November 2 and 3, 2017

Contribution of the PCP on the 19th. International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties

Contribution of the PCP on the 19th. International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties

The Portuguese Communist Party fraternally greets the parties attending the 19th. International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties and specially the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which meaningfully hosts us, in the city that was the cradle of the Great October Socialist Revolution, in celebration of the centenary of this major event of the historical process of liberation from all forms of exploitation and oppression, and the struggle of the international Communist and revolutionary movement.

The PCP celebrates the centenary of the October Revolution by promoting under the slogan "Socialism, a demand of the present and the future” a broad range of initiatives in Portugal - prominent among them the big rally to be held on November 7. We emphasize the universal historical significance of the first victorious proletarian revolution, the great value of the achievements of the new society and the decisive influence of the Soviet Union in the progressive and revolutionary advances of the Twentieth Century, as well as the present-day deepening structural crisis of capitalism and the demand for its revolutionary overcoming, with the edification of socialism and communism.

The PCP has carried out other diversified actions, in accordance with the axes of common or convergent action defined by the 18th IMCWP, held in Hanoi in 2016, such as solidarity with Communist parties facing persecution; solidarity with countries and peoples that are the victims of interference, blockade and aggression by imperialism; the struggle against militarism, war and for the dissolution of NATO; actions in defence of peace and disarmament, beginning with the demand for the end of nuclear weapons - among other important actions such as the commemoration of the Centenary of the October Revolution.

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One hundred years after those "ten days that shook the world", the international framework has changed profoundly, but Lenin’s theoretical and practical contribution towards the conquest of power by the workers and the triumph of socialism remains extraordinarily relevant. And if it is true that, as Lenin warned, it would be wrong to mechanically copy the experience of the Bolsheviks, an even greater mistake would be to look at the October Revolution and at Lenin's work as something that is irreparably dated and consigned to the Museum of History. No, the odyssey of the Bolshevik party and Lenin’s work, where theory and practice are dialectically intertwined - among other important aspects, regarding the imperialist phase of capitalism; the State and Revolution; the Party of the new type; the universal and the particular in the struggle for socialism; the role of the working class and its alliances; the diversity of paths to socialism - represents a brilliant legacy, an inexhaustible source of reflection, of experiences and of inspiration for Communists and revolutionaries across the world.

This is what the history of the international Communist and revolutionary movement fully demonstrates in fundamental aspects, and in the case of Portugal, the PCP’s experience has confirmed throughout its 96 years of struggle, namely in what regards:

- the building of the Party as an independent force and vanguard of the working class and of all workers, as a "great Party collective", profoundly democratic with a single general line and a single central leadership, rooted in the workers and the people, and theoretically based on Marxism-Leninism, understood not as dogma, but as a guide for action;

- the drawing up of the Party programme which, based on the experience of the Communist movement, is fundamentally based on our country’s concrete reality, on a correct definition of the stage of revolution, on the corresponding policy of social alliances and its expression at the political level, on the dialectical articulation of the struggle for democracy and the struggle for socialism;

- the conception of working-class unity as the kernel of the unity of all anti-monopoly classes and strata, the priority of shopfloors and workplaces in the Party’s organizational structure and activity, and considering the popular struggle of the masses as the main form of struggle, the driving force of the process of social transformation and of building a new society;

- the definition of the PCP as a Party for which patriotism (and the struggle for national sovereignty and independence, which we consider to be a fundamental condition to fight imperialism) and internationalism (in a broad and diverse anti-imperialist dimension, but anchored on proletarian internationalism and relations between Communist parties) are inseparable and one of the fundamental components of our Party's Communist identity.

As a result of the growth and ripening of the class consciousness of the Portuguese working-class movement, the PCP was founded in 1921 under the influence of the October Revolution, the Bolshevik Party and Lenin. Learning from both the positive and negative experiences of the international Communist and revolutionary movement, it grew and became, during the nineteen-forties, while in clandestinity, the vanguard of the working class and the leading force of anti-fascist resistance, with an irreplaceable role in the Revolution of April 1974. But it was mainly based on a profound knowledge of national reality and its peculiarities, analysed with Marxist criteria, that the Party's strategic and tactical line was drawn up, and the Programme of the Democratic and National Revolution was adopted, which, in its fundamental lines, was confirmed by the April Revolution in Portugal.

In the PCP’s opinion, this experience is an expression of fundamental Leninist theses in which the concrete analysis of a concrete situation, and the dialectical relation between the general and the particular play a key role in the elaboration of the political line and in defining the tasks of the Communist Party. If an exaggerated focus on national particularities has nothing to do with the Communist project, ignoring or underestimating them is completely alien to Lenin, who emphasized that "All nations will reach socialism, this is inevitable, but not all nations will reach socialism in exactly the same way (…)”.

With the advance of the counter-revolutionary process and the submission of Portugal to the dynamics of European capitalist integration, the reflection and experience of the PCP led to the adoption, at its 19th Party Congress, of the Programme "An advanced democracy, the values of April in the future of Portugal" considering the current stage of the revolution in our country as that for an advanced democracy. A democracy that, premised on the reality of the first and only social revolution in Europe after World War II which, although "unfinished", left deep marks in society and in the conscience of the Portuguese, is a simultaneously political, economic, social and cultural democracy, that expresses the interests and aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the Portuguese people; has an anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist class content; and where many of its tasks are already tasks of a socialist society. In other words, between the stage of advanced democracy and the socialist stage of the Portuguese revolution, not only is there not a "big wall of China", as there is a dialectical connection, to be shaped by the struggle of the workers and the masses, in accordance with Lenin’s theory of an "uninterrupted" revolution. Just as the Democratic and National Revolution paved the way for socialism (which is still today enshrined in the preamble to the Portuguese Constitution), the advanced democracy we are fighting for today is also an integral and inseparable part of the struggle for socialism.

These are, in short, some of the fundamental aspects of the PCP’s experience in the struggle to conquer power by the Portuguese workers, a condition for achieving their strategic goals, which are socialism and communism.

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The PCP has, for a long time, considered that there are general laws of revolution - like those concerning the importance of theory, the role of the vanguard revolutionary party, the role of the working class and its alliances, the creative participation of the masses, the issues of the power of the State and ownership of the main means of production, the dialectic between the general and the particular - but that there are no, and nor can there be, "models" and the paths towards the complete liberation from capitalist exploitation are very diverse, as are diverse the concrete realities in which the Communist parties and other revolutionary forces act.

The October Revolution ushered in a new era in the history of Humanity, the era of the transition from capitalism to socialism. The fact that we are living through difficult times, when imperialism carries out a dangerous offensive and the revolutionary forces are temporarily weakened, does not call this reality into question.

For the PCP this does not mean, however, that the conditions are met everywhere for placing the socialist revolution as an immediate goal and task. As the experience of the international communist and revolutionary movement shows, the struggle for socialism does not develop in a straight line. It is developed in stages, which are not determined by our will, nor by arbitrary decisions, but result from the study of the socio-economic characteristics and of the political system in each country. These stages may be more or less clear-cut, more or less interconnected. In the imperialist times in which we live, there is the convergence and even the interweaving of the national-liberation, democratic or other stages, with the socialist stage, it being possible to move from one to another, given the condition of working-class hegemony. The PCP keeps this well in mind, in the concrete situation of Portugal. In any case, the experience of liberation processes throughout the century that has elapsed since October shows that for a revolution to triumph in its goals (of national liberation, democratic or other) it must point to the prospect of socialism.

In view of the maturation of the objective material conditions for the socialist revolution – regardless of the form it may come to embody - the PCP believes that the great challenge confronting the Communists and other revolutionary forces, in global terms – the situation from country to country being diversified - is to overcome the backwardness of the objective factor, first and foremost by strengthening the Communist Parties. The times we live in are of resistance and of gathering forces on a world scale. This requires many sacrifices and much persistence in carrying out the laborious and difficult task of building strong Communist Parties, solidly rooted in the working class and the masses and having real influence in the life of their countries. For the PCP, this is perhaps the greatest challenge confronting the Communist and revolutionary movement, and much can be learned from the experience of the Bolshevik party. For the PCP, nothing can replace the patient work among the masses and persistence in the struggle in defence of their concrete and immediate interests and for the corresponding tactical convergences and alliances, with the awareness that neither this struggle, nor these convergences, can lead us to forget the ultimate goal, nor can we, in the name of the ultimate goal, underestimate the decisive importance of the struggle for limited objectives, or deny the evidence of intermediate phases and stages of struggle.

As stressed at its 20th Party Congress, held in December 2016, the PCP also believes that it is necessary to bear in mind that the difficulties and dangers of the present world situation, as a result of the deepening of all fundamental contradictions of capitalism - between capital and labour; between the development of the productive forces and the relations of production; between the socialization of production and its private appropriation; in a framework in which the tendential law of the falling rate of profit operates - coexist with great potential for progressive and revolutionary advances. That is why it considers essential that Communists should be well rooted in the masses, identified with their interests and committed to their organisation and struggle, and confident in the inevitability that situations of crisis, with a revolutionary dimension, will arise and for which we must prepare ourselves, knowing how to resort to different forms of struggle. A vanguard party will only be so if it does not live for itself, but for the masses. For the PCP, this is also one of the strongest lessons from the experience of the October Revolution where an underground Bolshevik Party became the leading force of the revolution due to its persistent organisational work and its deep links with the interests and aspirations of the working class and the masses.

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The PCP believes that it is a fundamental internationalist duty to contribute to recover and strengthen the international Communist and revolutionary movement. A contribution that requires, in the first place, its own strengthening and greater influence among the workers and the Portuguese people. In the PCP’s view, its foremost internationalist duty is to the working class and the people of Portugal. At the same time, the PCP seeks to strengthen ties of friendship, cooperation and solidarity with other Communist parties (as well as with other revolutionary and anti-imperialist forces), based on an exchange of experiences, the exchange of information for a common analysis of the international situation and on defining initiatives and common or convergent lines of action in the struggle against big capital and in solidarity with the peoples in struggle against imperialism’s interference and aggression.

Without ignoring that there are delays and difficulties along this path and despite advances that we do not underestimate, the PCP believes that the international Communist and revolutionary movement has not yet recovered from the hard blows that it suffered with the defeats of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Confronted with the violent political and ideological offensive of the ruling class - prominent in which, among other aspects, there is fierce anti-Communism, the persecution and outlawing of Communist parties and other democratic forces, and gigantic operations to falsify History and facts that must be opposed - and confronted with the probability of a long and protracted phase of resistance and gathering of forces, we have seen the development, on one hand, of tendencies to abandon the revolutionary project and adapt to the system and, on the other hand, of dogmatic and sectarian trends and displays of impatience and leaps forward, pointing to the seizure of power by the working class as an immediate universal task. A vast diversity of situations and tasks of each Party, at the national level, has not facilitated the development of multilateral cooperation. It is in this context that the PCP believes it is necessary to strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations and cooperation. The International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties can make an important contribution in this respect, bearing in mind the much that unites us in the struggle for workers’ and peoples' rights and for the revolutionary overcoming of capitalism.

In order to strengthen the international Communist movement and preserve its unity, the PCP believes that it is essential to respect the principles of independence, mutual respect, frank and fraternal debate for better mutual acquaintance and to bring positions closer, non-interference in internal affairs, mutual solidarity. The PCP is well aware of the existence of differences of opinion, even of divergences, which the complexity of the international situation and the diversity of national realities makes practically unavoidable. For the PCP, the problem does not essentially lie in the differences of opinion, as in the methods of work that do not respect tested principles of relationship. The PCP believes that attempts at organisational centralization or political and ideological homogenization do not serve, but rather hamper, the unity of the international Communist and revolutionary movement.

The evolution of the international situation highlights the need for the strengthening and unity of Communists, and between them and all revolutionary, anti-imperialist and peace-loving forces.

Faced with the deepening structural crisis of capitalism and in view of an extensive and complex process of rearrangement of forces at the world level, imperialism is intensifying its exploitative, oppressive and aggressive offensive.

Imperialism, in particular US imperialism, attempts to counter it trend of relative economic decline and to ensure, in articulation with its allies, its hegemony at a world level.

In this context, the exit of the United Kingdom, the growth of the far right, the ongoing militarist drive, among other important aspects that mark the reality of the European Union are an expression of its deep crisis and of an offensive aimed at strengthening its federalist, neo-liberal and militarist pillars.

This is a situation in which there is a growing danger that the most reactionary and aggressive sectors of imperialism will increasingly bet on war and fascism.

Solidarity with the peoples that are victims of imperialism’s threats and aggressions, and a powerful movement for peace and disarmament, are today fundamental tasks.

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At its 20th Party Congress, held at the end of 2016, the PCP reaffirmed its unshakeable determination to continue the struggle in Portugal for an advanced democracy, with the values of the April Revolution in the future of Portugal, as an integral part of the construction of socialism and communism. This struggle needs a break with decades of right-wing policies and a patriotic and left-wing alternative.

A patriotic and left-wing alternative that the PCP proposes, taking into account our national reality, namely the growing economic domination by national and foreign monopoly capital and the political subordination and economic dependence that results from the process of capitalist integration of the European Union.

A patriotic alternative, because the new course and the new policy must break with the growing external subordination and dependence and affirm national sovereignty and a sovereign economic development. A left-wing alternative, because it inscribes the need to value labour and the workers, the materialization of social rights and the social functions of the State, a fairer distribution of income and public control of strategic sectors, with a view to defending workers and the non-monopoly strata and sectors.

This course requires a stronger and reinforced PCP, assuming its vanguard role in close connection with the working class, the workers and the people. It needs daily work in defence of the interests of the workers, the people and the country, for the unwavering and persistent fight against right-wing policies and for the patriotic and left-wing alternative, strengthening the unity of the working class and workers, the commitment to the creation of a broad social front of struggle, for stronger mass organizations and mass movements, the growing activity of the anti-monopoly classes, strata and sectors, the convergence and unity of democrats and patriots, the combination of electoral and institutional action with the action of the masses, the intensification and convergence of the mass struggle, a determining and decisive factor to ensure the success of any project of social change that serves the Portuguese workers and people.

This course raises, as an essential issue, the need for an organisationally stronger PCP, with deeper roots among the workers and the people, linked to the Portuguese reality, articulating the struggle for short-term goals with the struggle for more general goals, reaffirming its Communist identity and its revolutionary project.

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One hundred years after the October Revolution, capitalism, plunged in its structural crisis, is revealing its exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature. Capitalism has nothing to offer to the peoples, except an ever greater accumulation, centralization and concentration of wealth, more exploitation, growing injustice and social inequality, attacks against social and labour rights, the denial of democratic freedoms and rights, plunder and destruction of resources, interference and aggression against national sovereignty, militarism and war which, in its imperialist phase, embraces all continents, endangering world peace and the very existence of Humankind. Capitalism is a system that is in permanent confrontation with the aspirations of the workers and peoples.

The disappearance of the USSR and the defeats of socialism in Eastern Europe had an undeniable and profoundly negative impact on the global balance of forces, on the awareness of the masses and on the development of the struggle for socialism. However, the nature of capitalism has not changed, and this reaffirms the demand for its revolutionary overcoming by socialism and communism.

The reality of today's world proves the importance and scope of the October Revolution’s goals and affirms socialism as a demand of the present and the future. The Twentieth Century was not the century of the "death of communism" but the century in which Communism was born as a new and superior form of society. However, this does not erase the recognition that the enterprise of the revolutionary overcoming of capitalism is complex, irregular and uneven, with victories and defeats, advances and setbacks.

Through differentiated paths and stages, in a more or less prolonged historical period, through the struggle for the social and national emancipation of workers and peoples, it is the replacement of capitalism by socialism which, in the 21st Century, remains inscribed as a real possibility and as the most solid prospect for Humankind's development.

It is to this process of struggle and construction that the Portuguese Communists commit themselves with unwavering determination.

Grounded on the firm commitment to the workers and the Portuguese people, affirming its Communist identity, honouring its nature and history as a patriotic and internationalist Party, the PCP will remain steadfast in the struggle for a democratic, developed and sovereign Portugal, in the struggle for an advanced democracy, with the values of the April Revolution in the future of Portugal, having socialism and communism as its goal.

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