19th PCP Congress opening

Allow me to begin by saluting the main builder of this 19th PCP Congress: our Party collective, its members, organisations and other bodies. Following the Central Committee's guidelines, they have participated, prepared, debated and elected. And here they are, holding this Congress, with its 1800 contributions and amendment proposals to the Theses/Political Resolution, and some 600 amendment proposals to the Party Programme. There was broad participation and collective debate too: 1257 meetings and Assemblies were held, with the participation of 18213 members.

We also salute the presence and solidarity of foreign delegations from communist parties and other progressive forces.

We also salute the representatives of institutions, diplomats and national guests who are here with us.

In the midst of an extremely complex political and social situation, within a context where the struggle is developing and intensifying, the Party has been confronted with the need to not stop the Congress because of the struggle, and to not stop or slack on the struggle because of the Congress. This goal has been attained.

We are convinced that the Congress we are about to hold will be an outward-looking assertion of our Party, and that its decisions will bring confidence and hope for a better future, that will enhance and give new impetus to the struggle of Portugal's workers and people.

This Congress is the Congress of a Party with a history and with memory. At this Congress we will not have the presence of comrades Dias Lourenço and Joaquim Gomes, as well as of many others whose membership dates back to the underground period [1926-1974] and have left us in this period since the 18th Congress. Their lives and struggle are an example and inspiration, and give us strength to continue this day-to-day fight for social change.

We treasure our history and our memory, we cherish our heroes. That is why the PCP Central Committee – surely interpreting the will of not just the Party's members, but also of democrats, patriots, the working class, working people, intellectuals, the youth, women and men of science, the arts, culture; of our people – has decided to celebrate, in the course of 2013, comrade Álvaro Cunhal's birth centennial.

The Álvaro Cunhal Centennial Commemorations will be a well-deserved tribute to the man, the communist, the intellectual, the artist. He was an outstanding figure of the 20th century and the beginning of this one. He is an example in the struggle for the values of social and human emancipation in our country and in the world, an example for all those who have embraced the struggle for liberation from all forms of exploitation and oppression of humans and of peoples. He made an unrivalled contribution toward the Party that we have, the Party that we are, his lifelong Party – the Portuguese Communist Party.

His thinking, his political work, his personal life story of struggle for freedom, democracy and socialism, are important to all those who are concerned with the issues that human society is confronting: social and civilisational retrogression, as part of an acute systemic crisis of capitalism.

Two major traits characterise the current international situation.

One is a deepening structural crisis of capitalism, with its associated violent offensive of exploitation and aggression seeking to roll back and liquidate gains achieved throughout the 20th century.

The other is a powerful resistance and fightback from workers and peoples on all continents – a struggle that the major mass media hide and that we have to proclaim – among other reasons because it serves to encourage our own struggle in Portugal.

It is a contradictory, highly complex and unstable situation, where a great danger of social retrogression of civilisational proportions coexists with real prospects for progressive and revolutionary change. As the Draft Political Resolution states: “Imperialism's offensive bears within it great dangers. But at the same time, the development of the struggle, and the expanding awareness about capitalism's true nature – exploitative aggressive and predatory – tell us that there is real potential for resistance against imperialism and to develop the struggle to overcome capitalism through revolution.”.

Developments in the international situation over the past four years have confirmed the analysis made by our 18th Congress.

The cyclical crisis of capitalism that broke out in 2007 continues, with no end in sight. It has engulfed the big capitalist powers in a long period of economic recession and stagnation and even, as in the USA, poses the threat of a new large-scale bang.

This crisis is the expression of another one: A deeper, structural crisis, that has become especially acute and destructive due to the financialisation of the economy and the exacerbation of financial speculation.

Contrary to what social-democrats – in their close engagement with big capital and imperialism – are thinking, this crisis is not the result of any “hitch in financial system regulation” or “market excesses”. It is the outcome of the way the capitalist system operates – a race for maximum profits – and of the unresolvable contradictions that undermine it.

This crisis confirms – and it is important to point this out, comrades – the correctness of key laws and theses advanced by marxist-leninist political economy, such as the law on the rate of profit's tendency to decline. Capital is seeking at all costs to counter this tendency, by intensifying the exploitation of salaried labour and by elevating financial speculation to unprecedented levels.

This crisis is exacerbating disputes and contradictions globally, as well as contradictions between the big capitalist powers among which – side by side with class coordination against workers' rights and peoples' sovereignty – there is an internecine struggle for markets, sources of raw materials and cheap labour, strategic positions, and where the international monetary system's problems, with the dollar's hegemony being questioned, are becoming increasingly significant.

The ruling classes are attempting to place the burden of this crisis on workers and other non-monopoly classes and strata. The crisis is serving as an excuse to attack and destroy social gains and achievements made by workers in capitalist countries – particularly after World War II, under the influence of the Soviet Union's achievements. There is mass unemployment, especially serious among the youth; a general reduction in salaries and incomes; a growing gap between rich and poor; an onslaught against public Health, Education and Social Security systems; privatisation of the States's social functions and the handing over of strategically important enterprises to private capital – all of these are the outcome of policies that were designed to serve big capital and are being implemented by governments and by international capitalist-corordination institutions such as the OECD, the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and the European Union. They are imposing extortion mechanisms, using sophisticated “structural adjustment programmes” such as the aggression pact that is being implemented in Portugal.

This crisis is abetting racist, fascist and anti-communist tendencies and activities, that must be fought as steadfastly as possible. It is leading to an intensification of imperialism's militarism and policies of war and aggression. The situation in the Middle East, with threats of direct military aggression against Syria and Iran, and with Israel's criminal escalation in the Gaza Strip, bears within it creat danger of a very large-scale war. NATO's aggressive strategy, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, the deployment of the US anti-missile system are, among many others, things that deserve strong condemnation, and necessitate an intensification of the anti-imperialist struggle, for disarmament and for peace.

The offensive by big capital and the big powers that serve it is very fierce. It has ambitious goals, and it poses great demands on the work of communists and progressive forces world-wide.

But, while the difficulties and harshness of the struggle is great, greater still are the reasons that give us confidence in the fact that it is possible to resist reaction and imperialism, make inroads on the path to far-reaching anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist changes and to finally implement the goal of a socialist and communist society.

The peoples are not giving in. Everywhere, to a greater or lesser extent, there is an ongoing struggle against capital's exploitation offensive, against the onslaughts on basic rights and freedoms, against the policies of national oppression and global recolonisation, against the wars of aggression and plunder.

Events such as the strikes and demonstrations that have taken place in many countries of the European Union, the Palestinian people's heroic resistance and the large-scale mass actions in the Arab world; the resistance against imperialist occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries; the important assertions of sovereignty and social progress that are taking place in Latin America; all show us that – even in a context where the worldwide balance of forces is still unfavourable – it is possible to confront imperialism, and to achieve and defend (as in socialist Cuba) major advances already made on the road to freedom, social progress, peace and socialism.

It is a fact that socialism's defeats in the late 20th century caused the revolutionary forces to be dramatically weakened, a weakness that has not yet been overcome and that led to a great leap backward in the process of social change. We are still living through their consequences, with imperialism's and big capital's counter-offensive of exploitation and aggression. But nothing can reverse the march of History toward social and human liberation, nothing can prevent victory for the just causes of socialism and communism.

The crisis that broke out five years ago in the USA and has spread to all continents confirms that capitalism is not only incapable of solving workers' and peoples' problems, it actually tends to exacerbate them to the point of threatening the world with a regression of historical proportions. It confirms that capitalism is not only unable to get rid of its crises, but that these are tending to become more frequent, long and destructive, while the system's contradictions are becoming more acute – above all the fundamental contradiction between the social nature of production and the private appropriation of the means of production.This contradiction can only be ended by overcoming capitalism through revolution, with workers seizing power, socialising the major means of production and exchange, setting up a planned economy, and, above all, setting up a system of power capable of ensuring involvement and creative participation of the masses in building their own future. The currently increasingly parasitic and decadent system – capable of committing the worst injustices and the greatest crimes to ensure huge profits for the huge economic and financial conglomerates that rule the world – will finally be succeeded by an economic and social system that has already been shown to be superior, capable of developing the productive forces and distributing the wealth for the benefit of workers and of the vast majority of the people.

It is a fact that socialism is the only true alternative to capitalism, but it is also a fact that we are still living through times of resistance and accumulation of forces and that, on a world scale, subjective conditions are still lagging behind the ripening objective material conditions. But socialism is a historical necessity. All peoples will reach socialism – through different routes, according to the different specific situation of each country, rejecting “models” for revolution and the construction of the new society.

In Portugal the past four years, since we held our 18th Congress, have been marked by significant changes in the political, economic and social situation.

The serious crisis that Portugal was facing as a result of over three decades of right-wing policies – as a result of the big economic conglomerates' interests, and of subordination to capitalist integration withing the European Union – has spread very brutally bringing with it dramatic consequences for the lives of our people and for our country.

In this period and throughout 3 governments – two of them PS governments and the current PSD/CDS-PP one – we have witnessed steeper economic decline in our country, fresh advances in the social retrogression process, the loss of even more sovereignty, and an impoverishment of the democratic regime.

The first and second PS/Socrates governments – with support from the PSD and CDS – continued to implemement big capital's agenda and policies: making the people bear the burden of the “national crisis” that in the meantime got worse and became enmeshed with capitalism's intenational economic crisis.

These parties' concertation in pursuing right-wing policy guidelines – particularly the policies of severe austerity, alienation of the country's wealth and national sovereignty – was very well portrayed in the way they passed the 2010 and 2011 Budgets, in the PSD's support for the (“Stability and Growth Plans”) PEC I, II and III, in their adoption of the Lisbon Treaty and other budget-control mechanisms, as well as in their support for many other measures against the rights of workers and communities.

Their convergence in action and policies were also supported by the current President of the Republic, who has in the meantime been reelected.

The policies pursued by the second PS government, in particular systematically imposing austerity measures that grew with every new PEC, led it to become socially isolated and caused the PS itself and its policies to be thoroughly discredited.

The insistence on a new PEC (number IV) with even more severe austerity measures, on a very short timescale at a time when big capital was already preparing a different government, was used by the PS to try to pose as a victim, and threaten with chaos if their measures were not accepted by the PSD and CDS thus allowing the PS to remain in power.

In an operation marked by posturing and blackmail – including blackmail against those who, like the PCP, correctly and firmly opposed their anti-social and anti-people policies – the PS's “tango dancing partners” (the PSD and CDS) broke the tacit allance that bound all three, and [prime-minister] Socrates resigned.

This, and nothing else, is the truth. If the PS is a victim of anything, it is of its commitment to right-wing policies.

Having already called an early election – and running ahead of the people's verdict – the PS together with the PSD and CDS, and with the President of the Republic's support, decided to accept and sign a Financial Aid Programme – a veritable Aggression Pact against our people and national interests – handing over the country's future to a humiliating dependence on foreign intervention embodied in the IMF/EU/ECB “troika”.

This pact was a blow against the democratic regime, against national independence and sovereignty. It confirmed big capital's plan to try to implement a leap forward in terms of exploitation, destruction of social rights, of public services, of democratic local government, and appropriation of large amounts of public resources.

These goals were deliberately concealed by the PS, PSD and CDS during the pre-election period, and the process led to the PSD obtaining a relative majority and forming a PSD/CDS government. This government has stepped up the right-wing policies and the implementation of the Aggression Pact and, in spite of secondary quibbles, has enjoyed full support from the PS.

The 2012 and 2013 State Budgets embodied a far-reaching offensive against workers' and people's rights and living conditions, and have had even more devastating economic and social consequences. Investments have been cut, and the handover of public companies and resources to big capital has been stepped up.

As the PCP denounced at the time, it is a confirmed fact that the Aggression Pact is a tool to exploit and impoverish the people, to liquidate the productive apparatus, to hijack the nation's future and to usurp national sovereignty.

One and a half years after it was signed, Portugal is now more endebted, more and more held hostage to speculative interest rates, enmeshed in a vicious circle of “austerity-recession-deficit”, and with no prospects in sight for the solution of its national problems.

The continuous and persistent offensive that Portugal has endured throughout decades of right-wing policies and reconstruction and consolidation of monopoly capital, is now at a new, enhanced, stage that is bringing serious consequences to all domains of Portugal's existence.

First of all, there is the country's economic situation, facing a long stagnation period and an unprecedented recession that is leaving in its wake a trail of destruction – destruction of jobs, companies and resources – with no end in sight.

Contrary to what the current government states, if the current social and economic path is maintained, Portugal will go into a depression and the coming years will be a long period of stagnation and recession.

The worsening national situation (bogged down by a high level of foreign endebtedness) is, in the main, the outcome of a deindustrialisation process with destruction of the productive apparatus, of privatisations, of financialisation in the economy and submission to European Union impositions, and of policies geared toward intensifying the exploitation of workers and at the same time protecting the big economic and financial conglomerates.

While these were the structural causes, the process was exponentially intensified by joining the euro. The euro became one more structural factor, leading to loss of competitiveness for Portugal's economy, both in the foreign markets and in the domestic market. More recently, since 2008, it has also served to transfer to the States and the peoples debts accumulated by the financial sector, particularly those due to “toxic waste” and banking fraud.

The productive apparatus has been made more fragile. This is very obvious if you look at the way our agriculture, fisheries, extractive and manufacturing industries have developed: home produce was replaced by imports, leading to a systematic and persistent deficit in the balance of commodities.

This structural fragility is the dominant cause originating our external imbalances, and has serious consequences for the public accounts deficit and for the public debt.

This fragility will be even further enhanced by the criminal process of political privatisations that is underway – to strengthen the monopolist/oligopolist structure that currently dominates the nation's economy, in close coordination with foreign big capital.

Negative developments in Portugal's economic and social situation are being especially enhanced by “deficit obsession”, with its economic-financial policies made to favour the financial and speculative funds' large-scale interests and deals.

Budget management has been emerging as a key tool in reconfiguring the State toward neo-liberalism. It is used to transfer social and public property into the hands of monopoly conglomerates, and is qualitatively hindering the State's ability to intervene, regulate and plan economic development.

Focussing on exports as the sole axis of Portugal's economic policy, has demeaned the domestic market (where 99% of Portugal's companies operate) and left it unprotected, thus contributing to mire the country even further in recession.

During this period, the huge reduction in public investment – made even worse by the Aggression Pact – has led nearly all basic infrastructure works and projects to be paralysed and chaotically abandoned. This has had very serious consequences for economic activity, and for the deep retrogression that has taken place.

As part and parcel of the capitalist recovery process, an all-encompassing offensive has been waged against people's interests, and the social situation has deteriorated drastically.

This process lies at the heart of the continuing rise in social injustice and inequality, and of Portugal's backwardness in comparison with most European Union countries: some of the lowest salaries and pensions, one of the lowest minimum wages, one of the largest gaps between rich and poor, and one of the highest rates of poverty.

In the last four years this has been made even worse by extremely high unemployment – over 1 million 200 thousand unemployed – getting worse and reaching new highs month after month, and according to all projections, set to continue to rise. This issue has become a serious national problem.

In this period the worker exploitation offensive has made a new qualitative leap forward.

Labour legislation has been changed by the PSD and CDS – with support from the PS, the UGT [trade union central] and the President of the Republic. Particularly prominent in this process was the latest revision made to the Labour Code.

It consisted of a huge set of changes geared toward making people work more for a lower salary, toward making dismissals easier and cheaper, toward casualising labour relations and liquidating collective bargaining. It has affected all private sector workers, and also the public sector, through specific legislation.

There have been unbridled onslaughts against salaries and labour incomes, both direct and indirect. The boycott against collective barganing has raised the number of workers who are on the national minimum wage. Real wages have been reduced and casualisation of labour relations is rampant.

The incomes and rights of Public Administration workers and of those who work for public companies have been hit very hard. Salary raises have been suspended, as have promotions in their careers. Parts of their salaries have been cut, vacation and Christmas benefits [13th and 14th month] have been stolen, among other things.

Attacks against social protection have also reached new heights – the work of both the PS governments and the current PSD/CDS government. There have been cuts to social protection in case of unemployment, with cuts to both the amount and the duration of unemployment benefits; in sickness, benefits have been cut; for old-age pensioners, raises have been suspended, it has become impossible to take early retirement before age 65, pensions have been reduced and retirement ages raised, all of this disregarding the right to social security benefits for which people have already contributed.

Drastic cuts have been imposed on social spending, particularly with the Recourse Condition law, that has caused social support and benefits to be cancelled or withdrawn for thousands of beneficiaries.

With the Aggression Pact and the 2013 State Budget, the existing relation between contributions made and rights to benefits is now being called into question.

Fiscal policy is also becoming a veritable confiscation of labour incomes, the incomes of the lower classes and strata – this is being done particularly through raises in IRS [individual income tax].

Social rights have also been targeted by an unprecedented onslaught.

The PS governments headed by José Socrates initiated a qualitatively new stage in the onslaught against the National Health Service (SNS). Dozens of close-to-the-user services were closed down, the “user pays” principle was applied, thus implementing a strategy of transferring a significant part of health care services over to private conglomerates.

This strategy has gained new imputus with the current PSD/CDS government and its SNS destruction process: smothering it financially with huge budget cuts; restructuring of hospitals and of the emergency care network, as outlined in the new Hospitals charter; extending and raising access charges [for public health care]; changes in the patient transport [ambulances, etc] support; reductions in State participation in medication costs, and cuts in technical and human resources.

The situation of the youth has worsened, particularly at work (growing casualisation, low salaries, lack of rights) and in education (huge rises in education costs, elitisation, cuts in social support). The condition of women has deteriorated (retrogression in their right to equality in many spheres of life, particularly as a result of higher unemployment and lower labour incomes); living conditions have deteriorated for pensioners and retirees (attacks on pension benefits, more difficult access to health care, higher cost of living); housing problems have grown (new law on rentals, thousands of families overrun by bank debts); transport has deteriorated as part of the ongoing privatisation drive (hige price hikes, attacks against monthly subscriptions, deterioration of public services, closing down of rail tracks and road transport routes, exploitation of workers); as well as deteriorated living and working conditions for immigrants as a result of the economic crisis – all are further serious aspects of the social situation.

Clearly disrespecting the Constitution of the Republic and the Basic Law on the Education System, the PS/Socrates and PSD/CDS governments have implemented a strategy to debase and disfigure Public Education and Schools (large cuts in financing, closure of thousands of primary schools, cuts in support for students with special needs; curriculum revisions; increase in the number of students per class; establishment of mega-groups of schools; thousands of teachers sent into unemployment, all of these are measures to debase the quality of teaching). Now, this week, the prime-minister has announced his intention to create a more fragmented fees system, and thus insinuating that fees will also have to be paid for secondary education.

Thousands of students are leaving higher education because they cannot afford its cost. At the same time, the higher education system is being smothered and debased through budget cuts that are so large that they make it impossible for higher education to function effectively.

The measures taken and policies followed throughout the past four years have also not changed the fragility of Portugal's Science and Technology Sector. A national science policy capable of addressing the needs of the productive sector and of essential services is still non-existent.

In the sphere of culture and cultural activities, the situation is one of deep crisis. This crisis bears the mark of the “austerity” policies' devastating effects. Budgets have reached all-time lows, the State has shirked all responsibilities and drastically reduced the resources allocated to support, foster and develop culture.

Inseparable from this offensive against social rights and social-economic structures, is the offensive against the democratic regime, which is currently confronting new, even more disturbing, dangers.

This offensive is based on a line of continuously flaunting and violating the Constitution of the Republic. It is currently seeking new excuses to disrespect and impoverish democracy, and to liquidate the democratic regime – and its base lies in the main institutions of sovereignty. This is a serious issue that we will address later when dealing with the changes to the Party Programme. At this time, they are embodied in a new escalation of subversion by the government, whose proclaimed goal is to “refound the State” by liquidating its social functions and directly privatising any State areas, services or functions that can be marketable, thus reducing public administration to merely residual functions.

Allow me however, to make a few remarks concerning developments in some sectors.

The serious situation in the judiciary reflects clearly the debasement that has struck the democratic regime – justice is more unequal, it is class justice, more difficult to have access to it, it is less effective and less independent.

Budget allocations for justice have been cut, staffing levels of professionals have been reduced in the sector, facilities and working conditions have deteriorated, resource insufficiency has become more serious.

Concerning policies on National Defence and Armed Forces, the past four years have been characterised by near-paralysis with respect to maintenance of operational resources and adequate management of human resources. This situation has been made worse by the Aggression Pact, and by policies that pursue the goal of considering national security a national doctrine, and organising the Armed Forces as a body whose primary goal is to be used in interventions abroad.

Our country's Domestic Security, is also caught up in the whole offensive against public administration. It has therefore deteriorated in recent years. Reflecting the whole deep economic and social crisis, crime is on the rise while investments in security have been cut, the deficit in policing resources has grown, communities' fear and insecurity has grown.

The onslaught against Local Government has developed and created a situation that is unprecedented in both substance and extent. It is now turned into a qualitatively new and more serious offensive. By attacking local governments' democratic nature and financial autonomy, it seeks to reduce their role in the State's administration and political framework. The onslaught is also seeking to directly liquidate hundreds of “freguesias” [freguesias are the smallest administrative units, Portugal has about 4200]

The autonomous regional governments [Azores and Madeira] have also been subjected – by the last governments' policies, and more recently also by the Aggression Pact – to cuts, particularly financial cuts.

The ownership concentration process in the mass media – with the vast majority of media being owned by a small number of big economic conglomerates – has irreversibly affected quality, diversity and pluralism in information, in culture, and in the democratic regime itself.

The powerful ideological offensive – that is being used to support the ongoing highly targeted operation to impose a programme of exploitation and social retrogression upon the workers and people – is a key tool in the class domination process.

The major mass media are the vehicles being used to convey this offensive.

The goal of this campaign of obfuscation and falsehoods – prominent among which is the constant stream of commentary based on the “crisis”, on an alleged “lack of resources”, threatening imminent bankruptcy – is seeking to get the Portuguese to passively accept as their fate the whole torrent of malfeasances that are being perpetrated in this country against its workers and people.

Together with decades of right-wing policies, one of the deep-seated reasons for this far-reaching crisis that Portugal is suffering lies in the nature and evolution of the capitalist integration process underway in Europe – the European Union – and in the effects of its policies.

This evolution is marked by a swift intensification of its neoliberal, federalist and militaristic traits, that were given yet another push with the Lisbon Treaty. The direction of this evolution is determined by the directorate of big powers, and involves a growing merger between monopolist economic power and the European institutions' political power.

The euro's creation has been confirmed as part of a strategic plan for domination – by big capital and by the major European powers, in particular Germany – , as a tool to serve the exploitation of labour, to improve profitability conditions for capital and, internationally, as a key tool for inter-imperialist rivalries and competition.

Artificially maintaining a strong Euro, competing with the Dolar, is something that weighs very negatively on the economic situation of countries such as Portugal. Domestically, the euro has meant a decade with no economic growth and with a destruction of domestic productive assets: in agriculture, in fisheries, in industry. We predicted this, and we warned about it!

Economic integration has led to more supra-national features. And the successive federalist leaps forward are part and parcel of an attempt to create an imperialist “super-State” with relations of colonial domination within itself. This is being done at the expense of States' sovereignty, of peoples' living conditions and right to development, and of democracy itself.

Distubances to the Euro, and the uncertainties concerning its future, are reflected in the European Union. The European Union has evolved toward stronger relations of dependence, and greater internal imbalances.

Since our 18th Congress, new tools of political and economic domination have been developed that are contrary to the interests of countries such as ours – with devastating consequences for these countries' development and sovereignty.

On the whole, these tools seek to create a framework of absolute constraint for any plans of domestic, autonomous and sovereign development in countries such as ours. Their goal is to generalise and set in stone the austerity and exploitation policies that underlie “financial adjustment programmes”. These are fierce programmes, to impoverish peoples, to impoverish the masses of workers and people, and to funnel public resources toward big capital['s coffers].

The route being followed by the European Union, far from solving peoples' serious problems, is merely exacerbating contradictions and deepening the crisis.

The current proposals and debates around the concept of “more Europe, to get out of the crisis” are in their very nature identical to the “austerity” policies. This is true, even though some of neo-liberalism's ideologues and forces claim that they are “left-wing europeanists” and try to avoid it.

The European Union is not reformable. It is a European Union designed and implemented as a tool of big capital to dominate the European continent. Building another Europe, for workers and peoples, will necessarily imply defeating this European capitalist integration process. This other Europe will be incompatible with economic colonisation and “austerity” policies.

The PCP reasserts its steadfast commitment to defend the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic. We reject a European integration characterised by submission and by conditioning Portugal's development. We reassert our commitment to fight for a sovereign and independent Portugal, and for a project of cooperation among sovereign States with equal rights.

Determined in its commitment to the national interest, the PCP reasserts the Portuguese people's full right to decide on its own future and to ensure the prevalence of national interests over any projects that may counter them. This right cannot under any circumstances be expropriated.

All these developments, in years of right-wing policies in the service of monopoly capital, have turned Portugal into a country with less justice and more inequality, making it a more dependent and less democratic country.

Continuing on this road and with these policies, under the Aggression Pact umbrella, implies not only greater dangers for the nation, but also an unbearable deterioration in people's living conditions.

Breaking with these policies – making changes in the nation that will open the road to the construction of an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy – is urgent. It is a national imperative, a pre-condition to ensure for Portugal a future with social justice and progress, as a sovereign and independent country.

This policy is not just necessary. It is possible if each one of us embraces the task of making it real, of giving it meaning.

It is a patriotic and left-wing policy, whose priority task is to fight the deep economic and social crisis that is afflicting Portugal. An immediate response is required on six essential points:

Rejecting the Aggression Pact, renegotiating the debt in accordance with national interests, unbinding the country from the submission and colonisation to which it is being tied.

Re-focussing all of our country's economic, financial and investment policies on promoting and developing national production and on wealth creation, by creating jobs, recognising the value of labour, of workers, of their rights, and ensuring a fair distribution of the wealth that is created.

Radically overhauling fiscal policies, breaking the scandalous way in which big economic and financial capital is currently favoured.

Placing public administration and services in the service of the nation, enabling it to ensure Portuguese people's right to healt, education and social protection.

Recovering democratic control over the economy – in State hands – putting an end to privatisations and ensuring that economic powers are effectively subordinated to political powers.

Ensuring that Portugal is freed from supra-national impositions of economic, social and financial policies contrary to the interests of national development.

The above six directions can be summarised into three key concepts:

- Rescue Portugal from the web of submission and dependence;

- Recover for our country what belongs to it, its resources, its strategic sectors and enterprises, its right to economic growth and development;

- Give back to workers and people their salaries, their incomes and their social rights, essential for a dignified life.

But it not enough for a patriotic and left-wing policy to be proclaimed. It needs to come alive, and be expressed in a government committed to it and that will implement it.

A patriotic and left-wing policy needs a patriotic and left-wing government to implement it.

A policy to serve the people and the nation requires first of all that the current government be fully defeated and dismissed.

This dismissal is required and necessary. But its defeat and dismissal must not result in another government formula being cooked up and decided behind the people's backs (as some are already doing). Its defeat and dismissal must make room for a solution that embodies change and breaks with these policies.

This defeat and dismissal requires that the people be – necessarily and under any circumstances – given back the power to decide on the country's future through an early election.

In the current context, dismissal and early elections are the legitimate and necessary way out, to break with this path toward disaster that Portugal is currently treading.

This solution necessarily requires that the struggle be continued and stepped up. The struggle is decisive, not only to contain the ongoing offensive, but also to free Portugal from these disastrous policies.

Portugal is not chained to a vicious circle of rotating alternation without alternatives. The current alignment of political and party forces is not unchangeable, and it is definitely not limited to the “troika” parties who signed the Aggression Pact. [PS, PSD and CDS]

Like the PCP, there are hundreds of thousands of patriots and democrats, hundreds of thousands of workers and other Portuguese people, hundreds of social and mass organisations, that know that it is high time to end these policies, that another road is possible, and that have hope and wish to see patriotic and left-wing policies implemented in our country.

It is to all these Portuguese people – workers and intellectuals, business owners and farmers, young people, women, retirees, technical workers, catholics and non-catholics, with or without religious beliefs, independents or politically affiliated – , it is to all these class and mass organisations – trade unions, cultural groups, local associations, schools and universities, scientific and religious communities, social support institutions, professional organisations – , it is to progressive and left-wing circles and forces sincerely and genuinely interested in breaking this cycle of alternation that is perpetuating these policies of national decay, it is to all of you that the PCP speaks from its 19th Congress: – Building a new policy is something that is in the hands of Portugal's people, of their democratic will, of their patriotic pride, of their identification with the April [1974 revolution's] values, of their determination. Let us build a policy that will give Portugal a chance to survive as a sovereign nation, to ensure a dignified life for its workers and people, to have a future.

To all of you we say: You can count on the PCP, on its courage and determination, on its coherence and commitment to national interests, on its dedication in upholding the rights and interests of workers and of all anti-monopoly strata.

The PCP will call upon all of you in the very near future to congregate around a patriotic and left-wing policy, to spread to the whole country the demand for another road, to build a social and political support base capable of implementing it.

Before talking about who will be in government, we want to talk about what and whom this government is for! In the current line-up of political forces, the political alternative is in the making.

If anyone thinks that society is an unchanging reality, let them snap out of their illusion: Society is a changing reality. No one, no political party can view itself as the owner of the majority will of Portugal's people. No one, no political party has been able to prevent many of its supporters or voters from joining with us in the torrent of protest and struggle that is the foundation on which the alternative will be built!

The alternative is possible. It will emerge by strengthening the PCP, by decisively expanding its political, social and electoral influence; by vigorously developing mass struggles to converge into the creation of a very broad social front; by changing the political balance of forces to favour a break with right-wing policies and to build a true patriotic and left-wing alternative.

In the time that has elapsed between the 18th and the 19th Congress, there is one unavoidable element to be studied: the mass struggle, its role, its development, its extent – in a situation of unprecedented political, economic, social and ideological offensive, with the right wing emboldened by its election victory, with the PS compromised and defeated, with a balance of forces that was very unfavourable to workers confronted with mass unemployment, growing casualisation, and very difficult, even dramatically difficult, living conditions.

And it was in this context that the past few years have beed ĉharacterised by an extraordinary surge of workers' struggles, with CGTP-IN having played a key role in organising and mobilising. The mass struggle has created the broadest convergence seen in recent decades, in workplaces and on the streets. It has required determination, class conscience, and very often courage, testing people's ability to resist. It is living proof of our belief that resisting is already part of winning.

The struggle has confirmed that the working class and working people are the driving force in any mass struggle. It has dynamised, given new hope, brought new energy and new fighters to the struggle, and it has awakened sections and strata of society that were hitherto neutral or neutralised.

The struggle has developed and broadened, starting from specific problems and demands, from demands specific to companies, to sectors. There was the struggle organised by the Common Front of Public Administration Unions, that on 12 November 2011 brought over 100,000 demonstrators to the streets; the transport and communications workers strike on 27 April, the teachers' strike on 19 January 2011, the struggles and national strike of Local Government workers, of nurses in June 2010, of medical doctors on 11 and 12 June of this year, struggles in the textile, apparel and footwear sector, the workers of private social solidarity institutions and special education cooperatives, the days of action by cultural workers, the various demonstrations organised by the professional associations of military personnel. There were the national demonstrations of 13 March 2009, 29 May 2012, the huge demonstrations on 11 February and 29 September 2012, the March Against Unemployment in October 2012.

Landmark struggles of the workers' and trade union movement in this period were the General Strikes on 24 November 2010, 24 November 2011, 22 March 2012, and the General Strike on the 14th of this month of November 2012 – that against all odds, against the anti-strike forces, was built up through struggles and resistance, and even with an attempt by employers to use it to change the Labour Code. The 14 November General Strike heralded a new stage and gave fresh confidence to a struggle that will require tenacity, that will have to be extended and intensified, where every battle will count, from the small scale struggle at this or that company, to the large-scale actions. The struggle will go as far as the workers will want it to go and as far as the trade union movement's ability to organise and lead can take it. The struggle is in itself a crucial element in defeating the right wing's goals and policies.

And this organised workers' struggle has a value in and of itself. It has served as an example for small and medium farmers and business owners, fishermen, tenants, women who uphold their right to participate on an equal footing, youth against unemployment, job casualisation and exploitation, against the destruction of public education, against fees, elitisation and forced school-leaving, the struggle of retirees and pensioners to defend social security, for dignified pensions, the struggle of disabled persons against discrimination, the actions of [Portuguese] emigrants [abroad] for consular support and the teaching of the Portuguese language, the firemen to defend their service to the community, struggles in defence of public water supplies, struggles for Peace, against imperialist aggressions, and to assert the April [1974 revolution's] values

Community struggles also attained new heights, in defence of the National Health Service, of Public Education, against the closure of public services, against price rises and for the abolition of motorway tolls, against the liquidation of “freguesias” and in defence of Local Government.

From the rostrum of this Congress we salute the mass organisations and their struggles – with particular reference to CGTP-IN, the prestigious trades union central of Portugal's working people, a powerful workers' force, a bulwark of freedom, democracy and social progress, the creative product of working people, and a highly topical unity forum.

Asserting the characteristics and nature of CGTP and the class-based trade union movement is crucial for working people's interests and rights. The trust that workers bestow on CGTP is living proof of this fact. Its choices and its path will continue to count on the involvement and participation of communists, united in action with other trade unionists with no political affiliation or with other political, ideological or religious beliefs, while preserving its original nature as a trade union central and the experience and culture of Portugal's class-based trade union movement.

Key aspects to develop are the struggle against exploitation and impoverishment, rejection of changes to the Labour Code, struggle to enhance the value of salaries and collective bargaining, fight against unemployment and casualisation, assert the freedom of trade unions to operate and organise.

The issue of casual labour relations that affects hundreds of thousands of workers deserves special mention. There are some who are trying to organise casualised workers behind the back of the trade union movement. We disagree. Casualisation is not a status or a certificate of some sort. We are talking about workers whose status and rights are more fragile – and who deserve to be integrated and affiliated – and about a struggle to demand effective stability for any continuing job.

Yet another organised expression of the workers' movement are the Workers' Committees. The productive apparatus's dismantlement and destruction have reduced their numbers, but they continue to be a democratic tool for workers to seek unity, and for whom cooperation with the trade union movement should be an important factor.

The workers' movement is a key and essential force for Portuguese democracy. Strengthening it, and strengthening its participation in social life is the strongest guarantee available for Portugal to return to a path of progress, social justice, freedom and democracy, with the April values as a beacon.

Side by side with the trade union movement, other major social mass movements make up the broad anti-monopoly front. Each one of them by itself, and all together, constitute a highly influential force that can potentially be developed.

The small and medium-scale farmers' movement is expressed in CNA [National Farmers' Confederation], whose representativeness is unquestionable. Its unions, leagues, movements, federations and associations are autonomous unitary structures where farmers of all political parties participate actively, opening the road to further expansion and new struggles. Our Party is the bearer of proposals to defend agriculture and defend small and medium-scale farmers.

Intellectuals and technical workers are today a very influential stratum in society.

Their growing proportion among salaried workers, and the proletarianisation of some of them are part and parcel of the increased exploitation and debasement of their careers and professions. Events have brought new sectors into the struggle – teaching staff, researchers, journalists, psychologists, archeologists, architects, performing arts workers and people on scientific research grants, among others – and they too are joining the actions, both those organised by the unitary trade union movement and those organised by their own organisations.

Intellectuals have – besides the struggles for their interests and rights – undertaken important actions in defence of culture as part and parcel of the defence of democracy. One example is the “1% for culture” campaign!

The youth, with its own traits, force and energy, has asserted itself as an important social force. While it is not homogeneous, it does share values of solidarity, sharing and participation, and is thus an essential force for social progress and for a break with right-wing policies. In secondary education, in higher education, in professional education, but also in workplaces, the youth movement has staged protests and struggles – with very diverse forms of organisation and expression, they have great potential for development.

JCP [Portuguese Communist Youth], the young communists' autonomous organisation – in the midst of a very strong ideological offensive targetting especially young people – has strengthened the youth movement and raised awareness and mobilisation among young people.

As part of the PCP's general line , it has reaffirmed its irreplaceable role as a connection point between the Party and the youth. Its day-to-day priority is work among students, for their participation and organisation, based in schools and universities. It has also taken steps forward in its work among young workers. The more JCP fights for youth rights, the more influence it will have among the youth.

The women's movement – with organised expression in workplaces, in the trade union movement and other unitary movements, fighting for women's rights through MDM [Democratic Womens's Movement] – is a highly valuable social movement in the struggle to defend existing civilisational gains and specific women's rights.

The unitary movement of retirees, pensioners and elderly persons has had a valuable role in organising struggles specific to this social group. While they are heterogeneous in terms of age and social background, they do have in common the fact that their living conditions and rights are under attack. The main builders of this action, organising and struggle have been the Confederation of Retirees, Pensioners and Elderly Persons Movements [MURPI] and Inter-Reformados [trade union-based], each in their own sphere. They deserve participation and active support from Party members.

These movements' strength is also expressed through the movements of micro, small and medium business owners, of public services users, of disabled persons, the socio-professional movement and trade union of security forces and services workers, the association of military staff, the firemen's movement, the anti-racist front, the peace movement, the anti-fascist resisters' movement.

Some movements have appeared recently that are presented as “inorganic”. Their expression and goals are varied. In general, these movements involve people who harbour sincere indignation at what these policies are doing to their lives.

Undoubtedly, the dominant mass media seek to detour and dilute that indignation against the government and the right wing-policies parties by portraying them as all the same and essentially trying to hide who the real beneficiaries of these policies are. But what is relevant is the fact that many participants have been gaining new awareness as to who the real culprits are.

While respecting their autonomy, we should work to help them converge and join the more general struggle of the Portuguese people.

The PCP struggles, has proposals and goals. We value mass struggles as strategic events, we help to stimulate their development and intensification, and we have tried to coordinate mass struggles with struggle within the institutions.

Our elected members in the Assembly of the Republic [parliament], in the European Parliament, in the Azores and Madeira Regional Legislative Assemblies, in local governments, bear values and behaviour reflecting high ethical standards and dedication to the struggle. They coordinate with Party organisations on all issues having to do with the Portuguese people's lives, problems and wishes. They also prove that political Parties are not all the same, and use their mandate to serve the people and the country, and not to serve themselves.

Their work, their proposals and initiatives are, and will always be the strongest and safest guarantee of the fact that each vote for the PCP or the CDU is a worthwhile vote, a worthwhile choice to give strength to the struggle, to bring closer and make possible a political alternative, an alternative policy that the people and the country need.

We want to, from this rostrum, salute our friends from The Greens Environmental Party, from Democratic Intervention, as well as the thousands of independents, men, women, young people, who have identified the CDU as a forum through which they can participate and play a role in the struggle for a better life.

We are convinced that in the upcoming electoral battles we will be together, as we now stand together in this struggle against right-wing policies and for the necessary political alternative.

Our Party has asserted itself within Portuguese society, and continues to do so, with its unmistakeable identity. We are the party of the working class and of all working people. We uphold the interests of anti-monopoly classes and strata. We are independent from the influence, interests, ideology and policies of the forces of capital. We are the Party whose major goals are building socialism and communism, a society freed from capitalist exploitation and oppression. We are the party whose theoretical foundation is marxism-leninism. We are the party that operates along principles based on the creative development of democratic centralism, based on a deep-seated internal democracy, on a single general line and with a single central leadership. We are a patriotic and internationalist party.

Those are the traits that define our identity and render our party different within Portuguese society. These traits define the Portuguese Communist Party, guide its practice, and are enshrined in the Party Rules and in its Programme.

That Programme and those Rules are fundamental documents, whose acceptance is a pre-condition for Party membership.

This 19th Congress is tasked with making some changes in the Party Programme. In making these changes, we are stressing and reasserting the topicality of the basic goals and proposals contained in the Programme.

The Party Programme establishes socialism and communism as supreme goals, and outlines the strategy to attain them, defining the current historical goal as an advanced democracy – the April values in Portugal's future. Just as it has done throughout its history, particularly since the 6th Congress in 1965, the Party, in setting its strategy, does not try to skip stages. It is aware of the requirements in the struggle for its supreme goals, but it does not just proclaim them. It develops the necessary strategy to implement a new society, freed from capitalist exploitation and oppression.

The Programme requires some changes to update its content, giving it more effectiveness and greater impact.

[The proposed changes] contain updates concerning the consequences of the counter-revolutionary process and of the European capitalist integration process, and summarise where we stand right now after 36 years of right-wing policies. This is an important assessment that has a bearing on the Party's strategy and tactics.

It says: “Portugal is undergoing a particularly serious period in its history. The ongoing counter-revolutionary process and the process of integration into the European Union have, together, led to a situation characterised by domination by monopoly conglomerates, associated to and dependent upon foreign capital, by further distortion of the democratic regime, and by national sovereignty having been compromised to a very great extent. This situation exhibits traits that are typical of State monopoly capitalism, where the Portuguese State is increasingly sidelined, dominated and colonised within the EU, and more generally, colonised by imperialism and its structures.”

The extent and depth of the offensive are great, the counter-revolution's goals have gone very far, but have not been fully attained, particularly in the political sphere. This means that, even though it has been severely distorted, the democratic regime has not been liquidated. It means that even though it has been severely mutilated, the content of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic continues to provide to provide room for our resistance struggle, and to provide room for our actions to break with right-wing policies, and to enshrine goals that, in the main, correspond to the goals of our struggle. This means also that in our stratgy and tactics we do not associate with, or facilitate, the goals of those who want to turn our Constitution into a meaningless text or to abolish it altogether.

We alert to the current situation: “The ruling class's plans to pursue and intensify the ongoing plans and bring about an institutional collapse by adopting unconstitutional laws, by systematically debasing, disrespecting and subverting the Constitution with their revisions with a view to fully establishing, consolidating and reinforcing their power – create great dangers for Portugal's future.”

And, confronted with this situation and path ahead, we propose an alternative: implementing an Advanced Democracy, all at once political, economic, social and cultural, with five component parts each one corresponding to one dimension of democracy and of national sovereignty and independence.

Advanced Democracy emerged as a historical follow-up to the [1965] Programme for a Democratic and National Revolution, and to the equally historical ideals, gains and achievements made by the April [1974] Revolution. As a goal for the current stage of history, it is part and parcel of the struggle for socialism and communism.

The proposed changes to the Programme state, define and elaborate on the definition of the road to achieve Advanced Democracy, as not just one moment, action or event, but as a process involving several diverse components – where the intensification and convergence of mass struggles, with all their possible developments and expressions, are viewed as the determining and decisive factor. Yes, it is mass struggle – that powerful lever that changes societies – that we count on to implement the anti-monopolist and anti-imperialist break that is needed to buld advanced democracy. Yes, this process contains a coordinated set of goals, from very specific and immediate ones like rejecting the Aggression Pact and breaking with right-wing policies, to the implementation of a patriotic and left-wing alternative, with policies, and a government to define and implement them.

According to the proposal placed before the Congress, in our Programme's name we replace the expression “on the threshold of the 21st century” to become “An advanced democracy – The April values in Portugal's future”. The idea is to include in the name an element that is present throughout the whole text, giving it more vitality and strength.

The April values contribute to define the process toward advanced democracy, and to establish its content. The April values do not counter – they actually point out – the road to socialism.In our country, advanced democracy and socialism will be implemented not against, and not sidelining, the April values, but rather projecting them, consolidating them and incorporating them into Portugal's future.

The debates within the Party collective on the Party's Programme have enabled many members to gain better knowledge of its content, have contributed to enhance political and ideological knowledge, and have garnered broad support. The Party will be endowed with an up-to-date Programme, a highly important tool to publicise what the PCP is and the goals for which it fights – among working people, the youth, the people of Portugal, so that they may make it their own.

Our Party has once again been put to the test in recent years. In a situation unprecedented since [the 1974 fall of] fascism, the PCP has discharged its duties toward the workers, the people, and the Nation, and has honoured its heroic history. These are difficult, demanding and stormy times, and the Party collective has responded. A lot of demands have been placed on the leadership. A lot of dedication, militancy, determination and courage have been demanded of thousands upon thousands of Communist Party members. Of course, there have been shortcomings. But above all there is the feeling of a job well done, and the satisfaction of belonging to this Party, the necessary, indispensable, irreplaceable Party. That is how it has been, how it is, how it will be.

We have a Communist Party, well grounded in its ideology, patriotic, with ties to its people and its land. But is also a Party that has never forgotten and will never forget its internationalist duties. From this Congress, we extend to the dozens of communist and progressive parties represented here – as always – the PCP's solidarity. Solidarity with your struggles, that we feel as our own. Solidarity with your actions to uphold the interests of workers, of peoples, of progress, of peace and socialism. We confirm to you our will to – loyal to the principles of proletarian internationalism, solidarity and mutual respect – improve the ties of friendship and solidarity that unite us and do all we can to strengthen the communist movement and the anti-imperialist front.

Our latest Organisation Balance reports the existence of 60,484 Party members. In the past 4 years, 5,800 new members have joined the Party, half of whom are under 40 years of age. Organisational structures have been consolidated, on shop floors and workplaces, and in spite of the tidal wave that has been ravaging economic activities, we have maintained our previous membership levels, with only a slight drop. Over 500 Assemblies of Party organisations have been held. The work done as part of the “Forward! Toward a Stronger PCP” campaign has yielded results, but we need to go further.

Strengthening Party organisation – in all its components – must be viewed as a permanent priority task.

The situation requires that we implement a great movement to strengthen the Party's work and organisation – in terms of membership, leadership, cadres, organisation, political work and ties to the masses, ideological struggle, party press, information and propaganda, financial resources, and international activity.

We stress the need to highlight militancy. It is the main source from which we get our ability to participate. It will be all the stronger, as more members become aware that the Party's strength is determined by the actions of its members, and militancy is viewed as a political, civil and social need, based on beliefs, on the future and the cause for which we fight.

We stress the need to expand our leadership capacities, to overcome bottlenecks and continue to assign responsibilities, to renovate and rejuvenate as needed to provide continuity to our leadership work. It is essential to contnue to assert the need for unity, cohesiveness and discipline, preventing and overcoming behaviours that reduce mobilisation and weaken us. It is necessary to improve follow-up procedures, assessing with objectivity and critical spirit the work done, drawing the relevant conclusions and avoiding criticism for its own sake. Fostering participation as both a right and a duty, fostering criticism and self-criticism, individual responsibility, collective work and collective leadership – are all part and parcel of the Party's style of work, that should be enhanced, strengthened and valued.

Concerning the Central Committee – that should reflect the Party's identity, nature and principles – we propose that it should continue to have a large majority of industrial and office workers, with a considerable contingent of industrial workers, and that, as part of the necessary renovation and rejuvenation, it should provide for an adequate combination of experienced cadres with an assignment of responsibilities to younger ones.

The Central Committe and its executive bodies face the requirements of a solid collective leadership. It should correspond to the Party's needs, strengthening the Party's unity and cohesion, as well as its ability to respond to the complex problems posed by the social, political and ideological struggle. The same is required of the Central Control Commission.

Strengthening the Party requires that a cadres policy be developed, involving the assignment of responsibilities and ongoing tasks to many more Party members, together with a renovation and rejuvenation in the cadre of full-time Party workers.

Party organisation and structure are key issues. It is necessary to pay even greater attention to the priority task of party organisation and work among the working class and working people, in workplaces, and to make it more effective, in particular by: confirming and assigning members, including full-timers, to dedicate themselves to this work; consolidating existing organisations and creating new cells or sectors, establishing targets for each organisation to expand its membership.

It is necessary to improve the structuring of local organisations, fostering better operation, dynamics and work among grassroots organisations, with a style involving close ties to the masses. It is also necessary to structure the work among other strata and sectors of society, and in specific areas of work.

Special attention must be paid to the recruitment of new members, associating recruitment to effective integration into the Party. New members are needed if we are to strengthen the Party. Joining the Party is a choice that is today viewed by many thousands of people as a necessary step to enable them to coherently and effectively respond to the serious situation that Portugal is facing, and to realise their aspirations. From here we say to them: Don't hesitate, come and join the more than 1,100 new members that have joined the Party this year, come and join us in this necessary and inspiring struggle.

A style of work based on the party's principles and goals, with broad and increasingly close ties to working people and communities, must be prevalent throughout the party organisation.

The situation within which we are living makes it even more necessary to step up the ideological struggle, and to create better conditions for the workers and people to learn about and understand the PCP's stances, analyses, proposals and projects. Particularly important in this area is the role and work of party organisations and members, as well as the party's own media, in particular [the weekly paper] “Avante!”, the “O Militante” [organisational bulletin], the overall information and propaganda work, the PCP's internet site [www.pcp.pt] with a more thorough usage of electronic media, work with the mass media, and also a wide-ranging cultural work – of which the “Avante!” Festival is a significant example – as well as the publications.

Strengthening the Party depends on many factors. Among the most important ones are the financial issues, to which we have to pay great attention. The laws on political party and campaign financing, the imposition of abusive regulations and interpretations of laws, and the growing arbitrary measures – including the imposition of unacceptable fines that are clearly designed to strike a blow at the “Avante!” Festival and the Party. We repudiate these anti-democratic ideas and practices, and we demand the repeal of that law.

Party financing is a key factor in ensuring its political, organisational and ideological independence. The financial results of recent years have yielded an improvement, but it is still very insufficient and has not significantly changed the situation, which continues to be untenable. We need to increase our income to ensure the necessary balance.

We are aware of the demands placed upon us. In this complex situation, as has happened before in even more difficult periods, we continue to rely on the decisive financial contribution from members and sympathisers, from workers, from democrats. We need to enlarge these contributions, as part of a rigorous and well-organised financial work, so as to ensure that the PCP can continue to work for workers, for the people and for Portugal.

The Congress is sovereign. But we trust this Portuguese Communist Party and its collective of members with close ties to the workers and people.

We trust this Party that is resisting and advancing – asserting and reasserting its communist nature and identity – in the implementation af advanced democracy, of a new society, a socialist society. We trust that we are fighting for the right cause.

We stand confident, passionate, with the living memory of its enthralling history, based on the topicality of its goal of liberation, of putting an end to the exploitation of humans by other humans.

No cause dies as long as there is someone fighting for it. No project is defeated while there are so many men, women, young people, persistently, very persistently fighting to implement it. Yes, we are confident.

Long live the struggle of workers and peoples!
Long live internationalist solidarity!
Long live the youth and the JCP!
Long live the Portuguese Communist Party!

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  • XIX Congresso do PCP
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XIX Congresso do PCP

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