The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on June 30 and July 1, evaluated the developments in the national situation, defined priorities for the intervention and reinforcement of the Party, for the intensification of the mass struggle, for the break with right-wing policies and for a patriotic and left-wing alternative.
I - National Situation
1. The evolution of the country's situation confirms the essence of the assessment made at the PCP´s National Conference held in November 2022.
The Portuguese reality cannot be dissociated from capitalism´s structural crisis and the intensification of imperialism's offensive, with its strategy of confrontation, war and arms race and the dangers that this path poses to humanity. An unstable international situation of uncertain evolution, in which a process of rearrangement of forces is under way worldwide and where the resistance and struggle of workers and peoples against exploitation, aggression and oppression, for rights and sovereignty is developing, for peace and social progress.
Portugal faces a policy at the service of monopoly capital which seeks to determine the evolution of events. In submitting to these interests, the action of the PS government, with an absolute majority in the Assembly of the Republic, and the intervention of PSD, CDS, Chega and IL objectively converge.
A policy that worsens exploitation, heightens the concentration of wealth, inequalities and injustice, denies rights, attacks public services and promotes privatisation (as in EFACEC and TAP), speculation, profits of economic groups and multinationals, the weakening of the productive apparatus, the deterioration of the environment, the surrender to the interests of imperialism. A right-wing policy that no propaganda of a left-wing image can deceive.
If there is a revealing factor of the class options present in the evolution of the national situation, it is the contrast between the profits achieved by the main economic groups and by the multinationals and the difficulties imposed on millions of workers, pensioners, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and farmers, heightening inequalities, injustice and poverty.
In addition to the colossal profits achieved in 2022, the already known data from the first quarter of 2023 point in the same direction. Profits in sectors dominated by monopolies such as energy, banking, insurance, large retail or telecommunications and which result, among other aspects: from exploitation, namely through low wages, precariousness and labour legislation favourable to capital, now consolidated; of unacceptable tax benefits and privileges that free capital from paying due taxes; the diversion of billions of euros of community funds to the economic groups that are absorbing a significant part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP); the mobilisation of public resources to leave the interests of capital untouched, like the example of “zero VAT” on food products or the “+ housing” package; or of clear favouritism, as seen with the reduction in the remuneration of Savings Certificates or with new Public Private Partnerships - PPP in the healthcare and transport sectors.
2. The propaganda on the “good results of the economy” has no correspondence with the improvement that is needed in the living conditions of the Portuguese people. The growth registered in exports, namely of tourism, does not conceal the structural weaknesses of the Portuguese economy, nor does it ensure, in a sustained manner, the levels of development that the country needs. The fall in domestic consumption and the low levels of public investment are factors of concern and conditioning of the future.
The budgetary policy of the PS government, determined by submission to the Euro and the impositions of the European Union, based on the propaganda of "right accounts", is a factor that worsens the country's problems, despite confirming the existence of the means to respond to them. Submission that is also revealed in the collusion with other features of the EU and European Central Bank policy, whether in even greater restrictions on essential public spending and investment, or in wage restraint and increase in interest rates, in the name of combating inflation. The external dependence and subordination of Portugal to the interests of imperialism deepens, which includes the acceptance of the country's binding to the logic and imposition of sanctions and boycotts, an option that is contrary to the necessary diversification of economic relations and development.
3. The increase in the cost of living erodes the purchasing power of workers, pensioners and of the population in general.
The deceleration in the growth of inflation does not conceal the fact that the prices of the main goods and services continue to rise. An inflation that not only does not reflect the real weight of the rise in food prices on part of the population, but also does not reflect a significant part of the rise in prices related to housing in Portugal. An inflation that is being used to deepen inequalities in the distribution of wealth between labour and capital.
The government chooses to resort to one-off and welfare measures to disguise the absence of structural measures on increase of wages, pensions, and other social benefits.
The deterioration of public services continues. Public School is the victim of a policy aimed at negative changes in its organisation and in the teaching and learning processes which includes the growing shortage of teachers and other professionals. The NHS witnessed an increase in the strategy of looting and destruction by the economic groups that benefit from the diversion of public resources to private sector business. The lack of doctors, nurses and other professionals assumes worrying dimensions. Successive closures, delays in medical appointments, tests, treatments or surgeries, limit access, cause insecurity and concern in the population and pave the way for the transformation of this right into a business.
Also noteworthy is the serious backward step in the right to housing, with thousands of people without access to decent housing and struggling to cope with the unbearable prices that this reaches, whether in rents or in loans, with banks taking advantage of the constant hike in interest rates by the ECB.
4. In addition to the worsening economic and social problems arising from the lack of response to fundamental issues in the lives of the workers and people, there is a series of serious and unacceptable occurrences in which the government has become entangled, and which favour the objectives of the most reactionary forces and their attack on the democratic regime.
Big capital is employing all instruments and means – political, economic, media – to consolidate its power to control national political life and ensure the political and institutional arrangements for the continuation of a policy at the service of its interests. This is the guiding principle behind the operations that led, first, to the unjustified dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic in 2021 and to the absolute majority of the PS – supported by the PS's blackmail and the involvement of the President of the Republic -, and which now continue and intensify.
The exacerbated public confrontation between the government and the forces on its right - such as the one that took place concerning the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into TAP - aims to disguise the coincidence of positions in favour of big capital (and, in this case, in the privatisation of this strategic company) and ensure, in the present and for the future, the deepening of right-wing policies and confrontation with the values and achievements of April and of the Constitution of the Republic.
5. What is required are solutions to the country's problems and not the chorus of speculation about potential dissolutions or early elections. What is required is a break with right-wing policies and the implementation of a patriotic and left-wing policy that responds to the interests and aspirations of the workers and Portuguese people.
This was a requirement that determined the struggle of the workers and populations over the last few months, which forced the government to take measures that it did not intend to take, namely the mid-term increases in Public Administration (1%) and in pensions (3, 5%) which, however, do not restore the lost purchasing power.
A struggle that, even facing the convergent action of capital, the PS government, reactionary parties and forces, has enabled the defence of rights and forced wage increases in several companies and sectors, including with real gains.
A struggle that confirms itself as an increasingly decisive factor in the evolution of the national situation and that requires its expansion and intensification, with emphasis on the role of workers and their class organisations.
A struggle that is also in defence of freedom and democracy, against the promotion of reactionary values and conceptions that gain ground in the current national and international situation, fuelling hatred, censorship, denunciation, and persecution of all those who contest the single thought or call into question the power of big business. A struggle for April's values and what they represent as a project for the future.
II - Patriotic and left-wing alternative: a requirement and possibility
1. The times we live in are times of resistance but also of initiative. Resistance and struggle against the escalation of exploitation, confrontation and war, the theft of rights, the increase in the cost of living, attacks on the democratic regime, combined with the intensification of the organised action of the workers and popular masses in the demand for an increase of wages, pensions and better public services, in the defence of paths towards peace, in the affirmation of the values of freedom and democracy.
A struggle that takes place in a very demanding correlation of forces, with difficulties but also with potential.
We are aware of and cannot underestimate the power of big capital, the room for political manoeuvring and social conditioning associated with it, the colossal means of ideological domination, a state power that is increasingly instrumentalised to serve the ruling class.
But this power does not mean absolute power. The power of big capital is opposed by the mass struggle, which has already shown sufficient proof in the country's history of the strength it has to defend, restore, and achieve what seemed impossible. Against the reactionary projects and agendas that seek to install and determine the future of the country, what April represents, its values and achievements, which remain alive, including in the new generations, and the features that the Constitution enshrines. In contrast with the conceptions and dogmas of capitalism is the perspective of another system, one that frees workers and people from exploitation and injustice. Opposed to the torrent of single thought is the reality of life which, being masked or distorted, always ends up surfacing. The promotion of individualism, isolation, fear, and alienation is opposed by enlightenment, solidarity, experience, action, and collective mobilisation. The promotion of militarism and war is opposed by the peace movement and the need for political resolution of conflicts. The institutionalisation of anticommunism as a media standard – with silencing, falsification of positions, the coarse attack on the PCP and the promotion of other forces – is opposed by the presence and concrete action of the Party and its identification with the aspirations and interests of the workers and of the people.
2. Faced with the evidence that the PS government's policy does not serve the country and that, in terms of defending the interests of economic groups, it is accompanied by PSD, CDS, Chega and IL, the workers, people, democrats and patriots are faced with a choice that is defined today and that will mark the future.
That of keeping the control of national life in the hands of economic groups and their interests or that of assuming the challenge of breaking with right-wing policies and building a patriotic and left-wing alternative.
What is needed is the implementation of an alternative policy that does not condemn the country, either with the PS, or with the PSD and its surrogates, to the same right-wing policy options.
It is necessary to break with decades of right-wing policies and pave the way for a patriotic and left-wing policy that promotes the valorisation of wages and pensions, the defence of public services, the right to healthcare, education, housing, transport, culture and sport, public control of strategic sectors, development of national production, support for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and farmers, guaranteeing fiscal justice, promoting science, safeguarding the environment, defending national sovereignty , the diversification of external relations, peace and cooperation among peoples.
A path that implies strengthening the PCP at all levels, including in the institutions, namely with more MPs, who decisively count in the struggle against right-wing policies, in demanding solutions to problems, in responding to the aspirations of the workers and people, in the affirmation of the alternative.
A patriotic and left-wing alternative that implies a government that is neither of the PS, nor of the PSD and its surrogates, but rather a government based on the mobilisation and participation of the workers and popular masses which, in its leadership and composition, should count with communists and all those who want to defend national interests and who place workers and populations at the centre of their action.
3. Over the decades, it has been confirmed that more strength for the PCP contributes to improving life, advancing the rights of the workers and people, affirming and guaranteeing national interests, while less strength for the PCP facilitates setbacks, worsens exploitation, weakens the country's future.
It is in strengthening the PCP, its social, political, and electoral influence and in intensifying and expanding the mass struggle that lies the key to reversing the country's current course.
The PCP makes a difference in the life of the country: it is, at all times, on the side of the workers and the people and in the fight against the interests of capital; defends national interests against submission to imperialism and the EU; courageously faces blackmail and pressure of all kinds; defends the democratic regime and the values of April to which it made a unique contribution, and does not accept to feed or be an instrument of anti-democratic campaigns; its elected officials refuse privileges for holding public office and are a guarantee of work, honesty and competence at the service of the populations; it does not confuse the media agenda marked by a multitude of dispersion and diversion factors with the real problems of the workers and people; it combats reactionary and fascist forces and conceptions and unmasks their role in consolidating the right-wing policy that promotes them; does not say one thing and do the opposite, rejecting lies and demagoguery; defends and fights for peace, even facing the slander of those who want to prolong and escalate the war; is not towed by the conjuncture, rather it articulates the intervention on concrete problems with the alternative, the project and the ideal of a new society free of capitalist exploitation, socialism.
The PCP is an essential and irreplaceable force in the fight for a Portugal with a future.
Faced with alternation projects, which aim to replace PS by PSD (with or without the CDS and its surrogates Chega and IL) or by other false routes, to which they seek to lead the Portuguese people, the role of the PCP, as a holder and dynamic force of alternative policies, emerges with great relevance. A role that is expressed in its own affirmation, in the dynamization of the mass struggle and in its action to promote the convergence of democrats and patriots.
They can draw various scenarios, but without the reinforcement of the PCP, the aspirations for change towards a better life for Portuguese society will not materialise. The alternative that the country needs demands that recognition of the role of the PCP be translated into more social, political, and electoral support.
The PCP, its affirmation and reinforcement, with its identity, its project, its programme, the alternative policy that it advocates, its commitment to the workers, the people and the country whatever the circumstances, its political courage, consistency and determination, cannot be diluted and are a decisive factor of the path that Portugal needs.
III - Mass struggle, intervention, and reinforcement of the Party
1. What the Party faces is the need, starting from the concrete reality, to identify the tasks and demands for intervention and to mobilise the action of the party collective to materialise them.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP appreciates and salutes the hundreds of thousands of workers who have participated over the last few months in numerous struggles in companies and workplaces, stressing the convergence actions called by the CGTP-IN, namely the impressive May Day and the National Day of Struggle that on June 28 was expressed in hundreds of workplaces and affirmed the urgency of raising wages.
The dimension of the popular celebrations of the 25th. of April stands out which, by showing the strength of its values, contrasted with and neutralised the provocative and anti-democratic operation widely promoted in the media. A struggle that included other strata and sectors of the population, on the defence of increase in pensions, for the right to healthcare and in defence of the NHS, for the right to housing and public transport, against the increase in the cost of living, the degradation of the environment, discrimination, whitewashing of fascism, the right to culture, freedom, democracy, peace and solidarity.
A struggle that marks the national reality and which reveals itself not only as a conditioning factor for the interests of big capital and the government's action and of improvement of living conditions and rights, but also as a powerful instrument of social transformation that needs to go farther. A struggle that counted on the role and commitment of thousands of PCP members whose action in organisations, processes and movements proved to be fundamental.
A struggle that will continue, including during the summer period, with very diverse developments, based on the concrete problems and aspirations of workers, pensioners, of users of public services and of populations, the solutions that the country needs, for solidarity and peace.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP salutes the organisations and militants of the Party and the JCP and points out the intense and diversified activity and initiative that has been carried out over the last few months, materialising the conclusions of the National Conference, with emphasis on the success of the action “More strength to workers” whose objectives and style of work need continuity.
In these months, the PCP took the initiative all over the country: to raise wages and pensions; for the rights of children and parents; for the rights of youth; for the right to age with dignity; to mark the 49th. anniversary of the 25th. of April; for the right to transport and housing (including the holding of the National Meeting on Housing); against the rising cost of living; in defence of the NHS, Public Schools and Social Security; for the promotion of national production; in defence of the environment and water; for the right to culture; intervention in local government; in actions in the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores; in the intervention in the Assembly of the Republic and in the European Parliament, highlighting the respective conferences; in valuing anti-fascist resistance; in defence of the democratic regime, of the values of April and compliance with the Constitution; for peace and solidarity.
The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the need to develop in an integrated way the political initiative, the struggle of the workers and the people, the strengthening of mass unitary organisations and movements, the work with other democrats and patriots, the reinforcement of the Party and the assertion of its proposals, its ideal and project.
The worsening of the problems that the right-wing policy will continue to impose in the coming months makes it necessary to take the initiative at the political and institutional level in order to ensure measures aimed at namely: increasing wages and pensions; strengthening of the NHS; the beginning of the academic year with quality; fiscal justice; the regulation of the price of housing rents and decrease of its cost and of instalments to banks; free day care centres for all children, with the creation of a public network; response to the problems of drought and the guarantee of public management and access to water; investment in fire prevention and reinforcement of civil protection; the interruption of the privatisations of TAP and EFACEC; the reinforcement of investment in infrastructure and equipment and in the development of national production.
There is a need to continue, with the Party organisations, the action "Living better in our land", projecting the aspirations and the problems felt in towns and villages, stimulating the activity and local life, expanding the populations' awareness about their rights and contributing to the mobilisation and struggle for their implementation.
Recognise the importance of preparing the elections for the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, making them a moment and an opportunity to assert the CDU as the most consistent force in the fight against the right-wing governance of PSD and CDS.
It is also necessary for the Party to intervene taking into account, in the coming months, the importance of the commemorations of the 50th. anniversary of the 25th of April, with the multiple actions and initiatives under the motto "April is more Future"; the valorisation of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic; the defence of peace and solidarity; the preparation of the elections for the European Parliament, which will take place on June 9, 2024, with a view to strengthening the CDU, an essential condition to defend the interests of the workers and Portuguese people, as well as the country's right to progress and development, in a Europe of peace and cooperation between sovereign States with equal rights.
Particularly noteworthy is the preparation of the Avante! Festival, which will take place on September 1, 2 and 3. A Festival that is increasingly becoming a space for democracy, freedom and culture, a meeting point for democrats and patriots, a window open to the world for thousands of young people who have made it their own, and which requires a strong participation of militants, organisations of the Party and a bold involvement of many other friends of the Party, in the promotion and sale of the EP – Entry Pass, as well as in the preparation of contents and projects, in the construction and operation.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes the need to continue with the set of measures aimed at strengthening the party organisation: boldly giving responsibility to more new cadres to handle regular tasks and lead Party organisations, with the aim of reaching 1000 new cadres; promoting the recruitment and integration of new militants, in particular the 2570 new members who joined the Party as part of the campaign “The future has a Party”; implementing the campaign of dissemination of the Avante! until May 2024; developing the means of information and propaganda, promoting discussion with a view to raising the level of response and articulation in this field, an objective, which includes the preparation of the national initiative on November 25; strengthening the Party in companies and workplaces, giving continuity to the measures identified in the action “More strength to workers”; strengthening local organisations by strengthening their leadership bodies and programming and initiative in mass work; guaranteeing the Party's financial independence by increasing revenues, updating dues and paying them regularly and rigorously managing the Party's assets.
The Central Committee of the PCP calls on Party organisations and militants, workers, democrats, and patriots to commit themselves to the struggle to respond to the country's problems.
Along with the awareness of the demands that the current situation entails, there is confidence in the struggle being waged, in the reasons and justice of that struggle, in the workers and the people, in the Party and in its capacity to intervene. Confidence in the possibility of a different policy and a different path for the country. A patriotic, left-wing alternative policy. A course that inscribes advanced democracy and the values of April in the future of Portugal and that has socialism and communism on the horizon.