Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary, Lunch celebrating the 43rd. Anniversary of the 25th. April

«We celebrate the April Revolution for what it meant, means and what it will mean as a project for the future of Portugal! »

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It was on April 25, 1974 that the Portuguese People emerged from one of the darkest periods of its history. Today we are celebrating the April Revolution, we are here celebrating this unique achievement of the struggle of the Portuguese people.

April 25, of 1974 was not just a day. It was the result of decades of selfless, courageous and persevering struggle of the Portuguese people that, even under the most adverse conditions, even under the yoke of censorship, torture and brutal repression, opened the way for the Revolution. To all those democratic and anti-fascist fighters our heartfelt homage and recognition!

The April Revolution was an achievement of the popular will, an affirmation of freedom, social emancipation and national independence, which always had the encouragement and commitment of the Portuguese Communist Party, a Party that never gave in or gave up in the face of brutal attempts to silence it. Decisive in the struggle for freedom and democracy, the PCP intervened throughout this process as an irreplaceable and determining political force. Its role in the April Revolution and in the foundation of the democratic regime is one of the greatest achievements of its history.

The April Revolution, culminating a lengthy and heroic anti-fascist struggle, ended 48 years of dictatorship and implemented profound political, economic, social and cultural transformations, features of a system and a regime that opened up in the life of the country the perspective of a new period of history marked by freedom and social progress.

The achievement and establishment of freedoms, citizens’ rights and a regime of political democracy were inseparable from the liquidation of the economic and political power of monopoly groups and large landowners, through nationalization, workers' control and Agrarian Reform, and other socio-economic transformations indispensable for the country's development.

The working class, the workers, the popular masses, and the progressive military - united in the People-MFA alliance - played a key role in all democratic achievements, which were later enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, adopted on April 2, 1976, and which are today seen as natural, like the vast set of rights, freedoms and guarantees that fascism called into question.
The April Revolution marked a remarkable progress of Portuguese society and proved that it contained the strength and potential needed to undertake the elimination of many of the most serious inequalities, discriminations and social injustices, contributing to the construction of a new democratic society. Its great and historic achievements created the conditions for a dynamic economic, social, political and cultural development in accordance with the situation, interests, needs and aspirations of the Portuguese people and of Portugal, which together characterised the democratic regime resulting from the Revolution - an advanced democracy towards socialism. Besides its historic significance at the national level, the April Revolution was a relevant event in contemporary history, with important international repercussions.

Despite its historic conquests, many of its main achievements were, however, destroyed and weakened by the successive governments that, denying the ways of April and its values, carried out policies that represented a serious setback in the living conditions of the workers and the Portuguese people.

Governments that systematically destroyed and fought the transformations and progressive gains of the April Revolution, promoting the reconstitution of the power of the monopolist groups and the submission of the Country to the European Union, and to imperialism. A policy of intensifying the exploitation and destruction of labour and social rights of the workers and Portuguese people, which strangled national production, ruined the economy and indebted the Country.

In many difficult moments in which the attack against April and its achievements took on a ferocious dimension, the workers and the people always counted on this Party fighting and resisting all attacks and each of the political measures that subverted many of its achievements. We did so by always expressing our confidence in a different future. We did so convinced that the values of April not only remain in the hearts of the Portuguese, but are references and represent essential values in the present and for the democratic and independent future of Portugal for which we continue to fight.

As the workers and Portuguese people mark the 43rd. Anniversary of the April Revolution, the PCP reaffirms its firm commitment and confidence that, with the strength and determination of the workers' and people's struggle, with the converging action of the democrats and patriots, it is possible to pave the way for the construction of an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy to affirm the project of Advanced Democracy, of the Values of April in the future of Portugal, with socialism on the horizon.

We celebrate April as we move into the second year of a new phase of national political life that was opened with the defeat and dismissal of the PSD/CDS coalition from the Country's government.

A defeat to which the PCP made a firm contribution and which enabled to halt a brutal attack against the interests of the workers and our people and which, had it not been interrupted, would have continued with even more devastating and dramatic consequences to the life of the Portuguese.

An important defeat, even though we knew that it was not enough to solve the many and serious problems of the Country and that we would still be far from removing the great obstacle that is at the root of the crisis and decline of the Country – the right-wing policy – still present in the basic options of current government policy. We knew, however, that this was the first obstacle to be removed, to begin a process of recovery of stolen rights and incomes and to open space for the development of the struggle for new achievements and new advances and for a real alternative capable of starting a process of effective recovery and development of the Country.

In this more than a year and a half of the new phase of national political life, measures have been implemented in the area of restoring incomes and rights with an impact on the economy that have curbed the path of decline and intensification of exploitation and impoverishment.

This fact, however, does not conceal the much that remains to be done, the many limitations that need to be surpassed, both to respond to the aspirations and rights, and to overcome the serious structural problems facing the Country, which have accumulated as a result of decades of right-wing policies and external constraints of the European Union.

The steps taken cannot hide the persistence of serious economic and social problems in the current national situation, which require a further level of political response, which is not feasible in the present context of external constraints and conditionings.

Problems such as unemployment, precariousness, low wages and low pensions, insufficient levels of economic growth and the unfair distribution of wealth, in a framework worsened by continuing pressures and demands by the European Union on the definition of national economic, social and budgetary policies.

Problems that will not be answered but will be postponed and delayed if the guidelines and objectives contained in the Stability Programme and the National Reform Plan, instruments of interference and policing imposed by the European Union and the Euro, which the PS minority government has now adopted, if confirmed as options of the government policy for the coming years.

Two instruments determined by the same orientation and constraints that have deepened the crisis in the Country and led to the implementation of policies of exploitation and impoverishment that the Portuguese have seen in recent years and which the Country does not want again. Children of the Budgetary Treaty and other European Union tools of domination, the Stability Programme and the National Reform Programme seriously affect the sovereign decision of the country and with the constraints imposed, in particular with regard to the deficit and debt targets, determine beforehand the options of State Budgets and national development policies. The imposition of a path of speedy reduction of the deficit of public finances at rates which would transform it within 5 years into a surplus of 1.3% of GDP and a primary budget surplus, that is to say not counting the cost of interest of around 5 %, calls into question not only the necessary reinforcement of investment that is urgent to support the productive sectors, aiming for a more robust growth and to fill the needs of the public services and social functions of the State, but also the restoration of rights and income, including the reversal of the tax loot on labour incomes through the Income Tax by the previous government.

In fact, with these instruments everything can be sacrificed - investment, improvement of public services, timely restoration of incomes and rights - to meet criteria other than those of national interest, but rather economic interests of monopolists of the European Union and of financial speculation and which are criteria of the so-called budgetary treaty.

With such instruments the country will not go far. And this is the alert we leave right now! But we just don´t remain with alerts, the PCP will act by rejecting all the conditionings and constraints that are being imposed and will fight to be released from them.

It is worth remembering that the deficit of public accounts is not the main problem of the Country. They speak repeatedly about the deficit as if this was the great national problem, diverting attention from the core problems of the Country - the unsustainable debt that prevents investment, uses national resources and wealth and the insufficient economic growth that is increasingly incompatible with a policy of obsession with the deficit.

The main deficit of the country, we have said, is production. It is this which is at the root of all others.

To ignore this reality is to postpone the solution of our problems, is to postpone confronting the real causes of our problems, to postpone the holding of this debate, which under the motto "Production, Employment, Sovereignty. Free Portugal from submission to the Euro”, places the need and urgency of a different policy. A policy in rupture with the prescriptions and courses that sank the country and with a vision and objectives opposite to those that led Portugal into decline and impoverishment. A policy that affirms the sovereignty of the Country and frees it from internal and external constraints that stifle and hamper its development.

As the PCP has insisted, what the country needs is a patriotic and left-wing policy that re-establishes the values of April.

A policy that frees itself from the constraints and conditionings, firstly with the renegotiation of the debt. A renegotiation of the debt that will enable to free more than 8 thousand million euros per year to allocate them to public investment, to the social functions of the State, to boost the economy.

A policy of liberation from the constraints imposed by the European Union, namely with the study and preparation of the Country to free itself from submission to the euro and recover sovereignty instruments such as monetary, budgetary or exchange powers.

A policy to defend and promote national production and productive sectors that places national resources at the service of the people and the Country and reduces structural deficits.

A policy of valorisation of labour and workers, based on the increase of wages and pensions, full employment, defence of work with rights.

A policy of recovery for the public sector of the basic strategic sectors of the economy and strong support to micro, small and medium-size enterprises.

A policy that places public administration and services at the service of the people and the Country, valorising the National Health Service as a general,
universal and free service; a Public School, free of charge and of quality; a Public and Universal Social Security system.

A policy of fiscal justice that lightens the tax burden on the incomes of the workers and the people and breaks with the scandalous favouring of big business.

A policy of defence of the democratic regime and compliance with the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, of the achievements of April, deepening of rights, freedoms and guarantees, the fight against corruption and the implementation of an independent and accessible justice for all.

But also, at a time when we are witnessing a dangerous deterioration in the international situation, an April-inspired foreign policy that upholds the right of the peoples to the sovereignty, self-determination and territorial integrity of their countries, and which, abiding the Charter of United Nations, opposes militarism with a project of international cooperation for peace and disarmament.

We are celebrating the 43rd. anniversary of the April Revolution in an international context which is a matter of serious concern for what it entails of increasing risks for the workers and peoples.

The PCP has drawn attention to the great instability and uncertainty that prevails in the international situation.

Instability that has been increasing with the inauguration of the new President of the United States of America.

These last days reveal this. The US militarist escalation, fuelled by the adventurous irresponsibility of the new Trump administration, accompanied by its allies, including NATO and the European Union, and under the cover of a colossal media campaign of misinformation, can only give rise to great concern among the progressive forces and lovers of peace.

The United States, striving to assert its hegemony on a world scale and showing great insolent arrogance and contempt for international legality and the sovereignty of the States it intends to submit, are engaged in an imperialist drift of threats, provocations and military interventions that place the world on the threshold of devastating regional conflicts and even a conflict of world proportions.

The bombing of Syria, the test of its "super-bomb" in Afghanistan, the escalation of confrontation with Korea, the threats of "preventive" military aggressions are, among other aspects, disturbing expressions of a warmongering drift. A policy that although focused particularly on the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific region manifests itself globally, including in Africa and Latin America, where Venezuela is presently a victim of imperialism’s destabilizing and subversive action.

The PCP firmly condemns the aggressive policy of US and NATO imperialism and the complicity of the great powers of the European Union and considers that the Portuguese State, compelled to abide and defend the Constitution of the Republic, should make its voice heard in the international bodies, against this dangerous escalation, for respect of the Charter of the United Nations and the peaceful settlement of conflicts, for disarmament and peace.
On this day of April celebration, the PCP warns the workers, the youth and the Portuguese people of the seriousness of the situation and calls for their mobilization to repel the danger of war and to defend peace.

Also looking at the evolution of the national situation in this new phase and at the set of measures and achievements that are inseparable from the contribution and initiative of the PCP and from the action and struggle of the workers, we have to acknowledge the existence of contradictions and imitations resulting from the PS government's policy options. They are becoming increasingly patent and reflected in the decisions that were needed, with new and more decisive steps to restore the rights and incomes of the workers and populations, and to make further progress in solving national problems.

This is well clear in the resistance we witness when curbing changes to the Labour Code and labour legislation of the Public Administration, ending norms imposed by the previous government and damaging the rights of workers. It resists not eliminating the expiry of collective bargaining, which lays down the principle of more favourable treatment. When it accepts as a good solution, for example, the renewal of PPP in healthcare or the option of handing the Novo Banco to big business, not to mention the stands of defence of the deepening of the European Union and subjection to all the instruments that guarantee its domination of national policies.

It is aware of this contradictory framework that at this stage of national political life we have given priority to the tasks of achieving the objective of defending, restoring and gaining rights by the workers and people.

It is an objective that we continue to pursue, with our own initiative in the institutions, but also working to stimulate the indispensable initiative, participation and struggle of the workers and the popular masses.

To celebrate and fight for April in this new phase of national political life is to take the initiative to recover and materialise its values, the values of social justice, the valorisation of work and workers, and universal social rights of all to healthcare, education, social security and culture.

This is done by tackling the serious social scourges of unemployment and precariousness, low wages and low pensions and high levels of poverty, demanding institutional measures to reverse permissive labour legislation and systematic attack on workers' rights, but also by enhancing the social functions of the State.

To change this reality is to wage a fight for April. This is what we are doing, when we propose to reinstate the principle of more favourable treatment of workers and prohibit the expiry of employment contracts.

Combating the precariousness of labour ties, more than words, needs concrete measures that will pave the way to put an end to this social scourge.
The legitimate aspiration of those who have worked a lifetime to have the right to a full pension without penalisation is another problem that deserves particular attention. The PCP proposed that a worker with 40 years of contributions be entitled to full retirement without penalisation, a proposal that was rejected by PS, PSD and CDS. As a result of our insistence and the workers' struggle, the government has come up with a proposal that, despite some changes in the current situation, does not meet the wishes of the workers and defrauded the expectations created.

On our part, we reaffirm that we do not agree with this proposal and we continue to insist that an urgent response to the just expectations of the workers is still needed this year.

To be aware of this is to understand that to go beyond the obvious contradictions of the current political choices of the PS government, it is necessary to affirm a free and sovereign Portugal, free from the impositions and constraints of the European Union.

It is in keeping with this contradictory process that we will pursue our struggle and initiative determined to meet the aspirations of the workers and people.
Struggle and initiative that are indispensable to defend, restore and conquer rights, but equally necessary to affirm and defend the broader interests of our people and our Country, materializing the values of April of development, sovereignty and national independence.

And so from here we salute the struggle of the workers and the populations that have taken place all over the country.

We welcome the ongoing struggles and we call for the involvement of all in their preparation and materialization.

We call for involvement in the development of the struggle for claims in the workplaces, companies and sectors, and particularly for the involvement in the celebrations of May 1st, with a mobilization for claiming concrete objectives in every company and sector, affirming this day as a great day of struggle for the Portuguese workers!

This is a task that we have to take into hands, with the broad masses, winning them for the right and just idea that the consolidation of what has been achieved and the new steps that are necessary need the struggle of the workers and the people, but also a stronger PCP for further advances in solving national problems and improving the living conditions of the Portuguese. Stronger in terms of the organisation, its connection to the masses, but also at the electoral level, now that we are also facing a great electoral battle - the elections for local government on October 1st.

Elections that now have a priority role in terms of the general action of the PCP, together with the Green Ecologist Party and the Democratic Intervention and the many thousands of independent citizens who side with us in this democratic and unitary project represented by CDU - the Broads United Democratic Coalition.

CDU will stand throughout the country with its alternative project and the distinctive character of its local action. Proving the values of Work, Honesty and Competence that it assumes, the dimension of the work carried out and an intervention in defence of the values of April, the interests of the populations and workers, of the recognized rigour in the management of local government and in the posture of its elected representatives, intervention in defence of public services and affirmation of Democratic Local Government.

In the new phase of national political life, the distinctive character of the CDU project, the differentiating nature of its proposals and options, the dimension of a clear and assumed alternative to the management and projects of other political forces, whether PSD and CDS, are PS or BE, assumes great importance.

This is yet another demanding battle. Demanding due to the indispensable involvement and mobilisation of each and everyone. Also here in Loures. In this land and in this municipality where the CDU presents itself with the confidence of those who can show a line of work, achievements and deeds that this municipality is proud of and also those who live and work here.

A valuable work that is well evident in the steps taken in overcoming the serious problems inherited from the period of poor memory in which PS mismanaged this municipality and which the populations of this municipality do not want to see again.

The forthcoming local elections are a political battle of great importance for what they represent at the local level, but also for what they can contribute to strengthen the struggle we are fighting in this new phase of national political life to better defend the interests of the workers, the people and the Country, in order to strengthen the PCP and its decisive role in materializing the defence, restoration and gain of incomes and rights, and to respond, in the context of the patriotic and left-wing policy it proposes, to the problems of the workers, the people and the Country. This is another pressing battle of April and for April!

Celebrating April is not once a day or once a year. Celebrating April is to defend and deepen its economic, social, cultural and political achievements every day.

Celebrating April is also to commemorate May 1st. - International Labour Day - which, in Portugal, could only be again celebrated after 1974, with the end of the fascist regime that repressed its celebration.

We celebrate the April Revolution for what it meant and means in the present, but also for what it will mean as a project for the future of Portugal!

The values of freedom, of social emancipation, of the State at the service of the people and not of exploitation, of development aimed at improving the quality of the living standards of the Portuguese, full employment, a fair and balanced distribution of national wealth, sovereignty and Independence.
Values that guide us in the paths of building a better life for our people.

Paths that will open up with the strength and struggle of the workers and the people and with the strengthening of this great April force that the PCP is!

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