The Central Committee of the PCP, having met on April 8, analysed the evolution of the national political, economic and social situation and aspects of the international situation, underlined the development of the mass struggle, stressed the importance of the electoral battles and defined the main lines of intervention, political initiative and strengthening of the Party.
I - International situation
1. The developments in the international situation confirm the deepening structural crisis of capitalism, which manifests itself in various aspects, namely the accumulation of factors that can lead to a new peak of economic and financial crisis, and the development of a complex process of international realignment of forces, which indicates the trend of the decline in US world hegemony and a multifaceted crisis of the process of European capitalist integration.
Confronted with this framework, imperialism's most reactionary and aggressive sectors increasingly bet on fascism and war as a “way out” from the difficulties and contradictions with which capitalism struggles and a means to further the exploitation and attack on the peoples’ rights and sovereignty. Sectors of the ruling class are resorting to, and stimulating, extreme right-wing and fascist forces, increasingly and openly feeding anti-communism – a particularly provocative example of which was the recent meeting between Trump and Bolsonaro. They multiply and intensify securitary policies, attacking freedoms and fundamental rights - as in France - and insist on increasing military expenditure and aggressive military movements.
On several fronts, there is an ideological offensive using powerful Media, which is owned and controlled by big capital. In an attempt to whitewash and legitimise exploitation, war and the criminal role of imperialism, the workers and peoples are subjected to various lines of ideological manipulation, which target, in particular, the younger generations.
2. The USA and the EU and their allies continue, despite contradictions, their coordination to intensify imperialist interference and aggression in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa.
The abandonment by the USA of the Treaty on medium-range nuclear missiles is particularly serious, pointing to a very dangerous arms race which poses a major threat to security and peace, particularly on the European continent.
The generalisation of blockades and "sanctions" on sovereign states imposed by the USA, in a complete subversion of international law (as is the case with Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and even the Russian Federation) constitutes a criminal policy which violates the most basic human rights and international law and poses grave dangers to peace.
The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the seriousness of the situation in the Middle East where, despite the victories of the Syrian people against imperialist interference and aggression, the US and Israel continue to carry out various acts of provocation and aggression, serious examples of which are the attacks against Syrian territory and the provocation against its sovereignty on the Golan Heights, illegally occupied by Israel; the continuing threats against Iran; the criminal war in Yemen; and the Israeli State's policy of terrorism against the Palestinian people, as in the recent Israeli bombings of the Gaza Strip.
3. In a year marked by the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO, an aggressive political-military bloc that had the Portuguese fascist regime as one of its founding members, the Central Committee of the PCP denounces the continued strengthening and enlargement [of NATO] in Eastern and Southeastern Europe, and the association with countries from several continents - recently in Latin America. The Central Committee of the PCP calls for the intensification of the struggle for the crucial goal of dissolving NATO, in articulation with the process of untying Portugal from its structures.
The PCP strongly opposes strengthening the militaristic component of the EU, whether more or less articulated with the USA and NATO, and in particular the creation of a "European army", and reaffirms its determination to defend national sovereignty and independence and to fight for a Europe of cooperation, progress and peace.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP denounces the goals of the aggression carried out by the US Administration, with the active complicity of the so-called Lima Group and the European Union, against Venezuela. A campaign of lies, slander, open interference, sanctions, blockade and threat of military aggression, inseparable from the strategy of US imperialism to recover positions in Latin America and the Caribbean, defend its planetary hegemony and hold back the liberating struggle of the workers and people.
With the putschist operation against the legitimate government of Nicolas Maduro, imperialism seeks to seize the country’s huge wealth and liquidate the example of a progressive alternative which the Bolivarian Revolution represents. US imperialism is targetting all the countries that exercise their sovereignty in Latin America, such as Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba. Bolivarian Venezuela is at the forefront of the peoples’ struggle in defence of freedom, sovereignty, social progress and peace. The Central Committee of the PCP condemns the position of the PS Government, of alignment with imperialism, a position which is contrary to the Constitution and interests of Portugal and of the Portuguese community in Venezuela, and salutes the resistance of the Venezuelan people and of the political and military power, whilst reaffirming to the CPV, PSUV and other progressive forces of Venezuela, the firm solidarity of the Portuguese Communists.
5. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of pursuing and intensifying the struggle against the exploitative and aggressive policies of imperialism, promoting solidarity with peoples struggling for their sovereignty and national independence, for disarmament and for peace.
6. In view of the tragic cyclone that struck Mozambique, which killed several hundred people and left a trail of destruction, the Central Committee of the PCP expresses to the FRELIMO party and to the Mozambican people its feelings of deep friendship and solidarity, and considers that the Portuguese Government, in close cooperation with the Mozambican Government, should provide all necessary assistance.
II - National situation
1. The domestic situation, in its most marking features and foreseeable developments for the near future, with the central role of the mass struggle and the intervention of the PCP, is fundamentally characterised by three aspects.
Firstly, the undeniable contribution of the advances in defending, restoring and achieving rights and income, not only in social terms, by improving the living conditions of the workers and people, but also in economic terms, with the impetus it has given to growth, to the drop in unemployment and the creation of jobs.
Secondly, the persistence of economic and social problems which, having become particularly acute during the years of the previous PSD/CDS Government, have not been overcome by the PS minority government, which has chosen to converge with the PSD and the CDS in its commitment to defend the interests of big capital and its submission to the impositions of the Euro and the European Union, which are hallmarks of the right-wing policies.
Finally, and inseparable from the previous aspects, the intensification of the offensive which, stemming from the centres of monopoly capital and the most reactionary sectors, aims to whitewash the action of the PSD/CDS Government, to conceal the projects for increased exploitation and to elude past responsibilities, instrumentalizing problems that are not, nor can they be, solved with right-wing policy options, either by the hand of the PSD and the CDS, or by the hand of the PS. This offensive directly targets the PCP, due to its role, nature and project.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the value, significance and impact of the advances that have been made in addressing the problems of the workers and people, even if they are limited and fall well short of what is necessary and possible. Advances that were often achieved, despite the resistance and even the opposition of the PS and its Government, only thanks to the workers' struggle and the intervention of the PCP, and which only went no further because the PS, converging with the PSD and CDS in structural areas and choices, did not allow it.
At a time when new positive measures that were adopted with the decisive action of the PCP, both in the State Budget for 2019 and in previous Budgets - such as the decrease in the price of social [transportation] passes; the end of the Advanced Special Payment [of Income Tax by independent workers] for thousands of micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs; the new extra increase in pensions and the increase in family allowances; the increase in income resulting from cuts in the Income Tax due to the increase in the number of tax brackets and cuts in taxes; as well as the new impetus in wage hikes in May, resulting from career progression in the Public Administration - it is necessary to proclaim that what is required are decisive steps forward along this path and a break with the right-wing policy options. It is in this way that the country can find answers to the structural problems that confront the workers and people.
These concrete advances add up with those that were materialized in the past four years, due to the determined intervention of the PCP. Among other aspects, it should be recalled that several rights that had been stolen were restored, such as wages, holidays, the right to transport for railwaymen, and retirement supplements for workers in the State entrepreneurial sector. The National Minimum Wage has been increased, although it falls short of what is necessary and possible. Collective bargaining tools were restored in the Public Entrepreneurial Sector and the restrictions on hiring workers in Local Government were lifted. The privatisations of Carris [Lisbon bus transport], Metropolitano de Lisboa [Lisbon Underground] and the STCP [Oporto urban bus transport] were reversed and, although only partially, also of TAP [Airliner]. The cuts in pensions were brought to an end and there were new increases. Family allowances were raised, the prenatal allowance and support for people with disabilities were extended. Protection for the unemployed has been extended by creating support for the long-term unemployed and eliminating the cuts in unemployment benefit. The right to full payment of the Christmas allowance was reinstated. The long contributory careers have been valued and the conditions of access to the retirement of the mine and quarry workers were improved. Public Administration workers saw the 35 hour-week re-instated, together with the right to career advancement and measures to combat precarious jobs. Free textbooks were introduced in the 12 years of compulsory schooling. School Social Action was strengthened and new workers were hired for schools. The cost of tuition [for Higher Education] was reduced and components of the School Social Action were increased. It was possible to reduce healthcare costs, hire more doctors and nurses, reduce the cost of medicines, add new vaccines to the National Vaccination Plan, and secure the commitment for the construction of new hospitals. Museum entrances were made free on Sundays and public holidays, and programmes to benefit them were reintroduced; support for the arts and artistic creation was increased, and support was given to the Cinemateca Portuguesa and the National Archive of Moving Image; VAT on shows and musical instruments was reduced, and the National Museum of Resistance and Freedom was created in the Fortress of Peniche, and is currently being set up. Income Tax on labour income was reduced, namely for lower incomes and minimum existence amount, with the creation of two new tax brackets, as well as the elimination of the Income Tax surcharge. The cut in the price of energy and public transport was accompanied by a significant increase in guaranteed mobility for users. VAT was reduced in the restaurants and coffee shops and the Advanced Special Payment [of Income Tax] was eliminated. Support was provided for family farming, reduction of fuel costs for farmers and fishermen, measures benefiting fisheries and fishermen's incomes, among others. It was also possible to cut benefits for the real estate funds, to tax the most expensive real estate property with the introduction of the surcharge on IMI [Municipal tax on real estate] and increased taxation on large profits by increasing the State Surtax on Corporate Tax.
These advances have been one of the key factors ensuring economic growth, as is proved by the already published figures. In fact, a decisive factor for the average annual GDP growth, which in the past three years was 2.3% per year - contrasting with the average annual growth of only 0.5% between 2013 and 2015 – resided in domestic demand, and especially in private consumption, associated with available household income.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP points out that, as it has been stating, the national problems are not addressed with a policy subordinated to the constraints and impositions associated with the Euro and the process of capitalist integration of the European Union, which is subjected to the monetarist rules of the Fiscal Compact and the so-called Economic Governance, strangled by a debt service that consumes resources that are essential for investments, the running of public services and the country's productive development.
In this context, the figures now released on the budget deficit are particularly significant. This deficit is even smaller than forecast by the Government, reflecting the option to comply with the European Union's impositions, rather than meeting the country’s needs. In fact, the reduction of the deficit by 570 million, even beyond what the Government foresaw last October, compares with the more than 600 million investments that had been forecast by the Government but did not materialise.
Subordination to the interests of monopoly capital, in particular the refusal by the State to recover public control over strategic sectors, is constraining development and even sovereignty. Recent examples of this subordination include the surrender of the Government to the interests of Vinci [company] by abdicating the requirement to build a new international airport [in Lisbon] with its strategic role; tolerating the destruction of the public postal service that the current private management of the CTT has carried out; preserving the public-private partnership with Fertagus [railway company], which maintains in private hands a rail link operated on public infrastructure and with rolling stock of the State; or the announcement of a new injection of capital in the Novo Banco, in an endless drain of thousands of millions of Euros of public money without the State taking over the bank.
To these must be added the commitment by the PS Government, always accompanied by PSD and CDS and big business, to keep in place the grievous rules of the Labour Code, which facilitate labour deregulation and deny workers’ rights with the aim of increasing exploitation and profits. Such options are evident in all issues that value labour and the workers, such as the counting of service time for the purpose of career progression, as is the case with teachers, but also judicial workers, the military and security forces, among others.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP warns of the intensifying activity of reactionary forces that, after having lost space and time with their defeat in the 2015 elections and in implementing the anti-democratic projects that they ambitioned and still ambition, are revealing new initiatives that must be denounced and fought. Their action has in the PCP its direct and immediate target, but aims to attack democracy itself, questioning democratic values and the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.
The promotion of far-right values, the whitewashing of fascism, the attempt to manipulate and enhance real problems, in order to use them against democracy and public service, are part of a strategy which, more than momentarily seeking to promote this or that reactionary force, focuses on the creation and diffusion of an environment that can feed the emergence of saviour-like and judicial-based solutions of a populist and fascist nature. Examples of the present lines of ideological distortion are provocative operations that seek to attack and challenge public services and social functions of the State; to create a widespread environment of disquiet and insecurity; to create and amplify racial and inter-generational conflicts, and conflicts between men and women.
The persecutory campaign launched against the PCP by the more reactionary sectors associated with monopoly capital, using the tools at their disposal, is on the one hand, rooted in the acknowledgement by these sectors of the PCP’s decisive role in halting their projects and, on the other hand, in the perception that a just and broad recognition of this role by the workers and people could strengthen the Party. The campaign of lies, smears and slander targets the singular path and role of the PCP in national political life and in the exercise of public office.
5. The workers and the people face decisive choices. The year 2019 is decisive for the evolution of the national situation, not only because there are elections for the European Parliament, for the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of Madeira and for the Assembly of the Republic [Parliament], but also because, several factors are converging around them and beyond them, that may determine the course of the country for many years to come.
The workers and the people face the option of choosing to move forward rather than to move backwards. To advance their rights and not go back to their destruction; to advance the conditions that can ensure the path towards the country's sovereign development and not to go back to further interference and impositions of submission to the interests and diktats of the European Union and the Euro. To move forward with a policy that bets on investment, the funding of public services and support for production, and not to move back with new privatisations, more dependence and larger structural deficits.
To advance, asserting what the April [Revolution] represented, implementing its values and materialising its achievements and not to go back in the spreading of anti-democratic concepts that would throw the country back into the dark days of deprivation, backwardness, corruption and repression; to advance in achieving the rights set down in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and not to go back to their subversion and destruction; to advance towards a comprehensive response to the country's problems, asserting the alternative policy that can break with right-wing policies and ensure the sovereign development of the country.
III - Mass struggle, elections, the Party’s activity and political initiative
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the Party’s role and decisive intervention; the need to strengthen and intensify its political initiative; the importance of the mass struggle and its development; and the importance of the electoral battles to strengthen CDU and pave the way for an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy.
1. Political initiative of the Party
1.1 The results of PCP’s action and of the workers’ struggle are real, and should be valued for what they represent in terms of advances in defending, restoring and achieving rights and improving living conditions, and also for what they represent in encouraging the struggle. Nothing was handed down, everything was won by the workers' struggle and by the PCP’s action, and this is the essential conclusion regarding the options needed for the future.
1.2 The PCP has taken and continues to take the initiative of the struggle for day-to-day advances, which are inseparable from the struggle for a patriotic and left-wing policy; for an advanced democracy with the values of April in the future of Portugal; for a new society freed from capitalism’s exploitation, oppression, aggression, rapacity; for socialism and communism.
1.3 The Central Committee points out, among others, the following immediate features of the Party's initiative to advance in the rights and living conditions:
- The implementation and generalization throughout the country of the intermodal social transportation pass in every municipality, metropolitan area and inter-municipal community and between these entities; enhance the means of transportation so as to fully meet the needs, with advantages for family budgets and living standards and ensuring ecological and environmental protection, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that public transportation is essentially free;
- The valuing of work and workers by eliminating grievous regulations of the labour legislation and the expiry of collective agreements; by reintroducing the principle of more favourable treatment for workers, combating deregulation of work times and cutting them to 35 hours of weekly work for all workers, protecting those who work shifts; by combating precariousness, ensuring that a permanent job corresponds to a permanent employment contract;
- Ensuring a general wage increase, including in the National Minimum Wage, and recognition and valuing of careers as an essential strategy for valuing work, fighting poverty, improving living conditions, ensuring future increases in pensions, stimulating economic activity and national production, achieving greater incorporation of domestic goods [in production], strengthening social security and State revenues for investment in public services and the development of the country.
2. The mass struggle
2.1. The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the strategic and determining role of the mass struggle and values the struggles of workers and communities in the first quarter of this year. A vast and diversified front of struggle [has arisen] for rights and wages, against deregulation of working times and precariousness in companies, in the workplace and in the streets. Noteworthy are the struggles in the sectors of metallurgy, chemical industry, electrical and electronic industries, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, mines, quarries and glass, textile, footwear and clothing, postal and telecommunications, insurance, media, private hospitals, IPSS [private social service institutions], commerce, services, catering, food, road passenger transport, teachers, nurses, security forces, local and central Public Administration. A struggle that had particular expression in the national demonstration of the working youth, on March 28, promoted by the CGTP-IN/Interjovem, with the participation of thousands of young workers.
2.2. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the great scale of this year’s International Women's Day celebrations, highlighting in particular, due to the participation and its combativeness, the National Demonstration of Women convened by MDM [Democratic Movement of Women] on March 9, as well as the action of the CGTP- IN and numerous popular structures and local authorities.
2.3. The Central Committee of the PCP also highlights the demonstrations of students from secondary and higher education, as well as the actions of users and communities in defence of public services, namely for the right to healthcare, in defence of the National Health Service and for more and better public transport.
2.4. The Central Committee of the PCP calls for the development of the workers' struggle in companies and workplaces and highlights the national rally convened by CGTP-IN for April 11, for the repeal of the grievous rules of the labour code and against the Government’s proposals to change the labour legislation. This series of struggles will converge on the celebrations of May 1st, convened and organised by CGTP-IN, which will take place all over the country. The PCP calls for a vast participation, to make this a great day of struggle of the Portuguese workers.
2.5. The Central Committee of the PCP renews its call for the April 25th celebrations to be strengthened by affirming and projecting the Values of April in the future of Portugal, as expressed by the resolution adopted at its meeting on last December 10, regarding the 45th anniversary of the April Revolution.
3. Elections 2019
3.1. The Central Committee stresses that the electoral battles are an opportunity to carry out major political and mass action, favouring the mobilisation and explanation of workers and communities, presenting solutions for the problems of the country.
A major political and mass action that demands from the members of the Party and of JCP and from all CDU activists a redoubled commitment to broaden contacts and connections with the workers, the populations, the anti-monopoly social sectors, the patriots, the democrats and independent personalities who want a different course for the country, so that, with their struggle and their vote for the CDU, they may pave the way for the construction of the patriotic and left-wing alternative.
3.2. In the context of the intense ideological offensive, it is essential to further a style of campaigning that favours direct and personal contact, to carry out mobilisation and explanation as far as possible, stimulating a sustained line of intervention based on holding information sessions, mini-rallies, actions at the gates of companies and in workplaces and other places of concentration, and individual mobilisation to express support for the CDU. These are decisive factors for the construction of the electoral result.
It is necessary in every organisation to identify companies, workplaces, specific sectors, schools, neighbourhoods, parishes, among others, where it will be possible to set up committees, lists or other forms for ensuring and extending support for the CDU.
3.3. The Central Committee draws attention to the changes in the voter registration system and the resulting differences, in particular the end of voter card number and the new organisation of voters per polling station. This new reality requires a broad explanation and is, at the same time, an opportunity in every parish to stimulate massive contact with all voters, clarifying what is at stake and calling for a vote for the CDU.
3.4. The Central Committee values the work carried out so far within the context of the electoral battle for the European Parliament and underlines the opportunity that the elections represent to assert the need and the potential for a break with the path of inequality, dependence and national surrender imposed upon the country and the Portuguese people, and to pave the way for a patriotic and left-wing alternative that will unwaveringly confront the submission to the Euro and the impositions and constraints of the European Union and recover for Portugal the necessary instruments for its sovereign development, within a framework of a Europe of peace, cooperation and progress.
Strengthening the CDU and the number of its MPs is a decisive step for the workers and the people to move the country ahead, along the path of economic development and social progress and to assert national sovereignty; to raise living standards, public investment and the funding of public services, and to assert the democratic regime and the values of April.
Every vote for the CDU is a vote for a fairer distribution of wealth and against surrender in the face of injustice and inequality; it is the vote of those who have confidence in the national potential and resources and in the workers, to ensure the development, progress and improvement of the living standards of the Portuguese people and which rejects exploitation, impoverishment and exclusion; it is the vote for work, honesty and competence and which does not collude with cronyism, corruption, abuse of power, submission of the public interest to private interests.
IV - The Party
1. The Party operates in a very demanding international and national situation, with hurdles and potentialities, which must be understood in its various dimensions in order to intervene with the rigour and determination that is needed.
The PCP is the decisive force in the resistance and in the struggle for the alternative, against regression and for the values of April in the future of Portugal.
It is no wonder, therefore, that big capital, the centres which it leads and the various tools it has as its disposal, sees in the PCP the main obstacle for its goals of increasing exploitation, the complete subversion of the democratic regime and jeopardizing sovereignty.
They do not forget the historic path of the PCP and its role in recent times, but what concerns them most is the future and the strength of the PCP as a decisive factor of resistance and progress.
The strength of a Party that, without wasting any possibility for improving living standards, asserts itself as the Party of the patriotic and left-wing alternative policies, of the convergence of democrats and patriots, of the unity and mobilisation of the workers and popular masses.
Discrimination, silencing, manipulation, lies, persecution are weapons that have served to attack the PCP since its founding. They have tried everything, but the PCP has fulfilled its role and with the workers and the people has resisted, resists and transforms each attack into even greater activity among the workers and the people, presenting solutions for the country, affirming its values, goals and priorities.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes and values the intense activity and initiative of the Party, the intervention of the organisations and the militant action of Party members in the most diverse situations and tasks.
A wide range of action and initiative in which the following stand out: the contribution for the development of the mass struggle and the strengthening of broad-based mass organisations and movements; internationalist solidarity work; the work in the Assembly of the Republic, in the Legislative Assemblies of the Autonomous Regions, in local government and in the European Parliament; the holding of meetings of [Party] organisations and plenary meetings of its members and public sessions; the action to explain the problems and aspirations of the workers and the population, the advances made with the struggle of the workers and the PCP’s intervention, regarding rights, sovereignty and the development of Portugal, for a Europe of the workers and the peoples, for a patriotic and left-wing alternative; the great success of the National Meeting of the PCP on the country’s situation and the elections, held on February 2 in Matosinhos, with the motto «Patriotic and Left Alternative - Solutions for a Portugal with a future»; the strong start of the work for the elections to the European Parliament, with great initiatives of presentation of the candidates and an intense contact with the workers and the people; participation in the events for the PCP's 98th anniversary celebrations; the start of the commemorations of the 45th anniversary of the April Revolution, namely the Public Session held on April 2, on the anniversary of the adoption and promulgation in 1976 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes the work carried out to strengthen the Party, namely by entrusting cadres with responsibilities; the convening of organizational assemblies; the process of handing over the Party membership card; organisational work in companies and workplaces; the campaign of 5,000 contacts with active workers to talk to them about the PCP and explain to them the need to join the Party, an initiative in which so far, over 3,100 workers have been contacted, having already joined the Party more than 900 new members, strengthening it, increasing the number of companies and workplaces where there are Party members and enabling the creation and strengthening of cells.
4. The Central Committee considers that it is essential to continue strengthening the Party by implementing the guidelines and priority measures for a stronger PCP, a task of all organisations and militants in conjunction with political initiative, electoral action and mass struggle.
A stronger Party, ensuring stronger leadership work and collective work, individual responsibility, initiative, coordination and discipline, political and ideological formation. Giving responsibilities to cadres, militancy, ensuring regular and efficient functioning of leadership bodies. Continuing to hand over the Party member card to those who have not yet received it. Prioritizing the intervention and organisation with the workers, with the creation and dynamization of company and workplace cells, highlighting the task of continuing the action of 5,000 contacts with workers to join the Party. Stimulating local organisations, their renewal and rejuvenation, political initiative and work with the younger generations and the retired and pensioners. Promoting the organisation of propaganda work, systematising and broadening the use of electronic media, increasing the circulation and reading of the Party press, namely Avante!. Ensuring the Party's financial independence, having as essential feature of the importance of increasing dues. Already preparing the Avante! Festival, which takes place on September 6, 7 and 8.
Throughout its 98 years of existence, the PCP has faced and experienced great dangers and difficulties, always finding the ways that allowed it to resist and move ahead. A Party that, proud of its history, learning from its own experience, firm and determined in the present, assumes with energy and audacity the demands of the future.
A Party that assumes and asserts its Communist identity, and which is where it has always been, at the vanguard of the struggle for the rights and interests of the workers and the people, for a patriotic and left-wing policy, for an Advanced Democracy with the Values of April in the Future of Portugal, for a new society freed from exploitation and oppression: socialism and communism.