Naming the monster

There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding the task of christening the left parliament majority. Some call it “left coalition”, but that makes no sense since: a) it’s not a coalition and, b) it’s rather unlikely that they ever – I mean ever — aggregate, collate, unite, you pick the verb.

To make things worse, Bloco de Esquerda – literally ‘Left Bloc’ -, as the name implies, and although not a coalition, is already an amalgam of different misfits that evolved from far-left djembe banging maniacs into far-left djembe percussionists in search of an Euro-fado-dance band. They are also very rooted in the thriving bourgeoisie of the 1960s, as the kids of urbane and very urban traditional families. They had the chance to write pitiful neoromantic poetry at their universities and wiggle their heads with counterfeit gloominess from repetitive listenings of Joy Division’s Closer, a real treaty in Portuguese politics, whereas the rest of the kids were picking their noses at the cold yet thriving textile mills. Bloco de Esquerda is quintessential Lisbonesque.

Partido Comunista Português, the Portuguese Communist Party, was never a contender for the election. They’re always members of a coalition, CDU – Coligação Democrática Unitária – Unitary Democratic Coalition (oh, the irony!), a mixture of the Marxist-Leninist communists with a lemon twist of an ecologist party which also never ran for elections. In fact, the ecologists are more of a trick in order to get more speaking time in parliament for the communists. Yes, they’re an ecologist party, but you never to listen to them talking about trees or weird stuff like real ecologists do.

So, how do you name a coalition that will never exist and which is to be comprised of another coalition and an amalgam of pretty bourgeoises with nice hair and an handful of Twitter accounts? You can call them foolish; I call them hazardous.

Open letter to Mr. Pritchard of The Telegraph

Dear Mr. Pritchard,

This thing is out of hand. I can understand your stance against the EU, the euro, your integrity and whatever it is that keeps you fuelling the confusion between British euroskepticism and any cause that may propel this idea, regardless of how lateral it may be.

The British public is uninformed about the Portuguese political system, which is fine since Portugal is just a small European country, not an economical driving force or a cultural mammoth in a globalised world. I don’t know much about the Hungarian or the Polish system either. Nevertheless, publishing misleading information to propel the euroskeptic cause is harmful and plain wrong.

There are euroskeptics in Portugal too. People that believe that the EU concept is wrong, that the euro is flawed, that the bureaucrats are grim, and that the whole thing is the hyper-statist mess we’ve been dreading ever since Lady Thatcher fathom that that’s what it would become. Why would you then choose to align with the position of Marxists-Leninists (not an insult, it’s how they describe themselves) if there’s a center- and right-wing conservative nucleus of euroskeptics ready to help you understand the intricacies of the Portuguese political system?

You proved yourself wrong with Syriza, will prove yourself wrong with the Portuguese inexistent Left Coalition – which you believe won the election – and, most likely, will prove yourself wrong again with the Spanish Podemos next December. There is a huge community of British expats in Spain – I personally know more than a dozen, living in Andalusia, owners of property and integral driving forces of local economies. Under Podemos they will be heavily taxed as full members of ‘the rich’ club, as identified by the smooth talking and iPad-bearing communists. Their MacBooks are already full throttle with silly manifests including lots of words like ‘the people’, ‘the rich’, ‘the oppression’, ‘neoliberals’, ‘imperialism’, and other dialectics-prone keywords within the Historical Materialist framework.

Euroskepticism and Eurodenial shouldn’t give in to marxist dialectics in order to thrive. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Mr. Pritchard, your are entitled to your opinion, just don’t try to pass it as factual, as it is not. You can’t escape the EU-soviet-like-bloc by creating another soviet-like-bloc.


We, the Portuguese

When a group of people from different countries engages in casual conversations about the specifics of their country’s idiosyncratic politics, I reckon two complementary observations: people from English-speaking countries are more natural at accepting their country as it-is, whereas people from Latin and Slavic origins are more prone to short sell theirs. More often than not, I found myself at the melodramatic end of the spectrum, almost like recognising the existence of a national phenomena impairing our (notice the “our”) path to greatness, as if History can be summarised in a single inflection point separating the b.C from the a.C. – before Correctness and after Correctness. Suddenly, you realize that you’re dwelling into the very definition of Socialism.

There are two factors which, I believe, may explain this. In fact, there are three, the third being the necessity to identify the other two, as if everything is a complex yet deterministic state machine governed by a set of rules and initial conditions that determine the current status given the known inputs in form of external stimuli.

The first factor is susceptibility to embarrassment. What will others think if they realize our collective vulnerability, our smallness, our irrelevance in a globalised world? This is addressed – with a certain degree of success – by the nationalist socialists who demand that one must fight the institutions, Syriza-style. These tend to believe that most people are stupid, a thought which appeals to the inner idiot of any self-conscious urban, well-read, 30 to 40-something airborne and socially connected person, the natural replacement of the moustached working class simpleton found in the early 80s.

The second factor is bias from civil law. Common law countries aren’t as obsessed with rules and their ability to prevent dire or unpleasant situations, whatever these may be. Civil law countries generate civil-law-abiding citizens or, negatively speaking, experts in rule-bending. Common-law countries are more Right or Wrong driven, disregarding the totem status of stone engraved commandments, the aforementioned inflection points, the separations between before Correctness and after Correctness.

We, the Portuguese (noticed the “we”?), may be whiners but, for certain, we are not under-thinkers. We are much more inclined to overthink stuff way beyond their ability to fit any given reality. Perhaps this text fits the mold perfectly.