Statement PCP Central Committee

Communiqué of the Central Committee of the PCP - 29 March 1999

1. The Central Committee stresses as very relevant features of the national political situation:

a clear increase in the struggles and social movements against government policy, whose strong examples are the student demonstration of March 24th, and the impressive demonstration carried out by CGTP-IN on March 25th. against the "labour package", undoubtedly the most participated and combative of the last few years; the unmistakable difficulties the government faces in important areas and the signs it shows of lack of co-ordination, precipitation and disorientation, while, due to its deep commitments to the big capital, insists, in the final stretch of its mandate, on advancing still more in the central objectives of its right-wing policy as is the case of the acceleration of the privatisations and the offensive in the field of labour legislation; new revelations of very serious cases of corruption, with an air of impunity, in the area of economic crimes and high crimes in general, calling for the crucial need of their total investigation and search for responsibilities, while deepening the crisis in justice and the need for its democratic reform; the failure and death of AD [coalition of PSD-PP] at the close of a troubling and discredited process doomed from the beginning due to the structural lack of political credibility of a coalition of parties which pretended to be an alternative to Socialist Party when, in fact, throughout this legislature, supported the options and fundamental policies carried out by the PS government and were not, in fact, any political alternative; the intense and diversified activity and dynamic intervention of the PCP in several areas of national life, with a growing understanding of the positive results of its actions and progressively opening more favourable perspectives for the affirmation of CDU as a force whose electoral growth is essential for a turn to the left in national policy.

2. The PCP's Central Committee gives a great significance to the struggle carried out by the workers and by CGTP against the labour package. The demonstration of March 25th. in Lisbon, preceded by several dozen strikes and stoppages, was one of the largest mass actions of the past decade, thus revealing the feelings of rejection and the level of militancy of the workers in opposition to the government's persistence in pursuing severe changes in labour legislation.

Persisting in its efforts to carry out commitments to employers' organisations, government has set the date of April 7th. for one of the most serious pieces of the labour package: the bill on part-time labour. The CC appeals to all its members, the workers and their organisations to continue the struggle, reaffirming the need of abandoning the labour package, a different social policy of respect and valorisation of the wages and rights of the workers.

3. After three and a half years in power, government insists on pursuing to the last consequences the liquidation of the public sector. It has just launched a new phase of privatisations which, among other aspects, includes the proposal of carrying out the privatisation of another share of Portugal Telecom, reducing state's share to a residual level, the alienation of parts of EDP ( Electricity of Portugal ), of GALP-SGPS – gas and oil holding – and of paper mills, handing over the majority of the capital of these companies to private groups and the privatisation of new areas of Public Administration.

The PS government, more than any other previously, pursued the handover of public wealth in a scandalous process of privatisations, with serious problems to the country, in a process which gave the economic and financial groups and the multinationals a power over the economy, the media and national life without parallel since the 25th. April. The defence of national interests, of quality public services, of the rights and interests of the workers and the peoples, of democracy and the development of the country, deem the stoppage of the process of privatisations and the guaranty of a strong and dynamic public sector, an essential and pressing imperative.

4. In the area of justice, the signs of political-institutional crisis are apprehensive and, if not quickly curtailed, will more discredit justice in the eyes of the citizens and are factors of a blockage of the normal functioning of the institutions. These events, however, add up to an intolerable passivity of the government through the years leading to situations of discredit, slowness and inefficiency, difficulties in the access of justice by the poorer classes, as well as the inability and lack of political will - power to face up corruption and sophisticated crime. In the present situation, the narrow-minded stances as well as, in particular, the involvement of magistrates and the magistracy, or other figures of the justice area, in an unconfessed strategy objectively challenge the independence of the courts and weaken judicial power. From the more or less shady game of interests which evolve and try to use and condition people and institutions, it is clear that the objective pursued is the maintenance of the existing situation of
impunity as far as corruption and organised crime are concerned, mining the foundations of a democratic state and the Rule of Law. It is necessary that the factors of discord in the area of justice be quickly diminished and overcome, and that, with a calm debate, the necessary consensus and solutions for the strengthening of the judicial power and its independence be found, in order to carry out justice and defend democracy.

5. Appreciating the results of the 2000 Agenda, the CC stresses that the barrage of government propaganda should not hide the paltry results obtained.

It is fair to have achieved the global maintenance of the level of transfer which the country was receiving, when the initial proposal of the Commission sought a reduction of about 500 million contos (conto=1000 escudos) during the period beginning in the year 2000. But the fact that the amount of structural funds could be reduced through conditioning factors of their transfer is bad. As it is, fundamentally, bad that the global amount of transfer is unable to answer the needs of the country, with the announced process of enlargement, the liberalisation of trade through the negotiations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the monetary and budgetary policies (Stability Pact) deriving from the common currency. The more than foreseen budgetary restrictions – weighing upon and pressing for the claimed neo-liberal type of reforms in social security, health, public administration – and the worsening of competition in the national and community market, demanded, not the same, but more funds. On the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), besides the negative global and sectorial results obtained in the Council of Agriculture Ministers and already analysed, there is now concretely a duplication of hard wheat, which is positive, and (through a so-called gentlemen's agreement) a non reduction of the quota of tomato. But, in the central subject of the CAP, what the government (as well as the main organisations of the farmers and the PCP) deemed the main objective of its strategy – the financial balance between farmers, cultures and countries – was defeated. Even the feeble proposals of ceilings which the initial document of the 2000 Agenda contained, were eliminated. On the proclaimed reinforcement of sums for Rural Development, its significance and importance will be seen when its scope and financial counterparts are clarified.

The PCP, who, from the very beginning, denounced and rejected the proposals contained in the 2000 Agenda as severely grievous for the country, throughout the past two years fought a persistent battle for more funds and a true reform of the CAP, in the Assembly of the Republic (National Parliament), in the European Parliament, and in the information and mobilisation of the Portuguese people and the farmers, considers that, in spite of a more precise knowledge of that which was approved in Berlin, the results do not correspond to government propaganda. The PCP will not give up its struggle in defence of the national interests, while demanding that the large margin of manoeuvre the government has, be used for a more efficient, just and even application of funds, in correcting regional and social asymmetry, in the development and modernisation of the Portuguese productive structure.

6. The CC reiterates PCP's strong condemnation of NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia and the tame involvement of the Portuguese armed forces in acts of war which violate the basic principles of international law, they themselves creating a humanitarian catastrophe and can only aggravate the complex problems existing in the Balkans.

Without forgetting the previous participation in NATO military operations in Bosnia, the fact that, 25 years after the 25th. April, a Socialist party government decided to directly involve Portuguese soldiers in an aggression against a sovereign state in Europe acquires a serious political meaning. It is also a profound political meaning the fact that, 54 years after the end of World War II, a war among states has returned to Europe precisely at a time when 13 of the 15 European Union countries are governed by socialist parties who, once again, behaved as faultless and obedient servants of the north-American administration. Appealing for the development of a vast movement of opinion and national protest against NATO's aggression, the PCP insists upon the protest lodged to the President of the Republic and the prime-minister, to end Portuguese participation in this NATO military action and an intervention by the national authorities in order to end armed aggression against Yugoslavia and persistently seek a political solution respecting Yugoslavia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

7. After discussing the immediate tasks of the Party, the CC stresses the need to continue and increase the lines of intervention and guidance which in the last months have assured an intense, dynamic and diversified activity of the PCP which, in spite of a strong barrier of silence and discrimination in many organs of the media, represented a prestigious affirmation of the PCP with a positive appreciation on the part of large sectors of the population.

Among many aspects, we have to point out hundreds of initiatives commemorating the 78th. anniversary of the Party and the realisation of several Organisation Assemblies, involving many thousands of Party members; an intense and combative intervention on the main questions and problems of political actuality; information actions carried out all over the country and mainly addressed to workers and farmers; the start of the National Campaign of Funds to gather material means needed for an active electoral intervention by CDU; the promising launch of CDU's candidacy to the European Parliament; the action carried out by PCP's Members of the European Parliament ( the only Portuguese MEPs who fought for the indispensable resignation of the European Commission) and PCP's parliamentary group which undertook an energetic action of the supervision of government and managed to approve more of their proposals with unquestionable value and positive consequences. The CC greets the JCP [Portuguese Communist Youth] on the success of its 6th. Congress, an event which showed the strength and potential of the communist youth and the ideals which support their intervention. The Congress of the young communists is a clear confirmation of the role carried and to be carried out by JCP in defence of the rights of the youth and the struggle for a policy of the left towards solving problems of the youth. Continuing the dynamics of strengthening Party organisation, as a factor of utmost importance for the intervention of the Party together with a strong contribution for the success of the 25th. anniversary of the 25th. April and Mayday celebrations, it is essential that:

- by setting a marked difference in relation to the degrading and discrediting show put up by other parties, the PCP continue to intervene seriously and with high standards of political ethics, to give priority to the real problems of the people and the country, to dynamise mass struggles, and assure its active solidarity with the just popular claims and aspirations;
- by setting a marked difference from the convergence among PS, PSD and PP in defending the interests of big capital, the PCP give a strong contribution for the defence of the rights of the workers and for the just and indispensable defeat of the labour package, for the struggle against privatisations and the defence and improvement of public services;
- by setting a marked difference from the existing consensus among PS, PSD and PP around the great options of national and European policies, the PCP continue to present alternative proposals to the right-wing policies, strengthening the opinion movement in Portuguese society favourable to an about-turn towards left-wing policies in national life and a new course for European construction.

8. The elections for the European Parliament, from now on a prioritary task, represent a real possibility of strengthening PCP and CDU for an effective reversal to the left in Portuguese politics and for a new course for European construction, assuring the defence of a democratic, independent and sovereign Portugal in an Europe based upon cooperation among peoples and countries equal in rights. That is why it is indispensable:

- to speed up at all levels the preparation and the planning of PCP's and CDU's electoral intervention and intensify the actions of information and the initiatives of the CDU candidacy, affirming it as an option of the left more useful, safer and more solidly anchored to the popular struggle and aspirations;
. to work towards a larger movement of support of CDU and dynamise the constitution of structures which present CDU as unitary area of political intervention open to a combined participation of thousands of independent citizens and all those who support and are part of the forces of the coalition;
. to valorise and reveal the remarkable and publicly acknowledged work carried out by PCP's members in the European Parliament in defence of national interests, a clear evidence that it is worthwhile giving more strength to CDU in the coming elections, the vote which always counts for electing and supporting the left which fights, works and fulfils its promises;
. to develop a wide, determined and persistent campaign which assures an effective understanding by all those who support CDU of the importance of exercising their right to vote on June 13th. and the positive effects a good CDU result in EP elections will have on legislative elections 4 months later.

The CC stresses the importance of the PCP's National Meeting on 1999 Elections, taking place in Lisbon, on April 10th. and which should favour an ampler aggregation of energies and capacities of the Party collective for the electoral battle and strengthen its determination and confidence in a good CDU result.

9. The CC alerts to the need of pursuing the combat against deceiving propaganda manoeuvres and the instigation of a so-called "bipolarisation" between PS and the right which, having lost the card of an alleged "AD-PS confrontation", now aim to artificially reanimate the card of an alleged "PSD-PS confrontation".

The truth is that, already with AD [PSD-PP coalition] and even with the benefit the Hondt method could give to a joint vote on the parties constituting it, the right did not have, in legislative elections, any real chance of obtaining an electoral victory, and now with AD dissolved and with PSD and PP going separately, it is clearer that the only great factor of novelty and change that the elections can bring is the strengthening of CDU and a change in its favour in the correlation of forces with PS. The CC stresses, that it is too significant and clear that the chief promoters and propagandists of "bipolarisation", yesterday between AD and PS and today between PSD and PS, are not engaged nor can explain the main differences between the policy defended by PSD and the one followed by PS. It is thus clear that, behind the propaganda of "bipolarisation" between PS and PSD, what is hidden and still is the purpose of animating a mere confrontation of personalities and labels as the best way of salvaging their common right-wing policies. It is also clear that, the prejudice and discrimination against PCP really hides the knowledge that the PCP is, among the main parties, the only one which, by its influence, intervention and proposals, truly disturbs and threatens the right-wing policies they stand for.

10. The unmistakable demeaning of politics and the scandalous instrumentalisation of the state apparatus by the PS government, the social injustice and inequalities caused by the pursuit of a policy submitted to big capital and, in its fundamental options, similar to the one carried out before by PSD, the servile abdication of the defence of national interests and sovereignty, emphasise the indispensable and irreplaceable character of a vigorous, daily and determined initiative and contribution of the Portuguese communists, be it in the field of strengthening the struggles and social movements, in their combative and constructive intervention in the institutions, or through a dynamic and mobilising campaign of information in the coming two elections.

This year in which we celebrate 25 years of the April Revolution and also the modernity and actuality of its values, the vast heritage of proposals, intervention, struggle and the results obtained by PCP as a firm opposition from the left to the PS government, prove our confidence and conviction that, in spite of the known difficulties and obstacles, there are conditions for enlarging and strengthening the knowledge that there is a different and better course for Portugal. Another course based on the ennoblement of labour and those who work, on valuing an active citizenship, on the construction of a full democracy, political, economic, social and cultural. With the indispensable strengthening of the PCP and CDU and the project and values, which affirm our difference in politics, based on standards of seriousness, coherence, firmness of convictions and respect for assumed promises. With a convinced affirmation of the communist ideals and project of social change, with confidence in the struggle for a fairer society and

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