National Syndicalists (Portugal)

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The National Syndicalists (Portuguese: Movimento Nacional-Sindicalista, MNS; English: National Syndicalist Movement) were a political movement that briefly flourished in Portugal in the 1930s, and an influence on the Spanish Falange.

Cross of The Order of Christ, used by the Movimento Nacional-Sindicalista.

Under the leadership of Francisco Rolão Preto, the National Syndicalists emerged in 1932 from a tradition of Monarchism and Integralismo Lusitano ("Lusitanic Integralism") to offer a platform that they hoped would lead to full corporatism of association or unionism in opposition to capitalism, communism and fascism. They adopted the Order of Christ Cross as their emblem, in order to underline their Christian ethos, and set up their own armed militia that became known as the "Blueshirts" (Camisas azuis) because of the colour of their uniforms (inspired by Benito Mussolini's Blackshirts); they also greeted each other using the Roman salute.

The National Syndicalists were fairly critical of the regime of António de Oliveira Salazar, because[citation needed] the Estado Novo adopted the fascist model in the Portuguese state. Initially Salazar appeared ready to allow the National Syndicalists to continue and permitted them to hold a national congress in November 1933. However the movement itself floundered under his rule as many members were attracted to the new regime and broke away to support the government. Salazar announced the dissolution of the group on July 29, 1934.

Despite this official end the National Syndicalists carried on in secret and Preto helped to lead a conspiracy against the government, which also involved moderate monarchists, some members of the Portuguese Republican Party, and even a few socialists and anarchists who simply wanted to overthrow the regime. The revolt took place on September 10, 1935 but it failed to gain the support of all but a small group of soldiers on board the Bartolomeu Dias warship and in the Lisbon area of Penha de França, being crushed almost immediately. As a result of this Preto and his deputy Alberto Monsaraz were forced into exile in Spain and the National Syndicalists were fully repressed. The dissidents of the National Syndicalists were subsequently integrated in the União Nacional.

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References[edit]

  • S. U. Larsen, B. Hagtvet & J. P. Myklebust, Who Were the Fascists: Social Roots of European Fascism, Oslo, 1980