The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on September 17 and 18, 2016, analysed the national and international social and political situation and outlined objectives for its political intervention in the coming months.
The CC of the PCP appreciated the positive results achieved by the struggle and called for its reinforcement. The CC adopted a resolution on the centennial of the October Revolution, to be celebrated in 2017, and the Theses - Draft Political Resolution, opening the third phase of the preparation of the XX Congress of the PCP.
1. International situation: instability and uncertainty, resistance and struggle
The latest international developments confirm a framework of great instability and uncertainty that has as striking feature, besides capitalism’s worsening structural crisis, the persistence of the cyclical crisis triggered in 2007/2008 in the US and new and serious developments in imperialism’s exploitative and aggressive offensive, a strong resistance of the workers and peoples, with struggles of great importance and significance in all continents.
The answer of big business to the situation in the European Union, in particular the consequences of the referendum on the exit of Great Britain, is confirmed as a flight forward by the imposition of a directory of great powers led by Germany and including France and Italy, expressed in a strange "summit" of these three countries aboard an Italian aircraft carrier, in a tour by Merkel across Eastern Europe and in the new statements by EU senior officials on the creation of an "European army". However, difficulties and contradictions evident between the US and major EU powers regarding the signing of the TTIP represent an incentive to continue to fight to decisively defeat this dangerous project of domination.
The Bratislava Summit, held on September 16, confirms the persistence of a deep crisis in and of the EU. Symptomatic of their inability to address the very serious economic and social problems affecting the majority of member states, the Summit chose to focus on a federalist "road map" whose most immediate features are the enhancement of EU's imperialist character by means of a renewed militarist and securitary drift.
In the Middle East the imperialist aggression against Syria entered a new phase of confrontation, with the US and Turkey openly intervening on the ground to save their terrorist allies from the action of the Syrian government, supported by the Russian Federation, to safeguard Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and impose its legitimate authority throughout the country. The PCP denounces the international campaign, turning upside down the reality of the facts, which accuses the Syrian government of massacring its own people and portrays military operations carried out by the US as targeting its "Islamic state" creatures.
In Latin America, despite growing popular resistance, a result of which is the peace agreement in Colombia, imperialism’s destabilizing and revanchist offensive reaction grows, exemplified by the putschist impeachment of President Dilma Roussef, in Brazil, or the destabilizing operations in Venezuela.
In Africa continues military interventionism, namely by the US, France and NATO, in various parts of the continent - from Libya to the Horn of Africa, and across Central Africa - and step up misinformation campaigns and destabilization operations, namely in Angola, Mozambique and other Southern African countries, where imperialism exploits legitimate popular aspirations in order to recover and expand positions.
The arms race, the reinforcement and continuous expansion of NATO, the nuclear threat and the installation on the borders of the Russian Federation and of the People's Republic of China of the US anti-missile system, represent increasingly disturbing patterns.
The Central Committee of the PCP, while alerting to the growing dangers that the imperialist offensive holds, values and greets the struggles that take place on every continent and that the dominant media silences or minimizes in order to create submission and devalue organized struggle.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the value of internationalist solidarity and the importance of strengthening the anti-imperialist front. In this context, it believes that the holding in Vietnam, from 28 to 30 October, of the 18th. International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties is of great importance to strengthen the unity in action of the communist parties and revolutionary and anti-imperialist forces from all over the world.
2. National situation
The consequences of the right-wing policy and at the service of monopoly capital, specially worsened by the SGPs, the Pact of Aggression and the destructive action of the PSD/CDS-PP government, dragged the country into a state of economic decline and social regression.
Today, Portugal faces a situation marked in economic terms by an unsustainable public debt, the weakening of the productive sector and the cut of investment to paralyzing levels, by worsening deficits, including the productive and technological, by a growing drain of capital outside the borders with the resulting loss of national control over sectors, areas and strategic businesses and the degradation of the financial system. In social terms, remain unsustainable levels of unemployment, precariousness, migration and poverty, alongside a clear intensification of exploitation of labour as witnessed by a widespread sharp devaluation of wages and pensions, but also the incomes and rights of other sections of the population; the worsening of social and regional inequalities; restrictions in access to essential public services (health, education, social security) and cultural impoverishment.
The most overt consequences of the intensification of the right-wing policy and action of the PSD/CDS-PP government that touched all areas of political, economic, social and cultural life, represent a civilizational downturn that not only did not disappear with the defeat of the previous government but will continue to mark and condition in the coming years the life of the country and its prospects of development.
In these early days of the new phase of national political life, with the new correlation of forces in the Assembly of the Republic, the political solution found and the commitments of reversal it assumes (namely the Joint Position by PS and PCP on a political solution), notwithstanding difficulties and contradictions dictated by obvious programmatic differences and of the course, it was possible, with the struggle of the workers and the people and the decisive contribution of the PCP, to restore rights and incomes and to address some pressing problems. That is the course to which the PCP is committed and for which it will fight to ensure that it continues.
The Central Committee of the PCP denounces the new operation that the European institutions have underway to condition and impose the agenda of exploitation and impoverishment that they wish to be resumed in the country. The decision by the European Commission last July, following the meeting of the EU Economic and Financial Council (ECOFIN) to follow the “excessive deficit procedure” represented a new step in this escalade of pressures and blackmail. In fact, and contrary to what some were quick to welcome, the decision by the European Commission meant de facto not only the confirmation of the sanctions framework, but also to condition the preparation of the State Budget for 2017.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the latest developments show the conflicting character between the submission to EU impositions and a policy able to give a strong and coherent response to national problems.
As the PCP has stated, regardless of the response to the most pressing problems, the size of public debt and its service, the impositions associated with the Stability and Growth Pact, the Budgetary Treaty, the Euro and the Economic and Monetary Union, the monopoly domination on banking and the rest of the economy, among others, are barriers against any intention of a more decisive confrontation with the options and policies that have been responsible for the course of national decline and regression.
The weak economic growth, after the brutal drop during the previous government, the deceleration in the pace of imports and exports, the continuous devaluation of public investment or the feeble progress in the plan to create jobs, show the limitations that the PS government options of not breaking external constraints and the interests of monopoly capital place the need and indispensible political response to ensure the affirmation of a developed and sovereign Portugal.
The Central Committee also denounces the action which, coming from the main centres of monopoly capital and with the active and convergent intervention of PSD and CDS-PP (regardless of the media management of their own more or less conflicting agendas) aims from its revanchist position, to favour EU’s interference and thus seek to impose a return to the past and continue to lead Portugal into a path of intensification of exploitation, decline and impoverishment. At a time when we hear repeated calls for pacts of regime, namely from the President of the Republic, on the subject of justice, or for changes to the electoral law on local government, under the pretext of candidacies of voters, the Central Committee of the PCP takes note of the meaning of the choice made by the PS, of the agreement with the PSD and BE, in the process of electing judges to the Constitutional Court based on criteria that resulted in discriminating the PCP.
The dimension of the national problems, notwithstanding the advances and steps taken, places the need of a decisive rupture with the right-wing policy and the implementation of a patriotic and left-wing policy, that assumes the restoration of monetary sovereignty, includes the urgent need of renegotiation of the debt to free resources needed for investment and creation of jobs, that recovers strategic sectors to public control, namely banking, that valorises labour, wages and pensions, that ensures quality public services and the constitutionally enshrined social functions of the State.
The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the situation of the financial sector, in particular of the banks, which has had serious repercussions on the increase of debt and on the State Budget, where the factors of weakness and risks associated with it are clear, expressed with disclosure of huge losses shown in the results of the last semester. An evolution worsened with the implementation of the new rules of the Banking Union which has led to a deepening of the process of concentration of capital stock of banks in the hands of foreign groups.
In this context, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that the recapitalization and development of Caixa Geral de Depósitos marks a strategic necessity that cannot and should not be underestimated. Recapitalization fully supported by the State, in an amount corresponding to the needs of capital that enables this public bank to strengthen its activities and its responsibilities in supporting the economic development of the country, objectives that involve and demand measures to defend jobs and a network of proximity branches to serve the population.
In the coming months, as part of its political action, whether in terms of the next State Budget, or its political and institutional intervention, the PCP will continue to fight for the objectives that it believes necessary and indispensable to the country, namely:
• The demand of a widespread increase in wages, including the minimum national wage to 600 euros from the beginning of next year, the unfreezing of careers in Public Administration, the restoration of withdrawn rights, against precariousness and all forms of exploitation, against deregulation of working hours and their reduction to 35 hours for all workers, the repeal of the grievous provisions of labour legislation, both in public and private sector, defence and valorisation of collective bargaining with the rights it enshrines;
• for an extra increase in pensions and retirement pay of not less than 10 euros, seeking the replacement of the lost part of income during the last four years, changing the mechanism of yearly update of pensions, to revalue all pensions, namely the lower ones;
• more and better social security by increasing the amount of the Social Support Index (IAS), by improving social payments, extending the conditions of access, in particular child benefit, protection to people with disabilities, unemployed or in poverty; increasing revenues by effectively fighting tax evasion and debts and the diversification of funding sources;
• for the improvement of the conditions of the National Health Service, namely the increase in the number of doctors, nurses and operational assistants;
• for free school books in compulsory education, fixed beginning next year for the first cycle of basic education, for the decrease in the number of students per class, for the hiring and tenure of teachers and hiring the non-teaching workers that are lacking;
• in defense of the Portuguese language and culture, for the reinforcement of support to artistic and cultural activity, for the dignification of the public service of radio and television;
• against the injustices in the tax system, taxing big capital, movable and fixed assets of high value, fighting tax speculation and large tax evasion, alleviating taxes upon the workers and people, and lightening taxes upon micro, small and medium companies;
• against the privatization of the Novo Banco [New Bank, former Espirito Santo Bank] and defend the Caixa Geral de Depósitos [the state owned bank] as a public bank, reinforcing its intervention and structure, serving the populations and national economy, respecting workers and their rights;
• in defense of national production, for a policy that promotes and reinforces public investment oriented towards growth and employment, with policies that defend agriculture, fisheries and industry; that promote the national scientific and technological base; that orient tourism towards national industries and that guarantee the access to credit and public support to thousands of micro, small and medium companies;
• for a policy that defends the forest, essential condition to prevent forest fires, which this year devastated the country once again.
3. Develop the worker and people's struggle for the defense, restoration and conquest of rights
In the new context of national political life, to guarantee the pursuit and widening of the process of defense, restoration and conquest of rights, it is indispensable to mobilize workers and populations in defense of their most heartfelt demands, for a rupture with a right-wing policy, for employment, for rights, production, sovereignty, for a patriotic and left-wing policy.
A process of ongoing resistance and struggle that in the last months has had expression in the action of workers from diverse sectors: Public Administration, nurses and other health professionals, forest rangers, municipal authorities and companies, working youth, airport workers, textile sector, hospital cafeterias and laundries, hotels, mercy houses, EGF, Amarsul, Valorlis, Carris, Metro de Lisboa, EMEF, Dan Cake, Unicer, Panrico, Sonae, Pingo Doce, Petrogal, ALSTOM-GE, Caetano Bus, Groz-Bekert, AutoEuropa Industrial Parque, the EDP contact centers, Soares da Costa, OGMA, among others.
Struggle that also had expression in the actions of users, farmers, milk and meat producers, the micro, small and medium businessmen, namely the taxi sector, the retired and pensionists. Struggle in defense of public services, the social functions of the State, national production, and the right to mobility.
The Central Committee of PCP highlights conquests and advances, indissociable from the struggle, that although limited and insufficient guaranteed, among others, the restitution of holidays, the end to the IRS overtax, the end the cuts in wages and the reposition of the 35 hour year in the Public Administration, free school manuals, reduction in the VAT in restaurants, the reduction in highway toll prices, the support to milk producers, hiring doctors and nurses for the National Health Service.
The national reality has confirmed that the worker's struggle and the reinforcement of their organizations is a determinant condition towards building another path for the country. In this as in all circumstances, all advances will be achieved by action, strength, combativeness and determination of those who do not conform and resign in the defense of their rights and interests.
The Central Committee of PCP appeals to all militants and Party organizations to commit to stimulate the action and struggle of workers, to intensifying and widening to other anti-monopolist sectors, fighting illusions, affirming the need and possibility of a rupture with the right-wing policy and assuming a patriotic and left-wing policy that assumes the values of April as a reference.
Therefore, the development of job action in the companies and sectors, including the struggles in the transport sector, Public Administration and other sectors and companies, the week of struggle called by CGTP on September 26-30th, which culminates with district actions on October 1st, on the 46th anniversary of CGTP-IN.
4. A determined action
The Central Committee of PCP calls attention to the context of demands faced by the whole party collective involving, namely, stimulating the mass struggle, the development of political initiative and affirming PCP and the preparation of the XXth Congress of the Party, contributing towards the reinforcement of the party organization.
The Central Committee of PCP marks the extraordinary success that constituted the 40th Avante! Festival that, for its dimension, particularly the participation of the youth, its political and cultural content and for its internationalist dimension, confirming its place at the largest and most important political-cultural event in our country, without parallel. The 40th Avante! Festival, valued this year for the use of the new space of the Quinta do Cabo for the first time, which increased its area in more than a third, and constituted an proof of the strength, ability and prestige of PCP, the notable contribution of its organization, militants and friends, who the Central Committee fraternally salutes.
The Central Committee of PCP underlines the importance of developing a vast group of initiatives and actions that, demonstrating the need and urgency of a rupture with the right-wing policy and for a patriotic and left-wing policy, founded on the values of April, to face the problems of workers, the people and the Country, give an answer to the current political context, around the development of a national campaign "More rights, more future, no to precariousness", and the action of clarification and mobilization of the workers and people, in defense of jobs, rights, production and sovereignty, denouncing the main constraints that hinder the development of the Country – the submission to the euro and the EU, the public debt, the dominion by the large economic groups of the main sectors of activity, namely the banks – and affirming a patriotic and left-wing policy we propose to the Portuguese people.
The Central Committee of PCP underlines the relevance of deepening convergence and common actions of the democratic and patriotic sectors and personalities, committed to the fight against the right-wing policy, to ensure the future of the Country.
The Central Committee of PCP highlights the electoral battle of October 16th for the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Azores, in which the reinforcement of CDU will be an important contribution to value the rights and interests of the workers and people of this Autonomous Region.
The Central Committee of PCP marks the importance of deepening local initiative and action in defense of populations, with the objective of affirming the local project of PCP and CDU throughout the country, in the context of preparing the local elections of 2017. A project founded on the values of work, honesty and competence.
Having approved the Project of Political Resolution, to be submitted to the Party for debate in the organizations, the CC now opens the third stage of preparation of the Congress, in which militants will be called to pronounce on the text in debate and elect the delegates to the Congress, which will be held on December 2,3 and 4th, in the Municipal Sports Complex of Almada, under the theme «PCP – With the workers and the People. Democracy and Socialism».
The Central Committee of PCP appeals to the participation of all the Party militants, ensuring that all organizations call them timely and involve them.
The Central Committee of PCP reaffirms the decisive character of the reinforcement of the party organization, as a condition to ensure answering all the demanding task we have before us. The preparation of the XXth Congress should constitute a moment to pursue and deepen the lines of work towards reinforcement of the Party, considering the Resolution «More organization, more intervention, more influence – a stronger PCP» decided by the Central Committee:
1. A particular attention to the organization of the Party in the companies and workplaces, ensuring the formation of new cells and stimulating the functioning of existing ones;
2. The recruitment of new militants, namely workers, women and youth, with their integration and responsibilization.
3. The development of mass work, to organize retired militants, intellectuals, to stimulate the work with the youth and JCP, with small and medium farmers and businessmen, and other specific sectors.
4. Taking measures to broaden the propaganda and pursue the campaign of divulging Avante!, ensuring wider sales to more readers and maintaining the special sales;
5. Pursue the action to ensure the financial independence of the Party, namely increasing the number of comrades paying dues regularly and with tasks of collecting dues;
6. Stimulating the base organizations of the Party, reinforcing their political initiative and action, around problems of the workers and people in their area of influence;
7. The reinforcement of leadership work and giving cadres responsibilities.
The Central Committee of PCP decided to mark the next Avante! Festival for September 1,2 and 3rd, 2017, underlining the need to, following the 40th Festival, start preparing for the great success of the Festival next year.
The Central Committee of PCP approved a Resolution on the Centenary of the October Revolution, marked in 2007, establishing the guidelines, objectives and elements of the program of commemorations, that will be developed under the theme «Centenary of the October Revolution – Socialism, demand for the present and future» and whose program will be announced in an initiative to be held on November 7th, during the 99th anniversary of the Revolution.
Considering the difficulties and problems felt by the Portuguese workers and people, victims of four decades of right-wing policy that aimed for their impoverishment and increasing exploitation, knowing the constraints placed upon the country by the EU, the euro and the interests of big capital, conscious of the worsening of the international situation, which have expression in the deepening of the exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature of imperialism, the Central Committee appeals the members of the Party to double their commitment to the action of the Party, in the preparation of the XXth Congress, affirming the confidence in its strengths and abilities to develop with success the struggle for a rupture with the right-wing policy, for a patriotic and left-wing policy, for an advanced democracy, that places the values of April in the future of Portugal, for socialism and communism.