Speech by JerÃ³nimo de Sousa, General Secretary of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP), at May 26 Lisbon
We marched the streets of Lisbon and here we are expressing our strong protest against the Pact of Aggression, [ austerity measures imposed on Portugal by the EU, IMF and European Central Bank] because we do not accept seeing the country being led to ruin and disaster.
We are here, determined not give any truce to an illegitimate Pact, negotiated on the backs of the people and against their interests, because we do not yield to its program of a violent exploitation of the workers and impoverishment of our people.
We came here to express our determination to fight, because we do not shrink from carrying on this hard struggle we are engaged in and will continue to battle for a national rejection of this false aid that drains the country and sinks it into a quagmire of speculation and usury.
We came here and here we are, because we refuse a policy of injustice and inequalities by a government that makes the crisis an excuse to continue to promote centralization and concentration of wealth in the hands of big economic and financial corporations.
We came here and here we are, expressing our outrage and opposition to a policy that is imposing immeasurable and unnecessary sacrifices on the workers and the people.
We came here and here we are rejecting the policies of austerity that destroy the economy and jobs and the life of our people.
We are here and we will continue our combat, because we do not resign ourselves to the systematic worsening of the countryÂs problems and because we not accept the policy of plunder of national wealth that is underway with the Pact of Aggression.
We are here protesting and expressing our anger, because we will never renounce living in a sovereign and independent country and never accept to see Portugal turned into a protectorate of the major European powers and the country subjected to their command.
We are here, because we do not accept the subversion of democracy, relegating the people and their sovereign decision to a marginal place, having capitalism to decide in their place.
We are here reaffirming the actuality of our proposals and in opposition to the Pact of Aggression by the parties of the troika of national submission and the foreign troika of the IMF and European Union.
We are here, because we have an alternative that is capable of ensuring Portugal with a future and a worthy life for the Portuguese and we not abdicate from fighting for its materialization.
Contrary to the promised radiant tomorrow that the austerity would resuscitate, a year after this shameful foreign interference to which PS, PSD and CDS submitted the country, Portugal is heavier in debt and more dependant, plunged into an unprecedented economic recession, translated into exponential increase of unemployment and shutting down of companies, plundered of its resources and wealth, marked by growing injustice and the impoverishment of its people.
A path of disaster and collapse that everyday new day leaves the country in a worse situation than the previous day, farther from finding a solution to the problems that for decades of right-wing policy have spread over the country.
Just as the PCP denounced the impending intervention a year ago Â cloaked under the name of programme of financial assistance Â it concealed an act of unprecedented aggression against the workers, the people and the country.
If any doubts were left, even among the sceptics, life is here to prove, painfully and dramatically, the consequences and result of the class option that PS, PSD and CDS assumed.
It is a new and dangerous step that, instead of the rupture that was necessary with the path to disaster to which the country was led, aimed to heighten a policy of austerity directed at the income and living conditions of the workers and the people, justify the implementation of a programme meant to increase exploitation of labour and destroy social rights, continue to ensure the extortion of national resources for the benefit of precisely those responsible for the speculation aimed against the country.
A policy that, in the name of the crisis and supported by the Pact of Aggression, unloads on those who have less, imposes new and unbearable sacrifices on workers and pensioners, daily destroys hundreds of jobs, annihilates production, ruins small and mid-size companies, throws into poverty and misery thousands of Portuguese, drives abroad the youth of this country.
While the loan sharks and those responsible for the worsening of the national problems continue to benefit from the Pact of Aggression, filling their pockets with the thousands of millions denied to the economy, piling fortunes on the rubble of ruined families and shattered lives.
As the campaign of explanation and mobilization that we have underway, notes, and rightly so, Â«It is time to say EnoughÂ». Enough of so much injustice and exploitation, of unacceptable regression, of such shameful dependence.
But every passing day it is justified to add, with added reasons, another slogan;
Let us reject the Pact of Aggression, while it is still time.
Let us put an end to this policy, before this policy shatters what is left of the country and destroys the life of millions of Portuguese. It is time to put an end to a policy and a Pact of Aggression that can only bring more exploitation and unemployment, more recession and economic decline, more injustice and impoverishment.
It is time to put an end to a policy that in every success trumpeted by the government and in every declaration of praise by the troika in view of the servile compliance of its determinations brings a sign of yet another step towards economic abyss and social disaster.
To intensify and multiply the struggle of the workers and the people, increase the convergence and intervention of all democrats and patriots who do not tolerate the destruction of their countryÂs sovereignty, strengthen the political initiative of the PCP and broaden the current of those who see in the Party the most solid place of resistance and alternative Â this is the path that will lead to the defeat of this policy, its main promoters and supporters.
A struggle that has to be built and grown, guided with the aim of an urgent national imperative, all the more urgent given the countryÂs speedy drive to a hopeless situation, a rupture with the right-wing policy and the abandon of the so-called ÂProgramme of Financial AssistanceÂ, that is the rejection of the Pact of Aggression that turns into hell the life of the country and the Portuguese.
A struggle that has to be built and grown, with the aim of demanding a different alternative policy, a patriotic and left-wing policy based on a patriotic and left-wing government that brings together forces, sectors and personalities willing to support a policy of recovery of national dignity and respect for the dignity of the workers and the people.
A patriotic and left-wing policy and government that undertakes a programme based on a new course for the country:
- The Rejection of the Pact of Aggression with the immediate application of a process of renegotiation of the public debt, its amount, interest rates and payment terms;
- The nationalization of the banks, putting back into the hands of the state an essential instrument to boost the economy and support small and mid-size companies;
- Support to national production and effective defence of the productive apparatus;
- The restoration of the plundered rights and income and the valorisation of wages and pensions (which includes the immediate raise in the minimum wage and of pensions), indispensible to stimulate the domestic market and increase internal demand;
- The immediate suspension of the privatisation process and the adoption of measures for the restoration of public control in strategic companies and sectors, as is the case of energy;
- The repeal of the obligations of economic governance and the norms of the so-called budgetary treaty;
- The defence of and respect for the Constitution of the Republic.
A new course of policy that will make a break with the strategy of those who, here in Portugal and in the European Union and in view of the profound crisis they created and heighten with their policies, are now launched into hypocritical manoeuvres of propaganda that, while talking of changes, only aim to make some changes to leave everything as it is.
Maneuvers that talk about employment and growth, hypocritical concepts such as Âintelligent austerityÂ like the one that PS tries to sell, essentially aim to give a different face to the same thing, the same policy of exploitation of the workers and favours to big business.
This is what the additional protocol to the budgetary treaty means that, here in Portugal or in France, social-democracy now tries to present as salvation, the great change and a distinctive factor.
But it is time to warn: putting a sticker with the words employment and growth on a budgetary pact that prevents this same growth and employment is like binding somebodyÂs hands and feet and saying: walk!
Speaking of growth and employment without touching the budgetary pact, without even pinching the draconian measures of economic governance, without questioning the course followed until now, and putting forward proposals that aim at heightening the neoliberal and federalist course of the European Union, of the domination by the strongest of the weakest, is one and the same thing: insisting on policies that govern the European Union and are the root and cause of the crisis we are experiencing.
That means speaking about growth and employment without changing policies is, once again, deceiving the workers and the peoples!
But from here we say: You do not deceive us! This is why we are here to continue the struggle for a real rupture and change!
But these manoeuvres, if they show that social democracy and the right remain united around the same policy, also show something else: That the struggle of the workers and peoples, here in Portugal or all over Europe, is resulting.
Today it is very clear that the victims of this crisis, those who live off their work and are victims of the so-called policies- reject and condemn the policy of unbridled exploitation by big business and the European Union. Either because of the powerful struggles in several European countries, or also and because of the elections whose results are inseparable from the intensification of the social and mass struggle.
And if it is important, and good, to know that we are not alone in this struggle, we are also aware of the importance of our own struggle, and of our solidarity with the struggle of these workers and peoples. And hence, from this rostrum we want to reaffirm, with all the strength we derive from this huge demonstration, our deep solidarity with all those who from Spain to Eastern Europe, from Italy to France, are involved in great struggle actions, demonstrations and general strikes. A solidarity that we express in a special way to the workers and people of Greece, who for long carry out a firm resistance and struggle against the violent exploitation they are being subjected to, against successive blackmails and pressures by big business and the European Union.
A solidarity which is even more important when the enemies of the Greek workers and people are united, on the eve of new elections, to counter and try to crush the popular will expressed in the rejection of the policies of the troika and the European Union.
We wish to express our solidarity in a special way to the Communist Party of Greece and its determination in defence of the rights and aspirations of the Greek workers and people and their inalienable right to development and social progress.
From here we salute and valorise the development, intensification and multiplication of the struggle, the tide of indignation and protest which, from North to South, in the companies and streets, the workers and people have erected against this course of exploitation and disaster.
A struggle that, giving expression to resistance, will enforce the defeat of this Pact of Aggression, and those who support it, and contribute to build an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy, that the countryÂs situation demands.
Struggles that the June 9 and 16 actions called by CGTP-IN will represent a new and important contribution to the demand for change, and for which we appeal to the participation of the communists, the workers and people in general.
This great initiative that brought and mobilized us here is an important affirmation by the PCP, its proposals, its project. A combative affirmation of the demand to restore the values of April, respect the rights of the workers, defend national sovereignty.
The affirmation of a country of progress and social justice, inseparable from the advanced democracy for which we struggle.
An affirmation of a project and ideal, the communist ideal that animates us in the struggle for a fairer society, free from the exploitation of man by man, the socialist society for which generations of communists fought and are fighting in this country of ours.
From here we leave convinced and confident that it is possible, with the action, intervention and struggle of the workers and people to defeat this diabolical project of the countryÂs destruction that the Pact of Aggression holds. Life has shown that we were and are right. Life shows that we had and have an alternative.
From here we leave convinced and confident that with the action and struggle of all it is possible to defeat the right-wing policy of national ruin that has added crisis to crisis, accumulating destruction and disgrace.
From here we leave convinced and confident that it is possible to win, bringing more and more Portuguese to the patriotic struggle of demanding the rejection of the Pact of Aggression, extending the chain of hope in the possibility of change and materialization of a new alternative policy.
From here we leave convinced of the justness of our objectives in defence of the people and the country and confident that it is possible to ensure a promising future for Portugal and for the Portuguese.