Statement of the PCP’s Central Committee Meeting, on November 8, 2015

Statement of the PCP’s Central Committee Meeting, on November 8, 2015

The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on the November 8, 2015, examined the developments of the political framework resulting from the October 4 elections and the economic and social situation that the workers and the people are facing; identified the development of the mass struggle as a central feature to ensure the raising of the living standards and emphasized the strategic importance of materializing the lines of strengthening the Party, its link with the masses and the immediate political tasks, namely the presidential elections

I

1. The legislative elections confirmed what for long the workers and the people have been maintaining with their struggle - the defeat of the PSD/CDS-PP and its policy. A policy whose consequences continue to mark the lives of the workers, the people and the country and which the economic and financial groups want to see continued, being its stakeholders and beneficiaries.

2. The manipulating campaign on the election results, the decision of the President of the Republic of nomination Passos Coelho to form government, associated with the seriousness of the contents of his address to the country, represent features of a concerted action that tries to keep the country subordinated to the interests of monopoly capital and to the capitalist European integration.
The Central Committee denounces the deplorable attitude of the President who positioned himself as a representative of PSD and CDS-PP and representative agent of the interests of big business having decided, in defiance of the conclusions to be drawn after hearing the parties with parliamentary representation, to nominate the PSD leader as prime minister.

Cavaco Silva’s speech is yet another example of the assumed confrontation with the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, which has characterised his political career and his presidential mandates, subverting the foundations of the democratic regime and exposing the country to an attitude of humiliating foreign subservience.

Cavaco Silva’s speech is associated with the development of a brutal ideological offensive during the last month, with various champions and under various forms, focused its action to attack the PCP and resorted to blackmail, fear, lies and demagoguery.

The Central Committee does not recognize in Cavaco Silva neither political legitimacy nor democratic dimension to elaborate about the role and the course of the PCP as an essential Party in the establishment of the democratic regime, in Portuguese democracy and in national political life and condemns his posture of support for a government and a policy that has disseminated a trail of destruction in the country.

3. A trail of destruction whose consequences become clearer with the economic and social situation colliding with the deceptions, lies, propaganda and demagoguery carried out by the government.
What the current situation shows is that real unemployment reaches over one million hundred thousand Portuguese; that the new labour contracts are 80% precarious; the harsh reality of non-independent workers and in particular those 20% who earn a salary lower than the national minimum wage; the overwhelming majority of pensions below the poverty line; the cuts, according to the data of budget implementation, in costs on social benefits of 520 million euros in the first nine months of 2015; the two million eight hundred thousand Portuguese at risk of poverty, according to INE (National Bureau of Statistics) data; the high degree of weakening of the productive apparatus and increasing dominance of strategic decision centres by foreigners; a 6.5% drop in production that will not be restored even in 2017; a fall in global investment of 30% and 50% in public investment with heavy and serious future consequences; the unsustainable public debt; the huge scam of a promised devolution of 35.3% of the IRS ( Personal Income Tax) surcharge and the prospect of new and substantial aid to the banks.

The Central Committee of the PCP denounces, also, the illegitimate and abusive decision of a government limited to the current management, to involve the state as a guarantor of debts that may result from the ruinous process of handing TAP to big business. It should also be noted, revealing the level of promiscuity with monopoly capital, that the former Secretary of State for Transport, who led the concession and privatisation processes of companies in this sector, has now been hired by the Bank of Portugal to conduct the handing of the Novo Banco.

4. A social and economic reality that PSD and CDS-PP wish to maintain and worsen, a point that became quite clear with the Programme of the government presented on November 6.

Ignoring the persisting serious structural problems of the country, insisting on the misconception that their policy has led to a path of economic recovery, repeating empty proclamations regarding solving social problems like unemployment or poverty and seeking to evade the reality of increasing difficulties affecting the workers and the people, what the PSD/CDS-PP government presents is the prospect of continuing and intensifying the policy that worsened exploitation and impoverishment, deepened injustice and inequalities and imposed the degradation of the democratic regime.

PSD and CDS-PP are still trying to redeem themselves from the electoral defeat they suffered by incorporating in the Government Programme measures and promises aimed at creating the illusion that now they would be able and willing to invert the direction of their policy by reversing some of the decisions that hit the workers and the people over the past four years.

However, confirming the objective of PSD and CDS-PP to continue their policy of exploitation and impoverishment, the Government Programme confirms the many strong reasons for the PSD/CDS-PP government not to come into office, not only for the harms it has caused but also due to those they wanted to continue to cause to the workers, the people and the country.

The Central Committee of PCP reaffirms the decision to file a motion rejecting the PSD/CDS-PP Government Programme.

5. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of the new balance of power in the Assembly of the Republic and the potential it has to address the most pressing problems affecting the workers and populations. The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes that there are no manoeuvres that can conceal the heavy defeat of PSD and CDS-PP, the good result obtained by the CDU and the affirmation of the role and initiative of the Portuguese Communist Party which was confirmed as an irreplaceable force for the present and future of the country.

II

1. The clear defeat of the PSD/CDS-PP coalition in the October 4 elections, the new balance of power in the Assembly of the Republic and the resulting developments bare, very clearly, that PSD/CDS-PP have lost not only political legitimacy but also the institutional conditions to remain in the government of the country.

The effort made by the PSD/CDS-PP coalition, by the group of commentators at their service and by most mainstream media to present as winners those defeated in the elections, fell apart due to the initiative of the PCP who, since 4 October, stressed that PSD and CDS-PP were unable to, by themselves, to pursue the policy of national disaster resulting from their government action over the past four years. Initiative that also proved, and in all its dimensions, what the PCP said in answer to those who reduced the election to a false dispute for Prime Minister, to the most voted political party or for government, which is: what is truly decided in elections for the Assembly of the Republic is the number of MPs that each political force elects, parliamentary majorities that are formed in the Assembly, the institutional base that is created to support a particular policy and the government which can take office.

The PCP took the initiative and pointed out the need to draw political and institutional consequences of the election results. The condemnation imposed on the PSD/CDS-PP coalition was not only a defeat of its government, it was also of its policy. It was the expression of the demand for this change in the national political life that the PCP answered. It was, and is, the expectation of a policy able to ensure economic development, hand back stolen income and rights, valorise wages and pensions, promote employment and combat injustice, restore the full right to health and education, ensuring solid social security and higher levels of social protection, ensure quality public services, that the workers and the people aspire to see materialized.

The new political and institutional reality resulting from the elections and the desire for change expressed by the people placed, and places, the demand and responsibility to ensure the interruption of the path pursued by the previous government. It is this responsibility that has to be materialized.
2. As the PCP stressed, the path of convergence for a policy that represents a real and profound change in national political life is neither easy nor simple. We knew and never eluded this patented difficulty either in very different electoral programmes, or the absence of a choice by PS for a rupture with the right-wing policy.

But also, as the PCP said, this does not preclude that, in view of a new political and institutional framework, the PCP would not spare efforts, in answer to the interests of the workers and the people and honouring its commitments, to work and struggle to answer them. That is what the PCP did with seriousness and commitment.

According to the decisions of the Central Committee of October 6, which state that "both the pretensions of Cavaco Silva, or those of Passos Coelho and Paulo Portas, will only be materialized if the PS is willing to make viable, and be a supporting force, a new PSD/CDS-PP government" and that, in the framework of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, the PS only does not form government if it does not want to, as well as in the October 7 Declaration, the PCP examined in recent weeks the political solutions corresponding to situation.

The approach and mutual assessment between the PS and the PCP identified a number of matters where it is possible to ensure a convergent action to address some of the immediate problems of the workers and the Portuguese people. The real possibility is open to, among others, take steps to hand back wages and incomes, reinstate pension supplements of the workers from the state business sector, to valorise wages and halt the continued degradation of pensions, repay part of the social benefits subject to existence of resources, reinstate the cancelled public holidays, ensure better conditions of access to the rights to health and education, reverse the process of concession and privatisation of ground transport companies.

Meanwhile, the work carried out also confirmed that the convergence on a government and a government programme, as recognized by both parties, holds a level of need on the decisive choices of a national policy which are not met, taking into account the recognized and proven divergent view either on the external constraints or in terms of confronting the interests of big business.

The degree of convergence reached should be reflected in the degree of commitment that matches it. Enhancing the level of convergence, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that the conditions are meanwhile created to, in the current circumstances, ensure a governing solution that prevents PSD and CDS-PP from pursuing the policy of the country's destruction and contribute to curb the harsh aspects and reverse the path taken so far. There is in the new parliamentary framework a majority of MPs constituting condition enough for the formation of a PS initiative government, which allows the presentation of its program, its taking office and the adoption of a policy to ensure a lasting solution in terms of a legislature.

Making an evaluation of the work done with the PS and verifying the degree of convergence achieved and the corresponding level of commitment, the Central Committee of the PCP confirmed the terms of the "Joint Position of the PS and the PCP on the political solution" sent to the PS and if also approved by the PS, will in due time have its formalization and public presentation. Thus are met by the PCP the conditions to consummate the defeat of the PSD/CDS-PP government and enable the formation of a government of the PS initiative.

Nothing can evade that there exists in the Assembly of the Republic an institutional base that will go as far as is the willingness of each political force represented in it, to support the path of restoration of wages and income, return of rights, strengthening access to health, education and social security, to support micro, small and medium-size companies, pensioners, youth and that can enable the implementation of a set of measures and solutions that address the pressing interests of the workers and the people.

3. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that there are in the current balance of forces in the Assembly of the Republic conditions to present and adopt initiatives that meet the rights and aspirations of the workers and the people, and that nothing prevents the formation of a government of PS initiative. And above all, it stresses that under the present circumstances, there is no serious justification for the PS not to assume its responsibility to contribute to reject the now sworn in PSD/CDS-PP government’s programme and to remove these parties from the governance of the country. The Central Committee PCP further reaffirms that no political or institutional reason can be invoked by the President of the Republic to question this governing solution.

4. Meanwhile, the workers and the people can count on what the PCP pledged to them and the country: we will take the initiative and will not withhold support to all measures that meet their interests, the increase of their income and the restoration of their rights; and we will not endorse measures and policies that threaten their interests and rights. That has always been our pledge which the PCP renews, with the sure guarantee of its commitment to, without giving up its ideological and political independence, help ensure for the country a path of economic development, social progress and national independence.

5. The possibility now opened, that should not be wasted, does not answer and at the same time confirms the essential aim of a rupture with the right-wing policy and the implementation of a patriotic and left-wing policy. A policy that the PCP reaffirms as absolutely essential to break the power of monopoly capital and the limitations and constraints stemming from the capitalist integration of the European Union and its instruments of domination. A policy based on economic growth and promotion of employment, valorisation of wages and pensions, restoration of individual and collective rights of the workers, in the defence and affirmation of the social functions of the state and public services, the recovery by the State of control of strategic sectors, starting with the banks, fair fiscal policy to unburden taxes on the workers and the people and heavily taxes big business profits, dividends and financial transactions, which writes down the urgent renegotiation of the debt as a condition for development, which recovers economic, fiscal and monetary sovereignty.

It is this objective that the workers and the people, democrats and patriots, as all those who want to ensure the right to a Portugal with a future will continue to take in their hands with their intervention and their struggle.

III

1. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the important initiative and intense activity of the Party in the demanding period since the elections to the Assembly of the Republic, salutes the organisations and Party members and the JCP for their work and reaffirms the importance of the lines pointed in its last meeting and the need to pursue them with commitment and initiative.

2. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of developing the workers' and people’s struggle, as exemplified by the struggles of transport workers, Carris, Metro, Railwaymen, port workers, Public Administration and students.

In the current situation deserves particular attention, following a more than two-year struggle that, by resisting the interference of the PSD/ DS-PP government, the guarantee of fixing of 35 hours of work in most local government, now recognized by the decision of the Constitutional Court and with the publishing of the Collective Agreements of Public Employing Body (ACEEP). A great victory for workers pointing to the possibility of reinstating the 35 hours of work for all workers in public administration. Also to be to highlighted are the achievements of the struggle of teachers to end the evaluation test of knowledge and skills, as well as the progress made in the fight carried out in various sectors and companies.

The development of the claiming action and the struggle of the workers and peoples, and the strengthening of organisations and broad united mass movements are tasks of utmost importance. In the coming times particularly important is concentration called by the CGTP-IN, this coming November 10, near the Assembly, in order to consummate the defeat of the PSD/CDS-PP coalition, demand answers to the claims of the workers and affirm the need for a policy that promotes economic development to serve the workers, the people and the country.

3. The Central Committee emphasizes the Party’s initiative and political intervention, including hundreds of meetings and plenary sessions, as well as rallies, meetings, information and propaganda actions, meetings and contacts with citizens without party affiliation, and the intervention in the Assembly of the Republic and in the European Parliament.

Fulfilling the pledge to the workers and the people, the PCP has already submitted to the Assembly of the Republic a set of legislative initiatives aimed at restoring the rights that were cut and the reversal of measures taken by the PSD/CDS-PP government.

The first set of initiatives - proposing the reinstatement of the 35-hour working week in the Public Administration, replacement of the cancelled holidays, replacement of the payment of pension supplements in the State Business Sector companies and the repeal of coercive measures and conditioning of women to have access to a voluntary interruption of pregnancy - followed by those relating to the cancellation and reversal of mergers, restructuring and sub-concession of Carris and Lisbon Metro companies, the privatisation of EGF and CP-Cargo, the merger of REFER with Estradas de Portugal, as well as the sub-concession of STCP and Metro do Porto. The initiative in the Assembly will continue, reflecting all the pledges of the PCP to the workers and the Portuguese people.

4. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the undeniable importance of the Presidential Elections in the context of the current situation of the country.

The candidacies that are already known and the development of a pre-campaign confirms the correctness of PCP's decision to present the candidacy of Edgar Silva, proves its distinct nature and stand and clearly shows its essential and irreplaceable role in this political battle.
A candidacy that, since its announcement, collecting a growing current of support and revealing a significant participation and broadening, affirms a feeling of confidence in the possibilities of the country and in the strength and capabilities of the people to build another course in national political life.

The Central Committee calls on the mobilization of the whole Party for the implementation of the necessary tasks related to the presidential elections, as well as the intensification of actions of contact and explanation, in a framework in which every support is the best contribution to a strong vote in the candidacy of Edgar Silva A truly coherent and combative candidacy, committed to the interests of the workers and of the people, linked to the April values and the Constitution of the Republic, a candidacy that does not give up Portugal and fights for a developed, fair and sovereign country.

5. The Central Committee valorises the protest actions undertaken by the peace movement in Portugal against the NATO exercises and stresses the importance of developing the struggle for peace and internationalist solidarity and for the dissolution of NATO. In terms of international activity, the Central Committee of the PCP notes the participation in a solidarity mission to Palestine and the holding of the 17th. Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties, from October 30 to November 1, in Istanbul, Turkey and reaffirms its commitment to the strengthening of the international communist and revolutionary movement and of the anti-imperialist front.

6. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the initiatives to celebrate the 98th. anniversary of the October Revolution and highlights the presentation session of the VI volume of the chosen works of Alvaro Cunhal, which takes place on November 12.

7. The Central Committee of the PCP, following the decision of its last meeting on the specific action to be carried out by the end of 2016, in implementing the Resolution "More organization, more intervention, more influence - a stronger PCP", points out the need to move decidedly in defining and planning objectives in accordance with the defined directions and advance in implementing concrete measures to strengthen the Party.

8. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the progress of the national fundraising campaign "More space. More Festival. Future with April ", considers necessary to continue to adopt measures to ensure its success, while at the same time beginning preparations for the 40th.edition of the" Avante "! Festival, to be held on September 2, 3 and 4, 2016, which will integrate in its project the use of the Quinta do Cabo.

IV

The current situation proves the role and initiative of the Portuguese Communist Party, its unwavering commitment to the workers and the people, inseparable from its communist identity, the need for its strengthening, the articulation of its immediate intervention with the struggle for a patriotic left-wing alternative, for an advanced democracy, for socialism and communism.

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  • PCP
  • Central
  • Álvaro Cunhal

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