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Democratic People’s Union (Portugal)

União Democrática Popular, UDP

Last modified: 2014-12-12 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: democratic people’s union | união democrática popular | udp | cogwheel (blue) | hoe | star: 5 points (yellow) |
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Democratic and Popular Union
image by Jorge Candeias

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About the flag

The flag is a red field with a device in the canton that consists of 3/4ths of a cogwheel and a horizontally layed hoe, both in blue, a yellow star in the free quarter of the cogwheel, and the initials "UDP" in yellow below.
Jorge Candeias, 04 Sep 1997

Democratic People’s Union

The Democratic People’s Union (UDP - União Democrática Popular) is a maoist ultra-left party, that was able to elect 1 Member of Parliament in several elections in the past, and has been traditionally the 5th party with percentages around 2-5%. This party has nearly disappeared in the last few elections.
Jorge Candeias, 4 Sep 1997

This is now one of the members of the Left Block.
Jorge Candeias, 20 May 1999

[Democratic and Popular Union v.1975] 2:3 image by Jorge Candeias, 26 Feb 2005

As I've told you a few days ago, in 1974-75 Portugal was under revolutionary turmoil and a lot of political organizations popped up, especially in the area of far-left. One of them, and one of the most successeful ones, was UDP (União Democrática Popular, Popular Democratic Union) that lives to this day and was even capable of electing 1 deputee to the parliament for some years. In 99 it was one of the organizations that founded the Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda, BE), currently the 5th Portuguese party with 8 MPs and nearly 7% of the votes. UDP has its dissolution congress marked to the near future (I forgot which month it is, but it's either next month, April or May 2005).
All this to present you a poster issued by the party in 1975 (pt!udp75.jpg) that shows the typical revolutionary art that was very common up to late 80's, depicting struggling masses with their working tools erected as weapons and flags. Usually, these flags are red, or red with revolutionary inscriptions (occasionally with the names of the parties or organizations involved), but this one shows a single star in the canton. A white star.
This poster's intent was to announce a rally to be held in Lisbon to protest against NATO manoeuvres that were to take place (and really did take place) off the coast of Portugal, wich was seen by the left-wing movements, especially the revolutionary ones, as a threat. And they might have been right.
The flag doesn't seem to be relevant to this specific struggle, though. Also, I don't know if it was used by UDP at the time, but I think it may be simply a generic socialist flag, a bit more sophisticated than usual. Anyway, I believe it's worth noting that the symbol the UDP had at the time, which can be seen at the lower right corner of the poster (black hammer and sickle with a red flag flying to the right, UDP superimposed on the flag in black letters, hardly visible red star over the hammer's head), wasn't suitable to include in a red flag. So it's possible that this was the flag used by the UDP back then. Not very likely, but possible.
Jorge Candeias, 26 Feb 2005