Statement by the PCP Central Committee - Meeting of 17th December 2016

Statement by the PCP Central Committee - Meeting of 17th December 2016

The Central Committee, meeting on December 17, 2016, analysed the XX Congress of the Portuguese Communist Party, adopted a resolution on the organisation of leadership work and defined a set of lines of work and tasks resulting from the guidelines adopted in the Congress. The Central Committee examined the latest developments of the international and national political situation.

I – XX Congress – Unity, strength and confidence

The XX Congress of the PCP held in Almada on December 2, 3 and 4, under the theme "PCP- with the Workers and the People, Democracy and Socialism" was a great success, a remarkable moment of Party affirmation, of its Identity, action and strength.

The XX Congress defined guidelines and adopted decisions for a stronger and more prepared Party to continue the struggle for the concrete and immediate interests and objectives of the workers and people, for the patriotic and left-wing alternative capable of opening the way to solve the country's problems, for an advanced democracy with the April values in the future of Portugal, for Socialism.

The Central Committee salutes the Party's organisations and militants for their commitment, effort and dedication for months in the preparation and holding of the Congress, along with an intense political intervention, enabling the involvement of the entire party collective and for the great success achieved.

Following the relevance and importance of the conclusions of the XX Congress, and to present them, there will be several meetings and hearings with various institutions and entities.

II – Latest developments of the international and national situation

1. The international situation shows signs of instability, inseparable from the nature of capitalism and the offensive of imperialism.
Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential election highlighted the sharp problems and contradictions that characterize American society and which are an expression of the deepening of the structural crisis of capitalism.
The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance and significance of the resistance of Syria and its people in defence of their sovereignty and territorial integrity in view of the aggression of US imperialism and its allies, who promote, support and finance the terrorist groups operating there.

The Central Committee of the PCP warns about the destabilization manoeuvres aimed at countries from the African continent and reaffirms its solidarity with the struggles of the peoples of Latin America in defence of their rights, achievements and sovereignty in view of the onslaught of imperialism and oligarchies.

The Central Committee of the PCP pays homage to Fidel Castro, a communist, patriotic and internationalist revolutionary, whose example has encouraged and will continue to drive the struggle of the progressive and revolutionary forces all around the world.

2. In Europe, with the persistence of the economic and social crisis, with obvious political repercussions, of which the recent referendum in Italy was yet another expression, the European Union's militaristic and undemocratic drift grows.

Recent developments confirm the trend towards an even greater militarization of the European Union, with the "Defence Union" project, together with the deepening of its inhumane refugee policy.

The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the ongoing offensive against democratic rights and freedom of expression in the European Union aiming at institutionalizing ideological censorship or restricting the intervention of Members of the European Parliament and concentrating power in the two largest groups of the EP, making its functioning even more opaque.

3. The evolution of the national situation, in particular the approval of the State Budget for 2017, confirms the evaluation of the XX Congress as regards advances and achievements which, with the struggle of the workers and popular masses and the decisive intervention of the PCP, was possible to include, and the limitations it entails for a full and necessary response to national problems, with limitations stemming from the external constraints and PS’s options, making the adoption of a patriotic and left-wing policy even more clear and urgent.

The pressures of the European Commission or the European Central Bank, or the IMF, which, under the pretext of the post-Pact of Aggression "assessments" - in themselves expression of the limitations of national sovereignty and independence - not only aim to question and influence the course of the new phase of national political life, but continue to impose the criteria and options for "fiscal consolidation" or "structural reforms" that are responsible for the course of impoverishment, decline and submission that have marked the last few years.

The situation surrounding Caixa Geral de Depósitos bank (CGD), inseparable from the PS Government's options and the destabilizing action of PSD and CDS/PP, make PCP's alerts and demands even more relevant as regards the conditions necessary for this public bank to assume its role as financier of the economy and of small and medium-sized enterprises and as an instrument for the sovereign development of the country. The new Management Board now announced by the government - and in particular the appointment of its new chairman with his well-known performance at the service of the interests of big business - does not correspond to the conditions guaranteeing management and activity in accordance with public interest and the goals which CGD must pursue in the strategy of economic growth.

The decisive role that the financial sector under public control must be called upon to play in a policy to serve the national interest requires that, along with CGD's assertion as the main public bank, also requires choosing the integration of Novo Banco in the sphere of State control, rejecting its selling off with huge loss to public coffers.

The construction of a patriotic and left-wing political alternative, capable of implementing a policy at the service of the workers, the people and the country, a matter of great timeliness, constitutes a complex but exhilarating task of the Portuguese Communists, as was pointed out at the XX Congress, inseparable from the intensification and broadening of the mass struggle, of the convergence of democrats and patriots, and the strengthening of the Party.

The PCP, a force that carries the necessary alternative policy for a Portugal with a future, reaffirms its commitment to the workers and the people, with all democrats and patriots, to act and fight so that it can finally break with exploitation, impoverishment, decline and dependence and achieve a developed and sovereign Portugal.

III - Initiative, action and strengthening of the Party

1. The national situation places before the Party the need for strong action, articulating and taking advantage of the possibility of further advancing the defence, restoration and achievement of rights, with the essential aim of achieving a patriotic and left-wing alternative. These objectives determine the lines of work and tasks in the struggle of the workers and people, the strengthening of the broad-united organisations of the masses, united political work, the initiative and the strengthening of the Party's organisation.

2. The development of the claiming struggle of the workers and people demands from the organisations and militants of the Party an intervention that contributes to the strengthening of the broad-united workers' organisations and other mass movements, involving all classes and anti-monopoly social strata, an important contribution to the widening of the social front of struggle.

3. The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms PCP's commitment to the convergence of forces, sectors and personalities ready to build the patriotic and left-wing alternative. To this effect, it decides to develop a vast set of contacts with independent personalities, democrats and patriots, with those who intervene in mass organisations and movements and are interested in converging on the goal to find a new course for the country.

4. In the context of the valorisation and affirmation of the patriotic and left-wing policy and the political alternative to implement it, among other initiatives, the Central Committee has decided to carry out a campaign, between January and June 2017, on the release from submission to the Euro which, in conjunction with the demand for renegotiation of the debt and the recovery of public control of banking, clarifies the unsustainability of the constraints and impositions of the European Union, and mobilises various sectors of society for the need and possibility of liberation from submission to the Euro, for production, employment and national sovereignty.

The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance of the action to raise wages and set the national minimum wage at 600 euros at the beginning of 2017 and, despite the rejection of PCP’s Draft Resolution in the Assembly of the Republic with votes from PS, PSD and CDS/PP, the need remains. Valorises the actions already taken to this end and calls for their development, as well as initiatives to defend workers' rights, by changing the harmful aspects of labour legislation, namely the repeal of the termination of collective bargaining and to reinstate the application of the more favourable treatment of workers.

The Central Committee has decided to continue the campaign “More rights, more future, no to precariousness” from January to May 1st, 2017, stating the application of the principle that a permanent job should correspond to an effective contract.

It is of the utmost importance to ensure a strong affirmation of the Celebrations of 8th March, International Women's Day, and 24th and 28th March, Student Day and National Youth Day, respectively, and ensure a strong popular participation in the initiatives celebrating 25th April.

The Central Committee of the PCP calls on Party members to start working in the preparation of May 1st, in companies and workplaces, in workers' organisations, for a powerful affirmation of the struggle of the workers and people in defence, restoration and achievement of rights, integrated in the broader framework of the struggle for the rupture with the right-wing policy and for the materialization of a patriotic and left-wing policy.

5. The preparation of the 2017 local government elections is an important moment to affirm and valorise the CDU as a space of broad-united participation and democratic convergence, to enhance its widely acknowledged management skills, commitment to the interests of the populations and in answering their problems, to affirm a unique presence in the exercise of power and the acknowledgement of work, honesty and competence that has marked its presence throughout its terms of office.

The CDU – Broad-United Democratic Coalition will stand in all the municipalities of the country and in the largest possible number of parishes, affirming its distinctive project, confirming it as the great force of the left in Local Government, indispensable to local and regional progress and development, to uphold the interests of the people and democratic Local Government.

As part of the preparations for the local government elections, the Central Committee will convene a National Meeting of the PCP on April 8.

6. The Central Committee of the PCP affirms the importance of the Party's action, especially the commemorations of the 86th. anniversary of Avante!, the 96th. anniversary of the Party and the Centennial of the October Revolution, which will be carried out under the theme "Centennial of the Revolution of October - Socialism, a demand of the present and of the future", whose opening will be on January 28, the 11th. Congress of JCP [Communist Youth] to be held in Setúbal on April 1 and 2, 2017 and the Avante! Festival on September 1, 2 and 3, 2017.

7. The Central Committee, within the scope of its powers, ratified the composition of the Central Control Commission and the Administrative and Financial Commission (CAF), took decisions on the organisation of leadership work and was informed about the distribution of tasks among the members of the Executive bodies.

8. In the aftermath of the great success of the XX Congress, it is important to materialise the guidelines on strengthening party organization, a determinant factor in fulfilling its role.

The Central Committee of the PCP considers it a priority to strengthen leadership work at various levels, identifying needs, adopting measures to respond to immediate and broader and long-ranging demands, as part of a more wider action on assessment, monitoring, accountability and training of cadres and enlargement of the number of comrades with permanent tasks.

The campaign of valorisation and circulation of Avante! increasing its regular sale to more readers within the Party and with a bold action of contact out of doors, increasing the number of those responsible for the distribution, holding special sales, like the one scheduled for January 12, promoting reading, contributing more to Its content with timely and systematized information, requires the commitment of Party organisations and militants.

The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the need for all organisations to draw up a work plan for strengthening the Party in 2017, in conjunction with intense political intervention, including, inter alia, the following guidelines: measures to strengthen the Party organisation in companies and workplaces; recruitment of new militants and their integration; fostering grassroots Party organisations; development of work with the masses, organisation and structuring of other specific strata and sectors, propaganda work; financial independence of the Party, notably by strengthening the structure for receiving dues, increasing the number of comrades paying dues regularly and increasing their amount, as well as fostering campaigns and funding initiatives, in particular "A Day’s Wages for the Party".

Aware of the demands placed on them, the Central Committee calls for the commitment of all Party members to implement the guidelines adopted by the XX Congress, ensuring a stronger, more intervening PCP in the struggle, with the workers and the people, for democracy and for Socialism.