wing or moderate socialist officers
and civil leaders.
From a semantic point of view, social reality was now described with very different words
and metaphors, fastly dyeing all public discourse with clearly Marxist and radical-democratic
shades, produced in almost every level and instance of society and culture, coming from
almost all sorts of legal political forces, right-wing (PPD, liberal, and CDS, conservative
christian-democratic) included. Mass mobilization was soon achieved mainly by social and
political movements of the revolutionary Left (communists and far-Left, more effective
achieving it than the socialists until the Summer of 1975), forcing, under what became an
evident left-wing cultural and ideological hegemony, to use Gramscis concept, all active
leading characters of political change (military necessarily included) to define as a Revolution
the historical process launched by the military coup. Thus, nationalist, colonial rhetoric,
confessional and ultraconservative imagery from the Estado Novos half-century, as well as
technocratic modernization discourses, were substituted in political discourse by
revolutionary vocabulary opposing Revolution to Reaction or calling out for Peoples Power,
a Popular Unity of Chilean shades, demanding lands ownership for those who work it (A
Terra a quem a trabalha!), soon amplified to the principle of political and social organization
of all power to the workers (O Poder aos trabalhadores!). In the specific field of PCP vs.
Maoist organizations dispute, the latter recuperated Stalinist concepts of the 1930s such as
Social fascism or Social imperialism to designate PCP strategy at a national and international
An antiauthoritarian military coup as was the MFAs 25
April 1974 promptly converted into

51 Fernando Rosas, Portugal sculo XX (1890-1976). Pensamento e aco poltica [20th Century Portugal.
Political Thought and Political Action], Lisbon 2004, p. 138.
a revolutionary political break with the past and inevitably produced an almost general
political and institutional elite replacement. First of all, the new political order was probably
expected to act very severely against those responsible for repressive action under the
dictatorship. It became soon quite evident that it was not going to be the case. The main
consequences, from this point of view, were not massive imprisonment and/or legal
prosecution against political leaders or police and military chiefs. It all came to what in those
days was called the purging (saneamento) of the state apparatus, a lustration process. At the
beginning, the military authorities decided the purging of the Armed Forces ranks, both of
and civil servants,
and of state administration, corporative and economic
coordination bodies,
as well as of all public services and companies, local administrations
and all other public right entities.
Heavily pressed by the resentful masses, Provisional
Government, the first of which was exceptionally led by a civilian (Palma Carlos, May-July
1974), soon replaced by a military (left-wing general Vasco Gonalves, August 1974-August
1975), strove for formal procedures, supervised by Ministerial Committees of Purging
(Comisses Ministeriais de Saneamento)
and a General-Directorate for Reclassification and
Purging (Direco-Geral de Reclassificao e Saneamento) created within the General-Staff
of the Armed Forces.
A whole new decree was passed a few days before Spnolas and his
ultra-right-wing allies 11
March 1975 attempted putsch, clearly specifying four kinds of civil
servants who should be immediately considered dismissed from Civil Service: (i) Presidents
of the Republic and Heads of Government between 1926 and 1974 (among which remained
alive only the last two in office: Amrico Thomaz and Marcello Caetano); (ii) members of the
political police and all those who had taught in its schools; (iii) informers of the political
, or all those who voluntarily contributed to assist in its repressive action; and (iv)
the so-called former vigilant agents working inside universities and every civil servant or
agent responsible for any sort of information service for repressive purposes, and members
of special forces of the militia
, the Portuguese Legion (Legio Portuguesa).

As for the purging of the armed forces, the military authorities made public in the months

52 DL No. 190/74, 30.04.1974.
53 DL No. 775/74, 31.12.1974 and No. 497/75, 12.09.1975.
54 DL No. 193/74, 09.05.1974.
55 DL No. 277/74, 25.06.1974.
56 DL No. 366/74, 19.08.1974.
57 DL No. 36/75, 31.01.1975.
58 Lists of almost all those active in 1974 were burnt by DGS chiefs [Direco-Geral de Segurana,
General-Directorate for Security] in the first hours of the 25
April coup.
59 DL No. 123/75, 11.03.1975.
60 For all these documents see: Jos-Pedro Gonalves (compiler), Dossier 2 Repblica, Vol. 1: 25/4/1974-
25/4/1975, pp. 417f., 420-423, 429-434, 440-445, 448-455, and Vol. 2: 25/4/1975-25/11/1975, pp. 1056-1062,
Lisbon 1976 respectively 1977.
following to the deposition of the dictatorial regime that until October 1974 the Navy [had
been] purged of 103 officers and, in the end of that year, 300 different ranks officers had been
. In fact, probably more have been removed from the ranks after the political and
military anti-communist change of direction in the end of 1975, a process which underwent
for several years, until, at least, the constitutional reform of 1982 which suppressed the
Council of the Revolution (Conselho da Revoluo). In the Ministry of Justice, not more than
42 in a group of 500 magistrates had been punished until mid-1975, 28 of which for having
participated in decisions over political crimes and the rest for having worked with the
censorship [department] and the political police, or having been members of the Government
during the previous regime. () At the end of 1974, eight months after the coup, around
4.300 civil servants had been submitted to procedures of purging
, which does not mean,
obviously, that they were expelled or even merely suspended from Civil Service.
On the whole, however, huge delays in the legal purging procedures reduced its effect and
made possible speedy reintegration after a short number of years. () Most of these high
officials, including former political police agents, would be reintegrated between 1976 and
1980, though most of them did not return to the strategic positions they formerly held.

Even more revealing is the fact that no hard stance was taken in the case of the highest-rank
leaders of the authoritarian regime. By the end of the 1970s, they were made to know that the
authorities would not raise any impediment to their return to the country. Former president
Thomaz did so and quickly around him rose the idea of publishing in the early 1980s his
autobiography with the provocative title of Last Decades of Portugal
, as if the nation he had
formally presided over had ceased to exist. The former Head of the Government, Marcello
Caetano, refused to return and, having regained his academic career in Rio de Janeiro, died in
Brazil in 1980, not before having published two self-explanatory autobiographical
Almost every other former political leader, government member or high

61 Antnio Costa Pinto, Enfrentando o legado autoritrio na transio para a democracia (1974-1976)
[Confronting Authoritarian Legacy through Transition to Democracy], in: J. M. Brando de Brito (coordinator), O
pas em revoluo. Revoluo e democracia [Country in Revolution. Revolution and Democracy], Lisboa 2001,
pp. 359-384, here p. 367.
62 Op. cit., p. 368, quoting data from O Sculo (Lisbon), 19.04 and 27.02.1975.
63 Pinto, Enfrentando (fn. 60), pp. 369f. The author quotes the 1976-1977-1978 report of the above-
mentioned Commission. See Antnio Costa Pinto, O legado do autoritarismo e a transio portuguesa para a
democracia (1974-2004) [The Legacy of Authoritarianism and Portuguese Transition to Democracy, 1974-
2004], in: Manuel Loff/Maria da Conceio Pereira (eds.), Portugal: 30 anos de Democracia [Portugal: 30 Years
of Democracy], Oporto 2006, pp. 57-70, for some details on its proceedings.
64 Amrico Thomaz, ltimas dcadas de Portugal [Last Decades of Portugal], 2 Vols., Lisbon 1980-1983.
65 Marcello Caetano, Depoimento [Biography], Rio de Janeiro 1974, and Marcello Caetano (1977),
Minhas memrias de Salazar [My Memories of Salazar], Lisbon 1977. See also: Joaquim Verssimo Serro,
Marcello Caetano. Confidncias no exlio [Marcello Caetano. Revelations in Exile], 10th ed., Lisbon/So Paulo
official, if having left the country in the 1974-75 period, returned freely to Portugal in the late
1970s or early 1980s. Practically all of them were reintegrated in the higher ranks of the Civil
Service and were generously repaired for having been submitted to the purging procedures.
Very few of them were actually arrested in the tensest moments of the revolutionary period
and a single one sent to court and sentenced.

As far as Marcello Caetanos Cabinets are concerned, eight of their members regained some
governmental office sometime after the first years of democracy, both in socialist and right-
wing cabinets, revealingly. A ninth member of the last dictatorial government, Caetanos
Secretary of State for Budget, became president of the Supreme Court 14 years after the
Revolution (1988-90). Finally, a former Secretary and Minister under Salazar, Adriano
Moreira (Overseas, 1960-62) was frequently elected as Member of the Parliament for the
CDS, and eventually became its leader (1986-87).
The same party was able to elect to
Parliament a former Caetanos Secretary (Housing), Nogueira de Brito. Most importantly, a
very significant number of all these were either founders or administrators of the main
Portuguese industrialists association, the Confederao da Indstria Portuguesa, an
institution which owes largely to the cadres of Marcellos period
The first eleven months of the revolutionary period (April 1974-March 1975) have been a
classical case of clash between different political projects to build up a new political and
social order in the aftermath of the fall of a dictatorship. All sorts of conservatives, including
former liberal elites of the Marcelismo, were being pushed to the right by the radicalization of
the political process, and especially almost every relevant member of the business elites,
amalgamated behind general Spnola, appointed provisional President right after 25
1974, and tried to refuse to accept a self-determination process for the colonies (a political
battle they lost in July 1974) and structural changes in economic policies. A first military
clash was avoided on 28
September 1974, when the spinolistas prepared a series of public
demonstrations associated with military mobilization, but Spnola was forced to resign two
days later. Radicalization to the left was intensified, namely through property occupation and
socialization, following workers movements demanding for new rights, higher wages,

66 According to a research led by two journalists in 1993: Jos Pedro Castanheira/Valentina Marcelino, Os
homens de Marcello: onde esto e o que fazem [Marcellos Men. Where Are Are and What Are They Doing], in
Expresso-Revista (Lisbon), 24.04.1993, pp. 22-29), out of 36 ministers, Secretaries of State and Under-secretaries of
State, only 5 (Marcello Caetano and the ministers for Defence, Home Affairs and Army, and the Under-Secretary of
the Army) were arrested for some time, leaving the country soon after being released to, together with 17 others.
67 He kept some relevant institutional offices thereafter, especially in academic activities.
68 Castanheira/Marcelino, Os homens (fn. 65), p. 27.
69 Real wages grew 12 percent in 1974, 9 percent in 1975, see: Emanuel Reis Leo, Das transformaes
revolucionrias dinmica europeia [From Revolutionary Transformations to European Dynamics], in: Antnio Reis
(ed.), Portugal Contemporneo [Portugal Today], Vol. VI, Lisbon 1992, pp. 173-224, here p. 177. See table 1 for
also for responsibilities for oppressive and penalizing actions undertaken before what was
evidently perceived as a liberation process launched by the 25
April. Strong popular
pressure for lustration inside private companies started achieving its aims at the end of 1974
and was particularly boosted by the 11
March 1975 reactionary coup, led by Spnola and its
military accomplices who had took refuge in Francos Spain, in a desperate attempt to stop
the revolutionary process.
This whole political and social process evolved under a severe economic crisis: 1973 oil crisis
impact, stagflation (inflation at 7.8 percent in 1973, 20.5 percent in 1974, 27.9 percent in
1975; GDP growth fell from 11.2 percent in 1973 an exceptional year, at any rate , to
1.1 percent in 1974 and 4.3 percent in 1975), acute cutback of the exports (-12 percent in
1974, -14 percent in 1975) and, obviously, of investment (-7.7 percent in 1974, -12.3 percent
in 1975).

Business elites response to a social movement that they could no longer control using state
coercion, as it always happened under the Estado Novo dictatorship, was a classic one: lock-
out strategies, decapitalization and illegal export of capitals (through mechanisms of under-
declaration of receipts and over-declaration of exported goods prices
). At the end of this
course of action, hundreds of them fled abroad, mainly to seek refuge in dictatorial Francos
Spain and Brazil, or in Apartheids South Africa and Rhodesia, sometimes in Britain and
Switzerland, where they were able, often with official or semi-official support, to recreate a
part of their former wealth. At any rate, not more than 2 percent of all industrial owners were
purged out of their companies, although 19 percent abandoned [their] positions, according
to Harry Makler
At an early stage of the process, in August 1974, leading owners and managers of the most
significant private companies (including most of the Magnificent Seven) launched an
Entreprise/Society Movement (Movimento Dinamizador Empresa/Sociedade), trying to
establish themselves in an uncertain social and political terrain where their class interests were
less and less ensured. Eventually everyone of them backed Spnolas efforts to halt a clear
swing to left on Portuguese politics, financed the creation of some improvised ephemeral
right-wing organizations,
and those who were adequately organized, offered their logistics to

the exceptional growth of labour remuneration in the GDP.
70 Op. cit., pp. 177-179.
71 Op. cit., p. 179.
72 Harry M. Makler, The Consequences of the Survival and Revival of the Industrial Bourgeoisie, in:
Lawrence Graham/Douglas L. Wheeler (eds.), In Search of Modern Portugal. The Revolution and its
Consequences, Madison 1983, pp. 251-295.
73 The Progress and Liberal Parties (Partido do Progresso and Partido Liberal), the Portuguese Federalist
Movement (Movimento Federalista Portugus).
prepare the 28
September 1974 and 11
March 1975 conspiracies to reverse the
revolutionary social changes. When the whole political process seemed lost from their point
of view, in Spring 1975, those who have led the Magnificent Seven, together with a
representative section of Northern Portuguese middle-range businessmen, became active
supporters of those few armed movements organized from within and out of Portugal to
counteract the revolutionary experience,
as well as of legal right-wing parties and, under
those specific circumstances, Soares Socialist Party.
The most relevant characters amongst them used all sorts of business and class connections to
rebuild their fortunes. The case of two of the Magnificent Seven was recently described by
two journalists, Filipe Fernandes and Hermnio Santos who, 30 years after, wanted to narrate
the wild life of businessmen and mangers in the hot years following 25
April 1974

core managers [ncleo duro] of the Esprito Santo corporation who had fled the country the
first semester of 1975 met that summer in Toledo (Spain) to follow a business plan
conceived and drawn by those who had been arrested. First task was to lobby amongst the
international community on the situation of arrested businessmen in Portugal, including
contacts with President Giscard dEstaing, banker David Rockefeller or Prince Bernard of the
Netherlands. Secondly, they tried to disperse their activities throughout Brazil, London,
Lausanne and Luxemburg, relying on a large support from international banking, offering
credit lines to the [Esprito Santo] family. They were soon back to business in London under
Citibanks protection, got hold of a Brazilian bank more than legislation allowed them to,
benefiting from special Government exemptions, created a fortune management society in
Switzerland and a Esprito Santo International Holding in Luxemburg. Most of them went
back to Portugal already in 1976.
Of the two brothers who held control over CUF, Jos Manuel de Mello, the moment he
understood where the Revolution was heading to, decided to (...) consider emigration with
some of his direct associates. Two different groups left the country for Brazil and

74 Portuguese Liberation Army (Exrcito de Libertao de Portugal), Democratic Movement for the
Liberation of Portugal (Movimento Democrtico de Libertao de Portugal, led by Antnio de Spnola),
operational Maria da Fonte Plan (Plano Maria da Fonte). Filipe S. Fernandes/Hermnio Santos, Excomungados
de Abril. Os empresrios na Revoluo [Excommunicated From April. Entrepreneurs during the Revolution],
Lisboa 2005. Dom Quixote, gathers some information on the financing role of these exiled industrialists and
bankers. On the ultra-right anti-revolutionary terrorism in 1975 and 1976, see: Josep Snchez Cervell, A
revoluo portuguesa e a sua influncia na transio espanhola (1961-1974) [Portuguese Revolution and its Influence
on the Spanish Transition], Port. ed., Lisbon 1993; Eduardo Dmaso, A invaso spinolista [The Spinolist Invasion],
Lisbon 1999.
75 The whole of Fernandes and Santos book is a journalistic manifesto against those two years of
collective drunkenness (according to corporation lawyer Daniel Proena de Carvalho), i. e. the revolutionary
1974 and 1975 years, praising those representatives of some of the most respected families in the country
(Fernandes/Santos, Excomungados [fn. 73], pp. 15, 56) who felt it better to leave the country.
Switzerland, creating in both countries, with local capital connections (including Arab capital
in the latter), technology, shipbuilding and trading companies. Mello boasted to Fernandes
and Santos about being at the time in good relations with Margaret Thatcher. Although he
never lost touch with remarkable Portuguese who were in the political struggle frontline
against left-wing forces, one of whom was Mrio Soares, Mello waited for 1979 to return
definitely to Portugal.

When 15 years later, sociologist Maria Filomena Mnica interviewed some of them, together
with the more prominent new Northern Portuguese industrialists and some of the members of
what was speculated to have turned out as a new Portuguese entrepeneurial class,
practically unknown men before 1974, whose companies remained fundamentally
untouched by revolutionary legislation and took advantage from the destruction of the
oligarchic Magnificent Seven, they all blamed harshly the revolutionary excesses of 1975
for all sorts of harm done to Portuguese economy, although none ever believed a communist
regime could or would be imposed on Portugal. According to one of the younger
interviewees, Portuguese are very individualistic: they all want their piece of land and their
. Virtually all shared globally positive (undoubtedly, the greatest character of the
present century, Antnio Raposo de Magalhes), or at least condescending (Salazar had
some liberal aspects, I have never thought Salazar was, in fact, a execrable dictator because
in this country people always had some freedom of speech, Belmiro de Magalhes)
on Salazarist dictatorship.
Nevertheless, those who had not been members of the very strict Magnificent Seven
corporation oligarchy would naturally point the finger out at the regimes economic
restrictions to a free competition market they apparently would give preference to: State
policies of industrial restraint [condicionamento industrial] asphyxiated everything. There
was always trouble to the new ones who wanted to do something productive (Amrico
Amorim). But in some cases there was a clear perception of what the marcelist period meant:
while under Salazarism one would still have some reliability, so to speak, because,
although there were some special advantages for certain people, at least they were not
flagrant, marcelismo favoured very few people. (...) Marcello yielded to pressure exerted by
certain economic groups, the only ones who eventually got advantage (Francisco de Almeida

76 See further details in Fernandes/Santos, Excomungados (fn. 73), pp. 109-114, here p. 131. English
expressions in Italic.
77 Jos Antnio Barros, interviewed by Mnica, in: Mnica, Os grandes patres (fn. 40), p. 260; see also
opinions by Amrico Amorim, Queiroz e Mello and Belmiro de Azevedo: Op. cit., pp. 63-65, 91, 122.
78 Op. cit., pp. 104, 119.
Unsurprisingly enough, according to Jorge de Mello (brother of Jos Manuel), the
only representative of the pre-1974 Magnificent Seven (one of the main owners of Mello
family controlled CUF) interviewed by Mnica in the late 1980s, it was not the most
advanced [evoludos] businessmen who needed protection from political power, it was
political power who needed to keep businessmen dependent from politicians decisions;
these state industrial policies, more than an economic demand, were convenient to political
power to exert a permanent control over economy.
Amidst the late 1980s industrialists, nothing could be further away from Amrico Amorims
explanation for the 1975 nationalization process we will soon look upon. Those groups, the
so-called Magnificent Seven, were not dynamic, they did not earn money all by themselves.
They needed protection from the system, i. e. the authoritarian state. From the point of view
of one of the two Portuguese individual largest fortunes since the 1980s until the present day,
the way this whole thing was taken by assault in 1975 was a result of the fact that these
people had left the country. If ours had not been a 15 to 20 families [controlled by] country,
but of 50.000 businessmen, scattered throughout several geographical areas, I assure you that
it would not have happened. (...) It was their own wealth which scared them and pushed them
out of the country
Finally, Mnica heard some of them (Belmiro de Azevedo and Jorge de Mello) praise the
Spanish transitional model as a superior form of negotiating a gradual liberalization process,

an attitude which would become absolutely consensual in all conservative and liberal
Portuguese elites in the turn of century.
An interesting phenomenon took place inside the state economic departments: one fraction of
that same University-produced elite of the 1960s and 1970s, intimately associated with the
marcelist project of economic modernization without political change, was substantially (but
only temporarily) wiped out of the state apparatus and replaced by another fraction, clearly
more to the left (communists, socialists, progressive Catholics), most of whom would lead
economic departments in future socialist administrations (1976-78, 1983-85, 1995-2002).
These left-wingers would, nevertheless, work together with a number of pragmatic
technocrats who were kept in place, people who had obviously subscribed to Caetanos
economic policies but would not object significantly to the Provisional Governments
economic policies while the revolutionary period lasted, and would soon be heading the same
departments, both in right-wing administrations (PSD/CDS administrations, 1980-83, 1985-

79 Op. cit., pp. 65, 166.
80 Mello and Amorim interviewed by Mnica, in: Op. cit., pp. 206f., 66.
81 Op. cit., pp. 121, 211, for instance.
95, 2002-05) and in those of the so-called presidential initiative (three cabinets directly
appointed by President Eanes, 1978-80).
Another relevant change resulted from the sudden immigration of the so-called retornados,
i. e. the Portuguese settlers and some of the so-called assimilated Africans who fled from the
newly independent states (a significant part of whom Capeverdian and of Hindustani origin)
in 1974-76. Mostly politically conservative and deeply resentful against the decolonization
process, they represented themselves as more liberal and open-minded and their business
elites would claim a significant role in right-wing administrations in the 1980s and 1990s.
Literature on the Portuguese elites political culture along the modernization process which
extended from the last 1940s to the 1970s tend to identify a wide consensus in the economic
sphere of both opposition forces (communists but also socialists and moderates who
gravitated around the latter) and liberal reformers who participated in the economic policy-
conception of Marcelism: to dismantle the corporative area, towards which official policy
was aiming already in the final years of the dictatorship, to control and to stimulate
productive activities, economic and social planning, and to increase salaries. In contrast,
deeper reforms aiming to change the overall structure of private ownership and [to promote]
state direct intervention in goods and services production remained clearly a matter of
conflict. Political conditions under the dictatorship not always allowed these differences
among opposition and reformist forces to become visible, but they were inevitably
aggravated after 25
April 1974 and were the cause of intense political clash
With the democratic revolution, a new political actor rushed decisively into the political
arena: the MFA, who militarily prepared the fall of the dictatorship, was led by a generation of
young petit-bourgeois captains, with their vague and contradictory ideology, their appeal to an
abstract people and their attempt to overcome political parties and to build a revolutionary
democracy sustained on peoples power and their leaders charisma
, and soon (June 1974)
refused to dissolve as was demanded by all right-wing forces (former regime supporters, the
spinolistas aggregated around the provisional President and most of the Liberal reformists
who had collaborated and then got disappointed with Caetano and had converged towards the
newly formed PPD). Alongside the opposition movements who occupied most of the political
debate once the dictatorship came to an end communists, socialists, progressive Catholics,
and far-left Maoists and Guevarists , the MFA emerged as a metamorphosis of the military

82 Viegas, Elites (fn. 12), p. 104.
83 Dawn Linda Raby, A resistncia antifascista em Portugal. Comunistas, democratas e militares em oposio
a Salazar, 1941-1974 [Antifascist Resistance in Portugal. Communists, Democrats and Military in Opposition
Against Salazar], Port. ed., Lisbon 1990, p. 284.
institution to achieve its insubordination and the collapse of the dictatorial regime, but also, and
somehow surprisingly for the military themselves, to run the complex and convulsive following
period, finding it inevitable to mobilize a special politico-military intervention unit
, the
Operational Command for Continental Portugal (Comando Operacional do Continente,
COPCON), led by charismatic, bewildering and passionate Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho.
As Fernando Rosas brightly underlines, the MFA conspiratorial action breaks the
hierarchical chain of command of the Military Forces (MF), subtracting them from the
traditional control of the state and state appointed commanders, thus paralysing or eliminating
the normal purpose of the MF as a central organism for state violence, i. e. as the spinal
column of state power. Secondly, this deliquescent military power weakens, pulverizes and
paralyses all remaining state institutions because these lack political unity or military force
to sustain resistance against the revolutionary wave which spreads throughout the country.
To make things worse, from the states perspective, the MFA, in spite of several hesitations
and contradictions, will tend to stand behind the revolutionary process, its delegates assuming,
in almost every more complicated or conflicting circumstances, normal ministerial
Consequently, the revolution meant, from its very starting point, a new twist upon the thread
with which Portuguese elites had been socially manufactured for the previous 30 years:
i) Not only industrial capital had opened its way in the 1950s through a ruling class made of
rich landowners and traditional trading and financial interests, and
ii) an urban young technocratic enlightened bourgeoisie had proved to be essential to the new
economic prospects of the 1960s and 1970s, but now
iii) a new and completely different elite layer young military, socially representing a
significant part of society, unexpectedly driven into power was about to play a decisive
(although quite ephemeral) role for the following couple of years, claiming to have a
legitimate right to carry out (in fact, to support) major changes in Portuguese society,
economic organization and political system.

In any case, the Portuguese elites hegemony over society as a whole, and over all major social
processes, had been shattered. Eventually, for the first time in Portuguese modern history, it was
mainly the pressure from down under that forced, pushed or prevented policies to be adopted and
decisively guided political action. Most observers of the Portuguese Revolution warn against any

84 Jos Medeiros Ferreira, Portugal em transe (1974-1985) [Portugal in a Trance (1974-1985)], in: Jos
Mattoso (ed.), Histria de Portugal [The History of Portugal], Vol. 8, [No place mentioned] 1993, here p. 224.
85 Rosas, Portugal sculo XX (fn. 50), pp. 135-136.
interpretation of the state action during this revolutionary period as if it had been the outcome of
a standard political choice procedure, as if its actors could have used their state prerogatives in a
context in which popular movements had not been as central in the whole social process as
history shows they were. Again, as Fernando Rosas reminds us, that was the deepest and most
threatening shake suffered by an oligarchy which had always ruled in Portugal, undamaged and
Finally, when social tension produced inevitable politico-military consequences such as the
September 1974 and mostly the 11
March 1975 armed attempts to stop revolutionary
change, a radical step forward was taken in economic policies: three days after the latter of
these two unsuccessful military right-wing coups, the newly institutionalized Council of the
Revolution (Conselho da Revoluo, CR) passed a resolution pressing the Provisional
Government to adopt a series of legal measures
through which, from March to December
1975, 244 companies were nationalized. Two main objectives were aimed with such a
policy: the destruction of the main economic and financial groups the Magnificent Seven
and centralization into state hands of the key-areas of Portuguese economy
Consequently, all non-foreign capital banks and insurance companies were nationalized in
March 1975, thus, achieving an indirect nationalization of quite a number of industrial and
service companies. The same logic (avoid international problems, not touching any foreign
company) was to be followed in the months to come, when the Provisional Government
decided to proceed with the nationalization of major companies operating in the oil (April),
shipping, harbours and transportation (April, June and December), steel (April), electric
power (April), cement (May), paper manufacture (May), tobacco (May), glass (August),
mining (August), heavy chemicals (August), beer (August), ship building (September),
agriculture (November), radio and television (December) businesses. At the end of the
process, the Portuguese State held a productive public sector in national economy globally
similar to the French, West-German or British, but clearly less prominent than the Italian:

86 Op. cit., pp. 138.
87 List of all nationalization decrees on in Viegas, Elites (fn. 12), p. 123, table 4.1.
88 Leo, Das transformaes revolucionrias (fn. 68), p. 174.
Table 7: Public companies in some European national economies (1978)
Country GVA public companies/
GFCF public companies/
National economy GFCF
Public companies workers/
Active population
Portugal 19.8% 30.0% * 6.5%
Italy 24.7% 47.1% * 25.4%
France 12.9% 30.7% ---
F.R.G. 10.4% 11.9% 9.1%
U.K. 11.4% 20.8% 8.0%
GVA = Gross Value Added; GFCF = Gross Fixed Capital Formation
* Investment
Source: Maria Manuela Antnio et al., O sector empresarial do Estado em Portugal e nos pases da CEE
[State Owned Business in Portugal and the Countries of the EEC], Lisbon 1983, p. 178.

In fact, only in the financial system area Portuguese public propertys weight (83 percent of
all banking, insurance and real estate operations in 1979) was clearly higher than in any other
Western European case (63.1 percent of bank deposits in Italy, 46.8 percent of bank
employees in France). The proportion of Portuguese public owned companies operating in
power industries (71.4 percent in Portugal vs. 100 percent in Greece, 94 percent in France,
92.5 percent in Italy or 84 percent in the U.K.) and transforming goods industries (9.3 percent
in Portugal vs. 13.1 percent in Italy, 6.5 percent in France) was either inferior or quite similar
to other European cases.
A strong left swing in governmental and MFA leadership eventually produced an economic
model based upon the nationalization of big corporations, an agrarian reform which was
already in progress through the occupation by peasants of the huge land properties of the
southern part of the country (Alentejo and some Ribatejo and Beira Baixa areas), a statist
centralization of economic planning, a social distributive policy operating upon salaries,
prices, social security, credit and public investment
V. Post-Revolution (new?) elites
In spite of most political and media discourse produced after 1976, there was at least,
apparently a wide consensus in 1975, as far as the nationalizations were concerned, among all
segments of the 1950s and 1960s newly qualified elite we have been talking about, from which
all socialist and liberal (PPD/PSD) leading economists and, generally speaking, economic
policy-makers had been recruited, as well as most of Communist Party ones. From a moderate or
conservative point of view, it was clearly preferable state intervention in private companies
whose owners were being systematically questioned and even harassed by relentless workers
movements, than to leave it in the hands of the workers committees who usually took charge of

89 Viegas, Elites (fn. 12), p. 139.
the management the moment the owners fled the country, taking money and equipment away
with them. In fact, as Jos M. L. Viegas sustains, when socialists and liberals started confronting
the 1975 MFA revolutionary stance, they were questioning what they perceived as a threat to
the democratic-parliamentary model and to political pluralism, rather than nationalizations,
which were actually comparable with similar processes that had taken place in other Western
European countries, except as the financial sector was concerned
In fact, communists, socialists and the more radical wing of liberal reformists of the
Caetano period (namely those assembled around SEDES, most of them PPD organizers in
1974) endorsed, at the end of the dictatorship, a strong state intervention in the economic
area, consolidating and amplifying states ownership in economic activity, reinforcing
strategic economic planning and state control over monopolistic and strategic areas in
Portuguese economy. If one takes a wider view over socioeconomic policies, public
investment in education, socialization of medical practice, social welfare universalization,
state policy on salaries and income, globally aiming to reduce social inequality enjoyed an
even wider political consensus, including, apart from all left-wing parties and most Liberal
reformists, some independents who, later on, will describe themselves as Christian-
Apart the fact that they all still shared a political culture in which the state was expected to
plan and to intervene in national economy in order to ensure social engineering, and the fact
that they represented a middle-class political clientele obviously resentful against dictatorship
oligarchy, which the nationalizations came to deprive from their disproportionate control over
economy, socialists (PS) and liberals (PPD) had an additional reason not to object to
nationalization policy. In fact, nationalization also allowed to allot power to a new and
amplified clientele, based upon political parties and its influence
. PS and PSD were already
in 1975 and 1976 the two most voted parties
and they could well expect to hold control of
Portuguese administration for the next decades which, unsurprisingly, they actually did.
Their leaders and economic policy decision-makers would be the ones to run over these state-
owned companies for the next fifteen years, but also the ones who decided when and how to
privatize them at the end of the 1980s and especially during the 1990s.
Hard criticism fell in the next decades over the kind of management strategies carried out by

90 Op. cit., p. 140.
91 Op. cit., p. 250f.
92 Antnio Luciano Sousa Franco, A economia [Economy], in: Antnio Reis (coord.), Portugal 20 anos de
Democracia [Portugal: 20 Years of Democracy], [No place specified] 1993, pp. 170-293, here pp. 189f.
93 1975: PS: 37.9 percent; PPD: 26.4 percent; 1976: PS: 34.9 percent; PPD: 24.4 percent. Since then, they
have been always the two most voted parties, gathering from a minimum of 50.7 percent of the popular vote in
1985 to a maximum of 79.7 percent in 1991.
the executive managers of state-owned companies, a new and powerful elite group emerging
from a sudden change introduced by the revolutionary process in such heavy and rigid
structures as private property and elite recruitment. These new managers were initially (1975-
76) recruited amidst relatively young technocrats, coming forward at the end of the short
marcelist cycle still unblemished by too compromising forms of commitment with the
dictatorship technocratic development policies or with the Magnificent Seven oligarchy. 13
years later, socialist Joo Cravinho, Minister for Industry and Technology in 1975 and a
typical member of the young technocratic elite of the 1960s,
would state that managers of
the newly state-owned companies had to be recruited almost entirely from third-rank
technical executives of the nationalized corporations: The first rank executives went
practically all to Brazil, together with the capitalist owners themselves; in the second rank,
some stayed, some went away, and it was the third rank who offered the raw material, the
people who got the management positions and were highly promoted.
At the end of the
1980s, Jos de Abreu, one of the big Portuguese industrialists interviewed by sociologist
Maria Filomena Mnica, self-described as an active freedom fighter against the left
radicalization process of the revolution years, had no complaints against nationalized banks
because on the whole, he felt, they had not underwent through any significant turmoil:
high rank officials and staff had kept their jobs
When the revolutionary process was definitely brought to an end in 1976, socialists (PS),
Liberals (PPD/PSD), and secondarily Christian-Democrats (CDS), were to fill in all
Portuguese political power ranks until the present day. Politicians, public managers, local
administrators, leaders and agents appointed by party leaderships, scattered by the thousands
on top of a public administration headed by growingly incompetent officials, dependent on
the power who appoints them on sheer party criteria, and who assigns them budget and
personnel, all these, through licences, subsidies and public expenditure, allocating over
50 percent of the GDP, decide on all key economic areas (from credit to media and basic
industries), under a monopoly and protection logic
Among those who, on the left, and namely in the Communist Party and some minority
fractions of the Socialist Party, defended state ownership of some of the most strategic areas

94 Young left-wing anti-Salazarist activist, he got a Yale PhD in the 1960s, worked for industrial
corporations and was appointed collaborator of the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency of the Government
during some of the Marcello Caetano years. Relevant member of the Radical-Left movement MES created in
1974, he moved to the PS at the end of the 1970s. In 1995-99, he returned to the government, under socialist PM
Guterres, as Minister for Social Infrastructure, Planning and Territorial Management. Appointed in 2007
member of the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
95 Cravinho interviewed by Dirio Popular, quote in: Fernandes/Santos, Excomungados (fn. 73), p. 90.
96 Jos de Abreu interviewed by Mnica, in: Mnica, Os grandes patres (fn. 40), pp. 240, 249.
97 Franco, A economia (fn. 91), p. 190.
of economic activity, but also among those who, on the right, very soon after the
nationalization process started to call for privatization, there is nevertheless some consensus
over three main explaining features for the economic and financial deterioration of most of
nationalized companies throughout the first 15 years following the 1975 legislation: [i]
contradiction between companies interests in the market and national policies, [ii]
Government policy indefinition and, lastly, [iii] the economic and financial crisis
underwent through that historical period.
The setback of the revolutionary process, at the end of 1975, produced a strong political and
ideological shift to the right, especially towards economic liberalism, which was about to
sweep the West at the end of the 1970s. Inside the political elites of the three ruling parties
PS and right-wing PPD/PSD and CDS became clear a reversion to pre-1960s Portuguese
elites ideological patterns. Not only the CDS had voted against the 1976 constitution, and had
particularly fought against all its economic and social chapters, but the largest right-wing
party, the PPD (paradoxically renamed Social-Democratic PSD in 1977) joined the CDS
to condemn an excessively statist constitutional economic order, soon radicalizing its
position in a liberal trend, not only on the whole of economy but also on social areas,
contradicting some principles and guidelines of the [PPD] established in 1974, with
ideological antecedents rooted before the dictatorships fall. With more political
consequences for the near future, and coherently with the conceptions of a new technical and
professional elite who joined the [Socialist] Party after the revolutionary process, socialist
1976-78 administration passed liberalizing legislation in the economic and social areas
and the altogether peculiar Grand Coalition 1983-85 Government (a PS/PSD Cabinet led by
Mrio Soares, known as the Central Bloc) endorsed a definite consensus between the two
main parties rotating in power, each representing most of the left- and right-wing voters, on
social and economic liberalization.
By that time, administration and the new business elites (both private and state-appointed)
agreed upon gradual denationalization policies and articulated wide and clear liberal
principles of economic organization and management. Antnio Sousa Franco, a social-
democratic politician highly critical with the whole nationalization process,
however, that the critique of state direction over the economy often tends to forget that it is
deeply rooted in the Portuguese State tradition since [19
centurys] Liberal regimes

98 Viegas, Elites (fn. 12), p. 208.
99 Op. cit., p. 207.
100 Professor at the University of Lisbon and Catholic Universtys Law Schools, he was a PSD dissident in
1978. He was appointed Finance Minister in a socialist cabinet led by Antnio Guterres (1995-99). He died
while campaigning for European Parliament in 2004, heading the socialist ticket.
consolidation, as a false remedy and also as a determinate cause for insufficient dynamism
of private productive enterprise, tardy industrialization and lack of renovation of production
organization and technology
Another scholar, Jos M. L. Viegas, who studied Portuguese elites political culture on the
state economic responsibilities, confronted himself in interviews he made to elite members in
the first half of the 1990s, as well as in todays political discourse on the 1974/76 events
with what he described as interpretations produced by political agents with no factual
confirmation. He summarized them in three main items:
i) defence and extension of a state-owned productive entrepreneurial sector is an ideological
prejudice of communists and socialists [while,] in fact, () part of the liberal and reformist
groups active under the final years of the dictatorship advocated state direct control over
large economic and social areas, invoking a number of reasons reflected in the PPD [1974]
programme and even, particularly in some social areas, in the CDS programme. Viegas also
evokes the fact that in the other Western European countries, extension of a productive
entrepreneurial state-owned sector was caused by economic nationalism and the search for
economic growth, not as result of socialist or communist policies;
ii) nationalizations in Portugal gave birth to a state-owned sector incomparable in dimension
with any other Western European country [while,] in fact (), nationalizations in Britain
and in France, as well as the dimension of the state-owned sector in countries like Austria,
outline situations comparable with the Portuguese;
iii) countries like Western Germany based its prosperity upon liberal policies, particularly with
no state intervention in private companies [while,] in fact, during the economic reconstruction
period in post-war Germany, not to mention the Nazi period, the state intervened in a number of
companies, in the infrastructure level, in finance, in services, in the productive sector, although
pursuing a pattern different from those imposed in Britain, France or Portugal.

Why would these elite members so daringly produce such un-historical (and another adjective
could be well placed here) interpretations? According to Viegas, to reconstruct their political
past coherently with what they want to show in the present situation and [because they subscribe
to] strategies adopted to conceal interests and contradiction in [ideological] positions they once

101 Franco, A economia (fn. 91), p. 193.
102 Probabably the best examples can be found in PM Cavaco Silva (an economy professor at the
conservative Catholic University) speeches during his three terms leading the Government (1985-87; 1987-91;
1991-95) when he recurrently discussed the revolutionary legislation legacy: Cumprir a Esperana
[Transforming Hope into Reality], Lisbon 1987; Construir a Modernidade [Building Modernity], Lisbon 1989;
Ganhar o futuro [Winning the Future], Lisbon 1991; Afirmar Portugal no Mundo [Consolidating Portugal in the
World], Lisbon 1993.
[gave their support to] in a specific historical moment
Portuguese Government was negotiating since 1977 European Community integration, which
was finally agreed upon in 1985 and turned effective the 1
January of the following year,
decisively determinating Portuguese economic policies and promoting a new ideological
paradigm. Finally, the 1982 and 1989 constitutional reforms, especially the latter, voted by a
socialist-liberal-christian-democratic large majority, leaving only the communists apart,

dismantled virtually all of what had been the constitutional socialist architecture, which, in
fact, had remained substantially unaccomplished after its approval in 1976. Meanwhile, a
considerable ideological adjustment had been introduced in the Socialist Party programmatic
In 1985, a puzzling election, right after the Portuguese integration treaty was signed, produced
the most divided Parliament of post-1974 democratic regime: a right-wing party, the PSD, had
won the election with less than 30 percent of the popular vote, while three left-wing parties
(socialists, communist-green coalition and the newly created Democratic Renovator Party
(Partido Renovador Democrtico, PRD), each getting 15-21 percent of the votes) held a
parliamentary majority unable to back a coalition Government. Cavaco Silva, a political and
moral conservative and an economic liberal, led a minority PSD administration who started to
administer the flood of European resources pouring into Portugal very generously
amounting to around 25 percent of all public investment and, in 1993, to 3 percent of the
after a 13-year economic recession cycle. For the first time since 1976, an
incumbent administration could confidently face elections, and in 1987, also for the first time
since 1975, under a proportional representation method, a single party PSD was able to
get an absolute majority in parliament, replicated in 1991. Those ten consecutive years (1985-
95) in which Portugal was led by Cavaco Silvas administration, the Cavaquismo, may be
read as some sort of democratization of Marcello Caetanos authoritarian modernizing project
for Portugal, what sociologist Villaverde Cabral, in the first place, but also historians
Fernando Rosas and Vasco Pulido Valente, and Sousa Franco himself, have been calling a
democratized marcelism (marcelismo democratizado): European integration would have,
according to this interpretation, made real an expansion myth replacing the colonial one,

103 Viegas, Elites (fn. 12), pp. 245f.
104 The electoral coalitions led by the PCP, including remains of pre-1974 anti-Salazarist organizations
and the new, and very small, Ecologist Green party, got around 18 percent of the popular vote between 1979 and
1983 (18.8 percent in 1979, 16.9 percent in 1980, 18.2 percent in 1983), and started to lose support in the mid-
1980s (15.6 percent in 1985, 12.2 percent in 1987, 8.8 percent in 1991). Parliamentary and presidential election
results in 2005 and 2006 still confirm these last results, although a concurrent Radical-Left movement the Left
Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda) - re-emerged on the left, its representation ranging from 2.5 percent to 6.5 percent of
the popular vote since the late 1990s.
105 See Franco, A economia (fn. 91), p. 283.
allowing Portugal to revisit some old acquaintances Franco found in Portuguese History:
another external source of wealth Europe as if Portugal was not European; a third
version of the infrastructure policy () as the main substance of a modernizing reformism
(see Pombals enlightenment
, Fontismo
and Salazarism).
The one feature which turned Cavaquismo particularly close to the Estado Novos dictatorship
political paradigm, especially as elite-recruiting is concerned, was its very obvious
determination to build up a strong power, centralized, aggregating around the Government a
rigid social and political bloc [bloco situacionista] who has in its nucleus the power and
interests amassed by the ruling party, which growingly controls, in different practical forms,
autonomous social forces, plurality, consensus, dialogue, political alternation. This new
authoritarian reformism was determined to assemble a new social basis supported on a
confined set of party politicians, scarcely renovated and lacking quality, and the nouveau-
riches, very seldom productive businessmen, living preferably on public concessions, real
estate speculation, European funds, and underground economy.
This highly critical assessment of the politically most successful experience of post-1974
Portuguese democracy self-depicted as a successful democracy (democracia de sucesso)
produced still under the experience itself (a couple of years before Cavaco stepped out of
power), described quite acutely, nevertheless, what the turn of the century would confirm to
be a systematically replicated pattern of renovation of what Franco called the dominant
personnel: this new political and administrative elite, invoking pragmatism, establishes
itself behaving in servile way in a period of stable single-party and personalized power,
highly concentrated on the Prime-Minister, with a technocratic, businesslike attitude, its
younger members profiting from an ephebocracy, i. e. a dominant party system in which
young and ambitious activists are called to get governmental experience in decision-making
On the whole, Franco sums up the Cavaquismo as the search for an enduring
hegemony of power and its identification with the new political class class is the concept
he actually chose and the nouveau-riches, in a wide populist and clientele-based
perspective, supported by the old myth of Portuguese sebastianist
right-wing: the

106 Reference to the Marquis of Pombal rule (1750-77), under King Joseph I.
107 Reference to policies implemented in the 1850s-1860s-1870s by Fontes Pereira de Melo, a modernizing
Liberal, though politically conservative.
108 All critical observers of Jos Scrates, blairite socialist PM (2005-11), also elected with a single-party
absolute parliamentary majority in February 2005, perceived his political model as a replica of Cavaco Silvas.
Incidentally, the latter got elected President of the Republic a year later, January 2006, and the two, representing
competing parties, seemed to get along better than any other pair of PM and PR in Portuguese democratic history
until 2009.
109 Sebastianism is described to be the specifically Portuguese version of a political, cultural or spiritual
messianism, based on the historically often re-elaborated character of young King Sebastian who disappeared in
providential man
European integration and a comparatively long liberal-conservative rule in this sense, the
1985-95 Cavaquismo, following a 1980-85 period in which PSD had been in power inside
right-wing or PS/PSD coalitions, is quite parallel to contemporary lengthy right-wing
administrations in Britain (1979-97), Germany (1982-98) or the U.S. (1981-93) smooth
hegemony of what has been described as an economicist and ideology-devaluating
and, apparently, gave Socialist Party a decisive impulse towards an
ideologically liberal turn in its discourse, thus, consolidating what Viegas perceived as a
wide ideological swing in the party elites as far as state intervention in economy is
concerned, produced in the 1980s. The role of Vtor Constncio, another economist of the
1960s and 1970s generation,
as Secretary of the PS (1986-89) has been underlined because
of his personal commitment in introducing substantial changes in the PS programme at its
VI. Congress, in 1986. Nonetheless, the 1985 parliamentary election PS programme presented
to the voters already stated socialist resolution to re-examine all constitutional rules with a
philosophical and ideological substance which provokes division among the Portuguese
Three years later, in 1988, socialists decided to sign a political agreement with majoritarian
PSD to reform the 1976 Constitution in order to de-constitutionalize nationalization policies
and any remaining reference to socialization of property, purging the constitutional text of
what socialists themselves described as an unilateral ideological essence, with a strong
partisan mark.

One of the most enlightening attitudes to typify that specific elite group of state-owned
company managers has to do with their attitude towards privatization of the very same
companies they were heading through Government appointment. All along the 1980s, even
before socialists joined the right-wing parties consensus on privatization, it became clear that
the so-called public managers plea for the need for radical denationalization solutions,
while taking legitimate or illegitimate profit from state-owned companies, deteriorating its

1578, at 24, in a disastrous northern Morocco military campaign. His death/disappearance paved the way, two
years later, to the crowning of Philip II of Spain as King of Portugal. In the early decades of the 17
popular mythology evoked the possibility of Sebastians messianic return to Portugal, in some symbolically
misty beach, an episode obsessively re-enacted by Nationalist intellectuals of the 19
and 20
110 Franco, A economia (fn. 91), pp. 258f.
111 Viegas, Elites (fn. 12), p. 257.
112 Born in 1943, he was appointed Secretary of State for State Budget and Planning in three of the six
Provisional Governments of the 1974-76 period. He worked for the Bank of Portugal in different stages since
1975, and was appointed its Governor in 1985-86 and again from 2000 to this day.
113 PS 1985 election programme, quote in: Viegas, Elites (fn. 12), p. 200.
114 Quotes from socialist MP, in: Op. cit., p. 201. Symbolically, concepts present in 1976 constitutional
text such as classless society were replaced by free society (art. 1), and to abolish exploitation and
oppression of men by other men (art. 9) set as one of the fundamental responsibilities of the state was simply
productivity and competitivity, [imposing] high charges on tax-payers through the state
. In a 1992 political elites inquiry, sociologist Jos M. L. Viegas sent to 1.024
party, administration, culture, economy and unions leading members, public managers
(gestores pblicos) very clearly shared with private owners and managers a total
agreement opinion (67 percent and 70 percent, respectively) in face of privatization of state-
owned companies, an attitude shared by social and cultural elites (69 percent), high-
ranking administration officials (56 percent) and government members (88 percent).

Finally, a vast privatization programme evolved throughout Cavaco Silvas right-wing
administration, mostly after 1989 constitutional reform,
and Antnio Guterres socialist
administration (1995-2002). At the end, as it happened all throughout world capitalist
economies, the state abandoned a lot more economic areas than the ones nationalized in 1975.
A 50-year long historical cycle of state intervention in economy was being shut down while,
curiously enough, the most successful political power projects (Cavaquismo in the 1980s and
1990s; post-2005 arrogant-perceived Scrates ruling style) were being built upon a clear
reinforcement of state symbolic power instruments. Again, historical similarities may seem
surprising: a socially incompetent state, deliberately deprived from most of its economic
instruments, pretends to appear sort of decisionist, muscled 1930s Salazarism, except for its
quintessential brutal repression, was not very far from this picture.
From the more strictly private business elites point of view, early 1990s privatizations tended
to somehow rectify an immediate consequence of the 1975 nationalizations: as the capitalist
concentration had clearly been more evident in Lisbon-based companies six of the
Magnificent Seven huge corporations had most of its investments and companies under
control in the Lisbon industrial belt and as this would turn out the most politically active
area for the more radical left-wing revolutionary forces in 1974-75, pressure to socialize and
actual nationalizations would affect a lot more Lisbon and Southern companies than Oporto
and Northern ones. At the end of the 1970s and early 1980s, when growingly liberalizing
measures were being taken by socialist or right-wing governments, the most creative and
strong segments of private capital remained in the hands of Northern Portugal industrialists,
basically unaffected by nationalizations. The two largest Portuguese personal fortunes at the
end of the century belonged to two leaders (Belmiro de Azevedo and Amrico Amorim) of

115 Franco, A economia (fn. 91), p. 194.
116 Presumably government members at the moment of the inquiry, i. e. of Cavaco Silvas. See: Viegas,
Elites (fn. 12), pp. 210, 213, 214 (Table 7.2).
117 See Law No. 11/90 (05.04.1990) and DL No. 380/93 (15.11.1993) and 65/94 (28.02.1994), but also,
prior to constitutional reform, Laws No. 72/88 (26.05.1988) and 84/88 (20.07.1988). See: Op. cit., pp. 204f.,
Tables 6.1 and 6.2 for list of all privatized companies between 1989 and 1993.
Oporto area based corporations. In Filomena Mnicas inquiry to 16 of the most significant
Portuguese industrialists at the end of the 1980s, some of them acknowledged the existence of
a widespread nouveau-richisme (Henrique Neto), not really composing a new elite
according to industrialist association leader Rocha de Matos, but a net of many medium and
small entrepreneurs, some with no roots in the industry, but merely young lads who went
to school and started to idealize () they could become industrialists
Nevertheless, the 1990s privatizations process allowed the richest families of pre-democratic
Portugal (the Mello family, Champalimaud and, mainly, the Esprito Santo family, holders of
the three largest corporations amongst the Magnificent Seven) to get hold of most of their
1975 nationalized assets. For the Esprito Santo corporation, everything went so well that
today [we are] more important than [we were] before the Revolution, CEO Antnio
Ricciardi admits
. When the process was launched, in 1989, out of the Lisbon and Oportos
Stock Exchange 200 operating companies, 75 were original families strongholds
. Out of
the 174 Portuguese biggest fortunes in 1992, 35 belonged to families as such; amongst them,
one would find 6 of those 14 families who had gotten hold of the pre-1974 Magnificent

From Filomena Mnicas point of view, the Portuguese bourgeoisie which developed in
these last decades is not as independent from power as some think: it suffices to look at the
names of politicians on management doors of famous companies; to look attentively to the
way some [state-owned companies] have been sold; to examine contacts made prior to
privatizations; verify the vulnerability of Portuguese main industrial sector [- textiles -]; to
observe what sort of public one would find at a Cabinet Minister waiting-room; to study the
logic of public aid to industrial investment

Abbreviations (some company names included)
BNU Banco Nacional Ultramarino
BPA Banco Portugus do Atlntico
CDS/PP Centro Democrtico e Social/Partido Popular [Democratic and Social
Centre/Peoples Party]

118 See Mnica, Os grandes patres (fn. 40), pp. 185, 229f.
119 Fernandes/Santos, Excomungados (fn. 73), p. 112.
120 According to Os Patres na Bolsa, in: Exame (Lisbon), September 1989, quoted in: Mnica, Os
grandes patres (fn. 40), p. 28.
121 See footnote 48. See: Vasco Pulido Valente, Os nossos ricos, in: O Independente (Lisbon), 10.07.1992,
quoting Fortuna magazine, July 1992 issue.
122 See Mnica, Os grandes patres (fn. 40), p. 51.
COPCON Comando Operacional do Continente [Command for Continental Portugal]
CR Conselho da Revoluo [Council of the Revolution]
CUF Companhia Unio Fabril
DL Decreto-Lei [Decree-Law]
EFTA European Free Trade Association
EU European Union
FRG Federal Republic of Germany
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GFCF Gross Fixed Capital Formation
GVA Gross Value Added
ICI Imperial Chemical Industries, Inc.
ITT International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation / ITT Industries, Inc.
MES Movimento de Esquerda Socialista [Left Socialist Movement]
MF Military Forces
MFA Movimento das Foras Armadas [Armed Forces Movement]
MP Member of Parliament
MUD Movimento de Unidade Democrtica [Democratic Unity Movement]
MUNAF Movimento de Unidade Nacional Anti-Fascista [National Unity Anti-Fascist
OEEC Organization for European Economic Cooperation
PCP Partido Comunista Portugus [Portuguese Communist Party]
PIDE/DGS Polcia Internacional de Defesa do Estado [International Police for State
Defence]/ Direco-Geral de Segurana [General-Directorate for Security]
PM Primeiro-Ministro [Prime-Minister]
PPD/PSD Partido Popular Democrtico/Partido Social-Democrata [Peoples Democratic
Party/Social-Democratic Party]
PRD Partido Renovador Democrtico [Democratic Renovator Party]
PS Partido Socialista [Socialist Party]
RTP Rdio e Televiso de Portugal [Portuguese National Television]
SEDES Sociedade de Estudos para o Desenvolvimento Econmico e Social [Society for
the Study of Economic and Social Development]
UK United Kingdom
UN Unio Nacional [National Union]
UN United Nations
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
WW World War