Revolution at the Grassroots
Community Organizations in the Portugese Revolution
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The book outlines the history of the revolutionary process at the national level and as it was experienced in one major Portuguese city. While generally little known, the achievements of grassroots organizations in Portugal far exceeded those of other developed countries, and their examination provides insights, poses important questions and suggests unexpected answers relevant far beyond Portugal.
The Portuguese revolution provides a unique window through which to examine, not only the role of community organizations in a time of revolutionary change, but also the dynamics, potential, and limitations of majority participation. Over a period of nineteen months — beginning with a military coup which ended the longest lasting European dictatorship (the period brought to a close 500 years of colonialism in Africa) and ending with another military coup — the Portuguese society and political debate were significantly transformed, largely by the unanticipated development of mass movements advocating direct democracy and social, economic, and political change.
Charles Downs is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia University.
"Downs' book is good both for its theoretical and its descriptive qualities. It is absorbing reading. " — Pierre Clavel
"The author successfully marries empirical observation and theoretical analysis to transcend the limitations of most prior work on this topic. He shows a great deal of sensitivity to the complexity of the events he examines and (unlike many who write in this area) is not blinded by theoretical presuppositions or slavish empiricism. " — Richard Rich