The Central Committee of PCP, meeting on September 17 and 18, 2022, evaluated the evolution of the international situation; examined the national political situation and the necessary solutions for the country; defined priorities of intervention and to strengthen the party; approved the regulations of the preparatory phase and the draft resolution of the National Conference, to be held on November 12 and 13.
I – Evolution of the national and international situation
1. The developments in the international situation confirm PCP's analyses and positions regarding the nature and causes of the global situation of instability and uncertainty. The instigation of war, the militaristic drift and the sanctions imposed by the USA, the European Union and NATO are causing a serious deterioration of the economic and social situation, with unbridled speculation, a dizzying increase in the prices of energy, food and other basic needs, attacks on living conditions, and worsening poverty and hunger, pushing the world into an extremely dangerous situation.
The Central Committee of PCP expresses its concern about the recent developments that confirm the US, NATO and EU's option of generalized confrontation, namely against China and Russia, that include the escalation of the war in Ukraine, but also the recent provocations in the Asia Pacific region (namely around Taiwan and the militarist drift in Japan), the recent wave of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the continuation of aggression against Syria, among others. This option stress the conclusions of the NATO summit in Madrid, which aim to strengthen militarism and interventionism globally and in the Asia Pacific region in particular.
The Central Committee of PCP considers that the US, NATO and EU need to stop instigating and fuelling the war in Ukraine and to open ways for negotiations with other actors, namely the Russian Federation, in order to achieve a political solution and an answer to the problems of collective security and disarmament in Europe, in compliance with the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act.
PCP salutes the workers and peoples who resist exploitation, aggression and imperialist oppression and who continue the struggle for their rights and sovereignty.
2. The national situation continues to be marked by worsening living conditions for the majority of the population, a situation inseparable from the consequences of the sanctions, war and how big capital exploits them, and of the government's choice not to respond to the problems faced by the workers and the people, siding with the interests of the economic groups and, objectively, in convergence with the backward and reactionary strategy of the right-wing PSD, CDS, Chega and IL.
In a context where exploitation is intensifying – stimulated by the onerous norms in the labour legislation – and the extraordinary profits of the main economic groups contrast sharply and increasingly with the difficulties of the people and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises – hardships only accentuated with the European Central Bank's decisions to increase interest rates (especially in housing credit)–, the Central Committee of PCP denounces the manoeuvre to justify new tax benefits for big capital. In the first half of the year alone, the profits of the main banks and energy trade and service groups almost doubled since last year, reaching € 2.3 bn. It is scandalous that, under the guise of a falsely claimed 'tax burden', new reductions in income tax are being designed that specifically benefit large companies.
As PCP has denounced, and life has proven, the State's loss of control over strategic sectors, such as energy, through privatization and liberalization, deprives the country of decisive instruments to define its energy policy; transfers billions of euros to shareholders, which could be State revenues; and subjects the population to the speculative gluttony of these monopoly groups.
The situation requires emergency measures that seriously address the problems and not measures such as those decided by the Socialist Party (PS) government, which are corroborated by the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and President of the Republic and converge with the objectives of the CDS, IL and Chega. Measures that miss what is essential and configure a path that confirms and prolongs the loss of purchasing power of workers and the people and the accumulation of profits by economic groups. The Central Committee of PCP denounces the government's manoeuvre regarding pensions, with a single extraordinary payment that does not even replace half of the purchasing power lost in 2022 and that, contrary to what the government announces, will cut the pension increases legally demanded for 2023 and following years, in a strategy contrary to the necessary improvement of the living conditions of retirees and pensioners. It also denounces the government's refusal to accept increases in wages as an urgent and indispensable element to restore purchasing power and effectively combat poverty.
What is required, and as PCP proposed in its emergency plan submitted to Parliament, are measures to combat the increase in the cost of living and the worsening injustices and inequalities, as well as to stop the degradation of the economic situation:
- General increase in wages and pensions, in a percentage that ensures, this month, the recovery and appreciation of the purchasing power of workers and retirees, as well as the interim increase in the National Minimum Wage to 800 euros, countering the effect of inflation on the degradation of living conditions;
- Regulation and fixing of maximum prices for essential goods, in particular energy, fuels and food, including the possibility of fixing prices below those currently practised;
- Compliance with social rights in the areas of health, education and social security, with the immediate hiring and valorisation of its professionals, and housing;
- Additional taxation of the extraordinary profits of the economic groups, to combat speculation and ensure that a substantial part of the billions of euros in profits accumulated since the beginning of the year can revert to supporting national production, strengthening social policies and investing in public services.
In the National Health Service, in view of the difficulties in access to care and the PS government's refusal to put forward effective solutions to overcome the serious situation, the Central Committee of PCP reaffirms that saving the NHS requires, among other measures: exclusive dedication of its professionals; benefits for fixation in regions lacking healthcare services; valuing professional careers and wages and improving working conditions. On the contrary, the PS government favours handing health care to economic groups, as can be seen with the approval of the new NHS Statute.
The Central Committee of PCP underlines that the beginning of the school year is once again marked by a high number of students – more than 80 000 – without at least one teacher, a situation that will have negative consequences on teaching and learning.
The scale of the fires and the difficulties fighting them, as well as the consequences of the extreme drought in vast areas of the country, are largely the result of structural problems that successive governments have chosen not to solve. Such problems are not solvable by individual accountability, by increasing water costs for households, or by privatising water supply systems.
II – The mass struggle
1. The Central Committee of PCP highlights the importance of the struggle developed in recent months by workers in companies and workplaces. In particular, it values the national action of struggle during the month of June and the great national demonstration of July 7 promoted by CGTP-IN.
It also values the popular struggles against the increase in the cost of living, in defence of public services, against the closure of CGD bank branches, for the expansion and improvement of public transportation and, in particular, to defend and strengthen the NHS, with actions carried out throughout the country.
2. The worsening social situation demands a resolute response from workers and the people. The development of the struggle for a general increase in wages and pensions, for the valorisation of professions and careers, against precariousness, for the reduction of working hours and their regulation, in defence of collective bargaining and other workers' rights, in defence of public services and against the increase in the cost of living, are essential elements for breaking with the current path of worsening exploitation, impoverishment and destruction of public services.
The Central Committee of PCP calls on the organizations and members of the Party to contribute to the dynamization of industrial action in each company and workplace, broad action that continues and that has converged from various sectors in the month of «mobilization and struggle», from September 15 to October 15, convened by CGTP-IN under the motto «Increase in Wages and Pensions – National Emergency! Against the increase in the cost of living and the attack on rights», with demonstrations in Lisbon and Porto on October 15, as well as the struggle in each locality for solutions that respond to the problems of workers, populations and the country.
3. The Central Committee stresses the importance of the mass and labour organisations and movements and the work to strengthen them.
The current situation implies, in particular, the expansion of the social front of struggle, based on the problems and aspirations of workers and the anti-monopoly sectors and their convergence in a rupture with right-wing politics, for a patriotic and left alternative politics, for the affirmation of the values of the April Revolution.
III – Strengthening the Party
1. The Central Committee of PCP salutes the energetic initiative of Party and JCP organizations and militants, which ensured the Party fulfilled its role during a particularly complex and highly demanding context, facing an anti-democratic offensive with a strong anti-communist bias, and resulting in intense action among workers and populations, taking positions, advancing initiatives and proposals for various problems, stimulating the mass struggle and intervening, namely for the increase of wages and pensions and in defence of public services, especially the NHS and Public Schools.
2. The Central Committee of PCP notes the need to continue to implement the conclusions of the PCP's 21st Congress and to adopt urgent measures to boost intervention and strengthen the Party, measures carried out at various levels and integrated with the preparation of the National Conference.
Along these lines, the Central Committee of PCP decides as priorities for the Party's intervention: the defence and affirmation of workers' rights; the demand for an increase in wages and pensions; the fight against the increase in the cost of living; the defence of national production and food sovereignty; the fight for the rights of children and parents; the defence and reinforcement of public services, namely the NHS; the defence of the environment and access to water; the defence of the right to housing, mobility and transport; the defence and promotion of culture, with emphasis on the conference «A universal and progressive vision of history – the currentness of José Saramago's works"; the struggle for peace and solidarity with peoples.
At the same time, the Central Committee of PCP highlights that strengthening the party is a priority task: distributing responsibilities to cadres and providing training; recruiting, continuing the ongoing campaign, and integrating new militants; reinforcing the work in companies and workplaces; reinforcing local organizations; dynamizing work with youth and supporting JCP; intensifying the sale of Avante!; strengthening the propaganda structures and actions; adopting measures to guarantee financial independence; holding organization assemblies; affirming the Party, its principles and identity.
3. The Central Committee of PCP highlights the success of the 2022 Festa do Avante! and welcomes the decisive intervention of the Party and JCP organizations and militants, and that of many sympathizers and friends. This Festa was an important initiative in its political, cultural, sporting and internationalist solidarity dimensions, with a large popular participation, especially among young people, held in an atmosphere of joy, fraternity, trust, tranquillity and freedom. At the political level, in particular, the Festa's Rally occurred with great participation, strength and determination.
The Central Committee schedules the 47th Festa do Avante! for September 1, 2 and 3, 2023.
4. The preparation of the National Conference of PCP, to be held on November 12 and 13 at the Alto do Moinho Pavilion, in Corroios, under the motto «Take the initiative, strengthen the Party, answer the new demands», with the aim of contributing to the analysis of the national and international situation and its developments, focused on the response to the country's problems, the priorities of intervention and reinforcement of the Party and the affirmation of its project, takes priority in the Party's work. The approval by the Central Committee of PCP of the Conference's draft resolution and regulations of the preparatory phase thus initiates the stage of debate and election of Delegates, promoting a broad involvement of the Party collective and fostering a confident perspective for the future.
The Central Committee of PCP calls for the participation of Party militants in the entire process of preparation and organization of the Conference, contributing to its success, in conjunction with political intervention, the development of the worker and people's struggle and the affirmation of the Party and its project.