The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on 12 December 2020, made the assessment of the XXI Congress, took decisions on the leadership work, analysed the recent developments of the national situation and of the mass struggle, the elections for President of the Republic, the intervention of the PCP and defined its priorities for action.
The indispensable Congress
The XXI Congress of the PCP, held in Loures on November 27, 28 and 29, under the motto “Organise, Struggle, Advance – Democracy and Socialism” was a remarkable success, a powerful affirmation of the Party’s identity, strength and determination. An example of courage, combativeness and readiness of the party collective, its organisation, discipline and cohesion.
The XXI Congress, erected right in the middle of an epidemic and under an intense offensive against the Party, gave an important response, both in its preparatory phase, with the holding of 1,700 meetings with around 18,000 participants, or during the days of its holding. The XXI Congress portrayed a deep connection to life, to the problems and aspirations and struggles of the workers and people and constituted a clear and expressive demonstration of unity, organisational capacity and confidence in the communist ideal and project.
In a context of intense dissemination of feelings of resignation, isolation, individualism and fear, and where rights and freedoms are attacked, the XXI Congress ensured all health protection rules and was an example and a factor of confidence that it is possible to protect health and, at the same time, defend and value rights, fight for a better life.
The XXI Congress defined guidelines and made decisions for a stronger and better prepared Party to continue the struggle for the rights, interests and just aspirations of the workers and people, for a patriotic and left-wing alternative capable of opening the way to solving the country’s problems, for an advanced democracy with the values of April in the future of Portugal, for Socialism.
The Central Committee of the PCP calls on the militants and Party organisations to commit themselves to affirming and implementing the conclusions of the XXI Congress.
The national situation and the necessary alternative
The national situation and the outlook for its evolution are marked by the deterioration of the economic and social situation. A situation that, worsened by the persistence of the epidemic, needs answers and solutions focused on health, with the strengthening of the National Health Service, the defence of employment, rights and wages, the strengthening of social security and public services, support to micro and small enterprises. What the situation needs is that the conditions for the development of economic, social, cultural and sporting activities are ensured, guaranteeing the conditions of prevention and protection of public health, instead of limiting rights, freedoms and guarantees, of which the successive declarations of State of Emergency and “curfew” are an expression.
The situation of the country needs answers and solutions, assuming the problems and their real dimension, determined by national interest and not by subordination to external impositions, either in terms of criteria for the use of public resources (namely EU funds), or decisions on strategic companies (such as TAP), as well as on budget options and priorities not tied to objectives of submission to the Euro (namely deficits or public debt ratios). Answers and solutions inseparable from the valorisation of wages and workers’ rights. The implementation of an increase in the National Minimum Wage by €30 in 2021, inseparable from the workers’ struggle, besides being insufficient, is accompanied by an unacceptable subsidy linked to the increase in the Social Security Tax in favour of capital. Likewise, the suspension for 24 months of the expiry of collective bargaining is the recognition of a problem that the workers’ struggle has evidenced, and whose resolution is not achieved with the temporary suspension of the expiry but by its repeal.
The Central Committee of the PCP denounces the increasing instrumentalization of the country’s problems by reactionary forces and sectors, as part of an anti-democratic strategy to resume projects of aggravation of exploitation and attack on the Constitution of the Republic, strategy that the struggle of the Portuguese workers and people defeated. Projects boosted by the PS Government’s policy of submission to the impositions of the European Union and the interests of big capital.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the national situation demanded first and foremost a different type of response that the State Budget for 2021 should have embodied. The convergence between PS and PSD in the rejection of many and significant proposals that the PCP tabled, prevented the broad response to several problems in the country. However, what was achieved in the State Budget through the intervention of the PCP, if fully implemented, creates conditions to respond to more pressing problems. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the State Budget for 2021, due to the measures at its disposal and which cannot remain unfulfilled, and the opening it provides, does not allow the PS Government to invoke arguments to ignore the response that is required to many of the national problems, which will not be solved only if the government does not want to.
In view of the contradictions and problems sweeping across the European Union, the recent meeting of the European Council confirms the absence of real solidarity and the adoption of a set of instruments – namely those associated with the Multiannual Financial Framework and the “Recovery Fund” – that heighten conditionalities contrary to national interests.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the decisive importance of the struggle of the workers and people. A struggle for a general wage increase, decent hours, against precariousness, for better working conditions, for the abolition of the grievous norms of labour legislation, for the strengthening of public services and in particular for the defence of the NHS faced with the plunder by private economic groups. And salutes the various struggles carried out in recent months, with emphasis on the week of struggle called by CGTP-IN that had, from December 7 to 11, the participation of thousands of workers from the most diverse sectors.
A more global answer to the problems that the country faces is neither in the options of the PS Government, nor in the anti-democratic projects of PSD and CDS and of their most reactionary surrogates, Chega and Liberal Initiative. The question facing the workers and the Portuguese people is not to choose which executors and with what pace and depth the right-wing policy is implemented, but the need to break with the interests of big capital and adopt a policy that frees the country from the bonds, constraints, dependencies, injustices and inequalities that characterise it.
The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that, as life proves, the global answer to national problems is inseparable from a patriotic and left-wing policy, inseparable from the strengthening of the PCP and the struggle of the workers and people. Bearer of the alternative policy that responds to national problems, the PCP is simultaneously due to its intervention, coherence and project, the aggregating force of all those who aspire to a Portugal with a future.
The elections for President of the Republic
Just over a month before the elections for President of the Republic, scheduled for January 24, João Ferreira’s candidacy, based on the values of April, is assumed, due to the clarity of intervention and project, as the solid guarantee to uphold, comply and enforce the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and the rights it embodies, as an integral part of the struggle for the alternative that Portugal needs.
The Central Committee of the PCP values the broad and wide movement of support to João Ferreira’s candidacy, an important expression of the growing convergence of democrats and patriots, of which the 15,000 endorsements (the maximum legally allowed) handed to the Constitutional Court, are an example.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the political, economic and social situation in which this election and the respective campaign will take place brings greater demands on the party collective. And stresses the need to bolster the initiative of Party organisations and militants in this important battle, guaranteeing the affirmation of the candidacy, the broadening of the support of many other democrats, taking as far as possible the planning, contacts, actions, mobilisation and participation.
João Ferreira’s candidacy, in contrast to others, is one that does not surrender nor capitulate to the objectives and blackmail of great interests and their project of exploiting the workers and people. It is the candidacy of the workers which sides with the increase in their wages and rights. That is committed to the defence of the National Health Service against the plunder by private groups. That defends public services and the social functions of the State, guaranteeing the rights of all, including the neediest, and that opposes their isolation and stigmatisation. It is the candidacy that sides with small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and farmers, fishermen and other working classes, refusing submission to economic power. It is the candidacy that embraces the Constitution of the Republic and that does not hesitate in defending national independence and sovereignty against all kinds of impositions. It is the candidacy that is heir to all the struggles fought for freedom and democracy, consistent with the project and the transformative ideal it assumes.
The elections for President of the Republic on January 24 offer the Portuguese people the choice of someone who gives them guarantees in the exercise of this important mandate and are an opportunity for each one, in a difficult moment of national life, to make their voice heard. The support and vote in João Ferreira’s candidacy, giving expression to the movement that grows in Portuguese society, is the support and vote on a commitment and values that will always guide the exercise of the functions of the President of the Republic, will give strength to defeat reactionary and anti-democratic projects, will contribute to overcome the path of compromise with right-wing policies and confrontation with the Constitution of the Republic and will influence the direction of national life towards development and progress. It is the support and the vote on the candidacy of courage, confidence, a horizon of hope, for a Portugal with a future.
Strengthen the Party’s organisation and action
The Central Committee of the PCP, in the aftermath of the XXI Congress and within the framework of its powers, ratified the composition of the Central Commission of Cadres (CCQ) and the Administrative and Financial Commission (CAF) took decisions on the organisation of leadership work and was briefed on the distribution of tasks among the members of the executive bodies.
Based on the characterisation and analysis of the situation of the country and the world made at the XXI Congress, as well as the developments of the national situation seen in the last year that led the country to a serious economic and social situation, the whole party collective is faced with a demanding intervention in the coming months.
An intervention that reaffirms that the political alternative to the current situation does not involve pursuing the right-wing policy, but rather a break with the policy of submission to big capital and the impositions of the European Union.
An intense activity that has as priorities, contents and objectives: the elections for President of the Republic; the development of mass struggle; the affirmation of the political alternative; the preparation of municipal elections; the strengthening of the Party and the celebrations of the Centennial of the PCP.
To this end, the following aspects stand out:
– The intensification of the involvement of Party organisations and militants in the campaign actions of João Ferreira’s candidacy, paying particular attention to direct contact with the workers and population, the broadening of support and the involvement, participation and vote of all those who identify themselves with the candidacy;
– The development of the struggle of the workers and populations in demanding a response to the situation. An intervention that leads to the general demand to respond to national problems and includes the implementation of the essential measures set down in the State Budget through the proposal and initiative of the PCP and the implementation of essential proposals presented by the PCP – within the framework of the struggle for the patriotic and left-wing policy – that were rejected by the convergence between PS and PSD;
– The struggle for the defence and valorisation of public services, which includes the holding of a national action by the PCP on December 17, for the defence and reinforcement of the National Health Service, against the plunder by private groups, with decentralised initiatives in the various regions of the country, of contact with healthcare professionals and with the populations;
– The mobilisation for the celebrations of March 8, with emphasis on the National Demonstration of Women called by the MDM which will take place in 2021 with two actions (on March 7 in Porto and March 13 in Lisbon); the preparation for the celebrations of the National Student Day on March 24 and the National Youth Day on March 28, the 47th. anniversary of April 25 (including the 45th. anniversary of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic) and of May Day, International Workers’ Day;
– The programming of intervention in defence of national interests, sovereignty and independence, of cooperation, solidarity and friendship among peoples, in view of the holding in Portugal of pronouncements, actions and initiatives in the scope of the “Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union”, during the first semester of 2021;
– The insertion of the municipal elections as a priority, included in the general action of the Party, articulated with the struggle of the workers and people, designed to expand the unity with many men and women without party affiliation who see in CDU a space of democratic achievement and convergence. An action that includes as central features: carrying out a wide accountability of the work and accomplishments as proof of fulfilling the commitments assumed with the populations and of the distinctive value of the CDU project; a broad and bold contact for the broadening of the CDU, confirming those who stood in the 2017 slates and others who stand out due to their intervention in local life; the work of drawing up slates with the objective of standing in all municipal bodies and the largest possible number of parishes, affirming the CDU as a great force of the left in Local Government; the wide-ranging debate on electoral programmes for each parish and municipality, ensuring the involvement of populations and workers for a more rigorous identification, based on the CDU project, of responding to their aspirations and interests;
– The development of the Party’s strengthening action, with immediate emphasis on giving leadership responsibilities to 100 new comrades in cells and the creation of 100 new cells in companies, workplaces and sectors and the dynamization of the National Campaign of Funds “The future has a Party” and the regular payment and increase in the amount of dues, together with the strengthening of leadership work, the accountability of cadres, the recruitment of new militants, the dynamization of local organisations, the work with specific social strata and sectors , the promotion of the Party’s propaganda and press, the holding of assemblies of party organisations.
– The contribution to the success of the 12th. Portuguese Communist Youth Congress, which will take place on May 15 and 16, 2021 and to the expansion and rooting of the JCP among the youth.
– The preparation, as of now, of the 45th. edition of the Avante! Festival which will take place on September 3, 4 and 5, at Atalaia, Amora, Seixal, ensuring the success of the largest political and cultural initiative in the country.
– The development of the celebrations of the Party’s Centennial – under the motto “Freedom, Democracy, Socialism – the future has a Party”, with the March 6, 2021 rally in Campo Pequeno, an important moment of the vast programme until March 2022 with events and aspects of the life and struggle of the PCP, crisscrossed with the history of Portugal, of the workers’ and popular movements, of the workers and the people and the affirmation of its ideal and project.