Translation to English of the Theses –Draft Political Resolution (Excerpts) - document in discussion on the PCP organisations and sectors, approved by the CC Meeting of 22th and 23rd September 2012.
Chapter I - Capitalism's crisis, the workers' and peoples' struggle, and the alternative: socialism
1.1. World developments, capitalism and its deepening structural crisis
1.2. Intensification of the imperialist offensive
1.3.Potential and prospects for the struggle of the workers and peoples
1.4.Socialism, the alternative to capitalism
CHAPTER II - The national situation and the rupture with right-wing politics
2.1. Right-wing politics and the situation of the country
Chapter III - To develop mass struggles and build alternatives
3.1. The struggles of the working class and the workers as a motor of mass struggles
3.2 Political Parties and Institutions: The framework
3.7. The struggles of other strata, sectors, social groups and populations
3.8. Defeat right-wing policies, struggle for patriotic and left-wing policies, build the alternative
3.9. Strengthen the PCP, Intensify the mass struggle
Chapter IV - The Party
184.108.40.206. Communist Identity, the Party Programme and Constitution
1.5.4. 2. An Intense, militant and coherent activity
220.127.116.11. Strengthening the Party: a comprehensive activity, an indispensable task
4.8. Political action and connection with the masses
4.9. Ideological Struggle
4.10. The Party press, information and propaganda
4.12. International Activity
Chapter I - Capitalism's crisis, the workers' and peoples' struggle, and the alternative: socialism
1.0.1. The 19th Congress is being held at a particularly demanding, complex and important time for the workers' and peoples' liberation struggle. Confirming the prospects that we had outlined at the 18th Congress, the international situation is characterized by great instability, insecurity and by an acute and intensified class struggle.
As the PCP has warned and predicted throughout the past two decades, the intensification of capitalism's structural crisis lies at the epicentre of major developments in the international situation. Its main outcome and expression has been the eruption of one of capitalism's most acute cyclical crises ever.
1.0.2. Imperialism's brutal offensive, together with its violent response to the capitalist crisis, has been met by an intensification of workers' and peoples' struggles, and by the fact that countries and groups of nations have asserted themselves, seeking paths of development outside of imperialism's hegemonic domination.
Major economic, social, political and cultural changes are in the making, with major geo-strategic implications. Their outcome is as yet difficult to establish. It will depend on a long and complex set of factors, including: the role of States and how they coordinate their response to imperialism; peoples' struggles for their liberation and to protect their sovereignty and independence; and also the key role of struggles waged by the working class and the masses of the people, as well as the balance of forces between capital and labour that will emerge from these struggles.
Imperialism's offensive bears within it great dangers. But at the same time, the development of the struggle, and the growing awareness about capitalism's true nature – exploitative, aggressive and predatory – tell us that there is real potential for resistance against imperialism and to develop the struggle to overcome capitalism through revolution.
1.0.3. In the midst of a context where more and more objective material factors favour the development of revolutionary struggles, the communist and revolutionary movement still exhibits – in spite of some progress and more rooting in the masses – weaknesses and shortcomings. The time is still a time of resistance and accumulation of forces.
The subjective factor of the revolutionary struggle is relatively lagging. This increases the complexity of the situation. More and more challenges are confronting the forces of progress, and especially communists. They necessitate a careful theoretical and practical definition of alliances, pace and stages to overcome capitalism through revolution and to build socialism – the necessary alternative, the only alternative to capitalism.
For this alternative to materialize, working people and the masses of the people have a key role to play, with their struggle, participation and creativity. For this, there is a need to strengthen the International Communist and Revolutionary Movement and, in dialectical relation with this, to strengthen the anti-imperialist Front.
1.1. World developments, capitalism and its deepening structural crisis
1.1.1. Two decades have elapsed since socialism's defeats. Imperialism's hegemonic rule is pushing the world into a civilizational regression of historic proportions, destroying gains and rights that had been achieved by the struggle of workers and peoples throughout the 20th century. Its goal is to reinstate 19th-century levels of class exploitation and national oppression. Capitalism's exploitative, aggressive and predatory nature has been exposed further by the devastating consequences of the overproduction crisis that has been dragging on for over four years.
The system's contradictions are becoming deeper, especially the fundamental contradiction between the social nature of production and the private nature of appropriation. The relevance and correctness of Marxism-Leninism's main theses is being confirmed by events – and specifically the tendency for the rate of profit to fall, something that capitalism is seeking to counter using all possible means: financial speculation, more exploitation of workers and peoples, militarism and war.
1.1.2. The crisis that is affecting the capitalist world today is very deep. It differs from previous cyclical overproduction crises insofar as it spans the whole world, it is simultaneously affecting the financial, economic, energy, raw materials and environment spheres, and it is happening in the midst of major shifts in international relations.
The deepening structural capitalist crisis is exposing and exacerbating capitalism's parasitic and decadent nature – and thus confirming its tendency to stagnate. This is visible in the major capitalist powers' difficulty in extricating themselves from the recession and stagnation into which they have plunged.
The fact is that the capitalist economy's degree of financialization is not a political choice, but rather a result of how capitalism operates at the current stage in its development.
The consequences of this financialization process in the world economy are huge. The result of finance capital's hegemony is, on the one hand, huge wastage and destruction of productive forces - above all else, massive and rising unemployment - and on the other, the fact that the big economic and financial conglomerates are appropriating the lion's share of all surplus value created in the productive sphere. This is leading to a speedy centralization and concentration of capital, and to an increasingly uneven distribution of income between capital and labour.
Through the spirals of debt and the mechanisms that service them – from ratings agencies to offshore finance – the USA and other imperialist powers are massively plundering the world of the wealth that is created, and thus impeding the development and social progress of countries that are formally independent but in actual fact are, to a greater or lesser extent, being subjected to veritable colonisation processes by big capital and imperialism.
1.1.3. The economic and financial crisis' social consequences, with the ensuing destruction of productive forces and the processes of capital concentration and centralization – that have been the hallmarks of big capital's response to the crisis of capitalism – are devastating. Capitalism sustains its growth periods by increasing the exploitation of workers and peoples, and then, in the periods of crisis that result from its very nature, it increases the levels of exploitation even more – a spiral of social devastation and concentration of wealth.
Social polarization is becoming deeper. The crisis has exposed even further the scandalous contradiction between the remarkable advances of science and technology, and the social regression that has since become stronger. Inequality in the redistribution of wealth has grown enormously.
Hunger, poverty, malnutrition, lack of medical care and access to medication, and child mortality have not only persisted as scourges for humankind, they have spread to large regions. According to the ILO, unemployment is affecting 200 million workers, and poverty is spreading among those who have managed to keep their jobs. Child labour is on the rise, as are criminal activities like the trafficking of human beings, slavery and sexual exploitation. Life expectancy has dropped in many countries..
1.1.4. The ecological effects of capitalism's deepening structural crisis highlight the unsustainability of an organization of economic production based on irrational, intensive, continuous and growing capture and extraction of abundant flows of energy and raw materials – from the topsoil, subsoil and the hydrosphere – guided by the quest for maximum profits and for the incessant accumulation of capital it entails.
The facts are making it obvious that capitalism is unable to ensure medium and long-term social and economic development while preserving natural living conditions for humankind – this is happening in agricultural production and mineral extraction, in industry and transport (where petroleum-derived liquid fuels play a major role).
Access to agricultural products is especially vulnerable to supply shortfalls, that are affecting many countries and are becoming critical especially for those countries with a very high food balance deficit.
Capital's competition for immediate profit-generating gains is accentuating – even if this means dilapidating natural resources and thus denying them to future generations, or evicting populations, or worsening the living conditions of resident populations. The capitalist system is predatory when it comes to nature. But, under pressure from the obvious environmental effects of its workings, capital is repeatedly using terms such as “sustainable growth” and “green economy” just to avoid talking about problems that are unsolved or are unsolvable by the system, and to give itself respectability while pursuing the same old predatory policies.
But the concept of capitalist economic growth used by the ruling classes to confuse and ideologically control the masses is doomed to failure. This is because it deliberately avoids addressing the growing gap in income distribution between countries and between social classes. It also avoids addressing the unavoidable fact that unrestricted material growth in an already globalised economy is limited by the capabilities of planet Earth. The central issue at stake is not permanent and universal economic growth, without connection to, and in contradiction with, socially necessary development. What is at stake is planned and rational management of resources, according to economic and social development needs, to reduce income distribution gaps in a thoroughly unequal and unfair world.
1.1.5. The development of the crisis, and the main imperialist powers' need to counter their relative economic decline have very significantly accelerated the concentration of economic power in an increasingly restricted and powerful group of large economic and financial conglomerates, headquartered in capitalism's major poles (USA, European Union, Japan). They in turn exercise a growing political influence, both directly over States and over international and supra-national structures (both formal and informal) of imperialist coordination – thus reinforcing the merger of economic power with political power. In the most powerful capitalist countries, the State is reconfiguring and strengthening itself so as to better serve big capital, by enhancing its repressive wing. At the same time, in capitalism's periphery, imperialism's goal is to weaken the power and sovereignty of States and turn them into protectorates and tools for their policy of planet-wide recolonisation and oppression of workers and peoples.
In any case, States are and continue to be essential institutions of political power, and the nation continues to be the unavoidable and decisive arena for class struggle and for the process of social change. One of the things that corroborates this essential thesis in the present, is the fact that imperialism is increasingly using States to intensify the extortion of wealth produced. The situation is such that big capital in each country is increasingly associated to, and dependent upon, big transnational capital, and the big monopolies' power is increasingly merged with the supra-national institutions' political power. This suggests that there may be new developments in the concept of State monopoly capitalism.
1.1.6. Capitalism's law of uneven development is exuberantly revealing itself as the system's crisis deepens. Particularly clear expressions of this are the relative weakening of USA hegemony (especially economic and monetary hegemony), the crisis in and of the European Union, Japan's endemic stagnation, and the dynamic capitalist growth in several countries that aspire to regional power status. Together with this, there is China's growing economic and political weight and the booming development of its productive forces, and also significant sovereignty and social progress-seeking processes especially in Latin America, with a rise in anti-imperialist resistance in several parts of the world. All this adds up to a dynamic realignment of forces on the international arena, whose outcome is as yet undefined and will be to a great extent determined by developments in the balance of forces and by whether several ongoing progressive-, revolutionary-, and socialist-oriented projects confirm their orientation.
Particularly important developments in this context are the formation and consolidation of multilateral cooperation and integration alliances, structures and forums in the political, economic and military spheres – such as, among others, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Mercosul, Unasul, CELAC and ALBA.
This is a complex framework, where some countries with considerable economic and political clout and some convergences and alliances with different layouts and levels of stability are emerging. Particularly prominent among these is the so-called BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) that, in spite of the contradictions due to the different political nature of the processes taking place in each country, have played a role in containing the hegemonic ambitions of the USA and its major NATO allies.
These events are generating new cleavages of inter-capitalist competition and rivalry in the world. At the same time, they reflect, and exacerbate dynamic tension, resistance and rupture points.
The establishment of the (contradictory and still not fully defined) G20 itself, as well as the disagreements about UN reform and the recent clashes within its Security Council, are all indicators of ongoing shifts in the balance of forces that, although not necessarily being the outcome of antagonistic stands from a class viewpoint, may end up having a direct impact on international law and on economic and political relations systems.
1.1.7. One of the main contradictions is that between the imperialist centre and the workers and peoples of the least developed countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. International division of labour, internationalisation, cooperation and integration are objective processes that can serve different class goals. The can serve to oppress peoples, such as in the European Union, or serve their liberation, as is happening in particular in Latin America.
The advancement of the ongoing cooperation and sovereign integration processes in Latin America reflects the specific context within which workers' and people's struggles are developing there. It confirms the favourable balance of forces in the region. This stands in contrast to the still-dominant worldwide trend, which is one of retreat. Therefore the assertion of ALBA's anti-imperialist core is a qualitative leap forward in terms of economic cooperation and integration instruments – built on the basis of sovereignty, solidarity, equity and social orientation, and having repercussions throughout the whole American continent and even in terms on international relations and institutions.
1.1.8. With respect to the inter-imperialist agreement/rivalry duo, while what is dominant is agreement, and even enhancement of some imperialist coordination structures, the current tendency – determined above all by the very nature of capitalism, but also by its deepening economic crisis – is toward the exacerbation of rivalries and conflicts between the big powers. This can be seen in the commercial and monetary wars between the big powers, in the disputes over raw materials (especially energy- related ones), in international trade (particularly within the WTO), in environment issues (very obvious at the recent Rio+20 summit) and in their competition for spheres of influence. The thesis according to which a sort of “super-imperialism” has been set up, where the national issue has disappeared and contradictions among the big capitalist powers have become harmless has no basis in reality.
The economic crisis that erupted in 2007 has accentuated the capitalist triad powers' relative economic decline. In the capitalist centre, these are times of stagnation and recession, with a deep crisis in and of the European Union, threats of a fresh USA crash, with Japan still mired in stagnation. New speculation bubbles are growing and heralding fresh crises.
The economy's development in the triad is confirming the tendency whereby the productive sectors are losing economic importance, while the sectors directly or indirectly associated with big finance capital's interests and domination are growing.
In parallel with the productive sectors' relative loss of importance in the major capitalist economies, the big imperialist powers have themselves been losing importance in world production. The continuous reduction of their share in international trade (including intra-European Union trade) is there to show it.
In the major capitalist powers the social situation has deteriorated dramatically. Unemployment levels in the USA have never been as high and persistent since the end of World War II. The European Union and Japan are also following this trend. The European Union's unemployment levels are currently the highest ever.
1.1.9. In the European Union, the crisis has become deeper. This crisis has highlighted even more clearly the European capitalist integration's nature and unresolvable contradictions – it is thoroughly contrary to the interests of the workers and peoples of Europe and of other parts of the world. It is, for this reason, also a crisis of the European Union's core principles and of its economic, political and ideological foundations.
The behaviour of European capitalism's superstructure in the midst of this crisis confirms that there is a process underway, based on the European Union's three pillars – neoliberalism, militarism and federalism –, to assert in Europe an imperialist bloc, a bloc that is increasingly militarised and serves as NATO's European pillar, and is dominated by the major European capitalist powers. This bloc is itself riddled with contradictions. Contrary to the ruling classes' propaganda, it does not serve as a counterbalance to US imperialism. Instead, it is an ally in their common imperialist strategy of exploitation, oppression and global recolonisation. However they do, at the same time, compete (sometimes fiercely) with each other for control over markets, for economic and monetary power (as in the case of the so-called sovereign debts) and for spheres of political and geo-strategic influence.
The European Union's deep social and economic crisis, the fact that the power of finance capital and monopolies stands above European institutions, the ongoing ultra-liberal and federalist leap within EU institutions and the growing political and institutional contradictions within them, are all expressions of a process that concentrates political and economic power, operating as a veritable steamroller overrunning peoples' sovereignty and social, labour and democratic rights. But these facts also reveal quite clearly the European Union's objective limitations, and show that the EU is not reformable.
Building another Europe, a Europe of workers and peoples, will necessarily imply defeating the capitalist integration process embodied in the European Union and asserting sovereign European States entitled to decide on their own economic and social development. The struggle to defend national sovereignty is inseparable from the struggle for the social emancipation of workers and peoples.
1.2. Intensification of the imperialist offensive
1.2.1. The period since the 18th Congress has been marked by a fierce imperialist offensive against workers and peoples. In this period the offensive has been intensified, as part of imperialism's response to the crisis of capitalism. That intensification is itself sowing new and deeper crisis episodes.
Taking advantage of the crisis itself, this offensive is effecting a large-scale destruction of economic, social, political, cultural and national rights, and tilting the balance of forces even more in favour of capital and against labour. It is exacerbating the reactionary and even fascist-leaning nature of political power, and generating a political, ideological and cultural regression of peoples' consciences about their rights, aspirations and development alternatives.
What is underway – especially centered on capitalism's major centres – is that big capital and imperialism are brutally settling their scores with the struggles of workers and peoples, and thus attempting to recover the slices of power that had been taken from capital by the struggles of workers and peoples and by the progressive, revolutionary and socialist society-building processes that marked the 20th century.
1.2.2. The economic and social offensive is intensifying at a particularly fast pace. Massive operations are underway to concentrate and centralise capital, examples of which have been the hugely expensive operations to support big finance capital and the big monopolies. At the same time, diverse and far-reaching attacks are being waged against social and labour rights, with privatisation and destruction of social functions of States, and the privatisation of nearly all sectors of the economy and areas of social life.
1.2.3. Especially serious is also the offensive against sovereignty. Imperialism has undertaken a veritable planet-wide recolonisation. It is a crusade of territorial occupation, imposing puppet regimes, creating protectorates, organising and effecting coups d'etat, grouping into supra-national power structures that strip formally independent States of their sovereignty and smother the rights of peoples to decide on their own future. To serve this process, theories of “humanitarian interference”, “good governance” and “failed States” have been developed, to be coupled with political and economic measures, pressure, aggression and military occupation, “aid” policies that perpetuate underdevelopment and dependence – with countless foundations, NGOs and other bodies with ties to transnational corporations and to political power structures playing a particularly perverse role in this process.
1.2.4. In spite of the fact that inter-imperialist contradictions are intensifying, events show us that big capital and imperialism have not given up their coordination in imposing policies to enhance the exploitation of workers, to ensure imperialist domination and the plunder of peoples, to forcibly open up markets to the penetration of big capital, or to conduct wars of aggression. In furthering these goals, a key role is played by several supra-national institutions and coordination forums – with unequal relations of power within them –, prominent among which are the IMF, the World Bank, the G7+1, the WTO, NATO, the ICC and the European Union, and also, on another level, the Trilateral Commission, the Davos Forum and the Bilderberg conferences.
Institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank – who bear special responsibility for the policies that have been imposed and led to the current situation – are being strengthened in the midst of the crisis, and are liaising (a case in point is the European Union with the IMF) to, with a new façade, continue to impose upon peoples the same policies of capital concentration and centralization, enhanced exploitation of workers and peoples, and plunder of public resources.
1.2.5. Side by side with the reconfiguration of States, stepped-up attacks are being undertaken against democratic rights.
This is being done through: attempts to contain, repress and criminalise social struggles; restrictions on trade-union and political activities; political persecution against communist parties and against revolutionary and progressive forces; promotion and institutionalisation of anti-communism; fostering conspiracies and staging coups d'etat in countries that undertake progressive and democratic policies and assert their sovereignty; imposing governments bypassing the people's will; generalising interference and blackmail against peoples; militarising domestic security issues; expanding control over citizens' private lives; imposing international treaties that have been negotiated bypassing all democratic processes. Big capital and the political forces and institutions that serve it are sponsoring a proliferation of measures to roll back the democratic gains achieved through the struggles of workers and peoples, to pervert the concept of democracy, distorting it to match their own interests and goals.
1.2.6. In an attempt to back up their domination and expansion strategy, the major imperialist powers are enhancing their manipulation and control over the UN, stripping it of content. This process is in breach of the United Nations Charter and seeks to pervert and destroy international law. The United Nations are increasingly being transformed by the imperialist powers, and turned into a submissive structure to further their interests and strategies, and even into an accomplice in its aggressions and wars, as was clearly the case in the aggression against Libya.
In the midst of growing social, political and militarist violence against peoples, and with major signs of crisis appearing in the liberal bourgeois representation system (particularly in Europe), imperialism is stepping up its ideological offensive even further, in an attempt to cover up capitalism's exploitative and oppressive nature: generating factors that lead to class splits, fostering conformism and individualism, portraying impoverishment, removal of rights and social regression as inevitable, conveying the message that it is impossible to implement fundamental changes to the capitalist system and that it is “necessary” to submit to the interests of big capital and the major powers.
Openly reactionary, racist and xenophobic theories are promoted, as is obscurantism. “Aid” and charity are institutionalised. Education systems are being overrun by a wave of privatisation, their social function is being perverted, and they are being made to operate as tools of ideological “formatting”, with knowledge and education being commoditised.
Big capital is increasingly using religions and mysticism to mitigate the social outcome of its policies, by promoting religious fundamentalism and fostering sectarian and confessional conflicts.
1.2.7. Using discrimination-based ideologies and the “clash of civilisations” theory, big capital is trying to single out immigrants as suspects, potential criminals or people who have to be expelled, thus providing breathing space, credit and strength to the most aggressive fascist-leaning circles, who are in turn gaining ground in elections – as in France, the Netherlands, Greece, Hungary, Austria. Stepped-up capitalist exploitation and oppression nourishes the actions of fascist forces. Political regimes in the major capitalist centres are moving toward a legitimisation and institutionalisation of this type of forces. Social regression and de-structuring, the oppression of national sentiment, and the openly reactionary character of policies put forward by the right-wing and by social-democracy provide fertile breeding ground for these forces to propagate their ideology of racial and social hatred.
1.2.8. At the same time, massive operations are conducted to blackmail and influence the people's will, with a view to reorganising the political power systems so as to maintain their class nature and function. This involves in particular a worldwide campaign to rehabilitate and whitewash social-democracy. Especially in the major capitalist centres, social-democracy continues to be one of capitalism's mainstays.
1.2.9. One of the major platforms for imperialism's ideological offensive is the worldwide fabric of communication transnationals, whose ownership is becoming increasingly centralised into big “information” oligopolies held by big economic and financial corporations. Making use of great scientific and technological gains and of the fact that they have been privately appropriated, imperialism is working to increasingly manipulate, centralise, pervert the use of, and dominate, the new information technologies. But, as in other spheres, the “world” of new technologies, and in partcular of social networks, is itself an arena of fierce political and ideological struggle, in which revolutionary and progressive forces must participate in an organised fashion.
1.2.10. The obvious difficulty that the ruling classes are having in countering capitalism's deepening structural crisis implies that there is a real danger that imperialism will try to preserve its power and defend its class interests by increasingly resorting to violence. Imperialism has not only pursued, but also intensified its militaristic offensive so as: to open the field to free circulation of capital and to discretionary power for transnational corporations; to control markets and trade and energy flow routes; to appropriate raw materials, natural resources, as well as energy and food resources; to ensure access to cheap labour force; to ensure access to political and economic zones of influence and contain progressive processes, and any processes where peoples assert their sovereignty; to ensure control over technologies (particularly energy and environment-related technologies) as well as geo-strategic and geo-political domination.
Events are belying imperialism's whitewashing campaigns based on fabricated “changes” such as the election of Barack Obama or François Hollande. The goals and nature of US and European Union policies – where NATO plays a starring role – have not changed. The rhetoric about “multilateralism” and “dialogue” is laid bare by US, European Union and NATO warmongering and interventionist policies; by the proliferation of regions suffering aggression; by an even greater militarisation of international relations; by the strengthening of political-military blocs; by the proliferation of provocations and terrorist acts and of State terrorism, and also by the maintenance of illegal and criminal practices, such as detention camps, torture and selective assassinations.
1.2.11. Imperialism's militaristic and recolonisation offensive continues to affect particular regions rich in natural resources and raw materials, and energy routes. At the same time, imperialism's militarisation and recolonisation strategy is also increasingly determined by major geo-strategic issues and by attempts to dominate emerging markets and control resources such as water, or minerals used in high-tech products. A vast offensive is being waged – extending from North Africa to the Far East, but also affecting Latin America. In the current context – of growing clashes between the imperialist centre and its periphery and of ever-sharper inter-imperialist contradictions – this offensive carries within it the danger that these military conflicts may extend worldwide, with unpredictable consequences.
Components of imperialism's aggressive and expansionist strategy include: the aggression against Libya, the establishment of AFRICOM, the interferences, armed aggressions and instigation of conflicts in a large number of African countries, from the Gulf of Guinea to the Horn of Africa; the diversion of people's struggles in countries such as Egypt; the attempts to crush the people's revolts in Bahrain and Yemen by force; maintaining the de facto occupation of, and state of war in, Iraq; continuing impunity, with imperialism's support, for Israel's policy of State terrorism against the Palestinian people; the gigantic campaign of destabilization and aggression aganist Syria; the provocations and warmongering escalation against Iran; the aggression against Afghanistan, and its extension to Pakistan, with no end in sight; the provocations against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; the militarisation of the South Pacific and a growing number of provocations targeting the People's Republic of China. This strategy's key directions are: a geo-strategic encirclement of China, the implementation of the “greater Middle East” project, and a wave of recolonisation in the African continent.
1.2.12. Worthy of note is also the attempt to contain, and if possible roll back, the democratic and progressive processes in Latina America. Here, imperialism's subversive reaction is being stepped up – with the support of national oligarchies and sections of the big bourgeoisie – and exerting great pressure on governments. They have already pulled off coups d'etat in Honduras and Paraguay, stepped up violence, repression and exploitation (as in Mexico, Colombia, Panama and Chile, among others), set up military bases such as in Colombia, or enhanced their military presence as is the case with the US 4th fleet.
The main target of this imperialist counter-offensive are the ALBA countries, in particular Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and others. But it is also concerned with “containment” of Brazil and the sovereign stands it takes on the international arena.
1.2.13. Despite the profound economic crisis in the main capitalist economies, the main NATO powers have kept up, and in some cases increased, their military expenditure, whilst also strengthening the militarization of political and economic blocs and inducing growth in the military expenditure of several emerging powers. The hypocritical US and NATO concerns with the increase in military expenditures by countries that are not NATO members are exposed by: the fact that NATO powers are responsible for the overwhelming majority of world military expenditure; they are at the forefront of the development of new, more powerful and sophisticated weapons systems; they constantly expand a world-wide web of military bases abroad; and they are responsible for all the major military conflicts of our times. Particularly serious, in this context, is the deployment by the US and NATO of the «anti-missile system», a very dangerous threat to strategic nuclear balance and to the security of the entire planet.
Imperialism, and in particular US imperialism, attempts by various means to take as much advantage as possible from its military superiority, so as to counter the trend of its relative economic decline. To this end, and despite growing internal contradictions, NATO continues to assert and strengthen itself as the most important arena for liaison and the articulation of the various aspects of imperialism's militarist and war-mongering offensive. There, inter-imperialist rivalries and contradictions are settled, in the name of their common class interests. With its Lisbon (November 2010) and Chicago (April 2012) Summits, NATO further escalated its brazenly aggressive nature, further concentrated its command structure, involved ever more States in a criminal and war-mongering strategy, which makes the struggle to dissolve this aggressive and war-mongering structure even more pressing.
But, if it is true that imperialism's offensive has known dangerous and swift developments in the past four years, which place Humankind in even greater danger, it is also true that the intensification of this offensive is, in itself, a sign of the decadence of the capitalist system, which continues confronting a growing resistance and struggle by the peoples, that does not leave imperialism's hands totally free.
Potential and prospects for the struggle of the workers and peoples
1.3.1.The ever-deeper crisis of capitalism has sharpened and expanded the class struggle. Policies that transfer the cost of the crisis to the shoulders of the workers and other anti-monopoly strata have brutally worsened their living standards, created more inequality, generated discontent and revolt and provided impetus for organized struggle, thereby objectively expanding the social and political front opposed to imperialism. The narrowing down of capitalism's social base of support, together with the greater resistance and struggle for concrete anti-monopoly and anti-capitalist-oriented goals, make progressive and revolutionary advances possible. The more the revolutionary vanguards - which seek a break with capitalism and project socialism as the alternative - assert themselves, the more profound and consistent these will be.
1.3.2. The struggle of the workers and peoples, despite the difficult conditions in which it was waged, was marked by a great diversity, intensity and breadth of mass actions of resistance against the policies of big capital and imperialism.
1.3.3.The struggle for the right to work and for labour rights, together with the struggle in defence of peoples' sovereignty and self-determination, took on a mass character. In this period, they represented the main axes of activity by the workers and peoples and their class, social and political organizations.
The struggle of the working class and of working people in general was marked by very powerful mass actions, in which the class trade union movement had the main role in raising awareness and mobilizing. Millions of workers from all continents took part in powerful actions and movements of struggle.
The struggle of other strata and sectors of the population to assert and defend their specific interests also registered important expressions throughout the world. This is borne out by: the activity of peasant masses – rural wage-labourers, landless peasants or those with small or medium-sized farms that are over-exploited or bankrupt – against the conditions imposed upon them by the major agro-industrial companies and by big commerce; the struggle of youth in defence of the right to a job and to education, in defence of peace and democratic rights; women's struggle, confronting significant regressions in their rights and the persistence of multiple forms of oppression and exploitation which deny them the most elementary right to dignity; the struggle of intellectuals and technical cadres which, hit by unemployment and precariousness, are joining the more general struggle of wage workers.
1.3.4.In Latin America, the development of sovereign, progressive and anti-imperialist processes, with their bonds of cooperation, continues to decisively mark the evolving balance of forces and confronts imperialism's traditional hegemony in the region. The political orientation of governments with the participation of left-wing parties, including Communists, has played a fundamental role in ensuring important emancipating advances. The region is today an important stimulus for the struggle to build alternatives of development and social progress and one of the main pillars of anti-imperialist resistance.
The increasingly profound mechanisms of cooperation and integration – ALBA, UNASUL, CELAC – have contributed to advance those processes, based on the assertion of the sovereign rights of the member States and on the rejection of US imperialism's colonialism and tutelage. The case of ALBA, which was developed by socialist Cuba and bolivarian Venezuela, takes on special importance. It represents a qualitative leap with an anti-imperialist and even anti-capitalist content.
1.3.5.The struggle against imperialism's recolonizing and aggressive offensive, for progress and to assert national rights, represents an important trait of the peoples' struggle. The resistance against the policies of interference, aggression and war have taken on an undeniable importance in general, with the military defeats of the USA in Iraq representing a serious setback for US imperialism and with the defeat of Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip.
In some Arab countries, the masses of the people rose up in defence of their economic, social and political rights. Dictatorships were overthrown in Tunisia and Egypt. In Yemen and Bahrain large-scale progressive struggles continue. But the course of the so-called “Arab spring” was strongly characterized by a multi-pronged imperialist intervention, in which the war of aggression against Libya and the destabilization and aggression against Syria play a prominent role. However, the Arab peoples' resistance continues, confronting the simultaneous danger of an intensified imperialist and Zionist oppression based, on the one hand, on the imposition of dictatorial regimes, and on the other, on the promotion of reactionary forces with a religious fundamentalist basis.
Also in Africa, the peoples have carried out important actions of struggle against interference and aggression, against the increasing military presence of big imperialist powers, acts of subversion, secessions and wars, as occurred in Libya, Guinea-Bissau, the Ivory Coast, Sudan, Somalia and other countries.
In the context of imperialism's violent offensive, the struggle of peoples for their self-determination and independence continued. Against occupation, the settlements, repression and the expulsion from their territories, the Palestinian people have heroically resisted in defence of freedom and their inalienable national rights, and the Saharawi people continue their tenacious struggle against occupation and for self-determination and the sovereign right to make full use of their territory's natural wealth.
1.3.6.In various countries the struggle in defence of democracy, of labour, social and democratic rights has had a significant expression.
1.3.7.The activity of the forces of peace and solidarity acquires redoubled importance, given imperialism's growing aggressiveness, its interference in the internal affairs of, and aggression against, sovereign countries, together with an ideological campaign of mystification. Despite the persistence of weaknesses and shortcomings in the movement for peace and solidarity among the peoples, there have been important and growing campaigns against militarism and NATO, for disarmament, against the deployment of the anti-missile system in Europe, against imperialism's aggressions, in defence of international law and demanding the respect for the principles of the UN's founding Charter.
1.3.8.In various countries there have been movements of protest and “indignation”, in which diverse strata and sectors have taken part. Presented as spontaneous and informal, they are essentially characterized by their great social and political heterogeneity, by very diverse expressions, levels of conscience and organization and by nebulous, partial and even contradictory demands.
In some cases, prolonged actions with strong popular support and consistent mass scale have taken place. In others, there have been occasional movements which quickly evaporate. This evolution depends, in part, on prejudice against the working-class movement; on the lack of clear and coherent goals, and on the centrality given to partial causes, at the expense of the class struggle; on the insufficiently clear position vis a vis the nature of capitalism and the championing of the “lack” of organization.
As was also the case with the so-called «anti-globalization movement», whose analyses and prospects were characterized by the PCP in previous Congresses – a characterization that has been fully confirmed – these movements reflect, in any case, an objective narrowing of capitalism's social basis of support, a reality that cannot be ignored. However, it is necessary to expose the instrumentalisation of these movements by the ruling class, in an attempt to dissipate discontentment and revolt, to oppose the organized people's movement and, at the same time, to counter the tendency to de-centre the struggle from the national level in the name of hazy “internationalisms”, to promote anarchic practices and to deviate real feelings of revolt towards reformism.
It is of the utmost importance to ensure that the readiness expressed by the most diverse social strata that are affected by the policies of imperialism, may result in a convergence with the organized working-class and people's movement. Only organized forms of struggle for concrete goals can ensure that discontentment is not dissipated by incoherent actions or absorbed by the system.
1.3.9.As the material conditions to overcome capitalism ripen, the struggle of ideas acquires even greater importance, so that the masses can gain conscience of the superiority, relevance and need for socialism, and confidence in the decisive force of their organized struggle.
The contradiction between the ripening objective conditions (namely the worsening crisis of capitalism and its ever-deeper contradictions) and the relative lagging of the subjective factor (namely on the ideological and organizational levels) can lead to either a reformist capitulation and adaptation or to situations of voluntarism and sectarianism. It is necessary to fight on two fronts: to fight against social-democratic reformism and against left-wing adventurism. Whilst valuing important processes of an anti-imperialist and progressive nature which invoke socialism, it is necessary to stress that socialism is not built forgoing the historical experiences of socialism, nor ignoring the key issues of the Marxist-Leninist view of revolution.
1.3.10.Imperialism's offensive, as well as the global nature of the crisis of capitalism, place added requirements on the development of the struggle, namely in what regards the articulation and dialectic relation between its national and international expressions. There is a need for steps towards more actions of internationalist cooperation and solidarity, defining concrete common or converging elements of struggle.
However, reality proves that supranational movements, detached from the real processes of struggle in each country and built from above, with the imposition of «models» or «recipes», as well as the theorizing of concepts such as «the movement of movements» or «supranational political and revolutionary subjects» does not just not solve problems and challenges that can only be overcome by strengthening the struggle at the national level, as it may lead to the appearance of splits and the de-characterization of movements and processes of struggle, with their assimilation by the system.
1.3.11. In the context of resistance against imperialism's hegemonic domination, several countries acquire particular relevance on an international level (China, Cuba, DPR Korea, Laos and Vietnam). Not being part of the capitalist system, they objectively represent a factor of containment of the latter's goal of world domination. Asserting the construction of a socialist society as their orientation and goal, and essentially preserving the predominance of the social property of the means of production, these countries today confront new challenges, problems and contradictions, which are not just inherent to their own processes, but are made worse by the economic and financial pressure of capitalism and its crisis, and are vastly amplified by campaigns of destabilization and ideological offensive.
With very diverse realities and situations regarding the degree of development and organization of their economies, their social situation, their culture, the role of the Communist party and its links with the masses, the priority of their immediate and national tasks, these countries must continue to deserve permanent and careful observation and analysis, both because of their experiences and achievements and because of the question marks and disagreements, some of which on issues of principle, regarding certain guidelines in these countries. This, regardless of the specificities, paths and histories of each people that embarks on the construction of socialism and taking into account that there are no models or single paths of social transformation. This is the case, namely, of guidelines that distance themselves from principles and characteristics of the edification of socialist societies, whether in terms of economic organization – with options that lead to the emergence of a bourgeoisie that, as it becomes stronger, will tend to demand [political] power - or in terms of the political system, with the enfeeblement of the masses' creative participation and of the democratic workings of the Party and the State.
The PCP reaffirms its unequivocal struggle against, and exposure of, imperialism's activities which permanently targets these countries with its policy of aggression, interference and destabilization, seeking to destroy examples of resistance, patriotism and persistence, or to contain, counter or even assimilate within its system of exploitation and world domination, important economic and geo-strategic realities.
It is in the interest of the forces of social progress and peace that, with coherence and persistence in the goal of socialism, the peoples of these countries oppose such pretensions of imperialism and that, as all other peoples of the world, they may decide their own course of development, free from all foreign interference or pressure.
1.3.12. The anti-imperialist front has been characterized by resistance against imperialism's exploitative and aggressive offensive, albeit with an extraordinary diversity of components and in a context of consolidation and advances, but also of retreats.
Of particular significance were processes of popular uprisings in the struggle for democracy, large-scale movements in defense of rights and achievements, namely against the dismantling of public services, against privatizations and other «austerity measures», which saw the convergence of personalities, social strata and organizations with different ideological references. Unity around concrete demands stimulates the consolidation of broad social alliances of an anti-capitalist and anti-monopoly nature, thereby making the resistance struggle against the offensive of big capital and imperialism more effective. Communists have a special responsibility in strengthening and deepening the broad, mass nature of the various expressions of the anti-imperialist front, and very much in particular, in stimulating the dynamic of the broad-based world-wide organizations that were created after the victory over Nazi-fascism, such as the World Peace Council, the Women's International Democratic Federation – both of which held their Conferences this year – the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the International Federation of Resistance Fighters.
1.3.13. The existence of organized Communist Parties, linked to the masses and their national realities, with their ideology and class independence, their internationalist solidarity and cooperation, is of extraordinary importance in confronting capitalism's structural crisis, imperialism's aggressiveness and the ever more pressing need for a revolutionary break, with socialism as its goal.
The PCP works within the International Communist and Revolutionary Movement, with full autonomy, based on its own experience, in accordance with the principles of proletarian internationalism, committed to those processes that seek to strengthen it, its cooperation and mutual solidarity.
1.3.14. Not yet recovered from the crisis into which it fell with the defeats of socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe, the International Communist and Revolutionary Movement is still marked by weaknesses and various difficulties. In the meantime, the dispersion that marked the 90s has become less intense. Assessments of relevant aspects of international affairs have grown closer, advances have been made regarding joint stances and important steps forward were taken in what concerns the exchange of experiences, cooperation and joint action.
However, side by side with processes of political, organizational and even ideological recovery, social-democratizing tendencies persist and continue to develop, with the abandoning of ideological references, organizational principles and strategic goals that characterize Communist Parties. On the other hand, there are expressions of dogmatic, schematic and sectarian views and practices. Both make the march towards the recovery and the strengthening of the Communist movement more difficult.
1.3.15. The PCP continues to pay special attention to the need to strengthen the cooperation and solidarity between Communist, progressive and left-wing parties in the European continent and will continue contributing towards a stronger, more effective and coherent cooperation and solidarity which, whilst respecting the identity, autonomy, independence and history of each Party, focuses on the goal of unity in action and values that which unites the ensemble of forces that oppose capitalism and imperialism's offensive.
Thus, and on an institutional level, the PCP continues committed to cooperate in the European Parliament, through the framework of the United Left Group/Nordic Green Left, despite contradictions that result from its heterogeneous composition and the problems that have not been overcome in what regards European cooperation. The PCP will continue devoting its efforts to preserving the confederal nature of the GUE/NGL and to strengthen its progressive and militant nature, for a different Europe, of the workers and the peoples.
1.3.16. The reasons that led the PCP to not join the European Left Party remain valid. The facts have confirmed the warnings made by the Portuguese Communists that a structure with the ELP's characteristics, of a supranational and reformist nature, more than contribute towards the unity and cooperation of the Communist and progressive forces of Europe, would introduce new factors of division, distancing and misunderstanding, making it more difficult to achieve advances in the cooperation and solidarity between the Communists and left-wing forces in Europe, and with impact also on other arenas of cooperation, namely GUE/NGL in the European Parliament.
1.3.17. In the European continent, as well as internationally, there are growing expressions of views seeking to ensure the ideological homogeneisation and structuring of the Communist movement, namely through the creation of poles or structures. Given the prevailing circumstances, the diversity of paths, options and situations, this will not promote the unity in action of Communists, nor of these with other forces.
1.3.18. The struggle to strengthen the Communist parties and their cooperation and solidarity faces today, with the crisis of capitalism, favourable conditions, as long as the parties grow roots among the working class and the masses, organise the struggle, take into account the concrete situation in each country and the readiness of the masses for the struggle and advance the prospect of revolutionary transformations. Only through the workers' conscientious participation can conditions be created for the development of the struggle and to forge the unity and solidarity ensuring advances of social progress.
The PCP attaches particular importance to the development of its relations of friendship and cooperation on a bilateral level, with a view to the recovery and unity of the Communist movement, which is still undergoing a phase of instability and definition of its components. At the same time, the PCP defends forms of cooperation and joint and converging action on a multilateral level, with a view to ensuring unity in action on the basis of essential principles of equality of rights, respect for differences, autonomy in decision-making, and non-interference in internal affairs, mutual frankness and solidarity.
1.3.19. In this sense, the PCP gives special attention to the process of the International Meetings of Communist and Workers' Parties, a multilateral process of cooperation and solidarity which, regardless of operational and functional shortcomings and delays in the materialization of lines of joint or converging action or in the relationship with other components and arenas of the anti-imperialist front, has enabled a great many Communist and Workers' Parties to converge, with better mutual acquaintance and a broad collective discussion on many aspects of the international situation. This process is thus confirmed as an important experience of non-structured cooperation which, despite having borders that do not correspond exactly to the world Communist and revolutionary movement, is in accordance with the concrete prevailing conditions. It must continue to be valued and deepened.
1.3.20. In the present international framework, the cooperation of the Communist and revolutionary movement with other democratic, progressive and anti-imperialist forces is of particular importance, asserting specific identity and goals, without dilutions, but contributing towards an exchange of experiences and unity in action with a view to fulfilling short-term tasks. It is in this context that the PCP continues paying attention to arenas such as the São Paulo Forum and tries to become better acquainted with ongoing processes in other continents, such as Africa.
1.3.21.Uncertainty and instability are defining traits of the international situation. The dangers that result from the deepening contradictions of capitalism must not be underestimated. But historical experience and the facts show that, by developing the mass struggle and the solidarity of Communists and progressive and peace-loving forces throughout the world, it is possible to cast aside these dangers and advance on the path of social transformation and of overcoming capitalism through revolution.
1.4.Socialism, the alternative to capitalism
1.4.1. The crisis of capitalism further highlights its exploiting, aggressive and predatory nature, exposes the system's irresolvable contradictions and proves the need and relevance of the Communist ideal and project.
Little over two decades have elapsed since the tragic defeats of socialism in the Soviet Union and the East European countries. The dramatic consequences that resulted for the peoples of those countries and for the world become increasingly obvious. The planet-wide extension of the capitalist exploitation system is worsening the problems of the workers and peoples to an extraordinary degree and is dragging the world to a regression of civilisational proportions. Capitalism's incapacity to control its contradictions is blatant. In fact, those contradictions express themselves in increasingly acute ways, highlighting the need for anti-monopoly measures and placing the need to overcome the capitalist mode of production as a requirement of our times.
With the worsening structural crisis of capitalism, there are growing inter-imperialist rivalries and contradictions, and dangerous authoritarian and militaristic tendencies are maturing. The difficulties which the ruling centres face increase the danger that they will resort to forceful means of destroying excess productive forces, thereby re-launching capital's cycle of reproduction. The web of contradictions confronting the capitalist system is so dense that, in a context of developing struggles by the workers and peoples, great dangers of civilizational regression and even for the existence of Humankind, coexist with great potential for progressive and revolutionary transformation. This is a reality which the Communists must keep in mind in their day-to-day action, always connecting the struggle against big capital's offensive and for concrete and short-term goals with the struggle for profound changes of an anti-monopolisty and anti-imperialist nature and for a socialist society. This is a requirement of the epoch in which we live, an epoch which was inaugurated by the October Revolution and is the epoch of the transition from capitalism to socialism.
1.4.2. The need for socialism, an alternative system to capitalism, is today increasingly present in the political and ideological debate. Although with difficulty, the tendency is for the Communist ideal and project to recover its power of attraction among the masses. The exploitative, aggressive, predatory, inhuman and criminal nature of capitalism is made more obvious by the deepening crisis. It proves the correctness and relevance of Marxism-Leninism's analyses regarding the development of capitalism and the historical need to overcome it through revolution. Despite the continuing campaigns of lies and slanders and not forgetting real shortcomings, errors and distortions that countered the Communist ideal, it is indisputable that it was with the undertaking of the edification of a new society in the USSR and other socialist countries, that Humankind lived through times of development, progress and peace. And it is with its defeat, with capitalism freed from its powerful reality, from the force of its example, from its solidarity with the struggle of the workers and the peoples and from the remarkable impetus which it provided for the achievement of civilizational advances, that we witness the regression of rights and living standards of the peoples of the whole world.
1.4.3. Historical experience shows that the struggle of the workers and the peoples can contain capitalism's most aggressive and exploitative thrusts, can secure important achievements and can impose democratic, popular, anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist transformations. The existence of intermediate stages in the struggle for socialism, which determine the relevant goals and alliances of the working class is an unavoidable reality. This does not mean that there are rigid and unsurmountable barriers between the various stages of the revolutionary process, nor that socialism should not be put on the horizon of the processes of social change, as an essential requirement for the victory of its liberating goals.
1.4.4. Only socialism, with the workers' taking power, with the conscientious and creative participation of the masses, with the social property of the main means of production, with the rational planning of economy, has the potential to free the productive forces, to place them at the service of the general interest and to provide solutions for Humankind's great problems.
The PCP, while recognizing the existence of general laws of the revolutionary process – namely those relating to the role of the working class, of the masses' intervention, of the Party, of power and of property – has long formulated the thesis that there are not, and cannot be, models of revolution and socialism, and that the path to taking power and the concrete solutions for building a new society cannot be exported nor copied.
1.4.5.Each people will reach socialism through diversified paths and the new society will be built in accordance with each country's concrete conditions – with its History, traditions, culture, level of development, revolutionary experience, with the rooting and experience of the revolutionary vanguard force and within the international context, learning from the positive and negative experiences of the processes of edification of socialism in the 20th century. In this sense, the Party's analyses regarding the causes and consequences of the defeats of socialism, adopted at the 13th, 14th and 18th PCP Congresses, have proved to be of great importance in guiding the Portuguese Communists through the difficult ideological battle which has been imposed upon them and continue to be of great relevance. Further developments and updatings must be based on this solid and tested Party legacy.
1.4.6. If a conclusion must be stressed, in the Portuguese Communist Party's analysis regarding the new economic and social system, it is that achieving, preserving and consolidating socialism requires not just the support of the masses, but their conscious and creative commitment. It will be in the class struggle, in the social and political battle for their most heart-felt interests and aspirations, together with the militant dissemination of the PCP's Programme, that the masses will gain awareness of the need and possibility of replacing the old capitalist society with a new socialist and communist society. In the conditions of Portugal, which experienced a profound revolution whose reality, experience and values continue marking the struggle of the Portuguese people for a better life, freed from capitalist exploitation and imperialist oppression, this process will undergo the stage of an Advanced Democracy, in itself an integral part of the struggle for socialism.
In an uncertain and dangerous international situation, but one in which great potential for quick developments towards social progress and socialism also emerges, the existence of strong Communist Parties is of crucial importance. Parties that are steadfast in their Communist identity, guided by Marxism-Leninism and closely linked to the working class and the people, militant and with confidence in the force of the masses in movement and in the Communist ideal and project. Whatever the difficulties, their role is irreplaceable, for the defensive battles and in accumulating strength, as well as to guide the masses in new periods of revolutionary ascent and advance.
The national situation and the break with right-wing policies
2.1. Right-wing policies and the situation of the country
2.1.1. Economic decline, social regression, impoverishment of the democratic regime, loss of sovereignty: this is the result of 36 years of right-wing policies determined by the interests of big capital and subordinated to capitalist integration in the European Union. These policies are responsible for the strangulation of the national economy, the accumulation of structural deficits and the destruction of the productive sector, with the resulting reduction of national production and waste of resources, and thus increased the country's vulnerability to the present expression of the crisis of capitalism.
The «national crisis» – whose main right-wing promoters invoke, to accentuate an unprecedented offensive against the rights of workers and the people – is without doubt an intrinsic expression of the development of capitalist relations of production imposed on the country, and is inseparable from the action of the successive PS, PSD and CDS governments. This crisis, although tied with the structural crisis of capitalism, did not come from abroad or invade the country unexpectedly. But that is how it is being portrayed and used – to shirk responsibilities for the consequences of right-wing policies, to justify the destruction of rights and achievements reached with the April Revolution, to impose new regressions, and to favour capitalist accumulation.
The international economic crisis – present expression of the structural crisis of capitalism – entails increased risk of deepening the national economic and social problems, while in its name the same policies that led the country to the present situation persist and are intensified.
2.1.2. The capitalist management of the crisis, by deepening exploitation and what accompanies it, is itself a prelude to new crises. The answer of the ruling class does not solve any of the national problems. If not defeated, it will lead the country towards greater dependence and impoverishment, plunging it into an endless spiral in which austerity, imposed in the name of the fight against the deficit, will increase the recession and generate new demands for even more austerity, always built upon the ashes of the rights and incomes of those who work and the ruin of hundreds of thousands of families and companies.
2.1.3. The central issue – a way out of the «crisis» that is in the interest of the workers and people – necessitates a break with right-wing policies, and with the Pact of Aggression in whose name they are being pushed and intensified. This requires the construction of alternative – patriotic and left-wing – policies.
2.2. The evolution of the European Union – a process that is jeopardising Portugal's national interests and development
2.2.1. Together with more than 30 years of right-wing policies – and, as the PCP predicted – the nature and evolution of the capitalist integration process in Europe (the European Union) and the effect of its policies are one of the fundamental causes of the profound crisis in Portugal's domestic economic, social and political situation.
The evolution of the European Union is marked by the accelerated deepening of its neoliberal, federalist and militarist path, with dire consequences for workers, the people and the country. The fusion process between the large monopolies' economic power and the European institutions political power is intensifying. A directorate of big powers, under Germany’s hegemony, is reaffirming its power in leading «European integration». Neoliberalism is being confirmed as the official doctrine of the European Union. There is a deepening of the interventionist and militarist character of the European Union, the European pillar of NATO.
2.2.2. One of the key pieces in this strategy is the Lisbon Treaty. Following on earlier treaties, the Lisbon Treaty institutionalized neoliberalism as the economic doctrine of the EU, deepened its federalism as a means of concentrating power in big European capital and the big European powers, consolidated a number of instruments in the areas of so-called «foreign policy» and «security» geared toward supporting increased interventionism and militarism.
2.2.3. The creation of the euro has been confirmed as part of the strategic project of domination by big capital and the main European capitalist powers, as an instrument to serve the exploitation of labour and deepening of the conditions of capital’s profitability.
Behind the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the so-called price stability lies the goal of reducing the unit costs of labor. The EMU emerged as one of the main instruments to allow greater liberalization of the movement of capital and, therefore, of multinational capital's degree of mobility in its quest for better conditions to exploit labour force and dominate markets within the European sphere. We can observe the consequences: degradation of living and working conditions; destruction of productive sectors and accentuated de-industrialisation in the «peripheral» countries, turning them into both «consumers» of surplus production and suppliers of cheap labour; increase in macroeconomic imbalance between the different countries of the euro zone – it is this latter factor that, together with the transformation of private debt into public debt, lies at the origin of the «net importer» States' debt, of their dependence and of the imposition, by their «creditors», of policies contrary to their interests.
Simultaneously, the euro is confirmed as a central instrument in inter-imperialist competition and rivalry. Artificially maintaining a strong euro, in the context of competition with the dollar, is the origin of profound economic problems for the countries with more fragile economies and of the speculative attacks targeting countries like Portugal. The European Central Bank policy fulfills the triple role of cheapening the refinancing of big capital, promoting the dependence of States by forcing them to rely on the big European economic and financial conglomerates to finance themselves, and promoting the over-exploitation of workers by covering the loss of wages' buying power by providing access to credit.
The path of the euro and the EU are inseparable. Economic integration led to the reinforcement of supra-nationality, and the successive federalist steps have aimed and aim at maintaining economic integration, in accordance with the interests of big capital and the main imperialist powers. This path is inseparable from the class nature, objectives and function of the EU. It is inseparable from the attempt to create an imperialist «super-State», with colonial relations of domination within it – at the expense of States' sovereignty, of peoples' living conditions and right to development, and of democracy itself.
2.2.4. Having deconstructed the ideological propaganda about «economic and social cohesion», with which it justified the integration process, the European Union has evolved toward a deep social regression, intensifying the relations of dependence and accentuating the imbalances in member-States' economic and social development.
The profound social crisis that is spreading throughout the European Union, is irrefutable proof of the impossibility of reconciliation of the pillars of the EU with the rights of Europe's workers and peoples.
Heir to the failed «Lisbon strategy», the so-called «EU 2020» strategy intensified the agenda and priorities to impose a new stage in the processes of privatization and liberalization of fundamental sectors. This affects the basic strategic sectors and public services, destroying fundamental social functions of the State, imposing the dismantling of the public administration, a regression regarding labour relations, a decrease in wages and pensions, the increase of the retirement age, the destruction of public education, health and social security systems.
2.2.5. The «financial readjustment programs» are part of this goal. They are brutal programs of impoverishing countries, the working and popular masses and of transferring public resources to big capital. Their immediate role is to ensure the financing of banks by States.
New instruments of political and budgetary domination were developed (European semester, economic governance and the budgetary treaty, as well as the agenda of discussion around «constitutional elements essential to the future Economic and Monetary Union») that are in profound contradiction with the interests of peoples and countries like Portugal – and have devastating consequences for its development and its sovereignty.
The creation of instruments based on the total subordination of political power to economic power, and their promiscuity, aims essentially at safeguarding the interests of big finance capital. They are attempts to save the euro as big capital’s and the big powers' instrument, nullify the increasing contradictions among powers, and create more speedy and efficient methods and mechanisms of transferring labour incomes and public resources to big finance capital. The Financial Stabilization Mechanism – associated with the future of the EMU, the role of the ECB and the deceitful European debt securities (eurobonds) – is nothing but a speculative fund constituted by the contributions of States, to increase their sovereign debts and their dependence upon big finance capital. It is one more instrument to increase the centralisation of economic power.
2.2.6. A profound offensive of exploitation has associated itself with a powerful offensive against democracy. The profoundly undemocratic character of European integration was made quite clear in the Lisbon Treaty process; in the blatant interference and blackmail to prevent a referendum on the troika’s memorandum for Greece; the campaign against the referendum on the so-called budgetary treaty in Ireland; the imposition of government «solutions» (as in the case of Greece and Italy) or government programs (as in the case of Portugal, where the Aggression Pact was signed before the elections).
The gradual expropriation of national sovereignty, together with booming poverty and unemployment, are opening the doors to xenophobia, racism and the ensuing enhanced media coverage and electoral expression of openly fascist and neonazi forces. The anti-democratic character of European institutions is deepening, as was made clear in the attempt to institutionalize and promote anti-communism.
2.2.7. Concerning agriculture, there was an acceleration and intensification of the process of liberalizing agriculture and deregulating the EU markets. The reform of the CAP deepens this path, turning agriculture into a bargaining chip in WTO agreements and agreements with third countries.
The Common Fisheries Policy, in its successive reforms, is based on centralized management, detached from reality, and that disregards the specific situation of national fisheries. It is a policy that promotes the indiscriminate elimination of fishing fleets, affecting the sector and the communities that rely upon it. In line with the Lisbon Treaty, the CFP’s reform enshrines a vision of privatization of the seas, with the introduction of private property rights into the access to fisheries resources, and «free access» to exclusive economic zones.
Despite the increasing contradictions within the WTO, the European Union has intensified its policy of bilateral, regional and multilateral economic relations, whose central axis is the liberalization of world trade and the negotiation, or even imposition, of agreements and economic «partnerships» that facilitate the access of economic and financial conglomerates to new markets and larger profits, at the expense of the exploitation of workers and the peoples of the affected countries and regions.
2.2.8. Because of the pressure by the major powers, that want to reduce their contributions towards the budget, the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (2014-2020) will predictably be reduced, in relative terms, relative to the present one and those before it. That means a period of seven years with even smaller budgets and less allocations for the so-called «economic and social cohesion».
Thus, enhanced capitalist integration, and the simultaneous relative devaluing of the instrument destined to promote a supposed and false convergence among member-States – the EU budget –, will have as their inevitable result even greater divergence among member-States.
The proposals to alter the financing of the EU budget, namely the creation of «European taxes» – inseparable from the enhancement of federalism –, if they are implemented, will jeopardize the current system based essentially on direct contributions by member-States, based on their respective Gross National Income. This would further undermine the redistributive function that the budget should have, and would constitute the institution of a EU fiscal policy and a blow to the fiscal sovereignty of States like Portugal.
2.2.9. The evolution of EU policies in the area of justice and internal affairs has deepened the path toward centralisation of justice (a sovereign competency of States) and the increased adoption of security and military measures of internal State security, particularly with the Stockholm program of cooperation among judicial, police and secret service agencies.
2.2.10. The militarization of the EU and its warmongering and interventionist policies are deepening. The application of the Lisbon Treaty has – in conformance with the 2012 NATO summit in Lisbon and the adoption of its new strategic concept – turned into a new and dangerous qualitative step towards the militarization of the EU, which is still the European pillar of NATO.
The Common Security and Defense Policy accentuates the centralization of the so-called «security policy» on the directorate of powers. It provides for member-States to place their civil and military capacities at the EU's disposal, in order to contribute to goals defined by the European Council.
The European External Action Service (EEAS), one of the central points of the Lisbon Treaty and fundamental piece of European federalism, constitutes a diplomatic mega-structure that undermines the representations and interests of member-States, and whose ties to military and secret intelligence structures are clearly assumed.
The European Defense Agency constitutes an institutional expression of the military-industrial complex and a «new impulse» to the development of a war industry and an arms race.
2.2.11. The path of the EU – particularly the Economic and Monetary Union – far from resolving the serious problems that affect all the peoples of the different countries and the EU structure itself, is merely deepening the contradictions and the crisis with no end in sight. The EU is drowning in its own crisis. Capitalism’s classic solution of destroying productive forces – which has raised unemployment to historic highs, imposed economic recession on the peripheral countries as a way to contain the crisis in the main powers – has been unable to avoid the crisis's spread.
The path of the EU is, simultaneously, both cause and expression of the economic, social and political difficulties and contradictions arising out of the evolution of the EU itself. Their sources are the contradictions of the capitalist system in its imperialist stage. More than a «euro crisis» or a crisis resulting from «sovereign debts», the EU is deeply steeped in a crisis of its whole «structure». A crisis of the options and policies enshrined in the treaties and of its political and ideological orientations.
This crisis is already generating new escapes forward. Faced with contradictions between different sectors of big capital, and between different powers within the EU, it is trying to save one of its main instruments of domination – the euro – by a new federalist step in opposition to the so-called «austerity policy».
The present proposals and discussions around the concept of «more Europe, to overcome the crisis» are, in their very nature, identical to the «austerity» policies. That is, they are two expressions of the same neoliberal, militarist and federalist path, no matter how the ideologues of neoliberalism or the forces that claim to be «left Europeanism» may try to portray it.
2.2.12. The model and the system that the ruling classes try to impose on the peoples of Europe are not inevitable. The response of the workers and peoples of various European countries to the ongoing fierce anti-social offensive in the EU demonstrates that another Europe is possible: a Europe based on equal rights for all States, on solidarity, mutual respect, guaranteeing the sovereign right of peoples to choose their own economic, social and political organisation, in defense of peace and cooperation with all the peoples of the world. What the peoples of Europe need, and what they struggle for, is for a true break with the process of capitalist integration in Europe, one that opens the way to building new forms of cooperation between sovereign States, oriented towards mutually advantageous social and economic development, that respects national sovereignty in its very diverse aspects, the independence of peoples, and the values of peace, solidarity and cooperation.
The intensification of Portugal's integration into the EU, and its increasing dependence and fragility, have accentuated the dependence and identification of the big national economic conglomerates on big transnational capital. Portugal is today in an increasingly peripheral, dependent and vulnerable position with respect to the EU framework as a whole and, in particular, with respect to its participation in the EMU.
Being a preferential victim of speculative attacks on the euro, Portugal was dragged by the EU and by successive national governments into the position of easy prey to the mechanisms of extortion of national resources by means of growing foreign debt.
2.2.13. The PCP has always alerted to the grave consequences for the country arising out of the so-called European integration: by clearly denouncing both its capitalist nature and its objectives of building in Europe an imperialist power, and also what joining the EU meant as a process contrary to the nation's needs and interests.
This integration has had serious consequences. But this does not exempt successive governments from their responsibilities: not only in supporting the orientations and options associated with the process of capitalist integration, but also in invoking them in order to pursue and intensify their policies at the service of the interests of big capital. The struggle for a break with right-wing policies – and, at this time, the struggle for the rejection of the Pact of Aggression – is an essential condition for the assertion and defense of national interests.
Determined in its commitment toward Portugal, its workers and people, the PCP reaffirms the Portuguese people's inalienable and full right to decide their own future and choose the paths it considers to correspond to its historic identity, rights and aspirations, to see national interests ensured and prevalent over any other projects that contradict their own. No integration, no matter how advanced in its development, can expropriate this right. The Portuguese people cannot abdicate this right, given the irreconcilable conflict that exists between the nature of this integration, and the indispensable defense of national sovereignty and the interests of workers and people.
2.2.14. Affirming its steadfast commitment in defense of the Portuguese Constitution, the PCP reiterates its rejection of a European integration that is characterized by submission and by conditioning of Portugal’s development. The PCP affirms and renews its commitment to fight for an independent and sovereign Portugal, for a project of cooperation among sovereign and equal States, that breaks with the capitalist integration process in Europe and promotes the improvement of workers' and people's living conditions and the progress of the country, and international solidarity and peace. This commitment is consistent with its goal of democratic, patriotic and internationalist development.
To develop mass struggles and build alternatives
3.0.1. Obeying the schedules and objectives of the great capital and its centres of power, in the framework of the exacerbation of the present crisis of capitalism, towards the intensification of the exploitation and the annihilation of social rights and civilizational conquests, the right parties – PS (Socialist Party) , PSD (Social Democratic Party) and the CDS-PP (Centre Social Democratic- Popular Party), with the support of the President of the Republic, have accomplished during these last 4 years a new and drastic attack to the workers, the living conditions of the people and the national sovereignty.
During these last years, simultaneously with the deep concerns, difficulties and the many sacrifices resulting from the maintenance of the right policy, new perspectives for the increase in fights were opened, thus preventing the implementation of some restrictive measures for the workers and the people in general, and even succeeding in imposing one or other measure contrary to the interests of the great capital. In this context, it is worth stressing the struggles of the working class and the workers in general in defense of the right to work with rights, against precariousness and for salary enhancement, and the fight of the populations in defense of the public services and against the deresponsibilization of the state in what concerns its important social functions as health, education, and social security.
The development of mass struggles, expression of the fights of workers and other non-monopolist classes and strata, that, increasingly has incorporated all those that aim for a better life and do not resign in the face of injustice and exploitation and do not accept a policy of national decline, has constituting by its dimension and convergence of objectives , a decisive factor in the fight against right policy and the demand for an alternative policy thus confirming, by its expression and nature, the timelessness of class struggles
3.0.2. In the present political context, the reinforcement of the organization and of the intervention of organizations and mass movements is a fundamental factor for the expansion of mass struggles.
The situation of our country, and its constant aggravation, has created conditions for wide sectors that have not so far participated in the struggles, to incorporate them more actively. Sectors and layers that, although prone to be attracted by populist dynamics and disperse and inconsequent processes, enlarge and bring new energies to the organized struggle of the Portuguese workers and people.
The workers, men, women and young, that rightly aspire to a better life, which do not resign in the face of injustice and exploitation, all those that do not accept a policy of national decline and abdication of sovereignty those who resist and fight for the right to have rights, can count with the PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) to help them get the necessary and indispensable strength to break with the right policy and to build a new policy for the country.
3.1. The struggles of the working class and the workers as a motor of mass struggles
3.1.1. The latest years have been characterized by na extraordinary development of the struggles of workers in which the CGTP –IN (National Confederation of Portuguese Workers – National Inter-Union) has assumed a central role in the mobilization of those who are the main targets of the offensive. A mass struggle, that assuming expressions of convergence never attained in the last 30 years, has been simultaneously wagged in companies and working places and in the streets. A struggle that, silenced in the media, has proved to be of strategic importance in the fight against all and each one of the measures the great employers, backed by the PS and PSD-CDS governments, have been trying to impose.
3.1.2. A struggle that has been wagged under very difficult conditions, under an intense ideological offensive combined with pressures and blackmail, with fear enforcement and attempts to divide the workers and resorting to repressive forces and illegality, to the instrumentalization of the brutal economic and social difficulties and of situations of unemployment and precariousness. A struggle that thus assumes a greater importance not only because of the courage and determination it expresses, but also because of its role in the resistance and limitations to the objectives of the government and the great capital.
It was among the working class and the workers that the right wing policy met the greater, more consequent and permanent factor of resistance and reaction, crucial in the dinamization of the struggle and resistance to the greater transverse attacks against the population. With their example of resistance, determination, dinamization and involvement, the working class and the workers assumed themselves as motors for the development of mass struggles.
A struggle wagged in different forms (plenary sessions, undersigned documents, strikes and stoppages, demonstrations, meetings and marches) and around real problems in defense of rights in tenths of companies and work places from different areas of activity, either of the private or the public sector.
A courageous struggle to denounce and fight precariousness, wagged in the streets and workplaces, aiming at the unity of all workers and the effective hiring of workers in a precarious situation, with special reference to: the initiatives undertaken by the Interjovem/CGTP-IN ( namely the collecting of more than20 thousand signatures in a petition against precarious work); the Convivial Meetings in 2011 and 2012 against precarious work and unemployment that involved other structures; the actions and demonstrations developed around the National Youth Day.
An intransigent struggle in defense of work posts, for the payment of overdue salaries and in defense of natural production . A struggle for the readjustment of wages.
A struggle that has mobilized several sectors around their specific problems, showing the dissatisfaction and protest of thousands of workers, namely the great demonstration promoted by the Frente Comum dos Sindicatos da Administração Pública (Common Front of Public Administration Unions) on 12th November 2011 (that counted with more than 100 thousand workers), the struggle in the area of transports and communications (the strike on the 27th April) , the teachers’ strike on the 19th January (2011), the struggles of the workers of the local administration (national strike in September 2010) the actions of the workers of the central public administration, in particular the demonstration on February 5th and the national strike on March 4th (2011), the national demonstration of nurses on June 18th (2010) the actions of the textile, clothing and footwear industry sectors (demonstrations on 13th December 2011, 23rd January 2012, 18th April 2012 of the IPSS (Private Institutions of Social solidarity) and CERCI (Cooperative for the Education and Insertion of Disabled Citizens)), the actions developed by the workers of Culture, the various demonstrations promoted by the Associations of security forces professionals (demonstration on the 28th September 2011) and by the professional Associations of military forces, with special reference to the National Meeting on October 22nd 2011 and the demonstration of 12th November 2011.
A struggle that has encountered in moments of convergence its greater mass expressions, in strong demonstrations of its capacity to mobilize that have counted on the organization capacity of the workers and the class union movement to guarantee their dimension. The National demonstrations (Lisbon, March 13th 2009 with more than 200 thousand participants, March 29th 2010 that joined more than 300 thousand demonstrators, the actions all over the country on the 8th July, the decentralized demonstrations in Lisbon and Oporto on the 29th September 2010 and October 1st 2011) and worth stressing the great demonstration on February 11th 2010 that turned the Terreiro do Paço (Palace Square) into the Terreiro do Povo (People’s Square ) are landmarks in the history of the fight of the working class and the workers that cannot be separated from the wide, deep and diversified struggle wagged in hundreds of companies and workplaces.
Remarkable moments in the workers’ struggle, because of their courage and determination, were the three general strikes against which all anti-strike forces were mobilized and against which all measures were valid to try and stop the people’s fight. Strikes on the 24th November 2010, 24th November 2011 and 22nd March 2012, where the workers showed extraordinary illustrations of confidence, determination and availability to continue and even intensify their struggle.
3.1.3. An intense struggle that organizes, involves, mobilizes and contributes to increase the social and political conscience of those who wage and develop it. A struggle wagged in very difficult conditions because of the action of the great capital and its govern, but that represents the only way to combat the increase in exploitation. A process where each struggle counts, even those considered as “the small ones”, where each victory represents a gigantic step that must be valued by its example.
Worth stressing is the important victory achieved by the workers of CP ( Portuguese Railways) in their great struggle for the right to strike, the maintenance of their rights and the effective hiring of all temporary workers of the CP-Carga, the refusal from the workers of Somincor to accept a grievous change of working schedules, the salary equalization in Valorsul, and the effective hiring of workers in BOSH, the JUMBO in Almada, Tempo Team, in Odivelas, CP-Carga, EMEF, mining industry, Webastos, Vanpro and Lisnave Yards and the nurses in Santa Maria Hospital.
3.1.4. The enemy of class knows the capacity and the potentialities of the workers’ struggles. Hence the brutal attack to their class organizations, the investment in the ideological offensive and the attempts to change deeply the correlation of forces in companies and workplaces. An offensive in various fronts, with very concrete expressions in each company and workplace.
The development and intensification of the struggle will bring new challenges to workers, a probable intensification of provocative and divisive actions and initiatives that, as has already been attempted while often alluding to rightful reasons, have as sole aim to divert from the real objectives of the workers, to create false hopes and give excuses for the intensification of repressive actions next to the workers organizations in operations fully articulated and supported by the instruments of the great capital.
3.1.5. The offensive focuses in great measure on the reduction of salaries and wages, on an increase in the working hours, on the generalization of precarious work, on making redundancies easier and cheaper by attacking collective bargaining and by fostering the decrease of the power of labor in relation to capital. Such goals are made effective by the changes in labor legislation in private and public sectors. All and each one of the measures towards a greater exploitation can be barred in companies and workplaces by organizing and mobilizing workers to defeat them and, simultaneously, to demand for higher wages and better living conditions. To identify priorities of intervention and foster the struggle, as it is happening in tenths of companies, is the way. The victories achieved prove that it is necessary and possible to defeat this project.
An intense and prolonged struggle, where all battles count, in a process where great convergence actions, that must forcibly engage permanent sectorial action in companies and workplaces, will necessarily assume a very important role. A struggle, that going so far as the will of the workers and the organization and direction of the Union Movement will take it, is integral part and central element in the defeat of the objectives and the right policy and block the path of destruction in this country and open the way to another policy serving the national interests and attending the needs of the workers.
3.2. The struggles of other strata, sectors, social groups and populations
3.2.1. The great mass dimension, intensity and multiplicity of the fights of the working class and workers has constituted a driving factor in the struggle of other strata, sectors and social groups and populations and in the definition of the objectives of each specific struggle , a stimulus to the understanding that the struggle is the way towards the defense of rights and an element of solidarity and support to its development.
A wide and gradually more extensive set of strata, sectors and social non-monopolist groups and the population in general have increasingly participated in the struggle against right policies and the consequences of the Aggression Pact, resisting to the anti-popular and anti-national orientations of successive governments , demanding the revocation and alteration of grievous measures and requesting for a new policy.
New intermediate social sectors and populations have participated in the struggle against this policy, as its adverse consequences are being felt by anti-monopolist classes and layers. That is the case of minute, small and medium-sized businessmen, strangled by banks and economic groups, disinvestment and recession. That is the case of populations whose rights to civic participation and development are at stake because of the abolishment of the small administrative divisions, the strangulation of the local power and the closing of public services.
3.2.2. Mass struggles involving widely diversified layers, sectors and social groups have been wagged: in the struggles of small and medium-sized farmers in defense of national production and food independence and against the impositions of the PAC (Common agricultural policy) ; in the actions of tiny, small and medium-sized businessmen fighting for survival; in the struggles of fishermen against the Common Fishing Policy and the destruction of the fleet and national fishing; in the actions of tenants against the new law on compulsory termination of tenancy; in the protests of social sectors that have contracted home loans or borrowed money for purchases, against the robberies from Banks and in defense of their rights; the struggles of women fighting for their right and equal participation; in the struggles of secondary school students against the destruction of state schools, against national exams and for better teaching/learning conditions; in the struggles of university students in defense of public schools, against fees, exclusivity and drop out and in defense of Acção Social Escolar (social/economic support for poorer students); in the struggles of retired citizens against the reduction of their rights, for dignified annuities and pensions and in defense of social security; in the intervention of handicapped against discrimination; in the actions of emigrants fighting for the teaching of the English Language outside Portuguese boarders and consular support; in the actions of immigrants fighting for civil rights; in the struggles of the associative movement of firepersons towards a better service in the protection of citizens; in the struggles in defense of public supply of water and against privatization; in the intervention of thousands of agents from security services with their union and socio-professional demands; in the struggles for peace, against the aggressions of NATO and the imperialism ; in the struggle for freedom, for the rights of political and union propaganda, against authoritarianism and the lightening of fascism; in the affirmation of the 25th April, in defense of its popular and progressive content.
3.2.3. The struggle of the populations attained a new amplitude: in defense of the National Health Service, and against taxas moderadoras ( charges for treatment, consultations or medical services inside the NHS), the closure of emergency services and other hospital services, the privatization of primary health cares and in demand of new hospital equipment; in defense of state schools and against the closure of kindergartens and infant´s schools and the creation of big school clusters; against the closure of Courts, police quarters, government offices, post offices, and state companies essential for the welfare of the populations; in defense of a public transport system, against a rise in fares, the closure, disqualification or privatization of some services; for the abolition of highway tolls and against the implementation of toll payment in former SCUTs (roads without costs for their user); against the negative impact of infrastructures upon populations, national heritage or sustainable development; in defense of public distribution of water; for public investment and population progress; against desertification and regional asymmetries,; in defense of civic participation and development; against the extinction of freguesias (administrative divisions of the territory) and in defense of local power.
3.2.4. With a higher and higher participation, the struggles of those layers, sectors, social groups and populations assume an increasing importance in the resolution of real problems, in the rejection of “inevitabilities” and in the demonstration of the fundamental role played by the mass struggles in the construction of a wide social struggling front and of social alliances – of the working class and the workers with the intermediate layers of the population- a decisive instrument to defeat the Aggression Pact and render possible a new patriotic left policy in our country
The reinforcement of the intervention of these social sectors and their organizations, with their autonomy, intern democracy and deeply popular roots, is of utmost importance for rupture and alternative. Communists must absolutely pay the maximum attention to the problems of these layers and social sectors and populations, support them and contribute for the implementation of their intervention and struggle. The Party must absolutely take the organizational measures of institutional and political intervention, together with the indispensable multiplication and intensification of mass struggles paying careful attention to their convergence.
3.7 Political Parties and Institutions: The framework
3.7.1 The PS/Socrates government's resignation led Portugal to an early election, on 5 June 2011. The election was won by the PSD, enabling it to set up a new majority in alliance with the CDS/PP, and a government in a position to, with the President of the Republic’s full cooperation and support, pursue the offensive of big capital, intensify right-wing policies and implement the Aggression Pact.
The PSD and CDS/PP election score did not achieve what they had been demagogically proclaiming. The campaign was built on crafty falsehoods, concealing their serious responsibility for the country’s situation, and it was run in a situation where the PS/Socrates government had been defeated by the mass struggle and had lost a part of finance capital's support, which it had enjoyed until then.
3.7.2 Between the 2005 and 2011 legislative elections, the PS lost more than a million votes, a drop of about 17%. It was one of its worst results ever. This electoral disaster and the corresponding loss of social and political support, were the corollary of six years of governments which confirmed the Socialist Party as a right-wing-policy party. In the service of big capital, the PS fiercely attacked the workers and the people and pursued a policy of national decline, that culminated in the signing of the Aggression Pact.
The PS was confirmed as a force that serves right-wing policies: It is closely associated with economic and finance capital conglomerates; it brandishes a fake “opposition” to the government’s position (clearly exposed by its complicity and support for the worst measures directed against the workers’ and the nation's interests) . It has collaborated both in changing labour legislation, and in approving European treaties and resolutions that amount to a surrender of national interests and sovereignty. It adopted – as a blueprint for Portugal's future – the national decline, retrogression and submission programme that is written into the Aggression Pact, that it signed together with the PSD and CDS parties. The PS's stands and conduct run counter to the Portuguese workers’ and people’s interests. It is an accomplice to the policies of national disaster to which Portugal is being submitted.
The PS is guided by its loyalty toward more federalist solutions that bind Portugal to underdevelopment and thus serve transnational capital's interests. It is beholden to the capitalist centralization and concentration process and the cortege of injustices and impoverishment it entails. In flagrant collision with the desires and aspirations of a significant part of its social support base, the PS is a key pawn in the alternation-in-power game that – overseen by the financial oligarchy – aims to further, perpetuate, and push as far as possible, the liquidation programme against the economic and social gains and rights achieved by the April  revolution.
The PS is a party with right-wing policies that it cloaks in “left-wing” rhetoric in order to trick the many thousands of socialist voters who sincerely wish there was a break with right-wing policies. In the mass media, geared toward promoting false alternatives and perpetuating the policies that serve big capital, the PS finds room to – without stopping its collaboration and the advancement of anti-people measures – pose as an “alternative” to the current government. If this “alternative” were to materialize, it would not involve the necessary substantial change in government policies and guidelines. On the contrary, it would merely open a new stage in the promotion and furthering of the goals laid down in the Aggression Pact.
We do not ignore or underestimate actions that are being undertaken by certain segments within the PS, that appear to be distancing themselves from, or feel uncomfortable with, the collaborationist line being taken with respect to the current government. This is part and parcel of the inevitable contradictions the struggle's development will predictably induce. What prevails, however, are not attitudes dictated by a genuine will to break with right-wing policies. Instead, the aim is to foster and promote solutions that might encourage illusions and create false alternatives, and thus hinder the PCP’s possible strengthening and growth. The PCP's coherent and determined action has made this possible among very broad segments of the population.
3.7.3 While in the recent past it had consciously operated as a mere tool and pressure factor with respect to the right-wing policies implemented by the PS/Socrates government, the PSD – in alliance with the CDS and with [President] Cavaco Silva’s backing – has now taken charge of the offensive against the workers' and the people’s rights and incomes. This offensive benefitted from the Stability and Growth Pact and from the fact that the PS signed the Aggression Pact. The PSD and CDS, now in government, are fully supporting and implementing this pact.
In the current context, the PSD constitutes a key instrument in implementating the right-wing policies and the capitalist restoration process that has been underway for the last 35 years. Now, it is also implementing the Aggression Pact that for the last year and a half has put Portugal’s future on the line. The isolated signals of internal “cracks” that have emerged, resulting from the erosion that the mass struggle has been generating among the government's support base, have in no way jeopardized the promiscuous relationship that exists between the PSD’s apparatus, the State apparatus and the economic powers that it serves. Also unaffected is its action in government – determined by the foreign troika's programme: intensifying its aggressive, demagogic reactionary neo-liberal (and genetically anti-communist) policies that are in some respects openly authoritarian and in some cases even dangerously anti-democratic.
3.7.4 As to the CDS/PP, the populist and demagogic rhetoric it cultivates serves as a cover under which it tries to hide the reactionary nature of its programme. Its past stands and proposals coincide in many issues with those of the extreme right-wing. Openly and consistently working to settle scores with the April revolution and the democratic regime, the CDS is the party that best identifies with the most backward and anti-communist segments within Portuguese society. Being one of the direct heirs of the ruling class overthrown by the April  revolution, the CDS uses populist manipulation on vulnerable social groups and niches. It calls upon “Christian” motivations for charity, and projects a media image of the “gossip-magazine” social elites as “dynamic” and “modern”. This is a major part of its media-centred work that serves to enhance its influence.
The CDS/PP constitutes a strategic reserve for big capital. It is always available to become an ally for the PSD or the PS, to ensure that they have the indispensable support to achieve big capital's interests. Currently, it is once again operating in this mode, as the guarantor of the Aggression Pact. At the same time, it seeks to build a false image of distance from it.
3.7.5 The BE's [Left Bloc party] significant vote loss in the 2011 elections, in spite of the wide publicity it got from the dominant media, is a “punishment” for its lack of coherence, due to its social-democratic-leaning nature, marked by open [euro-]federalism and a rapprochement with the PS and attachment to its agenda – its support for Manuel Alegre in the presidential election is one instance. The constant rhetoric about a “large left” or a “modern left”, which the BE purportedly embodies, exhibits sectarianism, unacceptable arrogance, and an undeniable dispute with the PCP.
3.7.6 “The Greens” Ecological Party (PEV) develops a significant and wide-ranging work on environmental, nature and natural resource-protection issues, as well as on genetic manipulation, technical-scientific research and associated ethical problems, in the defence of minorities’ interests, as well as on issues concerning development and its major areas and policies. It makes an important contribution to the CDU. The PEV’s assertion and the consolidation of its support base and prestige are an effective contribution toward the convergence of democrats and patriots, to resolve Portugal’s problems and open the path toward a Portugal with a future.
3.8. Defeat right-wing policies, struggle for patriotic and left-wing policies, build the alternative
3.8.1 Thirty six years of right-wing policies implemented by the PS, PSD and CDS/PP have led Portugal to impoverishment, retrogression and economic and social disaster, jeopardizing workers' and people’s living conditions as well as national independence and sovereignty. It is increasingly necessary; it is urgent and imperative, to defeat this state of things and build an alternative.
3.8.2 An alternative must be based on a patriotic and left-wing policy. Although it may involve a complex and possibly lengthy process, it involves making a courageous break with the current policies of big-capital domination, surrender of national interests and submission to imperialism's interests – thus opening up a path toward economic development, social progress and a sovereign assertion of national interest.
The determining, and dialectically interdependent, conditions for such a necessary and possible alternative are: a strengthened PCP, with a decisive enlargement of its political, social and electoral influence; a vigorous development of the mass struggle, converging into the creation of a very broad social front; a changed political balance of forces, favoring a break with right-wing policies and the implementation of patriotic and left-wing policies.
This alternative calls for convergence and cooperation with democratic forces, sectors and personalities that are, seriously and determinedly, engaged in breaking with right-wing policies. In other words, a patriotic and left-wing government formed by those forces and supported by the organisations and mass movements emanating from anti-monopoly segments of society. Such a government's feasibility and political and institutional support lies in the hands of the Portuguese people, their stand, their will, their struggle and their vote.
This solution requires that the Party’s organizations and members – starting with party-strengthening as a necessary condition – focus especially on unitary political work, connecting with, and bringing together all democrats who identify with this path. The goal is to win over more people and new sectors to the struggle for patriotic and left-wing policies and to build the alternative.
3.8.3 The alternative necessarily implies exposing the PS’ responsibilities in the onslaught against the April [1974 revolution] rights and achievements, and more specifically, its responsibilities with regard to the Aggression Pact that is destroying the country. It is urgent to explain that the political alternation process – that the Portuguese people have been witnessing, and on which the PS clearly continues to insist – does not guarantee any political change for Portugal. We must expose and fight against the false alternatives – whose (old and new) proponents are announcing as attempts to broaden and “unite” the left, but whose goal is really to hold down people's discontentment, evade their own responsibilities, and create difficulties to hinder the expansion of the PCP’s influence, prestige and electoral attractiveness.
The PCP is a force, bearing a clear plan for a break and for change. At the same time we reassert our trust in the organized struggle of working people, of all democrats and patriots who aspire to another direction and a new policy. The PCP, through its political initiatives and action, stands out as a key factor in building a patriotic and left-wing alternative: An alternative that will put an end to economic decline and social retrogression, and implement other policies – patriotic and left-wing policies.
3.9. Strengthen the PCP, Intensify the mass struggle
3.9.1 Life has confirmed that the PCP – party of the working class and of all working people – is an indispensable and irreplaceable party in pursuing a patriotic and left-wing alternative, a political alternative to serve the workers, the people and the nation.
For there to be an alternative policy and a patriotic and left-wing government capable of implementing it, requires a stronger PCP, with more social, political and electoral influence. This alternative can be built by extending and intensifying the mass struggle – with any developments that may occur and any forms the struggle may take. For this, several inseparable factors are needed: strengthening the Party organisation; the need for closer ties between the Party, the workers and the masses of the people; more dynamic political initiative and strengthened broad unity mass organizations.
The alternative requires working-class unity, unity of working people in general, of democrats and patriots and a broader unity of all those who oppose the Aggression Pact, defend sovereignty and national independence, and see the PCP as not only the most consistent and capable force when it comes to defending working people's rights, to solving the problems of local communities, to fighting against right-wing policies and the Aggression Pact – but also see the PCP as a force capable of assuming the highest responsibilities implementing a patriotic and left-wing policy and government.
3.9.2 The PCP, as the bearer of a prospect of advanced democracy and revolutionary change of society on the road to socialism – faithful to its history of struggle, its consistency and fighting spirit in the defence of workers and the people – is asserting itself as a force to break with right-wing policies. Without it, Portugal with a future will not be possible.
The following text is included in the Draft Political Resolution for the PCP 19th Congress.
Point 4.1. is related to the Communist Identity and the Party Programme and Constitution. Subpoint 4.1.4. describes and explains the essential aspects of the proposed amendments to the PCP Programme.
The PCP Programme, with the changes adopted by the 19th Congress , will be translated into English after the Congress.
4.1. Communist Identity, the Party Programme and Constitution
4.1.1. The Portuguese Communist Party displays in its practice, guiding principles and conception the essential features of Communist identity. In the context of a worsening structural crisis of the capitalist system and of an imperialist offensive, such features are all the more necessary for the Party to fulfill its leading role in the process of revolutionary transformation of society.
4.1.2. The Portuguese Communist Party is the party of the working class and of all the workers. It defends the interests of the anti-monopoly classes and social groups and is independent from the influence, interests, ideology and policies of capitalist forces. It is the Party that has as its ultimate goals the establishment of socialism and communism, of a society that is free from capitalist exploitation and oppression. It is the Party that has Marxism-Leninism as its theoretical base, a materialist and dialectical view of the world, an analytical tool, a guide for action, a critical ideology of transformation. It is the Party whose operating principles derive from a creative development of democratic centralism, based on a well-rooted inner-Party democracy, a single general direction and a single central leadership. It is a patriotic and internationalist party.
These are the essential features that characterize PCP and distinguish it from all other political parties in Portuguese society. They are enshrined in PCP's Constitution and Programme and their acceptance is a condition for becoming a Party member.
4.1.3. The 19th Congress, while amending the Party's Programme, will reaffirm the relevance, goals and fundamental proposals included in the Party Programme, with the wording adopted by the 15th Congress in 1992 (in the wake of its approval by the 12th Congress in 1988) which are appropriate to the current stage of historical development in which the struggle for an Advanced Democracy is an integral part of the Portuguese Communists' struggle for socialism.
The Party Programme sets out a political project whose relevance and scope should be emphasized. The amendments made are based on the current text of the Programme and its overall strategy. They are aimed at updating and fine-tuning analyses and definitions to take into account the most recent developments in the country and the world. They are a contribution to a clearer identification by the Portuguese workers and people of the value of the Party's project, so that they may adhere and become involved in it .
4.1.4. The amendments to the Party Programme are based on the following fundamental elements:
The Programme's title «Portugal: an advanced democracy at the threshold of the 21st century» refers the current historical stage which PCP proposes to the Portuguese people and which is an integral part of the struggle for socialism and communism.
The phrase «on the threshold of the 21st century» has been replaced by elements associated with the defence of an Advanced Democracy – the current stage of the struggle – highlighting its inspiration in the values of [the 25] April [1974 Revolution] and their projection and consolidation in Portugal's future. Thus, the title of the Party Programme now becomes: «An Advanced Democracy – The Values of April in Portugal's future».
In the Introduction and in Chapter I, «The  April  Revolution, an historical achievement of the Portuguese people», remains the historical foundation of the Party Programme and expresses in a concrete and detailed fashion the application of Marxism-Leninism to the reality of Portugal.
In the paragraph on «The counter-revolutionary process», elements are added that complete the Party's analysis, namely regarding the latest developments in the country's life.
References to the process and the consequences of the re-establishment and re-configuration of monopoly capitalism are further detailed and new elements are added regarding the continuing debasement of the democratic regime, as reflected in the adoption of anti-democratic legislation on political parties and their funding.
The paragraph on the «Common Market and European Union – constraints and limits to independence» is updated with reference to the latest developments that reaffirm and underline the notion already included in the Programme that «the Portuguese people has and should always have the right to decide on its destiny and to choose the road that it deems most adequate to its historical identity, interests and aspirations».
The title was amended and the reference to the Common Marked suppressed. Only the reference to the European Union, which currently embodies the European process of capitalist integration, was kept. This section describes the most important steps in such process over the past two decades and it reviews and updates the negative impact for Portugal of over 25 years of European integration.
The constraints and limits to national independence are pointed out and the assessment of the situation in the country and the European Union is updated. This analysis is summarized and the urgent need for a sovereign development strategy is emphasized as a guideline for action. «The situation brought about by this evolution requires a policy based on six main and interlinked axes: taking a a firm stand defending Portugal's interests, namely within the European institutions; resisting any decision that may jeopardize such interests; concrete measures to minimize the constraints and negative consequences of integration; opposing supranational impositions and constraints on democracy and the will of the people; demanding and making use of all available means, resources and possibilities to favour Portugal's development and the well-being of its people; acting specifically and in coordination with the workers and the peoples of other countries to put an end to the European process of capitalist integration – an instrument of big capital, monopolies, transnational corporations and the big powers that serve them – and to promote a Europe of peace and cooperation based on free and sovereign States enjoying equal rights; fighting for a sovereign development in accordance with the national interests of workers and of the people, whose enforcement must prevail over any constraints and take on board the requirements, routes and alternatives deemed necessary in the prevailing circumstances.»
The section on «The achievements of [the 25] April [1974 Revolution] in Portugal's democratic future» assesses the current situation in the wake of the developments of the past decades. It states: «Portugal is undergoing a particularly serious period of its History. The ongoing counter-revolutionary process and the integration in the European Union have jointly crated a situation that is characterized by the domination of monopoly groups associated with, and dependent on, foreign capital, by an ever-greater debasement of the democratic regime and the jeopardizing of national sovereignty and independence. The situation displays the typical features of State monopoly capitalism in a context where the Portuguese State plays an increasingly minor role and is dominated and colonized within the EU and, more generally, by imperialism and its structures.»
The plans of the ruling class to further and intensify the ongoing processes and to bring about an institutional coup with the adoption of unconstitutional laws, the systematic debasement and disrespect for the Constitution and its subversive review, aimed at fully establishing, consolidating and asserting its dominance, represent major threats for Portugal's future.
The destruction of the achievements of [the 25] April [1974 Revolution], the establishment of a monopoly capitalism economic system, the setting up of an authoritarian political regime and the surrender of national independence are contrary to the interests of the Portuguese people and of Portugal. PCP will decidedly oppose such a system and regime, putting forth an alternative.»
In defining the project of an Advanced Democracy (Chapter II), emphasis is given to its overall design, its four inseparable dimensions (political democracy, economic democracy, social democracy and cultural democracy) and its five fundamental components or objectives (a regime of freedom and a democratic State, economic development, social policies, cultural policies, and an independent and sovereign country).
The five fundamental components or goals are described and amendments are made to the first, second and third objectives. With regard to the first goal «a regime of freedom where the people decides on its own destiny, and a democratic, representative and participatory State» the word «modern» was suppressed as it adds nothing to the definition and makes it less focused. It is the notion itself of a «democratic, representative and participatory» State proposed by PCP that gives it a modern, advanced and forward-looking dimension. As regards the second objective «economic development based on a mixed, dynamic economy that is free from the dominance of monopolies and at the service of the people and the country », the word «modern» was suppressed for similar reasons and the phrase «free from monopoly domination» was added to reflect more recent developments and to underline a fundamental requirement for the future. As for the third goal «social policies ensuring better living standards for the workers and people», an explicit reference to the workers has been added.
In order to underline the participatory component of democracy, further emphasis has been given to the «permanent participation of the people in the country's political and social life and in the exercise of power» as an integral element of a regime of freedom .
Detailed and short-term descriptions have been avoided.
The text of the fifth fundamental component or goal of an Advanced Democracy, «An independent and sovereign country with a policy of peace, friendship and cooperation with all peoples» was revised. The text was updated with regard to the aforementioned issues of a sovereign development and the constraints and limitations deriving from membership of the European Union.
A more precise description of NATO is provided and it is stated that «From a political-military perspective, the involvement of Portugal in NATO as well as its agreements with the US regarding military facilities in the country have lead to a worsening of Portugal's dependency and represent serious obstacles to national independence and sovereignty. Portugal is fundamentally interested in the disarmament process and in strengthening international collective security mechanisms. The dissolution of NATO is a fundamental goal in reaffirming national sovereignty and to promote world peace. Portugal's exit from NATO must be seen against this backdrop and would reflect the country's inalienable right to decide on its departure from the organization».
A more detailed description and assessment is made of security issues in Europe and the role of the UN, in light of the negative developments that have taken place.
The decisive role of the mass struggle and its development, in the break that is necessary to bring about the Advanced Democracy project, is proclaimed anew and its key importance in the current context is underlined.
The Programme states that «Building an advanced democracy is a process aimed at transforming life and society. Mass struggle and the creative effort and collective commitment of the Portuguese workers and people are key to its success, beyond any institutional, political and governmental arrangements.
The permanent and daily actions in defence of the interests of the people and country; the determined and steadfast struggle against right-wing policies; strengthening working class unity; the commitment to establishing a broad social front; the strengthening of broad-based mass organizations and movements; furthering the convergence and unity with democrats and patriots; the combination of electoral and institutional initiatives with mass actions in whichever form they express themselves – a decisive and key factor – as well as the implementation of progressive political solutions with a patriotic and left-wing content, are all part of the anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist struggle that is required to bring about an advanced democracy.
Strengthening the PCP's social, political and electoral influence, a broader awareness of its role as an indispensable force to bring about a political alternative and its participation in the government of the country are essential requirements to build an advanced democracy.
Chapter III, «Socialism – Portugal's future», reaffirms the contents of the previous version of the chapter. It is updated to reflect the worsening structural crisis of the capitalist system which has become so glaring in today's world. Also included are assessments that result from the debates at previous Congresses, emphasizing the context in which the socialism-building processes took place and the major successes and progress to which they gave rise. The reasons for the setbacks that occurred are reasserted and complemented. There is further elaboration of the analysis of world developments in the wake of the defeats in the struggle for socialism and of their harmful consequences for the workers and peoples of the world. The imperative and the timeliness of the communist project and of the PCP's objective - «Socialism – Portugal's future» - is emphasized.
Chapter IV, «The Party», reaffirms the contents of the chapter's previous version. It provides the necessary definitions of the Party's identity and role. New elements are included, in line with the notions that had already been enshrined in the Party's Constitution. The chapter addresses the issue of Party unity and cohesion and underlines that «all Party members are expected to abide by the provisions in the Party Constitution. The existence of fractions, which are understood as organized groups or tendencies that carry out activities around specific political initiatives, proposals or platforms, is not admissible». The notion of «initiatives» was added to the previous text.
4.1.5. PCP defines as its ultimate goals the establishment of a new society that is free from the exploitation of man by man, socialism and communism. This is one of the essential features of the Party's identity and the reason for its existence.
The Party Programme – whether the one adopted at the 14th Congress or previous ones – states socialism and communism as the ultimate goals. But, in the struggle to achieve such goals, the Programme is not timeless. Rather, it is anchored in the present time, it addresses a specific stage in the historical process, which is referred to in its very title.
This has been the strategic approach adopted by the Party throughout its long history. Such an approach was present in the goals defined in the 1940s. It was expressed in well-argued programme goals at the 1965 6th Congress, with the «Democratic and National Revolution» Programme. The same approach was also adopted later, reflecting new circumstances, in the Programme «Portugal: An Advanced Democracy on the Threshold of the 21st Century», adopted at the 1988 12th Congress and amended by the 14th Congress in 1992, to become the Party's current Programme. It is the same strategic approach that we espouse once again and which is reflected in the amendments to the Party Programme presented to the 19th Congress with the tile «An Advanced Democracy – The Values of April in Portugal's future».
The Programme embodies the ultimate goals of socialism and communism and its name makes reference to the goal of the current historical stage: «An Advanced Democracy – The values of April in Portugal's future». In order not to confuse the current historical stage and to emphasize the current objective, no explicit reference is made to socialism in its name. Even more so, the reference to the goal of the current historical stage (An Advanced Democracy – The values of April in Portugal's future) is not replaced with a reference to the Party's ultimate goal in every stage of the historical process (socialism and communism). This is done to emphasize the strategic option for a meaningful struggle, based on a rigorous analysis and a clear understanding of the demanding nature of the PCP's ultimate goals and in order not to rush ahead.
The PCP's strategic approach does not separate, but rather integrates, the various objectives of the struggle. As happened in the past with the Democratic and National Revolution, the Advanced Democracy is understood as an integral part of the struggle by Portuguese Communists for socialism and communism. At the same time, goals such as the break with right-wing policies, the implementation of patriotic and left-wing policies and of a political alternative that embodies such policies, as well as a range of concrete and immediate objectives of a diverse nature and with more or less long-lasting features are indissociable from those programmatic goals. The struggle for socialism and communism, for an advanced democracy, promoting, consolidating and furthering the values of [the 25] April [1974 Revolution] in Portugal's future is something that cannot be postponed. It has to be carried out on a daily basis, in everyday activities, bearing in mind the whole range of objectives of the struggle and being present in the struggle for each and every of those objectives.
4.1.6. With regard to the Party's Constitution, which was improved at previous congresses, it was felt that it is adapted to the current circumstances and that accordingly there is no need to amend it except to align it with the changes made to the Party Programme, specifically as regards its name.
4.1.7. The PCP's Programme and Constitution define the Party, its communist identity, its project, principles and functioning for which all its militants are responsible. Their acceptance is a requirement to become a member of the Party and honoring that commitment must be part of every member's practical actions. The assertion of the Party's principles, its unity and cohesion are a fundamental element of its strength and effectiveness.
The adoption of amendments to the Party Programme represents an opportunity for the Party collective to acquire a better understanding of the programme and to make the PCP's political project, as reflected in its programme, more widely known among the workers, the younger generation and the Portuguese people.
4.1.8. The implementation of the decisions adopted at the 19th Congress will take place under very demanding circumstances, at a time when we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Álvaro Cunhal's birth. The centennial celebration of Álvaro Cunhal in 2013 must be seen as an opportunity to learn about, and to further study, his work and life, his thoughts and struggle, as examples for the present and for the future. The celebrations that will be undertaken by the various organizations as part of the Party's overall activities will be an inalienable part of the assertion of the Party's ideas and project for emancipation.
4.2. An intense, militant and coherent activity
4.2.1. In the period between the 18th and the 19th Congress, the formidable onslaught by big capital against the workers and people placed the Party before momentous challenges, in its struggle to resist the onslaught as well as to assert the PCP's alternative project among the workers and the people.
4.2.2. PCP stood by the workers in the numerous and intense struggles that took place over this period: against amendments to the labour laws and in support of their rights, particularly during the general strikes of 24 November 2010, 24 November 2011 and 22 March 2012 and the many demonstrations called by [the Trade Union Central] CGTP-IN, namely the 11 February 2012 rally which filled [the big riverside Lisbon square of] Terreiro do Paço. The Party mobilized and stood by the community struggles against the privatization, and in defence, of public services. PCP stood by many groups and sectors of society in the defence of their specific interests, namely the struggle by pensioners for better pensions and social security payments .
4.2.3. PCP was at the forefront in the struggle against the Pact of Aggression and in defence of national sovereignty. The Party organized numerous mass actions, namely the two large demonstrations/rallies in Oporto and Lisbon on 12 and 26 May 2012.
4.2.4. The Party took part in six elections (general, local and European Parliament elections in 2009 and presidential election, early general election and regional election in Madeira in 2011) where tough political battles were fought and significant mass political campaigns were undertaken which included major initiatives such as the 23 May 2009 march «Protest, confidence and struggle» that brought to Lisbon over 85,000 people and the «One million contacts» initiative for the CDU's electoral campaign that year.
4.2.5. The PCP celebrated the Party's anniversary and that of Avante!, it organized with success the Avante! Festival and carried out a nation-wide initiative «Forward! For a stronger PCP», aimed at further strengthening the Party in an comprehensive way.
4.2.6. PCP organized hundreds of national initiatives (days of political action and propaganda; awareness-raising campaigns; actions celebrating historical figures and events; meetings, sessions/debates on a range of issues related to the country's political, economic and cultural life). Among them: a national meeting on work among pensioners; a national meeting of cadres on organization and activity among the working class and working people; national initiatives against job insecurity, unemployment, exploitation and increased working hours, the rise in the cost of living, privatisations and the Pact of Aggression , as well as the campaign «A productive Portugal».
4.2.7. With its intense activity, its militant approach and effectiveness, the Party lived up to its responsibilities before the workers, the people, the country and its internationalist obligations.
4.3. Strengthening the Party: a comprehensive activity, an indispensable task
4.3.1. As has often happened throughout its long history, the PCP faces numerous obstacles and has to operate in a very difficult environment.
Big capital's exploitative, aggressive and predatory nature pits it in a relentless struggle against all those who consistently oppose exploitation and seek to put an end to the capitalist system.
4.3.2. This was the case during the fascist regime, when it was clear to what extent big capital is prepared to go in its inhuman and cruel action to defend its class interests – with repression, torture and killings. And this is the case today, when it intensifies exploitation and oppression and exacerbates its offensive to secure a social and civilizational regression. The ruling class knows that weakening the PCP would make the workers' struggle tend to lose its essential feature of a struggle against exploitation. That is why, in its fight against PCP, the ruling class resorts to all available means to hinder the Party's activities with the ultimate aim of bringing about its demise.
4.3.3. In this very unbalanced struggle, big capital has a diversified array of instruments at its disposal. Some of the tactics used in the wide-raging and ongoing campaign against the PCP are: operations of discrimination, seeking to silence its voice; campaigns to manipulate, intoxicate and condition public opinion using the media at their service; manipulation of other ideological instruments such as the education sector; attempts to restrict the right to disseminate political propaganda; repression in enterprises and workplaces; laws that are drafted and enforced in a discretionary way, in order to hinder the PCP's activities, to financially smother the Party and restrict its political initiatives.
Against this backdrop, in which the Party is required to intervene on all fronts – mass struggle, political, institutional, ideological and electoral fronts – the challenges which the PCP faces are momentous.
4.3.4. The PCP's close association with the masses is an integral part of its identity as a Party, of the way it perceives its role in society and in the struggle. It is an essential element of the Party's activity. It is in its work with the masses that the Party finds new militants, cadres and the revolutionary energy and inspiration to continuously renovate itself and become a stronger organization.
4.3.5. Building up the Party organization and all its components must be seen as a priority task and as an tool for action. A strong, purposeful organization that is closely linked to daily life and geared towards political activity will provide the Party with the organized strength it requires to carry on with the struggle, to resist, to move forward and to be victorious.
The Party faces new and momentous challenges in the present and will do so in the future. These challenges will bear on its intervention and organization. In the wake of initiatives aimed at strengthening the Party, such as «Yes, it is possible! A stronger PCP» and «Forward! For a stronger PCP», there is an urgent need to undertake a general and integrated action aimed at building up the Party that must encompass the various aspects of organization and activity and involve all its organizations, sectors and militants.
4.3.6. The comprehensive strengthening of the Party's organization and activity implies additional demands on the Party in terms of militancy, leadership, cadres, organization, political action and links with the masses, ideological struggle, the Party press, information and propaganda, financial means and international activities. In each of these major sectors, the Party collective is called upon to contribute, in an integrated way, for a stronger PCP, an advanced democracy and socialism, promoting, consolidating and furthering the values of April in Portugal's future.
4.4.1. Militancy plays a decisive role in the Party's strength and effectiveness. It is the source of the PCP's ability to intervene, which will be the stronger the more militants become aware that the strength of the Party is determined by its members' actions in the framework of the Party collective and the more they embody their militancy as a political, civic and social imperative.
Militant work is a decisive element in strengthening the Party's links with the masses and in extending its reach. Political and ideological training, participation in collective work and regular information on Party activity, namely by reading Avante!, are required to enhance the ability of every communist militant to intervene in political activities on a daily basis among his/her fellow workers and among his/her circle of acquaintances as well as in the initiatives and organisations where he/she plays a role.
Militancy is inspired by the strength of one's convictions which underpin the struggle for the Party's goals and causes. Militancy develops communist militants from a political, social, cultural and human viewpoint. It gives a practical meaning to, and inspires the lives of, Party militants. It is a source of satisfaction and the more so when it results in improvements to the living conditions of the workers and people. Hence, communist militancy is different from, and the opposite of, the attitude and practice of others, who seek personal gratification or to fulfill personal ambitions. The organized strength of the Party requires the militant commitment of its members. The Party's bodies need to know the availability, characteristics and possibilities of each and every member of the Party so as to assign tasks to him/her accordingly. In carrying out such tasks, militants will be carrying out their right and duty of participating in the Party's activities and will give full meaning to their status as communist militants by combining theory and action.
4.4.2. It is of fundamental importance that, besides occasional tasks, every Party member takes on regular tasks as well.
The work ethos within PCP is characterized by collective work and this requires the individual and militant commitment of each and every Party member, as well as taking on responsibility for specific tasks.
4.5.1. In a period marked by big capital's intense offensive and by a huge response in the field of political action and mass struggles, with great organizational, ideological and intervention demands, the Party's leadership work, when put to the test, has fulfilled its role.
We stress the initiative, enthusiasm and joy, the commitment and dedication showed by thousands of cadres and militants in the assertion of this great collective at the service of workers, the people and the country, in an action oriented by a patriotic and internationalist dimension, by the communist ideal and project.
The demands posed to the Party imply the prosecution and reinforcement of this style of work. It is necessary to overcome constraints, to expand leadership capacity, to continue granting the necessary responsibilities, renewing and rejuvenating to ensure the continuity of leadership work. It is indispensable to continue asserting unity, cohesion, and discipline, preventing and opposing practices that demobilize and weaken. It is necessary to improve the monitoring, to objectively and critically assess the work carried out, drawing the necessary conclusions and fighting against sterile criticism. Incentive to participation, criticism and self-criticism, individual responsibility, collective work and collective leadership are fundamental elements of the style of work characteristic of the Party that must be stressed, reinforced and valued.
4.5.2. The general dynamization of Party work implies the possibility of great initiatives or campaigns where the strength and capacity of the Party collective will converge, with each organization assuming its share of responsibility. It is also important to stimulate the initiative of the organizations under the framework of the general Party guidelines.
4.5.3. The Central Committee fully exercised its responsibilities in the overarching leadership of Party work. During these four years it held 22 meetings. It is necessary for it to ensure, besides regular political leadership, a more frequent discussion of specific areas of activity.
The Central Committee to be elected by the 19th Congress must retain the same characteristics as the current one, namely in its competences and size, which may decrease somewhat.
Regarding its composition, the new Central Committee, reflecting the identity, nature and principles of the Party, must preserve a large majority of blue and white-collar workers with a strong working-class component and, in the framework of renewal and rejuvenation, it must ensure an adequate combination of experienced cadre with young cadre that take on responsibilities.
The participation of Party cadres – whether or not full-time Party workers – who are in charge of big Party organizations and sectors of activity, who emanate directly from the shop-floors and working places, as well as of other cadres that integrate mass movements with strong activity and a broad range of knowledge in important areas of social, economic, cultural, technical, intellectual and scientific life, must also be ensured. Equally, the participation of women and young people must be strengthened.
The Central Committee considers that these are the characteristics that best ensure a solid collective leadership, that meets the needs of the Party, strengthens its unity and cohesion and its capacity to respond to the complex problems posed by the social, political and ideological struggle.
4.5.4. The executive bodies of the Central Committee – the Secretariat of the Central Committee and the Political Committee of the Central Committee - shouldered the responsibilities entrusted to them in a very demanding situation. They fulfilled the role which the Party Constitution and the Central Committee required of them. The existence of these two bodies proved to be adequate and their good articulation was confirmed.
4.5.5. The Central Control Committee carried out its work in accordance with its responsibilities and constitutional powers.
4.5.6. The leaderships of the regional organizations play an important role in the structure of the Party's leadership work. It must be developed within the framework of their functions and of the general Party line.
The municipal committees, the leadership bodies of professional sectors and companies and other intermediate organizations must reinforce their role, in liaison with, and stimulating, the work of grass-roots organizations. It is necessary to improve their activity. They must be large enough to ensure their role, but not too large in order to avoid an excessive accumulation of responsibilities in intermediate organizations and to contribute for stronger grass-roots organizations – the Party cells.
4.5.7. The structures supporting the central leadership carried out their activity in a situation marked by limited resources, resulting from the established guidelines for a balanced distribution of cadres, namely full-time Party workers, in the central structure and in Party organizations as a whole. Assessing possibilities, availabilities and priorities, and with a continuing concern for a balanced distribution of resources, it is necessary to reinforce these structures. They are indispensable for the work of the Party's central leadership, contributing to ensure rigorous assessments, well-grounded support for decisions and quick and solid public stances, within the framework of the necessary collective work.
4.5.8.The coordination of Party work in sectors and companies of national or pluri-regional scope is necessary. It needs to be reconsidered, taking into account according the requirements, priorities and the reality of each organization and of cadres
4.6.1. The Party collective's work in implementing the XVIII Congress guidelines and living up to the struggle waged in the the present political and social situation of ideological confrontation, was only possible thanks to the commitment of thousands of Party cadres.
The full-time Party workers, with their political and ideological steadfastness - which is indispensable in Party cadres - with their readiness, dynamism and dedication, are essential for the Party's organization, for its leading role and in all Party activities. The number of full-time Party workers exceeds 300 (including retired comrades who continue working), representing a small reduction since the last Congress. Despite financial difficulties, the renewal and rejuvenation of the full-time Party workers has been permanent, namely with working-class youth.
4.6.2. The general action of giving more responsibility to cadres, of monitoring and training them, enforced a new dynamic in allocating tasks and responsibilities to hundreds of Party militants. A great number of comrades, some of them who only recently joined the Party, have been given responsibilities; an important number of them have been elected to leadership bodies. The task of giving greater responsibilities to 500 new cadres in 2010 has heightened the level of conscientiousness and response capacity of those in charge and of the various bodies.
Positive steps have been taken to become better acquainted with cadres and to entrust them with greater responsibilities, but there are still difficulties in bringing to posts of greater responsibility working-class and women cadres, and especially young working women.
There have been advances in the rejuvenation of Party bodies, namely in what concerns work in companies and professional sectors. Prominent among those young comrades who have taken on responsibilities are comrades coming from the ranks of JCP (Portuguese Communist Youth).
But there is still insufficient monitoring and assistance for some cadres.
4.6.3. Raising the political and ideological level of the Communist militants is one of the fundamental directives to strengthen and develop cadre policy.
The main and more effective school of Party cadres is their participation in struggles and in all Party activities. But it is also important to liaise practical experience with theoretical preparation.
It is necessary to encourage individual study: reading Avante! and O Militante; reading the central Party documents; the study of Marxism–Leninism, namely the works of the classics; the study of comrade Álvaro Cunhal's work; the study of the Party's History and of the history of the Portuguese Revolution; participation in debates, seminars, meetings, Party Conferences and Congresses. Furthermore, there is the importance of collective organized study, with courses and other educational activities, at a central level in the Party School, and by Regional Organizations.
Between the 18th and the 19th Congresses, the theoretical training of cadres was stepped up. The Party School organized 67 courses and political and ideological initiatives, with the participation of 1320 comrades. Also worth stressing is the great number of courses and educational activities organized by the regional organizations, with great participation.
4.6.4. In the present political situation, the fundamental goals of cadre policy are to:
2.increase and enhance militancy and the execution of Party tasks, seeking a broad involvement of comrades who prove, in deeds, their readiness and capability to take on responsibilities and tasks;
3.be permanently alert to the identification of cadres, to their accountability and evolution, to their education, to following up, monitoring and helping them;
4.give special attention to identifying, involving, and entrusting with responsibilities working-class, women and young cadres;
5.integrate the cadres in collective work and leadership, in the spirit of developing Party guidelines, fostering the permanent contacts with the militants of the organization for which they are responsible and involving them in activities, overcoming routines, encouraging the knowledge of the masses' real problems and actions and mobilization in defense of their rights and aspirations;
6.work towards renewal and rejuvenation of the Party's staff of full-time workers, recruiting new - in the main, working-class, women and young – full-timers and with financial considerations present at all times;
7.pay attention to cadres' personal problems and expressing the necessary understanding and solidarity;
8.solve as quickly as possible any cadre problems, contributing for the respect and the affirmation of the Party's constitutional principles;
9.show the cadres the value of various forms and means of political, ideological and cultural education;
10.evolve in the planning, publicisation and incentive to cadres' participation in courses and educational activities in the Party School and in Regional Organizations.
4.7.1. The Party has a great militant collective. Its organization is the basis for Party activity.
The latest Organizational Assessment recorded 60 484 Party members, a number which, with a slight increase since the last Congress, essentially represents the maintenance of Party effectives.
Side by side with this number of Party members, there is a great number of persons in the Party files whose situation has not yet been clarified. The contacts with them are running at a slow pace. They confirm the assessment made at the 18th Congress and essentially show that, on the one hand, it is very difficult to locate the vast majority of them due to loss of contacts, but on the other hand, those who are contacted by and large confirm their status as Party members.
The number of comrades in the different organisations, as well as the number of Party members that pay Party dues, has basically remained the same.
Regarding social composition we witness a large majority of about 72% of blue- and white-collar workers: 41% blue-collar workers, a slight drop, and 31% white-collar workers, a slight increase. The number of intellectuals, technical staff and micro, small and medium sized businesspersons is steady or even showing a slight increase.
In what concerns age range, 16% are under 40 years old, 45% in the 41 to 64 year-old bracket and 39% are over 64 years old. Not included here are members of the JCP (Portuguese Communist Youth) who are not Party members. The number of members under 41 is slightly increasing, and also increasing is the number of those over 64 years old.
Worth stressing is the fact that among the new members who have joined the Party in the past 4 years, 53.7% were under 40 years old when they joined the Party.
The participation of women continues to grow and they represent 30,1% of all Party members.
4.7.2. In what concerns the Party structure we can stress the existence of 2769 organizations, including unstructured organizations that meet in plenary sessions and working groups for different work fronts. This is a slight increase. The number of residence-based organizations is 725. The number of workplace-based organizations, 374, is at previous levels, although with a slight decrease.
4.7.3. Since the 18th Congress, with the “Forward! For a stronger PCP!» campaign decided there and later defined and scheduled in the Central Committee meeting November 21-22, 2009, much work was carried out, liaising Party activity with the strengthening of the Party organization. The results were reflected in a remarkable activity, with the Party living up to its role, in the consolidation of the organization at a time of great changes and in the progress that has been registered, despite shortcomings that must be overcome.
It is worth stressing: the allocation of responsibilities to cadres as part of the general action with that objective; the continuous monitoring and training of cadres in 2010; the recruitment of 5 800 new members; a stronger organization and activity among workers, in companies and workplaces, with measures to give more responsibility to cadres, of organization, recruitment, integration of new members or of members transferred from local organizations; the clarification of the situation of retired comrades and their integration, which in some organizations meant that it was possible to preserve or even increase the number of comrades organized in companies and workplaces and thereby ensure a strong Party activity; over 500 organizational assemblies; the incentive to profound links with the masses, in a context of intense activity of Party organizations.
4.7.4. In a highly demanding situation, it is necessary to continue adopting guidelines to overcome insufficiencies, to respond to new problems, consolidating and strengthening the Party, the essential foundation for expanding and intensifying mass struggles and political work. It must be ensured that it is ready to fulfill its role in the present situation and in whatever circumstances it will have to face.
Guidelines to strengthen the Party's organization are:
2.Priority for Party organization and activity among the working class and the workers in companies and workplaces. This implies confirming and appointing cadres for that work, including full-time Party workers,; consolidating the already existing organization and creating new cells or sectors; paying special attention to companies with over a thousand workers and/or of strategic importance; increasing the number of Party members organized in their companies and workplaces, with the recruitment and priority integration of new members and transfers; safeguarding the organization and encouraging work with a broad, permanent and bold sense of links with the masses; assuming this line of work as a concern and task for all organizations and members. Success requires decision, planning, initiative, persistence and monitoring.
3.Structuring local organizations, promoting the action, dynamism, initiative and intervention of grass-roots organizations, with profound links to the masses. Measures should be taken and followed up on, after an assessment of the organization's status, with a view to effectively (and not just on paper) structure the organization. To achieve that, several aspects must be considered: the administrative borderlines, the number of party members, the degree of members' participation, and the availability of cadres to stimulate the organizations.
4.The assessment of the situation, organization, participation and contribution of comrades who have retired or are pensioners. They have an important intervention in the general Party activity. Above all, there is the work with this vast social stratum and the fomenting of their broad-based organizations and their struggles. Goals are: to create cells of retirees, that may function according to the availability and possibility of participation, both as a means of structuring the organization and as instruments for activity among retirees and pensioners; to strengthen Party organisms with Party members that are active in mass organizations, movements and associations; to pay attention and value the contribution of pensioners and retired Party cadres to the various needs of the Party work
5.Work and organization in the cultural field and among intellectuals and technical workers, strengthening and creating organizational structures that correspond to the different guidelines and areas of intervention, with a view to mass work, to stimulating political and cultural activity and artistic creation.
6.The work with the youth and strengthening JCP and its activity, thus contributing for a greater Party influence among young people.
7.The organization of work among other strata, social sectors and in specific fields of intervention, namely: work among farmers, among micro, small and medium businesspersons; work specifically geared to women, work with the disabled, with immigrants and with the unemployed.
8.organizational work with emigrant communities, in order to strengthen emigrant's organizations and their activity. Speedy contact must be ensured with comrades who go abroad, to help them establish contacts and integrate, with a view to fostering Party activity and work among the communities of Portuguese emigrants in several countries.
9.The creation and regular activity of organisms of Party members who are active in mass organizations and movements, ensuring their regular and consistent work, creating new organisms, and consideration for the necessary lines of support for their activity and for cadre education.
10.all organizations and militants must see recruitment of new militants as a regular task, which needs to be prominent in Party work, in our written communications, and which justifies special initiatives. Recruitment must be closely associated with a quick and effective integration of new members, with due consideration given to the nature of the Party organism and task which each new member will take on.
11.Without forgetting the need to clarify the situation of unorganized members who are in the Party files, it is also necessary to undertake a campaign of contacts with organized Party members, in order to update files, to implement a vast action of organization, of Party structuring, of enhancing militancy, of entrusting greater responsibilities and ensuring more work. This campaign should begin in a near future, a decade after the beginning of the campaign of contacts begun in 2003.
12.Stimulating a work-style of the organizations and members that is based on the Party's principles and goals, on discipline, initiative and creativity, and with a broader and deeper connection to the workers and the people.
13.Assessment of the general conditions of Party headquarters, of their needs, of their external appearance and encouraging their activity, both in terms of supporting Party organization and work and to project them among the masses.
14.Liaising the demands for an intense and dynamic activity with the regular functioning of Party bodies and organizations.
4.8. Political action and connection with the masses
4.8.1. In the accomplishment of its vanguard role, essential requirements for the growth of the influence of the Party are the bonds of Party organizations and members with the people; knowledge of the facts, problems and yearnings of the workers and the people, in order to act, raise awareness, organize and mobilize. These requirements can be achieved through different forms, guidelines and initiatives.
4.8.2. A Party organization is well-equipped to effectively assume its vanguard role when it is aware of the problems of the workers and other social strata and when it is part and parcel of its environment and is structured to act according to that reality.
4.8.3. In order to strengthen the links between the Party and the people, and following up on decisions taken by the 18th Congress, the Central Committee launched a debate in all organizations, that resulted in remarkable progress in the understanding that this is a strategic issue and even in follow-up measures.
4.8.4. There are still some obstacles in organizations that, because they are disconnected from the political and social environment from which they emerge, or due to other difficulties, are not capable of responding to the wishes and aspirations of the workers and people.
4.8.5. Global and integrated guidelines to strengthen the links between the Party and the people in various fronts and areas of activity, that remain valid and upon which depends a greater and more intense activity and stronger Party influence, are:
– The regular identification of the key fronts and areas of activity for ensuring the links with, and a stronger influence among, the masses. This should go hand-in-hand with the definition of goals, plans and guidelines for work, as well as with decisions about cadres, leadership and execution control, which are necessary to ensure them.
– more attention given in all organizations to the encouragement of mass movements and struggles, to the regular discussion of problems and how to transform them into banners of struggle, monitoring the implementation of the decisions that are taken, thereby contributing to develop the workers' and people's struggle.
– debating information and propaganda work, the role of the Party press and Party initiatives, as instruments of liaison with the masses and to strengthen the Party's influence.
– The promotion of a collective debate and individual encouragement for communist members to undertake, in their daily activities, an action of awareness-raising and mobilization that may draw people towards the Party, its positions, project and organization.
– The recognition that broad-based political work is a key tool to liaise the Party with the masses, regularly ensuring a dialogue and joint action with democrats and democratic sectors, as well as with organizations, movements, structures and institutions. This work must encompass the large number of men and women that, within the framework of CDU (United Democratic Coalition), are available to engage in joint action, on a national or local level. Carrying out regular initiatives and individual contacts is essential to involving them and making them aware of the positions of the Party.
– A permanent concern with enhancing the major work carried out in the institutions, namely Local Government, Parliament, the European Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies in Autonomous Regions. The enormous potential of this work requires its coordination and articulation, with a view to stimulating popular participation and the increase in the Party's influence and prestige among the workers and people.
1.3.1.The improvement of political activity and links with the people is a permanent concern and duty of each Party organization and member. Hence, the need to continue this line of work, with a view to ensuring that, from the debate in each body and organization, may emerge the guidelines, initiatives or actions,as well as the necessary organizational structures to materialize them. Also necessary is the regular assessment of the results obtained in organizationally strengthening the Party and expanding its influence and prestige.
4.9. Ideological struggle
4.9.1. The ideological struggle has intensified over the last few years.
The offensive of big capital expresses itself strongly in the ideological field; in the justification of imperialism’s interference, aggressions and war; in the defense of the European Union's viewpoints and the compromising of national sovereignty; in the insistence on the inevitability of ever greater exploitation; in the withdrawal of rights and the social and civilizational regression which this implies; in disdaining the struggle of the workers and people; in spreading conformism and individualism; in promoting the lesser evil theories, through old and new expressions of social-democracy; in highlighting and encouraging false solutions based on radicalism and provocation; in restricting freedom and democracy; in whitewashing fascism and in anti-communism.
In the context of the ever-deeper structural crisis of capitalism, this offensive has the main goal of making people believe that there is no alternative, of weakening, among the workers and peoples, the prospect of the possibility, need and urgency of social progress and socialism as the alternative and more advanced form of organization of society.
4.9.2. The Party developed important actions and initiatives in the ideological front, over the last few years, implementing 18th Congress guidelines. But it is necessary to strengthen this line of work in our everyday activity and political action. Goals must be planned and actions taken, fully using all available means in an integrated fashion.
4.9.3. Among the lines of development in the ideological front are: clarifying the nature of capitalism; the struggle against exploitation, exposing the mechanisms used to impose and enhance it; asserting the PCP’s project of an advanced democracy and socialism; the struggle against reactionary and fascist ideology; the struggle against old and new social-democratic views; the struggle against anti-communism; valuing the struggle, its results and organization as a fundamental aspect.
4.10 - The Party press, information and propaganda
4.10.1. The Party's activity and achieving its goals, requires the creation of better conditions for workers and people to get to know and understand the PCP’s project, its proposals, its positions and analyses.
In a context of very uneven resources, in which big capital counts on powerful means to spread its ideology, it is necessary to define and carry out an intense and broad action of the Party on this front, defining guidelines, strengthening and creating means and forms of intervention, geared to specific situations, but integrated in a general orientation and with coordinated action. This includes, the Party press, Avante! and O Militante, the general information and propaganda work, the Party’s relations with the media, but also the vast political-cultural action of which the Avante! Festival is a significant expression, and the editorial activity.
Within the framework of existing means and possibilities, it is necessary to achieve more and further elaborate contents; to strengthen the various media and forms of intervention, with their diversity; to ensure direct personal contacts, with broad recourse to diversified electronic means; and to consider new possibilities of intervention. At the same time, it is necessary to make a global assessment of the means of intervention so as to ensure a more integrated, profound, broader and effective action.
4.10.2. In the present political context, the Party press, selling and reading Avante! and O Militante, have redoubled importance and are indispensable elements for the Party’s work. They are fundamental to convey the Party’s guidelines and assessments of national and international affairs. They are also necessary and useful to exchange experiences, helping to prepare members to explain the Party’s positions and analyses. They are essential in the battle of ideas, in informing about the workers and people’s struggle.
To further diversify contents and deal with current issues, the Party press should further benefit from close contacts and collaboration with Party organizations, receiving news, information and suggestions.
Party media is an instrument of the highest importance in the Party's ties with the masses and as a means of contact between the Party and its members and friends. As part and parcel of measures to strengthen the organization, the Party press should receive redoubled attention from all organizations, with cadres in the most diverse organisms being given the responsibility of increasing the network of distribution and sale of Avante! and O Militante. The special sales of Avante!, together with the treatment of current issues, are a very positive experience in increasing the circulation of the newspaper and in the battle of ideas, which must therefore be continued.
4.10.3. The assessment and definition of guidelines for the Party’s information, propaganda and agitation work has to be based on a rigorous evaluation of the subjective and objective conditions we face. The key question of propaganda and agitation work is spreading the Party's message, proposals and project, so that the masses make it their own, providing leadership and drawing them into action. The Party’s propaganda is deeply interconnected with organizational work. Strengthening the organization potentially strengthens propaganda work and vice-versa, but this does not happen on its own. For it to occur it is necessary that each organism think and take measures of work, leadership and cadres in accordance with its importance. It is necessary to decentralize and give cadres responsibilities in this field. The task of propaganda is one for the whole Party, for all its organizations and all Party members. Each play their specific and irreplaceable roles.
The specific feedback from each organization regarding propaganda work is essential, given that they are acquainted with the reality and are therefore best placed to directly address specific issues. This reality makes its even more necessary to increase the production of pamphlets and cell bulletins geared to the workplace, and taking into account the general orientation of reinforcing the Party in the enterprises and workplaces.
The Party, centrally and in its organizations, should use a great diversity of means and forms of spreading its message. It is necessary to adapt our activity to the context of greater financial limitations, making good use of all means, namely electronic ones. Propaganda and agitation should bear in mind the characteristics of its target audience, their level of knowledge and information, their specific interests. Rooted in concrete problems, the Party organizations must identify demands and lead the organized struggle; they must respond to the ideological mystification of the ruling classes, point out the causes and responsibilities for the current situation and contribute to intensify the demand for the rejection of the Aggression Pact, for a break with right-wing politics, to assert a patriotic and left-wing alternative, for an advanced democracy and socialism.
The restrictions on Party propaganda are part and parcel of restrictions against the freedom of speech, violations of constitutional rights, which must be firmly opposed by exercising the right to propaganda, by resorting to all forms of propaganda at the Party’s disposal, and also by politically equipping its members.
4.10.4. The use of electronic communications and taking advantage of their potential is of increasing importance. The Party has a long experience in this realm, with innovative initiatives, actions and structures of which the Party’s website is its foremost expression. It plays the role of daily dissemination of the Party’s positions and activities and also as electronic support for the Party press.
Work in this field should continue, be expanded and go further. A global assessment of the existing resources is necessary (of their potential and degree of use and of the possibilities resulting from rapid, ongoing developments), as well as measures of organization, structuring, coordination and extension of these activities, with specific consideration given to the development or creation of means of dissemination, consultation and interaction, taking into account the existing financial conditions.
4.10.5. The Party work with the media – in a context marked by devaluation and silencing, inseparable from the nature and ownership of the main media – must be based on an organized and persistent activity to assert and publicize the PCP’s initiatives and positions, at all levels of the Party’s organization.
4.10.6. The Avante! Festival, festival of April, the people and the youth, which had its 36th edition, is the largest and most important political-cultural and mass event in our country, and constitutes a great demonstration of the can-do capability of Communists and their Party, as well as a powerful assertion of its values and project. Resulting from the commitment and dedication of thousands of Party and JCP members, the Avante! Festival is, at the same time, an important venue for making cadres more responsible, for enlivening the Party organization and for fighting anti-communist prejudice.
The need to answer new challenges and new demands, the creation of better conditions to receive visitors, the permanent innovation and creation of new poles of interest, the opposition to campaigns against the Party, which preferentially target the Festival, demands permanent creativity, and intense study of problems and of their solutions, a careful planning of work and a redoubled commitment from the whole organization.
4.10.7. The editorial activity influenced by the Party is an important means of intervention and response to the ideological offensive. It too is affected by the difficulties faced by the editorial and book sectors in general. In this context, we need to value the edition of classic works of Marxism-Leninism and the selected works of Álvaro Cunhal. The «Avante!» Editorial should proceed its own dynamic, allied with the Party's action and the increasing requirements of the political and ideological struggle.
4.11 - Funds
4.11.1. Self-financing the PCP is essential to guarantee its political, organizational and ideological independence. The support and contributions by its members have vital importance, in the context in which communists and the Party act, in ensuring the necessary and indispensable resources for the development of Party activity.
The growing difficulties faced by the Portuguese workers and people, the increased exploitation, social inequality, unemployment, cuts in wages, pensions and subsidies, the price increases in goods and services, place new and heightened demands on fund-raising. For this reason it is important to not transform difficulties into impossibilities, to fight constraints that some seek to place upon the Party, to overcome real constraints and take advantage of all potentialities to increase the PCP's financial capacity.
4.11.2. The Political Party Finance Law, adopted by PS, PSD and CDS/PP was, from the very beginning, firmly opposed and denounced by the PCP, demanding its repeal, because it enshrines a number of absurd and anti-democratic rules. It is aimed essentially against the PCP, with its characteristics and activities. It is part and parcel, together with the Law on Political Parties, of an attack on the Democratic Regime as established by the Constitution of the Republic.
The amendments to the Political Party Finance Law did not correct the inadmissible provisions of interference into party life, which counter the freedom of association and of party initiative. They have preserved large State subsidies for political parties and their electoral campaigns, as well as limitations to self-financing, based on political activity and militant fund-raising.
This is case of the limits established for fund-raising initiatives, that include the Avante! Festival, the absurd limit for small cash revenues and the norm that deducts from the State subsidy the amount obtained through contributions towards electoral campaigns, penalizing the efforts of militants.
The unacceptable norms in the Political Party Law and the Political Party Finance Law have been, throughout the years, made worse by the performance of the Office of Political Accounting and Finance (ECFP), which imposed abusive rules, conceptions and interpretations.
The charges of accounting irregularities, in particular those leveled against the Party’s accounting, are rooted in discretionary procedures by the ECFP that, based on illegitimate suspicions, foster an intolerable climate of persecution.
The PCP will maintain its struggle against the Finance Law and fight for its repeal, with the authority of those who defend clear and transparent laws for political party financing, and who have denounced that the current legislation was enacted with the goal of restricting the PCP’s activity.
4.11.3. The 18th Party Congress laid down the goal of guaranteeing an effective financial balance, to be achieved with measures such as the increase in revenues, reduction of expenses and decrease in the dependence of regional organizations relative to the Central Party account. It defined the situation as unsustainable, but possible to overcome with a strong and determined effort by the Party collective.
Over the past four years, the financial results of the Party's activity and work represented a negative annual average of around 200 thousand euros, which while representing an, as of yet very insufficient, improvement does not substantially change the situation, which remains unsustainable.
The extraordinary and institutional revenues increased. Although not negative this does raise concerns, as there was also an increase in their relative importance, and therefore a greater distancing from the goal of overcoming the dependency on that type of revenue.
Only by resorting to these revenues (property management, State subsidies, among others) was it possible for the Party to face its deficit situation, with a net positive result of 210 thousand euros. However, despite these extraordinary revenues, negative results were registered in 2008 and 2011.
The goal of reducing the dependency of regional organizations relative to the Central account was far from fully successful, although a process of increase in the participation of the organizations that contribute to the central account and reduction in the support subsidy to the remaining organizations has begun.
4.11.4. Analysing the period since the 18th Congress (the 2008/2011 accounting), it can be seen that the revenues increased more than the expenses relative to the period between the 17th and 18th Congresses (the 2004/2007 accounting), by 6.6% and 3.6% respectively. However, self-financing revenues, which corresponded to around 91.2%, decreased to 89%.
Comparing these periods, there was a positive global growth in revenue from members' dues (+7.5%), of contributions by members (+4.3%) and elected officials (+0.5%). However, there was a decrease in revenues from fund-raising initiatives (-14.7%) and, despite the high effort in containment, a global increase in expenses (+4.3%). Costs with cadres decreased (-6.9%).
4.11.5. Central goals for the whole Party are:
- to ensure an effective financial balance, mainly by increasing revenues, which is a strategic element to guarantee the Party’s work, but also by an effective containment and reduction of expenses, namely with the functioning and, in some cases, structure;
- to achieve the financial balance and self-sufficiency of the Party and of each of its organizations, decreasing the relative weight of revenues of an institutional origin or of extraordinary and isolated nature, reducing the organizations' dependency on the Central account, ensuring that financial issues do not compromise the Party’s political activity;
- to increase self-revenues resulting from the activity and reinforcement of the Party, namely:
- dues, which requires political and ideological discussion so that each member takes the initiative to fulfill their fundamental duty of paying dues and of increasing their value, having as a reference 1% of their wage (or income). The task of collecting dues must be more valued and more cadres must be given this responsibility, having as reference 1 for every 20 members. Payment by bank transfer should be intensified and principle of monthly monitoring the situation in each organism must be enforced;
- special contributions by members, sympathizers and other friends of the Party must be encouraged, breaking with routines and being bolder in contacts, defining in each organization lists of comrades and friends to be approached and identifying who is best placed to do so;
- fund-raising campaigns, namely “a day’s wage for the Party” and other organizational initiatives must receive greater attention and accompaniment by the central and regional leadership, materializing the potential to increase these revenues;
- the contributions by Party elected officials and Party members in public office should receive greater attention and rigor, be it in the definition of the amount they contribute and in enforcing its payment. The tendency to cut contributions to the Party in exchange for such payments resulting from public office must be countered, in accordance with the statutory principle of no benefit or detriment [resulting from holding a public office];
- the contributions from participation in polling stations, which constitute a distinctive element of the participation of Party members of not being benefited in the fulfillment of that Party task and civic activity;
- the sale and dissemination of Avante! and O Militante, organizing sale booths, sale brigades and lists of buyers, represents a possibility for greater revenues, as well as expanding the Party message and intervention;
- decrease in expenses, in particular those that do not have a direct impact on the Party’s political activity. Financial commitments that are not within the Party's reach and which create constraints for its future action must not be made;
- to improve the activity and events at Party Headquarters. To pursue the policy of conservation and profitability of Party property;
- to dynamize, expand and generalize the work of structures to monitor financial issues – financial control, presenting accounting, energizing fund-raising, preparing budgets with the goal of increasing revenues, limiting expenses and permitting budgetary control. These issue must be addressed at all levels, with goals and effective monitoring;
- broaden the discussion in the organizations and the awareness of members of the importance of funds.
Overcoming strangulations that allow taking advantage of all possibilities, in the framework of new constraints and difficulties. Altering work styles that lead to a waste of resources.
4.12 - International Activity
4.12.1. Confronted with the deepening structural crisis of capitalism and imperialism's violent offensive against the rights and achievements of workers and peoples, the PCP intervened, politically and ideologically, denouncing the measures and goals of big transnational capital that led to a dramatic social and civilizational regression and to aggressions against sovereign countries. It demonstrated its internationalist solidarity with political and social forces that, in their countries, fought and fight in defense of the vital interests of their workers and peoples.
In this framework, the PCP’s international activity was characterized by its continuing contribution to strengthen the process of International Meetings of Communist and Workers' parties, as well as a major commitment to the effort of convergence of Communist Parties and other left and progressive forces, namely in Europe. It organized, in Portugal, a Meeting of communist and left parties in the EU and the Seminar «For a Europe of Peace and Cooperation» and actively participated in reaching a Common Appeal in the context of the elections for the European Parliament. Regarding bilateral relations, the delegations led by the secretary-general to Greece and Spain deserve highlighting.
The PCP held, in Portugal, meetings with diverse parties of various continents and participated in numerous congresses, conferences, seminars, study visits, festivals and solidarity initiatives in different countries. We highlight the regular presence of dozens of delegations at the Avante! Festival. With the goal of helping to strengthen the anti-imperialist front and of directly contacting the reality of other countries, PCP participated in initiatives of the peace movement, the World Social Forum and the São Paulo Forum.
Taking public positions on international issues remains a positive element, as are the fight and denouncing of anti-communist legislative measures adopted in various countries and the regularity of information abroad through Party documents, interventions and diverse articles, with expression in English in the PCP’s website. We highlight a greater initiative in taking joint positions of communist parties.
4.12.2. The PCP’s activity, in the present complex international context, must be characterized by an active intervention in the battle of ideas, by strengthening of the anti-imperialist front in defense of peace and solidarity with peoples in struggle and by its contribution to strengthen the world communist and revolutionary movement and its unity in action, namely through its commitment to the process of the International Meetings of Communist and Workers' parties, in the struggle against exploitation and oppression, aiming to project socialism as a necessary and possible alternative to capitalism.
The XIX Congress affirms its confidence in the strength and ability of the Portuguese workers and people, in a stronger PCP, in the broadening of its political, social and electoral influence, in the accumulation of forces necessary for the development of the struggle for the rejection of the Pact of Aggression, for a break with right-wing policies, for a patriotic and left-wing political alternative, for advanced democracy, for socialism and communism.