Statement PCP Central Committee

Communiqué Central Committee of the PCP - 29 November 2001

(Excerpts)

I
A GOVERNMENT TURN TO THE RIGHT DEEPENS

1. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that an attentive consideration of the new and complex elements projected on the national political life due to the emerging international situation following the 11th. September attacks cannot overlook that even greater turn to right by the PS government, begun with the June government reshuffle, is one of the more striking elements of the political evolution during the past months.

2. Several government guidelines, options and decisions clearly show that, facing a growing popular discontent and at the same time subject to heavy pressures from the big capital, PS and its government knowingly and deliberately chose, in essential aspects and fields, to satisfy the demands of the big employers, deepen the policy of the right and the alliances with the right wing parties and increase its offensive against the rights and interests of the workers.

In this scope, the following are to be stressed:

- The approval of an exceptional constitutional review, based upon the PS, PSD and CDS-PP votes, initially meant to allow the ratification of the Statute of the International Penal Court, went further, replaced by a serious constitutional drawback on issues of rights, freedoms and guarantees, allowing extraditions even in cases of life imprisonment, allowing the possibility of an European detention warrant, ending the night home inviolability and establishing the possibility of forbidding the right to strike by professionals of all security forces;

- The approval, thanks to CDS-PP's complicity, of a Military Programming Bill, which does not take into account the real interests and priorities of the Armed Forces, bind them to options contrary to the national needs and which, following much talk on cutbacks in public spending, tie the country to more than 30 years of financial commitments amounting to several hundred million contos [conto=1000 escudos];

- The ongoing attempt, in the Social Mediation Group and concerning the regulation of the Social Security Basic Law, namely to - explicitly in answer to the demands by CIP [Employers' Association] - introduce a ceiling [on Social Security], thus creating a dangerous precedent of a corresponding diversion of public revenue to financial capital and transferring to private management 20% of the amount of the Social Security Capitalization Fund;

- The clear attempt of increasing privatisation concepts and guidelines in the health policy namely: the announced handing of the building and/or management of hospital units to the private sector, together with other apparently public solutions which, on one hand opens the door to private capital and on the other tries to impose local government participation in the financing of some new hospitals; the surrender to powerful economic interests in the area of medicines; the attack on the rights of the workers of this field together with the attempt to hold them responsible for the existing difficulties in the health care access, caused by government policy;

- The preparation of a new and grievous offensive concerning labour legislation, aiming to review and change the individual labour contract and important collective rights;

- The new steps and measures on the path of a complete extinction of the public sector in favour of big national and foreign capital and the increase of the attack on Public Services and the maximisation of profits at the cost of the users, namely the objectives of increasing the electricity prices and the tolerance to the project by the banks of creating a fee on the use of debit cards;

- The ratification by the Assembly of the Republic, with votes by PS, PSD and CDS-PP, of the Nice Treaty, which is a new step in the establishment of a federalist guideline in European integration, with severe consequences on national sovereignty and interests and establishing a European Union as an economic, political and military block dominated by the great powers;

- The presentation of a State Budget proposal for 2002 which, besides many grievous aspects, unequivocally shows and establishes government's clamorous yielding to the pressures and interests of big capital in the area of the recent tax reform (namely by completely giving in on the taxation of stock profits) and its proposal to materialize a vast offensive leading to a cut in real wages among workers in general.

3. Frontally and categorically rejecting the pressures and the ongoing operations to remove from public debate the more pressing issues and problems of national life and substitute the natural democratic debate of proposals and alternatives by a so-called national "consensus" and "unity" in view of the international crisis situation, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms PCP's clear pledge of combating the main aspects of government policy, of engaging in the dynamization of the struggle in defence of popular rights and aspirations and of continuing to work for a breakaway from the policy of the right and an alternative policy and an alternative policy of the left that the country deserves.

II
ISSUES OF THE NATIONAL SITUATION

1. In the framework of a clear worsening of the social situation, the workers carry out an action and a struggle for better wages, for employment and against dismissals, company closures and overdue in payment of wages, in defence of Social Security.

(…)

2. The signs of government yielding to the forces of the right and big financial capital on matters of Social Security, in opposition to the content of the Basic Law, constitute a serious step in the escalade against a true policy of public social protection.

(…)

3. The Central Committee analysed the economic situation the country undergoes. A reduction in the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a significant rise in inflation, which will reach 4.4% by the end of the year, a retraction in private consumption and investment, it being particularly relevant that this takes place in the transformation industry, the field with a more unfavourable evolution in investment (with national drops of 8.9% in 2000, and the prospects of about 17% in 2001).

(…)

4. It is in the context of the referred economic difficulties that the 2002 State Budget, recently presented by the PS government, subordinated to neo-liberal precepts and Stability Pact impositions, shows to be completely out of line with the present and future needs of the country and perfectly unable to face the economic conjucture. In fact, the Budget not only does not consider the needed increase in public investment but will hinder the growth of the internal market, due to the freeze, or even reduction, of the workers' wages.

(…)

In view of these central issues of the budget proposal, which are deliberately opposed to the State Budget guidelines presented by the PCP to the Prime Minister, at his request, the Central Committee has decided that the 2002 State Budget presented to the Assembly of the Republic by the PS government, will have the unequivocal and justified vote of rejection by the PCP.

5. The Central Committee denounces with worry the guidelines and recent decisions assumed by the European Union organs.

Under the pretext of the 11th. September attacks there is a multiplication of the appeals, projects and measures to deepen and accelerate the federalist course, the militarization of the European Union (the creation of an European army), the reinforcement of a fortress Europe and a police Europe. The European Union gives its support to the United States of America (USA) military operations in Afghanistan and, for this, carries out an intense diplomatic activity. A course and guidelines the PCP considers contrary to the interests and needs of the peoples of Europe, the struggle for peace and justice in the world.

The Central Committee also considers unacceptable that, in view of economic slowdown in Europe and the world, when Portugal and three of the main European economic powers (Germany, France and Italy) will be unable to meet the impositions of their stability programmes and the objectives of the Stability Pact, the European Council of Gand insist on economic guidelines which can only worsen the situation. Insist on limitations to the full use of budgetary instruments, enforce guidelines on the Social Security and the labour market reform (flexibilisation) and defend wage moderation. Demand the pursuit of liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation of public services (postal service, energy, transportation, creation of a single air space, etc.). Insist on the liberalisation on international trade, betting on a new round of negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which it already anticipates in bilateral negotiations, as was the case of agricultural issues in the agreement with Egypt and the proposals by Commissioner Lamy to MERCOSUL, and the opening of the community market to Pakistani textiles, with severe consequences and losses to Portugal.

The PCP also denounces the new institutional and political advances proposed in stressing the federalist course of the European Union. When the Nice Treaty has not been yet ratified by all member states, when the Irish people's unavoidable "no" in a referendum on this Treaty is yet to be solved, there are appeals and negotiations for a new Intergovernmental Conference with the aim of rediscussing the institutional architecture and deepening the supranational component of the European Union. Particularly meaningful of the intentions of the federalist forces are the projects around the affirmation of a legal personality for the European Union, the strengthening of the powers of the Commission, namely in the Common Foreign Policy and Security (CFPS) and the powers of the Council, of the development of the so-called process of the European Union's "constitutionalisation".

Also deserving PCP's firm opposition is the pretension to adopt these institutional changes under the framework of a process - a "convention" - which aims to condition and replace the sovereign decision by the national States (national governments and parliaments).

Guidelines which, once again tend to increase the supremacy of the great powers in dictating the Community policies and guidelines, a shameless demonstration of which was the "pre-Summit" held by Germany, France and United Kingdom before the Gand Summit.

(…)

III
International Situation

The Central Committee expresses profound concern for the brutal terrorist attacks of September 11th and the subsequent escalation of war, with the bombing of Afghanistan and the threats by the USA to use force against other countries and regions of the world. Confirming the PCP's warnings (Statement by the Political Committee, September 12, 2001), the USA and its closest allies seek to step up and extend, in international relations, an arbitrary and aggressive policy which is hostile to the rights of peoples and the sovereignty of countries, which violates the United Nations' Charter and International Law, which is based on the use of force, on financial domination, on an unjust international order, and which is geared towards a new arms race. International tensions and destabilization are being used as a smokescreen for the problems engendered by big capital's policies of exploitation and oppression, to strike out against the resistance and struggle of progressive forces, of the workers and peoples, to conceal the USA's long history of criminal terrorist actions and the very real links between big economic interests and organized crime and terrorism.

The PCP firmly condemned the terrorist acts of September 11th and expressed its solidarity with the people of the USA. The PCP has always had an unequivocal position of condemning terrorism, under all forms and pretexts. It is a principled position, which results from our very nature and humanist revolutionary project. Terrorism always serves, as is being once again shown, the goals of the most obscurantist and reactionary forces.

It is necessary to firmly oppose all forms of terrorism and the policies on which it feeds. Not with unilateral steps and initiatives, aggressive actions or heavy-handed security policies, which only worsen the problem, but rather on the basis of cooperation among States, with respect for International Law and the United Nations' Charter, within the framework of the UN and its most representative and democratic body, the General Assembly. On the basis of a clear definition of the concept of terrorism, rejecting the all-encompassing confusion of the legitimate resistance to exploitation and oppression, with terrorism. On the basis of declaring war to all forms of organized crime, starting with serious measures against money laundering. On the basis of attacking the terrible social injustice and inequalities and putting an end to policies of violent oppression and national humiliation which represent a hotbed that nurtures and feeds terrorism.

The PCP's Central Committee firmly condemns the bombings by the USA and Great Britain against Afghanistan which, with the pretext of dismantling the bin Laden network and "punishing" the taliban regime - which, in fact, were created by the USA and its allies in the region - represent yet more misery, death and suffering for the already tormented Afghan people. It is necessary to quickly put an end to the bombings, bringing the issue of fighting terrorism back to the political sphere and to the fold of the UN. The USA are cynically manipulating the emotion caused by the September 11th bombings in order to try and counter the Bush Administration's growing international disrepute and isolation, to impose themselves upon their own allies in NATO and the European Union, and to instrumentalize and by-pass the UN, under the cover of an informal "large coalition" which it has created around itself. The USA scored significant short-term results along this path, securing a green light for its aggression in Afghanistan and strengthening its military positions in Central Asia, a region of well-known strategic importance and extraordinarily rich in gas and oil. But these are precarious alliances and convergences, which contain disagreements and contradictions that the peoples' resistance against the imperialist escalation and the anti-war struggles will tend to deepen.

The Central Committee warns against the utilization of the international crisis to achieve goals that have nothing to do with the security of citizens. On a military level, with the re-launching of the arms race, the unprecedented invoking of NATO's Article 5, the serious decisions of a militaristic nature by Germany, Japan and other countries, the US' insistence on an "Anti-Missile Defence System", new pressures to speed up the EU's militarization and create a "European Army". On a political and legal level, with the adoption of new laws and measures, namely within the EU, that represent serious blows to citizens' fundamental freedoms, rights and guarantees. On an economic and social level, seeking to conceal the real nature of the economic crisis, which is simultaneously affecting the main centers of capitalism - Japan, the USA, the EU - , to speed up the "structural reforms" which benefit big business, and to throw their consequences upon the workers' shoulders.

The Central Committee reiterates the PCP's firm opposition to the involvement of Portugal in the escalation of war led by the USA, and to the use of the Lages [military] base and of Portuguese territory for operations of aggression against other peoples. The toe-the-line position of the Portuguese State represents serious dangers for Portugal and for the Portuguese people. It is necessary and urgent to adopt a foreign and national defence policy that is independent, patriotic, geared towards disarmament, peace and cooperation in Europe and in the world. Portugal can and must give an important contribution to peace and cooperation in the Mediterranean, for a fruitful and enriching dialogue of cultures and values with the Arab and Muslim world, to put an immediate end to Israel's crimes of State terrorism and ensure the heroic Palestinian people the right to their own independent and sovereign State, with Jerusalem as its capital. Without the solution of the Palestinian national problem, it will not be possible
to eradicate terrorism and secure a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

In warning the Portuguese workers and people about the grave dangers resulting from the logic of war and the threats of an aggressive escalation led by the USA, and about its serious negative repercussions in our country, the Central Committee calls for actions to defend peace, democracy, national independence and sovereignty, and expresses the PCP's support for the rally which a broad spectrum of social organizations have convened for tomorrow, [October] the 30th, at 6 p.m. in Lisbon's Largo de Camões.

IV
PARTY TASKS

1. The Central Committee stresses the strong and diversified answer and initiative of the Party during the last months and greets the militants and organisations for the work carried out.

In this framework, among many other aspects, we have to stress the success of the 25th. "Avante!" Festival which confirmed the top place of this unique political and cultural event in our country; the success of the National Campaign "100 Thousand signatures for fairer wages, more quality in life", an action included in the application of the guidelines to strengthen the organisation and intervention of the Party among the working class and the workers; the determining contribution for the development of the mass struggle around the problems felt by the populations, the workers and several social strata of society prey to the policy of the right; the realisation of a vast set of political initiatives (National and Sectorial Meetings, debates) on pressing problems of national life.

(…)

2. In this framework, the Central Committee points out the need to concentrate energies in the preparation of local elections, associated with the materialisation of other lines of intervention in answer to the economic, social and political situation, which converge for the Party's affirmation and growth of influence and among which are important: (the text points out fundamental tasks)

. Holding a vast set of meetings and plenary meetings of the Party organisations;
. The development of the social struggle against government policy;
. The increase of actions in defence of peace, against war and terrorism;
. The strengthening of the Party organisation;
. The materialisation of the Fund Campaign.

And as immediate central political task the local elections (…)

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  • European Union
  • Nato
  • United Nations
  • War

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