Closing Speech by Jeronimo de Sousa at the Avante Festival

Closing Speech by Jeronimo de Sousa at the Avante Festival

Excerpts of the Closing speech by Jeronimo de Sousa, General Secretary of the PCP, at the mass rally - Avante Festival

Overcoming adversity and hurdles
We struggle with confidence

On the verge of closing the 34th. Avante! Festival let me salute all those who designed, built, executed and participated in it, thus contributing to its success and the reaffirmation that we are witnessing the biggest political and cultural event held in this country.

Here we had the exhilarating joy of the youth, the hope and confidence of those who refuse inevitabilities and resignation, here we had and have human solidarity, gave due value to work, to creativity, to what is noblest in politics, gave free rein to the dream and ideal, undoubtedly more advanced than reality which, transformed into struggle, will make the dream and reality come together.

Festival of work and art

A Festival which is a privileged spot for culture and artistic creation. Here, with effort but with great fraternity, we created the conditions for artists and creators of all types of expression to find a place and space to present to the visitors of the Festival the results of their work and their way of seeing the world.

Here too the Avante! Festival has a unique character, countering the harsh reality that creators and artists face daily. While here one promotes, encourages, spreads, supports the work of creators and artists, out there, in Portugal's political right, the creators and artists, cultural workers, see their activity and their projects curtailed and blocked by a cultural policy that lies last in the list of priorities, elitist and concentrated in a handful of facilities and initiatives, whose chronic under-funding has this year been worsened by drastic measures adopted by the PS/PSD Growth and Stability Programme.

In this year of 2010, with the decade’s second lowest budget for culture, the Ministry of Culture further worsened the situation with scandalous cuts in the already meagre support for creation, cuts which are total for the second semester of the year.

From this rostrum we salute the creators and the workers, for their strong resistance against these measures, and appeal to them to continue their combat. To us, communists, art and culture are indispensable companions of the road, who together with us participate in the process of human liberation and emancipation and in the transformation of the world and of life, which are reasons for our being.
Work and art, the two main building blocks of Humanity, are inextricably linked to the identity of our Avante! Festival. A Festival which, although with deep roots in the working people of our country, a portrayal of its culture, also affirms as a beautiful and vivid portrayal of PCP’s internationalism, of our solidarity with those who pursue, under various conditions, a struggle for social progress, peace, friendship and cooperation among peoples, for a revolutionary transformation of society and for the alternative that is built through struggle and, by means of it, socialism.

Festival where we feel the warm embrace of all those represented here by dozens of delegations from Communist and Progressive Parties from all around the world. We would like to salute all of them and reiterate our readiness to forge closer ties of friendship and solidarity and deepen our cooperation in defence of the interests of the workers and the peoples to strengthen the anti-imperialist struggle.

The crisis and the “outdated”

A cooperation all the more important when today the workers and the peoples bear violently the effects of capitalism’s deepening crisis. A crisis, which as the PCP foresaw, is far from overcome, deepens and reveals the profound contradictions of the capitalist system, its exploitative, inhumane and destructive nature, its limits and the historic need to overcome it revolutionarily.
A crisis which, despite huge propaganda manoeuvres and attempts to rehabilitate the dominant ideology, reveals that the capitalist system bears within itself the crisis, bringing to the forefront of the political and ideological thought the topicality and validity of the fundamental theses of Marxism-Leninism on the workings of capitalism.
Some will say that with this affirmation we are outdated in time and History. To them we say that it is they who are outdated and displaced! Not only in time and History, but also from reality. The reality, “modernity” as they say, is an exponential increase in unemployment, poverty growing day by day, millions and millions of human beings who survive in destitution, the glaring injustices and inequalities.

This is the reality that those who attack us with old and worn out clichés refuse to accept, a reality which is the most powerful indictment against their ideology, their class options and the system that is leading Humanity to a dead end. This is why, the dominating classes, just as we warned a year ago here at this place, launch themselves into a dangerous and criminal flight ahead in view of the deepening crisis.

And already we have the results of the measures that aim a historical regression of centuries, by means of a criminal attack on the rights won through the struggle of the labour movement and the workers, an attempt which in itself reveals how false were the already forgotten speeches about “responsibility” and “regulation”, with which they garnished their strategy to change the necessary - that is, nothing – for everything to remain the same.

An example of this full-fledged attack on the rights of the workers and the peoples, and at the same time support for big capital, is the situation in Europe. Armed with the infamous Treaty of Lisbon, imposed undemocratically on the peoples, with the ultra-neoliberal 2020 Strategy, with the strange ideas about a European economic government and a prior approval of budgets of EU states, the European Union confirms that, in this crisis scenario, it is a powerful instrument of capitalist domination and exploitation.
To those who insist on the worn out idea of “more Europe” to face the crisis, we reply that more of “their Europe” will mean greater crisis, since their bases are the same bases of the system in crisis. To all those who want to impose their Europe – the neoliberal, militarist and federalist Europe, a European Union of exploitation and oppression – our answer can only be one: Struggle! Struggle for another Europe – a Europe of the workers and the peoples, of peace and cooperation, of the right to economic and social development, to production, to sovereignty as an expression of the exercise of democracy.

It is for another Europe that we fight. And in this fight for this another Europe we are not alone. From this rally we wish to warmly salute all those who, be it in Portugal or in Greece, in neighbouring Spain, in France, in Italy, in Eastern Europe and many other countries, have carried out very important actions of social and mass struggles.

A social struggle that will become stronger, if the Communist Parties are stronger and the more they are linked to the masses. A class struggle that, for this very reason, has to interconnect with other fronts, like the important battle for peace, against militarism, imperialism and the huge dangers facing Humanity.
Many of you surely remember the speeches that marked 2009. There was a lot of talk about “change” and “dialogue”. It was the time, that many now pretend did not see, of the Nobel Prize for Obama and the tattered promises of world peace and the end of unilateralism. The world would be changing, it was said ... Those who so criticized the PCP, when we affirmed the need to confirm with facts these ornate speeches, speak out now! Speak out and tell us what they think of the proliferation of tension points all over the world.

Speak out and give us their opinion on the new types of colonization, like the so-called withdrawal from Iraq which ended by leaving 50.000 US troops in that country for an undetermined period. Speak out and tell about their feelings regarding the massacre under way in Afghanistan, the spreading of the war into Pakistan. Speak out and tell us what they think about the strategy of tension and interference in the whole Middle East.
Speak out and tell us how they evaluate U.S. and NATO hypocrisy regarding the nuclear issue, as they rehabilitate Reagan’s, Bush’s and now Obama’s star wars in various parts of the world and unconditionally support Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East.

Speak out and explain to us what they think of Israel’s continuing crimes against the peoples of the region, like the Lebanese and the martyred Palestinian people, whom we salute from this rostrum and to whom we convey our deepest solidarity.

Speak out and tell us what they think of the destabilization and militarization manoeuvres under way in the Latin American continent or still of the continuing interferences, conspiracies and threats present in that continent, specially against Bolivarian Venezuela and against socialist Cuba, whom we salute very warmly, and affirming here that you can count on us!

In fact, the situation is such that some have really shut up, embarrassed and, we dare to say, ashamed. But there are those who are not. Those who insist on imperialism’s criminal bellicist strategy and on the strengthening of political and military blocs like NATO. They will certainly welcome the NATO summit that will be held in our country in November. They will welcome the increase in military spending and the new Strategic Concept, that says that NATO will intervene anywhere in the world, when it so believes and under any excuse. They will say that for Europe to have more weight it needs to spend more on the death industry.

In the snapshot of this summit, just like the war summit, in Lages [Azores], we will have the Portuguese government. Barroso will be replaced by Sócrates. And this image of the prime minister, General Secretary of the PS, host of the first NATO summit in Portugal, will remain in history as the most sublime proof of kowtowing and connivance by the foreign policy of a PS government in the projects of world imperialism.

But, when meeting in Lisbon, in yet another exercise in hypocrisy aiming at new threats to world peace, they will have in Lisbon, marching along the Avenida da Liberdade, which means Freedom in Portuguese, all those who do not surrender, do not resign, truly fight for peace and cooperation among peoples and who will shout «Yes to Peace, No to NATO! ».

And, as always, the PCP will be there, at their side. In this and all other struggles that contribute to curtail imperialism, which during these time seems all powerful but, as reality shows, does not have a fully free hand and faces resistance and struggle, be it in the Middle East or Central Asia, or here in Europe or in Latin America, where the peoples lead revolutionary processes of affirmation of their sovereignty and independence and move ahead to build new avenues of hope and future. (...)

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  • Central
  • Political Statements
  • Bolivarian Revolution
  • Cuba
  • European Union
  • Nato
  • Venezuela
  • War