"For the April Values in the future of Portugal, for Socialism and Communism" -- Paulo Raimundo
Paulo Raimundo delivers his speech.
The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) held its 3 day Festa do Avante! (Avante! Festival) over the weekend of Sunday, September 3. Thousands of people attended to participate in a wide variety of cultural, artistic and political events.
PCP General Secretary Paulo Raimundo gave a remarkable speech on the last day of the festival in which he touched on international and domestic issues, the unfulfilled legacy of the Carnation Revolution, the role of the PCP and the fight for socialism.
The PCP has released a translation of the speech which we reprint here in full.
(We have posted about the Carnation Revolution in our posts Carnation Revolution in Portugal, April 25, 1974 and Portugal Freedom Year One. When Raimundo refers to "April" in his speech he is referring to the Carnation Revolution and its legacy.)
From here I salute the thousands who built, promoted and those who ensure the functioning of this great Festival, I salute the youth and JCP who make this remarkable collective construction, and rightly so, their Festival.
I salute all the visitors, those who are always there, those who have returned and those who are here for the first time.
Here you are at home and know that tomorrow we will be by your side, in different expressions of life, in the difficulties, in the dream, in the joy, in the fair struggles that we will carry out.
From this great Festival of internationalist solidarity, we convey a strong greeting to the workers and peoples who, throughout the world, resist and take their destinies into their own hands.
Your struggle is a powerful factor of hope and confidence for a better world.
An embrace to the Cuban people and their Revolution, the Palestinian people, the Sahrawi people, Bolivarian Venezuela and the Venezuelan people, among many other examples of heroic and courageous resistance by the peoples.
To the dozens of international delegations, who greatly honour us with their presence, we want you to take back to your countries and peoples the PCP's commitment to fight, for rights, sovereignty, for a fairer world.
Count on our commitment to strengthen the international communist and revolutionary movement.
Count on our contribution to give more strength to the anti-imperialist front and thus pave the way for peace and social progress.
A fight that, as we see every day, faces dangers, but has also potential.
The structural crisis of capitalism and the relative decline of the US and other great capitalist powers, gathered in the G7, are deepening.
Forces are rearranging at the international level, an example of which is the recent BRICS summit.
Faced with the persistent resistance and struggle of the peoples, the US, NATO and the EU intensify exploitation and confrontation around the world.
And here we have in all its dimensions the true colour of capitalism with the brutal accumulation and centralisation of wealth, at the cost of exploitation, poverty, inequality, injustice, hunger, disease, predation and looting of resources.
Here we have the true colour of capitalism, which was not, is not and will never be green.
There we have the militarist escalation in the Asia-Pacific and the provocations against China, there we have the blackmail, sanctions, blockades, interference and aggression in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia and against all countries and peoples who dare not to submit to the rule of imperialism.
In this Festival of Peace, and with the authority of those who have always committed themselves to fighting war and building a safe world, we affirm that we need to give Peace a chance, that we need more friendship and cooperation and less hatred and warmongering.
That it is necessary to act, in the face of those who, insensitive to death and destruction, bet on military conflict in various parts of the world and insist at all costs on the continuation of a war that has been going on for nine years in Ukraine, which should never have started and that it is urgent to stop.
It is with the stamp of the European Union and its action that peoples are being pushed into impoverishment.
There we have a European Union, full of contradictions and under the orders of the US, promoting militarism and paving the way for fascist and reactionary concepts and forces.
A European Union committed to the interests and millions of profits of economic groups.
A European Union incapable of stopping the deaths of thousands of people in the Mediterranean, many of them fleeing countries targeted by the actions of the US, the European Union and NATO bombs.
This path does not serve the people.
What we need is cooperation, peace, equality between States, development and social progress, goals for which we fight.
Almost a year later, life confirms the assessment we made at the PCP’s National Conference.
The effects of a policy that essentially serves the interests and objectives of economic groups are obvious, an option on which the action of the PS government, its absolute majority and the intervention of PSD, CDS, Chega and IL converge.
A policy that, supported by colossal means and instruments, is developed by the players who, at each moment, best ensure worsening exploitation, concentrating wealth, attacking public services, promoting privatisations and speculation, with all the injustice and inequality that they create.
A policy for which justifications can always be found if the sacrifices always fall on the same and the profits on a few.
The contradiction between the reality of the hard life of the workers and the people and the propaganda and opulence of economic groups is shocking.
It is the inflation that drops, but which leaves out of these accounts the brutal costs of housing, an inflation that we feel particularly in the prices of food and fuel.
We are now being told that the economy is doing well.
Is it doing well for the 2 million people at risk of poverty, of which 345,000 are children?
Is it doing well for around 3 million workers, who earn up to a thousand euros gross in wages per month?
For those who, despite the amount of their wages, with careers and progression practically stagnant, are today faced with difficulties they did not expect?
For those who live in various forms of job precariousness, including researchers and scholarship holders without a contract?
For workers subject to night work, shift work, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, with no time to live?
Is it doing well for migrants subject to even greater exploitation?
Is it doing well for children who live behind their parents' irregular schedules, spending too much time at school, spending too much time in front of screens and having less time for play?
For families who cannot find a place for their children in daycare and for those who are already facing an increase in educational materials?
Is the economy doing well for those who, given the increases, have to cut back on food?
Is it doing well for the 72% of pensioners who receive less than 500 euros per month?
Is it doing well for the hundreds of thousands of young people who cannot leave their parents' home?
For the thousands of students without access to accommodation or for those who will start classes without a teacher in various subjects?
Is it doing well for 1.6 million users without a family doctor or for those waiting for surgery or medical tests?
For the more than 600 cultural structures that were left without support?
Is it doing well for the micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, who, overwhelmed by costs, think about abandoning their businesses, or for the small farmers struggling with the drought, without food for their animals and without support that actually reaches their pockets?
Is it doing well for women who rightly aspire to equality in work and life? For citizens with disabilities who continue to face continuing barriers?
This economy, which we are sold as growing, but which clashes every day with the dramatic reality of those who are faced with unaffordable rents and loan payments, and who, with increasing difficulties, do everything and deprive themselves of everything to afford their housing.
Those who are doing well are the richest 5% who concentrate 42% of the national wealth.
Those who are doing well, and in what a way, are the economic groups in energy, insurance, large retail, telecommunications and banking, which make 11 million euros in profit per day.
It is doing well for the groups that evade taxes and transfer millions to tax havens.
And how well it is doing for the disease business, which appropriates skills and professionals and takes 6 billion euros from the State Budget.
The truth is that, while a few appropriate wealth, the vast majority does not get a whiff of it.
The truth is that the policy of the PS government, essentially supported by PSD, CDS, Chega and IL, who are all submissive to the euro, to the impositions of the European Union and the axe of “balanced accounts,” does not serve us and worsens the problems of the country.
But it serves, and in what a way, the balanced accounts of economic groups, the unacceptable tax privileges and the diversion of millions of euros of EU funds, serves the balanced accounts of the looting of public resources with Public-Private Partnerships, the criminal privatisations and the corruption associated with them.
Their balanced accounts unbalance our lives and in what a way.
We are faced with options and class options, and not faced with any inevitability.
Imposing low wages, precariousness, unregulated working hours is not inevitable, it is an option for exploitation; privatising TAP and Efacec is not inevitable, it is a criminal political option; making brutal increases in the prices of essential goods fall on the people is an option for an even greater concentration of wealth in economic groups.
It is not inevitable to transform housing into a commodity, but it is the option that feeds the greed of banks and real estate funds.
Predation and degradation of nature is an option, when the inevitable would be its defence.
The continuous devaluation of Culture and its professionals is an option and not an inevitability.
The dismantling of public services, disrespect for workers in education, healthcare, security forces, armed forces, justice, local administration and all those who serve the public cause, is an option based on the strategy of private groups.
Faced with this reality, the only inevitability is the struggle.
It was with the struggle of the workers, with the central role of the Unitary Trade Union Movement, of the great trade union central of the Portuguese workers, the CGTP-IN, that we salute from here, but also with the struggle of the populations, of broad and diverse strata and sectors, that we achieved results.
A struggle that won increases in wages and rights, which turned workers with precarious contracts into permanent.
A struggle that, due to its achievements, the demonstration of strength and unity and the example and confidence it gives to all workers, was and is still worth it.
The government was forced to take limited measures and specific support that, although useful for those who receive it, do not solve the underlying problems, insufficient measures taken against its will, but which unlocked a door that now needs to be thrown wide open, demanding the needed answers.
A struggle of resistance and progress, a struggle to demand answers, and for an alternative.
An alternative that exists.
Here is the PCP, a promoter of this alternative and capable of, together with others, with the workers and the people at the centre of its action, building the developed and sovereign country to which we are entitled.
We do not resign ourselves to impoverishment and the denial of the future of new generations, we do not accept low wages, we do not accept the destruction of national production and the handing over to national or foreign monopoly groups of instruments essential to the country's development.
There is an alternative project of asserting sovereignty that confronts external submission; a project that focuses on development, modernisation and national production, which confronts the accumulation of structural deficits, a project to regain control of strategic sectors and companies, that confronts the assault on our means, resources and capabilities, a project to improve the living conditions of workers and people, which confronts inequality, injustice and impoverishment into which they are dragging us.
A project that confronts right-wing policies, is based on April and that respects and enforces the rights enshrined in the Constitution.
An alternative project that does not give up on the country and that knows that the most structuring option, which determines the evolution of the economic situation and living conditions, which retains and attracts professionals, which stimulates the internal market and the micro, small and medium-sized companies, which combats the shortage of labour, emigration as the only way out, the injustices and inequalities, the option that guarantees the qualitative leap that the country needs is the general and significant increase in wages.
A general and significant increase for all workers, the valorisation of careers and professions and a Minimum Wage that responds to the real situation.
A necessary, urgent and more than fair increase, based on the reality of workers' lives, their needs and a fair distribution of the wealth created.
A general increase in wages that responds to the devaluation of recent decades and the high levels of inflation expected between 2022 and 2024. Increases that valorise purchasing power and bring salaries in Portugal closer to the average salaries of workers in euro zone countries.
It is not acceptable that workers always have wages that do not reach the end of the month, in contrast to the profits concentrated in the hands of economic groups.
Those who create wealth, those who guarantee the functioning of the country, those who ensure economic activity, must be respected and valued, must have a salary that allows them to live with dignity.
We will not, and the workers with their class organisations will not, give up on this struggle for the country.
Today's wages are tomorrow's pensions. Pensions that need to be dignified and valued.
The country has a duty to guarantee dignity to those who have worked their entire lives, and to recognise that those who have 40 years of social security payments must access retirement without penalties.
It has a duty to increase pensions and ensure their valorisation, which is why it is necessary to increase all pensions by 7.5%, with a minimum of 70 euros.
And here we are on the front line of the fight for Housing.
We do not accept that those who live, and work here cannot access a home or are on the verge of eviction.
In the coming days we will once again table proposals in the Assembly of the Republic that, if adopted, will have immediate effects on people's lives, proposals that the population will continue to accept as goals of the struggle, because they respond to their pressing problems.
We do not confuse small landlords with the real estate fund vultures that are taking over city centres.
Proposals for a true public housing policy. Proposals to stop repossessions and evictions, to prevent speculation and impose a maximum limit of 0.43% increase on all rents next year.
To implement a moratorium similar to the one implemented during the period of the epidemy, limiting the value of loan payments to the banks.
To set a maximum spread of 0.25% through Caixa Geral de Depósitos.
It is necessary, once and for all, to confront the interests of the banks and put their colossal profits to support the increase in interest rates that continue to rise and with new threats foreseen for September.
This process of the ECB decreeing brutal interest rate increases, the EU subscribing it, the government, the PS, PSD, Chega and IL obeying and the people paying, has to stop.
We will once again propose fixing, controlling and cutting down prices, particularly for food and energy.
It cannot always be the same people paying so that a few continue to profit.
We will not stand idly by in the face of the deterioration of public services and their handover to private groups, as is visible in the National Health Service.
It is necessary to invest in hospitals and primary healthcare, value all health professionals, guarantee the exclusive dedication of doctors with a 50% salary increase.
It is necessary to secure doctors, create working conditions and stop the so-called NHS reform.
It is necessary to save the National Health Service, and we are here for that. And we are also here to defend the Public Schools, to demand the dignification of all careers and the implementation of the full restoration of teachers' service time.
The way in which the school year will start in a few days and the state in which healthcare services are operating are the sole responsibility of the government and the option of resolving or worsening the problems we face is in its hands.
No more cynical talk about too many taxes, we already know what they want.
They want the people to pay more and more so that economic groups and large fortunes pay less and less.
They want to bypass the central issue, the increase in salaries, they want the State to be left without the means to fulfil its social functions and then come with the talk of private groups, always with the State paying, of course.
When the Assembly of the Republic reopens, we will insist again, including the proposals that they rejected in July.
We will insist on Income Tax relief for workers and pensioners, on increasing the number of tax brackets and updating the value of the specific deduction, on lowering VAT on electricity, gas and telecommunications.
But also, on the taxation of the profits of economic groups, on the cut in their tax benefits, on the guarantee that the profits generated here are taxed here, and on the measures to put an end to the scandal of flight to tax havens.
We are curious about the position of those who fill their mouths with taxes every day when faced with these proposals.
We don't give up on the youth.
The youth don't need pats on their backs, promises or the tired old propaganda of individualism.
What they need what is what is denied to them, free and quality public schools, wage increases, employment with rights, an end to precariousness and stability in their lives, they need housing, healthcare, free public transport, a de facto combat against discrimination, access to culture and sport.
Respond to these problems and the desire of the vast majority of young people, if they have the conditions to do so, to remain here, live here, work here and build their lives and a better country here.
We will not abandon any objective. With our persistence, proposal and strength, it was possible, among other advances, to pave the way for more rights for children and parents.
It was the free school textbooks, the transport pass, access to vaccines, it was so in the free access to daycare, which is now a reality for almost 60 thousand children, but which needs to be taken further.
We will defend in the Assembly of the Republic a plan to implement the first public and national network of free daycare centres.
A proposal that places daycare centres where they should be, within the scope of education, with quality and safe services for babies.
A necessary step towards the creation, by the end of the legislature, of 100 thousand new vacancies.
A structuring proposal for the present and the future. Increase wages and pensions; stop the rise in prices and the scandal of profit accumulation by economic groups; invest in public services and in the valorisation of their professionals; guarantee healthcare, education and access to housing, protect tenants and families with housing loans; implement fiscal justice measures; respond to the problems of children and parents.
Here are the immediate objectives of the struggle, here are the elements that constitute the alternative that the country and each one of us needs.
The alternative that does not serve those who concentrate profits at the expense of labour and the impoverishment of thousands, but which serves the majority, the workers, those who produce wealth, which serves pensioners, youth, micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, farmers, fishermen, intellectuals, the alternative for which democrats and patriots fight.
In the face of just concerns, in the face of difficulties in seeing the way out, in the face of the discredit installed in society, here is the path, here is hope.
Here we have April, on the way to its fiftieth anniversary.
Here we are, supported by the experience and transformative force of the Revolution, defending, fulfilling and enforcing April to guarantee in everyday life the project and rights that the Constitution of the Republic enshrines.
April is more future.
April is, in its conquests, achievements and values, the mobilising base of democrats, patriots, those who live and work here.
Let us come together, let us add strength to our strength.
From here we call on the workers, the youth, and the people to mobilise, to make themselves heard and show their huge strength.
A call to the development of the struggle every day and every hour, the decisive struggle that is taking place and will intensify in companies and workplaces, for increased wages, for rights, for respect for those who work.
A call for mobilization for the struggles that are taking place, starting with the national day of struggle for the defense of the National Health Service on September 16th, called by CGTP-IN throughout the country.
A call to intensify the struggle for housing, in the initiatives over the next few weeks and in the action called for September 30.
A call to fight against the increase in the cost of living, for pensions, for the defence of Public Schools, for the environment.
Faced with injustices and inequalities, the workers, people, democrats and patriots are called to make a choice. The choice between keeping control of all this in the hands of the interests of economic groups and handed over to the players on shift, whether PS or PSD and their surrogates, or taking the destiny of their lives in their own hands and building the alternative that responds to their problems and to the shortcomings of the country.
The choice between endless profits in the hands of a few and a country serving the interests of a small minority or taking sides and moving ahead with your mobilisation, participation and struggle, the political alternative that upholds your interests.
This is the choice that each and every one is faced with, a choice that unites more and more people, a choice that knows that there are means, there are resources and there are decent and capable people to carry it out.
When the vast majority who are targets of injustice and inequalities, when the workers and the people become aware of the strength they have, the strength of their struggle, the strength of their unity, then this will really change.
Give strength to your strength, be the main players of your solutions, take the side of the PCP, for the one which is your Party, and which always counts, counts to carry forward what is positive and never fails to combat what is negative, wherever it comes from.
If there is one aspect that is increasingly clear to thousands of people today, it is that when the PCP advances, it contributes to improving everyone’s lives. If this is so, then it is in the interests of the workers, the people and democrats that the PCP advances and strengthens itself at all levels.
Here are the people's aspirations, here is the Party that has solutions, here is the tireless engine of struggle and convergence and of all those who are committed to a better life.
We want more Party, not to fill our chests, we want more Party because this is a requirement to improve the living conditions of workers and people, and make the Country move forward.
And that's what we're here for.
We want more strength for the PCP and for the CDU, with our allies from the Ecologist Party “The Greens” and the Democratic Intervention Association, whom we salute from here, because more votes and more mandates for the CDU is a requirement for the advancement of the rights and living conditions of workers and populations, and now in Madeira where elections for the Regional Legislative Assembly will take place in three weeks.
From here we would like to salute all those who are currently there building a result that will certainly recognise the force that is there every day fighting and resisting the PSD and CDS policies, in defence of the workers and people of the Region, the force which always counts when it comes to asserting rights and wages.
Step by step we are building a result that puts autonomy at the service of the people, of the progress and development of Madeira.
Less than a year away from the elections for the European Parliament, here we affirm that PCP MPs are the essential voice that guarantees the defence of the rights and interests of the workers, the people and the country, to courageously face the submission to the Euro and the impositions of the European Union.
They are MPs who are by your side every day, they are your voice in the European Parliament, it was so, it is so, and it will be so.
As we pointed out at the National Conference, let us take the initiative, let us connect even more with the lives, problems, realities, potential and capabilities of the workers and people; let us strengthen the Party, and the country will move forward.
Let us increase the participation of the thousands of new militants who have joined the Party in recent years, many already contributing with their militancy, let us give responsibilities to many more, and the struggle of workers, populations and broad strata of society will gain more strength.
Here is the PCP, a Party with remarkable action in which thousands of militants, from the youngest to the oldest, assume limitless dedication to the workers and the people.
Here is the dependable Party that does not sway with the wind, which does not give in to fear, blackmail, threats, lies, and that at no time abandons the workers and the people.
The Party of the working class and of all workers, which knows from experience the power of the enemy, but which does not lie in wait, takes the initiative and knows that the workers and the organised popular masses are an unstoppable force.
A Party linked to life, which does not talk idle about problems, which does not look down on reality, which is every day where it needs to be, with the workers and populations in their struggles, and there is no more or less organised silencing that erases this reality.
They can pass all sentences on us, but a Party like this, of and at the service of all workers, as this Party reveals in this Festival, a Party like this is destined, indeed, to grow, expand and strengthen itself.
We are the Portuguese Communist Party, which affirms its communist identity, its class nature, its goal of building a new society, socialism and communism, its theoretical basis, Marxism-Leninism, its operating principles, a patriotic and internationalist party.
Here we are, knowing that capitalism is exploitation, oppression, war, hunger, poverty, corruption, environmental degradation and that its revolutionary overcoming is the great need of workers and peoples.
With everlasting joy, with the enthusiasm of the youth, with the experience of the elderly, with the creativity of intellectuals, with the commitment of micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and farmers, with the courage of immigrants, with the wisdom of the people and above all, with the determining force of the working class and workers, here we are with the serene and profound conviction that there is no ideal more beautiful, more just and more necessary than ours, an ideal and a project that guides and mobilises the construction of a new society, the new society to which the future belongs.
For the April Values in the future of Portugal, for Socialism and Communism.
The struggle goes on.
Long live Internationalist solidarity!
Long live Peace!
Long live the Avante Festival!
Long live the Portuguese Communist Youth!
Long live the Portuguese Communist Party!