Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, Secretário-Geral do PCP, 120 anos do 1º de Maio

120 years of May 1st

120 years of May 1st


"(…) Its is true that, since the end of the 1970s , the neoliberal offensive unleashed by capitalism, as a response to its profound crisis, already revealed its goals of recovering all the ground that it had lost an re-establishing – or even increasing – the previous existing levels of exploitation of labour. But the extent of the offensive against the rights of workers and their organisations is now reaching qualitatively new heights, in its attacks against the masses rights and living standards. It is an offensive that has not gone even further because it has been confronted with the vigorous struggle of the workers and the peoples.

In the framework of the new balance of forces that has shifted in favour of capital, capitalism is now dropping some of the disguises with which it attempted to conceal its exploitative nature. And social democracy and the socialist parties are, as in the past, embodying the role of accomplices of big business and of forces of capitulation in the face of the neo-liberal programme, which they have adopted as their own in key aspects that directly affect dignified living standards for the workers and the peoples.

The counter offensive by big capital is determined by the requirements of the reproduction of capital and the quest for maximum profits. It has, in the past twenty years, redoubled its predatory activity. The offensive has resulted on a widespread deterioration of the living and working standards of the broad masses, but at the same time has also enhanced and sharpened the contradictions within the system of exploitation, as is reflected in the serious and profound crisis which the capitalist system faces today.

The crisis is a serious blow against the myth of a triumphant capitalism, which could somehow master its own unresolvable contradictions and contain the destructive action which is inherent in its own evolution and its incapacity to solve the problems of the workers and of Humankind.

These changes at the level of global capitalism have broadened and enhanced the devastating effects of the policies of capitalist recovery in our country, which has been carried out by the right-wind and socialist parties throughout many years of government attacks against the achievements of the 1974 April Revolution, the rights of the workers and the people, promoting a scandalous centralization and concentration of wealth that benefits big monopoly capital.

A government action which has embodied the theses of the ruling capitalism, which targets the public sector and commercializes social rights; which stigmatizes and declasses all historical notions of social rights and which portraits as privileges all hand non social rights, so as to impose the absolute role of flexibility, of precariousness and of an arbitrary world.

Today, the consequence of this policy – and of the policies that promote financial deregulation, privatizations, market liberalization, the free casino economy at the expense of real production and of the workers and people’s living standards – are there, for all to see.

Growing unemployment, ever-greater precariousness, ever-lower quality jobs, the destruction of labour and social rights, flexibilization and longer working hours, the

debasement and liquidation of collective bargaining, the lowering of wages and pensions with an increasing note of labour exploitation , all this heightens social inequalities and phenomena of poverty and social exclusion. The consequences are felt also in the liquidation of the right to health care, with a growing deterioration of public health services; the deterioration of systems of protection, the right to a dignified pension and protection against unemployment and in all spheres of our collective life.

Suffice it to see what is happening during these vey days, as result of the disastrous right-wing policy and of the submission to the diktats and blackmail of the markets and of domestic and international big capital.

Our country is today living trough an intense and dangerous operation of a speculative nature, which is masterminded from the decision-making centers of big capital and has the notorious rating agencies as one of its main instruments.

As unrelenting predators who plunder the wealth of peoples, financial big capital is now – after having absorbed astronomical public resources that were handed over by a political power at its service – launching a powerful assault against our economy, with a view to taking control of important national resources, extorting millions of Euros from our resources by way of debt, thereby increasing the dependency of what is already one of the most dependent countries of the European Union.

Confronted with this veritable plunder against Portugal, the role which PS [Socialist Party] and PSD [Social-democratic Party] (with the support of the President of the Republic) are getting ready to play is that of taking part in this operation, demanding more sacrifices from the workers, not to solve the national problems, but to hand over more money to the speculators.

If the European Committee and the Portuguese Government so wished, the current speculative operation could be immediately interrupted, that, however, is not the path that is being followed.

The agreement between the PS and PSD, following the agreements that existed for the Budget and the "Stability and Growth Pact" (PEC) will bring nothing new to "calm down the markets". What it seeks is to even go further with the most negative aspects of the economic and social disaster, for which both have been responsible during the past 34 years. They do not merely accept the blackmail of big business. They use it to up the ante in the demands for new sacrifices from the workers, the unemployed, pensioners, small and medium entrepreneurs.

When, what is needed is a new policy and a firm stance against the impositions of the Economic and Monetary Union, as well as the requirement to put an end to the speculation which is leading the country to disaster, what big business is demanding and the PS and PSD are doing, is to impose more cuts on wages, on unemployment benefits and other social contributions, longer working hours, the privatization of more State companies and services.

They can not count with the PCP for this policy. What they can count with is our firm activity to expose these measures, assert a political alternative, mobilize for the struggle against the PEC and the right-wing policies. (…)"

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120 anos do 1º de Maio