The Central Committee of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), meeting on June 29 and 30, 2018, discussed aspects of the international situation and in the European Union, examined the national political, economic and social situation and developments in the mass struggle, and outlined the guidelines for activity and to strengthen the Party.
I. Activity and struggle – For a Patriotic and Left-wing Alternative
Recent developments in the political situation are marked by the contradictions inherent in the options of the PS [Socialist Party] and its minority Government, at the service of big business and of submission to the EU. There is a prominent growing convergence with PSD and CDS to guarantee the essential of right-wing policy in core matters and areas of government action.
These options prevent the solution of many national problems and constrain public investment and the response to the concerns and aspirations of the workers and populations.
This reality shows the relevance and urgency of the struggle to break with the right-wing policy and for a patriotic and left-wing alternative, and at the same time confirms the need to spare no opportunity to carry further the defence, restoration and achievement of rights.
The development of the mass struggle is of particular importance and significance. A struggle that, having been decisive for the advances that were made, is the most significant element in resisting and going forward, and in breaking with the right-wing policy.
The facts confirm the pivotal role that the PCP has played in all the advances made and highlights even further the fundamental issue for the future – that of strengthening the PCP and its influence.
Confronted with the problems facing the workers, the people and the country, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that the possibility of building the alternative – a patriotic and left-wing policy and a Government that will materialize it – lies in the hands and the will of the workers and the people, of the democrats and patriots, in their intervention and struggle, with their support for the PCP, the indispensable and irreplaceable force.
II. International Situation
1. The international situation remains characterized by great instability and uncertainty, with serious threats to workers and peoples coexisting with the potential for the growth of resistance and struggle to defend their rights and for their emancipation
2. Capitalism confirms its exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature. This is evident in the intensification of exploitation, in ever-deeper social inequalities and injustice, in the denial of basic needs, in the plunder and predation of resources, in the scale of refugee and migrant flows, and in the tragedy which they involve.
Faced with the deepening of capitalism’s structural crisis – with the sharpening of its systemic contradictions and the persistence of factors that could lead the world economy to a new peak of crisis – and the process of realignment of forces that is taking place around the world, imperialism, in particular US imperialism, persists in its offensive, seeking to counter the trend towards its relative decline.
Especially serious is the onslaught by US imperialism, which insists on interference, destabilization, militarism and war. This attack directed against all peoples and countries that defend and assert their rights, sovereignty, development and independence – and which strategically targets the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation – has been accompanied by the subordination of US allies to its strategy and interests.
It is in this context that, in a framework of imperialist concertation/rivalry, the factors of contradiction between the great imperialist powers (US, EU/Germany, Japan) grow. Examples are the imposition by the US of higher commercial tariffs and the extra-territorial nature of the sanctions that it imposes, affecting its allies, namely the big EU powers. Inter-imperialist contradictions had particular expression in the disagreements witnessed at the recent G7 Summit in Canada.
In the present situation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit, held in China, is of particular significance – due to the content of the solutions presented and the understandings reached for deepening cooperation between the participating countries and the defense of the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. This expresses the reality of the realignment of forces around the world.
3. Disrespecting and failing to comply with important agreements aimed at opening the way to détente, resolution of conflicts, disarmament and peace – such as the multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran – confronting the United Nations and international legality, the offensive of US imperialism, now headed by Donald Trump’s Administration, aims to impose an international order under its hegemony, through its military power, its domination of international institutions and financial system as a means for blackmail and economic blockade, and its huge resources for political and ideological action.
4. The PCP’s Central Committee alerts to the goals of the NATO Summit, to be held on July 11 and 12 in Brussels, Belgium, for what it represents in terms of an increased threat to peace. Among other serious aspects, it will involve the increase in military expenditure, enhancing the militarisation of the EU as a “European pillar” of NATO, and as a complement to this aggressive political-military bloc, the strengthening of NATO troops in Eastern Europe, close to the Russian Federation. This situation, contrary to what the President of the [Portuguese] Republic and the Government have stated, requires a clear opposition to the policy of submission to the major powers of NATO and the EU, in particular Portugal’s participation in foreign military missions at the service of NATO and its imperialist powers, which undermines central features of national sovereignty and independence and does not serve the interests of Portugal.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of supporting the Petition for Portugal to sign the Nuclear Arms Prohibition Treaty, promoted by the Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation (CPPC), and calls for participation in the actions promoted by various organisations in Portugal, under the slogan “Yes to Peace! No to NATO!”, in particular, in the public events to be held on July 9 in Lisbon and on July 12 in Oporto.
5.Emphasizing the intensity of imperialism’s offensive in various regions of the world, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the need for solidarity with workers and peoples who are engaged in a courageous struggle to defend their rights and sovereignty in a complex and demanding situation of resistance and gathering of forces around the world.
The US Administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which is a clear violation of international law, and the crimes perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people, attach greater importance to the Palestinian people’s struggle to create the State of Palestine, within pre-1967 borders and with its capital in East Jerusalem, and respect for refugees’ rights.
The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance of the recent victories of the Syrian patriotic forces over terrorist groups, denounces the continuation of imperialist and Zionist aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic, exemplified by the bombing by the United States, United Kingdom and France, as well as the increased aggression against Yemen, and warns of the threat of intensification of destabilization and imperialist aggression in the Middle East, particularly against Iran.
Valuing efforts to contain and counter the US warmongering policy in the Korean Peninsula, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that it is by upholding the respect for national sovereignty and independence; the right of the Korean people to peace and to decide their destiny free from foreign interference, pressure and threats; the normalisation of relations; by implementing effective security guarantees for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; that a political solution can be reached for a conflict that has persisted for over 65 years and that it will be possible to ensure a stable and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, contributing to the path of abolishing nuclear weapons and to their non-proliferation.
The PCP’s Central Committee emphasizes the struggle of the peoples of Latin America for their rights and sovereignty. It stresses the important victory of the Bolivarian revolutionary and progressive forces in the recent Venezuelan presidential elections, with the re-election of President Nicolás Maduro, which expresses and confirms the condemnation by the Venezuelan people of the destabilisation operation of the USA and its allies against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. It also stresses the struggle in Colombia, in defence of the peace process, in Brazil in defence of democracy, as well as the struggle of socialist Cuba to end the criminal blockade by the United States.
III. Developments in the European Union
1. Recent developments in the European Union (EU) confirm the nature and evolutionary tendencies of the capitalist integration process in the context of the ever-deeper structural crisis of capitalism and makes even more urgent the need for a patriotic and left-wing policy to ensure national sovereignty and free Portugal from impositions and policies contrary to national interest and the interests of the Portuguese people.
2. Despite contradictions and factors of crisis in the capitalist integration process, big business and its main political expressions on the European continent – the right, far right and social democracy – converge on the goal of deepening the neoliberal and militaristic pillars of the European Union. The inter-imperialist contradictions with the US and the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU are used to enhance the federalist logic and further concentrate power in the Franco-German axis, trying to carry still further the policies of domination at the service of big business and the great powers.
3. Despite a contradictory framework and real difficulties that objectively question the very process of capitalist integration, the conclusions of the European Council of June 28 and 29 confirm a course of deepening the mechanisms of economic and political domination, of deepening the militarist and securitary drift of a reactionary nature in the EU policies. The so-called migration and asylum policy is a clear example of this. The real aims of the European Union are accompanied by huge propaganda campaigns. Seeking to hide the true nature of the EU, as is the case with the so-called “employment and growth” policy or the so-called “social pillar”, which effectively represent a regression in labour rights and other social rights in countries like Portugal, or seeking to present as positive goals such as the third pillar of the Banking Union, which furthers the concentration of political and economic power.
4.The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the objectives behind the so-called “Euro reform” which, in the name of an alleged “correction” or “completion” of Economic and Monetary Union, seeks to deepen its instruments of dominance, constraints and impositions and to institutionalise mechanisms of control and dependency – like the European version of the IMF, the so-called European Monetary Fund – which further limit national sovereignty and deepen economic and social divergence between Member States. The Single Currency is confirmed as a very strong constraint on projects of sovereign development and social progress. It is therefore imperative to free Portugal from its submission to the Euro.
5. The Central Committee of the PCP denounces the unacceptable actions of interference which seek to condition, in various dimensions and expressions, the will of the peoples and to contain the growing challenge to the European Union. Whether regarding the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, whether within the so-called “recommendations” of Economic Governance, or even in the context of electoral processes, through multiple intolerable and gross interferences directly by the EU institutions or by open articulation of these with big business.
6. The growth of far-right forces and their access to government in several countries is inseparable from the nature and consequences of EU policies. As reality is proving, these forces do not represent a real challenge to the European Union and to the interests of big capital which it expresses. On the contrary, the collusion and even support of these forces to the class nature of the EU and its policies of exploitation and domination, is evident.
7.The debate and proposals on the post-2020 EU budget confirm the warnings and denouncements of the PCP. Portugal is strongly harmed by a Budget that exacerbates divergence, channels more funds to the great powers and their economic and financial groups, and is increasingly used to impose and to force, through conditionality and the “payment” of neoliberal reforms, policies of exploitation, privatisation, destruction of the productive apparatus and economic dependence.
This is a Budget which aims to further extend the privatisation of all sectors of economic activity and social life in the European Union, and to enhance the liberalisation of common policies, as in agriculture or trade.
The cutback in EU funds for the proclaimed “economic and social cohesion” – which have always been used as an alleged compensation for the damage caused by the divergence and dependence imposed by the common policies, the Single Market and the Euro – clearly shows whom and what the European Union serves. The significant increase in funding to fuel the militarist and securitarian aspects mean a clear option for asserting the EU as an imperialist, militarist and interventionist power, with serious consequences in key aspects of Portugal’s sovereignty and independence.
8. The Central Committee of the PCP condemns the attitude of the PS Government which, in convergence with the PSD and the CDS, pursues a line of national abdication, supporting the policies of the European Union and the Euro, as is clearly seen in the defence of the guidelines and impositions associated with the Euro or in the vote on the future composition of the European Parliament, which the BE [Left Bloc] also backed.
IV. National Situation
1. The national situation highlights the need to ensure a policy that fully responds to the country’s problems, reveals the possibilities of building this path if the options and constraints associated with right-wing policies are defeated, and calls for the mobilisation of the workers and the people, of democrats and patriots, to ensure in Portugal a course of progress, development and sovereignty.
2. The evolution of the new phase of national political life confirms the contradictory framework inherent in its nature. Contradiction, on a political level, between the demands that the country’s economic and social situation requires and the option of the PS minority government to preserve its convergence in structural areas with the PSD and the CDS.
Contradiction, on an economic level, between a policy of raising rights, wages and incomes that could, if assumed as strategic, ensure that the resulting economic growth was a factor of solid development; and, on the other hand, the option to keep the country tied to the EU’s impositions and its instruments of interference that limit and prevent a full response to national problems.
Contradiction, on the social level, between the possibilities of raising living standards, promoting employment and workers’ rights, reducing inequality in the distribution of income between capital and labour, responding to the social functions of the State; and, on the other hand, the insistence on a labour legislation that favours exploitation and precarious jobs without rights and the underfunding of public services which is dictated by the interest paid on public debt and by the obsession with the deficit.
3. In these past two and a half years, albeit to a limited extent, it has been possible to take steps, which should be valued for what they represent as a result of the mass struggle and the decisive contribution of the PCP. Among others: in Social Security, the comprehensive and extra increase of pensions in 2017 and 2018; the increase in family allowance; social protection for people with disabilities; the end of cuts in unemployment benefit. In the field of education, free textbooks for the first and second education cycles, with a view to making them universal. In the labour sphere, the restoring of 4 holidays that had been taken away; the restoring of the Christmas allowance for Public Administration workers, pensioners and retirees; the 35-hour week in the Public Administration; and the pension supplements for workers from companies in the State Entrepreneurial Sector; the unfreezing of career progression in Public Administration, despite PS’s resistance to the corresponding salary increase; the, albeit insufficient, increase of the National Minimum Wage. In terms of taxation, tax relief on income from work with the elimination of the surtax and the creation of two new brackets and the increase in the minimum income subject to Income Tax; the taxation of big business with the increase of the amount of state levies for companies with over 35 million euros profit; the creation of an additional tax on high-value property. In terms of support for economic activities of Micro-, Small- and Medium Companies, a 13% reduction in VAT in catering and a reduction in the minimum value of the pre-payment for self-employed, with a view to its later elimination. Small and medium-sized agriculture and fisheries enterprises have received fuel support. The privatization processes of [the Lisbon] Metro, Carris [the Lisbon bus company] and STCP [the Oporto bus company], have been reversed, and other measures taken by the PSD/CDS Government were blocked.
Honouring its commitment to the workers and the people, the PCP has not wasted, nor will waste, any possibility of intervening and fighting to ensure rights and better living conditions. As life shows, destroying illusions or false notions, the problems that the country faces – a lack of public investment, the weakening of the productive apparatus and of production, a lack of control over strategic sectors and companies, among others – can only be overcome by breaking with right-wing policies, and with the implementation of a patriotic and left-wing policy that has as its priority goal to defend the national interest, the interests of the workers and of the Portuguese people.
It should be stressed that these advances were achieved even against the will of the PS, as evidenced not only by the resistance to adopting them, but also by the use of procedures aimed at postponing, limiting or even failing to implement them, either by means of Budget captivations, delays in regulation or other expedients.
What the present national situation shows is that the possibility of a decisive response to national problems is inseparable from the workers’ struggle and the strengthening of the PCP, of its political and social influence, of its electoral expression and the number of MPs it has in the Assembly of the Republic.
4. Rearrangements of positions of political parties, whether stemming from the whitewashing of CDS and PSD, or from a realignment between the new leadership of PSD and the PS, which is sponsored by the President of the Republic, are part of a strategy to ensure that the right-wing policy finds support base, either with a new government with the PS on its own, or in a more or less formal alliance with the PSD and the CDS. Such rearrangements have been expressed, among other aspects, in the public agreements signed between the PS Government and the PSD on matters such as removing State responsibility and transfer of costs, namely “Decentralization” and the “Multiannual Financial Framework” which deepens the transfer of EU funds to economic groups.
The converging declarations by the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister on the State Budget for 2019 and on the end of the legislature, are forms of pressure and attempts at political conditioning. They are an exercise to try to avoid a concrete assessment of the future contents of that document and to restrict the options and general guidelines of the Government’s policy to the Budget.
The PCP’s Central Committee stresses that the evaluation of the national political situation and the action of the PS minority Government is not limited to the assessment of the State Budget. More importantly, it has to do with macroeconomic options subordinated to the EU and the Euro; on commitments to the interests of big business, as shown by the recent social concertation agreement; with the protection of monopoly capital and economic groups, as evidenced by the refusal to accept public oversight of strategic companies; with continued support for private banks at the expense of public resources; or with support for the aims of imperialism and NATO. These are areas where a full convergence between PS, PSD and CDS has prevailed, representing a safe conduct for right-wing policies in everything that is structural and decisive.
5.The persistence of the PS minority government in options and policies that do not break with decades of right-wing policies maintains and exacerbates problems that mark the country’s economic and social life.
The strategic sectors of the economy are dominated by national and, mainly, foreign monopolies.
The situation in CTT [Postal company], which is jeopardizing the postal service, the closure of hundreds of post offices and the depletion of public assets; the guidelines in PT [telecommunications company], which counter the national interest, as evidenced by the tragedy of last year’s fires, both in terms of emergency communications and the non-replacement of telephone lines in many of the affected areas, after one year; the situation in ANA – Aeroportos, controlled by a multinational that brutally raises costs and denies the country the increase in airport capacity indispensable for its development; the situation in the area of fuels and cartelized prices resulting from the privatisation of GALP and the liberalisation of prices; or excessive revenues in energy and the super profits of EDP – a company that is presently subject to a takeover bid – is enlightening. It reveals the cost of privatisations that jeopardize public control in strategic areas, transfering abroad levers that are essential to national development, and chanelling thousands of millions of euros in dividends out of the country, sums that would otherwise have been national resources. It also reveals that, unlike the role they played as public companies, they are today one of the main promoters of precariousness, exploitation and disorganization of abour and of the life of workers.
In the financial sector, the draining of public money into banks continues, as with the new injection of capital into the Novo Banco, while pursuing the strategy agreed with the European Commission in the recapitalisation process, with a view to reducing the role and the activity of the public bank, CGD, and restricting assistance to the economy, national production and families. The closing of 65 more [CGD] branches is part of this process.
Also, the liberalization of the taxi sector, with the adoption by PS, PSD and CDS of provisions that choose to favour the activity of a multinational economic group, UBER, threatens the survival of thousands of small entrepreneurs and withdraws millions from the country by way of transfers of profits abroad.
The restraint on an increase in wages continues, as shown by the refusal to set the national minimum wage at 600 euros on January 1st of this year and maintaining a freeze on wages in the Public Administration. The violation of workers ‘rights persists, with the agreement between the PS Government, the employers’ confederations and UGT (already welcomed by the PSD and the President of the Republic) being especially serious and significant. This agreement corresponds to the main demands of big business, with changes to the Labour Code of 2008 and 2013, provides new instruments to increase the exploitation and liquidation of workers’ rights, maintaining the expiry of collective contracts, refusing to apply the principle of more favourable treatment and introducing factors that legitimize precariousness and forms of deregulation of working hours.
The situation of inequality of women, and particularly of working women, continues. The instrumentalization of their problems or the mere announcements of measures such as the Quota Law, inserted within the framework of an important ideological offensive, fail to solve its true causes, which are capitalist exploitation and its full arsenal of blackmail, repression, violation of rights, discrimination and divisionism.
Public services continue to have a shortage of workers, equipment, investment in their maintenance and improvement, with consequences in their ability to respond to the populations’ needs. Examples include, among others, the situation that the National Health Service faces, with insufficient human resources and investment in facilities and equipment, as part of a trend to favour private healthcare; a poor offer in public transport, particularly in Lisbon’s river navigation and underground [Metro], but also the degradation of the railways; the lack of investment in culture and heritage, an example of which is the lack of support for the Arts and artistic creation.
The presentation by the PS Government of legislation on housing, despite one or other specific measure, essentially maintains the State’s decision to not assume its constitutional responsibilities in promoting public housing, aims to transfer costs to local government, insists on stimulating speculative real estate activity and refuses to repeal the Law of Evictions by Assunção Cristas, adopted by PSD/CDS, maintaining the precariousness in renting.
The so-called “decentralization” process is an instrument to shake off the State’s responsibilities and to transfer costs to local government, with consequences for the population and for universal access to constitutional rights such as healthcare, education or culture. These aims are confirmed by the PS Government’s proposed Local Government Law, which not only refuses to restore financial capability [of Local Government] after years of unfulfillment [of the Central Government’s obligations], but will also proceed in this way for the next three years.
The multiplicity of initiatives, under the pretext of the “hinterland” – movements, missions, strategies and studies – associating personalities and parties responsible for the right-wing policies that led to the deepening of asymmetries and abandonment of vast areas of the national territory, seeks to conceal the real reasons which are at the root of the problems. Reasons and guidelines that are once again restated in the National Program for Territorial Planning Policies (PNPOT) presently under discussion, in the Strategic Investment Plan or in the renewed refusal of Regionalisation.
6. The defence and assertion of national sovereignty is an indispensable condition for economic development and social progress. At a time when, under the pretext of the reform of the Euro, there is a new leap in the neoliberal, federalist and militaristic dynamics of the European Union, which undermines national independence and the inalienable right to sovereign development, it is even more important to assert the national interest.
The proposal for a Multiannual Financial Framework continues a process which, invoking EU funds, has driven the country to abandon production and to dependence, making its situation vulnerable in the context of a European Union, where Portugal is on a course of increasing economic and social divergence. The rhetoric of PS, PSD and CDS, criticising this proposal by the European Commission, runs counter to their real support for all structural elements of the Financial Framework – such as on military and security expenditure, to the detriment of cohesion funds and the CAP.
7. The solution to the national problems fins no answer from PS, PSD and CDS.
No propaganda can conceal the facts:
- the defence of workers’ rights and an increase in their wages is not compatible with the subordinationto the interests of big business and employers’ confederations that unites PS, PSD and CDS;
- the preparation of the country for negative and unforeseeable developments on an international level – raw material prices, interest rate increases, conflicts of different size, natural phenomena – is not compatible with the degree of dependence and external exposure of the country created by PS, PSD and CDS;
- the country’s economic, social and territorial cohesion, whether in termos of revitalizing the rural world and the fight against depopulation, or the response to problems of cities and especially of metropolitan areas, is not compatible with the options that for decades, have united PS, PSD and CDS in a convergent and continuous process;
- full compliance with constitutional rights in healthcare, education, social security, housing or culture is not compatible with the Euro and EU impositions, with which PS, PSD and CDS fully agree;
- preparing the country to overcome structural deficits and asserting a sovereign policy that can defend from the blackmail of “the markets” implies channelling the margin of economic growth to areas such as investment, defending national production and strengthening of public services. This is not compatible with deviating large sums to service an unsustainable public debt, as defended by the PS, PSD and CDS;
- the answer to national problems and the demands of a sovereign development is not compatible with subordination to the EU, the Euro and other instruments of external domination that unite PS, PSD and CDS.
The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the fact that the answer to national problems is incompatible, as the facts have shown, with the country’s subordination to the European Union. The primary Budget surplus of thousands of millions euros which the country produces (estimated to be over 5,500 million euros in 2018) are devoured by the public debt service that benefits finance capital, and prevents the channelling of these resources for development. The 35 thousand million euros that the country will spend on debt interest until 2022 are lacking in financing and investment in healthcare, education, social security, culture or transport to which the Portuguese are entitled. The more than 2 thousand million drained every year for PPPs or the more than EUR 1.2 thousand million spent on ruinous swaps are taken away from the State and from its responsibilities in various spheres.
It is not, as the PS government says and the recent PS congress has amplified, a matter of speed, of taking a step-by-step approach. Nor is the claim true that, given the accumulation of problems and the lack of answers, one cannot do everything at once. It is rather an option that unites PS, PSD and CDS, of guaranteeing everything and quickly to the EU, the ECB, the “markets” and monopoly capital, to the detriment of what is due to the workers and the people.
8. The country needs clear answers and measures to confront and solve problems.
Answers that, in the short term, gain expression, in particular, in the following areas and measures: labour legislation, eliminating its grievous norms; wages, ensuring their overall increase, including in Public Administration and the National Minimum Wage, which must be set at 650 euros on January 1st. 2019; an increase in public investment and the financing of public services and the social functions of the State, with priority for healthcare, education, public transport and culture; reinforcing social protection and aid, proceeeding with a supplementary increase in pensions, ensuring the restoration and a universal family allowance, fulfilling the commitment to pensions without penalty for workers with 40 or more years of discounts, extending the social payment for inclusion, strengthening the rights of people with disabilities; repealing the law of evictions; supporting micro, small and medium-size entrepreneurs, namely with the legal compliance of ending on January 1st the Advanced Special Payment for self-employed; the reversal of PPPs [Private-Public Partnerships], whether in healthcare, transport, roads and other areas; of fiscal policy, taxing movable assets, profits and dividends, and cutting down on labour income; effective support for culture, arts and heritage; restoring 6% VAT on electricity and gas; support for family farming, forest management and protection, and the rural world; the implementation of measures to respond to the consequences of last year’s forest fires; the effective reinforcement of means for Civil Protection and, in particular, of the Firemen’s Corporations.
The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the Party’s determination to reject pressures and constraints in the face of threats of electoral rescheduling, its full independence of judgment and decision, and its goal to continue acting to guarantee new advances that meet the aspirations and rights of the workers and people.
9.The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes essential aspects of the evolution of the political situation that will be present in the short term and future activity.
The current political situation confirms the decisive role of the struggle of the workers and the people and the PCP’s activity, both in resisting and in defending, recovering and achieving what some considered impossible.
Defending, restoring and achieving rights has not only proved indispensable for the improvement of living conditions, but also represents a decisive factor for economic growth and job creation.
The advances achieved are the result of the PCP’s activity and of the mass struggle. Advances that a PS government, under different circumstances, would not make, as they never did before.
But the current situation also highlights the persistence of serious national problems as a result of decades of right-wing policy that persist and worsen with the PS’s position of not breaking with this policy and its class options.
In a balance of forces enabling this country’s problems to be tackled, this does not occur only because the PS and its government, in convergence with the PSD and the CDS, confirm their commitment to the interests of big business and thier submission to the impositions of the Euro and the European Union.
As the last parliamentary elections have made evident, the decisive issue is the election of deputies to the Assembly of the Republic and their distribution among the various parties and not the choice of Prime Minister.
The central issue facing the country is the necessary break with the right-wing policy, regardless of whether it is carried out by the PSD and CDS, or by the PS, alone or with others, and the construction of a political alternative. This can only be achieved through the decisive strengthening of the PCP and of its influence.
The PCP affirms itself as the driving force of a patriotic and left-wing policy, which is necessary and indispensable to the country. A policy that breaks with exploitation, impoverishment, decline and dependence, and assures a Portugal with a future, developed and sovereign:
- A patriotic and left-wing policy that liberates the Country from submission to the euro and from the impositions and constraints of the European Union;
- A patriotic and left-wing policy that defends the renegotiation of debt, the recovery for the country of what belongs to the country – its resources, its strategic sectors, its inalienable right to development and job creation – that ensures the right to healthcare, education, culture, housing, social protection, transport;
- A patriotic and left-wing policy, which necessarily means putting Portugal to work, with more agriculture, more fisheries, more industry, creating more wealth and distributing it better, supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises;
- A patriotic and left-wing policy of valuing work and workers, their wages and their individual and collective rights, the retired and pensioners, ensuring the necessary social support.
This is the path, this is the alternative of the future that Portugal needs. It is for this policy, for the advanced democracy with the values of April in the future of Portugal, that the PCP fights and will fight.
V. Mass struggle – decisive factor
1. The Central Committee of the PCP underlines and welcomes the scale, intensity and diversity of the struggle in recent months and the expression of determination and strength that it embodies.
During this period, the commemorations of the 44th anniversary of the April Revolution were reflected in a great popular mobilisation that was inseparable from the depth of its achievements and values, and from May 1st, with demonstrations and meetings promoted by CGTP- IN throughout the country, which was a powerful affirmation of the strength of the workers in defence of their class interests.
The Central Committee of the PCP also emphasizes, due to its size and militancy, the national demonstration of June 9, convened by CGTP-IN in defence of a policy that values work and workers, with tens of thousands of workers taking part.
The Central Committee of the PCP also highlights the commemorations of March 8, International Women’s Day, in particular the National Women’s Demonstration, convened by the Movimento Democrático das Mulheres (MDM), held on March 10, the commemorations of the Student Day (March 24) and of the National Youth Day, namely the National Demonstration of Working Youth called by CGTP-IN/Interjovem, held on March 28, as well as the 23rd Piquenicão organised by MURPI, on June 3.
2.The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes the broad and diversified process of struggle that has developed in the last months in the actions for demands in companies, workplaces and sectors.
Struggles carried out by the workers in defence of their rights and for better wages, the improvement of work conditions, against precariousness, in defence and for the implementation of collective bargaining, against the deregulation of working hours and the imposition of the hour bank, for better pay for overtime, in defence of p rofessional careers, against a single agent [on buses and trains], against dismissals and also for a quality investment in transport, for the return of companies to the public sector, in defence of the postal and telecommunications public service..
Struggles which had an important impact in, among others, the public passenger transport sector, Soflusa, Transtejo, IP, CP, EMEF and EVA; in the maritime and port sector; in the postal and telecommunications sector, in CTT and in PT/ALTICE contact centres; in the water and sanitation sector, in several companies of the Águas de Portugal Group; in the electricity sector, in the EDP call centres; in the electrical and electronic equipment and metallurgy sectors, Efacec, PREH, Tegopi, Bosch; in the petroleum sector, in Petrogal; in the glass industry, in the company Gallovidro; insurance at the Fidelidade call centre; in the hotel, food and beverage sector, in Carnes Nobre, Sumol/Compal, COFACO, Servirail and canteens; distribution and logistics; in the textile sector; in the cleaning and security sector.
Struggles of Public Administration workers – public employees, healthcare, education, justice, security forces, military, local government and others – for the restoration of rights, against precarious labour relations, in defence of the 35 hour-week for all, for a full counting of the duration of service (in which the Teachers’ National Demonstration stands out) and the defence of the careers, hiring of professionals that are lacking, for increased wages. Struggles of scientific research scholarships to replace scholarships by work contracts and for their integration into the Public Administration research career.
The Central Committee of the PCP also values the struggles carried out in various parts of the country by artists and other cultural workers against the lack of support from the government and an unfair model of support for the arts and for social and labour rights.
These struggles have not only been able to halt the advance of the offensive against the rights of workers, but also have won victories, such as wage increases, shorter working hours or contracts for precarious workers.
3.The PCP’s Central Committee also highlights the struggles of the population: in defence of public services, against the closure of branches of Caixa Geral de Depósitos bank and of CTT post offices; in defence of the National Health Service, to ensure primary healthcare, against the lack of family doctors and the closure of departments and services in the NHS; in defence of public passenger transport and improvement of quality and safety; against the payment of tolls in the ex-SCUT [motorways]; for the upgrading of roads; in defence of better and quicker support for the victims of forest fires.
4. The PCP’s Central Committee points out the need to develop the mass struggle, the struggle of workers for a general increase of wages, including for Public Administration workers, for the National Minimum Wage of 650 euros on January 2019, against the deregulation of work shifts, for a maximum of 35 hours of work per week for all workers, against precariousness, ensuring that a permanent job corresponds to an effective employment contract, for better working conditions, for the extension of the right to holidays, against dismissals, for better unemployment benefits and the repeal of grievous aspects of the labour legislation.
But also the struggle of the communities and of all anti-monopolist strata, for specific goals and in defence of public services and of the social functions of the State.
In the immediate future, the Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of developing the struggle against the draft legislation by the PS Government, that resulted from the agreement signed by it with the employers’ associations and the UGT in Social Concertation, namely in the forthcoming rally convened by CGTP- IN for July 6, in front of the Parliament, on the day the Government scheduled its approval, with the support of the PSD and CDS for its approval.
5.The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance, and hails the success, of various actions in the field of mass movements and broad mass organisations, namely the 21st National Meeting of Workers’ Committees on June 8 and the 8th Congress of the CNA [Farmers’ Confederation] on April 15, and calls for a contribution to the success of the 10th MDM Congress, which will take place on October 27 and the 9th MURPI [Retired, Pensioners and Elderly] C ongress, on November 25.
The Central Committee of the PCP calls for the intervention of Communists in the activity and reinforcement of mass movements and organisations and in the struggles that they will carry out, as a decisive contribution to develop the mass struggle, but also to broaden the convergence of the various anti-monopoly sectors and social strata of democrats and patriots in the struggle for a patriotic and left-wing policy.
VI. The PCP’s activity and reinforcement
1. The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes, in a very demanding period, the Party’s intense political activity, its contribution to the growth of the mass struggle, together with the work to strengthen the [Party] organisation.
2. The PCP’s C entral Committee underlines that, in the present context, there is a powerful ideological offensive against the organised struggle of the workers and people and, in particular, against the Portuguese Communist Party, which seeks to silence, discriminate and manipulate, and is led by economic and finance groups that today own the main mass media (which is increasingly centralised, concentrated and controlled), by their ideological production centres and the political forces that defend their interests.
We also note the promotion of widespread operations of alienation as well as the promotion of reactionary and fascist viewpoints, which are propagated and tolerated, encouraging the practice of violence and intimidation.
Through the “values” of the ruling ideology, they intend to define a single thought that influences the consciousness and action of the masses, in accordance with the interests of class domination by big business while, at the same time, using caricature, intoxication, silencing or even criminalisation, to diminish or undermine the role of those who are fighting for an alternative and, in particular, the determining role of the PCP. It is an operation directed against the PCP, in order to attack its project, objectives and values, trying to convey the idea that the parties and politici ans are all alike, in order to discredit alternative options and solutions, with the consequent appeals, both explicit or implicit, to individualism, to the detriment of collective action, to conformism and resignation to lead to the acceptance of the policies of dominant values and to back down.
Likewise, they resort to political instrumentalization, namely with the calculating and demagogic exploitation of passing subjects, using lies and caricature of positions and encouraging anticommunist prejudice.
Examples of this were the campaigns focused on topics that were brought up for discussion, such as the legislation on party financing, “surrogate mothers”, the liberalization of cannabis growing, selling and use, with the pretext of its use for therapeutic purposes, the provoked anticipation of death (euthanasia), the instrumentalization of animal welfare, and the systematic attempts to intimidate and criminalise positions of internationalist solidarity.
3. In this context, the PCP acted, resisted and took the initiative. As part of the Party’s intense action, we highlight the campaign “Valuing workers – Strengthening the PCP”, the defence of public services which included the National Meetings of the PCP on the situation in Education and Healthcare and the actions on the right to housing, culture, public transport, the rights of children and youth and pensions and reforms. And also, the meeting on the situation and problems of the Micro-, Small- and Medium-sized companies, initiatives on forests and the rural world and on food sovereignty, together with intense institutional activity in the Assembly of the Republic, the Regional Legislative Assemblies, the European Parliament and in Local Government.
The celebrations of the 87th anniversary of Avante! and the 97th anniversary of the Party were of particular significance, with hundreds of initiatives involving many thousands of Party militants and friends.
Also noteworthy during this period is the ongoing work for the strengthening of the Party, in particular the holding of many assemblies of Party organisations, including 11 assemblies of regional organisations.
We also highlight the events already held to mark the Second Centenary of the birth of Karl Marx under the motto “Second centenary of the birth of Karl Marx – legacy, intervention, struggle. Transforming the world», in particular the Conference held on February 24 and 25, in the Voz do Operário, the Evocation Session of the 170th anniversary of the “Manifesto of the Communist Party” on April 6 in Almada and the May 5 Rally in Penafiel.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the need to continue and broaden the scope of the political activity that is inseparable from the contribution to the development of the mass struggle.
To this effect, the Central Committee of the PCP defines, among others, the following actions:
Continuing the campaign “Valuing workers – Strengthening the PCP”, for more wages, jobs with rights, decent working hours, better working conditions and repeal of grievous norms of the labour legislation;
The development of initiatives to defend the social functions of the State and public services, in particular the National Health Service, Public Schools, Social Security, culture, transport and housing;
Fomenting activities based on initiatives and proposals to guarantee the rights of children and youth, the necessary conditions for the parents to have the children they want, ensuring their fulfilment and happiness and the future of the country, under the motto “Children and parents with rights. Portugal with a future“;
The promotion of the rights of pensioners, retired and the elderly, which assumes the increase of life expectancy as an achievement of the whole society and guaranteeing the necessary social conditions and human valorisation;
The promotion of measures for a balanced development of the country, which includes defending and valuing agriculture and the rural world;
The holding on November 24 of a major initiative on the country’s situation and the necessary answers for development and sovereignty, showing the imperative of the patriotic and left-wing alternative for a Portugal with a future.
5. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the preparation of the 2018 Avante! Festival, to be held on September 7, 8 and 9, in Atalaia, requires a strong commitment from the organisations and militants and the participation of all those who feel the Festival as their own. The work of disseminating and selling the EP [tickets], together with the construction work, the implementation of content and the preparation of its functioning, is of great importance for its success.
6. The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the importance of the implementation of the Central Committee Resolution of January 20 and 21 on the strengthening of the Party Strengthening the Party is an urgent task. The implementation of the Central Committee Resolution on strengthening the Party is a priority which, while inseparable from the mass struggle and political intervention, requires dedication, attention and willingness, and requires the reconsideration of other tasks.
To this effect, and due to their impact on the strengthening of the Party we note: leadership decisions, giving responsibilities to cadres and their political and ideological formation; the strengthening of organisation and intervention in companies and workplaces, in particular the action of 5,000 contacts with workers to bring them to the Party, continuing to collect names and in particular complete the contacts; distributing the new Party member cards and the assertion, in practice, of the Party’s working principles. These aspects are inseparable from all of the above-mentioned guidelines, namely recruiting and integrating new militants, fostering and trengthening local organisations, working with specific social sectors and strata, promoting and disseminating the party press, autonomous resources and financial independence, and the holding of assemblies of party organisations.
In times marked by uncertainties, dangers and potentialities, the Central Committee of the PCP indicates, with confidence in the workers and the people, the development of the mass struggle and the strengthening of the Party as the necessary path for the defence of peace and development, and of progress, for the construction of the patriotic and left-wing alternative, of the advanced democracy with the Values of April in the future of Portugal, of Socialism and of Communism.