Resolution PCP Central Committee

The 90th Anniversary of the Portuguese Communist Party. Freedom, democracy, socialism. A project for the future

I

On March 6, 2011, the Portuguese Communist Party marks its 90th anniversary. These are 90 years of heroic struggle at the service of the working class and all workers, of the people and the country.

These are nine decades of life and of struggle for a Party which, proud of its history and learning from its own experience, is steadfast and determined in the present and embodies the demands of the future with energy, boldness and confidence.

[The PCP is] a major national Party, profoundly linked to the life of the workers and the people, which has inscribed the struggle for freedom, for democracy and for socialism, throughout these 90 years, in its project and in its practical activity.

A Party that, far from succumbing, as its class enemies would wish and have so often proclaimed, is increasingly asserting itself, and proving to be more necessary and more determined to pursue its course with the workers and the people, for progress and social justice, for national independence and sovereignty.

A Party that is the legitimate heir of the Portuguese workers' and people's best traditions of struggle and progressive and revolutionary achievements, and which asserts itself as an inseparable part of Portugal's democratic and socialist future.

A Party which asserts itself, based on the strength of its history and with its eyes firmly set on the future, in today's struggle to fully materialize the Portuguese people's rights and the project of social and human emancipation which embodies dreams and aspirations for freedom and justice that are thousands of years old.

II

The PCP's creation, in 1921, expressed a historical necessity of the Portuguese working class, which resulted from the development of the working-class movement. It materialized the necessary instrument for a class that was determined to transform society. And it marked the beginning of a new stage in Portugal's working-class movement and a new phase in the country's history.

It was in an atmosphere of revolutionary ascent, resulting from the great struggles of the Portuguese workers and from the impact of the October Socialist Revolution, that the Portuguese Communist Party was founded.

The PCP's first years of life were not easy. The creation of a Communist Party in Portugal implied a demanding political and ideological battle against the influence and the opportunistic tactics and attitudes of other political forces, namely the socialists and anarchists which existed at the time and had a considerable influence within the working-class movement. But also because, from the very first day, it had to confront the repression waged by the First Republic. After 1926, with the May 28 military coup that led to the instauration of the fascist dictatorship, the Party, which was then only five years old, was banned and persecuted, forced to carry out its activity in the most severe clandestine conditions and suffered brutal repressions, conditions for which it was naturally unprepared.

It is after 1929, with the April Conference and under the leadership of Bento Gonçalves, who was then elected General Secretary, that the Party boldly turned towards the working class, creating an organization that could act underground, creating a clandestine press – the «Avante!» and «O Militante» -, organizing itself according to the Leninist principles of a Party of new type and truly undertaking a mass activity that was reflected in a range of important struggles.

III

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible with the advances resulting from the 1940-41 reorganization and from its III and IV Congresses, which were decisive moments in defining a Leninist-style Party. These were advances that were fundamental in ensuring the continuity of the Party's activity and leadership and in defending the Party's cadres and press from fascist repression. They were essential to grow roots among the working class and the workers, for a strong organization, to ensure in its activity a solid alliance of the working class with the peasants and other anti-monopoly strata, in a process that translated into a stronger PCP, which became the Party of the working class and a major national Party.

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible with a rigorous scientific definition of its goals, of its tactic and political line, which was materialized throughout the years and reflected in its clandestine Congresses, namely at the 1965 Sixth Congress, with the adoption of the Programme for the Democratic and National Revolution, whose guidelines, on the path to victory, paved the road to the overthrowing of fascism, to securing freedom and to materialize the April 1974 Revolution.

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible because it permanently materialized its role in the development of the struggle and of mass actions. There were the important experiences of the wave of strikes and political struggles of the 1940s, 50s and 60s and early 1970s which, confirming the correctness of its political line and the great revolutionary potential of the industrial and rural working class and of the masses of the people – in a clear contrast with the tendencies towards a compromise with fascism, and the adventuristic, opportunistic and unstable nature of sectors of the petty and medium bourgeoisie – undermined the foundations of fascism and decisively contributed to pave the way for the April Revolution.

The PCP's prestige and importance were only possible due to its unequivocal and coherent policy of unity throughout these 90 years. Fighting for the unity of the working class and of all workers, the PCP was the creator of the Unity Committees on the shop floors and rural open-air labour-markets, with a remarkable activity within the Trade Unions, and in creating, encouraging and providing guidance to broad-based democratic organizations. The democratic movement's organizational development, the strenghtening of its operational capacity, were only possible thanks to the PCP's contribution, which always preserved its class independence and its independence of decision-making, without yielding to pressure, whether of enemies or of allies.

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible with its ideology, marxism-leninism, a revolutionary theory which is anti-dogmatic by its own nature and which is the Party's theoretical foundation, permanently enriched by its own activity and experience and by the experience of the world communist and revolutionary movement.

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible due to its organizational principles, which have been confirmed in practice, in its inner-Party workings, and which are enshrined in the Party Statutes. Principles which result from the creative development of democratic centralism, from which emerge the practice of collective leadership and collective work, of criticism and self-criticism, of a dialectic liaison between a profound inner-Party democracy and a single central leadership and a single general line. This operational reality has been, and will be, decisive to ensure and strengthen the Party's unity, its political and ideological cohesion, and to firmly fight against tendencies such as opportunism and factionalism, which are contrary to the Party's interests.

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible thanks to the Party's profound identification with the national interests, intransigently defending the country's sovereignty and independence, as expressed in the patriotic dimension of its activity throughout the times. The struggle for the country's liberation from the yoke of imperialism – on an economic, political, ideological and military level – was, and is, inseparable from the PCP's decades-long activity against the country's domination by the great powers and its current subservience to NATO and the European Union.

The PCP's prestige and political importance are inseparable from its steadfast internationalist stances. Always contributing to strengthen the world communist movement, the PCP has at all times embodied the principles of proletarian internationalism. Its active solidarity with the revolutionary forces and the peoples in struggle throughout the world can be verified by its total support for the liberation movements and the peoples of the Portugueses colonies in their struggle for independence and against the criminal colonial war.

The PCP's prestige and political importance result from its activity in the early years of its history, and is confirmed in the demanding and decisive struggles of today. Its activity, far from being restricted to its decisive contribution for the overthrow of fascism, was also decisive for the great achievements of the April Revolution. The PCP was the great Party of the Revolution, of the freedoms and rights for workers and for the Portuguese people, of the Land Reform, of the nationalizations, of workers' control, of democratic local government – of the democratic regime that is enshrined in the Constitution of April. The PCP, organizing and leading the struggle of the masses of the people, was and is the staunchest defender of those achievements and of the democratic regime, when confronted with the counter-revolution's offensive.

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible thanks to its capability to learn from the experience of the class struggle and to find, at each moment in time, the most adequate response and the most effective action to confront and defeat the maneouvres and the policies of the right, of reaction, and to further the struggle of the workers and of the people.

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible due to the Party's role in defining a democratic cultural policy which ensures the right to cultural creation and enjoyment and which marked a decisive contribution to create attitudes and mentalities among the Portuguese people that are inspired by democratic and progressive values. A role in which Communist intellectuals undertook, and are undertaking, a decisive role.

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible with its profound identification with the dreams and aspirations of young people, which are inseparable from its ideals of freedom, justice, peace, solidarity and fraternity, that make the PCP the Party of youth. This reality is also expressed in the acitivity of the organizations of young Communists throughout their history, which played a decisive role in young people's struggles and of which the Portuguese Communist Youth is the legitimate heir.

The prestige and political importance which the Party enjoys today, its real capacity for revolutionary leadership, would be impossible without profound and solid links to the masses, a necessary condition to understand and act within the concrete reality, to define correct guidelines, to successfully lead the struggle and contribute towards the unity of the workers and the people.

The PCP's prestige and political importance were only possible with its members, with its cadres. With the sacrifice and abnegation of its heroes that fell in the struggle, with its creators, with its professional revolutionaries, with thousands of comrades who throughout decades confronted the repression, the persecutions, jails, torture, even death itself. With an intense and dedicated Communist militancy, upon which was based an exceptional decades-long struggle and which is today driving the vitality and strength of the PCP.

Cadres – men, women and young people – who throughout these 90 years were forged in the struggle. Communist cadres of great dedication to the Party, to the working class, to the people, who are intransigent towards the enemy, who are proof of the lofty principles of Communist morals. Cadres who, assimilating marxism-leninism, have built the solid foundations upon which the Portuguese Communist Party was built, grew and is now developing.

Among them all, it is fair to highlight comrade Álvaro Cunhal, with his life and contribution to the struggle as an organizer and leader which left an indelible mark on the life of the Party collective, with his theoretical legacy. They are an inspirational example for the present and for the future of the struggle of the Communists, of the youth, of the workers and the peoples.

The PCP, the vanguard of the revolutionary struggle of the Portuguese people for bread, for work, for freedom, for democracy, for peace, for socialism and for communism, reaffirms its determination, when marking its 90th anniversary, to embody with honour its past and its revolutionary heritage of 90 years of struggle, projecting it towards the present and the future, asserting with courage, steadfastness and boldness, its convictions, principles, policies and project, which are profoundly humanistic and which are the kernel of its ideal – the Communist ideal.

IV

The PCP is confronting, with determination and courage, the problems, complexities and challenges of the present – a time marked by increasingly acute class struggle and by capitalism's deepest crisis since the Great Depression. This crisis is both structural and systemic. Its depth and breadth have yet to be fully revealed. Its origins lie in capitalism's irresolvable contradictions, and in its exploitative and oppressive nature. The crisis itself is being used to heighten exploitation of working people, and to step up capital concentration and accumulation, as well as to impose civilisational retrogression on workers and peoples the world over.

Also reflected in the current situation are the dramatic consequences of the demise of socialism in the USSR and the countries of Eastern Europe. We are confronted with mass unemployment, destruction of productive capacity, a fierce offensive against economic, social and labour rights, environmental destruction, the advancement of obscurantist, anti-democratic and even fascist-leaning thinking and practices, a renewed militaristic and aggressive offensive by imperialism. We have a world with less justice, more dangers and less democracy.

This offensive by the ruling classes has been backed by the intensification of a colossal ideological campaign geared toward legitimating capitalist exploitation and oppression and perpetuating the system. Powerful mass media in the service of big business are massively putting forward the idea that the policies are “inevitable”, that struggle is “useless”, and that there is no real alternative. A huge operation is also underway to criminalise communist struggles and ideas, with even more historical revisionism, and seeking to deprive workers and peoples of the prospect of a society organised in a new way, socialist and communist society.

But it is life itself that shows every day how capitalism not only does not solve, it exacerbates all of humankind's problems. Capitalism's history is full of wars, of crimes against humanity, of suffering for millions of human beings, of economic irrationality and destruction of important natural resources. Capitalism has resorted – and still resorts – to fascism, to State terrorism, to colonialism and neo-colonialism, whenever its interests are at stake. Capitalism has maintained and exacerbated its exploitative and oppressive nature, and is unable to solve any of its fundamental contradictions. It is a system that must be overcome through revolution – urgently, so as to avoid jeopardizing humankind's very survival.

It is from reality, in our nation and the world, from a concrete assessment of the capitalist system, from the long road of struggle waged by many millions of human beings against exploitation, from the historic and revolutionary experience in building a new society, that there emerges – more topical than ever – the need to establish socialism as an alternative to capitalism. The road toward it will necessarily be demanding and complex, but it stands in the present as the future of humankind.

V

At the end of the 21st century's first decade, Portugal is a country of growing injustice, inequality and dependence, and of less democracy. This situation reflects an advanced stage of counter-revolution. It is inseparable from 3 decades of right-wing policies implemented by the PS, PSD and CDS parties, in the service of monopoly corporations and big landowners, and in convergence with the European Union's capitalist integration process that has been advancing for 25 years.

Liquidation of important April [1974 revolution] gains, and national surrender to big business interests are what lie at the heart of the gradual deterioration in the country – crisis, unemployment, liquidation of the productive apparatus, low wages, injustices, corruption, dissolution of democracy – and of a process to rebuild monopoly capitalism and to gradually mutilate and weaken the democratic regime.

At this stage in the country's history, Portugal's workers and people are confronting the biggest – in both intensity and scope – offensive against their rights since the [1974] fall of fascism. This offensive proposes to generate a qualitatively new situation in the balance of forces between capital and labour. There is an attack against jobs and salaries, there is casualisation, rising prices, destruction of public services, privatisations, elimination of important social rights and gains, wastage and dilapidation of national resources, curbs on democratic rights and freedoms – and all of these establish clearly the class character of the ongoing offensive.

The only reason why this offensive is not stronger is because it is having to confront the fighting spirit and the determination of Portugal's workers and people who are resisting and fighting it. The development of mass work and mass struggles, in particular by the working-class movement based on its class organisations – with the CGTP-IN [trade-union confederation] playing a crucial role – is asserting itself as a powerful and decisive tool, one needed to put a stop to government and big business goals and to clear the road to different policies: policies to serve the interests of workers, of the people, of the country.

It is against this road toward national disaster that is being imposed upon the country that the PCP is working and fighting. The Portuguese Communist Party is active as a major national force, with deep roots in the working class and the people, it is a necessary and irreplaceable party in the struggle to break with right-wing policies and for far-reaching change in the country.

The PCP's 90th birthday comes at a time when the mass struggle is developing through major mass actions – prominent among which was the 24 November 2010 General Strike – and giving a voice to indignation and protest against right-wing policies. The PCP stands as a determining force in furthering, intensifying and extending the struggle. We count on the fighting spirit and the involvement of workers, of the youth, of pensioners, of women, of farmers and small businesspersons – whose unity and collective participation can converge into a very broad social front of struggle to implement the demand for change in the country's life.

At a time when the PS, PSD and CDS [parties] are seeking to advance even further on the path of national disaster that has taken the country to its current predicament, the struggle for a change in the country, to assert other policies – patriotic and left-wing policies – and for a political outcome with a government capable of implementing them, is at this time a decisive element for Portugal, and is the only true alternative available to our people.

We need different policies that – breaking with the European Union's capitalist integration path and with the policy of subordination to big business interests – can assert the national independence and sovereignty enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic, and implement the workers' and the people's essential aspirations: raises in salaries and pensions and better living conditions for the population; protection and development of national production; State control over basic and strategic branches of our economy; implementation of a new agrarian reform to liquidate “latifundio” property in the South; more investment and support for public health, education and social security services; a fair overhaul of the fiscal system, to actually tax big business; an independent and sovereign economic and monetary policy; a policy of peace and cooperation with all peoples of the world.

Such a break and change in the country will be all the closer, the stronger the Party is, and the more fighting spirit the mass struggles achieve. This break and this change – while asserting the April [1974 revolution's] values – should move to implement an Advanced Democracy, as proposed by the PCP in its Programme. This democracy is to be at once political, economic, social and cultural – on the road to socialism and communism.

VI

The PCP's 90th anniversary celebration, that will span the whole country in the course of this year, will be a central point in Portugal's political life. It will assert – clearly and with fighting spirit – our Party collective's determination to continue the struggle for freedom, for democracy and for socialism, no matter what circumstances we may be confronted with.

The PCP Central Committee calls upon Party members and organisations to turn these celebrations into a high point in strengthening the Party's organisation in every direction – thus providing continuity to the “Forward! For a stronger PCP” campaign, specifically by enhancing the role of “Avante!” [newspaper] on the year it marks 80 years of existence and 70 years of continuous publication. Strengthening “Avante!” is part of our effort to assert communist ideas and vision for the future, to publicize the PCP's history and role in society, to develop the struggle against right-wing policies and for a break and a change in Portugal's life.

These celebrations are to be closely intertwined with the lives, the problems, the aspirations and demands of the Portuguese people at this time. They should permeate all the Party's work, particularly among working people and among the youth. Through their range and scope they should mirror the political significance of this date for Portugal's workers and people, and they should span the whole of 2011, with diverse expressions.

These celebrations will express our inexhaustible trust in the struggle of Portugal's working class, workers and people as a whole. It is a struggle that will – sooner rather than later – bring new policies and another path, one that can ensure progress and social justice for a free and sovereign Portugal.

The PCP speaks to Portugal's workers and people, reasserting its determination to continue the struggle for a socialist society – that can embody and develop the essential components of advanced democracy, and implement workers' and people's power, a society freed from exploitation of man by man, where the rights to jobs, health, education, housing and pensions can be guaranteed to all, and from which inequality, injustice, discrimination and social scourges can be banished.

With its unique past of 90 struggling years, at the dawn of this second decade of the 21st century, the PCP reasserts the commitment it has always had toward the workers, the youth and the people – its commitment to fight for freedom, democracy, socialism and communism.

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  • Central
  • Political Statements
  • Álvaro Cunhal
  • European Union
  • Nato
  • War

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