Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary

Jerónimo de Sousa in Spain

Jerónimo de Sousa in Spain

At the invitation of the Communist Party of Spain (CPS) and United Left (Izquierda Unida), Jerónimo de Sousa participated in the demonstration and rally of Day of Andalusia held in Cordoba. Having the opportunity to explain the position of PCP in the framework of the recent evolution of the national situation before thousands of demonstrators, the presence of the General-Secretary of PCP was an expression of solidarity with the communists, workers and peoples of Spain and their struggle in defense of their rights, interests and aspirations, their right to take into their own hands a project of development, emancipation and social progress.

Comrades and friends,

It is with great pleasure than in name of the Portuguese Communist Party I greet the participants in this demonstration and closing rally of the commemorations of Day of Andalusia, which the Communist Party of Spain and the United Left held this year in the beautiful, historic city of Cordoba, rich in traditions of struggle.

Our participation in this important initiative is an expression of friendship and solidarity between portuguese communists and spanish communists, and of our common determination to continue to deepen the internationalist solidarity between the workers and peoples of our two countries.

Participation that has even more meaning because this year we mark 80 years since the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, that had profound and dramatic consequences for the peoples of Spain, a prelude to the nazi-fascist barbarism that befell the peoples of the world in World War Two.

Of those times, we recall that PCP – since the first moment and under the difficult conditions imposed by fascism in Portugal – assumes the cause of the peoples of Spain as its own, developing multiple actions of solidarity with Popular Spain and its Republic faced with the brutal fascist aggression.
We don't forget that, under very hard conditions, the communists in Portugal and in Spain built their underground organizations, leading the struggle of resistance against the fascist dictatorships of Salazar and Franco and for the conquering liberty.

Today, 80 years later, the communists continue in their struggle to raise the flag of liberty, democracy, justice and social progress.

Comrades and friends,

In Portugal, during the last four years – and following decades of right-wing policies and european capitalist integration, with the Socialist Party (PS), Social-Democratic Party (PSD) and Popular Party (CDS-PP) bearing the responsability – the PSD/CDS-PP government took the policy of exploitation, of social setback, of economic decline and foreign dependence, subordinated to the interests of monopolies, where no other government gone since the time of fascism, leading Portugal to a dramatic situation.

As the result of persistent and intense resistance and struggle by the Portuguese workers and people in defense of their rights and living conditions, and for an alternative policy – wherein the united trade-union movement, CGTP-IN, the great trade-union confederation of Portuguese workers, assumed a determinant role – PSD and CDS-PP were defeated in the parliamentary elections held last October 4th.

With the defeat of PSD and CDS-PP a break was applied to the projects of pursuing the path of intensification of exploitation, of robbing wages and other incomes of workers and people, of attack upon rights and democratic achievement, of decay of public services, privatization, destruction of productive capacity – a path of complete submission to the impositions of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the IMF, and the interests of national and transnational big capital.

With the new political framework resultant from the October 4th elections, a new stage in political life in Portugal was initiated, which with the initiative and intervention of PCP allowed not only the interruption of the path of destruction of the PSD/CDS-PP government, but also finding solutions that may answer the urgent problems and needs, the interests and aspirations of the Portuguese workers and people.
While not compromising its political initiative and independence, with no illusion regarding the difficulties, and not hiding its profound divergences with the PS, PCP placed first the valuing of points of convergence that could give answers to important objectives of the struggle of the Portuguese workers and people.

To the convergence that was possible to verify corresponded a political solution that has nothing to do with a "coalition of the left", a "government of the left" or even and in PCP's evaluation "a left-wing government" in Portugal – but rather of Government of the Socialist Party, with its options, contradictions and limitations.

Likewise, the distinct nature and objectives of the programs of the two parties, the dialogue that took place and the differences that subsisted confirmed that is was not possible to have a "programmatic agreement" or a "parliamentary agreement" between PCP and PS.
What exists is a new correlations of forces in the Parliament that we think should be fully used to give positive responses to the workers, people and future of Portugal. A new correlation of forces in which PCP acts with full political and ideological independence, appreciating and deciding in each situation the position it will take on each matter, from more or less relevant legislative matters to the State Budget. A situation in which PCP acts articulating its institutional intervention with the development of the mass struggle.

Conscious of the challenges and demands of the present political framework in Portugal, PCP continues its intervention and struggle, taking the initiative and always contributing towards the achievement of all measures that are useful to the Portuguese workers and people and firmly opposing all that implies more exploitation, impoverishment, social injustice and national decline.

Therefore, over the last months and as the result of the «Joint position of PS and PCP about the political solution» was accompanied by the joint position of the PS with two other parties, advances were achieved, albeit at times short of the proposals defended by PCP. It was possible, among many importance measures, the stop the application of wage cuts of the Public Administration workers; an increase in the National Minimum Wage; ensure the progressive reduction of the IRS surtax; revert the concession and privatization of companies of terrestrial passenger transportation; protect families from being evicted from their homes following fiscal executions; the recovery of four holidays that had been cut, including that which represents the founding of the Republic; open the way towards reposition and fixation of the 35 hour week for public employees; dignify teachers and promote the Public School; reinforce the National Health Service; reinforce the protection to children, the unemployed, in old age and for people with disabilities. These are measures adopted with the determinant role of PCP and the struggle of the Portuguese workers and people that it is necessary to pursue so that we can go further in the defense, reposition and achievement of rights.

Advances and progress that, although limited, constitute signs of inversion with the path of exploitation and impoverishment imposed upon Portugal in the last few years. This is what explains the enormous pressures from the European Union, the centers of big capital, that count upon the complicity of PSD and CDS-PP. In essence, what concerns them is what these advances represent for the Portuguese workers and people. Not only a recovery of wages and rights. But a return of hope that a better life is possible!
However, it is necessary to bear in mind that these recent measures and decisions took place in a context in which the option of the PS to abide by the foreign impositions and constraints – be they the submission to the Euro, the Stability Pact, the Budgetary Treaty or an unsustainable debt –, not wanting to break with the interests of monopolist capital, leads them to continue processes that collide with the interests of Portugal.

In PCP's evaluation, if there is an aspect that results from the appreciation of the last months, and without prejudice of the important positive developments already achieved, it is the limited character of the current political solution and the need to continue to intervene and struggle to give increasingly more strength to a genuine alternative policy – the patriotic and left-wing policy that PCP proposes to the Portuguese people.
A policy that, confronting the interests and power of monopolies and imperialism: assumes the necessary renegotiation of the public debt, in its deadlines, interest rates and amounts; ensures the public control of the banking sector; prepare Portugal from its liberation from the submission to the Euro; responds to the need to increase wages, retirements, pensions and other incomes of workers and the popular sectors; values labor and the rights of workers; taxes big capital firmly and adequately; relaunches public investment, centered upon the promotion of national production; promotes public services; defends and guarantees national sovereignty before external impositions and constraints; and frees Portugal from the path of capitalist integration of the European Union.

The defense of all the positive measures achieved in the meantime and to fight against all negative measures and aspects and orientation of the right that still prevail, are part of the struggle for a rupture with the right-wing policy and for an alternative policy, whose achievement has as determinant element the broadening and intensification of the mass struggle – by the working class, the workers and all anti-monopolist sectors. Our political situation does not dispense from struggle, but rather demands its development.

Comrades and friends,

Conscious of the complexity of the situation and the demands that this entails for the Portuguese communists, PCP places as essential objective its organic reinforcement, deepening its ties with the workers and people, its connection to the Portuguese reality, articulating the struggle for immediate objectives with the struggle for more general objectives, reaffirming its communist identity and its revolutionary project – party of the working class and all workers, that defends the interests of the anti-monopolist classes and sectors, independent of the influence, interests, ideology and politics of the forces of capital; party that has as its supreme objectives the construction of socialism and communism, a society free from exploitation and capitalist oppression; party that has marxism-leninism as its theoretical basis; party whose working principles follow from the creative development of marxism-leninism, founded on a profound internal democracy, a single general orientation and a single central leadership: a patriotic and internationalist party.

Reaffirming its commitment with the Portuguese workers and people, when it commemorates its 95th year of existence – which it will mark next March 6th – , PCP continues firmly committed to the struggle for achieving a patriotic and left-wing policy, a rupture with the right-wing policy, an advanced democracy, that projects the Values of the April Revolution into the future of Portugal and that is an inseparable part of building a new society – socialism and communism.

Comrades and friends,

we wish to reaffirm to you our deepest solidarity with the communists, workers and peoples of Spain and their struggle in the defense of their rights, interests and aspirations, their right to take into their hands a project of development, emancipation and social progress.
You can count on PCP, that dedicates all its forces to the struggle for the eradication of exploitation and oppression.

Long live the friendship between the Portuguese people and the peoples of Spain!

Long live the struggle of the workers and peoples!