Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, Secretário-Geral, Rally «The Future has a Party. Freedom, Democracy, Socialism»

«Here we are ready to fight the battles of the present and the future»

Warmest and most cordial greetings to all at this magnificent Anniversary Rally of our Party and the closing of its Centenary celebrations, a day of struggle for rights, peace, freedom, democracy and socialism. A greeting in particular to the many democrats without party affiliation who are here with us at this very special moment for us Portuguese communists. A very special greeting to the Portuguese women, remembering the International Women's Day, which is now being celebrated, declaring our support for their initiatives, action and struggle in defence of their dignity and their civilisational causes. A greeting, also, to the many young people who are here today, culminating the JCP parade and who wanted to come here to give their live testimony, that the Future has a Party.

In this last year of commemoration of one hundred years of life and struggle of the PCP, with the implementation of the vast and diversified programme of initiatives for the Centenary, the workers, the people, namely the younger generations, were able to confirm how important, valuable and in many decisive moments, was and has been the role of the PCP in national life.

This Party is proud to have a unique history within the Portuguese party framework, in defence of the interests of the workers, the people and the country, for freedom, democracy, social progress, peace and national independence.

The only Party that remained throughout almost half a century of fascism acting and fighting uninterruptedly with revolutionary dedication and commitment, despite persecutions, arrests, torture, murders. The only one which did not yield, did not give in, nor renounced the fight. Which boldly dedicated itself to the search and construction of the paths of freedom, pointing the way of the national uprising for the overthrow of the dictatorship.

The Party which made an unparalleled contribution to the exhilarating process of the April Revolution and to the development of the powerful intervention of the working class and the popular masses, transforming military action into Revolution, liquidating the power of monopolies and big landowners and achieving the remarkable achievements of the Revolution, from nationalisations to Agrarian Reform and political, social and labour rights.

The Party that was at the forefront of the struggle, against right-wing policies and in defence of the democratic regime enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic.

The Party which stood up and stands up to the onslaught to destroy the April achievements conducted by PS, PSD and CDS at the service of big capital and keeps alive the fight for the defence and deepening of these achievements against the offensive that aims to destroy them.

Yes, this Party that today closes its Centenary celebrations is the Party of the great causes and of all the fights against exploitation, oppression and inequalities, discrimination, racism and xenophobia. The Party of internationalist solidarity, of peace, friendship and cooperation with all peoples, which steadfastly affirms in its political practice its characteristic as a patriotic and internationalist Party.

We have behind us a century of many struggles, with advances and setbacks, revolutionary conquests and refluxes, but a century marked, at the national and international level, by profound emancipatory achievements that meant advances at the political and economic level and in the fields of social and labour rights of the workers and peoples, including the liberation of peoples subjected to colonialism.

In Portugal we can say that there has not been and there is no advance, achievement, progress that has not counted on the ideas, the effort, the struggle of the communists, of the Portuguese Communist Party, always guided by these ideals of freedom, justice, peace, solidarity and social progress that the communist ideal carries and are inscribed in our action and project.

That is why we say that the future is built with this Portuguese Communist Party that embraces such ideals and project, because capitalism, with its exploitative, oppressive, predatory and aggressive nature, against which we fight, shows every day that it runs its limits and is unable to solve humanity's problems.

We see this when we look at the reality of capitalism in the world with its roster of unemployment, precariousness and poverty, economic destruction and social regression, attack on social and labour rights, interference, confrontation and war.

We see this when we see the growing inequalities and injustices in the distribution of wealth created on a global scale and its appropriation by transnational corporations.

The richest people in this world became increasingly richer, while millions of human beings lacked a job, a salary, the conditions to ensure their livelihood. During the pandemic, the incomes of 99% of humanity fell, throwing another 160 million people into poverty, while the ten richest men in the world doubled their fortunes.

Inequalities that heightened as more refined and complex methods of labour exploitation and planetary predation were imposed, which were enhanced with the processes of capitalist globalisation, financialization and digitization of the economy.

Processes that thrive and assert themselves at the political level in the shadow of strategic cooperation between the most reactionary and conservative forces and social democracy.

The consequences of an iniquitous and predatory system can also be seen when we look at its dramatic trail of death and destruction, because war increasingly emerges as a response to the crisis into which the capitalist system has plunged. From Palestine to Syria, from Iraq to Libya, from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan, peoples have known the drama of destruction and war, at the hands of those who today pretend to be harmless and peace-loving doves.

We are living in Eastern Europe, in Ukraine, a situation of war. A war that has to be stopped and that should never have started.

These are dramatic events taking place there, which cause understandable and legitimate consternation and apprehension.

Events with tragic consequences, which entail serious dangers and important repercussions throughout the world and which have been a pretext for a new anti-communist campaign, based on gross falsifications by those who were complicit in the policy of interference and aggression that gave rise to the serious situation being lived in Europe and in the world.

The PCP does not support the war. To say otherwise is a shameful slander. The PCP has an unparalleled heritage in the struggle for peace. The PCP has nothing to do with the Russian government and its president. The PCP’s class option is opposite to that of the political forces that govern capitalist Russia and its economic groups. The PCP is opposed to the strategy of arms escalation and imperialist domination that the US has set in motion for a long time.

Do not caricature the position of the PCP which unequivocally, and unlike others, condemns the entire a whole path of interference, violence and confrontation, the 2014 coup d'état, promoted by the US in Ukraine, which established a xenophobic and warmongering power, the recent Russian military intervention in Ukraine and the intensification of the warmongering escalation by the US, NATO and the European Union.

The PCP does not support – and condemns – the violation of the principles of international law, the UN Charter and the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference, principles that the PCP has always defended and which it continues to consistently defend today with the same conviction.

The PCP's position is dictated, as it has always been, by the defence of peace and solidarity with the peoples who suffer violence and the consequences of war.

Because it never abdicated these principles, the PCP has long warned of the serious dangers posed by NATO's policy of continuous expansion into Eastern Europe, of provocative manoeuvres and deployment of increasingly more forces and military means along Russia's borders, of abandoning important disarmament treaties and rejecting proposals for peace and security in Europe and in the world.

It is worth asking whom the war serves!

It does not serve the Ukrainians, nor the Russians, nor even the other European peoples. It does serve the US administration and its military-industrial complex to divert attention from internal problems, to sell weapons on a large scale, to profit economically and militarily from a war thousands of kilometres away from its borders.

The PCP is on the side of peace, not of war!

The PCP calls on the Portuguese people for mobilisation and action for peace and not for the escalation of war, and calls for solidarity and humanitarian aid to the populations, which cannot be confused with support for fascist and neo-Nazi groups.

It is urgent to stop the policy of inciting confrontation, which will only lead to the worsening of the conflict, to the loss of more human lives, to greater suffering.

Initiatives are needed that contribute to the de-escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, to a ceasefire and to a process of dialogue with a view to a negotiated solution to the conflict, to the response to the problems of collective security and disarmament in Europe, to the fulfilment of the principles of the UN Charter and the Final Act of the Helsinki Conference, in the interests of peace and cooperation among peoples.

It is of the utmost importance to strengthen the fight against fascism and war, against the escalation of confrontation, aggression and interference by imperialism, against the enlargement of NATO and for its dissolution, against the militarisation of the European Union, for the end of sanctions and blockades, for peace and disarmament in the world, for the end of nuclear weapons, for respect for the rights and sovereignty of peoples.

We mark the 101st. anniversary of the Portuguese Communist Party and here we are, determined to fight for the project of the future that we carry. An alternative project, of rupture with the right-wing policy that successive governments have pursued in recent decades and that the PS, with the absolute majority it obtained in the last elections, is preparing to continue, refusing the solution to the country's problems.

It is not a matter of any process of intent regarding the action of the future government with an absolute majority of the PS. It is its programmatic guidelines that say so.

Guidelines and political options in favour of economic and financial groups and submission to the European Union and the Euro that condition and constrain the development of the country. Options that, in what is essential and strategic, are not different from the options of other players and executors of right-wing policies, like the PSD.

It is the reality of recent times that also confirms this. In recent years, it was with the parties of the right that the PS reached an agreement to reject the solutions to the fundamental problems that the PCP tabled.

It is true that it was possible to curb the serious anti-popular offensive launched in the wake of the crisis of financial capitalism and that the dominant powers called a sovereign debt crisis. An offensive that expanded and intensified, during the painful years of 2011 to 2015, with the government of the PSD/CDS.

It is true that it was possible to reverse some of its most serious aspects and ensure advances, but this was not due to the PS's political choices. It was the circumstances created by the struggle of the workers and the people and the PCP's positioning in the face of the change in the correlation of forces that forced it.

It was not a government with a left-wing orientation, but a government of the PS forced by circumstances to take measures that it did not want and that it always resisted.

We said it many times, while acting with our initiative and proposal, taking advantage of every opportunity to improve the people's living conditions. We reaffirm it now so that no illusions about the future are nurtured.

The PS did not and does not want to make the choices that are needed to solve the country's problems.

Faced with a glimpse of the possibility of getting rid of the influence that the PCP and the PEV had on national life, the PS did not hesitate.

Provoking the non-approval of the State Budget and with the connivance of the President of the Republic, the PS managed to call early elections with conditions that guaranteed it to obtain an absolute majority.

For this, it counted on the action of big capital and its media instruments, with the operation of stimulating with all means a bipolarizing dynamic, artificially built around the parties of the central block.

The reactions of joy by the representatives of the major economic interests welcoming the absolute majority of the PS speak for themselves!

And these interests are there, now, in bloc to claim their share, in a victory that they also see as their own. The same is done by the political right, with the PSD at the head coming forward to demand the amendment of the Constitution of the Republic, aiming at its subversion.

They did not wait for the new government to take office. Representatives of monopoly capital are there presenting their bill!

They want, from the outset, their agenda of social setback to be discussed without delay in the Social Dialogue, where their organisations and UGT are preparing to agree on a new Pact of wage curbing and regression of labour rights.

The PS government will stamp this Pact just as it has just stamped the new concession contract for yet another seven years to privatised CTT, with new price increases, to the delight of its shareholders who see their shares soar by 12%, while the postal service is degraded! Just as the reprivatisation of around 70% of EFACEC's capital was stamped a few days ago, after having injected significant public resources, and how it is preparing to guarantee and finance a mega real estate business on the land of the GALP refinery in Matosinhos.

Yes, the new government with an absolute majority has not yet taken office and we can already see the vast list of demands, which include the always unfinished structural reforms, thinking about new businesses in the areas of the social functions of the State, the demands for greater flexibility of the labour market, questioning the limited Minimum Wage proposals projected by the government deferring them to the Greek calends, tax cuts on profits and more public money for their private businesses under the pretext of the digital and energy transition.

They want the worsening of exploitation and injustices!

And we, the workers, the people and their struggle cannot allow it! There is strength to prevent the materialisation of their goals!

It cannot be tolerated that the inequality that persists and has worsened in these years of epidemic continues and deepens. An epidemic that was used, with the installation of fear, to curb freedoms and enhance exploitation.

In these last two years of the epidemic, while the majority of the people faced difficulties and more than two million Portuguese remained in poverty, while we were told that it was not possible to increase wages, a minority of the wealthy class in Portugal feasted on a few thousand more billions of euros.

Exploitation and inequalities that again aim to continue and expand, now shielded by the argument of the consequences of the war that the capitalist system itself has fostered and that, counting on it, sees a condition and opportunity to increase profits and dividends.

The arms race has already begun with millions of new orders under way. Millions that the gas business will expand and give a pretext for unbridled speculation of everything that people will pay dearly. Now, in addition to the direct consequences of the war, there is a serious risk of taking advantage of the whole situation to again raise prices, raise interest rates, promote speculation and inflict new attacks on rights, making life hell for the popular masses to guarantee colossal profits to the economic groups that will seek to benefit from the war.

The struggle for peace, against the escalation of war, must now be associated with the struggle in defence of rights, the restoration and enhancement of the purchasing power of wages and pensions.

We are experiencing a worrying situation worldwide and also in the country. In the name of war, the most rampant intolerance and dissemination of fascistic hatred, the criminalisation of thought and any opinion that questions the dictatorship of the single thought, the institution of censorship, the conditioning of access to information and the limitation of freedoms, rights and guarantees. An anti-democratic and persecutory breeding ground, with a strong anti-communist component, are the most visible faces of this offensive, supported by the war propaganda diffusion machine, which is carried out in confrontation with the Constitution itself. An offensive that, if not fought and defeated, will affect all democrats and democracy itself and contaminate national life.

The holding of the elections did not conceal the difficulties faced by the workers, the people and the country.

The country's problems are demanding a solution, demanding other options, another policy, an alternative policy capable of paving the way for a developed and progressing Portugal.

The country's situation, its frailties and structural deficits, the constraints to which it is subject, the waste of its resources and potential, demand the struggle for an alternative that prioritizes the response to national problems and is capable of ensuring a policy at the service of the people and the country.

Yes, comrades, the solution to the serious national problems requires a rupture with the right-wing policy of the past by successive governments, it requires an alternative policy!

Portugal needs another policy that promotes economic development to put Portugal producing, that assumes the valorisation of work and workers, that promotes a general increase in wages and pensions, that ensures quality public services, values education, science and culture, that defends the NHS and saves it from the strategy aimed at its destruction, that guarantees the rights of children and parents, protects the right to live in decent housing, strengthens social rights and protection, that guarantees the right to a healthy environment and ecological balance,

Yes, there is an alternative policy and there are means and resources to implement it! The millions available cannot be to serve always the same!

We are here, projecting our action, ready and determined to continue the struggle at the service of the workers, the people and the country.

We are here to reaffirm that the PCP has solutions to fully respond to national problems and are determined to affirm that the Portuguese Communist Party is the bearer of a project for the future. An alternative project, ensuring that Portugal is not doomed to backwardness and dependence!

A project, embodied in its Programme, aimed at the implementation of an Advanced Democracy, bound to the values of April, to respond to the concrete needs of Portuguese society for the current historical stage.

An Advanced Democracy that in its four aspects – political, economic, social and cultural – is an integral part of the struggle for socialism.

Yes, we fight with socialism on the horizon, that new society that we aspire to build, which among others, expresses fundamental objectives: the abolition of the exploitation of man by man, the liberation of workers from all forms of exploitation and oppression, democracy, the disappearance of discrimination, inequalities, injustices, the materialisation of a life of equal rights for men and women, the inclusion of youth in the country's life, as a dynamic and creative social force and respect for the human person and for nature, and the defence of peace and cooperation among peoples.

Yes, the PCP has a project for the future for Portugal and its implementation immediately involves the materialisation of a patriotic and left-wing policy for which we fight to ensure the turning point towards a future of progress for our people.

Yes, we are the force of the patriotic and left-wing alternative that is in the fight for its materialisation!

The real alternative that has the PCP as an indispensable force for its construction.

An alternative that demands, for its implementation, the expansion and intensification of the struggle and, in particular, the struggle of the working class and workers, the construction of a broad social front and of masses convinced that it is possible to defeat the right-wing policy.

It calls for the convergence of democrats and patriots, of all those who do not accept an increasingly dependent and peripheral country.

We are aware of the difficult situation we face, but this Portuguese Communist Party has never yielded to adversity and difficulties.

We know that we face powerful adversaries who have in their hands powerful instruments of political and ideological manipulation, financial means, power and the concentrated domination of information with the political agenda of monopolistic interests and the shaping of behaviours and opinions.

But here we are determined to face them, convinced of our righteousness and with the strength it gives us!

Here we are determined to confidently continue the intervention in defence of the interests and aspirations of workers and people, of solutions to national problems.

Here we are with the everlasting courage and determination! With that courage that the generations of communists who preceded us never lacked!

Here we are to speak the truth, not to silence reality, to refuse to say or assume what class enemies want to take for single truths, however false they are.

Here we are ready to fight the struggles of the present and of the future and respond to the demands that life places on us to continue to serve the workers, the people and the country.

Here we are affirming the PCP as the force of opposition to right-wing policies, the PS government and its agenda of subordination to the interests of capital and submission to the European Union, and ready to face and combat the action and retrograde projects of the reactionary forces. .

Yes, it is in the daily struggle that we will be found, with our political initiative, with the organised force that we have and with determination in the front line of the fight, giving immediate priority to the increase in wages and pensions, for the repeal of the grievous norms of labour legislation, in defence of the National Health Service, for the right to housing, for the valorisation of Public Schools, for universal access to free day care and giving strength to the struggle of the workers and people.

Yes, here it is and will be this Portuguese Communist Party that has never turned away from the struggle under any circumstances and that continues to be present in Portuguese society as a force for change and to respond to the problems of our time, opening the paths to progress.

This Party that we want and need to strengthen with more comrades to assume responsibilities and regular tasks, with the recruitment of new militants, dynamizing the National Campaign, integrating and giving responsibilities to every new militant.

Reinforcement of intervention and organisation in companies and workplaces, expanding the influence on workers and their mobilisation, source of energy and capacity.

Reinforcement of the JCP and of the action with the youth and of the work of the local organisations with the populations. Reinforcement in all dimensions and areas of intervention.

This Party which, based on its ideal and ideology, Marxism-Leninism, derives its strength from its deep connection with the working class, the workers and the people.

This Portuguese Communist Party, which has a distinctive project, of rupture, patriotic and left-wing, fighting with its eyes set on the future, with the objective of materialising an advanced democracy and socialism.

Yes, we will move forward, because we pursue the very noble ideal of emancipation and liberation from the exploitation of man by man, because we want a better life for those who work, because we want a developed, progressive, independent Portugal, where it is the people who decide.

Yes, we will move forward, because this party collective knows better than anyone that the future does not happen by itself, it is built and conquered! And that is our determination!

It was so in the past, it will be so in the future, as an essential and decisive force for social transformation that we are and on which the workers and the people can count!

Yes, here we are certain that the future has a Party, for its project, because this is the strength of hope that is every day with you, by your and by our side in all fields of our collective life!

Long live the Portuguese Communist Party!

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