Statement PCP Central Committee

Communiqué of the Central Committee of the PCP of September 28, 2021

The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on September 28, 2021, analysed the results of the September 26 local elections, addressed various aspects of the national and international situation and the necessary response to the country's problems. It set down lines of work, intervention and reinforcement of the Party in the coming months.

I - Results of the local elections

1. The Central Committee of the PCP notes the value of the result of the CDU, obtained in a particularly demanding context, in which it had to face, in its construction, a set of adverse factors, but which the mobilisation and commitment of thousands of activists and candidates built up, affirming the work, honesty and competence as recognised factors of support and trust in the CDU.

A more objective reading of the election results is necessary, particularly at a time when, supported by the Media, there is a continued depreciation and obliteration of the CDU’s strength. A reading that does not evade the losses, which are signalled, but which also does not conceal factors of valorisation of the CDU's vote and a rigorous assessment of the results achieved by other forces.

Achieving about 451 thousand votes and 9.1% of the national total, the election of more than two thousand direct mandates, to which hundreds of others will be added (which will result from the formation of the Parish Councils), are the true dimension of the CDU’s results. The confirmation of the CDU as the great left-wing force in local government is a result that must be valued. It is a position among the political forces that must be highlighted, not only considering the context in which these elections were held, but also because this factor represented a criterion of insistent and inappropriate mediatisation of other political forces that set that goal, without achieving it.

Not evading the loss of seven municipalities (Alpiarça, Alvito, Loures, Moita, Montemor-o-Novo, Mora and Vila Viçosa) nor the value of conquering two others (Barrancos and Viana do Alentejo), the CDU's result is marked by obtaining majorities in 19 municipalities, including two district capitals – Évora and Setúbal -, by the confirmation of positions in important Municipal Councils (Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, Braga, Viana do Castelo, among others) and the conquest of new positions in municipal bodies, where this had not happened for a long time. These positions confirm the national expression of the result achieved by the CDU.

The PCP values the meaning and importance of majority positions, since they mean the possibility of ensuring a management based on work, honesty and competence, values that embody the CDU's local government project. In cases where it has not yet been possible to ensure that objective, the PCP will not waive working and fighting, with the populations, to overcome and remedy, in the nearest future possible, the consequences of this absence.

But the reading of the results for local government cannot be limited, as some intend, to these positions. The plural and collegial nature of local government gives each mandate its own intervention value, whether to intervene in the construction of solutions and proposals, or to give voice to the interests of the populations, or to ensure rigour and transparency in the functioning of the local government bodies.

2. The result achieved by the CDU is inseparable from factors that it had to face and which, having different expressions in one place or another, generally marked its construction:

• The weight of the epidemic and the constraints in terms of popular participation, proximity and involvement, structuring factors of the affirmation and democratic dimension of the CDU’s management, its projects and initiatives in the cultural and sports area, of relation with various expressions of the local community. A context in which the life and activity of the associative movement, pensioner organisations, the educational community and others were suspended, for practically two years, with all that this entails in limiting collective living;

• the effects of a prolonged and intense anti-communist campaign aiming, by resorting to lies and manipulation, to target the recognised and distinctive seriousness and work of the CDU’s elected representatives, slanderously seeking to present the PCP as seeking alleged privileges and party self-centredness to try to attack the image of credibility and strength identified in its action with the workers and the people;

• the defusing of the nature and objectives of these elections over weeks, blurring their local character and the difference between the various programmes and projects in dispute, leading to a decision based on criteria of national policy, in which it was sought to assign to the PCP and to the CDU positions that are not theirs;

• the promotion given to other political forces accompanied, in some cases, by an overt undermining and even harassment of the CDU;

• the instrumentalization of means of the State apparatus to serve the party in government;

• local factors specific to each parish and municipality.

This does not rule out the need for an assessment of real weaknesses and shortcomings, which should not be ignored, with a view to overcoming them and the necessary reinforcement of the Party's intervention, within a framework that is expected to be marked by the persistence of some of the factors mentioned.

The operation that has meanwhile been set up, seeking to attribute to the forces more to the right and to their retrograde and anti-democratic projects a prospect of more followers and unstoppable growth, does not correspond to reality. Without underestimating the majorities obtained in some of the most emblematic municipalities, the truth is that the PSD and CDS vote is 1.5 percentage points lower than that obtained in 2017 (going from 32.4 to 30.9). Chega, which benefits from a significant part of the collapse of these two parties, is ranked as the fifth electoral force, far from the trumpeted ambition of becoming the third force. In particular, an unequivocal denial of the operation that insinuates a relationship between the CDU voters and that party, was the result in Moura, in which the CDU was barely 90 votes from winning the Municipality.

Besides a group of municipalities in which the falsely named slates of independents obtained a majority (a number similar to 2017), the PS lost a group of municipalities (in particular Lisbon, Coimbra and Funchal) and a substantial number of losses of positions by the Left Bloc, which in 2017 had a residual expression and now sees the number of Councillors reduced from 12 to 4.

3. The thousands of mandates gained by the CDU in municipal and parish bodies will correspond to a decisive intervention that the populations can count on.

The support now obtained will be fully put at the service of the populations. But it will also be a factor that will count to continue the intervention and struggle for better living conditions, to defend rights and ensure an alternative policy that meets the problems of the workers and country.

The Central Committee of the PCP salutes the thousands of candidates and activists, highlighting the large number of young people and women who built the clarification and mobilisation campaign that contributed to the construction of the election result, as well as all those who trusted their vote to the CDU.

II - National situation

1. The country is faced with the consequences of decades of right-wing policies and with the impacts of the epidemic and the utilisation that capital makes of it. Impacts to which are added structural deficits, aggravated exploitation, injustices and inequalities in society and in the territory and other problems that drag on or even worsen, and that should hold responsible the right-wing policies and the parties that execute and defend them.

The PS government, subordinated to the interests of economic groups and the impositions of the European Union (EU), does not respond to the problems of the workers and people, despite not having lacked the conditions to do so. It does not break with the central axes of the right-wing policy that jeopardises the country's development and instead of the measures that are needed uses propaganda or convergence with the PSD and CDS.

The continued promotion of reactionary agendas and projects - which also explores the government's lack of response to problems - aims to serve big capital, aiming at increasing exploitation, appropriating public resources and attacking the democratic regime, and it is accompanied by a vast ideological offensive seeking to instil fear, resignation, obscurantism, fatalism and other paralyzing, reactionary and anti-democratic postures and conceptions.

The promotion of various political forces, as well as the wiping out of the PS's options of convergence with the right, are part of the attempt to conceal the alternative policy that the PCP upholds and proposes to the Portuguese people.

The struggle for an alternative patriotic and left-wing policy, inseparable from the struggle of the workers and the convergence of anti-monopoly classes and strata and of broad sectors and democratic forces, constitutes the central element to stand up against capital and its protagonists, to defeat its aims and pave the way for the solution of national problems, for a Portugal with a future.

2. The country's reality is marked by low wages and pensions, structurally high unemployment, collective dismissal operations, precariousness, rising cost of living - energy, food, housing - poverty, destruction and depletion of the productive apparatus and de-industrialization (cases of the Matosinhos refinery, thermoelectric power stations or Saint-Gobain Sekurit), by the weaknesses of micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSME), by attacks on strategic sectors (of which the offensive against TAP is an example), by the clear bowing in to the interests of economic groups, such as GALP, Novo Banco, EDP, CTT or ANA Aeroportos.

The national situation is not more serious only because the workers' struggle and the PCP's decisive intervention made it possible to guarantee, among other measures, the payment of wages in full to workers under lay-off, increase in pensions, support to MSMEs, to culture and to transport, or measures to improve the National Health Service (NHS). Necessary responses that the government hinders, while, in other areas, it insists on not implementing what the current State Budget holds, among them the absence of hiring workers in various sectors or the necessary investments in the NHS. The instrumentalization of EU funds (namely the RRP), to which the government clings, seeks to elude an extremely low level of public investment, subordinated to the debt and the Euro.

The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that both the Recovery and Resilience Plan, or the Multiannual Financial Frameworks, do not constitute any gift to the country, but a counterpart that has never compensated, and will not compensate now, for the impacts of capitalist integration in the EU. The Central Committee of the PCP, while alerting to the attempt of appropriation of these resources by big capital, demands that they be applied and executed according to national priorities that solve the problems facing the country and not foreign impositions.

3. A year and a half after the record of the first case of Covid-19 in Portugal, all the indicators for assessing the epidemiological situation confirm that there is no reason to maintain restrictions to enjoy life fully.

The Central Committee of the PCP demands from the government measures that guarantee the normalisation of the activity of the NHS and the recovery of accumulated delays in the programmed activity, in terms of appointments, surgeries, screenings or diagnostic examinations.

Measures to curb the attack of economic groups against the NHS and to increase the number of professionals, value their careers, salaries and working conditions, thus preventing the exodus of thousands of doctors, nurses and other health technicians to private groups and emigration.

It is also necessary to respond to the impacts of the epidemic and the lengthy periods of lockdown on children, young people, the elderly, people with disabilities, and in areas such as education, culture, sports or associations.

4. The country's economic and social situation demands a range of responses that were absent in recent years, needs a break with the straitjacket of the deficit, such as the one the government has already pledged to the European Union.

The response to the country's problems calls for a general increase in wages and a significant increase in the average salary, the valorisation of careers and professions, the increase of the national minimum wage to €850, the repeal of the grievous norms of the Labour Code; the increase of pensions for all pensioners, including those receiving an amount higher than €658.2, and the increase of other social benefits, such as the unemployment benefit; support for children's rights, with free day care centres and the universalisation of family allowances; the construction of public networks of day care centres and nursing homes; the regulation of rent prices and the large-scale promotion of public housing; the improvement of public transport, expanding the offer and reducing fares with a view to its being free of charge; the reduction of electricity and fuel prices; the elimination of tolls on the former SCUTs, tuition fees and user fees in healthcare; the reinforcement of the NHS, Public Schools, Security Forces and Services, Justice, Social Security services, School Social Action and other services, departments and structures of Public Administration, faced with a lack of resources; the promotion of a fair fiscal policy, reducing taxes on low and intermediate income, indirect taxes and promoting the effective taxation of large profits, high incomes and assets, and luxury goods; support to MSMEs, small and medium-size farmers, fishermen and other productive sectors.

The national situation also calls for other options that ensure economic instruments and the material base capable of developing the country. The recovery of public control of strategic sectors and companies in banking, postal services, energy, telecommunications, highways, ports and airports, among others is imperative; the rejection of public-private partnerships and rents paid with public resources to monopolies; the diversification of economic activity, halting de-industrialization, promoting the replacement of imports by national production, namely food, medicines, means and equipment for transport, energy and other sectors; the fight against environmental degradation, with the promotion of public transport, local and national production (including family agriculture), the defence of public water supply, the promotion of energy sovereignty and efficiency.

There are no reasons to justify postponing options and responses to national problems. There is not only a pressing need for solutions, but also possibilities to implement them. The display of resources that the government propagandizes must be translated into investments that respond to the needs of the population and the country. It is not possible, in the name of the PS's class options, to postpone solutions and aggravate the country's problems.
In 2020 and 2021, the emergence of the epidemic imposed the need for immediate responses, for which the intervention of the PCP was decisive.
It is necessary to look to the future, give the answers that can and should be given, open perspectives for an alternative policy. The PCP will take the initiative to affirm and confront the government with answers and solutions in matters that are decisive for the lives of the workers and populations. Comprehensive answers and solutions, also in the content of the State Budget for 2022, whose clarification will weigh on the positioning of the PCP.
Portugal needs another policy, an alternative policy capable of solving accumulated problems and embarking on a path of economic, social and environmental development.

For this path, the workers and the people can rely on the PCP, this decisive force that at their side does not dispense with intervening for all the solutions that ensure the improvement of their living conditions and a Portugal with a future.

III - International situation

The international situation is characterised by great instability, as a result of the continuation of the action of interference and aggression by the US and its allies against countries and peoples that do not submit to them and that assert their sovereignty, while aggravating their policy of confrontation against China and Russia.

Aiming to safeguard its hegemony at the global level, even at the expense of allied interests, the US intensifies the arms race and increases military alliances and partnerships on top of NATO, of which the recent partnership called AUKUS is an example – which includes the US, United Kingdom and Australia – or the so-called Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) – integrated by the US, Australia, Japan and India – both aiming at confrontation in the Indo-Pacific region.

After 20 years of invasion and occupation, regardless of the new dangers and risks that loom, also for the Afghan people, the US and its NATO allies suffered a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan, confirming once again that imperialism’s attempts to impose its dominion by force are, sooner or later, doomed to failure.

Imperialism’s aggressiveness, more than strength, means weakness in the face of the structural crisis of capitalism and the relative decline of the US and other capitalist powers, which they seek to counteract by all means.

It is in this context that big capital intensifies its offensive, aiming to heighten exploitation, worsen inequalities, attack rights and freedoms, to impose an even greater concentration of wealth.

The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to and condemns the Portuguese government's continued policy of involving Portugal in imperialism’s aggressive strategy.

The Central Committee of the PCP values the various struggles that have taken place all over the world and reaffirms the PCP's solidarity with the peoples who fight in defence of their rights and sovereignty – as is the case, among many others, of socialist Cuba, Bolivarian Venezuela, Palestine, Syria or Yemen.

The PCP will continue committed to strengthening the international communist and revolutionary movement and building a broad anti-imperialist front.

IV - Mass struggle

The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the meaning and dimension of the struggles of recent months, in which stands out the struggle of workers for wage increases, against the attack on rights and working conditions.

The struggles of workers in the hospitality industry, commerce, cork workers, food industries, private passenger road transport, STCP, CTT, CP/IP, CGD and banks in general, in the EGF Mota-Engil group, Public Administration, nurses, doctors, teachers, professionals from the security forces and services, the military, Groundforce, TAP, Altice, Dielmar, GALP, Saint-Gobain Sekurit, of Cabelte and the convergence actions, namely the day of struggle held by the CGTP-IN between June 21 and July 15, stand out. At the same time we have to valorise the struggles of social strata and sectors, of small and medium-size farmers, of the cultural sector, of the populations for the defence and valorisation of public services, in particular of the NHS, Public Schools, for the improvement of public transport, in defence of the environment.

The country's situation, low wages, the action of big capital to worsen exploitation and attack rights, demand the intensification and expansion of the struggle, which must be developed in the companies and workplaces, involving workers regarding their claims, reinforcing unity and organisation.

The struggle is the way to respond to the problems of the workers and popular masses, make claims and ensure the political alternative capable of building a Portugal with a future.

V – Initiative and strengthening of the Party

The Central Committee of the PCP stresses and salutes the intervention of the Party’s and JCP’s organisations and militants in the response to the economic and social problems, in the preparation of local elections and in the holding of the Avante! Festival.

Inseparable from the 2020 edition and taking place at the time of PCP's Centenary, the 45th. Avante! Festival was an important success in its political, cultural, sporting and internationalist solidarity dimensions, with great popular participation, namely from the youth, conducted in an atmosphere of joy, fraternity, confidence, tranquillity and freedom.

The situation we are experiencing raises the need for a stronger and more influential PCP and for the development of work with that objective, implementing the guidelines of the XXI Congress.

The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the priorities of this objective:

• Paying attention to cadres, carrying out their survey, evaluation and accountability, for the general strengthening of the Party, taking into account in particular those who emerge in the struggle of workers and in the trade union movement, stood out in the campaign for local elections and young cadres (articulating with the priority of strengthening the JCP itself), ensuring the necessary measures of follow-up, help, integration, background and training, namely through political and ideological training courses;

• strengthening the organisation and intervention with the working class and workers, in companies and workplaces, consolidating the steps taken, focused on integrating and helping those responsible for cells and the functioning of cells with a content based on clarification, unity , organisation and struggle of the workers, in the general tasks of the Party and in its reinforcement;

• implementation of the National Recruitment Campaign “The future has a Party”, with the joining of new militants, their inclusion in bodies and quickly giving them responsibilities, proceeding with the survey of names to be contacted, considering sectorial and local priorities, programming the action and contacts, taking into account the potential resulting from the mass struggle, local elections (namely of the more than 15 thousand CDU candidates without party affiliation) and the positive signs of youth participation and action;

• advancement of other aspects of strengthening the Party, namely the strengthening of local leadership bodies, including the cadres that emerged and new militants, increasing the capacity for information and propaganda, boosting the dissemination and sale of Party press and fund raising, paying particular attention to the implementation of the national campaign for updating the dues and the increase of their amount.

The Central Committee of the PCP also defines the following lines of action in the coming months:

• The holding of meetings and plenary sessions of militants to analyse the situation and its developments, determine and plan the Party's intervention;

• the response to the country’s situation, developing a strong political initiative and affirming the PCP, with the holding of sessions and rallies - namely those already scheduled for October 1, in Lisbon, in Setúbal on the 9th., and in the Porto on the 16th. -, the dynamization of other propaganda initiatives and actions, the continuation of the roadmap of national production, of defence of workers' rights and public services, in particular of the NHS and Public Schools;

• the implementation of the plan of the PCP's Centenary celebrations, under the motto “Freedom, democracy, socialism – the future has a Party”, namely with social gatherings, continuing the cycle of debates, regional exhibitions, presentation sessions of the book “100 Years of Struggle at the Service of the People and the Homeland”, the holding of regional meetings “The PCP, its reinforcement and the struggle for the defence of workers' rights”, as well as the entertainment event scheduled for November 28, in Porto , and the rally in Campo Pequeno, in Lisbon, on March 6, 2022;

• the intervention on local problems, following the local elections, structuring and stimulating the struggle of the populations;

• the commemorations of the centenary of the birth of José Saramago, whose programme will be presented at a public session in Lisbon on October 30;

• the preparation of the 46th. edition of the Avante! Festival, that the Central Committee has scheduled for September 2, 3 and 4, 2022

★★★

The Central Committee of the PCP calls on the Party organisations and militants, workers, patriots and democrats, to engage themselves in the struggle to respond to the problems of the people and the country. It also calls for a decisive and confident action and reinforcement of the Party, in defence of the April values, for an alternative patriotic and left-wing policy, for an advanced democracy, for socialism.

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