The Central Committee of the PCP meeting on September 19 and 20, analysed the recent developments of the international and national situation and of the mass struggle, the intervention and action of the PCP, the elections for President of the Republic and the preparation of the XXI Congress.
I - Courage, responsibility, confidence
The recent developments of the national and international situation - in which the Covid-19 pandemic with real impacts on public health and the advantages that big capital draws from it - have laid bare the contradictions of the capitalist system, the structural weaknesses of the country, the degradation of the economic and social situation, the worsening of exploitation, the attack on the individual and collective rights of the workers and people and the sharpening of social inequalities and injustices.
At a time when thousands of workers and other strata of the population are being hit hard by a violent attack on their wages and rights, big capital and the forces that serve it foster fear and resort to lies and anti-communist prejudice to condition freedoms, democratic rights, the organisation and struggle of the workers and people.
It is in this context that the campaign of hostility by the great economic interests and reactionary forces at their service against the 44th. edition of the Avante! Festival was fomented, trying to make it unviable or even prevent its holding, and thus target the PCP, calling into question rights and freedoms and the very Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.
The holding of the Avante! Festival – a festival of workers and people, democracy, youth, culture, peace and internationalist solidarity, festival of April - ensuring health protection was a great political success, affirming the joy, the culture, the hope and the confidence in the struggle for a better life that continues, for an alternative patriotic and left-wing policy, for a Portugal with a future.
Yesterday as today - always on the side of the workers and people - the PCP will continue its intervention with determination, courage and responsibility, not relinquishing any opportunity to defend employment, defend and valorise wages, restore and achieve rights, denouncing injustices, mobilising the masses to fight for the materialisation of an alternative policy and for a government to implement it, central aspects to guarantee and raise the living conditions of the people and to respond to national problems.
II -The international situation
1. In view of the prospect of an economic recession at the global level this year, it is clear that big capital tries to take advantage of the situation to reinforce its economic and political power and to cast upon the workers and peoples the costs of an announced crisis and which the pandemic precipitated.
In a context of great instability, in which the evolution of the pandemic and its impacts are still uncertain, developments in the world economy continue to be marked by deep contradictions and uncertainties. Big capital tries to take advantage of the current economic, political and ideological situation, aiming to raise the level of exploitation, sharpen inequalities, promote the centralisation and concentration of capital and maintain the imperialist domination over resources and markets. In fact, while there is a fall in the Gross Domestic Product in the most developed capitalist countries, there are significant stock market gains and an increase in the profits of multinational economic and financial groups, at the same time as exploitation increases, while unemployment, precarious work, the number of homeless people, poverty, disease and hunger grow.
The situation in several countries and regions in the world is worsening, as a result of imperialism's offensive that continues and intensifies its policy of interference and aggression, as in Latin America in relation to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, among other countries; persists in promoting "regime change" operations, as in Belarus, in a dangerous action that aims at ambitious geostrategic objectives and that opens the door to reactionary and fascist forces, as happened in Ukraine; confrontation, interference and war against the peoples of the Middle East continue, as in Palestine, Syria, Iran, Yemen or Lebanon; and intensifies its policy of domination and interference in the African continent, with sophisticated operations of military intervention and promotion of terrorist groups, as in Mali or in the North of Mozambique, aiming at the plunder of their natural wealth and preventing sovereign options of development and international relationship.
Also to be highlighted is the continuation of the arms race; the deployment of US military forces in Poland, inseparable from renewed provocative and interference manoeuvres against the Russian Federation; or the escalation of US confrontation and provocation against the People's Republic of China.
2. Alerting to the dangers of imperialism’s exploitative and aggressive offensive, the Central Committee of the PCP stresses that serious problems and phenomena, such as racism and xenophobia and the growth of the extreme right and fascist forces, are inseparable from the attack against labour and social rights, freedoms and democracy, and against the self-determination and sovereignty of peoples.
At a time when capitalism is once again proving that it has no answers to the problems of humanity, and when big capital is intensifying the exploitation and oppression of peoples, the Central Committee of the PCP salutes and values the resistance and struggle that takes place under various forms and in several regions of the world, including in the main imperialist centres.
Struggling relentlessly in defence of national sovereignty and independence, against Portugal's submission to NATO and to the European Union and for a policy of peace, friendship and cooperation with all peoples, the PCP condemns the PS government's subservient and towing line in foreign and defence policy, in complete disregard for the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.
The PCP reaffirms that it will do everything in its power to strengthen the unity in action of the communist parties and theirs with all the anti-imperialist forces that continue the struggle for social progress, peoples' rights and peace.
III -The national situation
1. The last few months confirm essential features of the situation in the country. In economic terms, a brutal drop in consumption and in the wealth produced. On the social level, the worsening of the living conditions of the workers and people, in which the loss of wages and income, the increase in unemployment and the bankruptcy of micro and small companies are particularly serious. At the political level, the intensification of the anti-democratic offensive in which the confrontation with the democratic regime, the display of reactionary and far-right projects and agendas, the demonstrations of fascistic hate – a particularly violent expression of which is the campaign against the PCP - demand a response from democrats and patriots.
2. The extent and seriousness of the problems that the country faces require, along with answers and solutions to immediate problems, the adoption of a policy that breaks with the right-wing policy that for decades has generated and heightened them and that opens the way to a different path that ensures the conditions for the sovereign development of the country, to overcome the main structural deficits, to valorise the wages and rights of workers and to raise the living conditions of the people.
The answer to national problems does not lie in threats of political crisis, short or medium term electoral calculations, reactionary strategies of anti-democratic and demagogic capitalization of real problems and difficulties, nor with the spread of fear or calls for lockdown aiming at isolation and conditioning organised action and struggle. What is needed is not only to denounce the class options to which the PS government remains tied, and which prevent the response to national problems, and also combat the whitewashing operations of the PSD and CDS and their responsibilities, and the demagogic exploitation that the Liberal Initiative and Chega parties make of the problems that originated from the right-wing policy of the parties that have governed the country in recent decades, to make room for their anti-democratic and fascistic agendas.
There is no solution, no possible answer, insisting on the same options that were at the root of the dependence, weaknesses and conditionalities that mark and curb the conditions for a sovereign development of the country. What is needed is, without hesitation, to choose a policy that breaks with the lines and criteria that support the right-wing policy and take advantage of all instruments to enable workers and people to have their rights and living conditions safeguarded.
3. The immediate response to national problems is inseparable from the options and decisions that will be taken in the coming months.
What is required is a turning point - starting with the State Budget for 2021 - in the options, criteria and priorities that condition, and to a large extent prevent, the development of the country.
A few days away from the presentation by the government of the State Budget proposal for 2021, the Central Committee of the PCP stresses that this is the time to defend and valorise wages in the private and public sector, end the salary cuts associated with the lay-off, prohibit all dismissals, defend jobs, ensure special support for those who have lost income, strengthen social protection in all its dimensions - from unemployment to illness, from pensions to daycare centres and nursing homes - support the activity of micro and small companies.
What is required is that the State Budget provide the NHS with all resources - financial, technical and human – that will guarantee the provision of healthcare, the reopening of the closed primary care network, ensuring the needed care and the means of diagnosis of prevention and treatment of all pathologies, not only of COVID-19, simultaneously stopping the handing of public money, which is needed by the NHS, to private groups that profit from the disease. It is also necessary to invert measures and options that shaped the Supplementary Budget adopted last July, both those that corresponded to the tax and contributory favouring of big capital, or those that maintained the penalisation of workers' wages, and against which the PCP voted.
Portugal needs to affirm a project of sovereign development, free from the interests of monopoly capital and the constraints and conditionings of the Euro and the European Union. A project that. retrieving important features of its economic sovereignty, taking advantage of its resources, regaining public control of strategic sectors and of essential instruments to face structural problems and deficits, ensuring the release from submission to the Euro and the renegotiation of public debt, focus decisively on improving the living conditions of the workers and people, increasing rights, valuing work and workers, public investment, increasing national production and improving public services.
At a time when sums from EU funds are being announced and the government is preparing to submit the so-called Recovery and Resilience Facility to the European Union, the Central Committee of the PCP stresses the need for the country to have the right to decide in a sovereign way on the application of these funds according to the national interest, and not subject to impositions of the European Union, its great powers and monopoly groups, guaranteeing a decided bet in public investment and in strengthening the country's productive capacity, in the creation of jobs with rights , in improving the living conditions of workers and people.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that for sovereign development it is essential that the country has the decisive instruments to achieve it. Whether it is the recovery of its budgetary and monetary sovereignty, or the recovery of public control over strategic companies - starting with CTT, TAP, ANA-Aeroportos or Novo Banco. At a time when, around the Novo Banco scandal, and regarding the BES Bank Resolution and its sale to Lone Star, the PSD and PS exchange mutual accusations about who made the country lose more money, the Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes that what is needed is not only to ensure that the State Budget for 2021 does not have more funds allocated to it (with more or fewer audits) but, above all, the recovery of public control of Novo Banco by the State and its integration in the public financial sector.
The Central Committee reaffirms that the PCP will fight for solutions to the problems of the workers, the people and the country, namely: by valuing workers' careers; the general increase in wages and of the National Minimum Wage to 850 euros; for the repeal of the grievous norms of the labour legislation; for a firm path of public investment and application of EU funds according to the interests of the workers, the people and the country; for measures to combat fiscal injustice and unburden lower and middle incomes and duly tax large profits and fortunes; the expansion of social protection, the protection against unemployment and sickness, the improvement of family allowances, the expansion of the rate of increase in retirement pensions, ensuring the diversification of Social Security funding sources; by continuing to create a public daycare network; the valorisation of public schools and the reinforcement of school social action; the launching by the State of a housing construction programme; for the improvement and reinforcement of the public transport offer and for the reduction of the fares.
4. In view of the epidemic and the intensification of the campaign of fear associated with it, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the Party's position: strengthening the NHS, ensuring individual protection, giving education on protection; boosting economic, social, cultural and sporting activities; exercising political and social rights and fighting fear and its propagandists.
To this effect, the Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance and need, after a long period in which schools were closed, to return to class-room education, an irreplaceable factor and condition in the teaching and learning process and guarantee of equality. The beginning of the Academic Year requires the adoption of strict measures to ensure the health protection conditions of the entire educational community, namely with the reinforcement of means, and in which the assignment of thousands of educational assistants, teachers and other technicians that are lacking is a priority.
An urgent response is also required in order to guarantee the effective functioning of public services, whose underfunding and shortage of professionals have long been present - and which have gained a particularly serious expression in the current circumstances – and have jeopardised the response in terms of offer and rendering of services.
5. What the situation demands are not mere declarations of apparent distancing of the PS from the PSD if the options it adopts are, in essence, those that the PSD would adopt. The convergence that has been seen between PS and PSD - present in the Supplementary Budget, in the amendments to the Law on Budgetary Principles and the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of the Republic and in the process of false democratisation of the Regional Development Coordination Committees (CCDR) - translates the agreement between these two parties, with the patronage of the President of the Republic, namely to continue without complying with the regionalisation and to keep regional development policies in the hands of governments.
As life has proved, the solution to national problems and the response to the interests of the workers and people is found neither in the options of the PS government, nor in the reactionary projects of PSD, CDS and their proxy parties - Liberal Initiative and Chega – that have to be combated.
What is demanded, and the country needs, is a policy that breaks with the guidelines and commitments that have supported the right-wing policy. An alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy, inseparable from the strengthening of the PCP and the struggle of the workers and people.
IV - Mass struggle – a decisive factor
1. The Central Committee of the PCP emphasizes that, based on the current economic and social framework, the spread of fear and insecurity is sought in the name of defending public health, as well as the repeated statements of inevitability, seeking to convince the workers and the populations that rights have to be suspended, and in particular collective and trade union rights.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP considers that the best response to this offensive is resistance and struggle. Stressing the important impact of May Day celebrations, namely in the context in which they were held, it reaffirms that the development of the struggle of workers, populations and anti-monopoly strata is a fundamental element for the defence and achievement of rights, decisive to reverse the trend of limitations and impositions that seek to condition and prevent the safeguarding of rights and the path of progress that is necessary for the development of the country.
3.The Central Committee of the PCP salutes the many struggles carried out by workers over the past few months in the most diverse sectors, such as CTT, Super Bock, Coca Cola, APAPOL, Padaria Nacional de Guimarães, Avipronto, Lactogal, Pingo Doce, Lidl, Dia, DS Smith, Algar, Sicman, Lisnave Yards, SMP, Petrogal, Elo, National Printing Press/Casa da Moeda, Carl Zeiss, Infraestruturas de Portugal , ETAC, Rodoviária do Tejo, Alentejo, Lis e Oeste, Horários do Funchal, Covibus, various companies in the hospitality sector, bars on CP long-distance trains and Soflusa boats, Fundação Inatel, canteens, private hospitals, cleaning and maintenance of hospitals, SUCH, operational assistants and technical assistants of Braga hospital, nurses, non-teaching staff, teachers, Local Administration workers and cultural workers. It also salutes the struggle of the populations in defence and for the improvement of public services and of various anti-monopoly strata, namely micro, small and medium-size entrepreneurs.
4. In articulation, based on concrete demands in every workplace, company and sector, with the convergent action for the resolution of structural problems in the country, it is particularly urgent to struggle for a general increase in wages and of the National Minimum Wage to 850 euros, for valorisation of professions and careers, aspects that are even more decisive to face the recessionary economic situation; 35 hours for all workers and the unrelenting fight against deregulation of working hours; combating precariousness; improving working conditions; the repeal of the grievous norms of the labour legislation, namely with the elimination of the collective bargaining expiry and the reinstatement of the principle of more favourable treatment to the worker, as well as the application of the pay supplement for hazardous, hardship and risk work, the recalculation of the pensions of workers from quarries, miners and mine washers retired in 2019, removing the cut of the sustainability factor, among many others.
5. Reaffirming the importance of the development and intensification of the struggle of workers and populations, the Central Committee of the PCP calls for participation in the day of struggle convened by CGTP-IN for September 26th all over the country, converging with confidence in the struggle for a better life.
V -A Party for the present and for the future
1. The Central Committee of the PCP congratulates the Party's organisations and militants for the extraordinary and dynamic action and active political intervention carried out, in various tasks and initiatives, in which the success of the Avante! Festival stands out, in a demanding and complex political framework, facing blackmail and intimidation, assuming itself as a force of resistance, fighting fear, with courage and confidence in the future, in defence of the interests of workers and people.
The Party developed a permanent intervention with the workers and the populations and continued an intense action in the Assembly of the Republic, in the Legislative Assemblies of the Autonomous Regions, in Local Government and in the European Parliament. It was always present, acting, explaining, mobilising, proposing, with a view to solving concrete and immediate problems and for the affirmation and materialisation of the alternative project that Portugal needs.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP points out the political success represented by the holding of the 44th. Avante! Festival. Facing a strong attack, with an insidious campaign of lies, supported by the use of powerful means and media resources to make it unviable, the Avante! Festival was held and affirmed itself as a space of freedom and with exemplary functioning.
The Festival showed a Party that works, lives and struggles to serve the workers and the people, and that you can count on the PCP at all times, in all situations.
The 44th. Avante! Festival remains marked by resistance, capacity, initiative, responsibility, courage and confidence in the future and constitutes an important affirmation of the values of freedom, democracy, enjoyment of culture and different expressions of life, essential to health, well-being and for the materialisation of the rights of the workers and people.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the response to the concerted political, social and ideological attacks undertaken by the centres of big capital and the materialisation of the objectives and project of the PCP, place important tasks on all Party organisations, on all militants.
4. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the need to make efforts to boost the struggle of workers in companies and workplaces and the struggle of populations and work to strengthen broad-united mass organisations and movements.
5. The Central Committee of the PCP considers the elections for President of the Republic, to be held at the beginning of 2021, to be of great importance in the current national and international context and due to the powers and competences that fall on the President of the Republic.
The presentation of João Ferreira, a member of the Central Committee of the PCP, as a candidate for President of the Republic, initiates a journey of candidacy that assumes with courage and confidence a horizon of hope in the values of April, of affirmation and defence of the democratic regime, of the compliance with the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, to defend workers' rights. A candidacy that expresses the expectations, interests and aspirations of the people and raises the participation, mobilisation and support of workers, youth, women, democrats and patriots, of all those who aspire to a better future.
Valuing, as it always has, the importance of the body of sovereignty President of the Republic as guarantor of the defence and compliance with the Constitution of the Republic, the Central Committee of the PCP stresses the necessary commitment of organisations and activists and all those who want a Portugal with a future for the dynamization of the initiative, intervention and action around João Ferreira's candidacy, for a dynamic and wide-ranging campaign to explain and mobilise all those who aspire to a fairer , sovereign and developed Portugal.
6. The Central Committee of the PCP highlights the significance of the electoral battle of October 25 for the Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, in which the strengthening of the CDU will be an important contribution to the promotion of the rights and interests of the workers and people of that Region.
7. The Central Committee of the PCP points out the need for the development of political initiative and affirmation of the PCP, and highlights the proposals tabled in the Assembly of the Republic on work with rights, increase of wages and of the national minimum wage, better living conditions, the right to healthcare, education, social security, housing and mobility.
It also stresses the holding of important actions among workers and populations, namely:
- The national action to defend rights, raise wages and create jobs with the motto “PCP always with the workers - courage, determination, responsibility”, which includes a line of contact with workers to apply the hardship, hazardous and risk allowance;
- A road map on matters of education at the beginning of the academic year, requiring class-room teaching with conditions, equality and security;
- The action for the application of the emergency plan for the defence of the right to healthcare presented by the PCP in the Assembly of the Republic, including ensuring the effective functioning of healthcare centres, in order to ensure the fight against the epidemic and the right to healthcare for all in all situations;
- Initiatives in several parts of the country for the right to culture, combating its depreciation;
- The action to take place in October under the motto "Against banking scandals and corruption: nationalisation is necessary";
- The continuation of the valorisation of CDU's work and of its local administration project, in articulation with the people's struggle to solve their problems.
8. The Central Committee of the PCP considers crucial the strengthening of the Party's organisation to face the current situation and to take the initiative, to do what needs to be done, with courage and confidence, namely with the implementation of measures related to issues of leadership, giving responsibilities to cadres and financial sustainability; the guarantee of the functioning of the organisms and organisations and the connection and integration of the militants; the materialisation of giving responsibilities to 100 new cell leaders and the creation of 100 company, workplace or sector cells; boosting recruitment; the promotion and sale of Avante !; the structuring of propaganda work, which includes electronic means, and financial independence, paying attention to dues, strengthening structures and financial control and promoting the National Funding Campaign «The future has a Party», integrated in the celebrations of the Party’s centennial.
9. The Central Committee of the PCP highlights the importance of the programme that marks the centennial of the Party, with initiatives carried out by Party organisations and the JCP, namely the Regional Meetings on «The PCP, its strengthening and the struggle for the defence of workers' rights» , beginning in Porto on October 3, the regional exhibitions beginning in December 2020 in Setúbal and the ongoing cycle of debates and stresses the holding of the Conference on the II Centenary of the birth of Friedrich Engels on September 27, at Voz do Operário, in Lisbon.
10. The Central Committee of the PCP adopted the Theses-Draft Political Resolution to be submitted for debate in the Party organisations and the Rules for this preparatory phase of the XXI Congress. The third phase of preparation of the Congress is now opened, in which all the militants are called upon to comment and contribute to the Theses-Draft Political Resolution and to elect the delegates to the Congress, which will take place on November 27, 28 and 29, at the Municipal Pavilion «Peace and Friendship» in Loures, under the motto «Organise, Struggle, Advance - Democracy and Socialism». The Central Committee calls for the participation of all Party militants, and the organisations must ensure that they are convened in a timely manner and are involved.
11. The Central Committee of the PCP decides to set the 45th. edition of the Avante! Festival for September 3, 4 and 5, 2021, the year that marks the centennial of the PCP, already pointing out the need for its preparation as the largest political and cultural initiative in the country.
When celebrating the centennial of the Party, certain that it is in the struggle of the workers and the masses that lies the strength to overcome the offensive that befalls on the workers and the people, to defend and achieve rights, with confidence in the future, with conviction in the communist ideal and project, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the necessary, indispensable and irreplaceable role of the PCP and reaffirms its commitment to the workers, the people and the country in the struggle for the well-being of the workers and the people, for freedom and democracy, honouring history and the everlasting commitments, fighting today for the defence of rights, for new advances and achievements, for the materialisation of the patriotic and left-wing alternative, for an advanced democracy with the values of April in the future of Portugal, for socialism and communism.