Phil Mailer (aka Phil Meyler) was born in Dublin Ireland in 1946 and is resident in both Ireland and Portugal. He has been a teacher in Portugal, the US (New York City) and Ireland for many years. After living in London, where he was on the fringes of the King Mob group in the late 60s, and in the US, he went to Portugal in late 1973 to teach English. There, he actively participated in the events following the Revolution of April ’74, become an editor of the newspaper Combate and managed a bookshop, Contra A Corrente, in Lisbon with other Portuguese revolutionaries. Married to a Portuguese woman, he maintains a residence in Lisbon but has been teaching disadvantaged youth in inner city Dublin for fifteen years, a job from which he finally retired in 2010. He has been a long-time translator from Portuguese and has translated the song-lyrics and poems of José Afonso (whose song Grandola was a signal for the 1974 revolution).
He is currently in the process of translating the work (including the detective novels) of the late Portuguese writer, Denis Machado, into English. He is the editor of Livewire Publications which has published Misfit, a Revolutionary Life, the autobiography of the enigmatic aristocrat Captain Jack White, one of the founders in 1913 of the Irish Citizen Army who went onto Spain in 1936 and became a supporter of the anarchists in the Spanish Civil war. Two other books, Science and Capital, Radical Essays on Science & Technology and a novel Kiss of the Chicken King were published by the same company in early 2011.
Portugal: The Impossible Revolution?
Author: Phil Mailer • Afterword by Maurice Brinton
Publisher: PM Press
Format: Paperback, ePub, PDF, mobi
Size: 6 x 9
Page count: 288
Subjects: History-Europe, Politics
“An evocative, bitterly partisan diary of the Portuguese revolution, written from a radical-utopian perspective. The enemy is any type of organization or presumption of leadership. The book affords a good view of the mood of the time, of the multiplicity of leftist factions, and of the social problems that bedeviled the revolution.” —Fritz Stern, Foreign Affairs Magazine
“Mailer portrays history with the enthusiasm of a cheerleader, the ‘home team’ in this case being libertarian communism. Official documents, position papers and the pronouncements of the protagonists of this drama are mostly relegated to the appendices. The text itself recounts the activities of a host of worker, tenant, soldier and student committees as well as the author’s personal experiences.” —Ian Wallace, Library Journal
“A thorough delight as it moves from first person accounts of street demonstrations through intricate analyses of political movements. Mailer has handled masterfully the enormous cast of politicians, officers of the military peasant and workers councils, and a myriad of splinter parties, movements and caucuses.” —Choice
“What did it all add up to? Was the ‘Lisbon Commune’ the real thing: a popular revolution arising from the masses without leaders or parties or vanguards? Phil Mailer claims that it was, or could have been. In a vigorous book that is part blow by blow account, part vivid eye-witness reporting and part unashamedly polemical analysis, he stresses what he sees as the revolution’s most important feature—ordinary people spontaneously taking power for themselves. He presents a wealth of fascinating detail about workers’ committees and peasant cooperatives which is a welcome antidote to the tiresome journalistic assumption of the time that without a tank, a bomb, or a dispossessed British businessman what happened in Portugal wasn’t worth talking about.” —Ben Pimlott, New Society