14th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties - Contribution of Portuguese Communist Party

Comrades,

We convey fraternal greetings from the Portuguese Communist Party to all Parties present as well as to those who, not being able to attend, have sent greetings and contributions to our Meeting.

Greetings that we extend in a special way to the Lebanese Communist Party, the host of our 14th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, appreciating its effort and persistence in ensuring the success of this Meeting and also expressing our solidarity with its difficult struggle, waged in difficult and complex conditions, for peace, against sectarianism, for social progress and socialism..

We bring greetings from the Portuguese Communist Party, a Party that battles against the violent offensive by big capital and the European Union. An offensive which having in the implementation of the “memorandum” by the Troika – or as we call it, a pact of aggression against the Portuguese people – its current instrument, is already reflected in the highest unemployment rate in the democratic history of our country (23.5% in real terms); in a poverty rate that already exceeds 20% of the population; in the country's debt spiral, the destruction of our economy and the handing over to foreign capital of almost all strategic sectors, as well as in a brutal exploitation through cuts in wages and pensions that could reach around 30% next year. An offensive which is the most violent anti-social, anti-democratic offensive after the 1974 April Revolution.

But we also bring greetings from a Party that is connected to its people, does not yield, does not give up the struggle. The Portuguese workers and people, together with our Party and the class-oriented trade union movement, are waging important actions of struggle which will consolidate the social front of anti-monopoly forces that is necessary to achieve a rupture with decades of right-wing policies and to build the alternative. The General Strike of November 14th, one of the greatest general strikes ever held in our country, convened by the class-oriented trade union central of the Portuguese workers, CGTP/IN, is the most recent example of this.

A struggle to which our Party has devoted all its forces. Dynamizing, mobilizing, intervening, explaining and trying to build the greatest possible unity of our people in defence of their rights and aspirations, in defence of the achievements of the April 1974 Revolution, in defence of the independence and sovereignty of our country, free from the pressures and interferences of the European Union and big capital. We do so by stressing every achievement of the workers and every retreat by the government or capital that is imposed by the struggle, while at the same time taking part in the battle of ideas: showing that “to resist is already a victory”, that every small victory is a step on the road towards an alternative, that there are no inevitabilities and it is possible, by asserting a patriotic and left-wing policy with an opposite class nature to that of the right-wing policy, to materialize an Advanced Democracy, the present stage of the revolution in Portugal and an integral and indissociable part of the
struggle for socialism in our country.

At the same time, and believing that to achieve an alternative policy for Portugal it is first of all necessary to strengthen the PCP at various levels, we are also fully engaged in the final preparations of the 19th Party Congress, which will be held during the coming weekend. A Congress which has already the confirmed presence of numerous delegations of Communist Parties, progressive and left-wing forces from all over the world, many of whom are here today – and to whom we wish to thank for such an expressive demonstration of solidarity with our struggle. Our Party is also and already engaged in the commemorations of the centenary of the birth of Alvaro Cunhal.

Comrades,

We are holding our Meeting in a region and at a time that reveals one of the most dangerous, inhumane and criminal faces of the imperialist offensive. Israel, with the unconditional support of the Obama Administration and the connivance of the European Union powers and the Gulf dictatorships, has carried out a real massacre against the heroic and martyr Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Cease fire was achieved, and this means a victory for the Palestinian people. But because the criminal policy of Israel continues, we wish to express our heartfelt and deepest solidarity with the Palestinian people and to reiterate our continued support for their struggle for their inalienable national rights, the right to the independent and sovereign State of Palestine in the pre-1967 borders, with its capital in Jerusalem.

We also wish to express our solidarity with the other peoples in the Middle East. Peoples which, confronted with major and new challenges in the struggle for their social, national and class emancipation, facing several manoeuvres of instrumentalization of their genuine yearnings for change, continue their struggle, despite a brutal repression, as in Bahrain and Yemen. Peoples that, despite the manoeuvres to divide their societies in a sectarian and religious way, resist imperialist aggressions, interferences and destabilizing manoeuvres and continue their struggle for social, labour, democratic and national rights.

Comrades,

The crimes that the Zionist enemy commits in Gaza, the on-going destabilization and aggression against Syria, the provocations against Lebanon and the threats against Iran, are part of the same strategy of war, aggression and world-wide re-colonization by imperialism which tries at all costs, in the context of capitalism’s crisis, to maintain and increase its power and control over the natural and energy resources, over markets and geo-strategic positions in this and other regions. This dangerous escalation can result in a military conflict of unpredictable scale and consequences.

This danger is all the greater given the current international context where international contradictions and tensions grow, in a complex framework and non-stabilised process of recomposition and realignment of forces, marked, among various other factors, by the economic decline of the major imperialist powers, like the USA and the European Union; by the intensification of inter-imperialist contradictions, by the growing weight, mainly economic, of countries like the so-called BRICs and by the assertion of progressive processes, such as in Latin America.

As we have alerted in several previous Meetings, the rapid deepening of the structural crisis of imperialism – of which the present cyclical crisis of overproduction and over-accumulation of capital is a main expression and element – has meant a violent sharpening of the imperialist offensive against labour and social rights, against democracy and the sovereignty of the peoples.

The system reacts to the crisis by strengthening its exploitative, oppressive, predatory and aggressive nature. There is an ongoing attempt to impose upon the world a real civilizational regression based on four key goals: 1 – A violent destruction of the productive forces and the devaluation of capital to allow a new cycle of capitalist reproduction; 2 – The transfer of the brutal effects of the destruction of productive forces and devaluation of capital to the workers, the peoples and the countries on the periphery of the system, thus sharpening exploitation and relations of dependence of a colonial type; 3 – A balance of forces between capital and labour - and the corresponding framework of social and labour rights - typical of the late 19th century; 4 – A new level of oppression of peoples, through attacks on democracy and international law, through an ever-deeper repressive component of States, through the ongoing world crusade against the sovereignty of peoples and States and through militarism and war.

The situation in the European continent is a very concrete and meaningful expression of this strategy and also of how destructive the evolution of the system, in the context of its own crisis, can be. We call the crisis that we are living in the European continent a crisis in, and of, the European Union. Because, on the one hand, it is the expression in Europe of capitalism’s crisis in all its aspects, including with special visibility, the deepening inter-imperialist contradictions. On the other, it is also the crisis of the pillars of the process of capitalist integration in Europe. A crisis of the whole superstructure that big capital and the major powers had managed to build as an instrument of their domination in the European continent.

The European Union's evolution in the context of the crisis is now marked by several attempts at leaps forward in its neoliberal, militarist and federalist course. Leaps that will only enhance its unresolvable contradictions - be they of class, or among States, or even of the structure of the European Union, like the Economic and Monetary Union. That is why we say that the reaction of the European Union to the crisis shows above all its objective limits and an already unsurmountable reality: the process of capitalist integration in Europe is doomed to fail! And this is all the more true when the struggle of the workers and peoples in Europe has seen very important developments and as the peoples, like the Portuguese people, became aware of the real exploitative and oppressive nature of the European Union. This reality leads us to another conclusion; the European Union cannot be reformed. The other Europe that will spring from the struggle will be built, as reality is already showing, upon the ruins of the European Union.

Comrades,

Imperialism’s multifaceted offensive leads the world into a situation of severely sharper class struggle and at the same time, as we have said in other Meetings, to even more intense contradictions of the system. In this framework, the possibility of violent outcomes and the danger of generalized international military conflicts of unforeseen scale and consequences, is a fact. However this does not necessarily mean that History will repeat itself – since we live in different historical conditions, on an objective and especially a subjective level.

At the same time, and recognising the existence of this danger, we believe that it should not be isolated from all the other factors, dangers, but also the existing potential, that make the current situation particularly demanding and complex.

The result of the above described processes - capitalism’s crisis, imperialism’s offensive and a realignment of forces, will depend on various factors. Firstly the development of the class struggle, the social struggle and the struggle of the mass of the workers and peoples, with the balance of forces that it creates – and this should be our top priority. But also, for example, the role of several countries in the international arena and their articulations and relations of resistance against imperialism. Be they countries that have defined the construction of socialism as a guideline and goal; or capitalist countries, enmeshed in increasing contradictions and where the mass struggle gains crucial importance in changing the balance of forces in the “core” of the system; or countries that develop progressive alternatives of sovereign assertion – as in Latin America – and who today represent the main fulcrums of anti-imperialist resistance, with socialist Cuba and Bolivarian Venezuela in the front line.

Uncertainty is one of the features of our time. Great dangers coexist with real potential for progressive and revolutionary change. Capitalism’s contradictions lie exposed and this enhances the need and urgency of socialism and the relevance of the communist ideal. But the situation is very diverse in different countries and regions of the world and there are no immediate, or magical solutions. It is the development of the peoples’ struggle that will determine the future.

What is the role of our parties? In our view to strengthen this struggle, giving it a transforming and revolutionary direction, and to be able in this struggle to strengthen the social, political and mass influence of our parties and of the communist and revolutionary movement in general. It will be this combination of factors that will ultimately determine the pace of progress of social emancipation and of the - so necessary and urgent - revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.

The objective conditions for important leaps in History grow with every step of the deepening of crisis of capitalism, but at the same time the relative backwardness of the subjective factor raises the need to look closely at the dialectical relation between the struggle of resistance and for very concrete goals, the struggle for achievements of an anti-monopolist and anti-imperialist nature and the struggle for a socialist society.

This is in our opinion the great challenge that we face: to resist, advance, wage the battle of ideas and assert Socialism, not only as the direction but as the necessary, possible and increasingly urgent goal. Socialism, which in our opinion will correspond to the path that each people will follow in this struggle and to the development of the historical process, as is stated in one of the lessons drawn by our Party from the analysis of the historical experiences of construction of socialism in the 20th century: that there are not, nor can there be, models of revolution or socialism and what is crucial to successfully building a new society is the active and creative participation of the masses.

Comrades,

The demands of the times in which we live in are enormous. The conditions of struggle of our parties are not easy. We are the bearers of a real alternative, but at the same time we know that it will not materialize with a magic wand, just because it is tremendously necessary. The coming confrontation is a violent one. It is a situation that demands from all of us, and I stress, from all of us, a great sense of responsibility, great courage, great solidarity and unity in action. A situation in which the principles of inter-Party relations – such as equal rights, mutual solidarity and non-interference in the internal affairs of other parties – principles that have guided those of us who have arrived this far and who did not fall prey to the abrupt twists and turns of History, are now agan of crucial importance, so that our Parties, our movement can continue to fulfil their historic mission: to interpret the world and to change it. Towards Socialism, towards Communism, always with the masses and the peoples.

Long live international solidarity, long live proletarian internationalism!

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  • Central
  • International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties
  • International Activity
  • Álvaro Cunhal
  • Bolivarian Revolution
  • Cuba
  • European Union
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Venezuela
  • War