From the ‘Unfinished Revolution’ to the ‘Defence of the Revolution’: Framing the Transition in Austerity-Era Portugal
This chapter analyses how political actors from ‘the arc of opposition’, particularly social movements, trade unions and left-wing political parties mobilised the memory of the Revolution in Portugal during the country’s ‘years of austerity’ between 2010 and 2015—a period when, under the direction of the troika (EU–ECB–IMF) of international lenders, Portuguese governments embarked on a series of spending cuts and supply-side reforms in the context of economic crisis and high unemployment. It proposes that three framings of transition emerged particularly strongly across the period: (i) as a tool to shape collective political identities and their legitimacy; (ii) by articulating a series of rights and institutions as ‘conquests of the revolution’ now under threat; and finally (iii) by framing the work of the revolution as ‘unfinished’, i.e. requiring an overhaul of existing institutions. These framings were used at different points by a number of actors, and their weight across opposition evolved over the period. This chapter concludes by exploring the causes of the dynamic use of such frames, and their consequences for political developments in Portugal.