Speech by Jerónimo de Sousa, General Secretary

Closing Speech XXI Congress of the PCP

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We are coming to end of the XXI Congress of the PCP. We have come a long way in the process of preparing it and holding it.

We have debated here the problems and backwardness that are present in various spheres of the country’s life, as well as its unused potential. We analysed and debated the situation in our productive sectors, their weaknesses and insufficiencies that are at the root of our heavy dependence. We have debated our chronic structural deficits that limit and block our development. We heard here the concerns regarding the real dangers that hang over the evolution of the country’s economic and social life.

The Congress debated the deteriorated social situation, which was made worse by the sanitary situation, but which is also the result of low wages, of precarious labour relations, of injustices, of the changes for the worse in the labour legislation which has made made life harder for working people.

Today, there are more Portuguese who are victims of greater exploitation, unemployment and poverty, which have increased and are on the rise. Today there is more uncertainty and disquiet in relation to the future of their lives.

This reality is not overturned by excessive and incoherent States of Emergency. It is changed with emergency social measures, which give content and meaning to the goal that no one should be left behind.

It is necessary to halt the destruction of economic sectors and ensure employement and the survival of many thousands of micro and small businesspeople. To quickly reverse the course of economic recession and relaunch the economy. To stop the social regression and improve the workers’ and people’s living standards. And this can only be possible with concrete measures, as we have done and do in the Assembly of the Republic, in our political initiative, as we do together with the workers and in their organizations. As we did during the debate on the State Budget. A course which did not go further because the PS does not free itself from its options and choices. But, while some gave up, the truth is that if there are advances, measures adopted that regard the workers, pensioners, small companies, culture, the National Health Service and its professionals – all of them are marked by the PCP’s contribution and proposal.

The Congress demonstrated and proved that yes, an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy is possible, based on the pillars of strengthening the productive apparatus, making the country produce what we are forced to buy abroad, valuing labour and the workers, their wages and rights, with stronger public services and social functions of the State, in particular the National Health Service and Public Education, strengthening social protection, ensuring the right to culture, mobility and housing. But also founded on the cohesion and a balanced development of all our territory, correcting the asymmetries which exist, defending the environment and safeguarding nature. An alternative policy based on asserting national sovereignty, freed from external constraints and from submission to the European Union and its straightjacket, that fights corruption and the subordination of political power to economic power.

An alternative policy which, to be materialized, requires the convergence of democrats and patriots, the struggle of the workers and the peoples, a stronger Party – these are the components and driving forces to build the alternative that the country needs.

A political alternative that is not possible only with the PCP, but that will also not be possible without the PCP.

Yes, this is a necessary and indispensible Party to build a future of progress and development!

Life has already proved, and continues to prove, that with the PCP our life advances. Wherever there is progress and advances, the PCP is there, expressing the aspirations and the struggle of the workers and of our people!

Allow me comrades, to highlight the significance of preparing and holding our Congress.

We have the irrefutable thesis that rights are defended by exercising them.

We have been here exercising democratic rights that the 48-year long fascist dictatorship prohibited and which, having been won with April, were enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic and the law.

The reactionary forces, with some sectors of the mass media as their backdrop – those who did not want commemorations of the April Revolution, May 1st, the Avante! Festival, and now the Congress – taking advantage of the epidemic situation and the natural fear of the spreading of the disease, have spearheaded another episode of fearmongering, no longer just the fear of dying, but leading this operation to the fear of living.

Fear of enjoying cultural and sports activities, fear of being together, of working and participating, at a time when thousands of jobs are being destroyed, wages are cut, rights are cut back, and small and medium businesspeople are ruined.

Yes, it is a fact that anyone who is not concerned with the sanitary situation is distracted. We, ourselves, must take the necessary measures of sanitary protection and must follow the health authorities’ recommendations.

But if there is a lesson to be learned from the PCP’s Congress, it is that there is no unsurmountable difficulty in ensuring both sanitary safety and the exercise of rights and freedoms. The delegates had this sense of responsibility. But allow me, comrades, to underscore a fact. We are a Party of militants with different responsibilities, but not a Party of militants of different categories. What must be stressed is that the success of the 21st Congress owes a great deal, truly a great deal, to those comrades who ensured the most diverse tasks in organizing and ensuring the proceedings, in the technical assistance and security of the Congress, in transportations, meals, reproduction of documents and in particular the dozens of comrades who ensured all the sanitary conditions, thereby giving a decisive contribution to the success of our Congress. We are proud to belong to this great Party collective, to this Portuguese Communist Party.

Comrades,

The Congress has now given us the tool for our immediate and future work, expressed in the Political Resolution that we have adopted.
What is now needed is to do the work.

We have elected a new Central Committee which elected the members of its Executive Bodies, the Central Control Committee and the Party’s General Secretary.

We reaffirm our nature and identity as a Communist, marxist-leninist Party, bearer of the Communist ideal and project.

We reaffirm our patriotic dimension which is inseparable from our internationalist solidarity.

We reaffirm our option as a class Party, a Party of the working class and all workers, which converges with intellectuals, with small farmers and producers, with micro, small and medium businesspeople.

What we are doing and asserting here is that the generations of Communists who preceded us ever since our Party was founded have, in this generation, the determination, the guarantee and assertion that, as Communists of our times, we will do everything to continue having a Communist Party of which we can be proud, a Communist Party worthy of that name.

A Party which, in a creative way, seeks to strengthen its organization, that is inseparable from its activity wherever the workers need this organized force in stormy times. Storms which lash out in our faces, but not against our backs.

We have an admirable Party that can still surprise us. We are not preparing for the battle. We are already waging it.

In the short term, the battle of the Presidential elections and to strengthen the broad base of support for our candidate, João Ferreira, and the battle to bring to the struggle thousands of workers who are being hit in their wages, their jobs, their rights.

We will need much strength, much confidence.

One of our Party’s historic leaders, when asked how he had the strength to carry out a heroic act of escaping from a fascist prison, told us: we Communists have strength that we did not know we had.

Let us display it in the struggle.

Strength, confidence, hope and struggle – these are the requirements of our times.

Long live the XXI Congress!
Long live the workers and the peoples!
Long live the youth and the Portuguese Communist Youth!
Long live the Portuguese Communist Party!

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  • XXI Congresso
Intervenções
XXI Congresso