Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary, "Avante!" Festival

Opening Act of the "Avante!" Festival 2017

Opening Act of the

Welcome to the 41st.edition of the Avante Festival! Welcome to this expanded and improved space, erected and beautified with great effort, with creativity and art by thousands of militants of the Party, JCP and friends of the Festival.

There are many, particularly our guests from foreign delegations who ask us how we do it, how we mobilise these thousands of men, women and youth to give thousands of hours of volunteer and militant work in which everyone feels the Festival as their own, joining in a fascinating collective work, where work, culture, camaraderie and solidarity are expressed in a thousand ways.

Yes, it is explained by the Party we have and the Party we are.

It is explained because this is the Festival of the Avante! newspaper, always present in the most relevant moments of our history, inseparable from the history of the struggle of the workers and the Portuguese people. But the fundamental reason is because in Portugal there was a Revolution, the April Revolution, which for more than four decades has known advances and setbacks, gains and losses, but its values remain valid and topical, the values of freedom, social emancipation, work with rights, the role of culture in the civilizational progress of the people's struggle for a better life, of affirmation of our national sovereignty, peace and cooperation with peoples and countries.

In these months of building the Festival "we do not close for renovations".

At the same time, we prepared, built and materialised thousands of CDU candidacies to fight the local elections battle of October 1, contesting in more parishes and Municipal Assemblies, and in 304 of the 308 Municipalities of the Mainland and of the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores, affirming CDU as a great national force in local administration, as a unitary space where communists, Green ecologists, ID democrats and thousands of independents converge and appear with its motto and goal of Work, Honesty and Competence.

The Avante! Festival will be an important moment to give strength and confidence to this demanding battle in which the CDU is a necessary force for Local Government, but also necessary to give more expression and strength to our struggle for the restoration, defence and achievement of rights and incomes.
Yes, the CDU is need at the local and at the national level.

In this phase of national political life, the PCP and the CDU with their intervention, their proposal, their initiative, have made an irreplaceable contribution to the advances achieved with life proving that, contrary to the announcements by the PSD and CDS, the calamities and the demons that were about to come, were after all the valorisation of wages and incomes, pensions, family allowances, free textbooks for the first cycle already in September. Tax relief, particularly for small and medium-sized businessmen, was the decisive factor in improving the economic situation.

New advances such as the existence of a minimum of subsistence, which the PCP has repeatedly called for, have now been accepted restoring the fiscal protection for lower wages and pensions. It is a step, inseparable from PCP’s persistence, and we believe and insist must go further.

We value these advances but we should not deceive ourselves or be left numbed, since underlying problems remain and have not been overcome.

Fixation on public deficit cannot become the beginning and end of the national economic and financial policy.

Other more important deficits demand options and another course and priority, particularly the structural deficit of national production.

It is by creating more wealth, more national production, with more, better and more developed productive apparatus, that the Country will find the way out to solve its main problems and backwardness.

This requires liberating Portugal from the choke imposed on us by the constraints of the European Union and the Euro. And also not by handing to monopoly capital our best will the country advance and affirm its sovereignty. The most recent and most striking example, after the scandalous evolution of private commercial banking in Portugal, is the process of destroying PT [Portugal Telecom], the largest national communications and telecommunications company for the benefit of the multinational Altice, wiping out thousands of jobs, their rights and dignity, and relocating abroad strategic sectors.

One cannot proclaim the need to invest in infrastructure, research, technology and stand by passively watching the destruction of the largest national company with the most advanced technology in the telecommunications sector.

PT's public control should be a patriotic act and of defence of the national interest. And as for the protection of workers' rights, all the mechanisms in the current legislation should be used, clarifying and ensuring them. And to this effect and as we told PT workers, the PCP this week presented draft legislation in the Assembly of the Republic.

It is within this contradictory framework that the workers' struggle assumes an essential and irreplaceable role, based on their expectations, on their concrete and legitimate claims in companies and sectors.

Rowing against this time when there is a restoration, defence and gain of wages and rights, capital, in a concerted action by several companies, with multinational corporations at the forefront, attempts to assault working times and eliminate the civilizational progress of Saturday as a day of rest.
Solutions can be found that respect the rights of workers and ensure the development of production.

The workers will always have the PCP at the forefront of the fights that must be waged, to contribute to their unity in action, to boost and broaden their struggle, not just to choose a moment and drop it later following the winds of the Media.

Yes, the PCP will be there to encourage the struggle, it will be in the legislative field and in the scope of examining the proposal of the State Budget, with its initiatives and proposals, to implement much that is lacking and is set down in the current budget, much that is lacking in the restoration of wages, incomes and rights and more fiscal justice, and to eliminate what remains of cuts and freezes made by the previous Government, affirming the need for another policy, the patriotic and left-wing policy that the PCP proposes and for which it fights.

The Avante! Festival is a watermark of the Party we have and the Party we are.

A Party with its ideal, its communist nature and identity, with a liberating and emancipatory project that does not abdicate its objective and its struggle for socialism.

We share with you this humane work, painted in the bright colours given to it by the youth.

We declare open the 41st. edition of the Avante! Festival.

  • Central
  • Festa do Avante