Communiqué of the Central Committee of the PCP, October 6, 2015 [En, Pt]
The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on October 6, 2015, analysed the results of the legislative elections and the political, economic and social framework facing the workers and the people, as well as the development of the mass struggle. Set down the main guidelines of action and political initiative of the Party and also its organic strengthening to meet future needs. Discussed and decided to present a candidacy for the January 2016 presidential elections.
I – Make a rupture with the national decline
Bound to a policy and options subject to the interests of monopoly capital and the European capitalist integration, Portugal was dragged, during the last decades of the PS, PSD and CDS governments, into economic decline, social regression and dependence, accompanied on the political level by the impoverishment of the democratic regime, the confrontation with the Constitution of the Republic being its most visible feature.
It is the expression of this situation that the reality of national life shows very acutely, however strong the propaganda spread on the concocted successes and forged signs of recovery. The huge and powerful machine of manipulation and ideological conditioning at the service of big business can deceive many Portuguese but cannot wipe away a reality marked by dramatic levels of unemployment and poverty, of glaring and growing social inequality, denial of decent living conditions to millions of Portuguese and the materialization of their personal and professional projects in a country which is theirs.
The situation into which the country was dragged by decades of right-wing policy is in itself confirmation that insistence on this policy of exploitation, impoverishment and injustice can only lead to further worsening of national problems.
It is not the insistence on policies that led Portugal to the economic and social abyss that will reverse the path of disaster. The solution to the country’s problems demands a rupture with the right-wing policy, the construction of an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy. A policy based on economic growth and employment, on valorisation of the workers and their income, on restoring to the country its resources and strategic sectors, on the defence of public services and social functions of the State and the affirmation of the right of Portugal to a sovereign development.
It is this goal – a rupture with the right-wing policy and the building of an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy which, with increasing topicality will need the involvement of all democrats and patriots to assert the primacy of national interests and put ahead the rights and incomes of the workers and people.
II – CDU grows – an important election result
1. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses and underlines as important aspects of the legislative elections held on October, 4: the electoral progress of CDU and its meaning in terms of the affirmation of the force needed for a patriotic and left-wing policy; and the defeat imposed on the PSD/CDS coalition whose main result is the loss of absolute majority and of the political legitimacy to form government.
2. CDU’s result – translated into more votes, higher electoral expression and more MPs – is a new and important step in the continuing electoral progress occurred in the last four legislative elections, confirming the growing support and trust of the workers and the people on the CDU.
A result that is the most expressive obtained by the CDU since 1999, resulting in 17 MPs (confirming all the 2011 mandates and winning one more MP in Oporto), an electoral expression of 8.27% (up by 0.37 percentage points) and obtaining 444 319 votes
The votes now obtained, although not fully reflecting the current of support felt in the struggles of recent years, is inseparable from the course of action in defence of the interests of the workers and people, from the proven consistency of positions and action of the CDU, and its recognised values of work, honesty and competence. It also shows the growing confidence in the project and solutions that the CDU presents to address the country’s problems and materialise the aspirations of the workers and the people.
A result all the more valuable since it was built under an intense ideological campaign and electoral conditioning, blackmail and fear. A campaign marked by a globally discriminatory media context, proving an alignment with the interests of economic groups which determine the information that is produced, based on the disfigurement of CDU and its intervention, in a recurring dilution of its political message, and an often not assumed slander and defamation by some media, in stark contrast with the promotion given to others or the shameless favouring of polarization, of which the television debates were a great example.
3. The result of the PSD/CDS coalition, regardless of the condition of being the most voted political force, expresses a clear condemnation of the policy pursued by their government in the last four years.
In fact, the voting now obtained represents a loss of more than 700 000 votes (as shown in the fact that the coalition as a whole had less votes than those obtained by PSD alone in 2011), a drop of 12 percentage points (from 50.3% to 38.5%) and the loss of 25 MPs, being the second lowest ever vote of both these parties. The defeat now imposed on the PSD/CDS coalition is inseparable from the struggle and fight that the workers and the people waged against the policy of economic decline and social regression.
The Central Committee of the PCP points out in particular the significance and extent of this condemnation in a context where the government and the parties that supported it blackmailed the Portuguese people with the fear and spectre of instability, launched an operation of instrumentalization of the state apparatus to serve their electoral goals and covered their true agenda and political programme based on the continuation of the attack on the incomes and rights of the workers and people and the subordination of the country to the interests and impositions of the European Union.
The most important implication of the results and of the new political framework is the confirmed defeat of the PSD and CDS projects to proceed their course of destruction of rights, attack on the incomes of the workers and people, of subordination and national dependence.
4. The votes obtained by PS, 32.28%, represent one of its lowest ever election result. The PS should ponder its own responsibility, the various reasons that led to the absence of electoral mobilization, particularly its discredit as an alternative force that results from decades of right-wing policies and a continuing path of complicity with the PSD/CDS government and in assuming an electoral programme bound to the same constraints and choices that led Portugal to decline.
The election result of BE (expressed in an increase of votes and number of MPs) reflects the confluence of several reasons that the current framework favoured, and benefited from an active campaign of promotion by the media in general.
5. The CDU carried out a remarkable campaign of explanation and mobilization, with a wide popular support that goes beyond these elections. A campaign based on truth, work, honesty, competence and seriousness, which are values that we assume and do not abandon. The MPs elected by the CDU, come what may, whatever happens, will always count to defend the interests of the workers, the people and the country.
The Central Committee salutes the thousands of candidates and activists, militants of the PCP, PEV, ID and independent persons, the CDU youth, who with their generous dedication and their irreplaceable intervention contributed to explain, mobilize and increase a solid confidence that a better and more dignified life is possible.
The Central Committee of the PCP salutes all those who trusted it with their support and their vote, particularly the many thousands who did so for the first time, reassuring them of its unwavering pledge that in its action they will find a force which will not only fully honour its word but also address their most legitimate aspirations. Support and confidence that are a solid factor of encouragement to our daily struggle, and that it will continue to achieve a new policy, patriotic and left-wing, to defend the interests of the workers and people, for the affirmation of Portugal as a sovereign and independent nation.
III – Struggle and confidence, for a patriotic and left-wing policy
1. The strong penalization imposed by the Portuguese on the PSD/CDS coalition and its concrete expression in the composition of the Assembly of the Republic does not legitimate either its past policy or the manoeuvres to give it institutional support in order to, following these elections, pursue the same path of national ruin. If there is a political conclusion to be drawn from last Sunday’s elections is that PSD and CDS saw the defeat of their ambitions of being able to resume their absolute majority and form a government, essential requirements to continue to have a free hand to implement their programme of destruction of rights, attack on workers’ and people’s incomes, of national subordination and submission.
The decision of the President of the Republic to instruct Passos Coelho to evaluate the constitution of a government to ensure the main lines of the policy of national disaster pursued in recent years, only proves the commitment of Cavaco Silva with the right-wing policy.
Regardless of the play of interests sponsored by the President of the Republic, what is absolutely certain is that PSD and CDS have no political legitimacy to form a government. The Central Committee reaffirms that the PCP will reject in the Assembly of the Republic any attempt to rescue the PSD/CDS coalition from the heavy defeat it now suffered. It further notes that the claims of both Cavaco Silva and of Passos Coelho and Paulo Portas, will only be materialised if the PS is willing to make them viable and be a force supporting a new PSD/CDS government.
Given the framework of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, the PS does not form government only if it does not want to. Nothing would prevent it from coming forward and be ready to form government, if its will was a rupture with the right-wing policy. It is this absence of political will that the PS cannot disguise.
2. With the proven coherence of a force of truth, the Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the support given to the CDU in last Sunday’s elections will be used for the affirmation and materialisation of a patriotic and left-wing policy.
The commitment of the PCP is to the workers and people. The Central Committee reaffirms that the PCP will not waive any solution or policy which has as objectives structural elements of a patriotic and left-wing policy.
We face demanding times. But these are also times of confidence, to which CDU’s results give an important stimulus. Times of confidence in the struggle and resistance of many millions of Portuguese.
Aware of the difficulties and dangers that threaten the near future, either because the situation of the country poses serious and accumulated problems or because the intention of the promoters of right-wing policies is always to charge on the rights and living conditions of the workers and people, the CDU reaffirms the conviction that the patriotic and left-wing policy we propose to face and overcome national problems will emerge in the near future as the only way and the only answer to halt the path of decline and impoverishment that the right-wing policy – whatever the arrangements that may arise in the coming days – wants to impose on the country.
IV – Develop the mass struggle
1. The Central Committee stresses the pivotal role of the struggle of the working class, the workers and the people.
The workers, the Portuguese people carried out a fierce struggle to defend their interests and rights, resisting the offensive of big business and the political power at its service, as part of the rupture with the policy of exploitation, impoverishment and national disaster.
The Central Committee emphasizes the development of important struggles of workers, from industry, transport sector, state-owned enterprises, central and local public administration, the military, professionals from security forces, the unemployed, small and medium farmers, especially dairy farmers, fishermen, taxi drivers, the youth, pensioners and retired people, people with disabilities, the populations, public service users, and greets all those who took in their hands the resistance and the struggle for rights, against social regression, for a better life, for a developed and sovereign country.
A resistance and struggle that faced the attack of big business, managed to achieve important claims, which isolated socially and politically the PSD/CDS-PP government and contributed to its clear condemnation.
A struggle that had the force and the role of the broad united trade union movement, the CGTP-IN, the great trade union central of the Portuguese workers, which the Central Committee salutes as it marks its 45th. anniversary.
2. The situation of the country, the economic and social problems, the effects of the policy of worsening exploitation and impoverishment, the attacks by big business, the demands for a better life, require the development of the struggle of the workers and the people.
The development of the struggle to increase wages and the national minimum wage, the restoration of the 35-hour week and of the rights that were slashed, the concrete and immediate demands of the workers in defence of the social functions of the State and against privatizations, as well as the struggle of various strata and social sectors for their rights, are a necessity and represent the basis for the development of the mass struggle and the convergence with the central goal of defeating the right-wing policy and implementing a patriotic and left-wing policy.
3. The Central Committee attaches great importance to the work of strengthening the broad-based organisations of workers, specially the broad united trade union movement and of organisations and broad united mass movements of anti-monopoly classes, strata and social sectors and points to the need for their convergence in a wide anti-monopoly social front.
V – Election of the President of the Republic – a candidacy linked to the April values
1. The presidential election is of undeniable importance in the current situation of the country. When Portugal is faced with a situation marked by increased exploitation, injustice, social regression and national decline, when the democratic regime faces new threats aiming its impoverishment and mischaracterization, when new attacks loom on the rights and interests of the workers and people and on the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, when the sovereignty and national independence are at risk, the presidential election, given its process, dynamics and decisions on the options and guidelines of the body of sovereignty represented by the President of the Republic, will exercise an important influence on the conditions to defend the values of April and affirm a Portugal with a future.
The XIXth Congress of the Party decided that “it is a goal for communists to ensure that PCP intervenes in political life autonomously, upholding PCP’s interpretation of the role of President of the Republic and contributing to ensure that the President effectively abides by his/her oath, adheres to and enforces the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic”. Thus, the Central Committee decides to put forward a presidential candidacy that is truly coherent, resolute and committed to the interests of workers and the people, to social justice, to the ethos of the April Revolution and that is inspired by a deeply-felt belief and confidence in a better future for Portugal .
A presidential candidacy that will appeal to all democrats and patriots, that will reflect the concerns and expectations of Portuguese workers and people, that will identify Portugal’s structural problems and will point the way towards a more developed, fairer and sovereign country.
2. We will go into this election campaign with a significant track-record of initiatives and political stances that are embodied in the political alternative that we propose. While the Presidential election has its own particular features, it cannot be separated from wide-ranging collective actions aimed at breaking with right-wing policies and at proposing and consolidating a patriotic, left-wing political alternative.
Against this backdrop, PCP’s organisations and members will be asked to roll-out a broad awareness-raising campaign and to canvass voters and to put the necessary energy and effort into those tasks.
3. A few months before the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic and in a context where exercising rights is increasingly becoming an issue, this candidacy will clearly state that the solution to the country’s problems lies in a firm commitment to the project of the April Revolution as enshrined in the country’s Constitution; that to uphold the democratic regime laid down in the Constitution and to firmly root it in Portuguese society is to promote the ethos of the April Revolution and its promise of freedoms, equality and social justice, fraternity, political participation and national sovereignty and to project them into our collective future.
VI – The imperialist onslaught, the peoples’ struggles and anti-imperialist solidarity
1. PCP expresses its concern with developments on the international scene, where new areas of tension have emerged as a result of imperialist actions. The very serious situation in the Middle East, the destabilising initiatives in Latin America and Africa, the growing militarisation in Asia and the Pacific, the progression of fascist and extreme right-wing forces in Europe and particularly in the Ukraine are reflections of imperialism’s exploitative and aggressive politics when confronted with the resistance and the struggle of peoples and States for their rights and sovereignty.
Against this backdrop, PCP reaffirms its stance in favour of the dissolution of NATO and condemns the military exercises taking place in Portugal, Spain and Italy which have been described as some of the largest ever undertaken. The Central Committee urges everybody to participate in the initiatives to be organised by the peace movement throughout Portugal during the month of October.
The Central Committee stresses the importance of the adoption by Portugal of a policy of peace, friendship and cooperation with all the peoples of the world.
2. Confronted with the tragedy of refugees and immigrants from various regions in the Middle East and Africa who seek to escape war, death and poverty, PCP denounces its causes and those responsible for it – imperialist aggression and the terrorist groups that it has created, funded and armed, as has happened in Syria, Iraq or Libya – and once again demands the end of the interference and of the wars provoked by the US, NATO and the European Union and of their neo-colonial policies of exploitation and plundering of resources, of disrespect for the sovereignty of peoples and the independence of States and considers that solidarity is required with the peoples that are victims of imperialist aggression.
While PCP deems that adequate support and reception mechanisms to have be provided to refugees bearing in mind each country’s own circumstances, it denounces the European Union’s attitude of considering the millions of human beings fleeing war and poverty as a threat, that represses and militarizes this dramatic situation and sees migrants as an opportunity for exploiting cheap labour, thus setting the stage for an upsurge of xenophobia, racism, extreme-right views and to the criminal activities of fascist groups .
3. Developments in the European Union and, in particular, developments in Greece – where, exploiting the hesitations, contradictions, concessions and renouncement’s of the SYRIZA/ANEL government, big capital, the European Union and the IMF have achieved a new “memorandum” as a means to take further their policies – show that there is a need to break with the supranational instruments of political and economic domination that are being used for a capitalist European integration at the service of big capital and major powers.
4. PCP salutes the peoples of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the independence of the African peoples colonised by the Portuguese fascist regime that was achieved as a result of the heroic struggle led by the national liberation movements – MPLA, PAIGC and FRELIMO – and recalls the common struggle against fascism and colonialism that exploited, oppressed and imposed a war onto the Portuguese and African peoples until the 25th April 1974 Revolution .
5. PCP values the struggle of workers and peoples in the face of the violent onslaught of imperialism and the threats of fascism and war. PCP stresses the importance of strengthening and uniting the international communist and revolutionary movement, as well as its convergence with other forces fighting for social progress and national liberation in a broad anti-imperialist front .
VII – Strengthening the Party’s role and organisation
1. The Central Committee of PCP salutes the Party’s organisations and members as well as those of JCP for their dedicated work and militancy that supported extraordinary activities, combining intense political and institutional initiatives with an electoral campaign and mass struggles and reflected the reality of a Party that has no parallel in our country.
2. In Portugal’s current circumstances and in the wake of a parliamentary election, the Central Committee emphasizes the significant challenges that the Party’s collective faces. This underlines the need for a diversified approach to action and the ability to swiftly take up political initiatives, as well as for the development of mass struggles, the strengthening of the Party as well as the preparation of the presidential election .
It is against this backdrop that the political rallies convened for 9 and 17 October 9 in Lisbon and Porto respectively are of the utmost important, as part of a series of initiatives aimed at informing the workers and the population .
The Central Committe also underscores the need to convene meetings and plenary sessions with members at the various levels of the Party’s structure to discuss the current situation and to plan future work and activities.
3. The Central Committee emphasizes the need to pursue and to strengthen political action and the struggle to break with right-wing policies and to bring about patriotic and left-wing policies based on the Constitution and the ethos of the April Revolution. A political alternative that will achieve social progress, economic development and uphold our country’s sovereignty.
The Central Committee reafirms PCP’s wholehearted commitment to broaden the convergence between all democrats and patriots that are truly committed to stopping the right-wing policies that have led to an economic and social disaster in our country and to building a political alternative by carrying on with the discussions, contacts and meetings with a range of entities.
4. PCP will intensify its political initiatives at all levels and, in the short term, the following initiatives will be submitted to the Parliament:
- to increase wages, namely the national minimum wage, to 600 euros as from 2016 and the real value of pensions ;
- to fight against casual labour, namely by amending the labour legislations and adopting a National Plan Against Casual Labour and to value collective bargaining processes;
- to restore wages, pensions, holidays and other rights that were cut or abolished, namely the pension supplements;
- to implement a fair tax policy that will tax significantly the economic and financial groups and provide a tax relief to workers, retired persons and pensioners, micro-, small- and medium-sized business people and citizens in general ;
- to strengthen and diversify the funding of the social security system and to guarantee that social allowances are provided, namely family allowances, unemployment benefits and social unemployment allowances;
- to recruit doctores, family nurses and other health professionals for the National Health Service, to reinstate transportation for non-urgent patients and to abolish the user fees (taxas moderadoras) for the provision of health services;
- to provide school books for free for the duration of compulsory education ;
- to revert the concessions, subsoncessions and privatisation processes, namely in the transport sector;
- to repeal the recent amendment to the Law on the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy.
- to renegotiate the public debt, to ensure public control of the banking sector and to engage in studies and make preparations for freeing Portugal from its subjugation to the Euro, as well as to repeal the agreements on budgetary discipline;
5. The Central Committee stresses the importance of the forthcoming presidential election and urges Party organisations and members to involve themselves fully in its preparation and development with a view of achieving the goals that were defined .
6. The Central Committee has decided to organise a campaign with the specific goal of implementing the Resolution “Mais organização, mais intervenção, maior influência – um PCP mais forte” [A better organisation, more active interventions, greater influence for a stronger PCP]. This campaign will be rollled out by the end of 2016.
The following key issues should be addressed in the discussions to be held in the Party’s organisations:
The strengthening of the Party’s organisation and activities in enterprises and on the shop floor. The focus should be on the establishment and strengthening of Party cells, the recruitment and integration of new members, the secondment of cadres, mass political actions and initiatives, as well as on reinforcing the presence of Party members in bodies of the unitary trade movement and in workers organisations in general.
The development of guidelines that can structure the political work with the masses: organising retired Party members and pensioners; in the cultural sphere and among intellectuals and technical staff; in our work amongt youth and by strengthening JCP ; in our work among the micro-, small- and medium-sized business people; amongst small- and medium-sized farmers; in other social sectors and specific areas of intervention, namely aimed at developing unitary political work .
The adoption of measures at the leadership level, assigning responsibilities to cadres and asking them to take on regular tasks and to promote the adherence, integration and assigning of work to new members .
Completing the contacts with Party members in the organisations where the task hasn’t been finalised yet and making the most of the skills and capabilities of registered members of the Party that haven’t been integrated so far in the collective work .
The strengthening of the Party’s structures and of propaganda work, the adoption of measures in the field of digital communication and the rolling-out of a nationwide campaign to promote Avante! in the framework of a campaign to publicize the Party’s publications.
The adoption of measures aimed at ensuring the Party’s financial independence, namely by ensuring the regular payment of membership fees which should be raised.
7. The Central Committee underscores the huge success of the 39th Avante! Festival which once again confirmed its status as the largest political-cultural event in the country, with a significant international impact. The Avante! Festival, that workers, youth and the people have wholeheartedly adopted, was a great demonstration of the strength, confidence and capabilities of communists and of their Party.
The Central Committee decides that the 40th edition of the Avante! Festival will take place on 2, 3 and 4 September 2016 and that Quinta do Cabo will also be used for the planned activities in what amounts to an important factor for its expansion and heightened profile.
8. The Central Committee has taken note of the progress so far of the national fund-raising campaign “Mais espaço. Mais Festa. Futuro com Abril” [More space. A Bigger Festival. A Future in the Spirit of the April Revolution]. More than half of the target amount has already been raised and there is a need for measures aimed at sustaining and expanding the existing interest and support so as to achieve a successful outcome.
The Central Committee emphasizes the role of PCP and the importance of strengthening the Party in order to fight for a break with right-wing policies and to put forward a patriotic and left-wing alternative and to move towards the implementation of the Programme “Uma democracia avançada – os valores de Abril no futuro de Portugal” [An advanced democracy – the April values in Portugal’s future].
A stronger Party that proclaims once again its communist identity. An identity, an ideal and a project that are the foundation on which are rooted our strength and convictions about the rightfulness of our struggle which today’s world makes even more imperative.
PCP has a decisive role to play in upholding the democratic regime, freedom and democracy, as a Party that warrants national sovereignty and independence, as a Party that will uphold people’s rights and living conditions, a Party that is prepared and ready to to drive the resistance and the struggle, that is prepared and ready to pursue its outstanding and unparalleled work in local government to support local communities, a Party that is prepared and ready to become actively involved in the Parliament and in Government to build a better future for Portugal .
Workers, youth, the Portuguese people can count on the Portuguese Communist Party during these times of injustice and uncertainty.
PCP will fulfil its internationalist role by supporting the struggle of workers and peoples for peace and cooperation, for a new society that is free of capitalist exploitation and oppression, for socialism and communism.