From Socialist Voice, November 2010


A serious time for Europe and the world

The view from Portugal

We are living in a particularly serious and complex time for Europe and the world. Shock waves continue to run through—and wreak particular havoc upon—European societies and the EU. They have come to confirm the fact that the much-touted welfare state is being subjected to “assisted demolition.”
     In addition, they confirm the EU’s intrinsic class character as an expression of the crisis that has shaken capitalism, striking in concentrated mode and concurrently in all of the Triad’s members (USA, Japan and EU).
     The fierce offensive mounted by big business and the ruling classes against peoples’ sovereignty, against labour, and against social rights—particularly with the drastic anti-social measures that have been and are being announced and implemented, as well as the dangerous anti-democratic trends (from xenophobia to the most primitive anti-communism), and the repeated threats to peace that come on the back of imperialism’s interventionist and warmongering agenda—are all the result of capitalism’s world crisis having deteriorated to crisis point.
     This situation confronts communists with demanding challenges and responsibilities in every direction, namely in what regards the development of the mass struggle in each country, and convergence and co-operation on an international level.
     In Portugal the effects of the crisis have triggered a class response: multiple fierce “adjustment measures” adopted by the Socialist Party (PS) cabinet, in cahoots with the right-wing parties. It has raised the evil and destruction wrought by the policies of 30+ years’ worth of right-wing governments (made up of various combinations of PS, PSD and CDS/PP parties) to a new qualitative level.
     The current escalated offensive by our country’s ruling classes is a direct continuation of the right-wing policies followed since 1976; but it is now turning into a veritable vendetta against the legacy of far-reaching democratic changes made by the April 1974 Revolution. It is dealing hard blows against the Portuguese people’s and workers’ legitimate interests and aspirations. These anti-people policies, which subject the nation to the interests of the big powers and the big corporations (themselves increasingly owned by financial-speculative capital), have steered our country into a gradual loss of sovereignty and independence.
     It is within this framework that our Party fights against the current decisions, which seek to consolidate the domination of the major economic groups and the “directorate” of the big powers in the EU, and to impose new and serious restrictions on our country’s sovereignty. It is also within this framework that the PCP takes an active part in the peace movement and supports the demonstration that has been convened by the “Yes to Peace, No to Nato!” movement for 20 November in Lisbon, on the occasion of the NATO summit.
     Capitalism’s world crisis is making it increasingly obvious that the dominant system is now plunged into a deep structural crisis and is floundering in its own insurmountable contradictions and historical limitations. Capitalism is not just unable to confront the major problems afflicting humankind, it is actually embarking on one course: more exploitation, more unemployment, more inequality, more impoverishment for the working masses and for local communities, more repression, more militarism and war.
     But the deepening crisis, with all its dangers and threats, also opens up new opportunities for resistance and liberation struggles—as the emergence of various progressive and change processes in Latin America throughout this last decade has proved.
     Communists find themselves confronting the increasingly relevant task of extending their social influence and acting to mobilise the workers and masses of people in the battles against exploitation and to uphold their dignity and inalienable rights, in the struggle for social liberation—and to assert socialism as the necessary alternative.
     Strengthening communist parties and their ties of internationalist solidarity and co-operation—as well as broadening and strengthening the anti-imperialist front and achieving coordination between all revolutionary and progressive forces—is a key issue in our time and continues to be a priority concern for the PCP. This is particularly so in Europe, where we believe it is possible to enhance co-operation with a view to joint and convergent action to advance working people’s yearnings and aspirations, and to assert socialism as the alternative.
International Department, Portuguese Communist Party

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