The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on November 23 and 24, 2019, analysed the international situation, the national situation and its evolution, the development of the workers’ and peoples' struggle. It assessed the Party's political action and initiative, took measures with a view to strengthening them, and decided to convene the 21st PCP Congress on November 27, 28 and 29, 2020.
The national situation: features and prospects
The country's situation, marked by a different political context from that of recent years, presents the same serious structural problems that are at the root of the significant delays in Portugal’s development, and which are inseparable from decades of right-wing policies pursued by PS, PSD and CDS.
The advances achieved through the decisive intervention of the PCP and the workers' struggle cannot conceal the limitations and constraints that it was not possible to overcome in the previous legislature. These constrain and prevent a full response to the country's problems, hamper its development and perpetuate exploitation, inequalities and injustice. Breaking with the right-wing policy is an essential requirement for moving forward in solving the country's problems and responding to the aspirations and rights of the workers and the people. This is a goal that is inseparable from denouncing the limitations and options of the PS government's policy, as well as confronting the reactionary offensive which seeks to find ground for its antidemocratic projects.
The Central Committee of the PCP considers that, in the current context, asserting the patriotic and left-wing policy and building a political alternative to implement it is a central feature of the PCP’s position and goals. This is an issue confronting the Party’s activity, the action and struggle of the masses and the convergence of democrats and patriots.
Guaranteeing the advances, continuing the struggle for the Patriotic and Left-wing policy
1. As the Central Committee of the PCP stressed at its October 8 meeting, despite a similar institutional balance of forces to that of 2015, the domestic political life is marked by a different context. Contrary to what happened in 2015 - due to the stubborn action of the then President of the Republic who tried to impose a PSD/CDS government and the belief of some that formal commitments were needed to overcome Cavaco Silva's illegitimate action - now, in 2019, it took only a few days for the Prime Minister to be appointed, the government to take office, present its programme and begin working. The present institutional political framework stems, as then, from the arrangement of forces in the Assembly of the Republic [Parliament] and the activity of a minority PS government, whose survival in office depends essentially, as it did during the last four years, on the policy it executes, the choices it makes, the answers it gives to the problems of the workers, the people and the country. Rejecting and overcoming lines of misrepresentation and distortion of the Party's position, both as regards the last legislature and the present, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that, exactly as has happened during the past four years, the Party will pursue its own intervention and initiative guided by its commitment to the workers and the people, which is determined by its political programme and project. The PCP is not now, as it was not in the previous legislature, "in government" or part of an alleged "majority", but is rather a force of opposition to anything that counters or reverses the rights of the workers and the people, and an indispensable force, with its initiative, in moving forward to achieve new rights.
2. The Government Programme confirms that the PS continues the same structural options of commitment to big capital and submission to the European Union and the Euro, options that have marked its orientation and hindered a resolute response to existing problems. It is a programme that prioritizes the interests of big capital over labour; the reduction of the deficit and the debt to the detriment of caring for Public Administration and its services and investment needs. It prioritizes options that are based on aid rather than a fairer distribution of the wealth that is produced. A programme that, in essence, does not only not open up prospects for advances, but actually suggests negative paths and even regressions.
3. The struggle to defend the advances and achievements that were won and for new and decisive steps in winning rights and raising the living conditions of workers and the people, as well as the struggle for an alternative policy and a political alternative that is essential to solve the national problems is, in the present context, confronted with new and greater demands. The offensive against the PCP not only tends to intensify but will take place within a more complex political, institutional and ideological context, in which, in addition to the policy options of the PS and the continued promotion of the Left Bloc, and together with the whitewashing of the PSD and CDS’s responsibility for the national situation, there are new factors of political and ideological diversion. Among these: a media promotion of forces that have acquired parliamentary representation, whether as a result of a direct choice of the media that backs them, or as a result of the actions of those who, believing to oppose them, actually provided them with attention; the instrumentalisation of issues that are chosen to encourage anti-Communist prejudice and deflect attention from key issues for the lives of the workers and people; the promotion of reactionary and far-right forces; the use of provocative instruments and actions aimed at eroding democracy and promoting undemocratic courses; operations of economic and social destabilisation that seek to divide working people, belittle their organised struggle and increase exploitation.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP highlights the PS government's commitments to the interests of big business and warns of developments in the process initiated at the Social Concertation about a so-called agreement on incomes which, despite publicising an alleged wage rise, actually curbs its growth and does not respond to the national emergency of a general wage increase. The government's setting of the National Minimum Wage at 635 euros for 2020 is clearly insufficient and falls far below the needs of workers and the country and the 850 euros demanded by [the Trade Union Central] CGTP-IN. The PS government's intention to use the 2019 inflation figure (which will probably be 0.3%) as a benchmark for the increase in public administration wages, if confirmed, is utterly unacceptable given that Public Administration workers have had their wages frozen for a decade. The PCP Central Committee notes that, in contrast to the disclosure of a significant budget surplus in the first nine months of the year and the transfer of EUR 1150 million to Novo Banco in 2019 alone, there is a lack of investment and response to problems in areas that are essential to the lives of the workers and the people, of which the most obvious are the situations of disruption in public services, in particular the shortage of workers in schools, jeopardizing their functioning at the beginning of the school year, and those in several healthcare units, of which the situation of the Garcia de Orta Hospital Paediatric Emergency Service is the most visible expression.
The Central Committee of the PCP notes that the announced intention of, following the environmental impact study of the Portuguese Environment Agency, giving a green light to the use of Montijo Air Base 6, as a supplement to [Lisbon’s International] Portela Airport, expresses submission to the interests of the multinational Vinci and clearly undermines the national interest and the construction of the New Lisbon International Airport, a strategic infrastructure for national development, on the public lands of the Alcochete Shooting Range.
5. The PCP, honouring its commitments to the workers and the people, has already presented, at the beginning of this legislature in the Assembly of the Republic, a wide range of solutions aimed at defending workers' rights, improving the living conditions of those who are unemployed, of old-age and other pensioners, defending the right to housing, the improvement of public services and accessibilities and mobility, the right to culture and support for the arts, the protection of the environment and an ecological balance. Confirming its decision to contribute with its action to the path of progress and to oppose anything that goes against the interests and rights of workers and the people, the PCP will pursue a steadfast and intense political and institutional activity, namely within the framework of the debate on the State Budget for 2020, so that, in conjunction with the mass struggle, what has been achieved may be consolidated and new rights may be won.
6. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that Portugal needs a new course, with a different policy, a patriotic and left-wing policy, breaking with the core aspects of the right-wing policy, which the PS has not abandoned. This new policy has to be inscribed as a goal by all those who aspire to a developed and sovereign Portugal. A policy that frees the country from submission to the Euro and the impositions of the European Union and renegotiates the public debt; that values labour and the workers; that defends and promotes national production and the productive sectors; that ensures public control of banking and all the basic and strategic sectors of the economy and support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the cooperative sector; that ensures a Public Administration and public services that serve the people and the country; that implements a policy of fiscal justice; that defends the democratic regime and respects the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, with a legal system accessible to all and fighting against corruption.
Developing the mass struggle
1. The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes the importance of the workers' and people's struggle as a decisive factor in winning their demands, in defending, restoring and achieving rights, for the patriotic and left-wing alternative and for the transformation of society. The Central Committee of the PCP values the struggles carried out by workers from different sectors and companies, by specific strata and sectors and by local communities. The struggles carried out assert the unity and determination of the workers, which is of the utmost importance for their success, at a time when apathy, giving up and resignation are fostered, and divisive and provocative actions are promoted.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the significance of important congresses of Trade Unions and trade union Federations and Trade Union elections, as well as the election of Workers' Councils, and stresses the importance of the Communists’ activity to ensure the success of the 14th Congress of CGTP-IN, the great Trade Union Central of the Portuguese workers, which will take place on February 14 and 15, 2020, the year of the 50th anniversary of its founding.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP calls for the development of the workers' struggle for a general increase in wages, expressed in the demand of a 90 Euro raise for every worker and for raising the national minimum wage to 850 Euros, against precarious jobs, against deregulation and for less working hours, better working conditions, the repeal of the grievous rules of the labour legislation. It also calls for the enhancement of the struggle of other sectors and strata for their demands, namely old-age and other pensioners and the elderly, for better pensions and decent living conditions, for the struggle of local communities in defence of their rights and public services, particularly in the areas of healthcare, education, transportation, housing, culture, public water and environmental protection and ecological balance. The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance of converging into a great front in the struggle for the defence of rights, for the patriotic and left-wing alternative, for a Portugal with a future.
The International situation. The struggle of the workers and peoples
1. The evolution of the international situation, largely determined by the deepening structural crisis of capitalism, is increasingly marked by instability and uncertainty, by developments that involve serious dangers and, at the same time, by the resistance and struggle of the peoples who mobilise themselves for important actions and processes of struggle, with a wide range of goals and forms of struggle.
2. There is an accumulation of factors, notably in the economic field, which introduce elements of instability into the structures and mechanisms of imperialist domination and which may enhance the risk of further intensification of exploitation and of bigger attacks against democracy and sovereignty.
3. In the context of a complex process of realignment of forces worldwide, the use of war, interference and fascism reflects a force-based reaction by imperialism against the trend of relative decline of its main powers, especially the USA. Inter-imperialist contradictions are deepening, notably between the US and the main powers of the EU, as well as within the latter, in the context of its multifaceted crisis. But the elements of imperialist concertation prevail against the rights of peoples and countries which challenge its hegemonic domination.
The Central Committee of the PCP warns of the warmongering goals of the NATO Summit, to be held in London on December 3-4, which will mark 70 years since the founding of this aggressive political-military bloc, and calls for the fight for peace, for disarmament and the dissolution of NATO.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance of a determined struggle against the ideological offensive which, by means of lies and manipulation, aims at de-responsibilizing capitalism and whitewashing fascism, as exemplified by the European Parliament's anti-communist resolution and the historical distortion and revisionism surrounding the 30 years of the so-called fall of the Berlin Wall. Such campaigns have the central goal of criminalising and crushing the processes of struggle and the forces of resistance against capitalist exploitation and oppression, as well as concealing the class nature of the profound contradictions and problems that mark the world today.
The Central Committee of the PCP warns of the danger of ongoing imperialist manoeuvres instrumentalizing real problems and of political manipulation, contrary to the real interests of workers and peoples, aimed at destabilisation, attacks on the sovereignty of States and imperialist domination.
5. Faced with the blackmail surrounding a new world recession, international instability, imperialism's increasingly aggressive strategy and the growing attacks against International Law, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the urgency of a profound change in Portuguese foreign policy, rejecting submission to NATO and the European Union, and adopting, as its strategic axis, a policy of defending the national interest, sovereignty and independence and the diversification of Portugal's international relations.
6. The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the seriousness of the situation in the Middle East where, by various means, imperialism tries to prevent the consummation of its defeat in Syria, to open new lines of confrontation with Iran, to continue aggression against Yemen, to deny to the Palestinian people their national rights and to preserve its domination over the region through division and sectarian conflicts. The Central Committee of the PCP reiterates that peace in the Middle East will only be achieved with respect for the national rights of the peoples of the region - from the right of the Palestinian people to the State of Palestine along pre-1967 borders, with capital in East Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees' right of return. Condemning the recent Turkish aggression in North-eastern Syria, the PCP reaffirms the demand for the withdrawal of all illegally stationed foreign military forces, such as those of the USA, and the return of all Syrian territories to the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, including the Golan Heights, illegally occupied by Israel.
7. The Central Committee of the PCP expresses its solidarity with the peoples of Latin America, the Communists and other progressive forces of the region who, in the context of a violent offensive, resist, fight and impose defeats on the strategy of imperialism and big capital:
- condemns the coup d'Etat in Bolivia and the criminal, unconstitutional and undemocratic action of the reactionary forces and imperialism, and expresses its solidarity with the Bolivian people, with re-elected President Evo Morales and the revolutionary, progressive and democratic forces defending democracy, the Constitution and sovereignty of Bolivia;
- expresses the PCP’s solidarity with the struggle of the workers and people of Chile who, despite violent repression, are engaged in a process of struggle against neo-liberal policies and national oppression; with the struggle of the workers and people of Ecuador, who resist and fight against the policy of treason and national abdication and violent anti-social measures of the Ecuadorian government; with the struggle of the Colombian people for their rights and for peace with social justice; with Bolivarian Venezuela and socialist Cuba, which persist in resisting the blockades and attempts at imperialist destabilization;
- underlines the importance of the electoral victory of the democratic and progressive forces in the recent general elections in Argentina and the release of Lula da Silva, which is an important victory against injustice and an encouragement to the struggle of the progressive, democratic and patriotic forces of Brazil.
8. The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the coexistence of great dangers for the workers and peoples, with the real potential for the development of the struggle for progressive and revolutionary change. In this context, the Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance of the role and strengthening of the international communist and revolutionary movement and of the anti-imperialist front.
Strengthening the Party - stepping up political action and initiative
1. The Central Committee of the PCP values the hundreds of meetings, plenary sessions of militants and meetings of cadres that have discussed the political situation, the activity and strengthening of the Party - with an integrated action to strengthen the organisation as its key element - the need to increase political intervention and broaden influence. Also noteworthy was the holding of rallies and sessions, meetings with democrats without party affiliation, the JCP march and rally under the motto “We move forward with the power of youth”, as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, the initiative on national sovereignty and independence and Álvaro Cunhal's contribution to this central issue, as well as the national action of propaganda and contact with the workers and the population held from November 12 to 17. Also noteworthy at the beginning of the new legislature was the activity of the PCP Parliamentary Group in the Assembly of the Republic with the initiatives already taken for a general rise in the wages of all workers and of the national minimum wage to 850 Euros; to combat precariousness and the deregulation of working hours; for a 35-hour working week for all public and private sector workers; to repeal the grievous norms of the labour legislation; to dignify those working in the security forces and services; to improve retirement rights and pensions; to ensure free nurseries for all children up to the age of 3; to expand social support; to improve the National Health Service, Public Education, public transport and Social Security; for the right to housing; for 1% of the State Budget earmarked for culture; for the dignification of Public Administration; for a fair tax policy; to ensure the protection of nature, the environment and an ecological balance.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the need to pursue intense intervention, involving all organisations and the participation of every militant, linking political initiative, the development of mass struggle and the strengthening of broad-based organisations with institutional action, as well as the strengthening of party organisation and the affirmation of the communist ideal and project.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the Party's identity and class nature, its objectives of struggle and the need to make decisive progress in strengthening the Party. The action to ensure a stronger Party has as its priorities: taking steps to strengthen the leadership capacity, to entrust more cadres with responsibilities, to strengthen resources and structures; to ensure a solid financial independence of the Party; to raise the political and ideological preparation of Party members and to ensure, in practice, the Party's operational principles; to rejuvenate and renew leadership bodies; to strengthen the organisation and activity in companies and workplaces, in particular the action of 5000 contacts with workers; to ensure local activity and action among specific social strata and sectors; to intensify recruitment, with the integration and handing of responsibilities to new militants; a growth of militancy and the distribution of the new Party card; the strengthening of information and propaganda structures and the dissemination of the Party press; the discussion and implementation of measures to strengthen financial capacity, as a guarantee of financial independence, paying immediate attention to receiving dues and to the campaign of a day's wage for the Party. An action conceived within the framework of the Central Committee Resolution for a stronger PCP of January 2018, which requires that the Party collective discusses measures, defining deadlines and regularly monitoring their implementation.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance of an action that clarifies and mobilises workers and the popular masses, democrats and patriots, and makes it clear that a solution to national problems can only be found in the context of a break with the right-wing policy and the affirmation of a patriotic and left-wing policy, of an advanced democracy with the values of April in the future of Portugal, and defines guidelines and initiatives for the near future:
- a general action of the Party among the workers, with diversified initiatives of explanation and mobilisation in companies and workplaces, to be carried out during the first half of 2020;
- a national action affirming the CDU, its work and activity, involving Party organisations, and the thousands of CDU activists, with the aim of accounting for the work done in Democratic Local Government, to affirm its local government project and to stimulate the struggle in defence of the rights of the populations and the resolution of their problems;
- the promotion of a set of initiatives in defence of the National Health Service, public Education, free nurseries, public transportation and the right to housing;
- raising the profile of the celebrations of International Women's Day, and in particular the mobilisation for the national demonstration of women, convened by MDM [Women’s Democratic Movement] for March 8, 2020, in Lisbon; involvement and mobilisation for actions on March 28, Youth Day, for the 46th anniversary of the 25th of April and May Day.
5. The Central Committee of the PCP also points to the need for further progress in the planning, programming and preparing important initiatives, namely:
- the commemoration of the Party’s 99th anniversary, which must be an integral part of the strengthening of Party organisation and its activity, deepening its liaison with the workers and the popular masses;
- the development of initiatives in the framework of the 89th anniversary of the Avante! newspaper on February 15;
- the holding of the National Meeting of PCP on cultural issues on April 18;
- celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Victory over Nazi-fascism, to be celebrated on May 20, with a programme countering historical revisionism and anti-communism, proclaiming the fundamental role of the Communists and of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the outcome of World War II and underlining the importance of unity and the struggle for peace, in defence of International Law, against fascism and war;
- the commemoration of the 150 years of Lenin’s birth (22 April 1870) and the 200 years of the birth of Friedrich Engels (28 November 1820), to be celebrated in 2020;
- the 44th Avante! Festival, which will take place on September 4, 5 and 6, 2020, requiring immediate commitment to the general tasks of preparation and planning, publicization and early sales of entry tickets (EPs).
6. The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance and significance of the commemoration of the Party’s Centennial, which will take place in 2021. Celebrations that will contribute to strengthen the PCP and bear witness to its unique history at the service of the workers, the people and the country and to its internationalist dimension. It will confirm the PCP’s determination and role in the times we live, affirm its Communist identity and its project for the future. The programme of these celebrations will begin with the commemorative rally of the 99th Anniversary, to be held on March 6, 2020, at the Carlos Lopes Pavillion in Lisbon.
7. The Central Committee of the PCP has decided to convene the 21st Congress of the Portuguese Communist Party on November 27, 28 and 29, 2020. The Congress, the biggest event of party life, which takes place in a particularly demanding framework, with real dangers and potential, must analyse the national and international situation, the issues facing the Party, and decide on the corresponding guidelines. The preparation of the Congress, with the active participation of the party collective, must be part of the promotion of the Party's initiative, political intervention and strengthening, and contribute to the affirmation of its communist identity, its project of democracy and socialism.
With confidence in the workers and the popular masses and in the development of the struggle, with the strengthening of the Party and its connection with the workers and the people, the Party, with almost 100 years of history, sets the struggle to break with the right-wing policies and the construction of a patriotic and left-wing policy as a necessary path to materialize its project of an advanced democracy, with the values of April in the future of Portugal, of Socialism and Communism.