Against NATO, war and imperialism, the need for the struggle for peace – contribution by the Portuguese Communists for public session, 3 February 2013 - Speech by Luís Carapinha
Dear Comrades and friends,
I bring you the fraternal greetings of the PCP and the embrace of solidarity from the Portuguese Communists to the Communists and people of Turkey, as well as to all those who were invited to attend.
We thank the TKP for the invitation it has extended for the PCP to attend this important initiative, exposing NATO and its aggressive character, at a time when Turkey is being positioned in the front line of imperialism's armed intervention against Syria and when, on a global level, capitalism's structural crisis is becoming ever deeper and its offensive against the workers and peoples is being intensified.
Nato's false “democratic calling” became clear right from the beginning, in 1949, when Portugal – then under the domination of Salazar's fascist dictatorship – was incorporated as a founding member. Two other countries who experienced brutal dictatorships, Greece and Turkey, joined in 1952, in what was the first of six processes of enlargement that have taken place so far. This reality shows well the viscerally expansionist, oppressive and aggressive nature of that organization.
NATO's creation responded to a strategic goal of imperialism: to contain the advances of the peoples and of the revolutions of social and national liberation. As the PCP recalled in 1999, on the occasion of NATO's 50th anniversary, its founding «had as a supreme goal to place Western Europe under US hegemony, to prevent any transformation of a progressive nature in the signatory countries, to profoundly divide Europe and to fight against the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries of Eastern Europe». In over six decades, there are numerous facts that reveal NATO's sinister role as an instrument of interference and aggression. From the secret web of clandestine armies developed by NATO to carry out terrorist operations of an anti-Communist nature (which in Italy was called Operation Gladio), to the hostility towards the Carnation Revolution in our country, or the complacency towards Turkey's invasion of Cyprus, in the same year 1974. It was through NATO – and its European pillar, the European Union – that after all the horrors of Nazi-fascism, war returned to the European continent.
After the disappearance of the USSR, it was through its criminal interventions in Yugoslavia and the Kosovo war that the trans-atlantic bloc finally shed its defensive mythology and overtly assumed itself as a political-military force whose scope of intervention was extended and become global. A role that would later be enshrined in the new strategic concept adopted at the 2010 Lisbon Summit.
That process has the close connivance of the EU. The conclusions of the European Council of last December indicate, precisely, that there is a growing submission of EU states to the so-called framework of strengthened cooperation in military field.
NATO always had close relations with the Portuguese fascist regime. NATO's support helped the dictatorship to carry on, for over 13 years, its colonial wars. It was the struggle of the Portuguese people and of the peoples of the former colonies that put an end to the fascist regime in Portugal and to its colonial wars, on April 25, 1974. During the April Revolution, NATO exerted pressures and interference, in order to counter the progressive course proclaimed by the military of the Armed Forces' Movement.
During the counter-revolution and the offensive against the achievements of the April Revolution that has been taking place for almost 40 years in our country, there has been a growing dependence and submission of the Portuguese foreign policy and Armed Forces to the strategy of the USA, of NATO and of the big powers of the European Union. The Portuguese Armed Forces are increasingly being adapted to the requirements of NATO and placed at its service in military operations of aggression against other peoples. Such a policy collides with the principles that are enshrined in the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic which, in its article 7, states that «Portugal stands for the abolition of imperialism, colonialism and any other forms of aggression, domination and exploitation in relations between peoples, as well as for a general, simultaneous and controlled disarmament, the dissolution of political-military blocs and the establishment of a system of collective security, with a view to creating an international order that can ensure peace and justice in the relations between peoples».
In the PCP's Program, which was adopted at the recent 19th Party Congress, it is said that «the PCP will fight for a Europe of true cooperation between free nations and sovereign States, equal in rights and favors the creation of a whole Europe of peace, cooperation among workers, peoples and nations, the edification of a continent that can be a factor of development and a factor of security and social progress in the whole world, unlike the European Union which is molded by the interests of big monopolies and which asserts itself as a political-military bloc». NATO is identified as a «militarist and offensive organization» and a «serious threat for the peoples' struggle and world peace». «Portugal's participation in NATO, as well as the agreements with the USA concerning its military facilities in Portugal, have led to ever greater relations of dependence and are serious limitations of our national sovereignty and independence». In such conditions, «Portugal is vitally interested in the process of disarmament and in strengthening international mechanisms of collective security». The «dissolution of NATO» is «a crucial goal to assert national sovereignty and world peace, and must be articulated with the process of detaching our country from its structures, within the framework of Portugal's inalienable right to decide about its withdrawal». For our Party, in the current «complex and unstable international context, which is marked by the ever-deeper structural crisis of capitalism, it is even more necessary that Portugal adopts a political perspective that can ensure the integrity of the national territory, the autonomy of its political-military decision-making, national sovereignty and the security of the Portuguese people and of Portugal, giving its own contribution for positive developments in international relations, in eliminating the nuclear threat and in safeguarding world peace».
It is to achieve a balance of forces that allows these stated goals to be achieved - goals that are inseparable from the Portuguese people's right to decide its future with sovereignty - that we carry out the struggle against NATO, placing the demand for its dissolution and for our country's detachment from its structures.
The issues of peace and war play a key role in political and ideological confrontation and clarification. Peace and the struggle against war are an integral part and a necessary condition for social justice and the progress of Mankind.
The struggle for peace is a permanent struggle of the Portuguese Communists and is at the core of our identity, action and project. In Portugal, we say to the masses: the struggle for peace is a struggle of all people!
In this spirit, our Party contributed to the broad participation and the success of the Campaign launched by the «Peace, Yes! War, No!» broad-based movement, on the occasion of NATO's Lisbon Summit and which was crowned by the big demonstration of November 20, 2010. The Portuguese Communists' activity once again made its mark, in Portugal and at the level of international relations, dynamizing and strengthening internationalism, anti-imperialist solidarity and the peace movement. It was also in this spirit that, by the PCP's initiative, a Resolution called «For Peace! No to NATO!» was signed by 62 Parties, within the framework of the International Meetings of Communist and Workers' Parties. The Resolution expressed «support for the peace movement, the class trade union movement, the youth and women's movement, and other organizations that, in Portugal, have dynamized the campaign for Peace and against NATO».
We value the «Peace, Yes! War, No!» campaign which was organized by Portugal's peace movement, a broad and open movement that was open to all organizations which shared its goals, namely that of expressing the Portuguese people's opposition to the NATO Summit and its war-mongering goals, the demand that the Government withdraw the Portuguese forces that are involved in NATO military missions, the demand for an end to foreign military bases and NATO facilities on national territory, the demand for the dissolution of NATO; the demand for disarmament and an end to nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction; the demand that the Portuguese authorities respect the precepts of the United Nations' Charter and the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, respect international law and the sovereignty and equality of peoples.
The PCP has also undertaken its own initiatives, namely at a Party level and a mass level. The positive dynamics that resulted from the 2010 Campaign were felt even after the campaign period.
Apart from the PCP's intervention within the framework of internationalist solidarity and the struggle for peace, we value the activity of the broad-based peace movement (namely the Portuguese Council for Peace and Cooperation, CPPC) and its contribution to the activity and for a stronger World Peace Council, as part and parcel of the necessary strengthening and expansion of the anti-imperialist front. In the same way, we value the initiatives undertaken and the stances taken by the peace movement, of which the Communists form an integral part, against the threats and the imperialist wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Iran, Mali, etc.), in solidarity with the peoples who are victims of colonialist occupation (Palestine, Western Sahara) and the peoples that resist and are engaged in processes of social emancipation under the banner of socialism and with an anti-imperialist nature, namely in Latin America (Cuba, Venezuela, among others).
At the same time, the PCP does not lose sight of the growing deterioration of the Portuguese Armed Forces with renewed cutbacks in the social and professional rights of the Portuguese military, as the other side of the coin of strengthening foreign missions and international involvement with human and technical resources at the service of imperialism. This reality is being met with a growing movement of protest and struggle. The initiatives undertaken by the military's associative movement in defence of their rights and professional dignity have taken on a scale and expression that has no parallel in recent decades. The defence of the Constitution, of a different policy of national defence that may break the bonds of dependence in relation to imperialism and strengthen the Armed Forces' links to the people, placing them at the service of our country and of the Portuguese people is a valuable element, that is part and parcel of our struggle for sovereignty, peace and social progress and, necessarily, against imperialism's escalation of war and aggression.
We wil continue working to strengthen the cooperation and joint action of Communist Parties, of progressive forces, of the workers and peoples, dynamizing and strengthening the anti-imperialist front, in the struggle to roll back and defeat the imperialist offensive and to open the path to alternatives of sovereignty, social progress and peace.