Statement of the PCP Central Committee of May 6th, 2003

The Central Committee, in its meeting of May, 6th, examined the results of the preparatory debate for the National Conference on “PCP and the Local Government”, which is to meet on May 10 and 11, approved the resolution project to submit to discussion by the National Conference and that includes already the contributions resulting from the discussion in the Party organizations.

The Central Committee also analysed some important aspects in the evolution of the political situation both national and international, namely the worrying aggravation of the main social and economic indicators, the offensive against the democratic constitutional regime with the consequences of the so-called reform of the political system, and the threats to the world’s peace and security as a result of the aggression on Iraq and the militaristic strategy of the American imperialism.

The Central Committee acquainted with the course of implementation of the decisions for the reinforcement of the Party organization and adopted a set of measures for the improving of the Party activity and the reinforcement of the direction work.

1. The Central Committee considers that the political, economic and social options of the PSD/CDS-PP Government, affronting the working people and their interests and rights, will tend inevitably to the aggravation of the problems and the increase of the social conflicts. The way that the labour laws were approved, their contents and goals are the clear expression of an affront to the working people.

The high participation and the struggling spirit shown in the demonstrations of the 1st of May called by the confederation of the unions CGTP-IN, proved not only the vast social discontent but also the existing conditions for the development of the struggle, in defence of their rights and against the labour laws package, against the devaluation of the salaries, against the rise of unemployment and the destruction of important social conquests.

The Central Committee reaffirms its commitment and perseverance in the enlightening and mobilization of the working masses against this disastrous and unjust policy, profoundly convinced that it is possible to reverse this course and these options, which collide with the country’s needs and the longings of the workers and the Portuguese people.

2. The Central Committee has ascertained the aggravation of economic situation, the deepening features of the Portuguese economic recession and denounces once more the right winged policy as the main cause of the crisis that the country has to face with.

The blind budget policy of the last years not only increased the difficulties resulting from the bad international economic situation, but also threatens to submerge the country in a long economic stagnation.

The brutal contraction of the internal market, combined with the strangulation of the public investment, and the reduction of the financial capacity of the local governments drags a chain of consequences for the little and median companies and the whole of the economic activity, with all the problems which are easy to foresee.

The workers’ and retired people families have growing difficulties in satisfying their basic needs; the delays and interruptions in public investment in under-structures and social policies, necessary for the development of the country, are constant and ever-growing; the social inequalities and regional asymmetries grow worse. In addition to this, the Government attempts, through the so-called “structural reforms”, to transfer to all the people the ever-growing onus of the health care (regulating taxes, the cost of the medicines), education (rise of the education fees) and the weakening of the public system of social security, decreasing important rights.

During the last months a great number of companies closed or have dislocated to other countries, there was a dramatic increase in the number of the unemployed, particularly women, young people, and specialists, a situation used by the Government and the capital to impose a policy of freezing end even reducing the salaries, while the debts of the Portuguese people attained in 2002 a record amount of 103% of their incomes — at the end of the month, each Portuguese has his or her salary completely expended.

3. The Central Committee reaffirms the vigorous disapproval of the PCP in the face of the serious retrogression of the democratic-constitutional regime represented by the approval, on April 24, of a new law on the political parties, and a new law for their financing, antidemocratic laws that sanction both an unacceptable interference of the State in the life and internal organization of the parties (aiming to affect specially the PCP) and unacceptable limitations to the free development of their activities and initiatives.

The Central Committee underlines the fact that, while not voting for the law on the financing of the parties (due only to the sudden decision of the PSD to postpone to 2005 the reinforcement of the subventions by the State to the parties), the PS has been, during all this process, in close convergence and accordance, at the level of the core conceptions and goals, with the PSD and the PP.

Reaffirming the profound commitment of the PCP to the principle that it belongs only to the members of the party the capacity to decide about their internal organization, a right the members of the PCP do not renounce to, and underlying the intolerable character of the absurd and intolerable limitations, in terms of financial nature, to the free development of the action of the parties, the Central Committee proclaims the intention of pursuing the struggle against the application of these two laws, sustaining that, given their gravity and consequences and the flagrant contradiction with the constitutional principles, it would be entirely justifiable that the President of the Republic demand the preventive appreciation of the constitutionality of these laws, which may introduce serious and undesirable situations of disturbance and confrontation in our political system.

The Central Committee also reminds the necessity of developing a firm and sturdy struggle against the new an dangerous steps in the so-called «reform of the political system» announced by the PS and the PSD, namely the ones concerning the changes, in an antidemocratic way, to the election laws for the local governments and the Assembly of the Republic.

4. The Central Committee stresses once more the goals of rapine and world conquest of the imperialist aggression war against Iraq and demands the immediate end of the repression of the popular resistance and the withdrawal of the occupation forces, and the safeguard of the right of Iraqi people to decide their own destiny. Imperialism, and first of all the USA, wants not only to retrace the political map of the Middle East in accordance with its interests, but also to destroy the legal and institutional order resulting from the Second World War and to establish a totalitarian «new order» under the hegemony of the USA, against the workers and against the people. This is the course which the more reactionary and aggressive sectors are trying do follow — with ever-growing attacks against democracy and peoples’ sovereignty — in order to face the evident crisis of the capitalist system, to intensify the exploitation and to restrain the struggle of the workers and the peoples, struggle that was magnificently expressed in the powerful demonstrations, in our country and all over the world, against war.

The Central Committee adverts the attempts to legitimate the occupation of Iraq and denounces once again the shameful «atlantist» policy of subservience to the USA followed by de PSD/CDS-PP government, whose serious expression was the «war summit» in Lages, and expresses its opposition to the detachment of Portuguese military or police forces to Iraq, already admitted by the Prime Minister in particularly shocking statements, which would be a serious precedent, by involving Portugal in the occupation and pillage of that country. At the same time, the Central Committee alerts to the danger that, under the pretext of facing the hegemonic aspirations of the USA, there could be an acceleration in the militaristic tendencies in Europe to transform the European Union, more or less in articulation with the USA and NATO, in an economic, politic and military imperialist block. Opposing firmly to such designs, the PCP, in cooperation with other communist parties e progressive forces, will continue the fight for a Europe of peace, progress and cooperation.

In the face of this situation, full with dangers but also with liberating potentialities, the Central Committee underlines the need for pursuing and reinforcing the movement for peace and intensifying the struggle against the aggressions and threats of imperialism, namely on Syria, Iran e North Korea, and the activities of solidarity with the Iraqi communists and the people, the Palestinian people and all the peoples in fight for their liberation. Also underlines the constant solidarity with de Cuban people and the Cuban revolution, subject to increasing menaces of intervention and victims of an escalation of confrontation and interference by the USA.

5. The meeting of the Portuguese Social Forum (FSP) next month, in the preparation of which the PCP and the JCP have participated from the beginning, will be an important moment of encounter of a large range of social and mass organizations and movements. The PCP will proceed with its intervention, in the respect of the autonomy and the diversity of each organization, so that the FSP express a clear denunciation of neoliberalism, militarism, war, racism and xenophobia. The meeting of the FSP may contribute to extend the struggle in Portugal against the rightwing policy, against capitalism and imperialism, to increase the consciousness of the need for the construction of a new society.

6. The Central Committee examined the preparatory works for the National Conference and stresses that the debate has confirmed the importance, to improve the quality of the work and the political intervention of the Party, of the adequate insertion of the work of the communist elected in the frame of the action and general goals of the Party and its local organizations, the indispensable enhancing of the organizations’ initiative on the local problems, and the accompaniment of the communists’ activity in the popular organizations, the deepening of the orientations for the development of the work in the local authorities and the political contents of the exercise of power.

The Central Committee appreciates the activity on the preparation of the Conference, but recognizes that the many tasks and political battles laid by the Party in the last weeks have been an obstacle to the concentration of the organizations on the deepening of the debate, and underlines the importance of the ulterior debate in all the organizations in order to bring to bear the orientations and working lines to be fixed by the Conference.

In the face of the last decisions of the Government, which affect the local governments, the Central Committee of the PCP denounces the growing financial difficulties imposed by the budgetary policy on the municipalities, mainly the limitations to the credit and the refusal of immediate compensatory measures for the lost of revenues due to the changes in the transfer taxes, as well as the operation of approving new laws on urban and inter-municipal communities fallaciously presented as decentralization measures claimed by the administrative organization, and thus weaken the demand of the administrative regions and even postpone them for good.

7. The Central Committee greets the organizations and members or the Party for their great combativeness during the last months in many areas of intervention in the struggle against the PSD/CDS-PP government policies, against the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the USA and their plans of world domination, in defence of peace, democracy and social progress, thus confirming the role unique of the PCP.

The Central Committee stresses that, in a particularly difficult national and international situation, submitted to a permanent campaign of adulteration of its positions and projects, often to the silence over its action, suffering the attacks from its everlasting enemies associated with the actions of some members and ex-members of the Party, who took as main goal of their intervention the Party’s weakness, the PCP assumed its responsibilities with the workers, the people and the country. It enhanced the struggle of the workers and other strata of the population, which had in the demonstrations of April 25th and the 1st of May great moments of rejection of the rightwing policy; it gave a decisive contribution to the strong demonstrations for peace and against the aggression war in Iraq; promoted an important action in the Republic Assembly and the European Parliament; it pursued the assertion of the necessity of disrupting the rightwing policy and adopting a new policy consistent with the problems of the country, materialized in the action “In motion for a Portugal with a future” and advanced the realization of important guidelines for the reinforcement of its own organization and activity.

8. The Central Committee, in the present situation characterized by dangers and threats and the growing importance of the struggle for an alternative policy for Portugal and for a more fair world, points out the following guidelines of work for the Party activity in the next months:

- To contribute to the development of the mass struggle against the policy of the PSD/CDS-PP Government, against the labour package, for a public social security for all, in defence of the public services, against the process of privatisations, for a public education free and qualified, against the deterioration of higher education, against the fees and their raise, in defence of the national health service, for the raise of the salaries, against the price raise and the unemployment, promoting the convergence in the fights, stressing the erosion of the Government and highlighting the necessity of an alternative policy.

- To improve the knowledge of the reality of the country and to affirm an alternative policy, around the dynamics of the initiative “In Motion for a Portugal with a Future”, specially the action “Thousand localities: participation and development” which the PCP is to promote from May (starting on May 25th) to October with initiatives in more than thousand localities all over the country, showing and affirming that it is necessary and possible a balanced and constant development, that Portugal can be a more developed and more just country with an alternative policy and the participation of the people.

- The development of actions in defence of the democratic regime, against the negative changes to the Law of the political Parties and the electoral law.

- The action around the European problems against federalism, in defence of sovereignty and national interests.

- The development of the movement against war and the strategy of world domination of American imperialism, for peace, disarmament and the solidarity with the peoples.

- The work in the Assembly of the Republic, in particular the interpellation of the Government on economic and social policy and the action in the European Parliament in connection with national reality.

- The prosecution of the general line of the reinforcement of the Party “Yes, it is possible! A more strong PCP”, namely the incentive to the initiative of the organizations, the increase of the members’ activity, the enlargement of the number of comrades with regular responsibilities, the rejuvenation of the organisms, to bring up to date the number of the base organizations, the realization of regular assemblies, the organisation and intervention in priority companies and the reinforcement of their own financial resources, by raising and paying regularly the quotas.

The Central Committee emphasizes specially the importance of intensifying the campaign for the recruitment of 2000 new members for the Party and their integration in the party’s life, which occur until the next Avante Festival, and the measures for a strong general action in the contacts with the members of the Party, to clarify situations and enhance the participation in the life of the Party, namely enlarging the number of teams, distributing contacts, defining terms and goals, intensifying the rhythm and the extent of the contacts.

9. The Central Committee highlighted the significance of the success of the campaign for spreading the circulation of the newspaper “Avante!” decided in the National Conference, for 2000 more copies a week until May 1st this year, a success even more significant if we say that the goal has been largely exceeded.

The realization of the fixed purposes was possible only because of the organic measures that have been taken, the diligent work of many members of the Party in the task of enlarging the circulation of the Central Organ of the Party and a better understanding of its role in the political and ideological battles of the Party. The results of that campaign and the analyse of the experiences confirm the existence of possibilities for enlarging the circulation of the Avante!.

The Central Committee urges all the organizations to consolidate and continue the task o diffusing the “Avante!”

The new electronic edition of the “Avante!” (now accessible at the site and the valorisation of the “O Militante”, the Party’s review which is presented now with the sub-heading ”PCP – reflection and practice” are other important aspects in the diffusion of the party’s press.

10. The CC underlines the importance of the “Festival of Joy” (Festa da Alegria) to occur in July 26th and 27th and appeals to the organizations and members of the Party to commit in the preparation of the Avante Festival, which will occur in September 5, 6, and 7th, in order to assure the success of this political and cultural event unique in our country.

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