The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on April 2, assessed the national and international situation, the struggle of the workers, the communities and the peoples, examined the work ahead and assessed the activity which was decided at the PCP National Conference “Take the initiative, strengthen the party, respond to new demands”, indicating lines for immediate work.
The evolution of the international situation is marked by great instability and uncertainty, in the context of capitalism's deepening structural crisis; by the struggle of the workers and the peoples; by significant events in the process of realignment of forces at the world level; and by dangerous developments arising from imperialism's exploitative offensive.
The PCP Central Committee expresses its solidarity with the workers and the peoples who resist imperialist exploitation, aggression and oppression and who continue the struggle for their rights and sovereignty, in particular the workers who are taking part in important events of struggle in Europe, and values the actions for peace carried out in various countries.
The PCP Central Committee draws attention to the serious and rapid deterioration of living conditions and the ever-greater social inequalities, including in the most economically developed capitalist countries, as well as the worsening situation in a number of developing countries. A situation that can become even worse due to the persistent policies of war, the sanctions and the transfer of massive public resources to the militarist drive and to the financial sector, with resurgent signs of instability, inherent to capitalism and the growing financialisation of the economy; to the decisions of the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank on further increases in interest rates; to the European Union's decision to reimpose the application of the Stability Pact; to new steps in the attacks against social and labour rights and in the privatisation of public services.
Increasingly evident is the intensification of imperialism's strategy of confrontation and war, led by the United States, namely with the spiral of armaments and sanctions; the aggravation and prolongation of the war in Ukraine; the militarist escalation in the Asia-Pacific region and the series of provocations aimed, in particular, against the People's Republic of China; the aggressions and provocations of the United States and Israel against Syria; the continuation of Israel's policy of State terrorism against the Palestinian people; the renewed hostile actions of the United States in Latin America, such as against Cuba and Venezuela; the increase of all kinds of pressure, threats and manoeuvres in international relations, particularly in Africa; the attacks on freedoms and democracy, the promotion of reactionary and fascistic forces, which are associated with the proliferation of boycotts and discrimination, including in culture and sport, and the attempt to impose censorship and one-size-fits-all thinking on a global scale.
It is becoming increasingly clear that it is the United States, with the support of its allies, that promotes a policy of confrontation targetting all countries that do not submit to its hegemonic domination, just as it is evident that it is the big arms, energy, food, distribution or banking corporations, among other sectors, that are gaining from the deteriorating international tensions, by accumulating gigantic profits.
The PCP Central Committee reaffirms that it is urgent that the US, NATO and the EU stop instigating and fuelling the war in Ukraine and obstructing the opening of negotiation channels with the other actors, namely the Russian Federation, in order to achieve a political solution to a conflict that has been going on for nine years, and to address the issue of collective security and disarmament in Europe, complying with the principles of the UN Charter and the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference.
The PCP Central Committee values the calls, initiatives and proposals for mediation with a view to an urgent political solution to the conflict in Ukraine. It draws attention to the particular significance of the recent agreement on the restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, mediated by China, an event of great importance not only in the context of the Middle East but also at the international level, which highlights the need for opting for relations of cooperation, based on mutual respect, peace and the peaceful settlement of conflicts.
The PCP Central Committee condemns the foreign policy of the Portuguese government in alignment with imperialism's strategy of confrontation, which narrows Portugal's international relations, and considers that it is increasingly necessary to act in accordance with the principles of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.
Valuing the initiatives for solidarity and peace that have taken place in Portugal, the PCP Central Committee calls on all those who aspire to peace and are aware that it is urgent to stop the escalation of confrontation and war that entails enormous dangers for Humankind, to mobilize and make their voice heard in defence of peace, against fascism and war.
Aware of the dangers, but also of the potential that the international situation entails, the PCP will proceed, with confidence and commitment, in helping to strengthen the international communist and revolutionary movement, extending its cooperation, mutual solidarity and unity in action, as well as to strengthen the anti-imperialist front that confronts imperialism's offensive and broadens the struggle for a new international order of peace, cooperation and social progress.
II - National situation
1. Big capital takes advantage of the absolute majority of the PS [Socialist Party], whose policy serves its interests, whilst also promoting reactionary and anti-democratic projects and forces.
A policy that invokes false pretexts – such as war or the pandemic - to justify that problems are not addressed, continues enhancing exploitation and an increasingly unfair distribution of wealth, with negative consequences for the lives of the workers and for the country. The "incidents" and contradictions into which the PS government has plunged in recent months are, first of all, a reflection of a policy that counters the interests of the workers and the people and which, in the past year, has degraded their living standards and worsened all national problems.
The options of the PS government are no different from those shared by PSD, CDS, Chega and IL, regardless of manufactured polemics and verbal clashes in which they seek to convey the idea of differences among themselves and which serve to conceal their common guidelines. This reality is proved by the systematic convergence of political goals and in parliamentary votes and debates, including the Constitutional review process which was undertaken with undisguised anti-democratic goals, and to which the PS has given shelter.
2. The impasses, deficits and bottlenecks that affect the country are inseparable from the nature of capitalism, from the counter-revolutionary process, from the impositions of the EU and the Euro, from the policies of privatisation, liberalisation, deregulation, financialisation and other instruments of the neo-liberal options. There are risks of an economic slowdown in the country, in the EU and elsewhere, resulting from policy options to respond to the inflationary situation that are focused on raising interest rates, reducing the real value of wages and containing public spending, and which go hand in hand with the disproportionate increase in the profits of big economic groups.
Monopolistic power in the markets of essential goods and services, such as energy and foodstuffs, can be seen in the speculation and increasing appropriation of the purchasing power of the population and of the income of small producers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), under the pretext of war and sanctions. This power contrasts with the reduction of the power for intervention by the States, which have lost in the maelstrom of neo-liberal policies the command of strategic companies in banking, energy, transport, communications and foodstuffs, to which is added the loss of sovereignty over other instruments of economic policy, such as monetary and fiscal policies.
Inequality is growing, due to the devaluation of wages and pensions and an ever greater accumulation of profits by economic groups. The net profits of 24 of Portugal's main economic groups, not including foreign companies, stood at around 7600 million euros in 2022 with a growth of around 45% compared to 2021 (about 2300 million euros more).
Prices for food, energy, housing, healthcare, communications, bank fees and commissions, among others, continue to rise. The lives of millions of Portuguese have deteriorated noticeably in the past year. There is a profound social regression, expressed in a rapid loss of purchasing power by the population at large (inflation of over 8% in 2022); in increasing poverty (more than 2 million people) and in situations of deprivation of access to essential goods and services. Access to healthcare, clearly called into question by the policy of underfunding the National Health Service (NHS) and diverting resources to private groups, hits the Portuguese people hard. Underfunding and divestment also characterise the situation in public schools, science and research, culture, civil protection, the Justice system, security forces and services, the Armed Forces or environmental protection.
Instead of urgently increasing wages, retirement and other pensions to compensate for lost purchasing power, of reducing and fixing prices, of a just taxation of capital, of strengthening public services, of responding to the urgent problems confronting the Portuguese people, such as the right to housing, healthcare or education, the government - acting as an instrument at the service of big economic groups - insists on specific and limited measures and handouts, blocks the increase in wages and pensions, degrades public services, promotes the liberalisation of markets, does not combat speculation and protects the profits of capital.
Instead of eliminating the negative norms of the labour legislation, the PS government sponsored in Parliament the adoption of amendments that maintain legislation against workers' rights, namely as concerns expiring collective contracts and by not restoring the principle of the most favourable treatment for workers.
Instead of opposing the power of monopoly groups, of increasing public investment – in transportation means and networks, housing, kindergartens, homes for the elderly or other social facilities - of ensuring public control of strategic sectors, of supporting MSMEs, of promoting national production (a fundamental option, also to defend the country against inflationary outbreaks such as the current one), of strengthening the national scientific system, the government has accelerated new privatisations - TAP and EFACEC – and Public-Private Partnerships (notably in healthcare and railways), diverts public resources, including EU funds, to big capital and deepens the country's dependence and exposure to foreign interests.
3. Also noteworthy is a far-reaching ideological operation which, based on the absence of a response to real problems, seeks to: promote liberal views to attack everything that is public, paving the way for new privatisations; present the war as the root cause of all problems in order to whitewash and deepen right-wing politics whilst, on the other hand, encouraging its continuation; promote fear, isolation and individualism; erect as a yardstick what it calls "balanced accounts”, whether of the deficit, debt or budget surpluses, in order to compress wages and cut back on investments and rights; present wage or pension increases as an inflationary factor, whilst concealing and even justifying the scandalous accumulation of profits by economic groups; attack taxes, in the abstract, so as to justify lower taxes on capital and an even greater accumulation of profits; hide the real causes of corruption, which arises from the submission of political power to economic power; distort the government's actions, identifying them with “socialism”, when in fact all its policies are an expression of the nature of capitalism. These are examples of a path that, based on the action of the government and the reactionary forces, promotes and implements an agenda determined by the economic groups, who are the real centre of power and command of political, economic and social life.
4. Big capital seeks, through powerful means of ideological conditioning and disinformation, to push the Portuguese people into false choices between the right-wing policy of the PS or that of the reactionary forces.
In confronting these plans and the social and economic reality that the workers and the people face, it is necessary to break with right-wing politics, to stop the plans that are being prepared to carry them even further, and to affirm the alternative policy that is increasingly urgent and necessary.
The PCP is the real opposition to the PS government and to its policy, the force that confronts the reactionary and anti-democratic projects of PSD, CDS, Chega and IL, the force that embodies the solutions and responses that are needed for the country, that is, a patriotic and left-wing policy.
The construction of this alternative is the challenge confronting all those who are the victims of injustice and which requires the intensification of the workers' and people's struggle, the convergence of Democrats and Patriots and the strengthening of the PCP's social and political influence.
III - The workers' and people's intervention and struggle
The PCP Central Committee underlines the scale and intensification of the mass struggle that has been taking place in the country in recent months, demanding the defence of rights and better living conditions, protesting against the bosses' actions and against right-wing policies, and which is part and parcel of the demand for an alternative policy.
Struggles that are growing and in which workers assume a central role, from thousands of actions in companies and workplaces – strikes, stoppages, rallies, plenary meetings, marches and demonstrations – in all sectors of activity, namely transports and communications, food, agriculture, metallurgy, chemistry, packaging, printing, electrical and electronic material, automobile industry, shipbuilding, energy, water and waste, glass, ceramics and construction, textile, clothing and footwear, healthcare, commerce, social sector, hotel and catering or media. Struggles in companies such as Altice, CTT with actions in several distribution centres, call centres, namely Accenture, Intelcia, Randstad and Armatis Portugal, in NOS, WTPLAY, Carris, CarrisBus, CP, IP-Engenharia, IP-Infraestruturas, IP-Património, IP-Património – Telecom, Soflusa, Transtejo, TST, Easyjet, Carnes Nobre, Cerealto, Cerealis, Coca-Cola, NWOER, Cofaco, Coralfish, Dan Cake, Cofisa, ESIP, Izidoro, Matutano, Novadis, Silopor, Silos de Leixões, Sumol+Compal, Varandas do Sousa SA, Águas do Fastio, rural wage-labourers in Odemira, Serpa, Vila Flor and Vila Real, in Amtrol Alfa, AAPICO, Janz, Herdmar, Inapal Metal, Lauak, Mafil, Petrotec, Riox Metaloeléctricas Industries, Ficocables, Browning Viana, Upfield, Alliance Healthcare, Fima-Hola, DS-Smith, INCM, Exide, Hanon Systems, SGL Composites, Visteon, Bosch, Schim+Sohn Elevators, Schindler, Aptiv, Fesht, Preh, Faurecia, VW Autoeuropa, BA, Crisal, Silicália, Rauchert, CMG, Aunde, footware workers, ECCOlet, Hubertricot, Lusotufo, Cotesi, Treves, Tesca, Arsenal do Alfeite, Lisnave shipyards, the Trofa Saúde Group call centre, nurses of private hospitals, the Luz Saúde Group, the Red Cross Hospital, SBSI/Sams, EDP Group, Águas de Portugal Group, Águas da Covilhã, EPAL, Ambilital, Blueotter, the FCC Environment Portugal group, ERSUC, SIMAR, Tratolixo, Terceira Island commerce and offices, large-scale distribution workers, DHL, ITX/ZARA, Sonae logistics, Radio Popular, Science4you, H&M, CEX, Casa Pia de Lisboa, Misericórdias of the Viana do Castelo district, Santas Casas da Misericórdia of Aljustrel, Caldas da Rainha, Lisbon, Machico, Messejana, Póvoa de Varzim and Torres Vedras, União Mutualista Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Montepio Rainha D.ª Leonor, Hotel Casino in Chaves, Hotel Marriot, INATEL, Solverde, Apeadeiro 2020 / CP train bars, several canteens under concession in schools and hospitals, Lusa, TVI, Casa da Música, TNSJ and TeCA Room assistants, MAAT, or the Sanitary and Veterinary Inspection.
Struggles also in the public sector, in which the determination of the teachers' actions stood out, namely the national demonstration organized on February 11 by FENPROF and the platform that it integrates; the national strikes and demonstrations of non-teaching workers on March 3, promoted by the Federation of Civil Service Unions; of doctors, on March 8 and 9, promoted by FNAM; of judicial officials; of nurses; the struggle of local government workers; of security forces and services; of Port Administrations and harbour pilots; as well as the national strike, on March 17, called by the Common Front of Public Administration trade unions.
These struggles had important moments of convergence such as the week of struggle, from December 10 to 17, 2022 and the National Day of Indignation, Protest and Struggle that took place on February 9, involving numerous actions in companies, workplaces and on the streets.
The Central Committee of the PCP particularly values the great national demonstration held by CGTP-IN, on March 18, which occupied the centre of Lisbon, giving expression to the actions for demands, in a demonstration of strength, militancy and determination.
The struggle included the prominent action by women, on the occasion March 8, International Women's day, with the national women's demonstration promoted by MDM in Porto on March 4 and in Lisbon on March 11, the Week for Equality promoted by CGTP-IN and many other initiatives.
The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance of the youth struggle, namely the national demonstration of working youth, in Lisbon and Porto on March 28, convened by CGTP-IN / Interjovem, and the multiple actions of Secondary and Higher Education students marking March 24, the National Students' Day.
It also highlights the struggle of small and medium farmers, old-age and other pensioners, artists and workers in cultural structures, researchers, as well as community struggles in defence of public services and particularly the NHS, against the increase in the cost of living and in actions in defence of the right to housing, transports and the environment.
A flow of struggles that resisted repression and various attempts to condition it, namely with the attack on the right to strike, and which resulted in numerous victories and achievements, in particular with wage increases.
The CC also underlines the diverse actions highlighting the antifascist resistance and the April Revolution, of which the intervention of URAP [Union of Portuguese Anti-fascist Resisters] stands out, in particular the session and the march commemorating the 50 years of the 3rd Congress of the Democratic opposition in Aveiro.
The Central Committee of the PCP warmly welcomes all those who have made these months a period of struggle in defence of their rights and aspirations, of confrontation with right-wing politics, of assertion of the values of April and of demand for solutions and for a better life.
The Central Committee of the PCP calls on the workers, the people and all Democrats to engage in intensifying this struggle, beginning in the workplaces and companies, in the communities, on the streets, for an increase in wages and pensions, for the valorization of careers and professions, for rights, for decent working hours and conditions, in defence of collective bargaining, against the increase in the cost of living, in defence of public services, namely the NHS, Public Schools and Transport, for the right to housing, against injustice, discrimination and inequality, for the defence of the environment, for a country with a future, namely with a strong mobilization for the people's celebrations of the 25 of April and for the day of struggle of May 1st.
IV - The Party
1. The Central Committee of the PCP highlights the set of actions that the Party has been developing in recent months and hails the Party and JCP members and organisations for their activity, militancy and determination. It highlights the taking of initiative throughout the country, in broad contacts with workers from various sectors, giving expression to the line of action “Turn injustice into the strength to fight – higher wages and pensions, more healthcare and housing”. Special reference should be made of meetings, debates, sessions and public tribunes, contacts and joint action with other democrats and patriots, rallies and other initiatives within the framework of the 102nd PCP Anniversary, as well as of the large number of Organisational Assemblies.
2. The PCP Central Committee, in accordance with the guidelines and priorities decided at the PCP National Conference, reaffirms the need to carry out, in an integrated manner, political initiative, the struggle of the workers and the people, the strengthening of mass organizations and broad-based movements, work with other democrats and patriots, strengthening the Party and asserting its proposals, its ideal and goals. Necessary are:
- A strong dynamic of activity among the workers, the communities, democrats and patriots, wherever there is injustice that must be fought, wherever there are just demands to be supported, wherever local or national problems require initiative and clarification from the Party, so that injustice may be turned into the strength to fight, enabling a broader awareness of the need to change course, based on the solutions that the country needs and based on alternative patriotic and left-wing policies;
- The development of the National Action "More strength to the workers", based on the initiative of the workers, on their problems, rights and aspirations, in driving forth their organisation and struggle against exploitation and impoverishment, with a view to valuing labour and the workers, affirming the centrality of work in society. This will culminate in the national initiative of May 27, in Almada,"With the struggle, more strength to the workers":
- Developing the initiative "To live better in our land" and a vast action asserting the CDU in the communities, from 15 to 30 June, which may publicly project the aspirations and problems that are felt locally, stimulate community activity and life, increase awareness among the populations about their rights and contribute to mobilise and fight to achieve them, articulating the Party organisations' own activity with that of elected Party members in the municipalities and with the popular associative movement;
- The demand for compliance with the rights inscribed in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, against any negative changes and the subversion of the principles that shape it, in order to defend the values of April and affirm the project for the future that it embodies;
- A broad initiative in the struggle against increases in the cost of living, the struggle for a general increase in wages and pensions, the right to housing - namely by holding the National Meeting, on April 15, - in defence of the NHS, the education system and public transports;
- The development of the popular commemorations of April 25th, opposing the whitewashing of fascism, manipulations regarding the revolutionary process, attempts to erase its nature, its scope and unique characteristics, working to assert the values of April and ensure large and visible popular celebrations;
- Prepare the May 1st day of struggle, based on actions around demands in the workplaces, companies and sectors, and as a major expression of the convergence of the struggle of all workers and the masses of the people;
- To continue the initiatives and struggle in defence of peace and solidarity among the peoples, encouraging and supporting events promoted in this regard in the various fields of intervention, with further clarification and mobilisation;
- To further institutional work, giving visibility to the work carried out in the Assembly of the Republic [Parliament] and in the European Parliament and highlighting its deep connection to the country's reality, to the struggles of the workers and populations. In this context, it is important to continue the PCP MEPs' days of work in the country, under the motto: "With you every day – your voice in the European Parliament”;
- The preparation, in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, of the elections for the Regional Legislative Assembly, which are a moment and an opportunity to affirm the CDU as the force that is recognised as the most coherent in the fight against the right-wing governance of PSD and CDS, in strengthening the alternative with a program and goals that pave the way for a policy capable of building a region with progress and economic and social development;
- Preparing in its various aspects, the Avante! Festival, to be held on September 1, 2 and 3, with a strong participation of Party members and organisations and a bold involvement by many other friends of the Party, in circulating and selling the EP [3-day tickets], as well as in the preparation of the Festival's contents and projects.
3. Viewing the activity and initiative of Party organisations regarding the problems of the workers and communities, and valuing the ongoing work to strengthen the Party as a key aspect, the following priorities in this area must be reaffirmed:
- Further assigning of responsibilities and training of Party cadres, within the framework of the goal of entrusting responsibilities for regular duties and for Party organisations to 1000 new cadres; noting the comrades who stand out in their work, identifying appropriate responsibilities, talking with them regarding the assignment of duties, monitoring, assisting and encouraging the initiative of those cadres who are given responsibilities. Special attention must be given to the continued holding of Organisational Assemblies and to assigning comrades elected to leading bodies with regular duties. Actions of political and ideological training, as well as the help and exchange of experiences involving comrades with leadership responsibilities of Party bodies and organisations, must continue to be planned, scheduled and implemented;
- An intensification of the recruitment and integration of new Party members, within the framework of the recruitment campaign "The future has a Party”, accelerating contacts and promoting a real integration, making good use and encouraging the militancy that a large part of the new Party members have revealed, which represents a real possibility of contributing to strengthen and revitalise Party organisations, bodies, areas of intervention and even of creating new Party bodies and organisations;
- Strengthening the activity among the working class and all workers, stimulating the action of Party cells and setting up new ones, supporting the regular work of Party members in workplaces and companies, recruiting to the Party and publicising the Party's positions and goals, ensuring the regular functioning of Party bodies for trade union work, promoting the unity of the workers, in the conditions and with the characteristics of each enterprise and sector, defending class interests, ensuring stronger grass-roots trade union organisation and the struggle centred on concrete demands, integrating them into the general action by the workers and the people;
- Recharge local Party organisations, strengthening their leading bodies, programming their initiative in mass work, giving expression to the motto "To live better in our land", materialising the line of work “Children and parents with rights” and intensifying activity among specific sectors, namely the youth and assisting JCP, working with old-age and other pensioners, in the cultural sphere, with small and medium farmers and MSMEs;
- Propelling our press and propaganda, together with the National Campaign for the circulation of Avante!, which will begin on April 20 with a special day of sales and will culminate in May 2024, in accordance with the need to promote and expand the reading, circulation and regular sales of Avante!, through the militant and weekly sales in workplaces and companies, as well as other public spaces, by setting up sales stalls, the individual identification and contact of possible buyers, strengthening the distribution structure, with special editions and sales, improving the content and the editorial contribution, setting targets for the substantial increase in the number of weekly buyers and readers of Avante!;
- Guaranteeing the Party's financial independence, continuing the political and ideological action to defend and assert this distinctive aspect of the Party, based on its own means of organisation and activity, which implies: increasing revenues, increasing Party dues and their regular payment (based on direct contact and using various forms, including payment by regular bank transfers), controlling expenses and a strict financial control, with the aim of ensuring a financial equilibrium.
At a time when capitalism confirms its exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature, and there is a pressing need to fight imperialism, fascism and war, the PCP Central Committee reaffirms its confidence in the struggle of the workers and the people and in the ability of the Party to provide the answers that life requires, in the struggle for a patriotic and left-wing alternative, for democracy and socialism.