The Central Committee of the PCP, having met on October 28th 2018, debated aspects of the international situation and the European Union, assessed the domestic political, economic and social situation, as well as the development of the mass struggle, and defined lines of work and guidelines for activity and to strengthen the Party.
I – Patriotic and Left-wing alternative, for a Portugal with a Future
The developments in the international and domestic situation demand a truly alternative path that continues to be postponed by the choices made by the PS minority government which, in convergence with PSD and CDS-PP [the right-wing parties], insists on the structural axes of a policy that counters the national interest.
The new stage of the national political life, despite the contradictions that characterize it, confirms that the country is not doomed to follow a path of liquidation of rights and worsening living standards. The restoration and achievement of new rights has proved to be a factor that improves the population’s living standards and stimulates economic activity.
The PCP will pursue its activity, not wasting any opportunity to achieve new advances. The key and decisive issue, in raising the living standards of the Portuguese workers and people and responding to the national problems, is the struggle to achieve a patriotic and left-wing policy and a government that implements it.
II – The International Situation
1. The developments in the international situation confirm the tendencies to deepen the structural crisis of capitalism, the intensification of the imperialist offensive, with special emphasis on a militarist strategy of war and interference, and the development of a complex process of global realignment of forces.
There is greater instability at several levels, namely in the major economic and geo-strategic issues. Such is the case of the economic war pursued by the US against several countries, with China as its strategic target; or the imperialist offensive in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and the Far East. US imperialism promotes an arms race, centers of tension and provocations that entail several dangers, namely the escalation of military confrontations. Far-right and fascist forces are growing.
2. At the economic level, there is an upsurge in elements that can lead to a new peak in the crisis, namely growing financial instability, articulated with new levels of indebtedness and the tendency to decelerate the already low economic growth rates in the main capitalist economies, within a framework of brutal deepening of capitalist exploitation and enormous polarization of wealth.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the growth and even achievement of power by far-right and fascist forces in some countries is inseparable from the economic and social crisis and the imperialist offensive that characterizes the present stage of capitalism, historically constituting a choice by big capital and imperialism to maintain its domination, increase exploitation and the oppression of the workers and peoples. In Europe, these phenomena are inseparable from the nature and policies of the European Union that disrespect national sovereignty, promote social inequalities, as well as inequality between countries. This can be seen in the migration policies and their increasing fusion with “security policies”, with which the EU assimilates and incorporates policies and concepts that are typical of the far-right. Recent developments underline the importance of the struggle by Communists and other democrats against the threat of fascism, a struggle that is inseparable from the struggle against exploitation and oppression, in defense of the rights of workers and peoples, for peace and against imperialism’s wars.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP expresses solidarity with all peoples that are victims of the imperialist offensive, namely with the peoples of the Middle East that resist this offensive, which is evident in the wars of aggression against Syria and Yemen, in the growing threats and provocations against Iran and in the criminal policy of Israel and the US against the Palestinian people. Likewise, [the Central Committee] expresses its solidarity with progressive peoples and forces in Latin America that resist the offensive of big capital, imperialism and the reactionary and fascist forces in several countries, particularly in Venezuela, which is the target of a campaign of destabilization and interference headed by the US. [The Central Committee] reiterates the condemnation of the US blockade against Cuba.
At a time when the second round of the Brazilian presidential elections is being held, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the PCP’s solidarity with the Communists and other progressive and democratic forces that fight to defend democracy, national sovereignty and the rights of the Brazilian workers and people, and that continue the struggle for a future of progress and social justice, sovereign development and peace for its people, in a country freed from the domination of big capital and imperialism.
5. The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the aggressive escalation of imperialism, exemplified by the intent of the US to abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. [The Central Committee] values the [Portuguese] “Meeting for Peace” held on October 20th, with the participation of dozens of organizations and hundreds of people, and calls for a stronger and more intense struggle for peace, and against war and militarism.
6. Developments in the European Union confirm the PCP’s previous warnings. The conclusions of the October 18th European Council confirm, despite contradictions, the deepening the neo-liberal, militarist and federalist character of the European Union. The persistence in the project to deepen the Economic and Military Union and the decisions regarding migration policy, “domestic security” and a new neo-colonial offensive in Africa, confirm this goal.
In the framework of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, the Central Committee of the PCP underlines that the will of the British people should be respected and that this process should not be used for greater attacks upon labour and social rights in the United Kingdom and the European Union. The Central Committee underlines the importance of, under any scenario, ensuring and defending the rights of migrant workers, namely Portuguese citizens that work and live in the United Kingdom, and salutes the Communists and other progressive British forces that have increasingly affirmed an alternative progressive project for the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
7. In a situation of great challenges for the struggle of the peoples, the Central Committee of the PCP underlines that the great dangers resulting from the imperialist offensive do not erase the great potential for developing the emancipation struggle and the many and important struggles that workers and peoples courageously and persistently pursue worldwide. The PCP reaffirms its solidarity with all peoples in struggle and confirms its determination to continue working to strengthen the international Communist and revolutionary movement and the anti-imperialist front.
III – The National Situation
1. The past few months have confirmed the contradictory framework that continues to mark the new phase of the country’s political life. On the one hand, there are advances in the restoration and achievement of rights. On the other hand, there are serious persistent national problems, stemming from decades of right-wing policy under the responsibility of PS, PSD and CDS, and to which the PS remains committed.
The positive economic growth data, declining unemployment, rising State revenues including Social Security revenues, are inseparable from the progress achieved by the intervention of the PCP and the workers’ struggle. The gains obtained in the last Income Tax payment, the increases in pensions, the wage repositioning of the Public Administration workers resulting from the unfreezing of career progression, the increases in family allowance, free textbooks or the restitution of the payment of the Christmas allowance for workers, pensioners and retirees, are recent examples of a path that, in order to fully respond to the needs of the country, must go further.
In this positive evolution, there are also aspects of the domestic and international context that benefit, albeit circumstantially, the Portuguese economy. But what is significant is that the dynamization of the domestic market has contributed to improve the country’s economic situation. This confirms options for which the PCP has long been battling.
These advances do not conceal the structural problems which the country faces. The domestic situation continues to reveal the consequences of a right-wing policy serving the interests of big business, and of submission to the European Union and the Euro [currency].
Instead of the necessary break with the right-wing policy, the PS minority government persists in converging with PSD and CDS whenever the interests of big business are at stake. This is evident in the changes to labour legislation; in refusing to increase the Minimum National Wage to 650 euros; in the process of transferring powers and responsibilities to local administration, while discarding State’s responsibility and ignoring regionalisation as a crucial issue of decentralisation; in the aid to big business with the renewal of tax benefits or the handing of hundreds of millions of euros of public resources to financial speculation (as is once again the case with the Novo Banco); in the refusal to terminate Public Private Partnerships (PPP), as in the case of Fertagus [railway operator]; in the support for multinationals such as UBER, against nationally-based sectors such as taxis; in the delay and insufficient support for the victims of forest fires; in the decision to yield to the interests of Vinci/ANA Airports, calling into question the construction of the new Lisbon Airport; in the option of giving new tax benefits to landlords, instead of repealing the Law of Evictions and defending the right to housing.
The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the fact that, confronted with the country’s serious problems, the PS minority government continues to refuse to put forward measures that are just and necessary, to delay and adulterate decisions and disrespect previously made commitments.
The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes that the hegemonic aspirations of the PS – with its course, nature and options – do not serve the interests of the workers, the people and the country. Likewise, there are several ongoing processes which seek to retake the initiative with policies of exploitation, impoverishment and national decline, continuing a line of deepening right-wing policy. This is the case with the recovery and whitewashing of the PSD and CDS – which do not refrain from often defending and proposing the opposite of what they did when they were in Government – or with the promotion of political forces that seek to assert themselves through their populist and reactionary character.
2. The debate on the draft State Budget for 2019 is an important moment for the country.
The draft State Budget for 2019 includes important advances, which are the result of the workers’ struggle and the decisive intervention of the PCP. But they do not erase a key issue: the State Budget is limited due to the options that characterise the PS Government. These options are very visible in the budgetary strategy itself, with a deficit of 0.2% of GDP, yielding to the criteria imposed by the European Union, and in the predominance, in key aspects, of the interests of big business.
It is the Government’s options, and not just foreign impositions, that limit a full response to the country’s problems and fail to materialise indispensable measures to provide resources for essential public services such as transport, security, the National Health Service, the Public Social Security System, Public Education or Culture.
The Draft State Budget consolidates all the measures taken in recent years and incorporates new advances: in restoring workers’ rights and income; in increasing the real value of pensions and recognizing lengthy histories of deductions; in eliminating the compulsory Special Advance Payment [of tax] (PEC) for micro, small and medium-size companies; in valuing and increasing social benefits such as the family allowance or unemployment benefit; in expanding public transportation passes and reducing public transport costs; in providing free textbooks for all levels of compulsory education and in cutting tuition fees; in the possibility of reducing the price of gas and electricity, among other issues.
Although limited and insufficient, the State Budget, for preventing some negative aspects and consolidating positive ones, gives expression to aspects that are present in the struggle of the Portuguese workers and people, contributing towards its development.
The PCP will intervene to introduce amendments in the detailed discussion [of the Budget], in particular to overcome the limited nature of various measures in this Budget.
The scale of the country’s problems raises the need for an intense political activity, which will continue, among other things, in the demand for a general increase in wages, including the National Minimum Wage to €650 and of salaries in for all Public Administration workers with a view to recovering the lost purchasing power; in combating precarious jobs; in recognising the rights inherent to career progression of Public Administration workers; in eliminating the grievous aspects of Labour Legislation; in defending and improving public services and in supporting the development of productive sectors and national production.
3. The country’s economic and social situation reveals the weaknesses, imbalances and injustice resulting from over four decades of right-wing policies.
With the struggle of the workers and people and the initiative of the PCP, it was possible, following the 2015 elections and in a changed balance of forces, to prevent further setbacks, to defend and recover rights and incomes and to improve the living standards of the people, thus refuting the thesis that the path to economic growth required impoverishment and social regression.
4. The steps taken and the advances achieved over the last three years are inseparable from the action and role of the PCP and confirm the role of the struggle of the workers and the popular masses. Every advance, every achievement is worthy in itself. But it is not in the simple sum of advances that lies the real answer that the country needs. Valuing what has been achieved by countering the course that led to the setbacks of the past decades, does not refute or neglect the limited scope of the measures taht have been taken, in solving the country’s fundamental problems and guaranteeing its future.
Portugal needs a different path from that which has been imposed in the past decades of right-wing policies in our country. A truly alternative path, which continues to be postponed today, because the main guidelines of right-wing policy remain in the governance of the country and in key areas and structural options.
Addressing the country’s problems and ensuring its development is not compatible with the impositions of the EU and the Euro, nor with accepting that Portugal remains tied to an unsustainable debt.
Addressing the country’s problems and ensuring its development is not compatible with the subordination of national policies to the interests of monopoly groups. What life shows is that we have not advanced further in raising living conditions, valuing workers, defending public services, raising the profile of production, and investing in domestic production, because the PS’s options continue subordinated to those interests.
5. Setting the country forward, to address the problems accumulated, requires a different policy. There is no solution for the national problems or a response to the development of the country by the hand of PSD/CDS governments or PS governments.
From the PSD and the CDS one can only expect social and economic regression, the liquidation of rights, the plunder of wages and income. From the PS, what we know is that we can count on the same options, which have essentially prevented a full response to national problems.
To give more power to the PS is to give more space to the right-wing policy, to step back in the defence and restoration of rights that were only possible precisely because the PS does not have the power it aspires to, and has been led to accept, even against its own will, what the struggle and the decisive contribution of the PCP has imposed during the past three years.
What the Portuguese people know is that whenever the PS was in government, including when it had an absolute majority, what took place was the implementation of a right-wing policy.
The advances achieved in the new phase of the country’s political life were only possible because the PS did not have the votes and MPs that it needed to singlehandedly impose the policy that for four decades it carried out, on its own or in alliance with the PSD and the CDS. A PS with free hands is a party with a strengthened commitment to right-wing policies. Whenever steps were taken in favour of the workers and the people, the PCP was decisive with its initiative, proposal, determination and struggle.
6. The option to uphold the national interest requires breaking with the central axes and essential options of the right-wing policy, a goal which the PS refuses to materialize.
It is time to break the disastrous course that made Portugal a more unjust, more dependent, less democratic country, with weakened public services, with the systematic alienation of its strategic sectors, its resources, its productive capacity, its sovereignty.
The struggle to materialize a patriotic and left-wing policy and a government that implements it, is the central and decisive question, in order to respond to the country’s problems and raise the living and working conditions of the Portuguese people.
Portugal needs a patriotic and left-wing policy and government that:
· values labour and the workers, wages and rights as a pre-requisite and a goal of economic development,
· promotes a just distribution of wealth, more fiscal justice, that fights inequalities in society and in the territory,
· ensures quality public services for all and bolsters social benefits and rights,
· defends and promotes national production, supports micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and stimulates an economic development that is not dominated by monopolies.
· ensures the recovery of public control of banking and other strategic sectors and puts them at the service of the people and the country
· places as indispensable features, a break of the country with the constraints to which it is subject, the liberation of the submission to the Euro and the impositions of the European Union, the renegotiation of the public debt in its terms, interest and amounts.
7. It is in the PCP that lies the solid guarantee of the construction of an alternative path, capable of giving solution to the problems of the country!
The PCP has a commitment with the workers and the people. It is this commitment, in the framework of its own project, that guides its activity, wasting no opportunity to respond to the rights, interests and aspirations of the people, combining the action for immediate goals with the struggle for the political alternative.
It is for an alternative project, for a patriotic and left-wing policy, that we must mobilise energies, bring together wills and action, converge all those who aspire to a sovereign and developed Portugal. An alternative project which, to be achieved, is inseparable from the struggle of the workers and the people and from a stronger PCP, in its organisational capacity and its social, political and electoral influence.
IV – The Mass Struggle
1. The evolution of the national situation in recent years confirms the decisive and irreplaceable role of the struggle of the workers, of the anti-monopoly and social sectors, of the communities, whether in achieving the advances that have already been won or in consolidating them, or in carrying further the defence, restoration and conquest of rights, and as a decisive condition for the construction of the patriotic and left-wing alternative.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the significance of the various past and current actions, such as those of workers in shopping malls, hotels and catering, road passenger transport, Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP), Lisbon Metro, nurses, teachers, security forces and services, Public Administration as a whole, among many other actions in companies and workplaces, in the various sectors in which workers fight for collective bargaining rights, against precariousness and the deregulation of working hours, for increased wages, to defend individual and collective rights. The Central Committee of the PCP emphasises the importance of the planned and announced struggles in the coming weeks in the workplaces, companies and sectors and calls on the workers and the people to join the national demonstration convened by CGTP-IN, next November 15 in Lisbon.
3. [The Central Committee] also highlights the important struggles of various layers and sectors of activity, such as the struggle of the taxi sector, of communities in defence of public services against their destruction and deterioration, namely in defence of the National Health Service, Public Education, in denouncing and combating the impact of privatisations, such as the closing of postal stations, against tolls in the former free motorways, in defence of the right to mobility and public transport, against the Lisbon airport terminal at the BA6 airbase in Montijo, against the attempt to transfer obligations to local government, among many others. It also emphasizes the planned struggles namely by small farmers and producers next November 8, convened by CNA, and the Higher Education students.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP welcomes and highlights the success of the CNOD [National Organisation of Handicapped People] National Meeting on October 5 and of the MDM [Women’s Democratic Movement] Congress on October 27. It also stresses the importance of holding the MURPI [Movement of Pensioners and Elderly] Congress on November 25.
V – The activity and strengthening of the Party
1. The Central Committee of the PCP salutes the Party members for their intense work in recent months, which ensured the Party’s strong action, fulfilling its role in very demanding conditions, in terms of political activity, institutional action, of stimulating and developing the mass struggle, of international activity, fostering large initiatives and the Party’s reinforcement.
We note the campaign «Valuing workers, a stronger PCP»; the initiatives in defense of the State’s social functions and public services; on the rights of children and families under the banner «Children and parents with rights. Portugal with a future»; the promotion of rights and living conditions of the retired, pensioners and elderly; for a balanced development of the Country; in defense and to value the forestry, agriculture and rural world; and in demanding answers to the damage caused by forest fires or the Leslie storm.
We also highlight the success of the 2018 Avante! Festival, the initiatives commemorating the bicentennial of Karl Marx, and as part of the cultural initiatives, the Session evoking the 20th anniversary of José Saramago’s Nobel Prize for Literature.
2. The PCP Central Committee indicates as priority aims in the Party’s political activity:
To continue the campaign «Valuing workers, a stronger PCP», for jobs with rights, to repeal the serious labour legislation norms, including the fight against the PS Government’s aim, in convergence with PSD and CDS, to not merely keep existing norms, but also bringing in new negative aspects, such as increasing the experimental period to 180 days and extending very short-term contracts;
The preparation of the Conference on «A Patriotic and Left-wing alternative for a Portugal with Future», on November 24th, in the Luisa Todi Forum, in Setubal, about the Country’s situation and the necessary answers for development and sovereignty, based on a patriotic and left-wing alternative.
Developing a broad information action regarding the advances achieved by the worker’s struggle and the Party’s intervention, and the increasingly evident need for a patriotic and left-wing alternative.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP highlights the importance of drawing up a program for the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the April 25th Revolution, which should contribute to clarify the truth about fascism, about the April Revolution and its liberating and emancipatory nature; about the counter-revolutionary process; and to assert and project the values of April in the future of Portugal.
4. The Central Committee of PCP decides to renew the Party’s electoral participation in the 2019 elections for the European Parliament, National Parliament and the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous region of Madeira, within the framework of the United Democratic Coalition (CDU), to which the Ecologist Party “The Greens” gives legal basis, and which also integrates the Democratic Intervention Association and thousands of people without party affiliation.
5. The Central Committee of PCP schedules the 44th Avante! Festival for September 6, 7 and 8, 2019, calling upon Party organizations to begin working towards its success, involving militants and many non-Party members to promote the organization and programming of work.
6. The Central Committee of PCP evaluated the work to strengthen the Party and fulfill the Central Committee Resolution of January 20th and 21st, «For a stronger and more influential PCP», registering advances in several spheres and indicating the need to achieve this priority.
To achieve its ten guidelines, priority must be given to entrusting cadres with responsibilities and strengthening leadership work; to handing out the new Party member cards and to the associated aspects of strengthening membership ties; to strengthening the organization and work in companies and workplaces, including the action of contacts with five thousand workers and the practical implementation of the principles of Party work.
Particular attention must be given to the action of contacting five thousand active workers, raising the need that they support and join the Party. This action, whose significance and importance is proven by the work already carried out, is crucial for the Party. The Central Committee of PCP highlights the over 5300 names selected, the over 1500 contacts which have already been made, the more than 500 new members that have been recruited, as well as the display of readiness to participate, the greater resulting knowledge about the reality of companies and workplaces, the broadening of work in connection with the masses, and a broader discussion regarding the need for concrete tasks to value, strengthen and build the Party organization.
The goal of a stronger and more influential PCP results from its activity, but requires essential organizational work.
7. A stronger, more influential PCP is decisive for the workers, the people and the country, for the resistance, in the fight against regression, in the struggle for new advances, for a patriotic and left-wing alternative, for an advanced democracy with the values of April in the future of Portugal, for socialism and communism.
Source: Portuguese Communist Party via Solidnet / RedGlobe