Statement PCP Central Committee

Communiqué of PCP’s Central Committee meeting of October 3, 2017

Communiqué of PCP’s Central Committee meeting of  October 3, 2017

The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on October 3, examined the results of the local elections and developments in the country's political, economic and social situation, as well as the international situation. The Central Committee of the PCP discussed and adopted the guidelines and measures for its intervention and political initiative and for the strengthening of the Party.

I - With the CDU, to continue the work at the service of the populations, with honesty and competence

1. The result of the local elections on October 1 confirms the CDU as the great force of the left in Local Government.

The confirmation of the strength of the CDU in important municipalities, the presence in the whole land, the essential preservation of its electoral expression, receiving 519862 votes and 10.05% of the ballots for the municipal assemblies, despite setbacks and losses, confirm the distinctive project of the CDU defined by work, honesty and competence, representing factors of confidence for future intervention.

The important positions in local government where it holds the presidency - 24 municipalities and 139 parishes, more than 180 if taking into account the parishes before they were merged -, the significant presence of the CDU in all municipal bodies - 171 councillors, 619 elected in municipal assemblies and 1665 in parish assemblies - are the guarantee that the recognized work, honesty and competence will be present throughout the country and that it will continue its action every day, giving voice to the populations, contributing to solve the problems, combating what undermines rights and collective interest.

We cannot restrict CDU’s results to the number of majorities gained; we view negatively the loss of 10 municipal council presidencies (Alandroal, Alcochete, Almada, Barrancos, Barreiro, Beja, Castro Verde, Constância, Moura and Peniche). Recognizing natural feelings of dissatisfaction and injustice, this represents mainly a loss for the populations, of the presence of work, honesty and competence that, although recognized, were not duly valued. A loss for public service, for the rights of the workers of local government, to defend the environment, culture, for democratic participation.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the value and importance of the work and intervention of the elected representatives of the CDU and their role, within the framework of the Party's general action, in defending the rights of the populations and workers.

2. The Central Committee of the PCP registers the animosity that accompanied the intervention of the PCP and the CDU over the past months. A systematic campaign of anti-communist attack that, under various pretexts, sought to revive prejudices, attributed to the PCP positions and values that its path and programme deny. A persistent action to devalue the role of the PCP in national political life, silencing its activity and initiatives, disfiguring its positions, attributing to others what was its action and direct contribution. An overt campaign to try to create "cases" and, without any basis, raise suspicions on the elected members of the CDU in order to target the proven honesty and rigour that are present in their exercise of public office.

In this widespread attack on the CDU, it is worth noting: the action of PSD and the CDS, which, based on a memory wipe out they intended regarding their recent past, assumed - as is well clear in the case of the PSD in Loures, a line of campaign based on intolerance and hate, seeking in populism factors with which they sought to smear the name of a municipality and the force that leads it; the intervention of the PS, which trying to blur any visible public confrontation, developed an action with its candidates and some leaders, particularly focused in municipalities with CDU majorities, attacking CDU’s rule based on false arguments and sometimes even offensive; the option of the BE to cut down the influence of the CDU as one of its main objectives, without sparing means to falsify and slander the CDU and Local Government.

CDU’s results clearly show that many of the people who during this period met us with words of recognition for the decisive role of the PCP in the defeat of the PSD/CDS government have not yet gained consciousness of the decisive contribution of the PCP in much that was achieved in the restoration and achievement of rights and that it lies in the strengthening of the PCP and PEV, and not in the PS, the possibility of ensuring that this path continues and expands.

The result of the CDU is also inseparable from the consequences, direct and indirect, of transforming local elections into national elections, and the significant difference in votes that is needed in local elections to achieve its objectives is well known.

Besides the weight of national factors, it is necessary to point out the consequences of the PSD\CDS government's attack on Local Government, which particularly affected the criteria and principles of CDU's local government project, which is characterized by rendering public service and direct administration in public spaces.

There are also local factors affecting CDU’s results, whether they stem from the arrangement of competing forces or the role played by voter slates, the persistence of unsolved problems, as well as a crafty and false struggle against “absolute majorities” conceived to take votes from the CDU and undermine its objectives.

3. The Central Committee of the PCP salutes the members of the PCP and the PEV, the Association Democratic Intervention, the JCP and Ecolojovem, the many thousands of citizens without party affiliation who all over the country turned CDU’s campaign into a great mass campaign, of contact with the populations, listening to their problems, of expertise and permanent dialogue.

A greeting to the many thousands of men and women and young people without party affiliation who joined the CDU, many for the first time, who viewed as their own this space of realization and transformation of the living conditions and to whom the Central Committee of the PCP reiterates the readiness to continue this intervention and the struggle to help build a better future and giving shape to the patriotic and left-wing policy that the country needs.

4. This election result does not curb PCP's determination to continue to intervene to respond to the interests and aspirations of the workers and the people. This election result, although not helping to strengthen the defence, restoration and achievement of rights, does not diminish the real influence of the PCP, the recognition that thousands and thousands of people make of its decisive action in the new phase of national political life, nor the role it will continue to assume, in order to stimulate the struggle, to build the path that ensures the economic and social development of the country.
The PCP will not be conditioned by electoral results and its action will not be determined by any objective other than the commitment it has to the interests and rights of the workers and the people. No circumstance will curtail the independence of the evaluation as to the necessary response to national problems nor will it condition its power of political decision.

The electoral results obtained and their negative exploitation against the PCP, places even more the need for the dynamization of political action and strengthening of the Party.

II -Affirm the patriotic and left-wing policy that the country needs

1. The struggle of the workers and the decisive role of the PCP were fundamental in defeating the PSD/CDS government, halting its policy of worsening exploitation and impoverishment, and opening a new phase in national political life capable of advancing measures to respond to some of the pressing problems of the Portuguese people, although short of what could be possible and necessary.

However, the country's situation remains deeply marked by the enduring consequences of decades of right-wing policies, enhanced by the impact of the options taken during the period of the SGP and the Pact of Aggression, by the external submission, by the growing monopolistic domination of the national economy. Structural weaknesses and deficits, great foreign dependence, the continuing loss of instruments of sovereignty, the submission to the interests of big business, the absence of an option of development based on the affirmation of national sovereignty and independence, place the country with the option: either to enhance this course or the liberate the Country from the chains and constraints to which it is subject.

In political terms, recent months have confirmed long-identified aspects: PSD and CDS with a retrograde, reactionary and revanchist action; the PS linked to options to defend the interests of big business and foreign submission; the BE with a practice determined by an exacerbated prejudice against the PCP, as was quite clear in the recent municipal elections.

The situation of the workers, the people and the country shows the need and urgency of an alternative policy. A policy that, refusing a return to a recent past of brutal aggression on rights and national abdication, also does not remain prisoner to external impositions and the interests of big business as the PS minority government claims. Portugal needs to make a break with right-wing policies, needs a patriotic and left-wing policy and the PCP affirms itself as the great force that carries this alternative policy that the country needs. The strengthening of the PCP, of its action and social and electoral influence is the most decisive element to build a Portugal with a future.

2. The most recent evolution of the national economy defeats the theory that equated economic growth with measures of worsening of exploitation and impoverishment imposed on the Portuguese people over the years and gives support to the need to further enhance the path of restoration of rights, wage increases, retirement payments, pensions and social aid, to respond to the pressing problems of the workers and the population.

The special increase in pensions and meal allowances for Public Administration workers, the introduction of free textbooks for 370,000 children in the first cycle, the replacement of free access to museums on Sundays and holidays in the morning , a family allowance bonus, a 25% discount on student passes, decisions that were implemented in recent months, or the partial replacement of the Christmas bonus and the full elimination of the surcharge on the Income Tax, which will take place by the end of the year, as well as the opening of the process to combat precariousness in Public Administration, the steps taken to recognize the long Social Security contributory careers ensuring the right to retirement without penalisation and reinforcing the Social Security rights of people with disabilities are an expression of the advances which, although insufficient and limited, reflect the possibilities opened by the current relation of forces in the Assembly of the Republic, with the decisive role of the struggle of the workers and the people and of the action of the PCP.

The Central Committee of the PCP points out, however, that the possibilities of economic and social growth and development are confronted with the submission to foreign impositions and the interests of big business.

With long-identified structural deficits - productive, energetic, scientific, food, demographic - Portugal is particularly exposed to negative developments at the international level, which will only be overcome by a policy that faces the constraints to which it is subject: an unsustainable debt, a drain on natural resources which demands the renegotiation of its terms, interest and amounts; a currency, the Euro, which is a factor of economic degradation and impoverishment and to which the country cannot remain subject; an economy dominated by monopoly groups, largely foreign, and which makes it indispensable to recover public control over the strategic sectors of the national economy, in particular banking.

The tragic dimension of the forest fires that again occurred last summer, the situation facing public services, particularly the National Health Service or public transport companies, the situation in which the privatization process place PT and its workers against the aims of the multinational Altice, the daily drainage of tens of millions of euros abroad, the offensive of the big employers against workers' rights, low wages and precariousness, injustices and social inequalities, are expressions of a reality which is incompatible with the delay and postponement of responses and solutions as the PS Government wants.

3. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the need to go further in responding to the problems and aspirations of the Portuguese workers and people. There is no reason to continue to resist the indispensible increase in wages, particularly the setting of the national minimum wage at 600 euros in January 2018, whose impact on the improvement of the living conditions, or on the increase of economic activity, Social Security, is of enormous significance.

Likewise, the PCP fights for an increase in pensions and retirement payments as a tool to recover purchasing power lost over more than a decade, for social protection in unemployment, for increase in public investment - health, education, transport, housing, infrastructure, science, forestry, culture - boosting economic activity and responding to serious shortages, for a fair taxation on big business and relief on the lower income groups, repeal of harmful aspects of labour legislation.

Options that should be seen as objectives of development that the country has to assume and that must be present in the drafting of the State Budget, and also with the aim of boosting the productive apparatus, adopting a state policy to replace imports with national production, promote reindustrialization of the country, take advantage of the existing potential in agriculture and fisheries, diversify economic activity and external relations, strengthen a sovereign development strategy that ensures a Portugal with a future.

III –Promote internationalist solidarity and the struggle for Peace

1. In a framework of the deepening of the structural crisis of capitalism, big business persists in its exploitative, oppressive and aggressive offensive, attack on labour and social rights, on freedoms and political rights, public services, national sovereignty, facing the resistance and struggle of workers and peoples.

In this context, the aggressive escalation of imperialism is extremely serious, particularly that of the United States of America, which strives by all means to counter its relative decline and impose its global hegemonic dominance, being mainly responsible for promoting areas of tension, operations of intervention and wars of aggression - in a spiral of confrontation that, unless stopped, will lead Humanity to catastrophe.

2. Following with concern the developments in the Asia-Pacific region, and in particular in the Korean Peninsula, the Central Committee of the PCP considers that action is needed to promote a decrease of tension and a political solution to the conflict, with a view to the peaceful reunification of Korea, respecting the right of the Korean people to peace and contributing to détente and non-proliferation and abolition of nuclear weapons.
Condemning the violent putschist operation and economic war by imperialism and Latin American oligarchies against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Venezuelan people, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms its solidarity with the struggle for democratic and progressive advances and achievements made by the Bolivarian Revolution, considering that the defence of the interests of the Portuguese community living in Venezuela demands a clear rejection of the destabilizing, terrorist and putschist actions.

The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the national question in Spain has to be viewed with the complexity of the history and reality of that country, and considers that the answer to this issue, namely in Catalonia, must be found respecting the will of the peoples and in the framework of a political solution and not in the unacceptable and reprehensible recourse to coercion and repression.

The Central Committee of the PCP alerts to the ongoing operations in the European Union that seek to promote new and more serious steps of a federalist, neoliberal and militaristic nature in the process of European capitalist integration, in the interests of the great powers and big business, which are profoundly negative for the workers.

3. The Central Committee of the PCP calls for the strengthening of solidarity with the peoples victims of imperialist interference and aggression, the struggle for peace and disarmament, for a sovereign Portuguese foreign policy that is not subordinate to the interests and strategy of the US, NATO and EU .

IV –Develop the mass struggle

1. The Central Committee of the PCP highlights all the struggles carried out in recent months, in defence of rights, to raise wages, against precariousness, against the deregulation of working hours and for their reduction, against blackmail and repression, for the defence of jobs, for the defence of public services, which led to successes in defeating the offensive of capital and advances in the area of claims.

Resisting blackmail and repression, overcoming apathy and facing provocations and drifts, the workers' struggle showed that with unity and determination, following just claiming goals and adequate forms of struggle, it is possible to win.

2. In the current situation, together with a correlation of forces in the Assembly of the Republic that creates better conditions for the restoration and achievement of rights, the permanent action of capital to increase exploitation is clearly visible. In this regard, we have to highlight the blackmail and repression by PT/Altice on workers, seeking to call into question jobs and rights under the pretext of a transfer of establishment, meeting a massive response from the workers. In this sense there is also a concerted attack by big business, with the multinationals opening the way, for deregulation of work shifts and end weekends, questioning Saturday as a day of weekly rest, meeting with strong labour struggles, like in Autoeuropa, Hannon Systems or Somincor.

3. The Central Committee of the PCP considers essential that the workers and the masses defend their interests against the current lines of attack by capital and intensify the struggle that is needed to further the defence, restoration and achievement of rights and represents a decisive factor for the materialization of the patriotic and left-wing policy that Portugal needs.

V –Dynamize political intervention, strengthen the Party

1. The Central Committee of the PCP values the action carried out by the party collective. The intervention in defence of the interests of the workers and the people and the stimulus to the development of their organisation and struggle; the institutional initiative; the political action, namely the campaigns «More rights, more future, no to precariousness» and «Production, employment, sovereignty, free Portugal from submission to the Euro»; the mass political campaign that the local elections constituted; the success of the Avante! Festival; the important intervention of internationalist solidarity; the implementation of measures to strengthen the Party - are integral factors of a vast action that placed enormous demands on the organisation and on the work of the leadership, to which the Party responded under difficult conditions of permanent silencing, devaluation and anti-communist intoxication.

2. Anchored on its identity and firm in the struggle for the communist ideal and project, the Party affirms itself in Portuguese society to fulfil its role. In view of the current situation, the Central Committee points to the prospect of a strong political initiative, affirming the alternative, developing mass struggle and strengthening broad mass organisations and movements, fostering intense action in the Assembly of the Republic and in the European Parliament, launching of the new mandate in local government, implementing the local government project based on work, honesty and competence at the service of the people.

3. In the coming weeks, the Party and its organisations are faced with demands in leading the process resulting from the process of setting up local government bodies.

The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance of implementing right from the start of the mandate the electoral commitments made and reaffirms that in local government the intervention of the elected representatives of the CDU will be based on the defence of the interests of the populations, on public service and democratic local government, safeguarding the values and principles of its local government project.

The Central Committee of the PCP sets as a priority task the measures that will enable continuing the intervention of the many thousands of people without party affiliation who have been involved and contributed to the affirmation of the CDU and its project.

4. The Central Committee of the PCP also decides in the context of the Party's action and initiative:

- Holding a national action of information and contact with workers and the population on October 26, 27 and 28, on the advances achieved, the measures necessary to go further in the defence, restoration and achievement of rights and the affirmation of the patriotic and left-wing policy.

- Holding of a campaign to valorise labour and the workers, setting the National Minimum Wage at 600 euros in January 2018, for a general increase of wages, for workers' rights.

- It also decides to continue the action to combat precariousness, as well as initiatives to continue intervention on issues of production, employment and sovereignty.

5. The Central Committee of the PCP, stressing the fundamental importance of strengthening the Party and stating the need to undertake work to implement the guidelines for strengthening the Party adopted by the XX Congress, points out the importance of the valorisation of militancy and the principles of the functioning of the Party and its practical application, strengthening leadership work and collective work, giving responsibilities to cadres, a strong action of recruitment and integration of new militants, strengthening the organisations in companies and workplaces and mass movement bodies, of local organisations following the political action of the local elections, intensification of propaganda work and the diffusion of the party press and measures to ensure the Party's financial independence.

6. The Central Committee of the PCP values the programme of the celebrations of the Centennial of the October Revolution, under the motto "Socialism - Demand of the present and of the future", and notes the importance of the final phase of the celebrations in particular of the November 7 rally at the Coliseu dos Recreios, in Lisbon, and the closing Public Session on December 9 in Oporto.

7. The Central Committee of the PCP points to a programme of commemorations of the Second Centenary of the birth of Karl Marx, which includes the commemorative Conference to be held on February 24 and 25, 2018. The Central Committee of the PCP also decides to hold the 2018 Avante! Festival on September7, 8 and 9.

***

The PCP, reaffirming its everlasting commitment to the workers and the Portuguese people, and its firm disposition to continue to overcome difficulties and hurdles, urges the party collective to, based on militancy, the basis of its organised force, to engage in a strong and decisive political intervention and ensure a stronger PCP for the affirmation and struggle for a patriotic and left-wing policy, an advanced democracy, with the values of April in the future of Portugal, for socialism and communism.

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