Statement by the PCP Central Committee of March 24, 2014

The Central Committee meeting on March 24, 2014, examined aspects of the national situation, the consequences resulting from the implementation of the State Budget for 2014 and reaffirmed the mass struggle as the key factor to combat the ongoing offensive. The Central Committee, which also examined aspects of the international situation, evaluated the work to prepare the European Parliament elections and reaffirmed their importance as an opportunity, with the strengthening of CDU, to contribute to defeat the current government, for a rupture with the right-wing policy and to defend the interests of the people and the country.

I - A course of economic and social disaster that has to be stopped

1. Three years after the imposition of the Pact of Aggression by the national and foreign troikas, the economic and social situation reveals, in its full dramatic extent, the result of a programme at the service of big national and transnational capital and the directory of the European Union powers. A reality which, belying the propaganda, manoeuvres and mystifications, reveals a country more dependent and diminished in its sovereignty, without conditions for a sustained economic growth, marked by growing inequalities and social injustice.

Lies and mystifications which, under the guise of an invented “economic miracle”, aim to conceal the concrete consequences on the lives of millions of Portuguese of a policy guided to liquidate rights and favour capitalist accumulation at the expense of the exploitation of the workers, massive destruction of jobs and impoverishment of the majority of the people. Manoeuvres and mystifications which, with the fiction of a clean bailout exit or the rhetoric of freeing the country from the condition of a “protectorate”, aims to conceal from the Portuguese the project of tying Portugal to a situation of dependence, through the same or other mechanisms of domination by the European Union (in particular through the Budgetary Treaty). Manoeuvres, lies and mystifications which, invoking budgetary consolidation and “market” confidence, aspire to perpetuate exploitation, wage cuts, liquidation of the rights to health, education and social protection, on a course of compromising national sovereignty.

2. Subordinated to monopoly capital and aligned with the projects of economic and political domination by the European Union, the government and the majority that supports it continue their policy of destruction of the living conditions of millions of Portuguese. The proclamation by highly placed PSD officials that the “country is better, but not the life of the Portuguese”, clearly shows the contempt for the living conditions of the workers and the people and the nature of a policy of exploitation and worsening of inequalities and injustice.

A policy of extortion of the income of the workers and pensioners, of plunder of the families and micro, small and medium-size entrepreneurs, of the imposition of new tax burdens on small and medium-size farmers, of degradation of the social functions of the State present in the 2014 State Budget, has already seen new penalising measures like the increase of the “Special Solidarity Contribution” and payments to ADSE [Public Administration Workers’ Health Scheme], which will represent a new cut in the incomes of hundreds of thousands of Portuguese. And, on the other hand, encourages and maintains privileges to big capital, as seen by the scandalous volume of tax benefits granted to economic groups (more than a thousand million euros in 2012), of a tax bonus by means of a cut in the IRC [Corporate Tax] which, together with a patent impunity in the prescription of financial responsibilities amounting to millions of euros of bankers’ debts to the State, are part of a process of polarisation of wealth, with the poverty of many and the wealth of a few.

3. At a time when a campaign of mystification is carried out to create the illusion on the “post-troika” period, the PCP alerts to the path of a lifetime sentence that they want to impose on the country to dependence and on the people to impoverishment.
A path based on projects to make final the cuts on wages, pensions and social aids that were presented as temporary; promoting precariousness and lower wages; worsening changes in the labour code (facilitating redundancies and weakening of collective bargaining) and the labour legislation in Public Administration; attack on retirement rights, public services and social functions of the State; chocking the activity of small and medium-size entrepreneurs and small and medium-size farmers; changes to the Vacant Land Law which seeks to take away from the users the right to its use, management and ownership.
A path based on the alienation of the productive capacity, transfer to big national and transnational capital of strategic companies and sectors through privatisations (Cimpor, EDP, CTT, ENVC, EGF, CGD, TAP, ANA, Águas de Portugal, among others), the submission of the country to the stranglehold of a debt that compromises sovereignty, prevents public investment and economic growth and degrades the living conditions of the Portuguese.

The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that, in view of an unsustainable debt (in most part illegitimate), the renegotiation of the debt – its terms, interest rates and amounts – is an urgent and patriotic attitude to ensure the right of Portugal to a sovereign and independent development. A renegotiation that, it should be remembered, the PCP has been defending for three years as an alternative path to the “financial assistance” and would have saved the country from the trail of economic and social destruction. In view of the growing numbers of those who today recognise the unsustainable nature of the debt, the PCP stresses that the renegotiation that is demanded should be determined by the interests of the country and the Portuguese, and not in favour of the creditors and “financial markets”, that is, a renegotiation aimed to protect the country from the usury of those who profit from the debt and not defend their interests. A renegotiation which, in PCP’s view, should be assumed by the initiative of the Portuguese State, in full possession of the sovereign right to safeguard national interests, based on a debt service compatible with economic growth and promotion of jobs. Those who now, in view of the evidence, rush to try to devalue PCP’s position (claiming its impracticability since it would mean, if materialised, the exit from the euro) want to justify their position of delivering the country into the claws of the creditors. Once again the PCP reaffirms its conviction that there is no exit “cautionary” or “clean”, for the problems of the country, without renegotiating the debt and a rupture with the right-wing policy.

4. At a time when on the workers and the people fall the consequences of a policy of plunder and pillage of their incomes, and also the announcement that this policy is to be continued and deepened for many years (at least until 2035, like the President and some others admit), the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the urgent need of dismissal of this government and call for early elections. A government and a majority that, in view of its growing isolation, insists on materialising their project of destruction of the country and the life of the Portuguese, acting outside the law and against the Constitution of the Republic, under the tutelary complicity of the President of the Republic.

The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention and denounces the attitude of the PS of complicity with the current government and its policy which, despite this or that spat or high-sounding statement, is expressed, not only in the abandonment of the demand for the dismissal of the government or support in such structuring matters like the cut in IRC at the service of big capital and the Budgetary Treaty, but in preparing to follow it in the goal of not replacing the wages and pensions meanwhile cut.

5. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of the struggle of the workers and the people as a condition to defend rights and defeat this government and the right-wing policy. The breadth and diversity of the ongoing struggles – be it the size of many of the actions held (especially the demonstration of the Public Administration workers, professionals from the Security Forces and Services, the military, the workers of the transport sector); or their spreading to various sectors and strata of Portuguese society (from workers to populations, from Security Forces and Services to the Armed Forces, of pensioners and students): or their aims (for the valorisation of wages and collective bargaining, for jobs with rights, against privatisations, as in Valorsul, in defence of the right to health, education or justice, against cuts in pensions and social aid, for quality public services, for dignity in careers and professional status; or by their expression and forms (strikes and worker assemblies, gatherings and demonstrations, public platforms) – expressing the growing popular discontent and indignation, represent the main reason to enforce rights and contribute to defeat the government and its policies.

6. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the role and value of the struggle which, under difficult conditions and in an unfavourable context of correlation of forces, has proved to be capable not only of resisting but achieving gains and making advances. The defeat imposed on the government with the preservation of the 35 hour week in most of the country’s local governments, the defence of collective bargaining in several sectors, the protection of rights in many companies against the use by the employers of the labour code changes, the wage increases gained and changes in working conditions, justify the struggle and affirm, against the spreading of resignation and conformism, the value of the struggles and their possibility of bringing results favourable to the workers and the populations.

The Central Committee of the PCP salutes the struggle of the workers and the populations that have taken place all over the country, in the companies and on the streets, stresses the development of the struggle in the companies and workplaces, and valorises all the scheduled actions and demonstrations, especially the demonstration by the working youth called by CGTP-IN and Interjovem on March 28, the demonstration of higher education students on April 2, the National Farmers’ Action promoted by CNA – National Agriculture Confederation on April 3, CGTP-IN’s action on April 8 in defence of collective bargaining, the National March of Indignation and Protest called for April 12 by MURPI – National Confederation of Pensioners, Retired and Senior Citizens.

In the year that marks the 40th. anniversary of the April Revolution, the Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of the popular celebrations as a time of affirmation of the values of April, its achievements and accomplishments, and calls on all its organisations and militants to carry out a series of initiatives to promote and explain their meaning in support of an alternative, patriotic and left-wing alternative. In this framework, May Day should constitute a powerful affirmation by the workers and people in defence of their rights and the demand of dismissal of the government and condemnation of the right-wing policy.

7. The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that the urgent rupture with the right-wing policy, paving the way for the construction of an alternative, patriotic and left-wing alternative, constitutes a national imperative, a condition to ensure Portugal with a future, of social justice and progress, a sovereign and independent country. An alternative inseparable from the development of the mass struggle, of broadening the action and convergence of all patriots and democrats identified with this objective, of the strengthening of the social and political influence of the PCP. A policy that is able to free Portugal from dependence and submission, recover for the country what belongs to the country, hand back to the workers and the people their rights, wages and incomes.

II - European Parliament Elections. Strengthen CDU, defend the people and the country

1. Strengthening CDU in the upcoming May 25 elections constitutes a key factor to lead to the dismissal of the government and calling early elections, to contribute to defeat the right-wing policy and open the way for a political, patriotic and left-wing alternative.

There are ongoing manoeuvres by PS and the PSD/CDS coalition, accompanied by the President of the Republic, to conceal the broad convergence of positions on the instruments of domination by the European Union to bind Portugal to dependence (from the Lisbon Treaty to the Budgetary Treaty, together with a series of instruments aiming to deepen the Economic and Monetary Union), as evidenced by the effort to try to conceal from the Portuguese the responsibility of these three parties during years and successive governments of right-wing policy. CDU presents to the country a truly patriotic and left-wing candidacy with an unmatched and coherent path in defence of national interests.

The candidacy does not hide behind worthless European issues disconnected from the national reality, to conceal their responsibilities in the country, nor separates the combat in the European Parliament to assert national interests with what, in our country, is demanded to break with the right-wing policy.

The candidacy that, contrary to PS, PSD and CDS, rejects the attempts to condemn the country to exploitation and impoverishment, either under the excuse of budget consolidation, or harnessed to the interests of the “markets”.
The candidacy that defends, in the national institutions and in the European Parliament, our production, our agriculture and fisheries, public services, upward levelling of workers’ rights and social protection.

A patriotic and left-wing candidacy that assumes, without subterfuge, that it is not possible to defend solidly and coherently national interests, nor affirm Portugal’s right to a sovereign and independent development without changing the policy within our country.

The candidacy that denounces the propaganda on «more Europe» to justify the deepening of federalism, and what it means in terms of alienation of independence and subordination of peoples and their rights to the interests of those who steer the process of European capitalist integration.

3. The Central Committee of the PCP calls upon all organisations, all militants, all CDU candidates and activists to create a campaign of explanation able to mobilise votes for CDU from all those who, hit by the current government’s policy, see in PCP and its allies the most decisive and determining force to defend their interests and rights.

A campaign that, giving expression to the growth and progress of CDU in the last elections, contributes to raise confidence on the possibility, through the hand and will of every Portuguese, of opening a path for a policy at the service of the workers, the people and the country.

A campaign that, by showing the reasons to vote CDU, can show that the more strength CDU has and more members it elects, more strength Portugal will have in the European Parliament and more strength the Portuguese will have to resist and defeat the government.

A campaign that, belying misleading bipolarising manoeuvres and deceptive affirmations on useful vote, explains that all votes on CDU count, and that no vote will be wasted in this higher goal of ensuring the election of more members committed and linked to national interests.

4. The strengthening of CDU in the upcoming May 25 elections constitutes a key factor to affirm and defend the interests of the people and the country, and contribute to defeat the government and its policy.

This is the vote that, unlike all others, is indispensable if we are to protect national interests: to minimise the negative consequences and the constraints generated by capitalist European integration; to ensure that all available means and opportunities are used for social progress; to fight against supranational impositions and limitations on democracy and on the people's will; to act specifically and in coordination with the workers and peoples of other countries in breaking with the European capitalist integration process and open the road for cooperation between States with equal rights within a Europe of progress, peace and cooperation; to strive for sovereign development ensuring that workers' and the people's interests prevail over any constraints or conditioning.

The upcoming 25 May election will be a moment when it will be possible – by voting for CDU – to support the manifold grievances present in people's struggles and protests, to continue the struggle to protect or reinstate lost rights, to become more confident that it is possible to have a better life in a Portugal with a future.

5. The PCP Central Committee emphasises the fact that a stronger CDU – in both ballot count and number of MEPs elected – will be the single most decisive factor in defeating right-wing policies and in backing a patriotic and left-wing government and policies, a necessary pre-condition to be able to defend Portugal's interests and sovereignty and to assert and bring to life the April [revolution's] values and gains.

III – New international develoments

1. Recent international developments have confirmed the PCP's overall analysis made at the 19th Congress, as well as the major trends outlined there.

Capitalism's structural crisis continues to mark all major international developments, characterised by great instability, insecurity and uncertainty. Even though there is a much-touted and widely advertised “recovery”, in real life it is stagnation and anemic growth that still characterise the USA, EU and Japan's economic situation, and fresh outbursts of crisis are possible.

It is in this context that imperialism's offensive against workers' rights and peoples' sovereignty is being stepped up, seeking to intensify exploitation, impose a social retrogression of historical proportions and re-colonise several regions of the world.

Cynically and hypocritically – in the name of “human rights” and “duty of humanitarian intervention” – imperialism has been brazenly flouting the UN Charter and international law, attacking States' sovereignty and peoples' rights, waging criminal wars as in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recently, in Libya and Syria.

The USA and its allies are creating more and more tension areas, and are stepping up their interference and aggression against all those who do not submit to their orders or domination. They are even resorting to extreme right-wing and xenophobic forces as shock troops, while waging wide-ranging and systematic misinformation and manipulation campaigns to try to conceal their criminal goals and actions.

2. The PCP Central Committee condemns the US, EU and NATO's brutal interference in the Ukraine: generating destabilisation and organising a coup d'etat, supporting fascist and neo-nazi forces, and taking advantage of the discontentment that exists among large sections of Ukraine's population as a result of the social and economic disaster brought about by the restoration of capitalism there.

The PCP Central Committee alerts to the danger posed by the advances made – even participation in a government that was hastily recognised by imperialism – by fascist and neo-nazi forces in the Ukraine. Their intimidation and repression campaign and their raids against institutions, are a serious threat against democracy, rights and freedoms, and against that country's integrity. The PCP Central Committee most vehemently condemns the attacks perpetrated against members, leaders and facilities of the Communist Party of Ukraine and other political organisations and forces, as well as the attempts to limit or even outlaw their activity.

The PCP Central Committee calls attention to the dangerous new level attained by the strategy of encirclement, tension and destabilisation against the Russian Federation. Regardless of its capitalist nature, it is a target for the USA, EU and NATO in what constitutes a growing threat to security and peace in Europe and worldwide.

3. The PCP Central Committee vehemently condemns all acts of violence and vandalism perpetrated by fascist-type groups in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. We denounce the anti-democratic and coup-mongering goals of yet another economic boycott and destabilisation campaign currently being waged by Venezuela's counter-revolutionary forces, in coordination with, and supported by, US imperialism.

The PCP Central Committee extends its solidarity to the Venezuelan people, to the forces that have joined up in the Grande Polo Patriotico. We support their struggle to protect the major social gains that have been achieved and to continue and further the Bolivarian Revolution.

4. The PCP Central Committee analysed recent developments in the European Union and highlighted the contradiction between the “crisis is ending”/”European economy is recovering” campaign (necessitated by the upcoming elections) and the deep economic and social crisis that is affecting all EU member states. This campaign's intent is to – using “exiting the crisis” as an excuse – support strengthened neo-liberal and federalist pillars in the European Union. This was openly stated by the European Council of 20-21 March, when it reasserted that Economic Governance and a Budget Treaty should be imposed through “national reform programmes” as part of the European Semester, and when tied the the so-called “strengthening the industrial base” to the Strategy 2020 guidelines with its even greater labour deregulation and privatisation of public services and of States' social functions.

The PCP Central Committee considers that the agreement reached between the European Parliament majority and the Council, concerning the Single Bank Resolution Fund – as part of the Banking Union project and as an attempt to tighten Economic and Monetary Union – constitutes a new onslaught against States' sovereignty in the management of a sector that is essential to their national economies. This agreement is one more step forward in the banking sector concentration and centralisation process. It deprives States of power to intervene in it, and amounts to a manoeuvre to centralise and launder the continuing process of financing banking and finance capital at the expense of salaries and public resources. The agreement reached – and enthusiastically supported by Portugal's PS, PSD and CDS parties – will bring very negative consequences to add to those already being suffered by Portuguese workers and people. This is a result of the loss of sovereignty over monetary and budget policies, that seeks to bind our nation even more tightly to a path that seriously jeopardises national independence and the right of Portugal's people to sovereign development.

5. The worrying developments in the international situation have highlighted the fact that, confronted with imperialism's offensive, workers and peoples are fighting back, to protect their rights, interests and yearnings. They also highlight the fact that while the dangers are great, there is also real potential to resist imperialism and to develop the struggle into processes that involve progressive – and even revolutionary – change.

All over the world, workers and peoples are fighting back, resisting and inflicting defeats on imperialism, and even making advances on the road toward social and national liberation.

The PCP Central Committee values the struggles that have been taking place, specifically in Europe, as well as the progressive processes that are asserting themselves in Latin America. An example of this is the FLMN's – Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front – victory in the recent El Salvador election.

In a year that marks 100 years since the beginning of World War I and 75 since the beginning of World War II – with imperialism on the offensive and with fascist forces rekindling their efforts – it has become especially important to step up the struggle for peace, against imperialism's wars and fascism.

To resist the imperialist offensive and develop the struggle, it has become even more necessary to have stronger and closer cooperation within the International Communist and Revolutionary Movement and, in connection with it, within the anti-imperialist front.

IV – For a stronger PCP: more organisation, more participation, greater influence

1. In the midst of the tidal wave of exploitation and impoverishment – engendered by right-wing policies, by the PECs [three “stability and growth programmes” measures that preceded the troika in Portugal] and by the Aggression Pact [the pact signed between the EU/IMF/ECB troika and Portugal's PS/PSD/CDS parties] – the Portuguese Communist Party has stood out once again as the Party on which workers and the people can count. It is the major opposition force confronting this cabinet and the double-troika's (the foreign troika and the troika of domestic parties). The PCP is the major force standing for an alternative.

The Party was and is in action on all fronts. It launched a nation-wide campaign focused on carrying forth the April [1974 revolution's] values and on asserting the need for patriotic and left-wing policies, dismissal of the cabinet and a break with right-wing policies. It promoted the “Defeat the government, recover stolen salaries and rights” campaign. It coordinated its political work – its decisive contribution toward the development of mass struggles – with its work within the Assembly of the Republic [parliament], the European Parliament and local governments, in defence of wokers' and people's rights. It organised the commemoration of Álvaro Cunhal's birth centennial – a tribute to his life, thinking and struggle, as an example that lives on into the present and the future, with great impact on Portuguese society. It initiated the April Revolution's 40th anniversary commemoration. It publicised even further its programme, for advanced democracy with the April values in Portugal's future while asserting socialism and communism as its goals – through diverse well-participated events, in a wide-ranging set of initiatives as part of the Party's 93rd Anniversary.

2. Considering the current more demanding situation, and confirming its trust in the Party's abilities and in the strength of workers and the people, the Central Committee confirms our line and priority tasks for the near future:

- Dynamise our political work, with the key goals of dismissing the cabinet, an early election, a break with right-wing policies and the emergence of a patriotic and left-wing government for national independence and sovereignty;

- fostering the mass struggle's development, with special emphasis on the 25 April [revolution's] 40th anniversary commemoration and the great 1 May national day of action being organised by the CGTP-IN [trade-union confederation];

- implementing a large number of initiatives to mark the 25 April [revolution's] 40th anniversary, among which are the Series of Debates on “The April values in Portugal's future” that will begin on 2 April with the debate on “The Constitution of the Republic – a blueprint for development and national sovereignty” and the two major CDU-organised [CDU= electoral coalition to which the PCP belongs] events, on 26 April in the Oporto area (Vila do Conde municipality) and on 27 April in the Lisbon area (Loures municipality), as well as others, that envisage asserting the April 25th values and gains and their meaningfulness as key pillars in creating a progressive, developed and sovereign Portugal;

- organising an intensive, broad and far-reaching awareness-raising campaign and mobilisation for a CDU vote in the upcoming European Parliament election on 25 May, to ensure the election of more MEPs to uphold the rights of workers, of our people and our country in the EP, as well as to express a clear-cut stance of indignation and protest, demanding an end to this cabinet and the emergence of a patriotic and left-wing alternative;

- organising major CDU days of action on 2, 3 and 4 May to contact workers and the population at large, to raise awareness, engage in dialogue and mobilisation, as part of the fight-back required in the current situation and in preparation of the EP election;

- work to strengthen mass unity movements and organisations, in particular the unitary trade-union movement;
work to develop unity-based political work, fostering the convergence of democrats and patriots for a break with right-wing policies;

- contribute toward the success of the 10th JCP [communist youth] Congress, to be held on 5-6 April with the slogan “Forward with April – Organise, fight, change”;

- preparatory work for the 38th “Avante!” Festival, to be held on 5, 6 and 7 September 2014;

- continue to work toward strengthening the international communist and revolutionary movement and the anti-imperialist front, developing solidarity with peoples engaged in the struggle, while stepping up our work for peace and cooperation among peoples.

3. The Central Committee considers that implementing the 19th Congress guidelines – as set out in its Resolution on 15-16 December “More organisation, more participation, greater influence: a stronger PCP” – is a key task for all.

Prominent in this respect is the work to contact all Party members to enhance their participation, to hand out the new Party Card and update their data. It began early last March and will be an extremely important tool to be able to strengthen the Party, as decided by the last Central Committee meeting, to move forward as required in the 5 major lines set out:

- Work to enhance leadership work, militancy and extend responsibilities to more members;

- implement the “April Values in Portugal's Future” recruitment drive, for two thousand new members by April 2015;

- work to give more clout to mass struggles and political work, to better structure the organisation and improve its operation, which implies: assigning priority to improving the Party's organisation and work among the working class and all working people, on the shop floors and in workplaces; dynamise local organisations, improve their structure, their local initiative, and their closeness to the masses of the people; foster the organisation of retired and pensioner members, with a structure that can contribute to organise and improve the fighting ability of the retirees', pensioners' and elderly persons' unity movement; step up work and organisation in the cultural sector and among intellectuals and technical workers in their very diverse areas; improve work among the youth and strengthen JCP; enhance our work and adopt organisational measures and cadre-building measures among micro, small and medium businesspersons and among small and medium farmers, taking new steps to expand their movements and struggles; develop and structure Party work among other sections of the population, social strata, and specific work areas, in particular through unity-building political work;

- take measures to enhance the Party's resources for action and work, in terms of Party media, information and propaganda;
organise actions to defend and strengthen the Party's financial independence.

The PCP Central Comittee reiterates its trust in that – with the strength and determination of workers' and people's struggles, with convergent action among all patriots and democrats, with a strengthened and more influential Party organisation – it is possible to defeat this government and right-wing policies and open the road toward building alternative, patriotic and left-wing policies, toward asserting the Advanced Democracy programme – with the April values in Portugal's future and with socialism and communism on the horizon.

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  • Álvaro Cunhal
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  • Venezuela
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