Communiqué of the Central Committee of the PCP of December 10 2018
The Central Committee of the PCP, having met on December 10 2018, debated aspects of the international situation, assessed the evolution of the national situation, the development of the struggle of workers and people, defined lines of political initiative, lines of work for the coming political battles, adopted a resolution on the 45th. anniversary of the April Revolution, assessed the progress of measures to strengthen the organisation and intervention of the Party.
I – Patriotic and left-wing alternative. For a Portugal with a future
Portugal, the workers, and the Portuguese people are faced with decisive choices about their future.
The last State Budget of this legislature, which enabled not only to interrupt the intensification of exploitation and liquidation of rights that PSD and CDS had underway and planned to expand, but also to ensure the restoration and advances of the rights of the workers and people, was adopted at the end of November. With the decisive intervention of the PCP and the struggle of the workers, a new phase of national political life was opened defeating the idea that the only path left to the country
The restoration, defence and achievement of rights were shown to be factors of economic growth and creation of jobs. It was particularly meaningful to prove that the response to national problems and the development of the country are inseparable from raising the living conditions of the workers and people.
It also confirmed that the truly alternative way to rescue the country from dependence and to free resources for its development is inseparable from the break with the options that have steered the right-wing policies carried out by PS, PSD and CDS. A truly alternative path that has been blocked by the PS government’s class options in convergence with PSD and CDS to serve the interests of big capital and submission to the Euro and the impositions of the European Union. A path that the dominant interests seek to hamper by resorting to the whitewashing of the parties responsible for the right-wing policies and reinvented key players, who see in populism and reactionary conceptions the instrument to conceal intentions of worsening of exploitation and to evade the necessary solutions that the country’s situation demands .
Notwithstanding the necessary response to the more pressing problems, it emerges today with undisguised clarity that the crucial question posed to the workers and the people in order to achieve a future of progress and social justice and of sovereign development is the implementation of a patriotic and left-wing policy and of the political alternative capable of securing it. Objectives inseparable from strengthening the PCP, coupled with the struggle of the workers and the convergence of democrats and patriots.
It is in the hands of the workers and the Portuguese people, their action, their struggle and their vote, to break with the right-wing policy and build a Portugal with a future.
II – International situation
1.The structural crisis of capitalism, the process of realignment of forces at the world level, the exploitative and aggressive offensive of imperialism, the struggle of the workers and peoples in defence of their rights and sovereignty, in a situation marked by great instability and uncertainty – are prominent features of the international situation.
Especially serious on the international scene is the imperialist assault, particularly by US imperialism, which is trying to counteract the trend of its relative decline and in a context of concertation-rivalry with its allies, insists on interference, destabilization, militarism and war.
The growth of far right-wing and fascist forces – as was the case in the recent Brazilian elections – gains weight as an option for big capital to attack democracy and promote anti-communism, impose its rule, increase the exploitation of workers and oppression of peoples.
The struggle against the threat of fascism and war is inseparable from the struggle against exploitation and oppression, for sovereignty and democracy, for the rights of the workers and peoples, for peace and against the wars of imperialism.
2. As regards the European Union (EU) there are persisting lines of attack and traces of instability remain and deepen. An attack reflected among other grievous aspects in attacks on the rights and living conditions of the workers and peoples, like in France arousing expressions of discontent and protest, although sometimes in a contradictory and even instrumentalized way. The objectives of the European Council of December 13 and 14, despite contradictions, are part of the deepening of neoliberalism, militarism and federalism in the process of European capitalist integration.
The Central Committee of the PCP notes that more than new and grievous renunciations of sovereignty regarding the EU, in particular under the pretext of “reform” of the Economic and Monetary Union – which would only mean the acceptance of new and strengthened mechanisms of economic and political dominance determined by the great powers of the EU – what is demanded is the firm defence of national sovereignty and independence and the liberation of the Country from submission to the Euro and the EU’s conditionings and impositions, which impair the sovereign development of Portugal and the resolution of national problems.
In view of the process of exit from the EU by the United Kingdom, the Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that the sovereign decision of the British people must be fully complied and reiterates that the Portuguese Government must intervene resolutely – be it with the UK authorities or the EU – to ensure the defence of the rights of the Portuguese citizens who work and live in that country and to ensure the development of mutually advantageous bilateral relations between Portugal and the United Kingdom, respecting the sovereignty of each country and the aspirations of both peoples.
3.The Central Committee of the PCP, valuing important initiatives, reaffirms the need to strengthen solidarity with the workers and peoples who are engaged in a courageous struggle to defend their rights and sovereignty, in a complex and demanding situation of resistance and gathering of forces around the world.
The complexity and seriousness of the international situation highlights the need to strengthen the international communist and revolutionary movement, to deepen its ties with the working class and the workers, to develop the struggle for rights, for progressive and revolutionary changes and the strengthening of a broad anti-imperialist front in defence of peace, sovereignty and social progress.
As the 20th. International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties pointed out, the PCP will continue to strive to strengthen the communist and international revolutionary movement and to strengthen its unity, based on following the principles of relationships among communist parties. This is the way to overcome weaknesses that still persist and to project the communist ideal and project in the world – whose validity and topicality are reaffirmed by the exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature of capitalism.
III – National situation. Urgency of a patriotic and left-wing policy
1. The approval of the State Budget for 2019, the last of the current legislature, confirmed in what it contains of advances and measures in a positive sense, the role of the PCP and its determination not to miss any opportunity, in the present context, to meet the rights and interests of the workers and people, to restore, defend and achieve rights erased by years of right-wing policy in particular during the period of the PSD/CDS government. But it also confirmed the obstacle that the options of the PS government constitute to go further in the necessary response to the set of accumulated problems that jeopardise the country’s development.
2. Nevertheless, the Central Committee of the PCP stresses the importance and value of steps taken in the new phase of national political life, inseparable from the struggle of the workers and the decisive intervention of the PCP. Importance and value that, beyond what was prevented from further attacks on rights and intensification of exploitation if PSD and CDS were able to continue their destructive action, one must evaluate what has been achieved in this period.
Among other aspects, salaries and stolen holidays were restored. The national minimum wage was increased although below what was necessary and possible. The collective bargaining instruments were replaced in the Public Business Sector and the restrictions on the hiring of workers in the Local Administration were eliminated. The privatisations of Carris and STCP, and although partially in TAP, were reversed. The cuts in pensions were brought to an end and their increase was promoted. The family allowance was valorised, prenatal allowance and support for people with disabilities was extended. Protection for the unemployed was extended by creating support for the long-term unemployed and eliminating the cut in unemployment benefits. The right to full payment of the Christmas Allowance was restored. The long contributory careers were valorised and the conditions of access to the retirement of the mining and quarry workers were restored In the Public Administration the 35 hour week, the right to career progression were re-established, with measures to combat precariousness. Free textbooks were guaranteed in the 12 years of compulsory schooling. School Social Action Services and the hiring of employees in schools were extended.
The amount of tuition fees was reduced and aspects of School Social Action Services were reinforced. [In healthcare]It was possible to reduce co-payment fees, increase the number of doctors and nurses, reduce medicine costs, extend the National Vaccination Plan to new vaccines, and establish commitments for the construction of new hospitals. The access to museums was made free on Sundays and public holidays, and programmes for their valorisation were reintroduced, support for the arts and artistic creation was reinforced, and support was given to the Portuguese Film Library and to the National Archives of Moving Images, the VAT on concerts and musical instruments was reduced, and the Museum of Resistance was created in the Fortress of Peniche. The Income Tax on labour incomes was relieved, including on the lowest incomes with the extension of the minimum of existence and the creation of two new tax brackets, as well as the elimination of the Income Tax surcharge. Prospects for reducing the price of public transport and energy have been opened. The Pre Payment of Income Tax on Small and Medium Enterprises which weighed on them was eliminated and the VAT on the catering service was reduced. Support was provided for family farming, reduction of fuel costs for farmers and fishermen, together with measures to valorise fishing and fishermen’s incomes, among others. It was also possible to cut benefits for the real estate funds, tax high value real estate with the introduction of an additional on the Municipal Property Tax. Increase taxation on large profits by increasing Corporate State Tax.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that after the assessment of the new phase of national political life – opened with the removal of the PSD/CDS government and the formation of a minority government of the PS in the context of a correlation of forces in which PCP’s intervention weighed decisively to ensure positive measures – there are four key lessons to be drawn:
– the confirmation that the restoration of rights and the increase in salaries and pensions, even in a limited amount, were a factor in the creation of jobs and economic growth, denying the thesis that, to be economically viable, the way left to the country was of social regression and impoverishment;
– the proof that the truly alternative path to salvage the country from dependence and free resources for its development is inseparable from a break with the right-wing policy that PS, PSD and CDS have imposed over decades. A path that is being blocked because in essential fields and structural options the main guidelines of this policy remain in the hands of the PS minority government;
– a de facto denial of the argument that PS and the Government want to maintain that, subject to the Euro and the European Union’s impositions, it would be possible to respond fully to the structural problems and the investment needs, to fund public services and boost national production that the development of the country demands;
– a clear evidence and topicality that the implementation of the patriotic and left-wing policy and alternative, indispensable for the country to move forward, is inseparable from the strengthening of the PCP, combined with the workers’ struggle and the convergence of democrats and patriots.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses that the crucial issue facing the workers and the people to achieve a future of progress and social justice and sovereign development is the materialisation of an alternative patriotic and left-wing policy and a political alternative capable of ensuring it.
A patriotic and left-wing policy that, inseparable from the struggle to materialise the alternative that supports it, places at the centre of its options: the liberation of the country from submission to the euro and the impositions of the European Union, the renegotiation of the public debt; the valorisation of work and of workers, of rights, wages, retirement and pensions; the defence and promotion of national production and productive sectors; ensuring public control of banking and all the basic and strategic sectors of the economy, supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the cooperative sector; the guarantee of an administration and public services to serve the people and the country; a policy of fiscal justice; the defence of the democratic regime and the compliance of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic; a justice accessible to all, and the fight against corruption.
The recent evolution of the situation has clearly proved the decisive role of the PCP and its action in defending, restoring and achieving rights. It revealed that it is with the strengthening of the PCP that the workers’ struggle can gain political strength and institutional expression. It showed that there is no response to the popular aspirations that can waive PCP’s intervention for their materialisation. It emphasized that the strengthening of the PCP, of its political influence and institutional clout are the decisive factor in overcoming the limits that right-wing policy imposes and to build the patriotic and left-wing alternative that guarantees a Portugal with a future.
It is therefore in the strengthening of the PCP, in the social, political and electoral fields, in the increase of its capacity of organisation, its connection to the workers and to the people, which is the firmest and consequent guarantee of the construction of a free and sovereign Country, capable of responding to the problems of the workers and people.
IV – The election battles and the struggle for the alternative
1.The Central Committee of the PCP underlines the importance of next year’s election battles – European Parliament (EP) on May 26, Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region of Madeira (ALRAM) on September 22, Assembly of the Republic (RA) on October 6 and points the need, while taking into account the specificities of each act, to give them an integrated and comprehensive attention.
The preparation and holding of the 2019 elections are inseparable from the political, social and economic framework of the country, both for the intervention and (re) alignment of the political forces present.
In contrast to the pre-electoral environment experienced in 2015 marked by a wide sense of concern and disbelief about the future, today there is a feeling, although contradictory, of a favourable assessment of the country’s situation resulting from the overall perception, or of the concrete materialisation in everyone’s life. In this context it is necessary to emphasize the role and intervention of the PCP in what has been advanced and achieved. More importantly, because the PS will seek, by concealing commitments and convergences with PSD and CDS, to call upon itself and to valorise measures that, if it were its strict will and option, it would not adopt, as it has never adopted.
The Central Committee of the PCP draws attention to the manoeuvres that PSD and CDS, articulated with the centres of big capital, develop to present themselves free from their responsibilities. Defending today the opposite of what they have done in the past and aspire to resume, if they have conditions, PSD and CDS demagogically exploit real dissatisfactions that are justly present in many areas of life in the country, in the face of problems that they have contributed to create, and that the current government of the PS by political option does not want to overcome. An action that these parties have no intention of solving, but rather create the conditions to further deteriorate public services, discredit social functions of the State and make way for their privatisation.
The Central Committee of the PCP cannot fail to denounce the instrumentalization, by the political forces and other centres of capital, of marginal issues, aiming not only to subordinate the main questions that are posed to the Country but to encourage lines of populism, anti-democratic concepts of the most retrograde forces, contrary to the interests of the workers, the people and the Country.
2. The elections for the European Parliament and for the Assembly of the Republic, due to the national expression they have, are particularly demanding, because of the simultaneousness of the calendar for their preparation and development and for the objective elements which will inevitably mark the political and electoral debate.
The elections for the European Parliament – May 26 – provide an important opportunity to strengthen the PCP and the CDU by affirming the need and possibility of a break with the country’s course of inequality, dependence and abdication imposed on the country and on the Portuguese people, and to open the way to a patriotic and left-wing alternative that will without hesitation stand up to the submission to the Euro and the impositions and constraints of the European Union, and to recover for Portugal the instruments necessary for its sovereign development, within a framework of a Europe of peace, cooperation and progress.
The elections for the Assembly of the Republic constitute a moment and opportunity of great importance, with the strengthening of the PCP and the CDU, to give more strength to defend the rights and interests of the workers and the Country, to fight regression, to ensure new advances and to contribute for the construction of a political alternative.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the particular importance of making clear the undeniable relationship between the progress achieved with the determined action of the PCP and the struggle of the workers and people.
The advances achieved were implemented even against the will of the PS as evidenced not only by the resistance to adopt them but also by the procedures used to postpone, limit or even fail to implement them, whether through budgetary blockings, delays in regulation, unfair interpretations or other artifices.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the opportunity that these battles represent in order to make clear that the structural problems facing the country, as workers and populations know, do not find a response in the right-wing policies of successive PS, PSD and CDS governments.
As the 2015 elections proved, what is decided is the election of MPs and not the election of the prime minister, highlighting the importance of the electoral weight and the number of MPs in the Assembly elected in the CDU slates to weigh positively in national life.
3.The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms PCP’s commitment to the workers and people and stresses that together with the denunciation and identification of those responsible and the reasons for the country’s situation, it is necessary to affirm the content of the patriotic and left-wing policy, of solutions and alternative course capable of opening space for the construction of a more developed, fairer and sovereign Country.
The Central Committee of the PCP underlines that the alternative that Portugal needs is built with the struggle, the convergence of democrats and patriots and the strengthening of the PCP and of the CDU. The most solid guarantee that the workers and people have at their disposal to move forward and not risk going back is their action and struggle and also their support and vote to give more power to the PCP and to the CDU.
Steadfast in its commitment to the workers and people, combining the intervention for immediate objectives with the fight for the alternative patriotic and left-wing policy and its project of Advanced Democracy – The Values of April in the future of Portugal, the PCP will continue its intervention to pave the way for a policy capable of ensuring economic progress, social justice and the country’s sovereign development.
4.The Central Committee of the PCP has decided to hold a National Meeting of the PCP on the situation of the country and the coming elections, on February 2, 2019, in Matosinhos, and calls for the mobilisation and preparation of all the organisations and militants of the Party for the demanding electoral tasks, to ensure that the unitary expression of the CDU is broadened, the involvement of supporters from different sectorial realities, and the definition by the whole Party of a campaign based on a vast direct contact with the workers and people, essential, prioritary and decisive factor for the construction of the electoral result in which each one will have to assume his role of explaining and mobilising to vote CDU.
V – Struggle of the workers and people. Determining factor for the restoration, defence and achievement of rights, and for the construction of a Portugal with future
1.The Central Committee of the PCP valorises the decisive role of the struggle of workers and people to restore, defend and conquer rights, and to realise that the solution to the country’s structural problems, for the improvement of living and labour conditions, wages, pensions and the valorisation of public services, lies in a real break with the right-wing policies and in an alternative policy – the patriotic and left-wing policy that the PCP proposes to the Portuguese people.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP welcomes the struggles of transport workers, the cleaning sector, WashClean Laundries, the RTP group, the workers from the port of Setúbal, Fico Cables, Geberit, the Plural Group, Jado Iberia, Petrogal, Belém Cultural Center, hospital canteens, distribution and logistics, APAPOL, Private Social Solidarity Institutions, SBSI/SAMS [Bankers’ Union Healthcare System], and workers in the various sectors of Public Administration, fire-fighters, populations in defence of public services, small and medium-sized farmers, students in secondary and higher education, artists and other cultural workers.
The Central Committee of the PCP particularly welcomes the thousands of workers who participated in the great national demonstration, on November 15, called by the CGTP-IN with determination and combativeness, converging on Avenida da Liberdade in Lisbon, for better living and working conditions.
3.The Central Committee of the PCP calls for the development of the struggle of workers in companies and sectors, for better wages and working conditions, for decent working hours, against precariousness, for a fairer distribution of wealth, for repeal of grievous norms of labour legislation and against the negative changes in the labour code, populations defending public services, retirees and pensioners, better pensions and better living conditions, and other social strata such as small and medium-sized businessmen and farmers, artists and other cultural workers.
The Central Committee of the PCP also underlines the importance of the commemorations of International Women’s Day, in particular the initiatives of the CGTP-IN and the convergent mobilisation for the National Demonstration of Women on March 9, in Lisbon, promoted by the MDM, as well as commemoration actions of the National Youth Day on March 28. The Central Committee of the PCP calls for the preparation of the celebrations of the 45th. anniversary of 25th. April and May 1st. to show on the streets the problems and claims in the workplaces, companies and sectors, a great day struggle of all workers.
4.The Central Committee of the PCP welcomes and highlights the success of the MURPI [Movement of Pensioners and Elderly] Congress held last November 25.
5. The Central Committee of the PCP calls on all Party members to intervene dynamically in strengthening the unitary structures of the population and workers, with emphasis on the broad-united trade union movement, contributing with their action and intervention to increase union membership, strengthen the network of shop stewards and claiming action.
VI – Promotion of initiative and intervention. Strengthening of Party organisation
1.The Central Committee of the PCP points out the strong activity of the Party, namely in strengthening party organisation, acting with the workers and the population, in the campaign “Valuing workers. More strength to the PCP “, in the political and institutional initiative, namely the presentation of the Basic Law on Housing and the Basic Law on Health Policy that are part of a broad and comprehensive institutional intervention in the Assembly of the Republic, in the Legislative Assemblies of Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores, in the European Parliament and in Local Government. Stresses the holding of the Conference “Patriotic and Left-wing Alternative for a Portugal with a future”, which enabled, together with a characterisation of the national situation, to reaffirm the need and develop the content of the necessary alternative policy for the country. Notes the significance of the commemorations of the 2nd. Centenary of Karl Marx, with hundreds of initiatives, which took place throughout this year and which represent an important contribution to the denunciation of capitalism and to the affirmation of the communist ideal and project.
2. The Central Committee of the PCP alerts to the campaign carried out by the forces of big capital through the media they control, in manipulating and silencing the PCP, its stands, proposals and project, which follows a clear guideline of concealing that the PCP is the party which holds the alternative policy needed for the country.
3. The Central Committee of the PCP sets down the strengthening of Party organization, promoting political initiative, intensifying mass struggle, developing unitary political work among democrats and patriots, and determined intervention in next year’s electoral political battles as priorities of the action of the PCP, in materialising its role in defence of the interests of the workers, the people and the country.
To this effect, the Central Committee of the PCP decides a set of guidelines and initiatives:
– The holding of meetings of the organisms and plenary sessions of militants and public sessions to discuss the current situation, the political alternative and the strengthening of the Party.
– The continuation of a wide-ranging action of explanation, which began with the campaign under way from December 6 to 14, with a series of initiatives on the problems and aspirations of the workers and the population, on the advances made with the struggle of the workers and the intervention of the PCP, and on the need for a patriotic and left-wing alternative.
– The holding of a set of actions on the rights, sovereignty and development of Portugal for a Europe of workers and peoples, dissemination of the work of PCP’s MEPs in the European Parliament and the proposals of the PCP, namely: in December 13 and 14 in an action of contacts with the population throughout the country and on December 17 a roundtable on Portugal and the European Union.
– The convocation in preparation for the elections of a National Meeting of the PCP on the situation of the Country and the elections, to be held next February 2, in Matosinhos, with the motto – Patriotic and Left-wing Alternative – Solutions for a Portugal with future.
4. The PCP Central Committee stresses the importance of PCP’s 98th. anniversary commemorations, with a wide range of initiatives including rallies in Lisbon, Oporto, Setúbal, Alentejo and Madeira with a view to strengthen the Party and affirm its proposals and project, as well as the initiatives on the 88th. anniversary of Avante!
5. The Central Committee of the PCP adopted a resolution on the 45th. anniversary of the April Revolution and stresses that in the face of the continuing and increasing attempts to erase the nature and real meaning of the April Revolution, and when the forces of capital insist in an intervention aimed at whitewashing the terrorist nature of the fascist dictatorship, silencing the heroic struggle of thousands of Portuguese and particularly concealing the role of the PCP in creating the conditions for the April Revolution to be a reality, the celebrations of the 45th. anniversary of the April Revolution are particularly important to restore the truth against lies and affirm the values of April as an essential element for responding to current problems and on the path of a developed and sovereign Portugal.
6. The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the need to involve as of now the organisations and militants in the preparation of the Avante! Festival scheduled for September 6, 7 and 8, 2019, as a great political-cultural realisation, ensuring the definition of contents and projects, their dissemination and promotion.
7.The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms the need to associate with the political initiative and the stimulus to the development of the mass struggle an intense and persistent work for the strengthening of the Party, an indispensable condition for it to be able to fulfil its role in the complex current situation, whatever the conditions it may have to act in.
Valuing the progress of the Party’s reinforcement action in implementing the guidelines set out in the Central Committee’s resolution of January20 and 21, 2018 along this year, we also have to note signs of resistances, shortcomings and advances.
Resistances in assuming the work of strengthening the Party as a task of all militants and organisations, to be carried out on a daily basis. Shortcomings in the implementation of guidelines. Advances that need to be registered and which, in addition to what they already mean in strengthening the organisation, point the way for the future.
It is worth noting the holding of a large number of organisation assemblies, renovation, rejuvenation and assigning responsibilities to cadres, direct contact with more than twenty thousand Party members in the process of handing the new membership card and greater militancy, a wider debate on the principles of the Party’s functioning, their importance and the need for their practical application.
As regards the reinforcement of the organisation and intervention in the companies and workplaces, we point out the 5,000 contacts with active workers to talk about the project and the importance of their support and joining the Party, which is a central aspect of this work.
On balance, 5800 names were registered, 2330 contacts made, 650 recruitments, making more evident the importance of this action and the aim of its successful implementation.
It is important to value the talks, the information gathered, the perspectives of work opened, militants in more companies, reactivation, strengthening and creation of new cells and organisms
The Resolution of the Central Committee of the PCP of January 20 and 21 sets out guidelines for the implementation of the decisions of the XX Congress, of great topicality for the continuation of the work to strengthen the Party in 2019.
The Central Committee of the CFP attaches great importance to the ten guidelines set out, and among them the priority of reinforcing the work of leadership and giving responsibilities to cadres, the practical application of the principles of the Party’s functioning, of handing party membership card and increasing militancy and the strengthening of organisation and intervention in companies and workplaces.
The Central Committee of the PCP stresses the need to take further steps to speed up and broaden the dynamics already in place in the contact with 5,000 active workers, to talk to them about the PCP and about the need to support and join the Party in order to achieve the success of this action of particular significance for the present and future strengthening of the Party.
The Central Committee of the PCP affirms the need to continue and intensify the work to implement the guidelines for strengthening the Party in conjunction with political initiative and work to stimulate the development of the mass struggle.
The Central Committee of the PCP reaffirms that, in the current situation, marked by advances and contradictions, potentialities and dangers, with the strengthening of the PCP, the struggle of the workers and the people, with the converging action of the democrats and patriots, it is possible to defeat the right-wing policy and open the way to the construction of the patriotic and left-wing alternative, in the affirmation of the project of Advanced Democracy, the values of April in the future of Portugal, for socialism and communism.