Speech by Ângelo Alves, Member of the Political Committee of the Central Committee of the PCP, XXI Congresso do PCP

The crisis of capitalism, the imperialist offensive, the European Union and the struggle of workers and peoples

The crisis of capitalism, the imperialist offensive, the European Union and the struggle of workers and peoples

In recent years the international situation has seriously worsened. International tension has increased, injustices and inequalities have deepened, reactionary and even fascist forces have advanced, and militarism and war remain the greatest danger facing humanity.

This evolution has deep roots in the exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature of capitalism, and arises from the incessant deepening of its insoluble contradictions that converge to deepen a structural crisis manifest on various levels – the social to economic, from the environmental to political and cultural.

We live in a time of a pandemic, and everything is discussed from the perspective of this event. But the serious problems we are experiencing were not born with Covid.

Covid did not give rise to unemployment for hundreds of millions of workers, but rather capitalist exploitation that needs the unemployed as a reserve army of labour.

Covid did not lead a handful of billionaires to possess the same wealth as nearly 4 billion people, but rather capitalist accumulation that generates the pauperization of the masses.

Covid did not create the nearly one billion hungry people in the world, but rather capitalism that is unable to reconcile human needs with resource management and the development of productive forces.

No, the contradictions of capitalism were not born a few months ago. Covid has merely amplified them and their impact on reality as a catalyst of trends, and exposed the decadence and inhumane nature of capitalism – once again demonstrating capitalism's evident inability to solve the problems, needs and basic rights of workers and peoples.

An inability all the more striking when the remarkable advances of science and technology and their enormous potential are used not for social progress but to intensify exploitation, the concentration of capital and attacks upon liberties and fundamental rights; or when capitalism, responsible for worsening environmental problems, uses these as new business fronts that will accentuate the environmental crises.

The truth is that the crisis of capitalism is far older, almost as old as the system itself. And it is deepening, as evident in unbearable injustices and discrimination; in the increasingly frequent cyclical crises; in the difficulty of relaunching significant cycles of accumulation; and in the increasing financialization of the economy that amplifies the economic crises and accentuates the parasitic and criminal character of the system. A crisis that at the political level is manifest in the growing discontent of the masses, the discredit of the bourgeois liberal political system, in cultural regression, the spread of obscurantism and the promotion of reactionary forces.

A crisis that is increasingly palpable in the very centres of capitalism and in the deepening contradictions in the imperialist camp. First off in the European continent, with the deep crisis in and of the European Union, clearly expressed in the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, the multiplication of crisis and rivalries, the growing popular protest and the practical confirmation that the European Union is not a space of solidarity and cooperation, but rather a unreformable structure of supranational impositions and imperialist domination that fosters asymmetric development and reactionary forces, and that even in times of temporary strife is articulated with US imperialism and NATO.

A relation whose professions of faith are now repeated following the US elections, where the new US Administration is preparing to oil the transatlantic machine and resume world leadership (as they have no problem stating). Nothing that should surprise us. While Trump's non-reelection was a positive element for the US people who crave change, thinking there will be substantive changes, particularly in foreign policy, is a delusion. On the contrary, what is on the table may be the intensification of the imperialist offensive, with new clothing.


The times we live are of great instability, they contain great dangers, but also potentials. In their desire for profit and dominance, the ruling classes reveal insecurity. They are concerned about the unsustainability of the social situation, about economic instability, about popular protest, and also about the complex process of rearrangement of forces at the international level that decreases the main imperialist powers' manoeuvrability and opens up prospects for significant changes in economic, commercial and geostrategic relations – in particular with China's economic, social and technological advances and its affirmation at the international level.

It is in this context that big capital multiples manoeuvres attempting to contain the struggle of peoples and prevent the development of sovereign countries. From the promotion of fascism, to the advancement of militarism, the multiplication of conflicts, attacks on democracy and the sovereignty of states, to the ideological manipulation on a mass scale through the media or social networks, imperialism develops a multifaceted and violent offensive whose central objectives are to maintain its power and to obscure from the people's perspective the need and possibility of a revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.

An offensive that in the context of the pandemic is accompanied by an ideological barrage around concepts such as the “new normal”, which the ruling classes uses as cover to accentuate exploitation and attack labour, social and democratic rights, and simultaneously present this attempt as a renaissance of capitalism, clean of its history of crimes, injustices, inequalities and oppression.

But comrades, however powerful and dangerous it may be, and even in a correlation of forces unfavourable to revolutionary and progressive forces, such an offensive is not a sign of capitalism's strength and vigour. On the contrary, it is a sign of its weakness, insecurity, decay and a narrowing social base of support.

They may well try to hide, and they have the means to do so, but the fact is that in the most diverse forms, on all continents and with countless expressions, the people’s discontent and struggle indicate the class struggle is deepening in a very significant way. They may well try to hide this, but they know that all over the world, from Cuba to Palestine, from Syria to Venezuela, from Chile to Belarus, from Bolivia to Western Sahara, peoples resist, fight, and often impose heavy defeats on imperialism.

The truth they fear is that objective conditions for progressive and revolutionary transformations exist. And that is why they accentuate anti-communism, attack democracy, resort to fascism and carry out attacks against our Party and against all forces and countries that face imperialism.

The truth, comrades, is that capitalism, however "humane" and "green", is not, nor will be, the end of history.

The future, built with everyday struggle, belongs to Socialism!

  • Intervenções
  • XXI Congresso
XXI Congresso