On behalf of the Portuguese Communist Party, we want to greet the parties present at the 16th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties and particularly the Communist Party of Ecuador which hosts our meeting, reaffirming our commitment to contribute to the strengthening of our cooperation and international solidarity.
I The deepening structural crisis of capitalism continues to mark the main developments of the international situation. Approximately six years after the outburst of the crisis that began in the US, the economic and social situation in the main centres of capitalism (USA, EU, Japan), remains characterized by feeble growth and stagnation, with wide implications and different expressions worldwide, acquiring a global character, and under the latent threat of recession and the outburst of new explosions of crisis with even deeper consequences.
A crisis of over-production and over-accumulation of capital, resulting from capitalism’s fundamental contradiction - between the social character of production and the private appropriation of the means of production - and that confirms the validity of the main theses of Marxism-Leninism, namely, the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. In this framework, capitalism imposes the intensification of exploitation, the spread of unemployment and job precariousness, decline and destruction of labour and social rights, increase of social inequality, privatization of public services and social functions of the state, the refusal to meet the most basic needs, plunder of resources - proving it to be a system with deep and irresolvable contradictions and brutal injustices and social scourges, unable to meet the needs and aspirations of the peoples.
An offensive that is accompanied by a restriction of freedoms and democracy, an attack on national sovereignty and independence, whitewashing the action of fascism and with anti-communism, all which configure a civilizational regression. Capitalism is today marked by a planetary expansion of its relations of production, an unprecedented centralization and concentration of capital, the overwhelming dominance of finance capital, the mercantilization of all spheres of social life, an increasingly speculative nature and the rent-seeking and parasitic nature of the system, by the growing weight of corruption and criminal trafficking.
The reality on the European continent places big challenges to the communist and progressive forces. The European Union immersed into the crisis and growing contradictions, deepens its neoliberal, militarist and federalist course and - as the PCP stressed – has proved to be a tool of big capital and of major European capitalist powers, as an imperialist bloc against the rights of workers and peoples. The evolution of European capitalist integration - the European Union - raised to levels never before witnessed in post-war Europe, the exploitation, oppression and suppression of national sovereignties. The measures of concentration and centralization of economic and political power propagated and propagate new seeds of crises.
The crisis in the European Union, represents, thus, a crisis of its foundations and pillars, like the euro and the Economic and Monetary Union. In this context assumes special significance the "Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)” now being negotiated between the European Union and the US on the backs of the people and, if ratified, will mean a new step in the domination by big capital in the transatlantic space, representing a new development in the offensive against labour and social rights, the environment, public services, and national sovereignty and independence. The growing internationalization of capital and the increasing centralization and merger of economic and political power of big capital does not abolish, in PCP’s view, the contradictions between the great imperialist powers.
Although in the framework of collusion-rivalry continues to dominate the imperialist collusion, of class, against workers and against the people, with the deepening crisis, the contradictions between the big imperialist great powers tend to sharpen. In the aftermath of the change in the correlation of forces at the world level following the defeats of socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe and in view of the deepening of the structural crisis of capitalism, imperialism launched a violent attack - enhancing its exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature - against the changes and advances in their struggle for national and social emancipation. Faced with the consistent resistance of the workers and peoples due to growing exploitation and national oppression, imperialism, in an increasingly unsettling manner bets on war and fascism.
Resorting to intense campaigns of manipulation and defying the UN Charter and international law, the US and its allies foster hotbeds of tension and destabilization, promote interference, create ethnic and sectarian religious divisions, instrumentalize xenophobic and fascist groups and their terrorist action and foster aggression on sovereign states, promoting a permanent state of war against those who resist or they consider to be a hurdle to the imposition and protection of its global supremacy.
One has to remember, among other examples, the destruction of Yugoslavia; the colonization of Palestine by Israel; the occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya; the aggression against Lebanon and Syria; threats against Iran; operations of interference and recolonization in Africa; tension on the Korean Peninsula; militarization of the Far East where China is considered “strategic adversary”; the blockade against Cuba and the destabilization of Venezuela and other countries in Latin America; or the premeditated worsening of the situation in Ukraine, seeking confrontation with the Russian Federation. As a result of imperialism’s aggressive escalation, led by US imperialism - which reinforces NATO (with the European Union as its European pillar) and its political-military alliances and promotes the arms race, the militarization of international relations and war as instruments of imposition and protection of its domination - the international situation is increasingly marked by instability, insecurity and uncertainty.
One hundred years after the beginning of World War I and 75 years after the beginning of World War II, imperialism’s aggressive escalation poses a serious threat to peace in the world, with the possibility of the outbreak of conflicts of greater and more severe proportions, in a situation where a new world war could mean the destruction of Humanity. In this context, assumes even greater importance the convergence of all the forces that, although acting with diverse objectives, can effectively converge objectively in the struggle against imperialist wars and for peace. In this sense, the PCP considers that it is up to the communists - beginning with their Leninist analysis of imperialism – to give a decisive contribution to the advancement of the struggle against militarism, war and the fascist threat and to thwart attempts by big capital to channel the masses towards reactionary and xenophobic nationalism or inconsistent pacifism.
The Communists are faced with the need - without curbing or abdicating their identity and principles – to boost broad social alliances and convergence of anti-imperialist forces, erecting a large and intervening movement for peace, against NATO, for disarmament, in defence of national sovereignty and independence and solidarity with the peoples in struggle - namely by promoting and broadening the unitary action of the World Peace Council and other anti-imperialist organizations. A broad and intervening peace movement that will help to increase the awareness that the struggle against war requires tackling its causes that are rooted in the system of capitalist exploitation. In PCP’s experience of struggle, it is not by narrowing but broadening the social and political base of the peace movement that reinforces the struggle for profound social transformations and for socialism.
And, for the PCP, the struggle for peace and the struggle for social progress and socialism are inseparable. In the current international situation and in line with the relative decline of the US,, the PCP considers that the complex and extensive process of realignment of forces on a world scale requires greater attention, and has been a factor in containing the establishment of the "new world order”' hegemonized by US imperialism together with its allies. A process not without contradictions and whose outcome is not defined, but may open positive prospects regarding the evolution of the correlation of forces in the world, provided: it can resist the attempt of imperialist recovery; processes of affirmation of national sovereignty towards more advanced antimonopoly and anti-imperialist transformations are consolidated; are confirmed and deepened processes that aim towards socialism – in a situation where the role of the struggle of the working class and the popular masses is fundamental and the resulting correlation of forces between capital and labour.
In this complex scenario, where new countries emerge with a remarkable economic and political weight, has acquired particular importance the creation and consolidation of alliances, structures and spaces of multilateral cooperation and integration - with very different objectives and scopes, where various convergences of geometry, nature and stability intersect, with the inherent contradictions of the different economic and political realities of the countries that integrate them – but whose evolution has to be accompanied.
In this context, the processes of international division of labour, cooperation and integration are processes that can serve different class interests - can serve the oppression of peoples, as is the case of European Union, or serve the peoples' interests, as is happening, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean. To this effect, the affirmation of the anti-imperialist core of ALBA represents a qualitative leap for cooperation, on a sovereign, solidary, socially oriented and equitable basis, with repercussions on the American continent and internationally. It is no coincidence that imperialism intensifies its interference, supported by national oligarchy and sectors of big capital, in its attempt to contain, and if possible reverse important processes that are taking place on this sub-continent.
A counter-offensive by imperialism whose main target are the ALBA countries of - particularly Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua - but also other countries from Latin America and the Caribbean that position themselves in a sovereign manner confronting imperialism’s traditional hegemony in this region. It is in this context that the PCP gives special importance to the failure of the reaction and imperialism through the operations recently held in Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay sought to place supporters of his strategy in the presidency of these countries. Condemning imperialist interference in Latin America and the Caribbean, the PCP values and expresses solidarity with the processes of sovereign, progressive and revolutionary processes in this region, which are an important stimulus for the struggle to build alternatives of development and social progress and one of the main pivots of anti-imperialist resistance at the global level.
Although the current international situation holds great dangers - in a context where, in general, imperialism continues on the offensive and the times are still of resistance and gathering of forces worldwide - the PCP considers that reality also confirms that there is great potential for the development of struggle for social and national emancipation. The difficulties and contradictions, the crisis into which capitalism is immersed and especially the struggle of the workers and peoples throughout the world can stop the most reactionary and aggressive sectors of imperialism, impose on them defeats and setbacks, defeat the exploitative and oppressive offensive and gain important achievements and progressive and revolutionary transformations.
II The structural crisis of capitalism, the aggressive escalation of imperialism and the increasing pressing need of progressive and revolutionary processes of transformation, urges with extraordinary acuity the reinforcement of communist parties, their ties with the working class and popular masses, and their connection with their respective national realities, as well as their internationalist cooperation and solidarity. Giving particular attention to the development of their bilateral relationships of friendship and cooperation, PCP values forms of multilateral common and convergent cooperation and action, aimed at a unity in action based upon the basic principles of equality of rights, respect of differences, autonomy in decision, non-interference in internal affairs, and reciprocal frankness and solidarity.
In this sense, PCP considers that the strengthening of the international communist and revolutionary movement is hindered by the development of social-democratic tendencies, with the abandonment of ideological references, of organic principles and strategic objectives characteristic of a communist party, as well as dogmatic and sectarian concepts and practices, which as the experience of the international communist and revolutionary movement prove, hinder the frank and fraternal examination of common problems and damage the unity of the communist movement, including the unity of action against the common enemy.
PCP is concerned with the development of concepts and practices that point towards the imposition of single models of social transformation and initiatives that aim the structuring of the communist movement – namely through the constitution of permanent poles or structures – which do not contribute towards the reinforcement of the communist movement or the unity of action of communists and of these with other progressive and anti-imperialist forces, and furthermore introduce new dividing factors, separations and misunderstandings that hinder the necessary advances towards cooperation and solidarity. PCP values the process of the International Meetings of Communist and Workers Parties and seeks to contribute towards its reinforcement and improvement. This was the case in the 15th IMCWP, held in Lisbon.
Despite serious divergences having impeded the possibility of adopting a common declaration, PCP has a positive evaluation of the meeting, namely considering the adoption of a number of guidelines for common or convergent action. Acting in accordance with the principles of proletarian internationalism and mutual relationship, PCP will continue committed towards contributing to finding solutions to surpass difficulties and that contribute towards the strengthening of the international communist and revolutionary movement and the reinforcement of reciprocal cooperation and solidarity. PCP will likewise continue its commitment towards internationalist solidarity with political and social forces that, in their respective countries, struggle in defence of the interests of the workers and peoples, and the broadening and increasing expression of the anti-imperialist front.
For PCP, in the present and demanding international framework, the development of cooperation among communist parties with other democratic, progressive and anti-imperialist forces assumes particular importance, while affirming its own objectives, without diluting its identity, but contributing towards the exchange of experiences and the unity in action aimed at fulfilling different tasks and objectives of the struggle.
Consequently and at the European level, PCP has given particular attention to the cooperation among communist parties and between these and other progressive forces, respecting differences in situations, reflection and proposal, contributing to place first a common or convergent action around the issues most felt by the workers and peoples, and the struggle against the European Union, increasingly federalist, neoliberal and militarist, and for another Europe of cooperation, progress and peace. Knowing that there is much to be done in the European continent towards cooperation and solidarity among communist and among these and other progressive forces – and objective to be achieved with an effort that must be common and not unilaterally or by imposition –, and the institutional level, PCP has been committed to the constitution of the Confederal Group of United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), ensuring its confederal nature, its own identity – alternative to social-democracy and the right – its independence regarding other forums and structures of cooperation, rejecting attempts of instrumentalizing GUE/NGL with opportunist positions of adapting to the system – as is the case with the Party of the European Left – with dogmatic and sectarian positions that deny the importance of united cooperation of communists with other progressive and left-wing forces in Europe.
PCP’s intervention, including in the European Parliament, is marked by the defence of the interests of the Portuguese workers and people, the rejection of impositions and limitations to the will of the peoples, in the defence of democracy and national sovereignties, towards a rupture with the European capitalist integration – the European Union of the monopolies and big powers – and for a Europe of cooperation among sovereign States with equal rights, of social progress and peace, for a Europe of the workers and peoples.
III In Portugal, based on its experience of 93 years of struggle and considering the historic experience of communists and revolutionaries worldwide, PCP, party of the working class and all workers, continues the struggle in defence of the just interests, rights and aspirations of the Portuguese people. During this year, we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the April Revolution, a major event in our history that marked and – despite the advance of the counter-revolution – continues to deeply mark the reality in Portugal.
Culminating a persistent and heroic struggle of the Portuguese people, the April Revolution signified, among other important aspects, the end of the fascist dictatorship, the instauration of a democratic regime with ample popular participation; the end of the colonial war and the recognition of the right of colonized peoples to national liberation; freedom to unionize and ample worker’s rights, such as worker’s control; the liquidation of State monopoly capitalism, the monopolies and their economic and political domination; the end of the great land properties in the South, and the land reform; the end of Portugal’s international isolation, opening the way to a policy of peace, cooperation and friendship with all the peoples of the world. A process where the working class, the workers, the popular masses and the progressives in the military – united in the People-Armed Forces Movement alliance – reached ample and profound democratic achievements that were enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic, of 1976, that stated as objective “ensuring the transition towards socialism by creating conditions for the democratic exercise of power by the working classes”. A revolution that, in its fundamental aspects, confirmed PCP’s program for a democratic and national revolution, adopted in its 6th Congress, in 1965. The Portuguese Revolution brought important teachings for the struggle for social and national emancipation of Portuguese workers and people.
Confirming the general laws of the revolutionary process – namely those relative to the role of the working class and popular masses, the party, power, and the ownership of the means of production – the Portuguese revolution equally confirmed that these same laws are not only not contradictory with the existence of national specificities, but presume their dialectic relationship. In the Portuguese Revolution, the anti-monopolistic and anti-imperialist character of its transformations and the objective of socialism were always present, not in contradiction, but dialectically connected – forming two different stages which complemented one another, with objectives of the stage of democratic and national revolution that are simultaneously objectives of the socialist stage. That is, the struggle for a democratic and national revolution was already a constitutive part of the struggle for socialism.
The Portuguese Revolution likewise underlines the importance of the national issue and its inseparable correlation with the question of social class, confirming the importance of the national mark as a determinant field for the defence and conquest of rights and of processes of social transformation and emancipation of peoples. However, having achieved important and profound transformations, the Portuguese workers and people did not manage to impose a revolutionary power and build a democratic State correspondent to these transformations – confirming that the issue of the State is a central issue in each revolution.
In referring the experience of the Portuguese Revolution, we do so without any pretention of erecting it as a universal model. On the contrary it confirms the inexistence of models of revolution and the importance of a dialectical relationship between the general laws of the revolutionary process and national particularities. The April Revolution was an unfinished revolution. Despite the historic advances it represented, many of its main achievements were destroyed, while others, although weakened and threatened, remain present in the life of the Portuguese people. Over the past 38 years of right-wing policies and 28 years of European capitalist integration – in the EEC/European Union – big capital, his political representatives, the right wing policy, promoted the reconstitution of the monopolies and the return of their economic and political domination; the attack on labour and social rights; the degradation of the democratic regime; the vulgarization and enhancement of retrograde and reactionary values; the submission and sacrifice of national interests to foreign interests – a policy in permanent conflict with the Portuguese Constitution and democratic legality, that constitutes serious dangers to the democratic constitutional regime and national independence and sovereignty.
However, in Portugal there was a revolutionary process that, because it corresponded to the objective conditions of the Portuguese society and the deepest aspirations of the Portuguese people, left profound marks; its achievements, experiences and values are projected in the present and future of Portugal – a reality that distinguishes and defines the Portuguese situation. In fact, the present program of PCP for an Advanced Democracy departs precisely from that reality.
A program, updated in its 19th Congress, in 2012, is now called «An Advanced Democracy, the Values of April in the future of Portugal». It is in this framework that PCP, facing the most violent offensive against the rights and living conditions of workers after fascism, is fighting for the rupture with decades of right-wing policies and for a patriotic and left-wing alternative. The patriotic and left-wing alternative that PCP proposes to the Portuguese workers and people is based on: the promotion and valuing of national production; the recovery of public control of strategic sectors and companies, like the financial sector; valuing wages and the incomes of workers and the people; the defence of public services and the social functions of the State, the right to education, to healthcare and social protection; a fiscal policy that unburdens the incomes of workers and small and medium companies, and strongly taxes the incomes and property of big capital, profits and financial speculation; rejecting the submission to the imposition of the Euro and the European Union, recovering economic, budgetary and monetary sovereignty for the country.
The struggle for an alternative is fought in the field of the class struggle, that is, a patriotic and left-wing alternative presupposes, demands a rupture with right-wing policies, confronts the interests and power of big monopolies and imperialism, and opens the way towards an Advanced Democracy, committed to the Values of April, an integral part of the struggle for socialism and communism in Portugal. It is with confidence that PCP affirms that with the struggle of the Portuguese workers and people it is possible to break with decades of right-wing policies and open the way to a policy rooted in the values of April. A struggle fought amidst great demands and developing courageously, that has among the working class and the workers it’s most consequential and determined expression.
To achieve this objective, PCP is committed to the unity and convergence of the struggle of workers, populations and different anti-monopolist sectors and social layers that, having their specific objectives and demands, constitute determining components towards the rupture with right-wing policies and the achievement of a patriotic and left-wing alternative. An alternative and path that requires organization, unity and development and success of the mass struggle, the constitution of a broad social front, the convergence of democrats and patriots and, necessarily, the reinforcement of PCP and its influence as an aggregating strength.
IV Uncertainty and instability are characteristics of the international situation. The dangers derived from the deepening of capitalism’s contradiction should not be underestimated. But the historic reality and experience demonstrate that through the development of the mass struggle and the action and solidarity of communists, progressive forces and the lovers of peace worldwide, it is possible to eliminate such dangers and advance social transformation and by revolution overcome capitalism. Given the exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature of capitalism, PCP considers that there is increasing evidence for the modernity and importance of the communist ideal and project, for the need of a new society, for socialism and communism – by diversified paths and stages – that is the grand perspective placed before the workers and peoples all over the world.