The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on November 21, 2021, analysed the national situation and the necessary solutions for the country and pointed out measures for the Party's intervention, namely in the early elections for the Assembly of the Republic on January 30, 2022.
For an alternative patriotic and left-wing policy, for solutions for the country
1. The accumulation of problems, a result of decades of right-wing policies and which the epidemic has enhanced, places the pressing need for an alternative policy and solutions for the country.
The epidemic, and the use that big capital has made of it, has laid bare the serious structural deficits - in terms of production, energy, technology and demographics – and the persistent problems that heightened the difficulties in the lives of the workers and Portuguese people.
The situation is not more serious because, over the years, the struggle of the workers and the intervention of the PCP, overcoming resistance and obstacles, forced and achieved advances.
It was so when, in 2015, it was necessary to remove the PSD and CDS from government and interrupt their policy of national disaster. It has been so over the last few years, when a path of defence, restoration and achievement of rights was implemented. It was so when it became necessary to face the impacts of the epidemic, find solutions and correct serious aspects that had been imposed in the 2020 Supplementary Budget, against which the PCP voted.
The PCP always warned in these post-troika years that there was no further progress in responding to the country's problems because the PS government did not want to. Its options regarding central issues were marked by the rejection of proposals that responded to significant problems and by the non-compliance, delay in the implementation of measures, captivation and cuts in investments, expedients that the government used to enforce budgetary criteria determined by the submission to the Union European Union and the interests of big capital.
The people and the country are confronted with a vast set of problems that need answers that the PS government refused and refuses to give, while maintaining the central pillars of the same policy that it conducted with the PSD and CDS during the last decades. A refusal that leads to the accumulation and worsening of these problems.
The need for a general increase in wages, the combat against precariousness, deregulation of working hours and unemployment, the repeal of the serious norms of labour legislation, the increase in pensions, facing and solving the difficulties in accessing housing has gained greater urgency, together with the guarantee of the rights of children and the elderly, control of the increase in the prices of essential goods and services, as well as the need to increase public investment and encourage economic development. It has become pressing to respond to the weaknesses of public services, particularly in the National Health Service, in Public Schools and in Social Security. There is a clear need to support the activity of micro, small and medium-sized companies.
The country needs other options and to embark on an alternative path of economic and social development. This was the meaning of the PCP's intervention in the process of discussing the State Budget for 2022. Following the most acute period of the epidemic, and when huge financial resources are announced, it is not acceptable to postpone the response to the problems facing the country. That was the option that the PCP assumed.
The government's options were marked by the refusal of the solutions that the country needs. It was necessary in the State Budget, and beyond it, that the government assume commitments and give clear signs of a path for solutions to national problems. Despite the intervention of the PCP, which fought to the end for the solutions that cannot be delayed, it was the government's refusal to give the necessary responses that led to the State Budget proposal not being approved. The State Budget proposal was not approved because the PS did not want it.
It became clear that the PS wanted elections, it did not want to find solutions. The PS wanted and wants to free from any conditioning that limits its options determined by commitments to right-wing policies. The PS aspires to an absolute majority, an aim it revealed even before the vote on the State Budget proposal.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the various manoeuvres that, at the political and ideological level, seek to conceal and distort the reality of the facts, namely by blaming the PCP for not having submitted to the pressure and blackmail that accompanied the entire discussion of the proposal for the State Budget for 2022.
The PCP never strayed from the objective of finding solutions to the problems of the people and the country, unlike others, who focused their intervention on the threat of a political crisis.
The PCP was the force that most battled for the achievement of advances, underlining that the dimension of the problems requires a global response capable of overcoming them, unlike others, who instrumentalise scattered proposals that they would never adopt on their own, such as the extra increase of pensions or free day care centres proposed by the PCP.
The PCP never renounced intervening to defend what is best for the people and the country, unlike others who submit national interests to the impositions of the European Union and the interests of big capital.
The PCP never renounced its commitment to the workers and Portuguese people, unlike others who put political and electoral calculations ahead of everything.
The PCP's position on the State Budget confirms that the workers and people can always count on the PCP. It was so when it was necessary to remove the PSD/CDS government. It was so to defend, restore and achieve rights. And it was so when it was necessary to find answers to the epidemic. And it was so when in the battle for development and the improvement of living conditions it was necessary to say no to a State Budget and to a policy that, despite the increased means to do so, does not solve, but rather accumulates, the problems, it even jeopardises the advances achieved, and condemns the country to the worsening of injustices and social inequalities and to the progressive deterioration of the economic and social situation.
3. The non-approval of the Budget did not imply the resignation of the government - which it knew and therefore did not resign - nor the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic. There is a dissolution only because the President of the Republic wants it and because the government and the PS so desire. It was possible for the government to table a new budget that would meet the country's needs. The position of the President of the Republic throughout this process – including the extension of the deadlines for holding elections – constitutes a factor of instability and conditioning of the solutions that the country needs. An intervention inseparable from the motivations of those who never accepted the decisive intervention of the PCP in the removal of the PSD/CDS government and which now converge with the more immediate goals of the PS.
The President of the Republic assumed the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic and the scheduling of elections for January 30, 2022. The PCP will intervene in the forthcoming elections with confidence and determination.
In these legislative elections what is at stake is the election of MPs who represent the Portuguese people in the Assembly of the Republic and not just any Prime Minister, it is about choosing the policy, the answers and solutions that meet the aspirations for a better life. It is this perspective of the future that the workers and the people find in the PCP and the CDU.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the need for a response to the country's problems. A response that requires a break with the right-wing policy and the adoption of a patriotic and left-wing policy. A response that confronts and breaks with the interests of big capital and assumes the need to free the country from submission to the Euro and the impositions of the European Union. A response that involves the recovery of instruments of sovereignty; demands public control of strategic sectors and companies that are today, mostly, in the hands of foreign capital; ensures an effective investment in national production as a strategic issue for employment, development, sovereignty and to cut down dependence and foreign debt; assumes the defence of the interests of the workers and people and ensures a Portugal with a future. These are central issues that a government committed to national interests must pursue.
In the forthcoming legislative elections, the PCP offers the workers and the people the choice to:
• Promote sustained economic development, a general increase in wages as a national emergency, including the increase of the Minimum Wage, ensure the repeal of the grievous norms of labour legislation, including that of the expiry of collective bargaining, combat precariousness, dignify careers and professions, valorise work and workers, ensure the rights of youth and women.
• Guarantee the rights of children and parents, free day care centres and a public network, ensure stability in employment, working hours and housing, increase wages, promoting birth rates, reverse the demographic decline, curb emigration.
• Valorise retirement, pensions and social benefits, combat poverty among the elderly, valorise long contributory careers, ensure a public network of equipment and services to support seniors and people with disabilities.
• Defend and strengthen the National Health Service as a guarantee of the Portuguese people's right to healthcare, securing and attracting professionals, valorising careers and salaries, ensuring more medical appointments, tests, surgeries, family doctor and nurse for all and combat favouring the healthcare business of private groups.
• Defend and valorise Social Security, Education, Science, Culture, Sports, strengthen public services to respond to the needs of populations and territorial cohesion.
• Guarantee the right to decent housing, with an increase in public housing, stability and regulation of rental prices, combat speculation, as well as the progressive gratuity and reinforcement of public transport, ensuring the population's right to mobility.
• Guarantee the right to a healthy environment and ecological balance, combating the commodification of nature and preventing and mitigating the effects of climate change.
• Ensure fiscal justice by providing the country with the means it needs, with the reduction of taxation on labour income, particularly lower and intermediate incomes, on consumption and MSMEs, and by standing up to the tax privileges of big capital, ensuring its effective and fair taxation.
• Stimulate economic activity, by valorising national production, recovering public control over strategic sectors and supporting micro, small and medium-sized companies.
• Ensure independent justice accessible to all, fight corruption, a security policy that ensures citizens' rights and public tranquillity, and the enhancement of the role of the Armed Forces within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic.
5. The Central Committee of the PCP considers that the situation of the country, the economic and social problems, the situation of the workers and popular masses, places on the order of the day the demand for responses and the development of struggle and its convergence to make claims. A demand that has been confirmed in the intense mass struggle that has been developed, whether in the claiming action in companies and workplaces, or in the great actions of convergence such as the strike by Public Administration workers on November 12 promoted by the Common Front of Trade Unions or the huge national demonstration called by the CGTP-IN that flooded Avenida da Liberdade, in Lisbon, on November 20.
The country's situation demands an alternative policy that gives priority to solving the national problems that the right-wing policy has accumulated. An alternative policy that demands a government capable of implementing it, with all those who give priority to the solutions that the situation demands.
It is this alternative policy that the country needs. It is this perspective of alternative that the PCP defends in opposition to the options of the PS and in confrontation with the reactionary projects of the PSD, CDS and their surrogates.
The electoral reinforcement of the PS would serve, as proved in 2019, to face its resistance to the solutions that the situation demands and even to promote setbacks.
The electoral reinforcement of the PSD, CDS and its surrogates, Chega and Iniciativa Liberal, would mean giving strength to the reactionary projects to attack wages, pensions, rights, public services and even the Constitution of the Republic, which were very evident in the action of the PSD/CDS government removed in 2015.
The reinforcement of the PCP and the CDU is the decisive factor to fight the right-wing policy and pave the way for a policy determined by the interests of the workers, the people and the country.
The response to the country's problems is only possible with the reinforcement of the CDU. As years of right-wing PS and PSD policy attest, solutions to the country's problems require that both absolute majorities and the ongoing arrangements between PS and PSD be defeated.
The workers, the people and the country count on the PCP to, with full determination, ensure the answers and solutions that the situation demands. In recent years, the path of defence, restoration and achievement of rights, inseparable from the intervention and reinforcement of the PCP, speaks for itself.
The PCP will always count for the convergence around a policy capable of facing the current difficult situation.
The question is not, in the abstract, to know whether one wants to converge or not, but rather what content has to be converged around. It is from this convergence, determined by a policy that opens prospects for responding to national problems and not by ambitions for power, that the PS flees.
The policy that the country needs and the convergence to support it have in the reinforcement of the PCP and the CDU the main condition for its implementation. Converging in a concrete response to the problems - this is the determination of the PCP. That is what is needed.
6. Faced with the legislative elections on January 30, 2022, the PCP, its organisations and Party members will intervene with courage and confidence. An intervention that, being necessarily articulated with other dimensions of party action – dynamization of political initiative and unitary political work, development of the mass struggle, strengthening of the Party – will have an attention focused on the electoral battle.
The PCP will intervene in the legislative elections within the framework of the CDU, the Broad United Democratic Coalition, PCP-PEV, which also includes the ID – Association for Democratic Intervention - and counts on the participation of thousands of people without party affiliation.
The Central Committee of the PCP points to the need for an intervention in the electoral battle that, based on the concrete problems of the workers and the people, affirms answers and solutions for an alternative policy and that faces the campaigns and operations that, disseminated by the decision-making centres of big capital, aim to weaken the PCP and the CDU and condition their electoral expression.
There is a need for a broad intervention with the workers and populations, on the streets and in the workplace, the preparation and dissemination of electoral proposals, the work of clarification and mobilisation to vote for the CDU, the preparation of slates of candidates for the Assembly of the Republic as an expression of work, honesty and competence. An intervention confident in the strength of the path, proposals and solutions that the PCP and the CDU present to the Portuguese people and that meet their most genuine aspirations.
Responding to the country's problems and building solutions to face them is what is being decided on January 30. It is this guarantee that the workers and people find in the CDU. It is this recognised action on the side of the workers and the people in defence of their rights that add up to the reasons for supporting the CDU at the time when each one decides on their future. It is this action that supports the confidence that the CDU's electoral progress is possible and indispensable.
Every vote on the CDU is a vote on the force that most resolutely fights the reactionary forces, for history and for the present; that will contribute to prevent the return to government of the PSD, the CDS, with their surrogates; that will contribute to hinder alliances between the PS and the PSD; that will help prevent absolute majorities; that gives confidence to pursue the path and open new horizons for the defence and achievement of rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.
7. In the times in which we live, the irreplaceable role of the Party and the need to strengthen it must be reaffirmed. When it celebrates one hundred years of struggle at the service of the people and the country, when it develops its present intervention and launches, with determination, its future action – like the great rally of Campo Pequeno, in Lisbon, on March 6, 2022 - it proves that the future has a Party. A time when the Portuguese Communist Party, this great party collective, always with the workers and the people, confidently assumes the ongoing struggle for freedom, democracy and socialism.