Statement PCP Central Committee

Communiqué of the Central Committee of the PCP of March 21 and 22, 2021

The Central Committee of the PCP stressed the importance and significance of the celebration of the Party's Centenary, analysed aspects of the development of the international situation, assessed the national situation and the necessary responses, the political framework and the struggle for the political alternative, and outlined the main lines of intervention of the Party, highlighting the response to the national situation, the development of the mass struggle and the strengthening of the Party.

I. The future has a Party

1. The Party celebrated on March 6 100 years of struggle, evoking its heroic history and reaffirming its project for the future. In a situation marked by serious economic, social and public health problems, in which the epidemic, in addition to its direct effects, is used to promote setbacks, to call into question political, economic, social and cultural rights, deeply affecting the conditions of life and work, the PCP made its voice heard, making its Centenary a day of struggle on the problems faced by the workers, the people and the country, of mobilisation and demand for their resolution, of defence and affirmation of its ideal and liberating project.

The contact with the workers and population; the tribute to the heroes fallen in the struggle; the special edition of Avante!; the planting of Party flags; the parade promoted by JCP “Steps through history, socialism on the horizon”; the 100 actions across the country and the main act of the celebrations in Lisbon, which involved thousands of participants, begun with the Internationale and under the motto “Freedom Democracy Socialism - For rights, improvement of living conditions and social progress, against exploitation and impoverishment”- represented a great display of capacity, creativity, strength and confidence, with a strong national and international impact, in an undeniable affirmation that the future has a Party.

2. The Party's Centenary celebrations will continue until March 2022, associating the valorisation of 100 years of struggle at the service of the people and the country, to today's struggles, to the continuing struggle for democracy and socialism.

II. International situation

1. In an international situation characterised by great instability and uncertainty, against the background of the deepening of the structural crisis of capitalism, big capital is using the pandemic situation to increase exploitation, promote a setback in rights and further the attack against democratic freedoms, encourage the ideological offensive, promote monopolistic concentration and impose its economic and political domination - with the resulting unemployment, precariousness, poverty, injustices and social inequalities, denial of essential rights to millions of human beings.

The aim of the United States, the United Kingdom or of the great powers of the European Union, and their pharmaceutical multinationals, of using the pandemic to obtain competitive advantages - including among themselves -, to enhance relations of dependency and to ensure millionaire profits, shows shockingly the inhuman character of capitalism, which proves not only that it does not have solutions to the problems that affect humanity, but also its huge responsibility for them.

2. Seeking to settle and mitigate real contradictions with other great capitalist powers, the American Administration, led by Joe Biden, confirms through its foreign policy the US goal, using all means at its disposal, of trying to counter its relative decline and to seek to align its allies - starting with NATO and the EU - with the strategy of safeguarding its global hegemonic domination.

American imperialism, with the support of its allies, continues and intensifies its action of aggression against countries and peoples that do not submit to its diktats and that affirm their sovereignty and right to development – an example of which is the recent attack on Syria-, at the same time that it raises its confrontation with China and Russia, which it defines as its strategic opponents.

3. Valuing the struggles that, aiming different objectives and assuming diverse forms, take place in the world, the Central Committee of the PCP calls for the development of solidarity with the peoples that resist the violent action of imperialism, with the demand for an end to interference, aggressions, sanctions and blockades, and respect for the rights of peoples, the independence of States, the principles of the United Nations Charter and International Law.

Reaffirming that the strengthening of cooperation and unity in action within the international communist and revolutionary movement is of the utmost importance, as well as the convergence of a broad anti-imperialist front to stop the offensive of imperialism and pave the way for the construction of a new international order of peace, sovereignty and social progress.

III. National situation and the struggle for the political alternative

1.The impacts of the epidemic, which has been going on for more than a year, highlight and deepen many of the problems that the country has faced for decades and give expression to new situations that have made the lives of Portuguese workers and people even more difficult.

Faced with a serious health situation that caused thousands of victims and left great consequences on the population, Portugal was only not faced with a bigger problem because it can count on the intervention of a National Health Service that, despite being affected by the right-wing policy, proved to be the safest instrument in the fight against the epidemic. At the same time, the Portuguese people have been subjected to heavy measures to limit their daily lives, to severely constrain economic activity with serious social consequences, to deprivation of numerous aspects of collective life with profound impacts on different strata of the population, with clear injustices. These restrictions have been supported by gigantic ideological conditioning operations, in which the inculcation of fear stands out.

The Central Committee of the PCP alerts to the dangerous use that has been made of this period in the life of the country, in which, under the pretext of the epidemic, it is sought to deepen exploitation, attack rights and freedoms, favour capitalist concentration, attack the democratic regime.

The PS government's action in responding to the epidemic has been marked by yielding to the manoeuvres and campaigns of economic groups and the agenda of the PSD and CDS, which seek to implement their reactionary projects to limit rights using the epidemic.

The persistence of the epidemic raises the need for a response that, rejecting lockdown as a rule and trivialising the State of Emergency, calls for an alternative approach that, limiting the framework of restrictions as much as possible, requires the articulation of epidemiological criteria with other health and social criteria and a different mobilisation of means, which continue to be denied. Means to reinforce prevention, screening, testing and vaccination, taking advantage of advances in science; to strengthen the NHS in the fight against Covid and other diseases; to reinforce social support to those who have been hit in their wages and income; to mitigate and overcome the impacts of lockdown, namely on children, youth, the elderly or people with disabilities; to support and guarantee the stability of economic activities - including State enterprises - and the survival of thousands of micro, small and medium-sized companies; as well as the adequate preparation so that economic, social, cultural and sporting activities can be safely resumed, also essential to the life and health of the population.

2.In contrast to the problems affecting the workers, the people and the country, there has been an accumulation of profits by economic groups and the distribution of scandalous dividends to their shareholders, as is the case with Navigator, EDP, GALP, in banking and insurance, in large distribution chains, such as Jerónimo Martins and SONAE, in telecommunications operators, among others.

Benefiting from important public grants - unlike thousands of MSMEs - and the prospect of new transfers from the resources made available within the framework of the EU, economic groups have coverage and funding from the PS government for decisions contrary to the national interests. An example of this is: submission to Vinci's interests in the construction of the new airport; the restructuring plan of TAP and the situation of SPDH-Groundforce; the shutting down of the refinery in Matosinhos and of the power plant in Sines; the reprivatisation of EFACEC; the sale of six dams by EDP; or the scandalous tax benefits for large economic groups.

3.The PCP, in view of the accumulated loss of wages and income, dismissals, increase in unemployment, deregulation of working hours and trampling of labour rights, poverty, inequality, the vulnerability faced by thousands of MSMEs, the deterioration of public services, the suspension of countless activities, the worsening of external dependence or the decline of the internal market, has intervened over months by presenting solutions.

The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance of the proposals presented by the Party in view of the impacts of the epidemic and that - even if defeated by the combination of votes between PS and PSD, or that have only been partially adopted - always pointed out a path of prompt response to the problems. Proposals that established, among other aspects, the payment of 100% wages in situations of layoff; the extension, even if it falls short of the PCP's proposal, of the possibility of resorting to support to parents who are teleworking and accompanying children; the extension of unemployment benefits for another six months in 2021; the adoption of new social benefits; the elimination, even if boycotted by the government, of restrictions on MSMEs in access to support; or the hiring, albeit insufficient and partly yet to be implemented, of thousands of workers for the NHS, schools, security forces and other services.

Emergency measures that do not dispense, but are part of a vision that places the necessary recovery of the Country, articulated with the fight against its structural vulnerabilities.

4.There is an urgent need to tackle accumulated problems, break with the right-wing policies, chart a path of real recovery and pave the way for development and social progress.

The recovery of the epidemic's impacts on health, education, the economic fabric, culture, institutions, public and private entities, requires a bold response and a definition of priorities and criteria that will have to favour the interests of the workers, the people and the country.

A response that will not come, as it never has, neither from the impositions nor from the European Union's criteria and guidelines, including the so-called Recovery and Resilience Plan that the PS government presents as a great solution.

The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the necessary response requires the mobilisation of all available resources - from the State Budget to EU funds or other forms of funding - subject to a sovereign development strategy, which rejects straight-jackets resulting from the Euro contrary to the development of the country.

A policy that ensures the valorisation of work and workers, of wages, the fight against precariousness, the reduction of working hours and the fight against their deregulation, the achievement of the goal of full employment, as central elements in the boosting of the internal market - from which the overwhelming majority of MSMEs live - and for national development.

A policy that boosts national production replacing imports of strategic goods, such as food, medicines and medical equipment, means of transport or energy.

A policy that sets levels of public investment above 5% of GDP (without which there will be no lasting economic growth above 3%) and responds to delays in terms of infrastructure and equipment: from the new airport to the rail network, from Primary Healthcare to Hospitals, from supporting productive activity to energy and communications, from the public network of daycare centres to equipment and support for the elderly (articulated with the reality of existing social structures), from the increase in public transport to housing or the guarantee of environmental protection.

A policy that values public services betting on their modernisation and capacity to respond, where digitization cannot mean less but more workers, who are in shortage.

A policy that ensures public control of strategic companies and sectors, starting with the strengthening of current public companies, recovering public control of others that have been privatised - from banking to telecommunications, energy or transport - and advancing to new areas, an example of which is the creation of a public road transport operator.

A policy that ensures the right to cultural creation and enjoyment and sports activities and that points to its democratisation as a central element for the well-being of the people, with a strong investment in the restoration of structures, entities, cultural associations and companies affected by the impacts of the epidemic.

5. The situation that the country faces does not find an answer in the PS government’s policy, despite the fact that it has all the instruments to provide the most immediate necessary response. But it insists on not doing so because it chooses to give priority to deficit management at the expense of measures and investments that prove to be urgent. It insists on the management of the means and provisions included in the State Budget determined, not by their quick implementation, which would guarantee the solutions demanded by the situation, but by the unacceptable intention of protracting their application, reducing their scope, limiting the universe of their beneficiaries, introducing requirements that limit their access and effectiveness and even the review of measures contained therein. A practice expressed in the budget execution of 2020, where around seven billion Euros remained to be executed.

The proven existence of available resources to solve the problems are opposed by the PS government's options of subordination to the interests of big capital and to the impositions of the European Union and the Euro, options that have been at the root of the right-wing policy, which curbs the country, mortgages development and leads to the accumulation of problems.

The solution to the country's problems calls for the rejection of the reactionary strategy which, although disguised in the demagogic manipulation of real difficulties and problems and in the concealment of its responsibility in right-wing policies, inscribes more and more explicitly the objective of mutilation and destruction of the democratic regime that the Constitution enshrines, supported by a cynical “anti-system” rhetoric of its political protagonists, with which they try to hide the fact that they represent the worst of the capitalist system. A strategy that manifests itself in the growing anti-democratic intolerance, in the dissemination and ostentation of hate speech and exacerbated anti-communism that found a new expression in the celebrations of the Centenary of the PCP, in a framework of continued and persistent attack against the Party.

A strategy that brings together PSD and CDS, their surrogates Chega and Iniciativa Liberal, centres of the media groups, agents and personalities of different professional organisations - led by monopoly capital, whose interests they represent and uphold – and which finds in the re-election of the current President of the Republic support and factor of animation.

6. The country is not doomed to the policy that has dragged Portugal into dependence for decades and that conditions its development.

The alternative is not, as big capital intends, neither in the PS government and in its policy, nor in the reactionary and anti-democratic projects of the PSD, CDS and their surrogates, Chega and Liberal Initiative.

The PCP is not a force of support to the PS, nor an instrument at the service of reactionary projects. The PCP is the force of the patriotic and left-wing alternative.

This is the time of choices that respond to the problems of the workers, the people and the country.

This is the time to counter the submission of the PS government to the interests of big capital and to the impositions of the EU, which prevent the response to national problems, and to the anti-democratic and fascistic arrogance that worsens them, for an alternative policy that affirms the values of April and what they encompass in rights, progress and social justice, sovereignty and national independence.

This is time for the patriotic and left-wing alternative policy that the PCP proposes and embodies.

This is time to strengthen the PCP, to develop the struggle of the workers and the people, to unite all those who identify themselves with the alternative policy with a view to breaking with the right-wing policy and building a fairer and sovereign Portugal, a Portugal with a future.

IV. Mass struggle

1.The Central Committee of the PCP highlights the significance and importance of the development of the mass struggle and stresses the significance of the various actions carried out and underway, including: the national day of struggle of last February 25, called by CGTP-IN, with actions across the country; the struggle of Public Administration workers on March 17, called by the Common Front of the Public Administration Trade Unions; the struggle of GALP workers against the closing down of the Matosinhos refinery; of workers from SPDH-Groundforce, Belenenses Bingo or JJW Group for the payment of overdue wages; the struggle in EDP's Contact Centres against precariousness; the fight at Eurest, at Spitfire at Iberol or at Novo Banco against the dismissals; the struggles carried out in many other companies and workplaces in various sectors of activity, in which workers fight for the rights set down in collective bargaining, against the precariousness of labour ties and the deregulation of working hours, for the increase of wages, against the imposition of hour banks, for the defence of individual and collective rights.

2. The Central Committee of the PCP values the events held within the scope of March 8, International Women's Day, which translated into a clear statement that the epidemic outbreak cannot be used as an excuse for setbacks in the lives of women and to demand compliance with their rights in work, family and society. We highlight the high participation in the National Demonstration of Women promoted by the MDM on March 7, in Porto, and on March 13, in Lisbon, which affirmed the demand to enjoy rights, overcome violence, and the Week for Equality promoted by CGTP-IN from March 8 to 12, among many other actions.

3.The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of preparing the celebrations for the National Student Day, on March 24, and for the National Youth Day, with demonstrations on March 25 in Lisbon and Porto; of the 47th Anniversary of the 25th of April, including the 45th anniversary of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, and of May Day, International Workers' Day, whose importance and meaning assume and demand in the present time a growing and broad participation.

V. Strengthen the organisation and intervention of the Party

1. The Central Committee of the PCP salutes the organisations, the members of the Party and of the JCP for their intervention in the response and initiative to uphold the interests of the workers, youth, people, in the exercise of rights and freedoms, in affirming the alternative, the communist ideal and project, confirming the indispensable role of the PCP.

2. In the Party's intervention since the XXI Congress, we highlight its action with the workers and its contribution to the development of the mass struggle, the action with the retired and pensioners, intervention in the defence of the National Health Service, children's and parents’ rights, women's rights, for equality in work and life, and the implementation of the Party's Centenary celebrations programme, with particular emphasis on the memorable journey of March 6 all over the country.

3. In the context of the worsening of economic and social problems, the impacts of the epidemic and its use by big capital, there is a need for an intense intervention by the Party, focused on the problems of the workers and people, on the compliance of the rights enshrined in the Constitution, in the fight against the right-wing policies and in the affirmation of the patriotic and left-wing alternative policy.

To this effect, the following are the priority lines of work:

The contribution to the development of the struggle of the workers and populations and the strengthening of mass unitary organisations and movements.

The widening and intensification of contacts with democrats and patriots promoting dialogue and convergence.

The development of political initiative with: the campaign on employment and workers' rights, against exploitation; the development of the road map for national production; the holding of a week for the defence and strengthening of the NHS and for a rapid vaccination of all; and the programme of initiatives in defence of sovereign development in view of the ongoing actions within the scope of the “Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union”.

The dynamization of the preparation of municipal elections based on: the affirmation of the CDU, its project, intervention and work and the accountability of the work carried out, with the holding of a national day in May; in confirming the CDU as a broad space for democratic participation and unity on local problems of thousands of men, women and youth without party affiliation; in the construction of the slates and in their articulated presentation with a broad participation in the drawing of the electoral programmes and pledges.

The activity in the Assembly of the Republic, in the Regional Legislative Assembly of Madeira, in the Local Government and in the European Parliament.

The action on Peace and internationalist solidarity, contributing to: the development of solidarity with the peoples that resist imperialism's interference and aggression; boosting action against militarism, war and NATO and for Peace and disarmament; for cooperation within the scope of the international communist and revolutionary movement and the anti-imperialist front.

The development and implementation of the Party's Centenary celebrations programme under the motto “Freedom, Democracy, Socialism - the future has a Party”, in which the debate on April 25, the initiative on the emancipation of women, stand out, the presentation sessions of the book “100 years of struggle at the service of the people and the country, for democracy and socialism”, the Fine Arts Exhibition, regional exhibitions or a wide range of initiatives by Party organisations and which are part of the initiative on the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune.

The preparation of the 45th Avante! Festival! which will take place on September 3, 4 and 5, 2021, at Atalaia, Amora, Seixal, the largest cultural political initiative in the country, which takes on an added significance in the current situation, expanding the distribution and sale of the Entry Pass, ticket of solidarity, and boosting its promotion and dissemination with a week of action from April 10 to 17.

4. The Central Committee of the PCP highlights the importance of the 12th Congress of the JCP that will take place on May 15 and 16, in Vila Franca de Xira, under the motto "A thousand struggles on the path of April. Organise. Transform".

5.The Central Committee of the PCP, valorising the steps taken to strengthen the Party, points out the need to continue and intensify this work, namely: guaranteeing the functioning of the bodies and organisations; reinforcing leadership work and accountability and training of cadres, responding to the needs and taking advantage of their real availability; the recruitment and integration of new militants, materialising the potential that has been growing; reinforcing the organisation and intervention in companies and workplaces, with the definition of new 100 leadership responsibilities, the creation of 100 new cells and the dynamization of the intervention of existing cells; strengthening local organisations; working with specific social strata and sectors, propaganda work; the implementation of the National Funding Campaign “The future has a Party”, now speeding towards its success by the end of May, as well as the valorisation of the importance of membership dues and their regular payment; holding assemblies of party organisations.

The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of the Party press; the need and possibility of expanding the regular sale of Avante! and the reinforcement of the distribution structure; highlights the ongoing enhancement of its content and graphics; and the possibility of subscribing the digital version and redesigning its presentation; and underlines the significance of providing access to all Avante! editions from its foundation to the present, as well as of O Militante.

6. The Central Committee of the PCP analysed the solutions of the structures that support the central leadership, defined following the XXI Congress, necessary for the response and initiative that are placed to the Party and whose application will now be completed.

★★★

When signalling the Centenary of the Party, with a heroic history, with deep roots in the working class, in the workers, in the Portuguese people, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the determination and confidence of the party collective in the struggles of today and in the affirmation of the ideal and project for the revolutionary overcoming of capitalism, for socialism and communism.

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