Speech by Manuela Bernardino, Member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the PCP, XXth Congress of PCP

The political and ideological struggle

The political and ideological struggle

Comrades,

Ever since the XIXth Congress four years ago, the ideological onslaught against workers and their struggle, against PCP and its political and social interventions, against its efforts to build a patriotic and left-wing alternative and against its project for a socialist society have intensified and become more diverse in our country.

The deepening of capitalism's crisis has highlighted the problems caused by more than four decades of right-wing policies and 30 years of capitalist integration into the EU. The country has become more dependent and vulnerable, it has been forced further into submission and sidelined. This situation was only made worse by the Pact of Aggression, which was supported by a violent and sophisticated ideological campaign.

Big business and the political parties that protect its interests resorted to various means, including the use of mainstream media, the manipulation of new information technologies and a strategy of instilling fear with the aim of winning over workers and other anti-monopolistic social groups so that they would not oppose the abolition of rights and the theft of salaries and pensions, thus paving the way to the accumulation of profits. In other words, to ensure that those who are exploited and those who have fewer means would bear the brunt of the crisis.

While spreading the view that the policies adopted were inevitable, that individualism was the solution to the problems faced by each and every one of us, and that we should resign ourselves to our circumstances, PSD/CDS proclaimed the uselessness of organized struggles, appealed ”patriotically” to sacrifices that we were told would be the same for everyone and were necessary to honour our commitments before the EU and our creditors. Meanwhile, they divested the social functions of the State, privatized services, sold publicly-owned companies for a pittance and praised the "minimal State" which in fact is the "maximum state" of affairs for big business, both national and foreign.

Workers and the people were accused of living above their means and this was the argument used to brutally cut wages, pensions and social allowances, while public money was used to plug the holes caused by private banks' massive losses.

The intense and unheard of ideological campaign that was waged on home front and focused on the country's internal issues was accompanied by another campaign that was inspired by the notions of 'the end of history' and 'the end of class struggle'. The latter campaign was aimed at discrediting the possibility or need to build a political alternative, portraying exploitation as a natural phenomenon that is part and parcel of competition and the rationale of capitalist reproduction. Anti-communism was promoted to stoke the prejudices against and the rejection of the communist ideal and project.

PCP, being aware of its responsibilities, was on the side of workers and of populations. It did so on a daily basis and it intervened to achieve practical and immediate objectives, combining social and mass struggles with its interventions in the political, electoral and institutional spheres and thus proving to be the party that best defends national interests, the democratic regime and the Constitution that has enshrined it. Because of our party's activities and the role played by the class labour movement and the mass struggles of our people, the PSD/CDS government was defeated at the 4th October general election. A new balance emerged between the parties represented in Parliament and, with PCP's decisive contribution, a political solution could be found that removed PSD/CDS from power, paving the way to a recovery of rights and income, albeit limited and insufficient.

A new political situation required a new approach to the ideological onslaught. Throughout the year, there were numerous instances when blackmail was exercised, sanctions were threatened, and of external interference from the EU. PSD and CDS promoted instability and fear of the future. On both fronts, attempts were made to boycott any social and economic recovery. This fact is quite telling and shows the political importance of what was achieved with last year's general election.

However, we have to carry on with our awareness-raising efforts.

The political solution that we have at present is a PS government with PS's political programme.

We have to convey to the masses the message that PCP is not part of the government nor does it have a coalition with PS. What does exist is a “joint position” that led to the removal of the PSD/CDS government and began to address the urgent issues that affect workers and the people. And we have to put across the message that the country's major issues will only be addressed if we adopt patriotic and left-wing policies, if we break with right-wing policies and reject the constraints imposed by the EU and the euro. Only thus will we find solutions to the country's major problems.

In our struggle against historical revisionism and attempts at obliterating the role of PCP, party initiatives like the celebration of the centenary of comrade Álvaro Cunhal and the 40th anniversary of the April Revolution and the Constitution played a major role.

The celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution will be an opportunity to emphasize the need for a revolutionary overcoming of capitalism and to put forward the superiority of socialism.

Comrades,

With this Congress, the party's collective is being asked to take on ever greater responsibilities in the ideological struggle.

Apart from strengthening the party's organization, the political and ideological education of its cadres, the study of the key documents issued by the Party and published in “Avante” and “O Militante”, it is essential that we raise the awareness about the true nature of capitalism, that we fight exploitation and oppose reactionary ideologies – fascism, racism, xenophobia - and that we denounce old and new forms of social-democracy.

It is also essential that we value the struggles and their successes, no matter how small, and that we disseminate PCP's political project for an Advanced Democracy, the present stage in our struggle for socialism and communism.

Long live the XXth Congress! Long live PCP!

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  • Intervenção
  • XX Congresso do PCP
Intervenção
XX Congresso do PCP

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