Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary, Opening Session of the Commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution

"We will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the October revolution reaffirming that we were, are and will be communists!"

With this initiative, we open the diverse program commemorating of the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution decided upon by the Central Committee of PCP, and that will unfold during 2017 – a year that we want be one of celebration of this great and pivotal event in the long journey of struggle of generations of exploited and oppressed people, but also for reflection, debate, teaching and experience for the fight of today and tomorrow and, above all, to reaffirm the validity of the communist ideal and project we embrace and which is still alive and with a future.

We will celebrate the October Revolution with its character of inaugurating a new historical era, which has not ended and beyond all the vicissitudes: the era of transition from capitalism to socialism. The first triumphant revolution, led autonomously by the working class and its allies, especially the poor peasantry, by his party, the Bolshevik Party, the party of Lenin. The first experience of building a kind of society never before known to mankind in its history. We will celebrate this victorious revolution, bearer of memories of struggles and dreams of emancipation of the exploited and oppressed, and what it transports of desire for the future. We will celebrate the October Revolution for what it projected of profound changes on a global level, changing the face of the world, their accomplishments, achievements and transformations in favor of the workers and peoples.

In these past 100 years that separate us from the beginning of the October Revolution, the protagonists of the processes of emancipation and social transformation, the defenders of the new society without exploiters nor exploited, those who built and fought for it, faced a ruthless ideological war that assumed a huge dimension after the events which led to the defeat of socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe.
The events were festively announced by the propagandists of capitalism as proof of the historical failure of the Communist ideal.

The bourgeois ideology and a staged and colossal imperialist propaganda, celebrated the victory of capitalism, turned world system and presented as the final stage of human history, and announced the beginning of a new cycle of peace and prosperity that life never would come to be.

It was the time of the famous theses of the "end of history" and "end of class struggle," the announcement of a new order in which "liberal democracy" as political system and the "free market" as economic system would emerge as "natural" and absolute victors, and which led George Bush to wage the Gulf War and proclaim a "new world order" totalitarianism, dominated by the United States.

The objectives of this violent ideological war were clear: the rehabilitation and attempted immortalization of capitalism, and the attack and attempt to completely destroy projects of revolutionary transformation and human emancipation. A brutal, global operation of disinformation, intoxication and manipulation of consciences aimed at eradicating from the aspirations and scope of action of men any possibility of achieving the emancipating project communism embodies. Here in Portugal, they decreed the death of PCP and assumed an irreversible decline to be our sure fate. Their prophecies failed, in this and those that predicted the end of history.

They decreed, at the time, the futility of collective action, of the struggle of the workers and peoples, and profusely promoted the pedagogy of renunciation, of conformism and resignation, and at the same time presented the great historic achievements of workers and peoples as archaisms or unacceptable corporate rights. We saw this very clearly in Portugal, by the hand of successive governments in recent years and with great violence and intensity.

They rewrote history and continue to do so, in order to suit their own conveniences, always with the guideline of shrouding dreams and hopes, and eclipsing the collective memory of peoples, hindering the understanding of the processes that marked the last hundred years in the life of the contemporary world. They mystify the October Revolution, blaming it for deformations, errors and deviations, which in certain historical conditions, gave rise to a "model" that lasted over time and, as we have stated, moved away and contradicted the communist ideal and project in fundamental issues of the communist ideal and the objectives that led to the realization of the Revolution. Mystification which extends to the false idea that this model is intrinsic to thinking and program of Marxism-leninism. They know this is not the truth, but their fierce hate against the October Revolution, their deliberate mystifications – devaluing and disparaging this historic singular event that allowed broad masses to take their fate into their own hands – are the only form of hindering the making and remaking of the path of an alternative to capitalism that the October Revolution continues to signify and indicate – socialism and communism.

Yes, the October Revolution continues to proclaim that another world is possible! And the fact that the enterprise of building the new society – the socialist society – has proved more difficult, more complex and more rugged than we, communists, predicted and announced, cannot lead us to question its appropriateness and necessity.

Less than two decades after the victorious declarations of an unsurpassable capitalism, the world was already confronted with the worsening of the structural crisis of the capitalist system, one of the largest cyclical crises erupting at the epicenter of the system, and today life and reality are to writing another story, quite different from the anticommunist and falsifying history that increasingly stumbles against the resistance movement, the recovery of energies, forces and wills of those that see and feel that capitalism is the cause of the serious problems and calamities that afflict the world and lives of the people.

We are not announcing easy tasks, we know how many difficulties faced by those who fight for an alternative emancipation of the workers and peoples, but stating, contrary to what the apologetic propaganda aims, that capitalism cannot be regarded as a definitive system, as PCP has always stated and, particularly, was made evident by the tragic events in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Nor do we underestimate the negative impact upon the consciousness of the masses and on the global correlation of forces of the profound setback of the defeats of socialism in the USSR and in Eastern Europe, and the added difficulties this raised for combatants who assume the struggle for socialism. A setback, whose causes we identified in our Congresses – upon which weigh, among others, the weakening of the popular nature of political power, a power that increasingly departed from the opinion, control and intervention of the workers and popular masses. Analysis and experiences that we bear in mind and enrich the rich cultural heritage of this almost centenary party and its own project for building socialism in Portugal.

Analyzes which retain all their validity and timeliness and that also provided a political and ideological answer, identifying major trends of global evolution. We said then: "capitalism in the present, as revealed throughout the century, confirms its inability, as a system, to solve the major problems of humanity (…) the process of social and national liberation of peoples is irregular, complex and long lasting. But it constitutes the fundamental direction of modern times".

We said and alerted to: the hegemonic "new world order" of the U.S. and other major imperialist powers entails immense dangers to peace, freedom, democracy, independence, social progress. We were not wrong!

The peace proclaimed by imperialism in these disastrous years, would soon be denied. The two Gulf war interventions in the Horn of Africa, the war in Yugoslavia; Iraq; the invasion of Afghanistan; the profusion of conflicts in the African continent from the Sudan, Central African Republic, through Mali, Chad, Ivory Coast, Somalia and Ethiopia, among others; the successive attacks on Palestine; the war against Lebanon; the attack on Libya; the coup in Ukraine; the interference and attack on Syria, are clear examples of an escalation of war by imperialism and the denial that the evolution of the international situation would be marked by any military unwinding.

The consequences are expressed in the tragic trail of death, destruction of whole countries and the millions of refugees, realities which emphasize and demand the strengthening of the struggle for disarmament and peace.

According to the UN, more than 1500 million people, about a fifth of the world population, today live in countries affected by conflict. More than 45 million people were displaced as a result of conflict or persecutions and more than 15 million among these are refugees.

The promised and profusely proclaimed prosperity, under the baton of capitalist globalization and a more rigid application of neoliberal prescriptions, the free movement of speculative capital, would result in further concentration of wealth in favor of transnational capital and with brutal social and economic costs for workers and for the people.

In fact if there is remarkable trait in these last two and a half decades it is the development of a powerful imperialism offensive on the most varied levels. A revanchist crusade on a exploitative and recolonizing offensive at a global scale, that tried to recover the power which the struggle of the workers and peoples, and the existence and example of the socialist camp, had forced from the ruling classes during the 20th century.

Capitalist globalization, far from transforming the world into a peaceful "global village" united by new technologies, was marked by the appropriation of the achievements of science and technology by big capital, by the attack on national sovereignty, by the intensification of exploitation of labor, the reduction or destruction, particularly in the capitalist centers, of labor and social rights, by the increase in inequalities in the distribution of wealth both between classes and between countries, the use of external debt as an instrument of economic and political domination, by an incessant growth of financialization of capital, by the increasing pillage of natural resources and wealth from "developing countries".

The result of this evolution did not lead to greater justice in the redistribution of wealth, but rather an increase in exploitation and misery in many parts of the world. To new and more profound inequalities.
A few days ago an international study [by Oxfam], widely publicized, revealed that only eight entrepreneurs amassed the same as the poorest half of the world population. Eight, only eight, accumulated the same wealth as 3.6 billion people.

Not too long ago that same organization revealed that the weight of the income of 1% richest people was equal to the wealth of other 99%.

Be it in developing countries or in the so-called "developed countries", the right to work is denied to more than 200 million people. The precariousness of labor relations is creating a situation which is increasingly closer to the labor reality of the 19th century. About half of all workers of the world have a precarious or informal labor relation.

These factors, typical of the development of capitalism that is becoming more parasitic and decadent, are at the origin of poverty, hunger and the other large social disasters affecting humanity. According to the UN, Hunger affects more than 800 million people!

In Portugal, in recent years, we have lived an illustrative example of what capitalism is and of the consequences of the changes in the world, with the attacks on the conquests of the April revolution and the worsening of the social and economic situation of the country with the deepening of the policies of capitalist and monopolistic recovery. We have witnessed the acceleration of capitalist integration in the European Union that assuming the same agenda of the dominant capitalism of liberalization, privatization and financialization of the economy, of attack on labor and social rights, and with the complicity and initiative of the right-wing forces in Portugal, has contributed to the marked weakening and dependence of the country, particularly with the liquidation and privatization of strategic sectors of the national economy and its increasing domination by foreign capital, with the destruction of the main national productive sectors.

An evolution that has led the country to chronic stagnation and a crisis that is far from over.
An evolution with disastrous consequences for the country's independence and its sovereignty and leading to the degradation of the living and working conditions of the Portuguese people, with the weakening and destruction of important economic and social rights, with severe impact on labor rights, wages and social protection.

The result is known: growing unemployment, more precariousness, stagnation and economic regression and of GDP, more public debt, more trade deficit, greater external indebtedness, increased indebtedness of enterprises and households, worse income distribution, degradation of living conditions and more poverty, more regional imbalances, exacerbated structural deficits.

Now, as start a new year and the program commemorating the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, and as pointed out in our 20th Congress held last month, there is a persistent international situation of great instability and great uncertainty about the future, increasingly marked by the deepening of the structural crisis of capitalism and by a violent offensive of imperialism.

Today we continue witness the worsening of the most negative traits of the exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature of the capitalist system.

The cyclic crisis triggered in 2007/2008 continues with no end in sight. The inability to resuscitate the economy is accelerating the centralization and concentration of economic and political power, and promoting securitarian and militarist drifts.

With the development of the crisis, capitalism resists its decline, developing a multifaceted attack aiming to appropriate markets, raw materials and strategic positions, destabilizing and submitting countries that oppose its will in almost all continents.

War appears increasingly as the response of imperialism to the crisis of its system of exploitation and oppression.

In the main centers of imperialism, in the USA, European Union, Japan, the situation is one of evident inability to resuscitate the economy. And the factors of new crises accumulate.

What this development shows and confirms is that capitalism has no solutions to the problems of the contemporary world. On the contrary, it deepens all problems, everywhere, and is constantly in conflict with the needs, interests, and aspirations of the workers and peoples.

That is why, more than ever, socialism emerges with redoubled timeliness and necessity in the process of emancipation of workers and peoples, which PCP assumes as its overarching goal in our program.
We have the conviction that the need for an alternative system to capitalism – socialism – is now more present in the political and ideological debate and, although paving the way with difficulty, the tendency is for the recovery its power of attraction among the masses.

The timeliness and need of socialism as a solution to the problems of the people in the world requires considering a wide diversity of solutions, stages and phases of the revolutionary struggle, certain that there are no "models" of revolutions, or "models" of socialism, as PCP always defended, but general laws of socialist construction: power of the workers, socialization of the means of production, planning – and, above all, as a decisive element, the building of a State that promotes and ensures the engagement and the creative participation of the masses in building the new society.

The project for Portugal that we indicate and present to our people is the product of the own thinking in our party and responds to national specificities, and also takes into account the lessons from experiences, both positive and negative, in the socialist countries.

It was from the Portuguese reality and revolutionary experience, but by assimilating critically the world revolutionary experience, that we defined in our Party program a conception of socialism and the characteristics that must assume. In it are expressed as a fundamental objectives of the socialist revolution, "the abolition of exploitation of man by man, the creation of a society without antagonistic classes, a democracy in various aspects, the permanent and creative intervention of the popular masses, the constant increase of the material and spiritual well-being of the workers and the people in general, the elimination of discrimination, inequality, injustice and social scourges, the achievement of equal rights of men and women and the integration of youth in the life of the country, as a social dynamic and creative force ".

The power of the workers, the guarantee to exercise democratic freedoms, including freedom of the press and formation of political parties, respect for political opinions and religious beliefs, the regular holding of democratic elections, are among the characteristics of the political system.

The social ownership of the means of production, including banking sector, a planned direction of the economy in the context of diversified economic forms (state organized, self-managed cooperative, individual and family-based, with private companies of varying size) and their direct intervention and initiative, and taking into account the role of the market; the full realization of agrarian reform, with full respect for the wishes of workers and farmers, are among the characteristics of the economic organization.

The liberation of workers from all forms of exploitation and oppression, full employment, an income to each according to his work, respect for individual property, resulting from one’s work, the solution of the serious problems of housing, health, education and the environment, are among the characteristics in the social sphere of the new society.

The transformation of culture into heritage, instrument and activity of all the people, full access to education, the advancement of science, technology and art, a stimulus to individual and collective initiative, are its characteristics in terms of culture.

The formation of a social and individual conscience in agreement with the ideals of freedom, of civic duty, respect for the human person and nature, of solidarity, friendship and peace, are among the characteristics on the ethical level of the socialist society we want to build for the future.

This is the essence of the project for the construction of socialism which the PCP presents to our people, aware that life, always dynamic, as well as the conditions of its realization, will bring new problems that will require new and unexpected answers and solutions.

But if we state that this is the period of transition from capitalism to socialism, and in general terms, the socialism presents itself as the only and true alternative to capitalism, that does not mean that everywhere there are conditions for the conquest of power by workers, nor that the chant and immediate task be the socialist revolution. The framework of the struggle of the communists presents around the world a great diversity of solutions, stages and phases of the revolutionary struggle.

Under the conditions in Portugal, which went through a profound revolution, whose realities, experiences and values continue to mark the struggle of the Portuguese people for a better life, such a process goes through the step we characterized as an Advanced Democracy, itself an integral part of the struggle for socialism.

A program that appeared in the historical continuity of the Democratic and National Revolution and the ideas and achievements of April 25th and that projects this heritage of April as realities and objective requirements in the future of our country.

The Party Program of "An Advanced Democracy - the values of April in Portugal's future" - is a proposal that responds to the specific needs of Portuguese society in the present historical stage.

A program whose implementation is objectively in the interests of all workers and the set of all classes and social strata monopolistic.

Therefore, a program that includes and presupposes in its implementation and in the progressive transformations it advocates, a broad system of social alliances, whose basic cores are the alliance between the working class and the peasantry (small and medium farmers) and the alliance between the working class and the intellectuals and other middle strata.

A program of Advanced Democracy, whose basic definition is based on the idea that democracy is simultaneously political, economic, social and cultural, and that defines five components or fundamental objectives of advanced democracy:

1 - a regime of freedom in which the people decide their fate and a democratic, representative and participated State;
2- An economic development based on a mixed economy, freed from the dominion of monopolies, serving the people and the country;
3. - a social policy that guarantees the improvement of the living conditions of the workers and the people;
4. - a cultural policy that ensures access to the creation and fruition of culture;
5. - an independent and sovereign country with a policy of peace and cooperation with all peoples.

The project of an Advanced Democracy is an integral part of the struggle for socialism, therefore its implementation is also inseparable from the fight today for the realization of a rupture with the right-wing policy and the materialization of a patriotic and left-wing policy that gives shape to this construction, a process which does not separate, before integrates consistently, the set of objectives of the struggle.

Patriotic and left-wing – two dimensions of the policy we propose and define, considering our national reality, namely the growing economic colonization and consequent political subordination that results from the process of capitalist integration in the European Union and the field of monopoly capital nationally and internationally in our country.

Patriotic, because the new direction and the new policy must break with the increasing relations of submission and subordination, and replace at the center of political orientation the affirmation of an economic sovereign development.

Left-wing, because it affirms the need for the valorization of work, the effective implementation of social rights and the social functions of the State – health, education, social protection –, a distribution of income that is more just, and the public control of strategic sectors; left-wing because it assumes the defense of workers and of all non-monopolist strata and sectors.

The aim of achieving such a policy demand a government that achieves what PCP has appealed to, the convergence of all democrats and patriots, of the forces and sectors that are truly willing to break with the right-wing policy and build a more just society.

There are many problems and difficulties to overcome, but it is in socialism and not in capitalism that workers and the peoples will find an answer to their aspirations for freedom, equality, justice, social progress and peace.

In this fight and in fighting for our ideals and project, more than proclaim them, we must persist with determination and courage fighting the path necessary for their realization.

To have results in this path we need a strong and constantly reinforced Communist Party, assuming its vanguard role in close connection with the working class, the workers and the people. We need permanent and daily action in defense of the interests of workers, the people and the country, a firm and persistent fight against the right-wing policy and for the alternative, the strengthening of the unity of the working class and the workers, the commitment to the formation of a vast social front of struggle, the strengthening of mass organizations and movements, the convergence and unity among democrats and patriots, the combination of electoral and institutional action with the action of the masses, the intensification and convergence of the mass struggle, a determining and crucial factor towards the success of any project of social progressive transformation that serves the workers and the people.

In Portugal and in the world there is no advancement, progress, hope, which did not count on with the ideas, the effort, the courage, the blood and the struggle of the communists!

It is with the deep conviction that socialism and communism are the future of humanity that we continue our struggle, firmly aware that the future doesn't just happen, it is built and conquered.

We are a Communist Party of our time and for our time, firm in our ideal and in the affirmation of its trans-formative and revolutionary project, which has always been present in the action and intervention towards building a new society – socialism.

We will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the October revolution reaffirming that we were, are and shall be communists!

Long live the Revolution of October!