Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary, XXth Congresss of the PCP

Opening Speech – 20th PCP Congress

Opening Speech – 20th PCP Congress

"In a time of uncertainties, but also of hope, let us live up to the demands that we must face, basing ourselves in the present, but thinking about the future!"

Comrade delegates, dear guests, members of the international delegations, institutional and diplomatic representatives. We convey to all the greetings of the Portuguese Communist Party.

But you will all understand that our greatest greetings go to the Party members, organisations and cells – to our great Party collective – who are the main builders of this Party of ours and who, in these past few months of preparation [of the Congress] took into their own hands the guidelines proposed by the Central Committee, assessing, debating, giving their contributions, electing the delegates and voting on the Theses – Draft Political Resolution, in 2151 meetings, plenary sessions and assemblies, with the participation of over 20 thousand Party members, in a process of democratic debate, cementing the unity and cohesion which will be reflected in this 20th Congress.

This very same Party collective which, at the same time, ensured and was decisive in materialising the demanding everyday tasks, always in close liaison with the heartbeat of life, always in the ranks of the struggle, strengthening the Party’s organisations, it’s action, it’s intervention in confronting the brutal offensive of recent years, responding to the new phase of the national political life.

Yes, comrade delegates. We will debate with a critical and self-critical spirit our difficulties and shortcomings, with an even deeper debate on the permanent need to make and remake our intervention and organisation. But nothing can erase the fact that we lived up to the demands which were, and are, placed before us by the reality in permanent movement.

In an international and national context that is laden with uncertainty, we prepared the Congress in movement, in connection with the workers and the people, present wherever the class conflict and struggle was being waged, never failing in our internationalist solidarity with the peoples, the Communist Parties, the revolutionary and progressive forces, who resist and fight for their emancipation, for social transformation, for the inalienable right of their peoples to defend and assert their sovereignty.

At the 19th [Party] Congress we undertook the commitment to commemorate the centennial of Álvaro Cunhal’s birth and to pay a just tribute to that central figure of the 20th Century, an unavoidable reference for all those who embrace the liberation struggle against all forms of exploitation and oppression of men and of the peoples.

We knew how to honour his memory, but above all, we have brought onto the stage his thinking, his theoretical work, his political action, his entire life of struggle for freedom, democracy and socialism, his example as a patriotic and internationalist revolutionary, in his Party of all times – the Portuguese Communist Party.

In this moment of great sadness for the Communists, the revolutionaries and progressives of the whole world, following the death of Fidel Castro, the PCP pays tribute and reaffirms its homage to that outstanding patriot and Communist revolutionary, evoking his life which was entirely dedicated to the ideals of freedom, peace and socialism.

The best way to honour the memory of comrade Fidel Castro is to pursue the struggle for the ideals and project for which he fought until his very last days. To strengthen the solidarity with Cuba and its Socialist Revolution, demanding the unconditional respect for the sovereignty of the Island of Freedom, an immediate end to the criminal US blockade and the restitution of Guantanamo to the Cuban people.

Comrades:

We are holding our 20th Congress in an international situation of great instability and uncertainty, that is marked by the ever-deeper structural crisis of capitalism and by a violent imperialist offensive, at the same time that the resistance and struggle of the workers and the peoples grows, in a confrontation with an uncertain short-term outcome, but in which great dangers coexist with great potential for progressive and revolutionary change, and in which the revolutionary overcoming of the capitalist system and the alternative of socialism become ever more necessary.

Life has proved the analyses of the 19th Congress correct, as regards the evolution of the capitalist system and it’s ever-deeper structural crisis, with the ever sharper negative trait’s of the exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature of the system, in which an unprecedented concentration of capital and wealth and the domination of financial and speculative capital over the economy are accompanied by the intensification of the exploitation of the workers, the re-colonization on a planetary scale and of a brutal increase of the social injustice and inequality.

Unemployment and precariousness affect hundreds of millions of workers, the lack of response to the problems of famine, disease, illiteracy and so many other social problems that afflict entire peoples, demonstrate the inhumane and criminal nature of capitalism.

The cyclical crisis unleashed in 2007/2008 has still no end in sight, with serious social and political effects in the most developed capitalist countries and seriously affecting the “emerging” countries, at the same time factors continue to grow that make us predict a new crisis peak of major proportions.

Its evolution confirms the incapacity of capitalism to cure its deviations and to overcome its contradictions, particularly, between the capital and the workers; between, the social character of the production and its private appropriation; between the enormous possibilities created by the scientific and technical development to the solution of mankind’s problems. A monopolist centralisation on a global scale without precedent and progressively always narrows the capitalist base of support. In historical terms the objective conditions to the revolutionary overcoming of capitalism are now ripe.

Meanwhile, the capitalist system resists it’s decline and develops a multifaceted offensive with the objective of taking over new markets, raw materials and strategic positions, destabilise and submit countries that oppose its objectives, violates the sovereignty of the States and unleashes aggression wars that provoke countless suffering and destruction, as seen in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya or in Syria, where in this exact moment decisive battles are being fought to defend the sovereignty and integrity of the country. The refugee odyssey from the aggression in the Middle East and North of Africa constitutes, in itself, a violent accusation of capitalism. The imperialist offensive in Africa to destabilise Angola and other sovereign countries, and in Latin America in order to try and reverse the valuable processes of sovereignty and social progress.

The USA, NATO and the European Union play the major role in the warmongering and interventionist offensive of imperialism and assume the responsibility for the generalization of the war theatres and for the danger of the generalization of conflicts of catastrophic proportions. The installation of a missile system in the borders with the Russian Federation and with China is particularly serious.

The exploiting and aggressive action of imperialism is accompanied by an intensive ideological barrier based on the monopolistic domination of the major means of information and propaganda. A barrier of intoxication of the public opinion that forges and inverts the reality in the struggle between explorers and explored, between aggressor and aggressed, in a way to justify the policies of the ruling class and its crimes – as is happening in Syria – and to make difficult the anti-imperialist solidarity. But it aims to go much further. Through the systematic revision of History, with forgery and diversion anti-communist campaigns, the ruling class aims to steal the memory of the workers’ movement, to hide the nature of capitalism and alternative of social emancipation that represents the ideal and communist project.

The intensification of the imperialist offensive has consequences to the whole world, including the imperialist centres. The highly unstable situation that we live in Europe is the living proof of that. Many are those who brandish the dangers of xenophobia and of far-right, and make inflamed speeches about the neo-fascism of Trump in the USA. But some of them are the same that hide the socio-economic and political causes of the rise of the far-right. The economic, social and political instability in Europe has deep causes, and these come from the dominant system and in its instruments and domination policies, such as the European Union. The crystal clear truth is that we can’t fight the far-right and simultaneously support policies and orientations that are increasingly turning the political systems more reactionary. This is the truth that the ideological offensive tries to conceal.

Meanwhile, the ideological offensive and the rest of the powerful ways of conditioning can delay, but cannot stop the development of the class struggle, struggle that, in the current reality of the increasing structural crisis, increases and in which there is a strong connection between class and national interests.

This is the reality in our own country, with the determinant role of the organisation and struggle of the working class in the context of the social and political struggle of the anti-monopolistic classes and strata, and the struggle in defence of national independence and sovereignty. Struggle that the dominant class, has not only abandoned in order to satisfy their own selfish class interests, but have also betrayed, by allying themselves with the European Union or with imperialism, against the Portuguese people and it’s right to determine without external pressures and inferences their own path of development. A reality that confirms the analysis of Álvaro Cunhal about the part of the big bourgeoisie and of big business, affirming that long ago in History they stopped representing the national interests and that today, in the era of imperialism, it is the working class that “reacts against the domination and exploitation of its own country and seeks a society that solves systematically and in full both the liberation of the exploited classes and the liberation of their own nation from foreigner domination”.

This is verified, in different stages and under various ways, in all countries and regions of the world.

Despite those, that playing the game of the multinational-corporations and of stateless big business, marketing the false benefits of capitalist globalisation, the national space continues to be a fundamental place for the struggle for society’s transformation and the defence of national sovereignty being a fundamental component of the anti-imperialist struggle.

Patriotism and internationalism are the two inseparable components of the identity of PCP and of a communist party. The first internationalist duty of our Party, is the defence of the workers, the Portuguese people and Portugal’s interests, it is inseparable from its commitment to reinforcement and unity of the communist and international revolutionary movement and of the strengthening of the anti-imperialist front.

Recognizing the existence of differences and divergences between Communist Parties, fighting both reformist and system adapting positions, sectarian and dogmatic positions, PCP valorises what contributes to its unity, fights for unity in action of the communists and with other progressive forces, considers that the respect for the principles of relations in the communist movement – independence, equal rights, non inference in internal affairs – are key to recovering the influence and unity of the revolutionary communist international movement.

Comrades

The complex international situation which in the context of our rupture with the right-wing policy and for a patriotic and left-wing alternative is framed, cannot make us forget the reality that the deepening of the structural crisis of capitalism proves, that we live in the historical time of passage from capitalism to socialism, which was inaugurated by the October Revolution, whose Centennial our Party will celebrate next year, highlighting its universal scope, valuing the gains and achievements of the Soviet Union and its decisive role in the revolutionary advances of the 20th. century, Stressing that the defeat of a "model" that has moved away and went against the communist ideal and project, does not call into question the direction of world evolution and the demand for socialism.

Through different paths, phases and stages all peoples will attain socialism. Complying with general laws that Marxism-Leninism unveiled and which the October Revolution confirmed.

PCP´s Programme defines the current stage of the revolutionary struggle in Portugal as an advanced democracy, which in the historical continuity of the April Revolution consolidates and develops its values, experiences and achievements and is an integral and inseparable part of the struggle for socialism.

Comrades

In Portugal, PCP’s analyses and forecasts on the evolution of the national situation were confirmed.

As we always said, the policy of the right-wing capitalist and latifundist restoration at the service of big business not only had no solutions for the country's development, but its application in close connection with the process of capitalist integration in the European Union and invariably pursued by successive PSD, PS and CDS governments, would lead to a continuing worsening of all national problems, to the crisis and weakening of national independence.

The Portuguese reality is there to prove it. It is there in an unquestionable way in the high indebtedness and external deficits that the country shows; in the imbalance of public accounts and unsustainability of public debt; in the high levels of cuts in investment (public and private); in the worsening of the productive, technological, capital and demographic deficits; in the weakening of the economic fabric; in the high unemployment; in the loss of national control of strategic sectors, areas and companies, with serious consequences on the country’s dependence; in the increase of exploitation; in the impoverishment of large sections of the population; restrictions on access to essential public services; territorial imbalances; environmental degradation; in the concentration by big business of the means of ideological domination; in the cultural impoverishment; In the degradation and subversion of the Democratic Regime enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic; in the corruption; in the increasing subordination of political power to economic power and of democracy and national sovereignty to the decisions and impositions of the European Union and the great powers.

Problems that have become even more serious with the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pacts - the so-called SGPs - and the "Memorandum of Understanding", a true Pact of Aggression signed with the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission, by PS, PSD and CDS-PP, the troika of the parties responsible for the country's governance in the last decades.

It was the right-wing policy - the class policy of the great national capital, intimately articulated with foreign capital - of privatisations, economic, labour and social liberalisation and deregulation, the restoration of latifundia and the destruction of Agrarian Reform, external dependence, which created the serious situation that the country today faces.

It was this policy led by big bourgeoisie and at its service and a financial oligarchy that integrates it, which in the last four decades, progressively and methodically, has imposed the subornation of national interests to its strict and narrow personal and class interests.

On a trajectory where there were differences and contradictions amidst it as a result of its dispute to obtain slices of power, resources and public favours, and by the usurpation of the components of the State in order to capture surplus value, but in which we find ever present the unifying factors of its action and of its class policy - the core objective of making the cost labour the only variable of economic adjustment.

An entire process led to boost the furthering of capitalist and monopolistic relations of production, to provoke important changes in the socio-economic structure, with negative consequences on the democratic regime, and to promote a powerful movement of concentration and centralisation of capital and the reconfiguration of the Portuguese State according to the determinations of these capitalist and monopolistic relations of production. This process has three main features:
–The finantialization of the economy with the expansion of the dominant positions of the financial sectors in all areas of national economic life and as a counterpoint to the destruction of productive sectors;
–The expansion and enhancement of the presence of private capital at the expense of public capital: the acquisition of companies, sectors, services and various areas of the State through privatizations and concessions.
–The quick progression of foreign capital in acquisitions and mergers, and inflows into the capital stock of national public and private companies, predominantly in the financial, real estate, energy, industrial and technological sectors.
The right-wing policy, which is at the root of the problems that persist in our country, is inseparable from the process of European capitalist integration. These are two sides of the same class option dictated by the interests of big business and the great powers, thus contrary to the interests of our people and our Country.

The integration of Portugal into the EEC, the European Union and in the Euro was and is one of the structuring elements of the counterrevolution, of monopolist restoration and the attacks on the April achievements.
As we warned decades ago, our sovereignty is deeply attacked. Portugal is tied to a vast set of impositions and constraints, especially after joining the Euro, which are at the root of processes of extortion, exploitation and blackmail to which we have been subjected. The economic, social, budgetary and external policies are strongly conditioned by the interests of big business, the main capitalist powers of Europe and by imperialism.
Recent experience shows that the European Union is a political and ideological matrix that cannot be democratised, humanised or refounded. It is its class nature – capitalist - that determines its policies and options.

Any policy that favours the workers and the people will inevitably have to face the constraints of the European Union and, of course, the Euro. And in this clash, which is already visible, we have no doubts; Portugal must free itself from a set of constraints of the European Union, first and foremost of the Euro.
Many still insist on brandishing catastrophic scenarios in the event of a Euro exit. Deep down, they want to sell the thesis of the inevitability of remaining tied to this instrument of exploitation and economic domination, brandishing democratic legitimacy and with the budgetary union to maintain the Euro. But as the situation in Greece shows, it is a dangerous illusion to think, or to proclaim, that real solutions can be found to the issues of economic development and social progress by accepting the European Union's framework of impositions and especially of the Euro.

This is an impossibility determined by the nature, role and objectives of the European Union.

The evolution of the situation in the European Union speaks for itself. Speaks for itself the strengthening of its pillars - neoliberal, federalist and militaristic - and contradictions that led to a deep crisis that contains in the history of the process of capitalist integration new elements. Today, few people dare to utter speeches on solidarity, cohesion, convergence and democracy.

There are many who, originating from the Brussels consensus between the right and social-democracy, are now warning of the dangers and problems in Europe. Nothing that was not visible for years and identified by us. We knew and know that the deepening of the process of capitalist integration would imply more inequalities and asymmetries. We knew and know that this process would concentrate power and wealth in big business and in the great powers and that this would stir up contradictions and bring about revolt of the peoples. We knew that the European Union would drag Europe into war and its consequences - like terrorism. And we knew that the brew of social exploitation and national oppression resulting from the policies of the European Union would make political systems more reactionary and open the field to the far right.
And that is exactly why it is a great hypocrisy and an act of political manipulation to use the crisis in and of the European Union to justify new leaps forward in the process of capitalist integration. This is because the problems stem, in large part, from an integration process that exploits, oppresses and divides its peoples.

That is why the question is not how to disguise, refound or democratise the European Union. No! The question that is posed to the peoples is not to change something to keep this construction is based on a central assumption: the correlation of forces in the national framework of struggle determines how States relate among themselves and determines whether cooperation processes are against or in favour of the interests and aspirations of the peoples.

The other Europe we want has a class orientation. It aims at progress and social convergence, not economic divergence and the imposition of exploitation. It aims for peace and not the imperialist and militaristic affirmation of a Europe increasingly closed to the World and surrounded by walls and corpses. It aims at cooperation for development, not the domination of the strongest on the weakest and the destruction of productive tissues. It is based on democracy and sovereignty, not on an opaque and arrogant centre of power, with its blackmails, impositions and sanctions.
The struggle for another workers and peoples' Europe is part of our project of Advanced Democracy and is present in the patriotic and left-wing policy. This other Europe will be the work of the workers and the peoples and not an imposition of big business and of the great powers. It will respect sovereignty and democracy and will not be an instrument for its liquidation. The other Europe of workers and peoples will be born of their struggle and of the free and sovereign will of the peoples. It will defeat racism, xenophobia, reactionary theories and affirm friendship among peoples. This other Europe will be all the more alive and just, the stronger the affirmation of the right to sovereign development and social progress, the more united and more equal among themselves are its sovereign States.

This is the way that can save the Europe of the peoples. And saving Europe means increasingly defeating the European Union!

Comrades:

We held our XIX Congress when a violent offensive led by the PSD/CDS government was underway, which negatively affected various sectors of national life, and in particular the rights, incomes and living conditions of the workers and of the people. An offensive that continued and grew during the following years. Four and half years of PSD/CDS government and the implementation of the Pact of Aggression were marked by a policy of worsening exploitation, concentration of wealth, social inequalities and impoverishment, and an economic and social crisis that this policy expanded and which dramatically affected a very significant part of Portuguese society.

A government and a policy that left the country seriously weakened and its future compromised. A governance and a policy that led to the enhancement of decline, regression and dependence of the country.

In this period, in economic terms, the country was faced with one of its largest and most prolonged recessions that plunged the national GDP 6.8%, between the end of 2010 and 2013, turning it back to figures of the beginning of the century. External indebtedness was accentuated. There was an abrupt decline in total investment and a worsening of its structural deficits, while the country was confronted with the disappearance of a hundred thousand small and medium-sized enterprises that closed down or went broke.

A trail of destruction of productive strength and capacity, non renewal of infrastructure and abandonment of public investment that will continue to mark and condition the country's life in the coming years.

At the social level, unemployment increased to levels not seen in decades, while precariousness became widespread and half a million Portuguese were forced to emigrate. Between the 2nd quarter of 2011 and the first of 2013, 440,000 jobs were destroyed, while wages, pensions and incomes of workers, pensioners and other sections of the population were hard hit as a result of cuts and freezing of wages, increase in unpaid work, the continuation of the attack on the right to collective bargaining and a policy of fiscal aggravation.

This policy further enhanced injustice, with the exponential increase in taxation on labour and pension incomes, exceeding 3,800 million €, while taxes on large capital were lowered.

The country was experiencing a disturbing social situation marked by an alarming spread in poverty and by the intensification of the exploitation of workers, patent in a widespread devaluation of wages of 16.5%, which in the Public Administration was more than 30%, and increase in working time.

At the same time inequalities and injustices were on the rise, wealth became polarized around half a dozen economic groups, millionaire packages were offered to support the banks, and transferred into the pockets of those who speculate with the Portuguese debt, with workers' and peoples’ incomes.

The wealth of big business that grew with the worsening of direct labour exploitation, but also in the shadow of schemes, PPP, swaps, tax evasion and evading taxes abroad, tax benefits and a fiscal policy made to fit them!

Meanwhile, the labour’s share in the distribution of National Income fell and represents only 34.4%, while capital’s share and other incomes reached 65.6%!

In these four and a half years of PSD/CDS government the domination of monopoly capital over national life has been worsened with the handing of large strategic public companies - TAP, CTT, EGF, EDP, REN, GALP, ANA, Caixa Seguros, ENVC, among others.
The social rights which are constitutionally enshrined and essential to the life and well-being of the populations, in the fields of healthcare, education and social security have been jeopardised, notably with brutal cuts in the financing of public services, closures of services and measures of restriction to their access and the attack that was promoted on the working conditions and the rights of the workers of the respective sectors.
In health, hundreds of thousands of users have been excluded from access to healthcare. User fees were increased and the right of transport of non-urgent patients was eliminated.
In education, the attack on the public school system took new steps, including the closure of hundreds of schools, the implementation of dual and vocational training, the dismissal of more than 25,000 teachers and the discrimination and segregation of thousands of students with special educational needs.
In social security, in addition to the cuts in the amount of pensions, conditions for access to retirement have been worsened and cuts have been made in all social benefits, including sickness and unemployment.

A brutal offensive and a policy of systematic confrontation with the Constitution of the Republic, which translated into a growing and worrying degradation of the democratic regime and which seriously affected fundamental rights of the Portuguese, as well as the Local Democratic Government, with the attack that was carried out in its administrative and financial autonomy, and with the liquidation of 1200 parishes, but also in Justice, with the added difficulties created in its exercise, namely with the closing of dozens of courts.

It was against this brutal policy of exploitation and impoverishment and its executors that a widespread and strong action of resistance and struggle of the workers and of the Portuguese people arose, determining the political and social isolation of the government and that the popular vote would confirm in the legislative elections of October 4 last year, inflicting a heavy defeat on the PSD/CDS coalition, placed in minority with a vote that translated into its lowest ever voting and expressing a clear demand for change!

A demand to which the PCP responded, taking the initiative to contribute to the interruption of the destructive action of the PS/CDS government. But also with the aim of giving political expression to the struggle of the workers and people, without missing the opportunity of making advances, albeit limited, responding to its commitment to intervene at all levels to uphold their rights and interests.

This initiative resulted in a political solution that enabled the removal of the PSD/CDS coalition from government - a solution to halt a prolonged and serious offensive that was systematically sinking the country and the living conditions of the majority of the Portuguese population and take steps to solve pressing problems of the workers and the people.

It was not, and is not, the solution to meet the indispensable goal of a break with the right-wing policy and the implementation of a patriotic and left-wing policy for the materialisation of which we continue to fight. It had a political expression, the degree of commitment corresponding to the level of convergence reached between PCP and PS, limited by the obvious and stated differences in programmes and paths, as set down in their “Joint Position'.

Thus, the new phase of national political life does not mean a left-wing government or a situation in which the PCP is a supporting force of the government by means of a parliamentary agreement that does not exist. But a solution that enabled the formation and entry into office of a minority government of the PS with its own programme, where there is a commitment to restore rights and incomes stolen from the workers and people and reverse the course of disaster that was being imposed .

A political framework that enables the PCP to maintain full political freedom and independence, acting on the basis of what serves the interests of the workers, the people and the country, and in which what weighs especially in the evolution of the political situation is the existence of a relation of forces In the Assembly of the Republic where PSD and CDS-PP are in the minority, and at the same time, the parliamentary groups of the PCP and of PEV condition decisions and are decisive and indispensable in the restoration and achievement of rights and incomes.

A political framework, a new phase whose durability depends directly on the adoption of a policy that ensures the reversal of the course of decline and regression imposed by the previous government and meets the interests and aspirations of the workers and people.

Yes, comrades, the PCP affirms in this new phase of national political life its complete independence and identity, reaffirming its Programme and project, inscribing as objectives of its intervention the materialisation of the rupture with the right-wing policy and a patriotic and left-wing policy
And this has been our intervention during all this time. An intervention that does not breed illusions regarding the policy needed to solve the problems of the country, nor conceals the shortcomings and limitations of the political framework of the new national political phase to respond to them, but points out ways to overcome them, does not give up intervening to serve the interests of the workers and the people, to find solutions to improve their living conditions and to act so that politically their struggle and objectives for a better life will have a concrete expression, materialising the slogan we have set out: to advance in the struggle for the defence, restoration and achievement of the rights of the workers and people!

The results, although limited, are visible in the restoration of wages and the 35 hour-week in Public Administration; in a phased elimination of the Income tax surcharge; in the replacement of stolen holidays; in the reversal of the privatisation processes of public transport companies; increase in the national minimum wage; increase in the family allowance and solidarity supplement for the elderly; cuts in healthcare user fees, the end of the 4th and 6th year exams; in extra support for unemployed workers; in the reduction of VAT on restaurant and catering industry, among others, and extending to other areas. Also with the decisive contribution of the PCP, presently in the State Budget for 2017, with new measures such as the increase of pensions, adding about two and a half million pensions; the extension of free textbooks in the first four years of schooling, covering 370 thousand children; the restoration of collective bargaining in the public sector companies; support for the long-term unemployed; the increase of meal allowance for public administration workers, as well as the fight against precariousness with the opening of vacancies and hiring of workers. Measures to stimulate micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, fisheries and agriculture, including the reduction of the value of the advanced payment of taxes, with a view to their elimination and measures to support agricultural fuel and petrol for small-scale and coastal fishing, among others, in the field culture and support for the arts, social support, education and the restoration of income and rights.

Advances that are the result of the struggle of the workers and of our people. But advances made possible only because there was a change in the correlation of forces that opened space for PCP’s initiative and strengthened the weight, influence and role of this Portuguese Communist Party.
Let there be no illusions. The life of the workers and the people advances with their struggle and if the PCP grows stronger!

The more retrograde and reactionary right, visibly disoriented with its growing loss of influence and in the face of advances in the restoration of incomes and rights, expels venom against the PCP! This only confirms the correctness of the course we have set to serve the interests of the workers and people!

They can repeat to the point of exhaustion the tale of a tamed PCP that does not impress us! And they also impress no one when months ago, with the prospect of a solution condemning their government to defeat, they said exactly the opposite and stirred up the scare of an assault on power by the PCP and the return of the Revolutionary Process, with the PS in tow.

They can also invoke the lie that the ideological purity of the PCP is at stake in this new phase of national political life. This is said by those who have for years cynically demonized and stigmatized the PCP, characterising it as a party locked in its ghetto and unable to make and respect a commitment. How well we understand them and how it hurts them the coherence and effectiveness of the intervention and struggle of the PCP!
Our problem is not, nor has it ever been, to make and respect commitments. This is a problem that has long been solved among those who are in the struggle for social transformation. But it's about knowing which commitments. Commitments to trade on principles, we do not make! Let them remain under illusions, those who expect to see a PCP yielded to the inevitability of right-wing policies!

Nobody but us is aware of the contradictory framework of possibilities and limitations that the new phase of national political life presents. This contradictory framework is very clear in the evolution of the political situation and the life of the country during this last year. It is clear, on one hand, on the progress achieved, even if insufficient, and, on the other, on the limitations to more decisive and indispensable advances that result from the fact that we face a government of the PS with its option of not freeing from the European impositions, of the Euro and domination of monopoly capital and other constraints that determine to a large extent the nature of its orientation. Options associated with the structuring elements of the right-wing policy, which are still present in government action clearly subject to foreign impositions, in particular the European Union, and to the class interests of big business, an example of which was the BANIF bank resolution, the nomination process CGD bank administration, the economic, fiscal and foreign policy options.

It is fully aware of the contradictions and demands of the new phase of national political life that the PCP will continue to intervene, determined by its commitments to the workers and the people and by its assessment of the content of the policy pursued at all times, And taking into account that the fundamental issue in the current national situation is not only to prevent PSD or CDS from returning to power, but to prevent their policies, which the people unequivocally condemned in the October elections, from being developed by these parties or by the PS, and create the conditions for the materialisation of the patriotic and left-wing policy indispensable to solve the fundamental problems of the country that cannot be solved and answered by the current national and European policies.

Comrades

The country is not doomed, as the current moment proves, to have as only option the route to exploitation, decline and setback it has known.
It is also not doomed to accept the severe limitations and deterrents forced by the impositions and restrictions which are required and urgent for the development of the country.
The answer to the national problems calls for a new path, other options, and a firm determination to set the interests of the workers, of the people and of the Country above the European Union guidelines.
We have said that the path for a current solution clashes with the external constraints, EU rules which hinder development and growth, the submission to a new currency at the service of the big businesses and of the countries which lead the process of capitalist integration.

However, as we have maintained, the option is not between having to confirm with the limitations and difficulties or move backwards. The option is to make a break from right-wing policies and adopt a patriotic left-wing policy.

The option is to ensure another level of response which requires facing EU impositions, break away from the interests of monopoly capital, and reiterate sovereignty and national independence.

The option is facing the debt problem, prepare the country to release itself from the Euro, reject the impositions of the Budgetary Treaty and other tools, and ensure public control over banking and the financial sector.

The alternative path which has to be inscribed as the goal for action and struggle. A path which is possible, all the more possible as the strength and influence of the PCP grows.

There are more and more Portuguese people who value the role and intervention of the PCP in this new stage of national political life, who acknowledge and aspire another level of response to their problems, who gain awareness that the goal of “going further” is inseparable from giving more strength to the PCP, of ensuring that the Party is more decisive and exerts greater influence in decision making.

Nowadays, more Portuguese people identify in the PCP, in its role and intervention, the positive and different signs which have translated into the safeguard, restorations and the achievement of rights and who become aware of the fact that if the PCP is stronger, the broader will be the response to their aspirations and rights, the closer will the country be to a patriotic and left wing policy indispensable to the country.

A policy which has as determining elements, in the current political framework and developments within the current economic and social situation, eight priority elements:
– Release the country from the submission to the Euro and the European Union impositions and constraints and with other expressions of sovereign external policy, of peace and cooperation, upholding a Portugal which is free and sovereign.
– Renegotiation of the public debt, including its deadlines, interest rates and amounts, which will ensure debt servicing compatible with the necessities of public investment, development and job creation;
– Valorisation of labour and workers expressed in pay raises, full employment, jobs with rights, a fight against unemployment and precariousness and an increase in retirement pensions.
– Promotion and protection of the national production and productive sector, with the development of a policy which aims to protect the manufacturing and mining industries, agriculture and fisheries and which puts national resources at the service of the people and the Country and reduces structural deficit;
– Ensure public control of banking and the return to the public sector of strategic basic sectors of economy, encouraging a strong and dynamic Public Enterprise Sector, support to micro, small and medium-sized businesses and to the cooperative sector.
– Guarantee administration and public services at the service of the Country and the people, valorising a general, universal and free National Health Service; public school free and of quality; a universal system of Social Security and culture;
– Defence of a policy of social justice that relieves the financial burden on the workers and the people´s income and breaks away from the scandalous favouritism of the big capital;
– Defence of the democratic system and the compliance of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, safeguarding the rights, freedoms and guarantees, fighting corruption and for the accomplishment of independent and accessible justice for all.
Today, it will be clearer to the workers and the people that it is no longer only necessary but that it is also possible to create the conditions to affirm the alternative. With its struggle and intervention, with a more decisive contribution by the PCP, with the expansion of unity and convergence of all democrats and patriots who want a developed and sovereign Portugal.

The XIII CGTP-IN Congress held this year, was a success and a great affirmation of its nature, principles and project.
In the context of an intense ideological struggle, of pressures and blackmail, lines of attack against class-oriented trade unionism and the broad-united project continue, aimed at its disintegration, de-characterisation and integration into the system.

From the traditional trade union division of UGT, other structures emerge, a kind of extension of social movements that, under the guise of innovation and modernity, aim to dilute the class nature of the trade union movement, its own identity.

The workers do not need conciliatory and conformist structures.

If they are workers' organisations, then they have to defend their class interests and not others.

The participation and influence of communist militants in the broad-united trade union movement at all levels, elected by their co-workers and having their confidence, are inseparable from the class nature, the guarantee of the broad-united character of the organisation, its independence, autonomy and democraticity, respecting the decisions of the proper bodies and in convergence with other leaders, union activists with or without party affiliation.

At the level of companies and sectors, the movement of Workers' Committees, although conditioned in two ways, one of repression and conditioning of its members, the other of enticement to turn them into company committees and to counter the union organisation, continue to play an important role in many companies by strengthening the unity of workers in cooperation with the trade union movement. The regional and sectorial coordinators, the sub-WCs, remain in general an important expression of the broad-united organisation of workers.

Alongside the labour movement, other large mass social movements are part of a broad anti-monopoly front, each representing a globally powerful influence and developing force.

The movement of small and medium-sized farmers, in which the National Confederation of Agriculture (CNA) and its regional partners are organised expression, in the face of the serious situation faced by family farming, and the majority of farmers and farming entrepreneurs have waged great struggles, converging with other associations, have proposals to answer the problems of national agriculture.

The movement of fishermen, integrating the trade union structures of workers and producer organisations, continues to play an irreplaceable role in the defence of national fisheries, highlighting the important role of the Federation of the Fisheries Trade Unions.

The micro, small and medium-size entrepreneurs maintained levels of organisation and intervention, carrying out an important set of actions in which the Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium-size Enterprises, with its affiliated nuclei and associations, have affirmed, converging often with other associations, as was the convergence of the restaurant and catering sector in the fight against VAT.

It is necessary that the communist entrepreneurs strengthen their presence and participation in this front, favouring social and political convergence with other antimonopoly strata.

The movement of intellectuals and technical cadres made a valuable contribution, facing the offensive that led to the growing proletarianisation of these sectors, organising and mobilising the respective workers.
The Portuguese Confederation of Technical and Scientific Cadres, despite the success of their 10th Congress and its persistent effort in identifying and discussing the main labour problems of the cadres, needs to be strengthened in its activity.

In this period, the Association of Scientific Research Fellows has played a prominent role in the mobilisation of this sector, with positive developments in the availability for organised action with the technical cadres, although not always accompanied by the strengthening of the trade union movement in these sectors.

The Movement Manifesto in Defence of Culture, with its own action and integrating the broader struggle of the workers and Portuguese people, great promoter of the claim for 1% of the Budget for Culture, has had a dynamics of struggle for the right of all to Culture, in itself a factor of the struggle for the advanced democracy.

The youth movement in its diversity is marked by the social and economic situation of youth.

One of its features was the pressure not to create student associations, particularly in Secondary Education, or a strong partisanization of the existing ones, as is the case in Higher Education.

Being a reality, the youth movement is characterised by a differentiated and dynamic capacity to achieve. Our Theses value the youth movement, its own role and intervention, inseparable from an emancipatory youth perspective that guarantees its rights and affirms its role in the transformation of society.

From this rostrum we call on the youth not to wait for the inheritance of rights achieved by other generations, not be the heirs but the creators of the achievement of their rights!

The action of the JCP and of the young communists in the development of the youth movement, building unity in action with other young people on issues that affect them, has contributed to strengthening and increasing the prestige of the JCP and the PCP, its project and objectives.

A role and an action that develops within the framework of the guidelines of the Party, assume lines of work, organisation and own direction that since the XIX Congress brought to the JCP another 1585 new militants.

The women's movement has carried an important mobilising action in a context marked by the deep deterioration of the living conditions of women, the devaluation of their specific organisations and the exercise of an ideological campaign based on the concealment of their true causes and on fomenting the false antagonism between women and men in society.

The Women's Democratic Movement (MDM) has confirmed its national dimension, giving voice to different aspects of the problems and of the struggle of women, which had its high point in its 9th Congress.

The organisation of working women in the trade unions of the broad-united trade union movement and in CGTP-IN has been confirmed as the strongest and most combative expression of the women's movement. They were there in the concrete struggle, in the great mass actions to face the offensive against the rights and incomes of all workers.

The indispensable contribution of women communists in strengthening the organised struggle of women places the need to strengthen the more organised and combative components of women, especially of the MDM.

The Pensioners Movement took a step forward with its intervention and organisation.

The Broad United Movement of the Retired, Pensioners and the Elderly (MURPI) gave expression to the outcry and revolt of retired and pensioners. Hit by cuts and freezing of pensions, cuts in social aid and the degradation and the increase in prices of health services, fought on the street, side by side with the workers who are still in active life.

The potential of this movement is being confirmed with the creation of new associations in several districts. Communist pensioners must give their contribution to the reinforcement of these organisations and associations.

The action of associations for the defence of people with disabilities gave an important contribution to guarantee a set of rights in the field of education, health, accessibility and others.

We should highlight the National Confederation of People With Disabilities which has 35 organisations affiliated, the Portuguese Association for People with Disabilities (Associação Portuguesa de Deficientes), people with disabilities resulting from work related accidents and many other organisations with specific problems and rights.

The priority and intervention of the communists should be towards the reinforcement of the actions, unity and convergence of the associations.
The grassroots associative movement provides a great possibility for social intervention in national and local life, with an important role fostering the democratization of cultural, recreational and sports related activities.

For its nature and popular roots, the movement is an essential part of the social mass movement and should deserve the commitment and availability of the communists to allow its materialisation.

The reinforcement of the associative movement of immigrants and the movement of immigrants, the movement of public services users, the cooperative movement, the movement for poverty eradication, the movement for peace and solidarity, the Union of Portuguese Anti-fascist Resistance (União de Resistentes Antifascistas Portugueses, URAP), the parents’ associations, must be common goal and indispensable to the struggle for the rupture with the right-wing policy for a patriotic, left-wing policy.
It is the task of the members of the Party to commit themselves in this strengthening, contributing to their action and initiative, to its unity.

Comrades:

In our Party’s long path of struggle, recent years have once again put us to the test.

How demanding, how much action and effort were required from our Party collective. And what a remarkable response was given. How much militancy, what an example of service to the workers, the people and the country!

Ours was a vanguard role in the struggle of the workers, of the anti-monopoly classes and strata.

It was political activity in the midst of the workers and the communities. There were the electoral battles and our intense activity in the institutions.
There was the action to strengthen the Party.

There was the resistance to one of the most violent offensives since the days of fascism, which culminated in the social and political isolation of the PSD/CDS-PP government, with its defeat and removal from power.

There was the resistance to an insidious action against the Party on the ideological level and at all levels.
We resisted, we confronted all the difficulties and we have reached this 20th Congress. And we can say in all truth: we have fulfilled our commitment with the workers, the people and the country. We have lived up to our internationalist duties.

We are the Portuguese Communist Party, with our identity. The Communist identity of all times, the Communist identity which today’s world reaffirms and requires, so that the Party may live up to its historical mission.

The Party’s identity, whose essential traits this Congress reaffirms.

Yes, we are the Party of the working class and of all workers, which defends the interests of the anti-monopoly classes and strata, which is independent from the influence, the ideology and the policies of the forces of capital, with close links with the working class, the workers and the people in general.

Yes, we are the Party whose supreme goals are the edification of Socialism and Communism, of a society freed from capitalist exploitation and oppression.

Yes, we are the Party that has as it theoretical basis Marxism-Leninism, a materialist and dialectic view of the world, an instrument of analysis, a guide for action, a critical ideology of transformation.

Yes, we are the Party that has operational principles which result from the creative development of democratic centralism, based on a profound inner-Party, on a single general line and a single central leadership.

Yes, we are a patriotic and internationalist Party.

This is our identity. We are a Party that fights every day, on all fronts, to defend the rights and to improve the living standards of the workers and the people. Everything that is of concern to them requires our attention and activity. But the response to these needs requires a more long-term and more profound prospect. As we say in our Draft Political Resolution: «The daily activity of the PCP on concrete and immediate issues, integrates the goals of each phase and stage, as well as the Party’s supreme goals. The struggle for a break with the right-wing policies, for patriotic and left-wing policies, is inseparable from, and part and parcel of, the struggle to materialize the Party Programme «An Advanced Democracy – the Values of April in the Future of Portugal». The struggle for immediate goals and the struggle for an advanced democracy are a constituent part of the struggle for Socialism and Communism».

Our Party, due to its identity and its project of liberation and emancipation, is the target of attacks by capital, seeking to weaken and destroy it. This has always been the case, in different periods of the country’s life, and in all circumstances. They have not managed, and they will not manage to achieve this goal. The unevenness of forces is considerable, but we count on our roots and our links among the workers and the people, we count on our Party organization, on the strength of our militancy, on our own resources. And we base ourselves on our Party’s operational principles, which mark the difference and which were present in the superior process of preparation and holding of the Congress. Principles that are at the root of our strength, which are the way we view and act, they are the principles that we have established, which we practice and defend.
The Party has 54 280 members.

We should note, in these years, the work to strengthen the Party, materializing the Central Committee Resolution «More organization, more intervention, greater influence – a stronger PCP», in which three important aspects should be highlighted:

A national action of contacts with Party members to raise militancy, update information and in the distribution of Party membership cards.
The national campaign to purchase the Quinta do Cabo and expand the grounds of the Avante! Festival, which culminated in April with a great success that was followed by the success of the Avante! Festival.

The fact that 5300 new members joined the Party in the past four years, of whom 2127 joined within the framework of the National Recruitment Campaign «The values of April in Portugal’s future». It should be noted that 70% of these were less than 50 years of age when they joined the Party.

To these elements we add an important reality: JCP, the Portuguese Communist Youth, whom we greet for its activity and militancy.
Comrades:

We have a great Party, but we need that it be stronger.

Taking into account the situation and the requirements that we face the 20th Congress points out priority guidelines to strengthen the Party:
As far as leadership work is concerned, to strengthen resources and capabilities and make better use of them, asserting and strengthening collective work, individual responsibility and initiative, coordination and discipline;

As concerns cadres, ensuring that more comrades have permanent responsibilities;

As concerns the organization, to promote a major action of recruitment and integration of new members, with a key importance given to the creation and dynamization of workplace and shop-floor cells, without forgetting the need to structure local organizations, and taking into account the realities of the size of each organization, their political initiative and the work among the younger generations, as well as among old-age and other pensioners;
As concerns propaganda and the press, propaganda work must be better organized, with the systematic and better use of electronic resources, enhancing the circulation and readership of Avante!;

As concerns funds, we must ensure financial independence, having as essential element the increase in Party dues;

The priorities to strengthen the Party are formulated in order to respond to the short-term requirements. And how enormous they are!
But the priorities in strengthening the Party, with the urgent and profound measures that they entail, have future requirements in mind. We are a Party that is prepared and is preparing itself to fulfil its goals, whatever the conditions in which we must act. This statement, which is true at all times, has particular significance today.

In a time of uncertainties, but also of hope, let us live up to the demands that we must face, basing ourselves in the present, but thinking about the future!

Long Live the 20th Congress!
Long Live the PCP!

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  • XX Congresso do PCP
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Intervenção
XX Congresso do PCP

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