Statement PCP Central Committee

Communiqué of the Central Committee - 3 March 2008

The Central Committee, meeting on March 2 and 3 analysed the political situation and the effects deriving from the right-wing policy of the PS government. The Central Committee evaluated the evolution of the social struggle in its different expressions and, in particular, that of the mass struggle. The Central Committee registered the success of the Freedom and Democracy March in answer to the enduring and strong offensive against the democratic regime. The Central Committee launched the first of the three phases of the preparation of the XVIII Congress to be held in Lisbon.

1. More than 50.000 in the Freedom and Democracy March

An affirmation of the ideas of [the] April [Revolution] and of the strength of the PCP

The Central Committee underlines the extraordinary success of the Freedom and Democracy March, called by the PCP, held on March 1st. and which filled the streets of Lisbon with more than 50.000 people, communists and other democrats, in defence of the values and achievements of April.

The March – Freedom and Democracy was an alert to all the Portuguese people, to all those who aspire a future of freedom and social progress, to the urgency of putting an end to the attacks on rights, freedoms and guaranties of the workers and the people, attacks that are daily embodied by the PS/Socrates government’s policy of arrogance, prepotency and authoritarianism.

The March reaffirmed the right to the parties’ freedom of organisation, intervention and activity, questioned by the anti-democratic character of the Law on Political Parties and Party Financing. And confirmed the necessity of a wide struggle against the attempt to format and limit the existence of political parties, of interference in their internal organization, of limitations on their intervention and delving into their life and files.

Encompassing times of discontent and struggle around the country, the March gave voice to the workers who fight for labour and union rights, who are discriminated and persecuted for organising, demonstrating, striking; gave voice to union leaders and activists who are identified, tried and sentenced for siding with the workers in struggle for defending consigned constitutional rights, like the right to work, right to deserving wages, right to a respect for the dignity of those who produce wealth; gave voice to the youth and the students who express their strong protest against unemployment, precarity and destruction of public education; gave voice to the journalists conditioned in their freedom to inform with truth and impartiality; gave voice to those who fight for Freedom and Democracy and all those who are determined to combat the anti-democratic policies which corrode the country, increase injustice and hurt the dignity of our People.

The March protested against those who, in the name of "freedom" put in place securitary measures and exercise an increasing control and vigilance on society; against those who, in the name of "democracy", subvert the direct will of the people and political pluralism in local government, once again wounding Democratic Local Government; against the PS and the PSD who, connived in reviewing the Electoral Law for the Assembly of the Republic, aim their perpetuation by alternating in power and ensuring the continuity of the right-wing policy.

The Central Committee reaffirms the need to continue the struggle in defence of freedoms and, today just as yesterday, the PCP is the political force which, by its intervention, project and ideal, is able to unite and mobilize other democrats in defence of the political, economic, social and cultural democracy and of the national independence and sovereignty set down in the Constitution of the Republic.

2. Three years of PS government

A more unequal, unfair, more dependent, less democratic Country

The Central Committee analysed the three years of the right-wing policy of the PS government, which confirm a performance at the service of the great economic and financial capital groups, in blatant contradiction with the interests of the workers and populations, castrating the development of the country and a continuous alienation of the elements of national sovereignty.

A government, which exercised authoritarianism and arrogance against the workers and the populations, but bowed down to the rich and powerful.

Contrasting with the huge propaganda manoeuvres to conceal the situation of the country, lies the fact that Today Portugal is a more unequal, more unfair, more dependant and less democratic country.

At the economic level, the worsening of the main indicators was confirmed. The growth in Portugal remained at an annual 1.4%, which while emphasizing the divergence and backwardness of the country, is by itself, a proof of the failure of the government’s economic policy.

The country finds itself in greater debt, greater deficit and more dependent. The Public Debt increased by 20.5 thousand million euros and the Current Account and Capital Balance deficit worsened, with an annual rate of 8.2% of the GNP. Unemployment reached its highest level since the April Revolution. The unemployment rate grew from 6.7% in 2004 to 8% in 2007, in real terms affecting around 600 thousand workers.

Precarity, turned into rule in labour relations, constitutes a real social scourge, and today affects one in every four workers. The model based upon exploitation of precarious, cheap and low qualified labour has worsened.

The serious and grave threat of revision of the Labour Code, if its goals are materialized – arbitrary dismissals, increase of work shifts, end of collective bargaining, lowering of wages, generalization of precarity, attacks on trade unions – providing cover to the widespread trampling would constitute a breakdown of the labour rights set down in the Constitution born out of April and a return to the labour relations that marked the 19th Century.

The Central Committee considers unacceptable the continuous growth of the cost of living, where the price escalade – food, transport, energy, housing, and health and education services – has touched without appeal the vast majority of the population, contributing to a regression in the living standards and a growth of situations of poverty and social exclusion. According to the latest data, about a million and nine hundred thousand Portuguese are poor.

Accompanying the devaluation of the value of wages, the indebtedness of the families has become worse and gone from 110% of the available income to 124%, constituting a factor of asphyxiation and reliance on banks for millions of Portuguese.

The Central Committee draws attention to the contrast between three years of sacrifice imposed upon the Portuguese people and the profits obtained by the big economic groups. The hundred largest fortunes grew 13% in 2006 and 36% in 2007 and are today worth 34 thousand million euros. The net profit of the five largest financial groups grew 75%, reaching 2.9 thousand million euros in 2007 (the banking sector alone saw its profits rise 136% between 2004 and 2006)

The Central Committee denounces the process of the destruction of Public Administration and the reconfiguration of the State, increasingly placing it at the service of big capital.

In health, all the repeatedly referred problems remain: around 750.000 Portuguese continue without a family doctor, more than 200.000 await surgery, the health costs continue to rise, the problem of the shortage of thousands of professionals (doctors, nurses and other technicians) are yet to be solved.

In education, the PS government pursues its strategy of attack on Public Schools and taking away the responsibility of the State, aiming the privatization and elitisation of education and breathing new air in the process of reconfiguring our educational system, amputating its goal of a harmonized education of a person, an essential basis for a participation in the economic, social and political life.

The Central Committee draws attention to the continuation of the objective of the government’s control on the judicial power and the diminution of the public service in justice, driving away the citizens from the courts and opening the way to private justice. The new judiciary map now presented by the government, if approved, by emptying and closing courts, will make justice more distant and inaccessible to the workers and the people.

Also in the case of the armed forces, there are measures under course that will emphasize their hold by the government, namely with the announced creation of a joint command, while answering none of the real problems facing the armed forces and the military. The measures recently publicized by the government aim, above all, the continuation of patterning the armed forces on NATO criteria, at the same time increasing, their unacceptable participation in foreign military operations at the service of imperialism. The policy pursued, through the attack on the fundamental rights on which the military condition is based, is generating a great feeling of indignation and discomfort among the military.

With the new European Union treaty – which the government and PSD prevent from facing a referendum – profoundly against the interests of our People and our Country and with a foreign policy and national defence of subordination to the aggressive strategy of imperialism, the Country becomes increasingly dependant and the national sovereignty more threatened.

The Central Committee considers that we are facing a global and programmed offensive which, particularly affecting the workers, has a devastating effect on the living standards of the non-monopolist strata.

Three years later, the government faces a growing social and political isolation and a greater resistance and struggle from the workers and the People. The recent government reshuffling and the intensification of the government’s propagandistic action are a direct expression of its undeniable weakening and the diminution of its support base progressively caused by the growth of the right-wing policies.

More than thirty years of right-wing policies, of alternation of power between PS, PSD with or without support from CDS, of appearance and disappearance of new/old party names, always on the same course of social injustice and national decline, prove that it is not possible to answer the national problems without the PCP, an answer that will be as nearer and more viable as its strength is higher.

The Central Committee considers that in view of the undeniable failure and discredit of the PS government policy, the answer to the national problems does not lie in the continuation of the right-wing policy, but demands a democratic and left rupture which, in accordance with the conclusions of the recent National Conference of the PCP on economic and social issues, ensures a new course, a new policy at the service of the People and the Country.

In the present stage of national life, the Central Committee underlines PCP’s availability and commitment for a convergence among all those who, concerned with the country’s situation want a real change in policies and reaffirms that the PCP is a party which, based upon its project, its intervention and political action, its reinforcement and contribution for the intensification and growth of the mass struggle, is able to bring solutions, trust and hope that a country with justice and social progress, Portugal with a future is possible.

3. Widen and develop the struggle: the path towards a change in course

Faced with the most profound offensive against workers and peoples rights, the Central Committee of PCP underlines that the intensification of the mass struggle is the path towards forcing the government and bosses to withdraw their nefarious intentions, towards achieving a democratic rupture from the present policies, and towards promoting a change in course in the national policy, such that it serves the People and the Country.

In this framework, the Central Committee vigorously salutes the CGTP-IN for the success of its XI Congress, with its broad unity around its main conclusions, reaffirming its characteristics, nature and programmatic objectives, and for affirming CGTP-IN and the great trade-union confederation of Portuguese workers. A Congress that strengthened CGTP-IN and its action in defence of the rights and interests of workers, against divisive manoeuvres and the offensive of bosses and government.

The Central Committee values the number of actions of struggle and protest taking place in numerous companies and workplaces in defence of jobs, collective bargaining, better wages, better working conditions, and against the rise in cost of living and privatizations.

Faced with the most profound offensive against workers and peoples rights, the Central Committee of PCP underlines that the intensification of the mass struggle is the path towards forcing the government and bosses to withdraw their nefarious intentions, towards achieving a democratic rupture from the present policies, and towards promoting a change in course in the national policy, such that it serves the People and the Country.

In this framework, the Central Committee vigorously salutes the CGTP-IN for the success of its XI Congress, with its broad unity around its main conclusions, reaffirming its characteristics, nature and programmatic objectives, and for affirming CGTP-IN and the great trade-union confederation of Portuguese workers. A Congress that strengthened CGTP-IN and its action in defence of the rights and interests of workers, against divisive manoeuvres and the offensive of bosses and government.

The Central Committee values the number of actions of struggle and protest taking place in numerous companies and workplaces in defence of jobs, collective bargaining, better wages, better working conditions, and against the rise in cost of living and privatizations.

The Central Committee also underlines the diverse actions of public service workers, the demonstration of Local Administration workers on the 12 of March, and the call for national strike by the Federation of Public Service Unions and the national demonstration of unions of the Common Front on the 14th of March.

The Central Committee highlights the commemoration of the International Women's Day, on the 8th of March, and the actions in that context that give greater strength to women's struggle towards better living and working conditions and for their right of equal participation.

In a framework of strong limits on freedom of participation, the Central Committee values the national day of protest by high school students, on the 31st of January, when more than 15,000 students, from different locations, participated in defense of free and quality public education and defending a democratic school.

The Central Committee values the struggles of retired workers and pensioners, with demonstration scheduled for the 29th of March, the struggle of small farmers and of all other groups and sectors.

The Central Committee values the struggle of populations in defense of public services that are developing over the country, namely against the closure of health centers and for the right to health care, contributing to the improvement of the right to access health and the defense of the National Health System that is universal, general, public and free.

The Central Committee also highlights the importance of solidarity among all workers and the People towards the workers and populations in struggle.

Confronted with the announced intentions of the government in advancing with a proposal that will worsen the Labor Code, insisting on the degradation of the living conditions of workers, in withdrawing rights and deteriorating democratic life, the Central Committee underlines the importance of intervening, clarifying and mobilizing towards all forms of struggle and appeals to the participation in convergent actions that respond to this serious confrontation, this declaration of war against workers, in order to insure its defeat and affirm the defense of the interests and rights enshrined in the Constitution.

The Central Committee underlines the importance of a broad dimension in the popular commemorations of the 25th of April in defense of freedoms and democracy, and a significant participation on the 1st of May, with a broad national mass mobilization.

O Comité Central salienta a importância de uma ampla dimensão das comemorações populares do 25 de Abril em defesa das liberdades e da democracia, e numa forte participação no 1º de Maio, como grande jornada nacional de massas.

4. Strengthen anti-imperialist solidarity

Analysing some of the most recent developments of the international situation, the Central Committee:

Expresses its concern for the consequences the unilateral declaration of independence of the Serbian province of Kosovo - part of a process of dismemberment of Yugoslavia - may have upon the region, Europe and the World. This decision constituted a serious precedent and represents a further step in the subversion of international law and in the imperialist offensive against territorial integrity and sovereignty of States.

Demands that the government and the President assume a responsible and unequivocal position of non recognition of Kosovo's independence, manifests its opposition towards the involvement of Portuguese citizens, civilian or military, in the so-called "police and judicial" mission of the European Union, and reiterates its demand for the return of the Portuguese military stationed in the Balkans.

Firmly condemns the attacks and siege imposed on Gaza by the Israeli army that constitutes a criminal action of collective punishment of the Palestinian People, following the Israeli policy of state terrorism.

Salutes the election of Demetris Christofias to the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus, sends warm and fraternal congratulations to the Cyprian communists and people for this important and significant victory, and expresses its solidarity with their struggle for the reunification of its country.

Reaffirms the solidarity of Portuguese Communists with the people of Cuba and its socialist revolution and sends a warm salute to the new President of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba, Raul Castro. Denouncing the campaign of calumny, pressure and interference surrounding the elections for the sovereign institutions of the Republic of Cuba, the Central Committee underlines and values the act of sovereignty of the Cuban people, which is in itself and expression of dignity and loyalty to the ideals of progress, democracy and socialism.

The Central Committee also evaluated the evolution of the process of International Meetings of Communist and Workers Parties - whose recent Working Group meeting brought together 17 parties, in Lisbon - considering the great meaning that its stability and consolidation, and confirmed the disposition of PCP to continue to strengthening the process, noting the need for deepening convergence and unity in action, indispensable for the projection of the communist movement and its ideals on a global scale.

5. Prepare the XVIII Congress,

Strengthen the organization and the political action of the Party

The Central Committee discussed the preparation of the XVIII Congress, to be held on 29th and 30th of November and the 1st of December, in Lisbon. It also approved a resolution that defines the objectives, calendar and content of the three stages of preparation of the Congress, suggests elements for discussion among party members and in party organizations in the first stage, in order to arrive at a final determination of the essential themes to integrate in the Theses/Draft of the Political Resolution.

The Central Committee considers the preparation and holding of the XVIII Congress and the main task of the party collective in 2008. In articulation with the development of mass actions and political initiatives, the XVIII Congress should constitute a period of great participation and involvement of party members and organization in the life of the party, and a strong stimulus towards strengthening the Party.

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  • Central
  • Cuba
  • European Union
  • Fidel Castro
  • Nato
  • War
  • Yugoslavia

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