Statement by Jerónimo de Sousa, PCP General Secretary

“The situation in the country in the face of developments in the international situation, their repercussions and the policy needed to ensure national development”

“The situation in the country in the face of developments in the international situation, their repercussions and the policy needed to ensure national development”

The evolution of the international situation, the recent and foreseeable developments in the European
Union associated with other external factors must be considered in their full dimension together with the repercussions on the national level. The new US administration and its political, economic and commercial implications are still unpredictable, the break of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the new "financing" rules announced by the ECB, the factors of instability and persistent war in various parts of the world raise considerable uncertainty about their developments and consequences.

The situation of the country and its prospects of development show with undeniable acuity the need for a patriotic and left policy, capable of preparing the Country both in facing the external developments and the constraints that follow, and ensuring a response to national problems and affirming our sovereignty and independence.

The Country has experienced, in this new phase of national political life, steps taken in defense, restitution and conquest of rights that have stopped the path of decline and intensification of exploitation and impoverishment imposed by the PSD/CDS government. This fact, with the meaning it assumes, should not delude us about the limitations that prevent it from going further, both in the answer to aspirations and rights, and in the essential break with the constraints that are the origin of structural problems affecting the country.

The problems accumulated by decades of right-wing politics joined the consequences of the policy of destruction by the government of PSD/CDS and the Pact of Aggression subscribed by these parties and by the PS with the IMF, the European Commission and the ECB. Weakening of productive activity, disinvestment in essential areas, attack on the social functions of the State, destruction and delivery of strategic companies, fostering financial speculation and private banking accompanied by weakening the CGD, external subservience – marks and options of a process of exploitation and impoverishment with consequences and lasting effects that we must face and overcome.

Portugal was dragged into a situation which compromises its future. It is not possible to mask the vulnerability of Portugal against the factors of external context it does not determine nor is prepared to face. Variables such as the price of oil, the value of the Euro and the dollar or the pressures on food supply and energy, hang over the country as a threat. Devoid of monetary sovereignty and totally dependent on options of the ECB or the blackmail of rating agencies, Portugal is not only dependent on the outside but is, in fact, conditioned in the exercise of its inalienable right to sovereign development and social progress.

It is a dangerous illusion to admit that even subjecting Portugal, as is the case, to the rules and dictates of the European Union that serve only the political and economic interests of centers that dominate the EU, that keeping the country tied to a path of budgetary consolidation that reduces its response to national problems or that accepting the asphyxiation of a debt that prevents growth and economic development, would garner the good graces of transnational capital. The latest issue of Portuguese ten-year government bonds with interest rates over 4%, associated with the new threats of the Eurogroup and the pressures of the OECD for the so-called structural reforms and demands for greater "budget consolidation” proves the impossibility of defending the interests of Portugal without facings the issues of the debt and the Euro.

It is a dangerous illusion to think that in the face of increased international instability and uncertainty, the national interests are defendable within the framework of a strengthening of the European Union. For Portugal the European Union and the Euro entail brutal constraints in which the national interests have been affected, either in the name of the single market to the benefiting big business and the major powers, or in international negotiations by sacrificing national production in favor of other interests.

In a framework in which uncertainty and instability worsens, there will be no solidarity, a solidarity that never existed, there would be no favors, there never were. What we will have is a European Union at the service of their main powers, within the framework of international dispute and negotiations that ignores, belittles and sacrifices national interests. The answer, the only answer is to adopt all appropriate measures, including emergency measures, of defense and strengthening of sovereignty in several levels, along with an independent and sovereign foreign policy.

As PCP has insisted, the problem of the country is not a deficit, repeatedly used to enforce the reduction in public spending, to limit social rights, and attack wages and incomes, but an unsustainable debt that reduces the investment and consumes national resources and wealth.

The country does not have to be subjected to the brutality of more budgetary consolidation measures that atrophy its development. Portugal, excluding the interests on the debt, already has a primary budget surplus exceeding four billion euros. As PCP has insisted, what the country needs is to free itself from the subjection to the Euro and retrieve our monetary sovereignty as a necessary element – associated with the renegotiation of the debt and public control over the banks – to adopt a policy that responds decidedly to the problems of national production, creation of employment and public investment.

PCP values the progress and conquests achieved, inseparable from the contribution and the initiative of PCP. Progress and conquests whose achievement was only possible with the action and struggle of the workers and PCP’s intervention. Progress and achievements that only became possible in a correlation of forces in which the PS does not have a majority government. Progress and achievements that, beyond the government’s program, only became possible by the action and struggle of the workers and the people and the contribution and the decisive influence of PCP. Measures and advances that a majority government of PS would not adopt.

The PCP will continue its intervention determined by its commitment with the workers, the people and the country. Bearing in mind the possibilities and the need to satisfy their aspirations and rights, with no illusions about limitations, constraints and contradictions arising from the options and guidelines of the PS government.

Contradictions that recent developments evidence. Be it the confirmation of PS’s options that do not break with right-wing politics and that reflect their ties with big capital, expressed in particular in the agreement with the Employers' Confederations in the social dialog; by not eliminating expiration in collective bargaining; by not assuming the principle of more favorable treatment and renouncing the elimination of these and other serious norms of the Labor Code and the Public Administration labor laws. Be it the strategy that PSD and also CDS, pursue to whitewash their recent past, to give expression to their revanchist position faced with their removal from power, and trying to attack or condition the action of the PCP. Be it in the persistence of “regime pacts” or the promotion of “broad consensus” that in practice ensure that in decisions and structuring issues for the Country the interests and objectives associated with the so-called "central block" will prevail.

The PCP will not determine its intervention based on maneuvers or pressure, nor will it condition its intervention and own decisions by conjectural objectives and maneuvers.

Do not count on PCP to gratuitously discard possibilities and perspectives created at the political level with the new correlation of forces and to take as far as possible the defense, restitution and conquest of rights.

Do not count on the PCP to see in the workers’ struggle an alleged factor of instability, nor to contribute to apathy and conformity which restrict the decisive and irreplaceable role in the workers’ and people’s struggle to realize another course for Portugal.

The PCP will not compromise before the right-wing policy and the options that give it form, wherever they come from, will pursue the full affirmation of its proposals and project, and the fight for an alternative patriotic and left-wing policy.

PCP reaffirms its determination and commitment to the workers and the people, with the full conviction that the interests of the country require a different policy.

Given the developments of the international situation and of the European Union, PCP reaffirms the need for a patriotic and left-wing policy, and will give expression to its intervention in crucial elements for the country that assume particular relevance and urgency:

- launching a broad debate about domestic production and its increase, in particular ensuring food and energy sovereignty, as a condition of economic independence and employment promotion, with the identification of needs and resources, the elimination of constraints, the measures that will promote and stimulate it.

- the expansion of action around the freedom of the country from the submission to the Euro, which associated with the renegotiation of the debt, and to public control of the banks, will prepare Portugal to face external constraints, recover monetary and budgetary sovereignty, free resources for public investment, improve public services and strengthen the social functions of the State;

- establishing as unpostponable objectives the promotion of employment and workers, continuing the action against precariousness, increasing the minimum wage to 600 euros and a general increase in wages, against deregulation and for reduction of working hours, for the defense of collective bargaining and changes in the Labor Code and the Public Administration labor laws, including the repeal of the burdensome norms;

- the affirmation of a defense policy that is not subject to the objectives and strategies of NATO and the militarization of the European Union, in the framework of a foreign policy of diversification of economic and diplomatic relations, based on cooperation and peace.

The strengthening of PCP, the increase of its influence and its weight in national political life, the convergence of democrats and patriots, the development of the workers’ and people’s struggle are crucial factors to open new perspectives to respond to the many and structural national problems.

The strengthening of PCP and its intervention constitutes a condition for the achievement of a patriotic and left-wing policy that enshrines as essential objectives of economic development, overcoming structural deficits, of social progress and national sovereignty.

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