Speech by Carlos Carvalhas, General Secretary of the PCP, Lisbon International Rally

To strengthen the struggle and solidarity between the workers and the peoples

Comrades and friends:

On behalf of the Portuguese Communist Party, I wish to begin by greeting all the participants, and in particular our foreign guests who have come to take part in this International Rally. The Rally is, in itself, a significant expression of hope and confidence in the future, and a contribution towards stronger cooperation between the left-wing and progressive forces.

These are forces which, regardless of their differences and of their diversified backgrounds, have come here to express their common struggle and their opposition to big business’ offensive against employment with rights, against real wages and to dismantle the social security systems. These forces have come here to assert their struggle to transform society and for a different Europe. These are forces which refuse the neo-liberal creed and the ideological dogmas of the ruling classes, the so-called "single thought". These are forces which show that alternatives exist, that there are alternative proposals, alternative policies and alternative projects.

For our part, we believe that the Europe of Masstricht and the global offensive against workers’ and peoples’ rights, as well as the complexity of the issues which we face, make it more than ever necessary that there be joint assessments; solidarity; joint, complementary or convergent initiatives and struggles.

Obviously taking into account the specific traits of each country, there are many goals which can make us join efforts, such as: the struggle so that the peoples may decide the future of Europe; the struggle for shorter working hours without reductions in pay, for jobs with rights, to tax the movement of speculative and parasitical capital which nourishes the casino economy. But also, the struggle to gradually harmonise social achievements at the highest level, and the struggle for a European integration whose key goals are not the accumulation of finance capital and domination, but rather the real convergence of the economies, a dialogue between the various cultures, peace and development, with its social and environmental dimensions. And, in fighting for a Europe of peace, we firmly oppose the strengthening and geographical extension of NATO.

It is necessary to counter the forces of big capital with a more powerful struggle and solidarity between the workers and the peoples.

For our part, we reject and oppose the intrigue and the fundamentalism of those who attempt to control peoples’ minds by making them believe that there is no alternative to capitalism and unemployment, that the youth of today and the workers of tomorrow must get used, for modernity’s sake, to occasionally having work but to never having a job – as if jobs were a privilege and not a right. Of those who seek to instill in peoples’ minds the notion that full employment is a utopia, that growing inequality, poverty, exploitation and the polarisation of wealth all belong to the natural order of things...

We defend that the way forward does not lie in "adaptation", does not lie in giving up the struggle in order to become respectable in the eyes of big business, does not lie in having right-wing policies together with hypocritical words claiming a "social sensibility". The way forward lies, rather, in ensuring coherence between words and deeds, in firmly opposing unemployment and fighting for wages and rights, in the struggle for greater democracy in all its aspects.

The people resist and fight back. In our country, the scale of the celebrations of the April Revolution’s Anniversary and of May 1st; the struggle for the 40-hour working week; and, among others, the struggles of the railwaymen, of teachers and students, of local government workers, of steelworkers, of the shipyard and Grundig workers - whom we here greet - are all there to prove it.

We say "no!" to the Europe of Maastricht and its criteria, to the Economic and Monetary Union and its Central Bank without any kind of democratic control.

Modernity and progress cannot mean entering the 21st century with a procession of social scourges and with workers’ achievements and rights thrown back to the standards of the early part of this century. Progress means fighting for advances in civilisation, building a new society with an enriched and renewed humanist project, that may inherit the best achievements in the legacy of the peoples’ movement and which may be open to the needs that will inevitably arise in the future.

To our friends, to our guests, to all left-wing forces, we wish to state here that we will continue fighting for a European Union of jobs, of "economic and social cohesion", of peace and cooperation, and that we too are convinced that the "winds of Europe" can change course. We wish to reaffirm that you can always count on the Portuguese Communist Party’s active solidarity. We are a Party which does not forget that the great cause to which we dedicate our struggle is also a great universal cause. We do not forget that our own struggle benefits from the contribution and the support that results from the experience, the analysis, the successes and the advances of the progressive forces of other countries. The struggle continues!

Long live the cooperation among left-wing and progressive forces!

Long live the solidarity and unity of the working class and of all working people!

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