6th IMCWP, Contribution of Portuguese Communist Party

10/8/04 12:45 PM
  • Portugal, Portuguese Communist Party 6th IMCWP En Europe Communist and workers' parties

Athens Meeting 8-10October 2004, Contribution of the
Portuguese CP [En.,Pt.]
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From: SolidNet, Thursday, October 07, 2004
http://www.pcp.pt , mailto:internacional@pcp.pt
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International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
"Resistance to the aggressiveness of imperialism. Fronts of
struggle and alternatives"
Athens, 8th to 10th. October 2004

 

Contribution of the Portuguese Communist Party
Angelo Alves
Member of the Central Committee
and of the International Section of the PCP

 

Dear Comrades,

Let me begin by thanking the comrades of the Communist
Party of Greece the invitation to participate in this
important international meeting and the hospitality with
which we were received here in Athens.

The theme of this meeting is extremely rich and complex. It
holds two great challenges that the forces of social
emancipation, and in particular the revolutionary forces,
the communist and workers Parties, have to face. On one
hand, deepen the knowledge and the study of the present
stage of development of the capitalist system and its
crisis, trying to form the concrete and realistic idea of
the present correlation of forces. On the other hand,
deepen the common reflection on the conditions, methods and
ways of resistance to imperialism and the necessary
relaunching and strengthening of the anti-imperialist
front, internationalist solidarity and cooperation among
Communists and other anti-capitalist forces.

In the present stage, still of resistance and gathering of
forces, but which at the same time holds huge
potentialities, and in which the subjective factors have an
important weight in the mobilization of the working class
and other anti-monopolist strata, as well as in the
reflection within the forces that resist imperialism, this
debate assumes a decisive importance.

Our Party is preparing its 17th Congress, to be held on the
26th, 27th and 28th November and the discussion on the
above mentioned issues have an important weight in the
theses which are being discussed in the whole party
collective. What I am transmitting to you results from a
debate we are holding in our party, therefore yet to be
concluded.

It is an undeniable fact that the present situation is
marked by the radicalisation of the aggressiveness of
imperialism and the deepening of its parasitic and inhumane
character, with devastating effects on all humankind.

On the social level the sharp drop in the level and
conditions of living of the vast majority of humankind, the
increase in the gap of wealth between the countries of the
capitalist centres and of the countries on the periphery
and between the multimillionaire elite and the huge mass of
the poor population, are realities that are impossible to
hide with the supposed programs of support to the
development and fight against hunger. Scourges like hunger
(a combat that the UN itself recognizes it is losing, and
whose causers now hypocritically say they wish to combat),
the complete inoperativeness of the combat against AIDS and
the reappearance of diseases already eradicated in the
past, the increasing weight of criminal activities in the
economy such as traffic of drugs and people, the systematic
and increasing destruction of the environment associated
with the dilapidation of the world's energy resources, are
glaring examples of the inhumane and regressive character
of capitalism, bringing to a crying presence the issue of
"Socialism or barbarity". These factors have important
repercussions on the political level and introduce changes
on the subjective factor that we have to follow closely.
The idea that a different world, possible, is urgent and
necessary (although many sectors do not define or do not
know the kind of world it can be) gains increasing social
support and many put forward the issue of the overcoming of
capitalism not only in the field of social justice,
democracy in its diverse aspects and sustainable growth,
but also at the level of the struggle for the survival and
existence of mankind itself.

The definition of imperialism as a superior stage of
capitalism, outlined by Lenin, has thus, in our opinion, an
extraordinary actualness. Lenin spoke about the monopolies
and financial capital resulting from the fusion of
industrial capital with the banking capital. Today, the
great transnationals are the monopolies of Lenine's period
several times multiplied in their dimension and territorial
scope. The financialization of the economy, the
internationalisation of the exploitation and resort to
militarism and war are very clear nowadays. In fact, we are
not facing a "new" imperialism a development stage of
imperialism marked by a galloping development of
technologies of communication and information, by the role
of the media in the ideological and cultural offensive, by
the determining weight of the financial sphere in the
international economy and a correlation of forces highly
favourable to big capital and to exploitation, in which the
great capital and its system of power carries out an
unprecedented offensive against the workers and peoples,
looking for a never ending accumulation of capital,
hegemonic political and military power and the
appropriation of raw materials all over the world.

This offensive, being a result of the very nature and
dynamics of capitalism is also, and in an increasingly more
evident form, an expression and at the same time an answer
of force to its deep crisis. A crisis that more than
cyclical, that is to say a typical and profound crisis of
overproduction not yet surpassed, is above all structural
with deep reflection not only on the production, economic
growth, trade and social situation, but also and
increasingly a political and cultural crisis of a global
dimension. The issue that the ideologues of the system
today debate, without any answer in sight, is no longer on
how to sell the idea of the absolute triumph of capital, as
in the nineties, but on guarantying imperialism's global
dominance without portraying the evident contradictions and
historic limits of the system and without being confronted
with the explosions of movements of social protest in
different parts of the world that endanger the foundations
of the system, trying to prevent, silence or bring them
into the limits of the system.

But this offensive is also the result of the radical change
in the correlation of forces at the international level
resulting from the disintegration of the USSR and the
defeats of socialism in the East and a weakening of the
revolutionary and anti-capitalist forces around the globe.
A factor that, in the definition of the objectives and
forms of cooperation and struggle, we should always take
into account, analyse in a realistic way, and whose leading
reasons it is necessary to continue to analyse more deeply.

If in other periods, capitalism showed a considerable
ability in answering and overcoming its own crises even
making historic concessions in the social and workers
rights field, and which constitute a historic heritage of
the workers and their organisations today capitalism's
answer to the crisis is in the opposite sense and the
correlation between capital and labour quickly changes in a
negative sense. Keynesianism of the old times is replaced
by neo-liberalism with its policies of destruction of the
historic conquests of the workers and the increase in
exploitation, namely cheap labour in the less developed
countries. The theories of "lesser state" are in practice
the adaptation of the States and their Governments to the
interests of big capital, while actually reinforcing the
role of the States and the supranational structures
(supported by the most powerful Nation States and their
governments) in the process of capitalist accumulation and
imperialist globalisation.

Portugal is not an exception. I can tell, without any
doubt, that today in my country we have the most
reactionary, obscurantist and conservative government since
the April revolution, which this year commemorated its
30th. anniversary. The coalition government (PSD [right])
and CDS/PP [far right]), now reshuffled, continues the line
drawn by the government led by Dur�o Barroso, now president
of the European Commission, which consists of a
multifaceted offensive, without precedent, against the
workers and the underprivileged, the privatisation of all
areas of social life and the blind submission to US
imperialism, as was the case of the war summit held on
national territory (Azores) and the participation of
Portuguese militarised forces in the occupation of Iraq,
against which we continue to fight in our country.

It would be impossible to describe in detail the
expressions of this offensive in Portugal, but in fact
several of the measures being taken by the government, in
spite of being accelerated and increased in their dimension
in view of its highly reactionary and anti-democratic
character, are mostly expression of the global neo-liberal
offensive. That is, in Portugal, as elsewhere in the world,
there is an intensification of the policies of emptying the
social functions of the State; an increase in the rate of
privatisations and the fusion of the political power with
the economic power, handing to the capital the fundamental
levers of the economy; a transfer to the private sector of
the assets, areas and public services, transferring to the
capital the ability to directly intervene in important
areas such as the fundamental rights, the social issues and
public services and the economic development (an expression
of a fundamental change in the balance of power between
capital and labour). In parallel, the repressive character
of the State deepens and tries to impart on the citizens a
collective paranoia around the issues of security which
justify repressive measures and the State's tutelary role
on the private life and the civic and political
participation, trying to circumscribe the action of those
who do not bow in to the system, or to a palliative or
harmless intervention.

But, in Portugal, these measures do not result only from
the presence of really dangerous forces in government. They
also result, and in great measure, from the silence,
complicity and even collaboration of social democracy,
represented in Portugal by the Socialist Party. Examples
such as the privatisation of healthcare, education and
social security; privatisation and destruction of the
strategic sectors of our economy; agreement of opinions on
the neo-liberal, federalist and militarist course of the
European Union; cooperation in the approval of
anti-constitutional and profoundly anti-democratic laws,
such as the Law on Parties and Party financing, which,
while jeopardizing the democratic regime itself, are mainly
aimed at the PCP, are a demonstration of the dangerous
ideological proximity between PS and PSD. The decision by
the Portuguese President of the Republic, a PS member, not
to call early elections after the resignation of Dur�o
Barroso to occupy the post of President of the European
Commission, demanding from the new government to continue
the policies of the previous government, is probably the
best example of the proximity between social democracy and
the right in our country, now aggravated by the election of
a new PS secretary-general, clearly a turn to the right and
which, at a more wider level, is part of the general
process of the failure of the theories of reformation of
capitalism and the profound ideological crisis of social
democracy. This important factor today leads, in some
areas, to conformation and capitulating behaviours or even
voluntarisms that only strengthen the sectors which, born
out of leftism, base their action on mediatic show offs,
carrying out policies close to social democracy and which
are conveniently distanced from the main class conflicts.
These are some of the determining causes of the so-called
"political crisis" which is no more than a profound crisis
of the bourgeois system of representation in which the
parties within the system, alternating in power and
defending the same class interests, feed the fusion of the
political power with the economic power, distancing it from
the citizens, shielding it from popular control and,
essentially, continuing the same neo-liberal policies.

This situation increasingly leads to the urgency of the
issue of political alternative, a fundamental part of the
wider issue, the alternative system: socialism. It is a
historical evidence that the process of building a
socialist society will go through different stages of
developing alternative policies to the present ones.
Socialism is not "around the corner". But the deep crisis
of the system and the aggressive answer of imperialism turn
impossible, with the present correlation of forces, the
success of reformist strategies. Insisting on them will
only lead to capitulation and strengthening of capitalism.
The building of a true alternative fundamentally has three
central issues: the strengthening of the revolutionary
parties in organic, political and mass influence terms; the
development of the mass struggle, with the resulting
strengthening of the mass organisations, namely the class
trade union movement and finally, and in a dialectical
relation to the previous two, the strengthening of the
anti-imperialist front, the struggle at the international
level and the cooperation among communist and progressive
parties. In our opinion, this is the only possible way to
change the correlation of forces between labour and capital
and to create better conditions for the battles that can
lead to a different rhythm and sense of the social changes
in the world. It is obvious that in this confrontation it
is necessary to build alliances, which, in our perspective,
have to be forged mainly, based upon the popular struggle
that as history proves can obtain positive results. And it
is in the struggle for the defence of the interests of the
workers and the peoples, and through it, that lies the real
political alternative. As we say in the theses of our 17th.
Congress referring to the national situation: "The
political alternative is indissociable from the struggle
for an alternative policy to the policy of the right".

Today, the implacable use of imperialism's international
structures; the consolidation of the federalist processes,
as is the case of the EU, which aim the creation of new
political and military blocks of an imperialist nature,
associated to the strengthening of the political-military
alliances and the change in its strategic concepts; war and
militarism associated to the subversion of international
law and UN instrumentalization, are fundamental and
complementary processes of domination and attempt to solve
the structural problems of imperialism, such as: the
elimination of the resistances to the circulation of
financial capital; the opening of new markets (namely in
the Eastern European countries and the ex-USSR); the
appropriation of raw materials, specially in energy; the
imperialist military presence around the world and the
growing use of war and military power as a political
affirmation of the hegemonic power of imperialism; the
increase in the production and profit margins of the arms
industry (the area of the economy that at the international
level holds the top place in terms of trade exchange) or
the establishment of new protectorates which defend the
interests of the great capitalist powers and of big capital
associated with them in the different regions of the globe.
But, if the conjunctural trend is for a compromise in the
name of the more general class interests of big capital and
the systematic withdrawal of the other big powers of the
"Triad" in relation to the hegemonic designs of the US, on
the other hand, the past times were marked by the growth of
the rivalries among the different poles of imperialism.
These rivalries, have real objective bases, linked to the
different level of economic, political and military power
of the various poles and their evolution at unequal
rhythms. An evolution that breaks previous balances and
creates new correlations of forces, whose resolution in the
past, led more than one time to great clashes. This dynamic
balance between concertation and intra imperialist rivalry
(two inseparable faces of the dynamics of the capitalist
system) is a factor that deserves, in the prosecution of
the struggle, a great attention on our part. On one hand,
we have to avoid interpretations that make absolute the
intra imperialist rivalries and almost place in the
progressive field those who, apparently, as the EU,
question US hegemony. On the other, at every moment, we
have to be able to benefit, in terms of class, from these
rivalries, opening clefts in the system which, as witnessed
at the beginning of the war in Iraq, can contribute to the
strengthening of the struggle.

Comrades,
The struggle against imperialism in the present is chiefly
marked by a tenacious process of resistance, of gathering
of forces, and the creation of conditions to develop
processes based upon a wide popular support able to
introduce real changes in our societies. We are also faced
with a complex challenge, in the present historical
conditions and correlation of forces: strengthen the
international cooperation in the struggle against
imperialism and affirm the possibility of a socialist
alternative. How to do it?

We believe there are no definitive answers. Based upon our
experience, our interpretation of the international
situation and upon the principle that it is at the national
level and at places where the clash with the dominating
class is more direct and where exploitation is the highest
(as in the workplaces) that we find the main battleground
and mobilisation to destroy the foundations of the
capitalist system, that we point out two main axis of
struggle, indissociable between them, and from which we can
define some common fronts of struggle:

A first and extremely important one that we can resume as:
"struggle against neo-liberalism and its consequences". In
this axis we find prioritary fronts of struggle, such as:
resistance against the exploitation of the workers and
intransigent defence of the conquests and rights now
threatened, namely the right to work and to fair salary;
the struggle against privatisations; the defence of public
services and of the social functions of the State; the
defence of the economic and political sovereignty of each
of our countries; the struggle against the policies of the
international structures of capitalism, namely the World
Bank, the IMF and the WTO; the struggle against
discriminations and for the rights. At the European level
we include here the struggle for a different Europe of the
workers and the peoples, against a European Union dominated
by the main European capitalist powers and the great
transnationals.

A second one that we could call "against war and
imperialism" and that encompasses: the strengthening of the
struggle against the imperialist wars and threats;
solidarity with the peoples and their struggles, specially
those who on the ground are resisting imperialist
atrocities and crimes; the struggle for the dissolution of
the political-military alliances, like NATO; the rejection
of projects which aim the creation of new
political-military blocks of an aggressive nature, like the
militarisation of the European Union, the struggle for
disarmament and abolition of weapons of mass destruction,
beginning with the US; the struggle against foreign
military presence in each of our countries and the defence
of complying the United Nations Charter and a true
democratisation of the UN.

These are the fronts of action that in our opinion should
guide the common action of the anti-imperialist front and
which can strengthen the perspective of important
progressive and revolutionary changes, which will be as
stronger as stronger are the revolutionary forces involved
in it and always taking into account the importance of the
dialectics of the revolutionary struggle at the national,
regional and international level.

The PCP is open and available, as always, to discuss all
the possibilities of strengthening of cooperation at the
regional and international level, namely by trying to find
more stable forms of cooperation. This availability
naturally derives from the characteristics of our party,
patriotic and internationalist. At the same time, and
taking into account recent developments in Europe, we
believe it is necessary to weigh well each step taken. It
is necessary to analyse, at every moment, if the pointed
out or defined solutions more than uniting, more than
strengthening, separate and create difficulties to the
definition of a common action at the level of struggle.
Bypassing stages, forcing solutions, hiding or under
levelling ideological and historical differences can result
in harm, leading to the weakening of all progressive and
communist forces and losing real chances of reaffirmation
at the world level of the possibility and need of building
a real alternative to the system.

Comrades,
More than a decade after the defeats of socialism in the
East and realizing the ripening of the material conditions
for the strengthening of the anti-imperialist struggle, it
is imperative to relaunch the central idea of socialism as
an alternative to capitalism. It is necessary to impress
upon the new generations, who did not witnessed the
experiences of building socialism, the real possibility of
building a new society. We believe it is fundamental to do
it, associating our ideological offensive to the struggles
we are carrying out. The affirmation of socialism as an
alternative, a path to be followed, is inseparable from the
continuation of the struggles for concrete and immediate
aims. At the same time that, we have to reject illusions
and easy ways out, we should, together, enhance the
potentialities of the present situation and the real
possibility of, where the contradictions run deeper and
where there are strong and influential revolutionary
forces, developing, sometimes in surprising ways,
revolutionary changes. That is what we have been trying to
do, namely in the anti-globalisation movement, and we
believe that actions such as those carried out at Mumbai
World Social Forum are positive examples of what we can
manage to do together.

We believe that these are the fronts and main forms of
struggle that can unite and widen the anti-imperialist
front, give greater efficaciousness to the struggle and
relaunch the revolutionary struggle as a fundamental factor
in overcoming capitalism and building a new society.
Without ever forgetting the intransigent defence of those
who in our countries put their faith in us to defend their
interests and support them, in the small and great
struggles.

Without ever forgetting the fundamental duty and role of
the working class and of it organisations in the
development of wider and stronger movements of solidarity
with the peoples that, in every moment, are at the core of
class struggle and of resistance to imperialism. It would
be impossible to conceive common actions of international
cooperation and of resistance to the aggressiveness of
imperialism without paying the needed attention to the
vital importance of solidarity with these peoples. In the
present days solidarity with the peoples like the Iraqi and
Palestinian ones, that are resisting on the ground to the
massacres and crimes of imperialism, or with Cuba and
Venezuela, among others, that bravely are resisting to the
interferences and threats of imperialism, and that, every
day, are showing to the world the real possibility of
building alternatives, must be a priority on the
communists', and other progressist forces, activity.