Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary, Rally commemorating the Centenary of the October Revolution

«It is with the deep conviction that socialism and communism are the future of Humanity that we pursue our struggle»

Today is a day of special symbolism, the day we mark the 100th. anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution.

We mark and celebrate, on this November 7th, the first of the days of a burgeoning revolution that will not only shake the world based on exploitation and oppression, but will transform and mark it deeply, with the force of its example, its revolutionary and progressive achievements, the coherent action and principles of the new proletarian and peasant power in favour of workers and peoples.

We mark and salute in this inaugural liberating act the beginning of a new historical time that is there on the horizon of the struggle of workers and peoples - the time of the transition from capitalism to socialism - and in it the materialisation of a millenary dream of emancipation and liberation of generations of exploited and oppressed!

We mark and celebrate, condensed in this glorious November 7th., the heroic deed of those who resolutely and conscientiously set forth on the exciting undertaking of building a new society - the Russian proletariat under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party and Lenin - confirming the political and ideological perspective pointed out by the theoretical works of Marx and Engels, launched in the construction of a society without exploited or explored. But we also celebrate those who gave continuity to it, pioneering groundbreaking paths never before known in the construction of the new society, as well as all those who, facing huge sacrifices, preceded them and who, with their struggle, their revolutionary experience, their teachings, kept alive the perspective of the liberating and emancipatory struggle of the peoples.

These generations of exploited and oppressed who saw, so often, fall on the ground, in an unequal struggle, their banners, as in the Commune of Paris, and then raise them in the quest and conquest of the future. This future for which we continue our struggle, despite all hardships, raising high up the great banner that has always guided us and that places socialism and communism on the horizon of our struggle.

On this Centenary we affirm the motto "Socialism, a demand of the present and of the future".

We remind, proclaim and affirm the October Revolution as the most advanced achievement in the process of liberation of Humanity from all forms of exploitation and oppression.

We showed how the October Revolution was neither an adventure nor the work of adventurers, as anti-communist propaganda proclaims, but the work of the workers themselves and of the Soviet people who, with their struggle, opened the paths of their liberation and with their own hands began to erect this new reality, this land without masters, and of equality, aspirations, and millenary dream that Utopia proclaimed and which the Communist Party Manifesto enshrined in a political project with the revolutionary overcoming of capitalism by socialism to be experienced and lived by millions of human beings.

We attested the importance and valuable role of the working class and workers, their unity and organisation in the process of social transformation and in all stages of the revolutionary process and of the construction of the socialist society.

We showed how the Socialist Revolution transformed the old and backward Russia of the czars, where feudal relations persisted, into a highly developed country, more industrialized and socially advanced, sparking extraordinary effects on a planetary scale.

It showed how, in a short period of historical time, significant industrial and agricultural development was achieved and unemployment was eliminated, confirming the superiority of social property and economic planning. It eradicated illiteracy and brought widespread schooling, it guaranteed and promoted, for the first time, the rights of women, children, youth and elderly.

We brought to light what imperialist propaganda at all costs conceals: that it was the homeland of the soviets, the first country in the world to implement or develop, like no other, fundamental social rights, such as the right to work, maximum 8-hour workday, paid leave, equal rights for men and women in the family, in life and at work, the rights and protection of maternity, the right to housing, free medical care, the universal social security system and free education, ensured access to culture and practice of sport.

And all this was achieved by the Soviet Union, despite the intervention of imperialist powers, civil war, economic blockade and sabotage, and two devastating great wars.

We showed how transformations and revolutionary achievements stimulated the struggle of workers and peoples all around the world to obtain important social gains. We showed the huge contribution of the USSR and of the Soviet people to the advancement of the emancipatory struggle of workers and peoples, including the support to numerous nations for centuries subjected to the colonial yoke to gain independence, and their unquestionable role as the driving force of progress and peace worldwide.

The October Revolution is and remains at the centre of the ideological struggle. The enemies of socialism - big business and imperialism - continue to carry out a distinctive and fierce campaign against the October Revolution.

They do this because they know that it was an outstanding event in history to end exploitation and also with the aim of weakening the power of attraction of the new society, to demoralize and demobilize the struggle for its materialization.

They do so by using their full arsenal of means and influence because what they truly fear are not the solutions of those who, speaking of socialism, court the Wall Streets and do not dare to blister the prevailing capitalist order, but those who, like the PCP, assuming the ideals and values of October do not accept capitalism as the final system of history and fight consistently to end social relations of production based on the exploitation of labour and peoples.

And they fear less, but rather encourage, those who deny the topicality of the essential cleavage that remains in today's society, the great and decisive choice between socialism and capitalism, are engaged in the production and diffusion of false alternative dichotomies by overstating secondary variants of today’s capitalism, classified and named neo-liberal versus progressive, cosmopolitan versus nationalist, blatantly conservative like Trump versus humanist, among other examples, which aim to shut the alternative and solution of the serious problems of capitalism within the very system of exploitation that creates them.

We know that the October Revolution has always been, from its birth, the object of the most deceitful and odious slander campaigns.

This time of the passing of the Centenary has been a pretext for a large-scale diffusion of despicable and vile anti-communism. Hate and slander have no limits. We have seen them scouring in the chests of cobwebs the most deplorable and worn-out lies not only to denigrate and demonize the October Revolution, but the communists and their project.

No longer the delirious constructions of the kind that the daily "Diário de Lisboa" published in 1921, where it was said: "In Russia, mothers can now marry their children", being so absurd and abject they ceased to be effective, but now, under new clothing, the ideological and doctrinal centres of the international big bourgeoisie constantly renew, in order to show, with the seal of falsified science, that socialism is a failed experiment and, above all, that the nature of the communist project is intrinsically perverse and undemocratic.

In this quest for distortion of the communist project they popularize theories where they associate regimes, systems, personalities, practices and objectives, in a vicious process of trying to unite and bring together what is different and different was not only in the practice of political action, but also in objectives and project.

They mixed together in the cauldron of their fanciful propaganda, equating fascism and communism, falsifying history, fabricating facts, and listing incommensurable and inconceivable crimes to arouse the indignation of the masses and to criminalize socialism and its course in the life of peoples in the twentieth century and even the communist ideal. In this process they treat equally the executioner and victims, uniting them in the concept of totalitarianism fabricated to the measure of their aims. They pretend to ignore that fascism and communism are antagonistic systems. That fascism - the terrorist dictatorship of the monopolies and landowners in which the State is placed at the service of a scarce minority - regarded the October Revolution and its State at the service of the majority of the people as the main danger and main enemy of the monopolies and of the big bourgeoisie whom fascism served.

What real history records is not the complicity but the heroism of the Soviet people and communists to curb barbarism and catastrophe in which the world was launched by Nazi-fascism, and paid a very high cost for their contribution to Victory: 20 million dead and a devastated country.

And what in history cannot be erased, despite the cosmetic operations carried out, is the approval and complicity of the ruling classes of the great capitalist powers, in the face of Hitler's rise and his warmongering actions, which, under the cover of the need to save peace and the policy of “taming the beast”, with the sacrifice of peoples and countries, nourished the hope of directing Nazi bestiality to “solve the Russian question”.

At the centre of their ideological offensive they try at all costs to prove an incompatibility between the October Revolution and democracy, between socialism and democracy, using it as a political weapon against communist and revolutionary parties. They blame the October Revolution for being the bearer and holder of the germs of disfigurations, errors and deviations, pointed by us in congresses, not hidden, that led to the tragic defeat of the USSR.

But as we have stated, it is not in the October Revolution - the most liberating of revolutions - that one can find the origin of the blow represented by the destruction of socialism in the USSR, but in a "model" of building socialism which, as we have said, ended up by moving away from and countering the communist ideal and project on fundamental issues.

No! Socialism is not incompatible with democracy, nor does it fear democracy. Socialism needs democracy, the conscious participation of workers and people to affirm itself and develop. There is no socialism without the participation of the workers and the people, their contribution, their commitment, their decision, without an organisation of society with a deeply democratic functioning.

That is why at the core of the political project of the PCP, and in all phases and stages of the process of development of Portuguese society, is the materialization of democracy in its political, economic, social and cultural aspects, within the framework of a political system based on the guarantee of exercise of democratic freedoms, including the formation of political parties, respect for political opinions and religious beliefs, regular holding of democratic elections. A political system based on a representative and participatory democratic State, rooted on national sovereignty and independence.

No! Contrary to the campaign of the forces of political, economic and social reversal, what the peoples have well-founded reasons to fear, and in an increasingly worrying and growing measure as the structural crisis of capitalism deepens, are the practices and projects of impoverishment, amputation and liquidation of democracy by the defenders of the capitalist system of exploitation and its process of globalization of planetary domination.

What the peoples have well-founded reasons to repudiate and repel are their practices of exporting their "democracy" with bombs by those who falsely come forward as its defenders wanting to perpetuate their rule and impose their interests by violence, as the reality from Libya to Syria, from Iraq to Palestine, from Ukraine to Venezuela proves. What the people should fear are the tricks of those who specialize in electoral engineering, to transform minorities into majorities, to confiscate and capture democracy.

What the peoples should fear are the projects of those who have begun to theorize about the immaturity of the masses to decide complex issues of the State, in order to usurp the sovereign decision of the peoples on essential matters.

Those who also impose single thought and single policy in the European Union, based on criteria that have dropped from the sky, as is the case of the Euro, conditioning any alternative policy.

Those who at every crisis and difficulty impose their will and try to escape forward at the expense of democracy and the right of the peoples to decide, usurping increasing parts of their sovereignty, centralizing them in supra-national spaces, far from their control and decision.
Those who continue to engineer new plans to transfer policy decisions to experts and create new constraints to the sovereign decision of the peoples. Yes, they are not just designs, they are the real intentions of the IMF and of the European Union.

Today we are celebrating the October Revolution, without the Soviet Union and without socialism as a world system and the evolution of the world shows how negatively this absence weighs in the lives of workers and peoples.

Capitalism, freed from the constraints that the existence of socialism as a world system imposed and functioning freely according to its rules, not only began to question political freedoms and rights, but also worsened all the problems inherent in its nature of an oppressive, aggressive and predatory system that is leading the world to barbarism, pushing the world into the perilous paths of widespread confrontation and war, which calls for a strengthening of the struggle for peace and disarmament.

Two and a half decades after the victorious proclamations of insuperable capitalism, we have the deepening of its structural crisis and its consequences that dramatically mark the life of the peoples of our days.

They are very clear in the persistent and aggressive escalation of imperialism, particularly of the United States of America, which the shuffle of the administrations does not change, to impose its hegemonic domination. In the escalation of tension and provocation against sovereign states, notably in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Far East. In direct military aggressions with the destruction of entire countries, in actions of blackmail and interference, in a spiral of confrontation and conflicts that, if not stopped, will lead Humanity to catastrophe. In the new arms race and the militarist leap in the US and in the European Union , and with NATO's involvement in aggressive wars, which are, along with the tragic social consequences of the imperialist offensive, the main causes of terrorism and of the growth of xenophobic and racist forces.

The balance of these times is brutal and sinister. Millions of people, about one-fifth of the world's population, are affected by conflicts. There are millions of displaced people and refugees. Death, misery, poverty and hunger portray the social catastrophe of war, increasingly seen as a solution and response to the crisis of the system of exploitation.

These consequences are also seen in the sweeping and increasingly deeper crisis of the European capitalist integration process and in the attempt to reactivate the Franco-German axis and the deepening of the three pillars of the European Union - federalism, militarism and neoliberalism – under the cover of the so-called "Future of Europe".

But equally in the great regression that has long been under way, it persists and worsens with the offensive of big business against labour and social rights, public services, and the sovereignty of peoples.

The proclaimed kingdom of abundance by globalized capitalism, with the fallacious preaching of competitiveness, flexibility, deregulation and structural reforms, has resulted in new operations of concentration of wealth in favour of transnational capital, aggravation of exploitation, unemployment, precariousness, increase of social injustices, with brutal costs for workers and people.

An evolution that confirms that capitalism has no solution to the problems of the contemporary world, which is everywhere in permanent clash with the needs, interests, aspirations of workers and peoples, and is unable to overcome its contradictions. That capitalism cannot be reformed, humanized or regulated!

A Programme that points as fundamental objectives of the socialist revolution in Portugal: the abolition of the exploitation of man by man, the creation of a society without antagonistic classes inspired by humanistic values, democracy understood in the complementarity of all its aspects, permanent and creative intervention of the popular masses in all aspects of national life, the constant increase of the material and spiritual well-being of the workers and people, the disappearance of discrimination, inequalities, injustices and social scourges, the materialization of equality of rights of men and women and the insertion of the youth in the life of the country, as a dynamic and creative social force.

Under the conditions in Portugal, the socialist society that the PCP presents to our people, passes through the stage we have characterized as an Advanced Democracy, a stage that is an integral part of the struggle for socialism, its materialization is also inseparable from the struggle we are waging today for a rupture with right-wing policies and the materialization of a patriotic and left-wing policy that gives shape to this construction, in a process that does not separate, but coherently integrates the set of immediate objectives of struggle.

In Portugal, the change in the correlation of forces in the international situation resulting from the disappearance of socialism as a world system also had profoundly negative impacts.

The dominant capitalist agenda of liberalization, privatization, and finantialization of the economy has widened and aggravated problems accumulated in years of right-wing policies and capitalist and monopolistic restoration, of destruction of the achievements of the April [Revolution], accelerating the offensive of liquidation and privatization of strategic sectors of the national economy, and the destruction of the main national productive sectors and of labour and social rights of the workers and people.

A policy that ended up by handing the destiny of the country to foreign intervention and the implementation of an illegitimate pact between those who ruled the country during all these years - the PS, PSD and CDS-PP - and a foreign troika made up of the IMF, European Union and ECB with even more ruinous results for the country and the life of the Portuguese.

The consequences are now evident and persist in Portuguese society: a marked regression of the productive capacity of the country; enhancement of its dependence and economy in relation to the monopolies and foreign capital; a suffocating public debt; drastic regression of the living conditions of workers and people, and of their rights; increasing inequalities; regional imbalances; aggravated structural vulnerabilities that are expressed in terms of production, food, energy, demographic, planning, infrastructure and public services, which make Portugal a nation that is extraordinarily exposed to adverse changes in the international scene.

Vulnerabilities that were dramatically bared in the tragic forest fires that ravaged the country this year, as well as other problems, and which are compounded by strong constraints, namely resulting from the Euro, which severely conditions the country's development.
Acute problems, whose solution calls for its overcoming by a patriotic and left-wing policy, like the one which the PCP defends for the country.

A policy that has as decisive elements, among others: the liberation of the country from submission to the Euro and the European Union, the renegotiation of public debt to free resources; the defence and promotion of national production and productive sectors, coupled with the valorisation of labour and workers, as object and condition of development; the recovery for the public sector of the strategic basic sectors of the economy; an administration and public services to serve the people and the country.

In the aftermath of the end of socialism in the USSR and in the wake of the jubilant outcry of capitalism in a triumphal march to eternity, some decreed the death of communism and here, in this country, of the April Revolution, the irreversible decline of the PCP and its inevitable liquidation.

They took their desires for reality. The triumphant march has long since come back with its banners announcing its perverse universal democracy, the end of wars and crises, and the PCP remains on its feet, lives and struggles, not only resisting but making things happen, always keeping the objective of socialism on the horizon!

Making things happen, with an initiative and decisive contribution to defeat and halt the brutal offensive carried out by the PSD/CDS government and the forces of foreign interference, putting an end to four ruinous years of practice of worsening the policy of exploitation of workers and people and of national impoverishment

Making things happen, pointing out the way that opened the new phase of national political life underway, creating new and better conditions for the development of the struggle, initiating a process of defence, restoration and achievement of workers' and people's rights, and contain the decline of the country.

If two years of the new phase of national political life with the outstanding intervention of the PCP are a reason for apprehension and disorientation for the frustrated gravediggers of the PCP, evident in their revanchist attitude against our Party, they are an advantage for the life of the workers, pensioners, intellectuals and technical cadres, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, farmers and fishermen, the youth and women who, with the action and intervention of the PCP, have already seen answered some of their most pressing problems in the field of wages, pensions, taxes, rights, support for productive activities and culture.

Two years fighting and making things happen, fostering and organising the struggle of the workers and the people. This struggle was decisive in stopping the offensive of the forces of economic and social regression and their project of exploitation and national impoverishment. That is decisive and determining to continue to advance the restoration and achievement of rights and the demand for a policy of development of the country. A fight like the one that is waged today in the most varied sectors and that has in the great demonstration called by CGTP-IN on this coming 18th, here in Lisbon, another high moment and point of confluence. A necessary and decisive struggle to affirm the patriotic and left-wing alternative, and to build the paths of the future.

A struggle that does not forget the lesson that the October Revolution confirmed: - "the emancipation of the workers must be the work of the workers themselves", a work of the people who aspire to live in a freer and more just society.

We are aware of the contradictions resulting from the PS government's assumed choice of not breaking free from its commitments to the interests of big business and its position of external submission and dependence, in particular to the impositions of the European Union and the Euro.

We are aware of the quite visible efforts that the more obsolete, reactionary forces and big business have been making under the pretext of the tragedy of the forest fires, with a view to limiting advances in the restoration and achievement of rights and in creating the conditions to recover the space lost in the past two years.

But it is within this framework of acute contradictions that we continue and are in the struggle to take as far as possible the defence, restoration and achievement of rights and the demand to advance the development of the Country.

To those who dream of the death, to the prophets of irreversible decline and inevitability, we affirm that here we stand and will continue connected to the pulse of life, ready to continue our struggle to solve national problems and raise the living conditions of the people and move forward the construction of the patriotic and left-wing alternative, indispensable for the solution of the country's problems.

Yes, we are celebrating the October Revolution without the existence of most of the reality that has sprung from it.

But this fact does not obliterate its importance for the struggle that the workers and peoples now wage in defence of their rights and of sovereignty, in the face of the offensive of imperialism and for progressive and revolutionary changes, for socialism.

It does not obliterate the rewarding experience of this first victorious Socialist Revolution and the practical demonstration of the superiority of the new society.

It does not obliterate what it represented as a driving force and propeller of profound and positive changes in the life of peoples and for peace in the world.

It does not obliterate its importance in the steps taken and advances in affirming the rights of workers and peoples in all latitudes.

It does not obliterate the value of this experience in the long and bumpy road of the struggle of workers and peoples in the search for a better and fairer world, nor the lessons that result from it.

They quashed the Paris Commune, but not the seed that produced it and germinated in October. A historically configured model of building socialism failed, but not the communist ideal and project that remains valid, alive and with a future, carrying the seed that the struggle of the workers will revive.

Because, as Álvaro Cunhal said, "Our ideal corresponds so much to the deepest needs and aspirations of our people (and of other peoples) that one day it will be the future."

Yes, the October Revolution is there as a concrete experience, as a source of inspiration, with its values and ideals stating that another world is possible. And that's why we celebrate it!

We celebrate in the October Revolution, a struggle that continues. The struggle that needs a strong and permanently reinforced Communist Party, assuming its vanguard role in close connection with the working class, the workers and the people. A Party armed with the theoretical instruments of Marxism-Leninism. A Party that acts and fights permanently and daily in defence of the interests of the workers, the people and the country. A patriotic and internationalist party.

A Communist Party that does not abdicate being communist, determined, combative, sure of its role, firm in its ideal and in the affirmation of its transforming and revolutionary project, and which always has in the horizon of its action and intervention the construction of the new society free from the exploitation of man by man.

It is with the deep conviction that socialism and communism are the future of humanity that we continue our struggle, reaffirming that we have been, are and will be, communists!