Lisbon, November 12, 2011
|Jerónimo de Sousa,|
General Secretary of the PCP
Our warmest greetings, on behalf of the Portuguese Communist Party, to all the participants in the 18th Assembly of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. It is with immense joy that we take part in this important moment in the life of your democratic and broad-based organization which is indispensable in bringing together, in action and in struggle, the left-wing and progressive forces which make up the world-wide anti-imperialist youth movement.
It was an honour for us to welcome this Assembly in our country, just as it was when we first hosted an Assembly, back in 1995. And it is with even greater joy that we see that this is the biggest Assembly of the Federation in the past twenty years.
We wish to begin by vividly greeting the leadership which is now completing its mandate in WFDY for the work it has carried out, for having preserved and strengthened this unparalleled structure of the youth movement.
A very special greeting to the comrades who have now been elected, wishing them good work and good luck. You can always count on this Party, the Portuguese Communist Party, and on its youth organization, JCP, to support the World Federation of Democratic Youth in its activity to improve the living conditions of young people and of all peoples in the four corners of the world, and against oppression.
You have carried out valuable work, that has made it possible to relaunch the movement of the World Festivals of Youth and Students, which plays such a vital role in mobilizing young people for the anti-imperialist struggle.
This Assembly, the debates you have held and the decisions which you have taken, are a very important moment for each of the 86 delegations that took part and for the struggle of young people in each of your countries. But they are also important for the common struggle waged by the working and student youth against imperialism, for a world of peace, solidarity and social and revolutionary transformation.
We know that your participation in this important event, that was held in Portugal, is also an expression of solidarity with the struggles of the Portuguese youth and people.
We view our international relations as a strategic component of the Portuguese workers' struggle and of the PCP's activity.
Our Party's nature – at once internationalist and patriotic – is the result of our strong bonds with the Portuguese workers and with all workers of the world who, like us in Portugal, fight for their rights, against exploitation and against the capitalist system.
At a time of resistance, such as the one we are now living in, that is marked by the negative balance of forces which emerged with the end of socialism as a world system, the existance of an organization such as WFDY is a vital aspect of the coordination and solidarity that must exist among all those who, like us, fight against imperialism.
We do not forget, and we will always treasure, the positive role that was played by WFDY and the bonds which generations of young Portuguese militants forged during decades of joint action, even during the difficult times of the fascist dictatorship, with the violence, detentions and torture that befell Portugal for almost 50 years.
Despite the dangers, the potential which also exists today has enabled your organization to grow stronger. This greater strength is the direct result of the greater readiness of young people and the peoples in general to confront the ongoing offensives in each of your countries.
We know well, from our own experience, how difficult these battles can be. In Portugal we are living through an exceptional moment. There is a serious crisis, an enduring crisis with major difficulties for our people, the youth and the new generations. It is the result of right-wing policies, and of unbridled capitalist exploitation, with growing unemployment, precarious jobs, lower incomes, the denial and withdrawal of labour rights for young workers who are confronted with an offensive that has no parallel in recent times and which has merely added further inequalities and injustice to the inequalities and injustice that already existed.
It is a serious and difficult situation for young students. They are victims of policies that ferociously attack Public Education and the right to an education, with brutal increases in the costs of education; which seeks to transform education into yet another business and source of profits, as well as an instrument to reproduce and preserve social and class discriminations. After [the] April [1974 Revolution], they seek to return to elitist views which deprive vast masses of access to an integral and good quality education.
These problems are becoming ever more acute with the Programme of interference and foreign aggression which is being carried out in Portugal, under the guidance of the IMF and the European Union. It is not just the most brutal offensive against young workers and students, but also a policy of severe austerity for the people that abdicates from the tasks of national development and which is sinking our country.
That is why there are major struggles being waged by the youth and by our people. They are struggles that are necessary to halt and reverse the offensive, and to pave the way for an alternative that may lead to a fairer, more fraternal society of solidarity in Portugal.
Today we saw a large demonstration of public employees in Lisbon. Others are taking place, with different sectors and in many companies.
The youth will also turn this month of November into a month of major struggles and large-scale mobilization.
They will do so by mobilizing for a successful General Strike, which has been convened by the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP-IN) for November 24th. This is a General Strike where young workers have a role to play in asserting their just demands, together with those of all other classes and strata of the population which are in struggle to defend their rights and for an alternative policy that may defend the people's interests.
A struggle which, we are sure, will be rewarded with the solidarity and participation of all youth sectors. We are certain that it will be a moment when the will and courage of young Portuguese workers will be asserted, overcoming all the real risks and dangers which they face, as a result of their concrete precarious situation and of the threats and pressures that they have to face in their workplaces.
But November will also be a month of important youth struggles in all levels of education. On the 22nd, there will be a National Day of Action by the students of the basic and Secondary schools, and on the 29th there will be a national demonstration of higher education students.
These are indispensable struggles which, we are certain, will count with a strong mobilization and participation of the Portuguese youth. Struggles in which the Communists will commit all their determination and militant generosity, as well as their self-sacrificed work, so that they may be big successes for the Portuguese youth, workers and people. Young people must not just think that they are the force for transformation of the future. They must act now!
Never before has it been so urgent to act and to strengthen and expand the movement of protest against this policy of exploitation and extorsion of the workers and of the people, and against the programme of foreign aggression against Portugal.
That is why the PCP calls upon all young people to take into their own hands the task of defeating this policy and preventing the country from being pushed into the abyss.
The world is today more complex, and developments are taking place increasingly fast. They are sometimes difficult to follow, due to their dynamics and speed.
The capitalist system's international crisis, the arms race, the emergence of new powers, the instrumentalization of the UN and of International Law, the growing disputes and tensions between imperialist powers and that gigantic system of forging and manipulating opinions which are the mass media (namely those media that are controlled by the big economic groups) make our world increasingly unjust and dangerous. These dangers may even put at risk the existance of Humanity, or at least of a substantial part of it.
In truth, capitalism has sunk into one of the most profound crises in its History. Its contradictions and historical limits are more than evident.
As we had long predicted, we are facing a speedy and violent deepening of capitalism's systemic and structural crisis, in which its exploitative, inhuman and destructive nature becomes ever more profound.
Today, the workers and the peoples are violently suffering the consequences of this ever deeper crisis.
It is a crisis that is leading many millions of human beings into a dramatic existence. Millions of men, women and young people survive in dire poverty, in the midst of gross injustice and inequality. This is the most powerful indictment of a system that is leading Humanity into a dead-end.
In a context of evident decline of the main capitalist powers and of ever greater inter-imperialist contradictions, the ruling classes are embarking upon a dangerous and criminal leap forward, as a result of the ever deeper crisis.
The dangers of a violent response by the system are visible. There is a proliferation of sources of tension throughout the world. There are imperialist wars, which in the past few months had their biggest expression in the tremendous crime carried out in Libya by NATO, with the support of a UN Security Council at the service of imperialism. It was a shameless war, dictated by economic interests.
At the same time, the system responds to its crisis with an accelerated concentration and centralization of economic and political power and with an anti-social offensive without precedent in post-war History, transfering to the shoulders of the workers and peoples the burden of a crisis for which they bear no responsibility.
After decades of extremely important advances for the liberation of peoples, in education, healthcare, culture and democratic rights, the young generations of today are facing the denial of those hard-won rights. Precarious jobs and unemployment, the elitization of access to education, the privatization of basic services and needs, such as healthcare and water, the neo-colonial offensive in Africa, the attempt to crush all processes of emancipation and national sovereignty, beginning with the criminal blockade against Cuba – all these are attacks which can only be overcome through the struggle.
Big capital is plundering everything upon which it can lay its hands, in an attempt to continue ensuring its profits and its domination.
A clear example of this, is the situation in the European Union. When we look around us, what we see is a European Union in profound crisis and decadence. The sovereignty, identity and social and cultural wealth of its peoples are being crushed by a violent process of capitalist accumulation.
As we predicted, recent events, and namely the developments taking place in Italy and Greece are clarifying the depth of the crisis of capitalism and the total incapacity of those in charge of capitalism's institutions to – through their standard economic and political dogmas, which are always at the service of the so-called “markets” - even begin to find a way out of the crisis.
What we see is how capital and the EU institutions have embarked on a course of social regression; of revenge, seeking to settle scores with the social advances that had been won through the struggle of the workers and the peoples of Europe; of a repressive and anti-democratic outlook.
They are carrying out true experiments of social terror, to see how far they can go in social regression and in crushing the peoples' independence and sovereignty.
It is social terrorism for the peoples, an economic garrotte and the crushing of the sovereignty of the peoples and countries, with ever-larger injections of capital that is stolen from the workers and the peoples being handed over to the banks.
The goal is domination, not economic and social cohesion or solidarity. Their brutal programmes of austerity are just means by which the consequences of the crisis are being passed on, to be shouldered by the workers and the peoples.
This is what the peoples of Europe are beginning to understand: that what they are trying to do is the opposite of what they proclaim. They are trampling upon the rights of the peoples.
This is the reality! The reality of a capitalism and of a process of capitalist integration of Europe that is rotten to the core, that is dangerous and which is increasingly running out of control!
These are times of great responsibility and immense challenges.
We are still living through times of resistance and of accumulation of forces, where it is fundamental to not give in or waver for even one second. These are times in which the role of progressive forces is crucial, to make the wheel of History move forward, not allowing capitalism's crisis to usher in even greater regressions for Humankind.
Times in which the unity in action, the cooperation and solidarity between all progressive forces takes on crucial importance in strengthening and solidifying the anti-imperialist front.
We are living through times of intense struggle, of difficult but passionate struggles, which every day reveal the real potential for progressive, and even revolutionary, advances.
Every day we see a growing number of young people involved in the struggles, be they students, young workers, young farmers, the youth in general. It is important to ensure that this becomes increasingly so. To bring young people to the organized struggle is an imperative for the present and for the future of our struggle.
It is from these struggles that we draw strength, inspiration and confidence. Our struggles, and the growing struggles of the workers and peoples. Struggles of the peoples of the world which we warmly greet, pledging to pursue and to intensify our own struggle.
This is not a pledge of today. It is a pledge based upon our ideals and our ideology, rooted in our long History.
It is a pledge which this Portuguese Communsit Party never reneged and never cast aside, however difficult the circumstances or the scale and nature of the attacks and the repression which targetted it.
This pledge about which we speak and which we reiterate here is that of continuing and intesifying the struggle, with all our strength. To continue fighting for the rights of our workers, of our people and youth. To intensify the struggle for peace, against war and militarism. To tirelessly oppose and confront the onslaughts against democracy and anti-communism. To continue the struggle to make this Party and its revolutionary youth organization – JCP – a powerful tool, a large and geneorus collective of young men and women who are willing to fight the most difficult battles in defence of the interests of working people and of all anti-monopoly strata that are brutally affected by capitalist oppression and exploitation.
We wish to reaffirm this pledge here and now, before comrades from all corners of the world.
To you all we wish to confirm that you can count upon this Portuguese Communist Party which marks its 90 years of existence. A Communist Party that is proud of its past, aware of its responsibilities and which is committed, with all its energy, to the struggle for an alternative to the system of exploitation.
An alternative which, in the PCP's opinion, requires today that we achieve an advanced democracy, as a fundamental element and stage to build in Portugal the fully-fledged alternative to capitalism and its crisis, that is, Socialism!
Yes, Comrades! We can never lose sight of the fact that our supreme goal is a society freed from the exploitation of man by man.