Speech by Albano Nunes, Member of the Political Committee and of Secretariat of the Central Committee, XVIII Congress of the Portuguese Communist Party

The crisis of capitalism – socialism as a necessary and possible alternative

The PCP has as the aim of its struggle, the construction of a socialist society in Portugal. We should never lose sight of this aim however difficult or far it may seem and whatever our tasks and immediate political goals. The struggle for a rupture with more than 30 years of right-wing policies is inscribed in the struggle for the materialization of our Programme for an Advanced Democracy, and this, in its turn, in the perspective of socialism.

The ideal of a new society without exploiters nor exploited which illuminates our life and our combat is a just ideal, which we proudly proclaim to move the masses away from the influence of the bourgeoisie and win them over to our side. But above all, it represents a historic necessity and a real possibility determined by the contradictions of capitalism itself, which can only be ended by the revolutionary action of the working masses, together with their vanguard party. The slogan of our XVIII Congress has a lot to do with this reality.

The PCP has never wavered in its socialist and communist ideal and project. Neither the hard blows of the fascist dictatorship, or the devastating progress of the Nazi hordes in the motherland of the Soviets, or the dramatic divisions and conflicts within the international communist movement, nor the defeats of socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe two decades ago, shook this conviction. The firm and principled answer given by our party collective in the XIII and XIV Congresses to the powerful anti-communist campaigns that followed these tragic events should be today stressed. Born out of a wide collective discussion, it consists of a rich heritage of our own analysis and reflection and constitutes the necessary basis to study more deeply the first historical experiences of socialism, both those that perished and those that continue.

On what is PCP´s deep conviction on the need and possibility of socialism and communism based? The answer to this theoretical question and decisive practice lies in the Draft Political Resolution summarized in three fundamental pillars: historical and dialectical materialism, a brilliant creation by Marx and Engels and which Lenin developed creatively during the times of imperialism; the October Revolution with the pioneering venture born in the USSR and other experiences in socialism; the contradictions of the capitalist system which, although dominating at world level with great resources and ability of adaptation, increasingly makes clear its instability and vulnerability.

Yes comrades. Capitalism, this system increasingly more exploitative of human labour and predator of the environment and natural resources; where a fabulous concentration of wealth coexists with the darkest squalor of great masses; where imperialist aggression and war crush sovereignties, plunder wealth and sow destruction, suffering and death, as it happens daily in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Congo D.R. and other points of the globe; where even the most degrading humiliation of the human being becomes a source of traffic and profit –such a system can be a transitory economic and social formation, historically condemned.

We know from our own experience of struggle in Portugal, that the liberating process is winding, full of advances and drawbacks, victories and defeats. Today we still live in an international context marked by the disappearance of the USSR and of socialism as a world system and by the violent counter-attack that followed, waving the banners of "death of communism", of "irreversible decline" of the international communist movement, of the "end of history". But the fact is that what today bursts with force and gains ground in the international scene is not the "death of communism", but the most severe capitalist crisis since the depression of the thirties.

An economic and financial crisis of huge proportions which, with its epicentre in the US, is a crisis of world dimension.

A crisis which those who are responsible for it, engaged in saving and "re-founding" capitalism, try to blame on "failures" in the system and greedy "excesses", when at its core it is a result of the violent exploitation of labour by capital, and where it is the deterioration of wages and income that is at the root of the crisis of the over production that now explodes.

A crisis, which is an expression of a deeper crisis of a structural and systemic nature, that shows the historic limits of capitalism.

A crisis, just as the PCP foresaw within the context of its analysis of the trends of the evolution of present day capitalism and are set down in the Draft Political resolution: unprecedented concentration of capital and wealth; finantialization of the economy as a result of a downward trend in the profit rates; intensification of the exploitation of the workers and the plunder of natural resources; deepening of the social polarization, systematic attack on the social functions of the State; commercialisation of all areas of social life; deepening of the parasitic and decadent character of the system.

A crisis which is still unfolding, but marches towards a deep economic recession, whose serious consequences to the workers and the peoples of the world are already quite visible.

A crisis which shows the weakening of the US position and the role of the dollar as an international reserve currency and which tends to worsen the intra-imperialist contradictions.

A crisis which, as history teaches us, holds great dangers to freedom and international security. But also opens the way for a vigorous offensive in terms of ideas to give back to the popular masses the confidence in the possibility of changing life.

Yes, comrades. Life is confirming the topicality of the central theses of Marxism-Leninism on the movement of societies and the need of a revolutionary overcoming of capitalism More than ever, today socialism represents a necessary and possible alternative. Not today already and everywhere. Even less as the only way, apart from the history of each people and the concrete situation of each country, because, although there are common principles and general characteristics in the new society, there are no , nor can there be, models of socialism. But as a demand of our times, in these times that the October Revolution inaugurated and we will turn into reality in Portugal, and for which we need to strengthen our Party and persist with confidence in the struggle for the defence of the aspirations of the workers and the people without losing sight of our generous and beautiful ideal. Because, as comrade Alvaro Cunhal wrote in the " The Party with walls of glass", " the joy of living and fighting [of the Portuguese communists] comes from our deep conviction that the cause we fight for is just, thrilling and invincible".

  • XVIII Congresso do PCP
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XVIII Congresso do PCP