Speech by Ângelo Alves, member of the Political Committee and of the International Department of PCP, XVIII Congress of the Portuguese Communist Party

Imperialist offensive and the struggle against the exploitation of the peoples


The thesis that great dangers for workers and peoples, and even for Humanity itself, coexist with real potential for advancement in the progressive and even revolutionary struggle – a thesis adopted by the XVII Congress and reasserted in our draft Political Resolution – is confirmed everyday by events, by the struggle and, very specially, by the present explosive moment of structural and systemic crisis in the capitalist system.

In this unstable and insecure international context, communists are called to great battles. Battles fought in the midst of complex and rapid processes of rearrangement of forces, some of which are objectively anti-imperialist, but in which the global balance of forces is still unfavorable to the forces of labor and progress, as demonstrated by the fierce intensification of the imperialist offensive during the turn of the century.

Pursuing its objectives of global recolonization, of capitalist economic domination, of containment of processes of struggle and assertion of sovereignty by countries and peoples, imperialism is waging fierce attacks against the sovereignty of States and against international law, and is intensifying militarism and war. Crimes and attacks against democracy and the most basic human rights follow one another and are trivialized. Sovereign States are divided. New weapons systems are developed and political-military structures of imperialism are strengthened. At the same time, world records of military spending are surpassed; exploitation of workers is stepped up; migrant masses are thrust into modern slavery; resistance is treated as a crime in an attempt to prevent or crush social revolts and resistance to imperialism; and the most consistent forces – especially communists – are pursued, while fresh anti-communist campaigns are launched.

But, comrades, this offensive also demonstrates that capitalism is conditioned by its historical limits, its contradictions and difficulties. The narrowing of its social support base is a reality expressed in very diverse forms. As a result of the development of workers' and peoples' struggles, and of the assertion of sovereignty by several countries – namely those that have established as their objective the construction of socialism and those that have begun building progressive alternatives – imperialism is suffering setbacks in its attempts to hegemonically dominate and subjugate countries and peoples. The dominant classes of the main imperialist powers – in particular the USA – are forced to adopt hypocritical discourses and launch campaigns of ideological diversion, in an attempt to contain the anti-imperialist sentiment that has developed over the last few years, namely by rehearsing a rehabilitation of the discredited social-democracy – an essential pillar of the present imperialist offensive.

The word "change" is in fashion. But beware! Indeed, the world changes, every day, but as a result of the action and struggle of workers and peoples! Because they, together with the class struggle that is growing more intense, are the driving force of history. That is the real change. Not the one that some dusty orthodox capitalist ideologues peddle, in an attempt to keep everything the same.

And in order to change, it is necessary to not forget. Not forget the victims of imperialist crimes in Iraq; that in Afghanistan, NATO is intensifying its murderous action and extending the war into Pakistan; that in Palestine the genocide of the Palestinian people continues; that in Africa conflicts are promoted to provide cover for re-colonization and re-militarization of the continent; that in East Timor there is a conspiracy to deny the Maubere people their right to build real sovereignty in their country; that in Latin America there has been a succession of foreign interferences and threats to the ongoing progressive processes, an intensification of fascist campaigns of political persecution, and that the criminal blockade of Cuba continues – and we warmly salute the 50 years of Cuba's socialist revolution.

There are no speeches or propaganda spins that can hide the obvious: that capitalism in its present stage – imperialism – is the cause of inequalities, injustice, violence and death that afflict millions upon millions of human beings, and that the insecurity and dangers that characterize the international situation emanate from the political and military centers of imperialism. For this reason, the struggle for peace, for justice, for democracy, for sovereignty, for social progress and development is an integral part of building an alternative – Socialism.


In this beginning of the century, capitalism's contradictions are well exposed. Marxism-Leninism exhibits an impressive modernity. But it would be a dangerous illusion to consider that the domination of big capital and the political forces at its service will be severely weakened by the mere development of the system and its crisis. On the contrary. History has demonstrated and reality reminds us that without the development of strong movements of social struggle, anti-capitalist movements, capable of extracting major concessions from capital, a situation such as the present one can result in an intensification of exploitation, and in a multi-faceted imperialist offensive, specifically through new militarist, anti-democratic and fascist solutions.

The tendency to increase social and national problems will manifest itself with greater intensity. Hard times are upon us. Global reality points towards a possible exacerbation of inter-imperialist rivalries. Here in Europe, the European Union is "navigating" the current crisis by furthering its character as an imperialist, antidemocratic, neoliberal and militarist bloc. It is asserting more clearly its intentions of a more ambitious, more aggressive global interventionism, thus demonstrating that the new and much touted multi-polarity – if built upon the current global line-up of forces between capital and labor, and therefore imperialist in nature – is not necessarily less dangerous for the peoples of the world.

As the Political Resolution states, workers, peoples, progressive forces and the various components of the anti-imperialist front, united in broad social fronts of struggle, must take it upon themselves to build an alternative that will put an end to crises and to the crisis of the capitalist system. The role of communists, of their parties, of their organization and ties with the masses, of their ideological steadfastness, of the strengthening of their cooperation, of their diligence in fostering unity – which is not built by decree, but is built and tested in the struggle – are key factors for change in the global line-up of forces and for a future of progress, peace and solidarity, for a march toward Socialism.

We warmly salute the dozens of Communist and progressive parties here represented, and assure all of you that with this Congress – For April and For Socialism – you can count upon a stronger Portuguese Communist Party, one that will face the bitter and joyful moments, the setbacks and successes of passionate revolutionary struggle, with a clenched fist and a red carnation.

Long live the XVIII Congress

Long live Proletarian Internationalism

Long live the Portuguese Communist Youth

Long live the Portuguese Communist Party

  • XVIII Congresso do PCP
  • Central
  • Political Statements
  • Cuba
  • European Union
  • Nato
  • War
XVIII Congresso do PCP