Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary

Message of Greetings to the 15th IMCWP

Message of Greetings to the 15th IMCWP

Dear Comrades,

On behalf of the Central Committee of the Portuguese Communist Party, I welcome you to Portugal and convey to you the fraternal greetings of the Portuguese Communists.

We are very pleased with the presence of so many delegations, in an obvious sign of the importance which the process of International Meetings of Communist and Workers' Parties has acquired within the world Communist and revolutionary movement.

Among those present, there are Parties which are in power and which place as their goal the edification of socialism, but the vast majority have come from countries where, as in Portugal, an intense class struggle is being waged, a struggle that is very demanding for the Communists; from countries where anti-Communism is an official State policy and where cruel dictatorships are forcing the revolutionaries to confront the perils and hardships of the clandestine struggle; from regions where imperialism sows war, death and destruction. You have come, even when domestic tasks of great importance also demanded your presence at home.

We are here, in this 15th International Meeting, united by the common ideal of liberation, by the common conviction that Socialism is the alternative to the barbarity of capitalism, and that the day-to-day struggle in defence of the interests of the workers and the peoples, and for the progressive and revolutionary transformation of society, requires stronger Communist Parties, with a stronger internationalist cooperation, which has class solidarity and proletarian internationalism at its core.

We are here to exchange information and experiences, to bring up to date our assessments of the complex international reality and of the main trends in international developments; to become better acquainted, with greater mutual understanding and stronger relations of friendship and solidarity between our Parties; to define lines and initiatives of cooperation and common or converging action.

In a time of imperialist globalization, when, with the disappearance of socialism as a world system, the capitalist system is extending its tentacles over the whole world and is deepening its exploitative, oppressive, predatory and aggressive nature, at a time when big capital and the big imperialist powers, despite their rivalries and contradictions which the crisis is making more acute, are closely articulating their class offensive against the workers and the people of the whole world, the cooperation of Communist and Workers' Parties becomes more necessary, as does their cooperation with other revolutionary and anti-imperialist forces, in order to build a broad and militant anti-imperialist front.

This process of International Meetings of Communist and Workers' Parties, which is not and should not be a structure, nor be subordinated to any illusionary attempt at homogeneity, is undoubtedly the most important instrument to facilitate such an internationalist cooperation. It is a process that we should, and can, improve, as will be debated during this Meeting. But it is a process that must be defended and preserved, consolidating what our practical experience has shown to be useful and seeking to solve any problems that may result from the very development of the process and from the need to ensure that it increasingly meets the needs of the struggle.

Each of our Parties has its own historical experience, has to struggle in very diverse economic and social contexts, defines Programs that respond to its specific conditions of struggle and puts forth differentiated short-term tasks. Confronted with the complex challenges that we Communists face, the appearance of differences of opinion, or even disagreements, is almost inevitable. We do not ignore the diversity of points of view which exist in our movement regarding issues of History, theory and revolutionary praxis. But it is the PCP's profound conviction that what unites us is much stronger than what may divide us, on this or that issue, or at any given moment. And that, with mutual respect and an effort at mutual understanding, there is no difficulty which cannot be overcome, through collective work, through a frank and fraternal debate and, above all, through cooperation in common actions that are geared towards the masses. And this is the main thrust towards the desirable convergence of positions and to strengthen the unity of the world Communst and revolutionary movement.

In Portugal we are undergoing the most violent offensive against the living standards and the rights of the workers and the people, since the days of fascism. An offensive in which domestic big capital is allied with, and subordinate to, transnational capital. The intervention by the IMF and the European Union, with the so-called “memorandum of understanding” (which we correctly call a Pact of Aggression) that was signed by the Socialist Party (PS) and the [current] Government Parties with the foreign troika, is heightening exploitation, impoverishing the Portuguese people and destroying the country's economy, liquidating national sovereignty, attacking the democratic regime and the Constitution which enshrines it.

It is an offensive which, in its fundamental lines, is part and parcel of the capitalist system's response to the crisis which it is confronting. The brutal intensification of the exploitation of the workers and the peoples and the ever greater tendency for parasitic rentierism is how finance capital seeks to compensate the tendential decrease in the rate of profit. When compared with other capitalist countries, there are some particularities, which result from the fact that our country experienced a revolution that destroyed State monopoly capitalism and carried out profound changes in the social and economic structure, which placed Portugal on the path to Socialism. Although the major achievements have been destroyed throughout 37 years of counter-revolutionary process, this “unfinished” revolution is still present in achievements, experiences and values - such as the Constitution of the Republic - which the ruling class is doing its utmost to destroy, but which the PCP seeks to defend and project into the future of Portugal, incorporating them into its Party Program.

The Advanced Democracy which the PCP proposes to the Portuguese people, as the current stage of the revolution in Portugal, stands in historical continuity with the democratic and national revolution; it has an anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist class nature and is an integral and inseparable part of the struggle for Socialism and Communism in Portugal. Many of its fundamental tasks are already tasks of the Socialist society.

It is with this prospect that the PCP is carrying out its day-to-day struggle in defense of the interests of the workers and the people, for a break with over 37 years of right-wing policies and with the process of European capitalist integration, for the downfall of the government and the convening of early general elections, which are a necessary condition to bring to a halt the current course of plunder and national disaster, and to open the way for a patriotic and left-wing policy and government.

The situation which we face is difficult and very dangerous for the rights of the workers, for the democratic regime, for national independence. But the reactionary government is increasingly discredited and isolated. Rising up against the anti-people and anti-national offensive, there is a growing broad front of resistance and struggle which, in these very days, is expressing itself in very diversified struggles in the workplaces and on the streets, with General Strikes and other large-scale mass actions, such as the demonstrations of October 19th on the bridges of Lisbon and Oporto. In this front, the working class and the class trade union movement – namely the CGTP-IN trade union central – is playing a fundamental role. But other anti-monopoly classes and strata which are also severly hit by big capital are also increasingly taking part. And in the recent local government elections, in which the PCP and its allies within the Braod Democratic Coalition [CDU] scored a good result, the ruling parties suffered a serious defeat. Practice is confirming that, as in other moments of the Portuguese people's struggle for its emancipation, the intensification and broadening of the mass popular struggles is the road to victory.

At the same time, it is of fundamental importance to strengthen the Party, by increasing its ranks, rooting it in the workplaces and shop floors, strengthening its links with the masses. There is no alternative without the PCP, and much less so, against the PCP. And the more our Party is rooted in our national reality and the more it is committed to its class and national duties, which are inseparable in the Portuguese revolutionary process, the greater will be our internationalist contribution.

We are a Party that asserts and defends with conviction our class nature, our Marxist-Leninist ideological basis, a necessarily creative view of the world, contrary to dogmatization, as well as to the opportunistic revision of its fundamental principles and concepts; our inner-Party democracy based on the creative development of democratic centralism; our mass line; our project of a socialist society; our patriotism and internationalism. We are a Party that, with justifiable pride, takes into its hands the rich revolutionary legacy of comrade Álvaro Cunhal, whose centenary we are marking this year.

We are a Party that is the product of the development of the Portuguese working-class movement, and which is proud to have been born under the impact of that extraordinary event that was the October Socialist Revolution, when the Russian proletariat, under the leadership of Lenin's Bolshevik Party, seized power and launched, with heroism and creativity, the construction of the new socialist society. In greeting the 96th anniversary of those “ten days that shook the world”, we are convinced that the path that we have treaded since then, with its extraordinary achievements and conquests, and nonwithstanding the dramatic defeats, confirms the need for, and the superiority of, the new economic and social system, and that the cause for which we fight is just and invincible.

In hosting in Lisbon this 15th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties, we wish to contribute to strengthen the world Communist and revolutionary movement, considering with great conviction that what best serves its unity is the respect for the principles of equality, mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs and mutual solidarity. We have done, and will continue to do, whatever we can to ensure the success of our International Meeting and to consolidate, further and improve the IMCWP process.

In the same way, your presence here, in a fortunate simultaneity with a major moment in the commemoration of Álvaro Cunhal's centenary, with the commemorative rally on November 10th to which you are all invited, is seen by us a gesture of solidarity with our Party and its struggle.

Comrades,

Capitalism is enmeshed in contradictions that cannot be solved within the framework of the system and which demand a revolutionary outcome. The crisis of overproduction and over-accumulation of capital which ecloded with the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, continues with no end in sight. An unprecedented centralization and concentration of capital and of power is accompanied by the brutal intensification of exploitation, the assault against wages and labour income, the growth of poverty, unemployment, precarious labour, the dismantlement of any existing social functions of the State. Big business and the big imperialist powers, first and foremost the USA, have not given up on trying to impose their hegemony upon the world, and daily sow death, destruction and terror in the four corners of the world.

But imperialism does not have its hands entirely free. Although unequal and irregular, everywhere the resistance and struggle of the workers and the peoples continues, often with major popular struggles as has been the case in Portugal and other countries of Europe; with novel processes of asserting sovereignty and social progress, as in Latin America; in valuable expressions of struggle against imperialist aggressions. And as the social basis of support for capitalism becomes increasingly narrow, so does the rejection of capitalism, and the need for its alternative, Socialism, grow in the consciousness of the peoples.

The situation in which we are living, on a world level, is an extraordinarily complex situation, which embodies risks of a dramatic civilizational regression and even of a catastrophe for Humankind. But at the same time, it is a situation that contains great potential for progressive and revolutionary developments.

It is a situation that confronts the Communists with great responsibilities, both towards the working class and the people of their countries, in which their rooting is indispensible and irreplaceable; and on an international level, with the necessary strengthening of their friendship, cooperation and solidarity. What the workers and the peoples expect, and have the right to receive, from the Communists, is a message of unity, of organized struggle, of revolutionary confidence. This is a message that no one else can deliver on our behalf. You may be certain, comrades, that the PCP will do whatever is in its reach to live up to this responsibility.

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