Monday, July 6, 2015

PCP Statement

Communiqué by the Central Committee of the Portuguese Communist Party

The Central Committee of the PCP, meeting on 28 June 2015, addressed aspects of the political, economic and social situation; stressed the importance of the National March “the Force of the People”; discussed and laid down the main lines of work regarding the legislative elections, for the struggle of the workers and people and the reinforcement of the Party.

I—Defeat the right-wing policy, build the patriotic and left-wing alternative

The Central Committee of the PCP points out that the economic and social situation of the country continues to worsen and that the PSD/CDS-PP government propaganda and that of the President of the Republic, acting in an unacceptable manner as its spokesman, that “the worst is over,” affronts the reality of the life of the workers and of the vast majority of the people and conflicts with the real situation of the country.

     Sensing that the defeat is near, in recent months the government has tried to create a policy of faits accomplis, standing out the worsening of the exploitation and impoverishment of the workers and people, the privatisations, the shaping of the State to the interests of big business, and the deterioration of the democratic regime. With the release of the election programs of PSD/CDS and PS it becomes clear that both are committed to the essential instruments and axes of right-wing policies, placing before the people and the country the prospect of continuing stagnation, impoverishment, dependence, and national decline.

     The intervention of the PCP is crucial to continuing the combat, denunciation and organisation of the struggle to counter the measures that the right-wing policy aims to achieve before the elections; to affirm an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy; to boost the confidence necessary to enable the construction of the electoral strengthening of CDU.

     In this context, it is even more necessary to strengthen the PCP, at the political, organic, ideological, electoral and financial levels, a decisive factor for the rupture with the right-wing policy and to make way for a patriotic and left-wing policy.

II—Combat the serious economic, social and political situation; No to national decline

     1. In a context marked by the nearing of the elections, with the government trying to mystify and conceal the most aggressive aspects of its policy, or mitigate their impact, there is no real process of recovery and economic revival—which continues in a vicious circle of recession-stagnation despite a favourable external environment—nor even of the reversal of the most brutal social regression that has hit the country since the fascist regime.

     The real evolution of the economic situation is clear: the anaemic growth of GDP, which remains at the level of 2001; a public debt that the cosmetics of advance payments, incurring more debt for this purpose, has not changed, maintaining its unsustainable nature and which reached 130% of GDP and a burden of €60,000 million interest between 2014 and 2020; a national production setback due to deindustrialisation, the implosion of construction and the new constraints on agriculture and fisheries, significant being the fact that the amount of fish landed by the national fleet in 2014 was the lowest since statistics came into being; an investment that has dropped to about half in five years and must not be mistaken with foreign capital circulating in privatisations; an external balance without any sustainable changes, where any increase of exports is offset by imports; a domestic market that, with fluctuations, remains under paralysis.

     The Central Committee considers that the continuation of the right-wing policy deepened the structural dependence and submission of the economy to the interests of monopolies, mostly transnational, and determined the subordination of the political power to economic power. The great majority of capital in PT, EDP, REN, GALP, BPI, BCP, BRISA, CTT, ANA and CIMPOR is in the hands of foreign interests. Business deals ruinous to national interests, such as the looting by the PPPs, the privatisation of TAP and the handing to big business of other public transport companies continues. The planned handing to big business of public companies in the environmental area, including the privatisation of EGF and the fusion of multi-municipal systems of water supply and sanitation and their opening to private capital, continues.

     The privatisations rebuilt monopolies that today dominate the economy to the detriment of the national interest. Massive profits leaving the country continue to grow, the State lost tax revenue and dividends of privatised companies, with the resulting deterioration of the budget deficit. Privatisations reduced the State’s capacity to intervene in land planning, to combat asymmetries and to promote balanced development.

     The work of the BES/GES [Parliamentary] Inquiry Commission, proposed by the PCP, which has now ended, brought into focus the predatory nature and operating criteria of banking and monopoly groups and the fictional nature of “regulation,” as well as the imperative of public control of the banks, as a condition for a sovereign economic development policy of the country.

     2. The Central Committee considers that the worsening of living conditions, low wages and pensions, unemployment, precariousness, cuts in the number of recipients of important social payments—such as the solidarity supplement for the elderly, social insertion income, the prenatal allowance, and child benefit—the impoverishment of the workers and the people, created a dramatic social situation: 2,700,000 Portuguese live below the poverty line; in these five years jobs were reduced by half a million, and the unemployed, in a broad sense, increased from 653,000 to 1,200,000; 35% of the youth are unemployed, and only 23% of the unemployed receive benefits; half a million Portuguese were driven from the country into emigration on a scale unparalleled since records began. The policies of fiscal injustice and social inequalities deepen.

     A significantly worse picture with the reconfiguring of the State at the service of monopoly capital continues to weaken the public Social Security system, disrupts the National Health Service and its ability to respond, degrades Public Schools, devalues the Scientific and Technological System, downgrades Culture, deeply hurts the autonomy of Local Government, and undermines the rendering of public services and their universal character with the attempt to impose the so-called ‘municipalisation.” The cuts of thousands of millions of euros in the social functions of the State, to which they wish to add a new cut of €380 million in public services and €600 million in Social Security, deepened the path of destruction and degradation of public services and the privatisation of essential services and strategic companies, which weaken and suppress the social rights of the Portuguese.

     3. The attack on workers’ rights is what best identifies the class nature of the right-wing policies of PSD, CDS, and PS. This attack, in particular to impose more unpaid work time, deregulation, more precariousness, unemployment, and cuts in wages, rights and social protection, is the cornerstone of the worsening of the exploitation of workers to serve the interests of monopoly capital. The continuing offensive against the 35-hour working week and the attack on collective bargaining to “settle accounts” with labour achievements won with the April Revolution continue and threaten to intensify.

     4. The Central Committee considers that, in recent years, the domination of the economic power on political power and the deterioration of democratic rule was enhanced. The Portuguese were dispossessed of the power to make decisions on crucial issues of national life, transferred to the European Union structures with the Stability Pact, the Budget Treaty, economic governance, choices contrary to national interests but supported by PS, PSD and CDS, who legitimised foreign intervention in the country and implemented a foreign and defence policy of subordination to imperialism, draining democracy and national independence and sovereignty.

     The series of cases such as the “golden visas,” the horse-trading of financial speculation, corruption scandals, promiscuity between public office and private interests, situations that led to the resignation of members of the government and are in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic, express the degradation of the democratic regime and undermine the normal functioning of institutions, which should have led to the government's resignation long ago.

     In recent years PSD/CDS, under the umbrella of PS, have increased the violations of rights and freedoms, blocked and denied the negotiation of collective bargaining, limited the right to strike and the rights of assembly, demonstration, and propaganda, and now try new measures to legalise discrimination, namely of PCP-PEV, in the media coverage of election campaigns. In Justice the government worsened its attempts to interfere in investigations, disqualified the Judicial Police, and enhanced the class nature of justice, inaccessible to the workers and the population, aggravated by the closure of courts and the attack on the independence of the judiciary. The Armed Forces have been removed from their constitutional role, and core aspects of the military condition were undermined. Disinvestment in the security of the population, concentration of personnel, closure of police stations and the degradation of working conditions continued. Intelligence Services are free from any democratic control and are involved in the tapping and unlawful interception of communications, which the government and PS are now trying to legalise, despite the blatant unconstitutionality of their proposal.

     The Central Committee denounces the manoeuvres of the PSD/CDS government with the complicity of the President, as was once again shown in the celebrations of 10 June, to evade their responsibility for the country’s situation, the harmful consequences of their action and the projects to continue, the widespread condemnation and loss of their social base of support to which their policy has led and will lead to defeat.

     5. The Central Committee alerts the people to the plan to enhance the main pillars of the European Union—in particular its intervention in terms of NATO and the Economic and Monetary Union—which, if materialised, would represent the deepening of its federalist, neo-liberal and militaristic nature and increased and more severe limitations on national sovereignty.

     The Central Committee alerts the people to the dangers of imperialism’s belligerent offensive in Europe, as exemplified by the reinforcement of NATO forces in Eastern Europe and their continuing military exercises, like the ones announced at the end of September in Portugal, Spain and Italy, which the PCP has already condemned.

     The Central Committee condemns the process of interference and blackmail by the European Union and the IMF against the Greek people and their options, which seek to impose the continuation and intensification of a policy at the service of big business and the directory of EU powers, a policy that is at the root of the catastrophic economic and social situation in that country.

     The Central Committee condemns the unacceptable posture of alignment by the PSD/CDS government and the President of the Republic in this process of pressure against the Greek people, which is contrary to the interests of the people and the country.

     In view of the developments of the situation, when it is announced that a referendum is to be held in Greece on 5 July and destabilising factors multiply, the PCP reaffirms its strong condemnation of the manoeuvres by the European Union and the IMF against that country.

     This process confirms that the “European Union's cohesion and solidarity” does not exist. The so-called “negotiations” and the decisions of the Euro Group, the EU and the IMF were never interested in solving the serious problems of the people and the economy but in imposing greater and more brutal exploitation of the Greek workers and people and a new extortion of the resources of that country. Having the euro as one of its main instruments of economic and political domination by big business, the European Union does not hesitate in trampling hypocritically proclaimed fundamental values—such as democracy—humiliating and crushing the sovereign will of a people while trying to perpetuate policies of exploitation of workers and the favouring of big business.

     The PCP reaffirms its solidarity with the Greek workers and people, who resist and struggle against the impositions of the European Union and the IMF, demanding respect for their right to take sovereign options in defence of their rights and interests.

     The PCP reaffirms that the seriousness of the situation and the violence of the offensive against the people demands a firm stance to defend sovereignty in face of the instruments of domination by the EU and big business.

     In the year that marks the seventieth anniversary of the victory over Nazi fascism, the Central Committee salutes and stresses the importance of the struggle of the workers and people who, under very diverse conditions, resist the offensive by big business, particularly in Europe, where numerous struggles have taken place, to stand against the violent social regression that the European Union wants to impose.

     6. The Central Committee considered that, in the regional elections of Madeira on 29 March, CDU gained an important result, increasing in percentage (5.54%), in the number of votes (7,060) and electing two MPs. The results of the regional elections confirm the positive conditions for the intervention and strengthening of the PCP and CDU in the Autonomous Region of Madeira and constitute a factor of stronger confidence in CDU throughout the country, in the preparation of the legislative elections.

     7. The Central Committee highlights the development of the mass struggle that took place in the past months, in particular the national day of struggle on 7 March, promoted by CGTP-IN, with demonstrations all over the country, the commemorations of 8 March—International Women's Day—the national march "Youth on the march—Work with rights! Against precariousness and exploitation,” which culminated in the demonstration on 28 March in Lisbon, the national day of struggle promoted by MURPI [retired and pensioners’ movement] on 11 April throughout the country, the commemorations of 25 April and the grand commemorations of 1 May.

     The Central Committee salutes the struggles developed by diverse sectors, highlighting the national strike of Public Administration Workers on 13 March; the strikes of the nurses, public health workers, non-teaching staff, and prison guards; the teachers’ demonstration on 20 June; and the rally on 26 June promoted by the Common Front of Public Administration Trade Unions. The struggle in the transport sector, namely by STCP, Carris, Lusbon Subway, EMEF, Refer, CP, CP Carga, Atlantic Ferries, and railway companies of passenger and commodity transport, and in numerous companies and sectors, namely hotels, Renault Cacia, EFACEC and BA Vidro, and the initiative Culture in Struggle, promoted by more than sixty organisations, with expression in Almada, Coimbra and Lisboa.

     In these processes of struggle, the unity, determination and combativeness of the workers stood out, in their confrontation against the actions of the government and bosses, resisting the offensive and achieving objectives such as increases in wages, the defence of work schedules, the defeat of repressive actions and the promotion to permanent contract of workers with precarious contracts.

     The Central Committee highlights the importance of the development of action and struggle by workers and populations in defence of the interests and rights and improvement of their living conditions, an intrinsic element of the rupture with the right-wing policy and the achievement of a patriotic left-wing policy that answers their needs and concerns and puts the country on the path of progress and social justice.

III—CDU: The strength of the people for a patriotic and left-wing policy

     1. The Central Committee reaffirms the importance of the next elections for the Republican Assembly, given its significance in the struggle for a rupture with the right-wing policy and the construction of an alternative patriotic and left-wing policy—elections of unmistakable significance for all those committed to ensuring, by rupture with the right-wing policy, the conditions for giving answer to the country’s problems, stopping and reversing the dangerous and disquieting continuing path of exploitation, impoverishment, and national decline.

     This importance is confirmed by the projects that, more or less covertly, the parties of the right-wing policy—PS, PSD, and CDS—are preparing in order to perpetuate, with this or that marginal change, the essence of the policy of exploitation, impoverishment and dependence that has led the country to economic decline and social regression. Despite insistent and artificial manoeuvres to attempt to present the electoral programmes of PS and PSD/CDS in confrontation, the truth is that they are based on the same premises and orientations that are at the origin of the policy of crushing the incomes and rights of the workers and people imposed by the Growth and Stability Pacts of the PS and the Aggression Pact signed by PS, PSD and CDS-PP with the foreign troika—programmes that, departing from identical options regarding the noose of the debt, the budgetary rules imposed by the European Union, the subordination of power to monopoly capital, lead to identical consequences regarding the continuity, with this or that difference in rhythm, reduction of the real value of wages and pensions, in new cuts in social functions, the maintenance of grave labour norms and the expiry of collective contracts, the accentuation of precariousness in work relations, pursuing the alienation of strategic sectors, in the continuation of fiscal injustice.

     2. The presentation on 7 July next of the Electoral Programme of PCP, aimed at achieving an alternative policy, patriotic and left-wing, therefore assumes redoubled importance—a Programme based on national life and reality, founded on popular aspirations and interests, built in the course of months (before and after the National Meeting held on 28 February) in multiple initiatives aimed at receiving the contribution of numerous organisations, democrats, and patriots, a Programme, as was shown on 26 March, that in its essential objectives and axes proves that there is a solution to the national problems, that there is a policy capable of ensuring the development of the country, of social progress, elevating the living conditions of workers and people.

     This is a Programme of rupture that assumes, faced with the confrontation with constraints and conditions that compromise the right of Portugal to a sovereign development, the clear option for the rights of workers and the Portuguese people, for national independence and sovereignty, for the affirmation of values and principles enshrined in the Republican Constitution.

     It is a Programme that assumes a rupture with the power of monopoly capital, with submission to the European Union and with its instruments of domination, as a necessary and indispensable condition towards the affirmation of a Portugal with a future.

     It is an unpostponable rupture with the right-wing policy that opens the way towards building an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy, constitutes a national imperative, a condition for ensuring a Portugal with a future, of social justice and progress, a sovereign and independent country—a policy capable of liberating Portugal from dependence and submission, recovering for the country that which belongs to the country, to return rights, wages and incomes to the workers and people. These are the objectives the Electoral Programme of PCP inscribes and whose achievement will be all the closer the stronger the political and electoral influence of PCP and CDU.

     3. The powerful National March of 6 June, called by CDU PCP-PEV, constitutes an expression of convergence of democrats and patriots and a great affirmation of the strength of the people and what it represents as a testimony of what is in the hands of the workers and people, in their confidence, their determination and will, to give expression to the construction of a real alternative policy.

     The Central Committee reaffirms its complete availability to broaden the convergence of democrats, patriots and all forces sincerely committed to building an alternative policy, a convergence built upon a clear programme of rupture with the right-wing policy and the affirmation of a Portugal with a future, a convergence all the more possible and achievable the broader the political and electoral strength and influence of CDU. A necessary and irreplaceable force in the achievement of an alternative policy, PCP reaffirms that, with its project, action and coherence, it is ready to assume all the responsibilities that the Portuguese people may attribute to it towards achieving that policy and in the government of the country.

     4. The successful achievement of the national action of contacts and information launched at the beginning of the month, the development of the initiatives of “dialogue and action” and the meetings “in the locality and the country, solutions for a better life,” the projection and valuing of the CDU candidacies, together with a programming that ensures an ample contact in the priority sectors and locations and in the new poles of presence during the summer period, constitute central elements for realising the electoral campaign. The Central Committee of PCP appeals to its activists and the organisations of PCP and JCP, the activists of CDU, to build a campaign based on mobilisation with confidence, in actions of direct contact that allows the presentation of solutions for the country, that broadens the debate and the contribution on the necessary alternative policy to answer the national problems, that broadens the current and breadth of support that CDU gives expression to, that affirms with confidence the possibility of alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy.

IV—Reinforce the Party organisation and influence

     1. The Central Committee emphasises the intense, profound and broad intervention developed by the Party over the last months, responding to the situation and taking the initiative, and points to the need to energise the political intervention and mass struggle.

     The Central Committee appeals, following the important dynamic of action of CDU that had a notable expression in the National March “The strength of the people,” to continuing and intensifying an intervention with confidence, the development of a large political campaign of clarification and mobilisation, towards the reinforcement of CDU PCP-PEV in the elections for the Republican Assembly, an indispensable condition for the rupture with the right-wing policy and achieving a patriotic and left-wing policy.

     The Central Committee emphasises the priority given to the preparation of the thirty-ninth Avante! Festival on 4–6 September and emphasises the development of the national fund-raising campaign “More space, More Festa. Future with April” and the importance of measures to pursue and broaden the advance being verified.

     2. The Central Committee reaffirms the importance and actuality of the work directions indicated in the Resolution “More organisation, more intervention, more influence. A stronger PCP” and emphasises the important success obtained.

     It emphasises the advance verified in the action of contacts with members of the Party to elevate militancy, deliver the Party membership card and update information, already terminated or close to it in some organisations, with delays in others, and the positive results of its realisation, and raises the need to pursue this work and adopt new measures regarding cadres and leadership to conclude this action in all organisations.

     It emphasises the great success of the national recruitment campaign “The values of April in the future of Portugal,” with 2,127 new activists, surpassing the fixed objective of 2,000, with political significance and an importance addition of new forces and capacities to the party collective that is necessary to fully take advantage of, ensuring the recruiting of new activists (defining with each one the party organism they will join and the task they will develop). The situation we are living in places the necessity and importance of pursuing a broad work of recruitment of new militants, realising the existing potential.

     The Central Committee registers advances in other lines of work towards reinforcing the Party and emphasises the importance of allocating responsibilities to cadres, structuring the work with the masses, in particular the reinforcement of the organisation and intervention in companies and work-places, distributing the party press and propaganda, measures to ensure the financial independence of the Party.

     3. The Central Committee appeals to the Party organisations and activists, trusting in the working class, the workers, the youth and Portuguese people, to develop the mass struggle, broaden political intervention, to turn the preparation for the legislative elections into a large political campaign of the masses, to clarify and mobilise the vote in CDU, a battle of great importance towards the rupture with the right-wing policy and the affirmation of a patriotic and left-wing policy, rooted in the values of April.

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