Statement by Ângelo Alves, member of the Political Committee of the Central Committee

The evolution of the international situation and the impact of the epidemic outbreak

The evolution of the international situation and the impact of the epidemic outbreak

The PCP conveys its solidarity to all peoples faced with the serious consequences of the outbreak of the new coronavirus that affects the overwhelming majority of countries in the world.

The growth of the epidemic on a global scale and its repercussions - particularly in the most developed capitalist countries - tragically proves the consequences of decades of policies of privatisation and dismantling of public services, namely healthcare services; the continuous and increasing attack on workers' labour and social rights; and the divestiture of instruments of the states to ensure functions and social protection, basic rights and the production of goods and products essential to the life and protection of populations.

What is even more obvious today is the inability of the capitalist system, characterised by the anarchy of production and submission to the logic of accumulation, to guarantee basic rights such as the right to healthcare.

Recognizing the direct and indirect impacts of the necessary prevention and containment measures, the PCP stresses that these occur in a context in which aspects were already under development that pointed to a new peak of crisis in the economic field.

The epidemic outbreak exposed, accelerated and deepened even more the serious contradictions, the serious problems and the structural crisis of capitalism that the PCP had long been appointing in the evolution of the international situation.

Recent events have proved the fragility and volatility of the global economic situation; the inability of most capitalist states to provide quick responses of great magnitude and organisational capacity, to a situation like this; and the consequences of an economy dominated by big capital, namely financial capital, which capitalizes events like this to try to deepen exploitation and carry out great manoeuvres of speculation and accumulation.

Contrary to the propaganda that tries to conceal the enormous class contradictions in the impact of Covid-19, the reality shows that its consequences do not affect all in the same way.

On the contrary, the contradictions and huge inequalities that characterise the capitalist world are being expressed dramatically in the development of the viral outbreak.

It is the workers, namely the workers most exposed to the deregulation of industrial relations, who are being the victims of the layoffs, of cuts in wages and of mass unemployment - which according to the ILO could affect almost two hundred million workers. And there are many millions of workers who continue to work and are denied means and measures to protect their health.

It is the social strata most affected by the social exclusion generated by capitalism which, deprived of basic rights such as work, housing or social protection, are now denied access to protection, hygiene and healthcare, particularly in countries where the dismantling of public healthcare services went further, and are literally abandoned, including in death.

It is the people of the so-called “third world” countries that are most exposed to poverty, malnutrition and the lack or even the absence of healthcare or mechanisms of social protection.

In addition to the dangers of the epidemic, the aims of the main powers and structures of imperialism to take advantage of the situation for the benefit of their strategy, will mean, if not countered, a greater worsening of the exploitation of workers, an exponential increase in poverty, more indebtedness of the states with weaker economies, in an even more unsustainable levels of concentration of capital and inequalities, and in an even more dangerous deterioration of the already very unstable and dangerous international situation.

In the labour field, new attacks on workers' rights and wages are already visible, trying to impose an even greater deregulation of industrial relations, namely through the use of unemployment and the instrumentalization of new technologies as factors that squelch rights and wages.

The fight against the virus is being used for the imposition and “normalisation” of measures that undermine rights, freedoms and guarantees, for attacks on democracy and the action of social organisations, of workers and politics, and for the imposition of securitary measures, of individual control and monitoring of social life.

The PCP warns of the future consequences of the imposition, by international structures dominated by capitalist powers, such as the IMF, of mechanisms of debt on states with greater economic weaknesses. Such programs, always associated with the demand for privatisation of public services and the plunder of natural resources, aim at establishing reinforced dependency frameworks that seek to strengthen the power of these institutions and of the powers and interests that lead them.

The PCP reiterates its strong criticism of the European Union's action, marked by a glaring absence of solidarity and of measures that effectively support states and peoples in fighting the epidemic outbreak.

The measures hitherto known, and those that are envisaged in the next European Council, confirm the submission to the dictates of the great powers, protect the interests of their economic groups and financial capital, and not only do not respond but are contrary to the needs that arise.

It is clear that a country like Portugal can only expect renewed lines of debt and dependence from the European Union that, sooner than later, will result in new impositions, constraints and blackmail that Portugal already knows. What is once again evident is that Portugal needs to recover instruments of sovereignty in fundamental economic and monetary fields in order to face the current situation.

The extraordinary complexity of the current situation demands solidarity and cooperation.

The action of solidarity and cooperation carried out by countries such as China and Cuba, among others, contrasts with the positioning of the main capitalist powers, with actual trade wars and piracy between EU states and the US and with the exacerbation of the imperialist strategy of interference, confrontation and aggression.

The PCP denounces the campaigns of disinformation that aim to hold the People's Republic of China responsible for the epidemic, and to question its recognised capacity to fight the new coronavirus. Defamatory action all the more intense as is the increasingly visible contrast between China and the main capitalist powers in the response in terms of public health and concrete actions of solidarity and cooperation. Solidarity all the more important since it was the first country subject to the Herculean task of identifying, facing and fighting the new coronavirus, sharing with the rest of the world means, materials, information and scientific knowledge.

The irresponsible and provocative statements by the Trump Administration represent, in addition to unfounded accusations, additional factors of tension in the international situation and further evidence of disregard for international law, well evident in the US decision not to comply with its obligations in financing the World Health Organisation.

It is increasingly clear that the action of US imperialism, grappling with profound contradictions, rivalries and major problems, tries by all means to divert attention from the very complex domestic situation in the US, adopting an increasingly aggressive posture against several countries of the world.

To this end, the PCP warns of the continuation of actions of imperialist provocation and aggression, of which the threats against China are more recent examples, the continued action of destabilisation and interference in the Middle East and the set of decisions and conspiracies that threaten a military aggression against the Venezuela.

Respect for peoples' rights, for international law and the sovereignty of states, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and in the United Nations Charter, must constitute central features of Portuguese foreign policy, reversing a line of collaborationism and submission of the Portuguese Government to the aggressive strategy of imperialism, notably of the Trump Administration.

Among other measures, the PCP considers that the Portuguese Government should make efforts, namely within the framework of the UN, with a view to:

- The immediate and unconditional end of economic and financial sanctions against sovereign states, namely against Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Syria and other countries;

- The immediate and unconditional end of all aggressions, occupations or manoeuvres of interference against sovereign states, with respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states;

- The establishment of an international protocol of cooperation, under the auspices of the UN, to share information and scientific knowledge and medical, technological and pharmaceutical resources, which among other objectives should aim at public production and commercialization, free of intellectual ownership, of vaccines and drugs to combat Covid-19;

- The renegotiation and cancellation of public debts, namely those of countries with greater economic weaknesses and those most affected by the coronavirus.

The PCP expresses its confidence that the development of the struggle of the workers and peoples, the action of revolutionary and progressive forces, and of states genuinely interested in a world of Peace and Cooperation, seize a markedly difficult moment for all of humanity to learn lessons and pave the way for a future of progress, sustainability, peace and cooperation.

The current situation that billions of people are experiencing is not separable from the profoundly exploitative and parasitic nature of the capitalist system, which not only fails to guarantee the issues essential to human life, but deepens inequalities, contradictions and problems.

In times of uncertainty and real difficulties for workers and peoples around the world, the action and struggle for the revolutionary overcoming of the capitalist system is even more topical and pressing.

The fundamental answer to the complex situation lies in the construction, through various paths and stages, of socialist societies that are based on economic planning taking into account the real interests of the peoples, on guaranteeing social and labour rights for all citizens and on public instruments to ensure universal rights such as the right to work, healthcare, social protection, food and decent housing, and to guarantee a future of progress, justice and peace for all.