Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary of the PCP, CDU Rally

«We will face the fight before us. We will fight with confidence!»

With this grandiose rally, we initiate the Electoral Campaign for the National Parliament.

It is a very important battle that will determine the evolution of national life in the more immediate future.

In these elections for the National Parliament it is increasing clear what option is placed before the Portuguese: either allow the continuation of a path of decline, impoverishment, exploitation, dependence that PSD, CDS and PS [Social-Democratic Party, Popular Party and Socialist Party, respectively] have imposed upon the country and intensified over these last few years; or take this opportunity, with your support and vote for CDU, to open a path of rupture with right-wing policies and achieve a patriotic and left-wing politics.

These are the real options, there are no others. Options increasingly rooted in the evolution of the Country’s political reality and confirmed in our appraisal of the electoral pre-campaign that now ends.
This CDU was all over the country, accounting for the work it has done, affirming our proposals and positions with total transparency.

An unparalleled intervention in the National Parliament, providing answers to the Country’s problems, giving expression to many struggles in the defense of rights, wages, jobs, access to public services.
PCP and PEV [the Portuguese Communist Party and the ‘Green’ Ecologist Party, respectively, which integrate CDU] brought to the National Parliament proposals to increase the national minimum wage; in defense of a program to fight against precariousness; a new fiscal policy and the reinforcement of the financial solidity of social security; the widening of the unemployment subsidy; the end of cuts to wages; increases in retirement pensions; the renegotiation of the debt. Proposals and initiatives, had they been approved, would have meant a better life, a more developed Portugal, but which always slammed against the opposition of PSD and CDS, but also, and we must remember, the opposition of PS.

What I can tell you, in the beginning of the campaign and with many initiatives already held, is that the sentiment that surrounds our campaign is of great confidence in CDU, an increasing support in this force in which people recognize a history of coherence, truth and integrity.

The recognition that in CDU there is an immense force, the force of the people, a strength in who the workers and people know they can count on to defend their rights, but also to pave the way for an alternative, patriotic and left-wing politics at the service of the people and country.

Yes, because in CDU they recognize those who did not desert them in harder times, those that show up not only during elections. It was CDU, and only CDU, with whom the workers and people could count on when it was necessary to fight injustices and exploitation.

Yes, this great force, the strength of the people, that has solutions for the country, that fought as no other the current PSD/CDS government, that denounces the maneuvers to perpetuate right-wing policies. Yes, this force that guarantees that the support and vote of the workers, the democrats and patriots will matter when it comes time to decide a patriotic and left-wing policy.

Yes comrades, it is the strength of the people, it is CDU they fear. Because they know that this is where a rupture with the right-wing policies need pass, that without hesitations we will affirm national interests against the submission they want to condemn us and that will only bring more dependency, that CDU will fight the interests of the economic groups, the financial capital and speculators.

Yes, it is CDU that the promoters of the right-wing policies and the representatives of big capital fear, because they know that CDU prescribes unambiguously returning stolen wages and pensions and denouncing those who want to prolong this theft and freeze their values; it is CDU that fights for an increase in wages and a national minimum wage of 600 euros, without depending on the will of big business; it is CDU that defends a fiscal policy that gives tax relief to workers and the people while taxing big capital and fortunes.

It can be rightly said that CDU are serious people.

Serious people because we honor our word. With CDU, workers and people know what they can count on, they know we will fulfill what we affirm, that we don’t scatter promises and lies to win votes, because in CDU each and every vote is integrally respected.

Serious people because we are in politics not to serve ourselves, but to serve the interests of the workers, the people and the country. In CDU, public office is not used to guarantee privileges. Those elected, the MPs gain as a wage the same as they made in their professions and companies. People recognized for their work, honesty and competence.

Serious people who take seriously the problems of workers, pensioners, the small and medium businessmen, the youth, because in its action CDU answers their anxieties and just aspirations, because tied to life, it knows and answers their concerns and intervenes in defense of all those that are affected by right-wing policies.

Serious people, because we don’t turn away from a fight. Because as the Portuguese know, it was with CDU they could count on during their worse times, in was in CDU that they found the coherence and courage when it was hardest to resist and fight the policy of destruction of living conditions, because in CDU resides a guarantee to fight for a patriotic and left-wing politics.

Serious people, because it does not need to hide its past. Yes, because CDU does not need to mask its past positions, cover responsibilities for the path of decline because it now needs to stand up and try to present itself as something it’s not. CDU stands with head up high with the righteousness that life has given and gives it, with the clarity of who denounced and fought the policy of disaster of successive governments of PS, PSD and CDS, with the authority of who has affirmed and defended solutions and measures that, had they been approved, would have saved the Portuguese so many hardships and would have contributed towards a less unequal and more fairer country.
Serious people with a serious policy to answer national problems. People who don’t hide in lies, dispersing illusions and false fatalities, but on the contrary affirm with confidence that there is a solution for the country, the Portugal has resources and means to ensure a better future, with more production and a distribution of wealth the benefits those that work.

Serious people that don’t give up on a serious Portugal. Because in CDU we don’t forsake fighting for the inalienable right of a Country to affirm itself as a sovereign and independent nation, of placing the national interests ahead of projects like those that want to maintain the country subjected to transnational capital and the directorate of powers.

But what this pre-campaign has also revealed is the identity, in essence, of the policies of those that have governed – PS, PSD and CDS – despite the effort to the contrary of a not so innocent campaign of political bipolarization that is ongoing under the cover of the mystification of an election for a Prime-minister.

This is what we saw in the environment created around the debate between Costa and Passos [the leaders of PS and PSD/CDS coalition, respectively], transformed into decisive duels of falsely opposed options. Or in the misguiding effort to transform secondary differences and variants of the same politics into alternative projects.

What they want to sell is the idea that the only option in these elections is to choose between those that have the responsibility of having led the country towards the crises and placed us on the verge of the abyss.

To choose between two evils!

What was made very clear, whatever they may say today, is their common responsibility for the situation of decline, dependency, impoverishment of Portugal and the Portuguese.

It was the identity of their political matrix, which is, in essence, the same. The same identity in points of view that has united them in the anti-social offensive and in the submission to the diktats of the European Union and the Euro.

They can pass the buck to each other, say and unsay all they have done. Nothing can erase their common responsibility for the social wounds they opened in the Portuguese society.

Nothing can erase the consequences of years of their governments that led us to the crisis and led to delivering the country to foreign entities and to a tragic program of pillage, exploitation and impoverishment that broadened from each Stability and Growth Pact (PEC) to the Pact of Aggression.
Yes, we’ve arrived where we are as a result of their options of European and national politics, their tacit agreements, their conniving and deals, their policy of national submission and restoration of monopolies.

Whatever they may say, nothing can erase their common responsibility for the Country’s economic decline and the destruction of thousands of businesses and jobs with their policy of destruction of the national productive sectors. For example, together they arranged the end of the milk quotas and now they come and cry over split milk!

Nothing can erase their responsibility for the high levels of unemployment that persist in the Country, the brutal levels of precariousness, the drastic reduction in work incomes and destruction of rights, as a result of their policy of exploitation of work and workers.
Say what they may, if today we have an unsustainable debt and a suffocating debt service it is wholly their responsibility.

Whatever PS, PSD and CDS may say, they can turn history on its end, but nothing will erase their responsibility for the cuts in wages, pensions and social benefits, for the attacks on the right to health and education, towards the impoverishment of culture.

Whatever PS, PSD and CDS may say, nothing will erase their common responsibility for the maintenance and increasing fiscal injustice in Portugal, as a result of their policy of systematic increase of taxes upon work incomes. For the brutal bleeding of Portuguese abroad with a level of emigration that leaves Portugal suffering, more empty and poorer in its main and decisive resource — its people! For the dramatic increase in poverty. For the levels of corruption and economic and financial fraud of these last years, and the growing submission of political to economic power that we have lived these last years. It was their policy in the service of the economic groups and big interests that fed this!

However they spin it, however they argue, we did not get here by chance.

This was always the strategic option that guided PSD, PS and CDS: restoring the privileges of big capital and their dominion over Portuguese society.

This is the result of years and years of consecutive right-wing policies by PS, PSD and CDS and their governments. The result also of three decades of capitalist integration in the European Union with their list of impositions and their instruments of domination!

That is why they are so committed to cleaning the slate of their responsibilities, returning the counter to zero, hiding their real intentions regarding the future.

This is the greatest hoax they’ve launched during the pre-campaign! Of wanting to create an illusion about the past, of hiding their projects of exploitation and impoverishment for the future.
That is the great danger the Portuguese have before them.

Yes comrades, what the parties of the right and the troika reserve for the Portuguese, if they form a government, is the maintenance of fiscal injustice over the next years and continued brutal tax increases upon labor.

What the Portuguese can expect is a change in the social security system that will harm pensions with new cuts and the liquidation and devaluing of social benefits.

On this matter, PS, PSD and CDS also converge. Some say kill, with their proposal of immediate cut of 600 million euros in current pensions; others say maim, with their measure of reducing contributions to social security [the TSU, single social tax] and subsequent devaluing of pensions and all social benefits, entailing new cuts in social benefits of more than a billion euros over the next four years.

What PS, PSD and CDS have to offer the Portuguese in their programs is not only the extension of the current cuts in wages and pensions, but a general freeze and devaluing of work incomes until 2019, including the national minimum wage, whose update is cast into the hands of big business.

What the working Portuguese can expect for the future from these three parties are measures that will worsen the work laws, an increase in precariousness and its amplification, easing lay-offs, be they wrapped in the false solution of a single contract, of flexible lay-offs or not!

What the Portuguese can find in the forthcoming years with the parties that have governed Portugal in shifts, is the maintenance of health co-payments and the continuation of cuts in the National Health System, in the Public School and public services, continuing the policy of reconfiguration of the State, in the interest of big economic interests.

We are not passing judgment on any alleged intentions. It is the reality of their fundamental options, of their submission to the draconian rules of the Budgetary Treaty they don’t want to question and that of their ideological options.

What the Portuguese will have for certain, namely the micro, small and medium businessmen and to their detriment, other than the absence of measures, is the continuation of the present marginalization in the access of EU funds for the development of their activities.

What the Portuguese can expect is the continuation of the waste of public means and resources to cover the demands of the banks and finance sector. That is what will result from their known position regarding the Espirito Santo Bank (BES) and the New Bank, just as they did regarding BPN, against the opposition, it is fair to recall, of only PCP and PEV. Another billion added onto the near 20 billion euros that since 2008 the PS and PSD/CDS governments have funneled to the banks and bankers.

And they still say there is no money to invest and develop the country and pay what they owe and stole from workers, the retired, the unemployed, our people whose rights to health, education and culture have been usurped!

What the Portuguese can expect from the right-wing parties is the continued bleeding of our Country’s resources with the transfer to big capital of more the 8 billion euros in annual interest rates of an unsustainable debt, condemning the Country to retardation and the workers and people to the degradation of their incomes and rights and high levels of unemployment!

What the Portuguese can certainly expect, if they give them a chance, is seeing the Country tied hand in foot in the straight-jacket of the criteria of the Budgetary Treaty, of suffocation of the budget and payment of the debt and constraining the deficit tooth and nail!
This is their common program!

All this became clear during these times of pre-campaign, in addition to the promises and idyllic scenarios of some, counts and accounting of others, that only serve to cover us in a dark reality, together with a mantle of fantasy.

That is why we say it is not enough to change the government, it is also necessary to change policies!
It is not enough to defeat the government in service, it is also necessary to defeat right-wing politics!


It is to achieve all this that they ask insistently for an absolute majority, under the pretext of stability for the country.

They want to be able to twirl around and do as they very well please!

What moves them with the blackmail of “governability” and “stability” they invoke, is no more than the “stability” of right-wing politics, at the cost of instability in the life of the Portuguese.

For them what is decisive is that politics pursue its right-wing path, as always occurred with the many majorities, one and the other had in the past!

This was the case of PSD and CDS, as they are still proving with the nightmare of their governance over these last four years! And whatever they may say they will receive the defeat they deserve! This was the case of PS that throughout the years always chose to govern with the support of the parties that are now in government.

The unshakeable need for breaking with right-wing politics, and of affirming and achieving an alternative politics is increasingly reinforced.

A politics of rupture with the recopies and paths that have drowned the country and with a vision and objectives opposed to those that led Portugal towards decline and impoverishment.

We have a program that, with confidence, affirms there is an alternative and that problems have solutions. That there is another policy, patriotic and left-wing, capable of ensuring the development of the Country, of rising living conditions of workers and people, and affirming Portugal as a sovereign and independent nation in a Europe and world of peace and cooperation.

A politics that is not only indispensable and unpostponable, but possible and doable.

Doable with the strength and struggle of the workers and Portuguese people, having as decisive and strategic factor economic development, with the determined and firm affirmation of a Country’s right to a sovereign development, based on a rupture with the policies and orientations of the Economic and Monetary Union, the Euro and its constraints, the Budgetary Treaty, the EU’s Economic Governance.
Doable given the mobilization of resources by renegotiating the debt, recovering important resources buried today in PPP deals and swap contracts.

Doable with a new fiscal policy that while lightening taxes upon workers and the people will ensure, with the due taxing of profits and dividends of the economic groups and financial capital, the necessary means for investment and State functions.

A Program that assumes economic growth and employment as central objectives of its politics. Only a sustained and vigorous growth will put an end to the long period of stagnation of the Country.
A politics that has in the development of national production the motor to recharge the economy, creating jobs and fully benefiting from national resources, the answer to reviving the internal market and increasing exports of greater surplus value.

A Program orientated towards valuing agriculture to insure our food sovereignty, supporting family agriculture and taking advantage of our immense marine resources, namely fisheries; a politics of reindustrializing the Country.

A policy of affirmation of the role of the State in the economy, reversing privatizations and recovering basic strategic sectors for the public sector, in a framework of a mixed economy with a strong support of micro, small and medium companies and cooperatives.

A policy that values work and workers as an essential axis of an alternative politics, and that assumes without dancing around the objective of valuing wages and their rights, and fighting precariousness

A policy directed towards well-being and quality of life.

Starting with the guarantee to the right to health, an inseparable objective from reinforcing the National Health System and breaking away from the subfinancing and privatizing this system; the defense and valuing of the Social Security System — public and universal — capable of assuming its role, elevating the social protection of workers, the right to retirement and a dignified pension, protection in maternity and paternity.

A politics that effectively fights poverty intervening against its root causes.

A policy that assumes in education that grandest objective of integral education of children and youth with the affirmation of a Public School, free, with quality, inclusive, where it is ensured that all have the right to knowledge and equal opportunity.

A policy that guarantees the cultural functions of the State and assumes scientific and technical knowledge as a direct productive force, indispensable towards a sustained economic development.
The patriotic and left-wing policy that PCP proposes has in its objectives the affirmation of democracy and fulfilling the Constitution.

A policy that guarantees the rights of citizens, the access to justice, that decidedly fights corruption, that ensures the security and tranquility of its citizens, that affirms a policy of National Defense centered upon the constitutional principles.

A patriotic and left-wing politics that faces the external constraints and conditions and assumes the affirmation of a free and sovereign Portugal in a world and Europe of peace and cooperation among States that are equal in rights.

For CDU there is no hesitation. We stand on the side of workers, the people and the Country. Not, as PSD, CDS and PS, on the side of those that impose exploitation, impoverishment, subordination and submission to the European Union and the interest of the monopolies they serve.

CDU is and will be always beside the workers and people, ready to assume all the responsibilities the Portuguese people want to attribute to it in the government of the Country, as a force moved by a patriotic and left-wing policy to provide a solution to the national problems.

So this we can affirm truthfully:
On October 4th, a vote for CDU is vote for all those that want to defeat the PSD/CDS government. A vote in who, with authority and truth, can present itself at these elections with a clear past of unhesitant daily struggle against PSD and CDS.

But also a vote that counts to defeat right-wing politics, and stop it from continuing in other hands and deals.

A vote that gives greater security and guarantee to all those who want a rupture with the path of exploitation and injustices that this vote will not end in some back alley of right-wing politics, but will, on the contrary, add to give strength to a patriotic and left-wing politics;

A vote against absolute majorities desired by those, from the President to the men of big capital, who want to pursue the policy of decline of the country, of ruin of the living conditions of the Portuguese.

A vote in a force with solutions and answers to the most profound aspirations of workers and people, that on the day after the elections will be ready to assume all the responsibilities the people attribute to it in the government of the Country. It will be beside the workers to value their rights, besides the people to ensure better living conditions, beside the country and its sovereignty to prove that Portugal has a future.

The challenges we have in front of us belong not only to the candidates. Nor the CDU activists. But all those — democrats, patriots — that don’t accept, or conform with the systematic decline of the country and the destruction of the lives of the Portuguese.

All in this battle are candidates! All in this battle are necessary! Life does not begin nor end on October 4th. But the priority is this electoral battle.

We need to gain many Portuguese so that no vote is lost, namely bring the disillusioned by a politics of systematic delusion and deceit, of years and years of right-wing governments!

To give more strength to CDU is to give more strength to the struggle of workers and the people. To give strength to the idea that a patriotic and left wing policy is possible and within our reach, one capable a ensuring the elevation of the living conditions of workers and people, and defending the interests, sovereignty and independence of Portugal.

To give more strength to CDU is to affirm that with the strength of the people, a Portugal with a future is possible, in a Europe of workers and peoples.

There stands the fight. Let us fight with confidence!