Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Portuguese Communist Party celebrated 100th anniversary — Full speech by General Secretary Jerónimo de Sousa

The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) celebrated its 100th anniversary on Saturday with a message of struggle and devotion to the continued fight for freedom, justice and socialism.  
Addressing hundreds of Communist Party members and supporters, who were carrying party flags and carnations - the symbol of the 1974 Revolution - General Secretary Jerónimo de Sousa honored the "generations of communists who are an example of selfless devotion to the just cause they embraced".  

"We are celebrating with great joy and pride, on this 6th of March, 100 years of struggle of the Portuguese Communist Party, which today stands here with the same determination as always, ready to fight the combats of the present and of the future and respond to the demands that life places before it to continue serving the workers, the people and the country", said the Party's General Secretary during a commemorative event in Lisbon.

The full speech of Jerónimo de Sousa is the following:

We are celebrating with great joy and pride, on this 6th of March, 100 years of struggle of the Portuguese Communist Party, which today stands here with the same determination as always, ready to fight the combats of the present and of the future and respond to the demands that life places before it to continue serving the workers, the people and the country.

Today, we celebrate this great moment in the life of the Portuguese Communist Party, in companies and workplaces, in the streets, avenues and squares of more than 100 towns and cities across the country, mobilising the strength of a heroic history and fulfilling in the times when we live our commitment to the workers and the people. Yes! In view of the current situation, marked by serious economic and social and public health problems, in which the epidemic, in addition to its direct effects, is being used to promote setbacks, to jeopardise economic, social, political and cultural rights, deeply affecting the conditions of life, the PCP is not silent. It makes its voice heard, makes its Centenary a day of struggle, about the problems that the workers, the people and the country face, against exploitation and impoverishment, of mobilisation and demand for their resolution, for rights, the improvement of living conditions and social progress, for the affirmation of its ideal and liberating project.

On celebrating 100 years, many will question. How did the PCP get here, maintaining the vitality and political initiative that even the adversaries recognise and which enables it to have a marked and even outstanding intervention in favour of the workers and the people?

What are the reasons for this path, going through and united while facing major changes and storms in the national and international situation and during a fierce fascist dictatorship of almost five decades, when others stayed on the sidelines?

The first reason, we find it in the class nature and characteristics of this Party, which was organised and developed like a true party of the working class and of all workers. A new type Party with its communist ideal, independent of the influence, interests, ideology and politics of the forces of capital, a Party that counted and counts on the participation of intellectuals and of different classes and strata of the Portuguese population, of women, of youth, but which ensured a very deep and wide implantation and connection in the working class and workers - the social base of the Party - with effective and majority expression in the bodies of its leadership and in the conduct of its destinies.

The second reason was being a Party with a revolutionary theory, Marxism-Leninism, always enriched by the study of new situations and phenomena, processes and knowledge and thus having been able to define a correct political line and forms of organisation and action adapted to the different contexts and realities in which it had to act. Of course, making mistakes too, but learning from mistakes and drawing lessons from failures. A political line and bearer of a project built from the Portuguese reality, a product of its own thought and to respond to national specificities, but also critically assimilating the world revolutionary experience and considering, as it has always considered, that there are no “models” of revolutions, as the April Revolution proved, nor “models” of socialism.

Another reason for this Party's unique course, which is and continues to be present in the Portuguese reality with the fighting spirit for which it is known, is that it has always tirelessly defended the vital interests of the working class, the workers and the popular masses. Having acted daily against exploitation, injustice and inequality, appearing in all circumstances before the workers and the people, as the staunchest and selfless defender of their interests and taking the lead of the front of the organisation and struggle of the workers, in the creation and strengthening of their unitary organisations, from the Unity Committees to the Workers' Committees, of the Unitary Trade Union Movement, creating the conditions for the emergence of CGTP-IN. A struggle that has widened, involving the broadest popular strata, as it continues to do today, acting consequently to unite them and to unite democratic and patriotic forces identified with the development and progress of the people and the country, aiming at the construction of the patriotic and left-wing alternative for which we fight.

But it is important to highlight, on this remarkable day, another important reason for the success of the Portuguese Communist Party. It was having counted on the dedication and work of generations of intrepid fighters, women, men and youth of great courage and dedication to the cause of the emancipation of the workers and people, among which stands out this unique figure, comrade Álvaro Cunhal.

Generations of communists who are an example of selfless devotion to the just cause that they embraced and whose lives of fighters are evident in a political conception and practice of refusing advantages and privileges, an assumed demonstration of the communist ideal and its high values.

Whoever writes with objectivity the history of our country in the last 100 years will always find the Portuguese communists not as bystanders of reality, but as active players in the transformations, at the forefront of fight, acting on the right side of history in defence of the interests of the workers, the people and the country; for freedom, democracy, social progress, peace and national independence; for socialism; for internationalist solidarity among the workers and peoples of all countries, affirming with consistence our characteristic of being a patriotic and internationalist Party.
Yes, this is a Party that can be proud of having always been on the right side of history and, therefore, with a glorious and unique path in Portuguese life. A history that was involved and intermixed with the history of the struggle of our people in the last century.

A Party that stood up against the fascist dictatorship - the only one that did not surrender, did not yield, nor renounced the fight, paying a very heavy price in persecutions, arrests, tortures, murders. That gave itself with audacity in the search and construction of the paths of freedom, uniting, organising and promoting the struggle of the working class, workers and democratic forces, pointing the way to the national uprising to overthrow the dictatorship.

The Party that was at the forefront of action in the rise of the mass popular movement "on the road to victory" which, in conjunction with the liberating struggle of the colonial peoples, led to the annihilation of fascism. Which gave an unparalleled contribution to the exhilarating process of the April Revolution and to the development of the powerful intervention of the working class and the popular masses, transforming a military action into Revolution, ending the power of monopolies and big landowners and helping implement the remarkable achievements of the Revolution, from nationalisations to agrarian reform and to political, social, labour and cultural rights.

In the great battles in defence of national sovereignty and independence. In the many battles fought in defence of the valorisation of labour and workers. In the defence of equality between men and women, in work and life, and in the battle against the criminalisation of women in the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy. In the great political battle that continues for Portugal's right to produce and in defence of national production and for employment. In the struggle for regional and local development and for a country that is territorially balanced. In the many and multiple struggles that we have fought all over the country for the materialisation of the population's right to healthcare, education, housing, culture and mobility and the right to live in a healthy environment.

In Portugal there is no step forward, achievement, progress that has not counted on the ideas, the effort, the struggle of the communists, of the Portuguese Communist Party.

The Party that in these difficult years of the 21st century of great constraints and conditionings, of increasing usurpation of instruments of sovereignty and the forced application of the Euro to serve other economies than the Portuguese, has always placed itself on the right side of defending the interests of the workers, of the people and the development of the country, facing like no other all the forces of the right-wing policies and the action of their governments.

So it was in the fight against the forced march of the SGPs by the hand of the PS and later the Pact of Aggression, executed by PSD and CDS.

A long period of policies of worsening exploitation, impoverishment and ruin of the country that its protagonists today try to make us forget.

It was with the decisive intervention of this Portuguese Communist Party that today is 100 years old and with the struggle of the workers and people that this brutal onslaught was stopped, the government that led it defeated and the conditions were created to set in motion, in anchanged correlation of forces and with the decisive initiative and proposal of the PCP, a phase of defence, restoration and achievement of rights, overcoming the always present resistance of a PS that maintains, essentially, the fundamental options of right-wing policy.

Years marked, however, by a contradictory framework in the evolution of national life. A framework where the advances in the restoration of rights and incomes that the struggle imposed and the initiative of the PCP gave institutional expression are opposed to the paralysing political options of a government that does nothing to break the domination of monopoly capital over the life of the country and with the external impositions that prevent the solution of the great national problems.

Problems that are the accumulated result of decades of right-wing policies of the governments of the PS, PSD and CDS and evidence of the failure and the impossibility of, with such a policy, providing a solution to the country's problems.

The result is well-known and serious. Deep structural deficits that have been accumulating and are at the root of the high external dependence that the country has. From the outset, a large productive deficit. Insufficient economic growth. A high foreign debt and a public debt service that depletes the country, to which we have to add the outflow of billions in dividends from the economy delivered to foreign capital. A degraded social situation with large strata of impoverished workers, with the imposition and subsistence of a model of low wages, retirement and pensions, due to a growing precariousness of labour relations and the maintenance of high levels of unemployment. Persistence of deep territorial imbalances and serious environmental problems. A worrying deterioration of public services.

Many of these problems are today worsened by the epidemic and by the use that big capital makes of it, to serve its immediate interests of accumulation and maximisation of profit, deepening exploitation and inequalities with rising unemployment, wage cuts, but also with the compulsory termination of activities, amplifying social problems that affect, in particular workers, children, youth and various strata of the population.

Life has already shown that the solution to the country's serious problems is not found by applying touches to the same failed model that led the country to setback and backwardness.

There is a need for a different policy in rupture with the core issues of the right-wing policy that PS, PSD and CDS governments have pursued for years and that the current PS government has not abandoned, making the necessary responses to the solution of the country's problems unviable.

A situation that the more reactionary political forces instrumentalize in an attempt to whitewash their responsibilities and relaunch their backward and anti-democratic project to destroy the realities that remain from April and impose a brutal setback on the lives of the Portuguese.

It is this project that the reactionary forces have in mind, as stands out from the PSD and CDS revanchist action and of their surrogates Chega and Iniciativa Liberal, the new spearheads of big capital that puts haste and pressure in the implementation of this old project.

A project aimed at the subversion of the Constitution of the Republic and the amendment of the electoral laws that the PSD already prepares, to create artificial electoral majorities, while exploring all the excuses for the creation of a social breeding ground for a widespread suspicion about politics and the democratic regime itself, foster irrational fears, racist, xenophobic and homophobic tensions and a supposed crusade against corruption that hides its causes and absolves the real corrupts.

Yes, the PS has not essentially changed and PSD and CDS and their surrogates want a return to a past that the people condemned!


We are celebrating 100 years, here we are and here we remain, projecting our action into the future, ready and determined to continue the struggle at the service of the people and the country.

We are not a force to support the PS, nor an instrument at the service of the reactionary projects of the PSD, CDS and their surrogates.

We are the force of the patriotic and left-wing alternative that struggles for its materialisation!

An alternative whose materialisation is the great battle of the present time.

The force that knows that the solution to national problems will not come from outside, nor will it be offered and conducted by third parties from abroad, brandishing the carrot of millions!

Yes, as in the past, the solution will never come from outside, let alone come from a neoliberal, militaristic and federalist European Union at the service of monopolistic and transnational interests.

The much cherished liberation from fascism in the 1950s did not come through the action of the great powers that claimed to be strongholds of democracy, rather they gave a new impetus to the dictatorship, with its acceptance in NATO!

The solution did not come with an exuberant development, given as acquired with accession to the EEC, but rather brought the destruction of a significant part of the national economy and production and of important sectors and strategic companies, handed abroad at a bargain price and with the country poorer and more dependent.

The solution did not come when the country was trumpeted as riding at the front pack with Maastricht and joining the Euro, but rather found itself for years running in this 21st century, dragging itself painfully with sluggish economic growths, deepening social and regional inequalities and worsening all national problems.

The solution did not come, but was a greater disgrace for the country, when the European Union, IMF and ECB were directly involved in the day to day government action.

The solution will not come with today's proclaimed Recovery and Resilience Plans, largely dictated and shaped by objectives imposed from abroad and to serve the great monopolistic interests of the digital, the so-called green economy, relegating the solution of the real national problems.

We are a Party that rejects positions of isolationism and fights reactionary nationalism, but that knows, from its own experience, that the solution to the country's problems can only be the work of the Portuguese people themselves and with a political programme centred on the solution of the real national problems!

We are here and throughout the country on this day of particular significance to reaffirm that the PCP has solutions to fully respond to the rights and aspirations of the Portuguese workers and people and affirming the imperative need for the implementation of a patriotic and left-wing policy, which requires a government capable of materialising it!

A true alternative that has the PCP as an indispensable force for its construction.

An alternative that calls for a broad social and mass front for its implementation convinced that it is possible to defeat right-wing policy.

It calls for the convergence of democrats and patriots, of all those who cannot settle for a country reduced to a simple region of the European Union, increasingly dependent and peripheral.

It calls for the intensification and broadening of the struggle, of all struggles, small and large, of the working class, of the workers, the strengthening of their organisations and unity, around its great trade union central, the CGTP-IN, as well as of all the anti-monopoly strata, the decisive question to speed the moment of its materialisation!

We celebrate 100 years of our Party's life and struggle and here we are and determined to affirm that the Portuguese Communist Party is the bearer of a project for the future. An alternative project, ensuring that Portugal is not doomed to backwardness and dependency!

A project, embodied in its Programme, aiming at the implementation of an Advanced Democracy, linked to the values of April, to respond to the concrete needs of Portuguese society in the current historical stage.

An Advanced Democracy that in its four aspects - political, economic, social and cultural - is an integral part of the struggle for socialism and its implementation is equally inseparable from the materialisation of a patriotic and left-wing policy for which we struggle today to ensure a turn towards a future of progress for our people.

A patriotic and left-wing policy to free the country from submission to the interests of big capital, to the Euro and to the impositions and constraints of the European Union;

A patriotic and left-wing policy for the recovery to the country of what belongs to the country - its resources, its strategic sectors, its inalienable right to development and job creation - that ensures the right to healthcare, education, culture , housing, social protection, transport;

A patriotic and left-wing policy that necessarily involves making Portugal produce, with more agriculture, more fisheries, more industry, creating more wealth and distributing it better, supporting micro, small and medium-sized companies;

A patriotic and left-wing policy of valorisation of work and workers, their wages assumed as a national emergency and the individual and collective rights of the retirees and pensioners, guaranteeing the necessary social support.

A patriotic and left-wing policy to embody a fair fiscal policy, move forward with an ambitious programme of public investment and funding of services, inscribing an investment programme in Healthcare as an absolute priority, giving a new course to Justice and a firm fight against corruption.

Yes, the PCP has a project for the future for Portugal. For a Portugal that wants to be free and sovereign.

A Portugal with a State to respond to the interests and needs of the people and the country and in opposition to the conception of the State as an instrument of capital to perpetuate exploitation and inequalities.

A democratic Portugal based on respect for rights and freedoms, and in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic.


Profound changes have taken place in the world in these 100 years. A lot has changed and many things also, but the exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature of the capitalist system has not changed, but rather these traits have refined with new and more complex processes of exploitation of labour and planetary predation have been enhanced in its course until today, that have deepened with the processes of capitalist globalisation and finantialization of the economy.

Processes that thrive and affirm themselves on the political level in the shadow of strategic cooperation between the most reactionary and conservative forces and social democracy.

Refinement that these early times of the century we live in have revealed.

We saw this in this century with the worsening of the structural crisis and the cyclical crisis of the capitalist system, unleashed in 2007/2008 with the transfer of the heavy burden of its consequences on workers, at the same time that colossal resources were offered to big capital, particularly to rescue the financial system and that Portugal paid and continues to pay dearly.

We see this when we look at the reality of capitalism in the world with its trail of unemployment, precariousness and poverty, economic destruction and social setback, attack on social and labour rights, predation of natural resources and the dramatic trail of death and destruction in entire countries. As a result of its aggressive action, because war appears more and more as the answer to the crisis in which it is plunged.

We see this in the current pandemic situation and in the inhumane character as it faced the epidemic, namely in the response that was lacking and lacks in the sanitary and clinical fields in many important capitalist countries and dramatically visible in the main capitalist power - the USA.
Today, here and all over the country at the same time, we started all the acts of celebration of the Centenary of the Portuguese Communist Party, singing “The Internationale”, the Party anthem that is a stimulus to our struggle, by singing it in unison affirming our ideal, our dimension as an internationalist Party, which bears as its own the causes of the liberation and emancipation of the workers and peoples from all over the world.


A way to express and also convey our sincere thanks to all the communist parties and other progressive forces around the world who sent us messages of their friendship and solidarity, saluting the 100 years of the PCP.

Today and here, we say to all of them that the PCP reaffirms its internationalist duties and that they can count on the solidarity of the Portuguese communists with their struggles against the interference and aggression of imperialism, against the exploitation and oppression of capitalism, and to uphold peace, sovereignty, freedom, democracy, justice and social progress, for the cause of the emancipation of the workers and peoples from all over the world.

The revolutionary overcoming of capitalism with the construction of socialism is assumed, through different paths and stages, as a goal of the struggle of the workers and peoples and as a solution for the problems of humanity.

In an effort to delay the emergence of the alternative and prolong its existence, the ideologists of the capitalist system repeat and repeat the thesis of the incompatibility between democracy and communism. Between democracy and socialism.

They can repeat it a thousand times but the 100 years of life of this Portuguese Communist Party show the opposite.

There is no political force that has more consequently fought for freedom and for the implantation of democracy and in its defence than the Portuguese Communist Party.

But it is not only the past that speaks for Portuguese communists, it is the political project of the PCP for all phases of the development process of Portuguese society.

At present, those who look carefully and without prejudice will also see that there is no political force that is more committed to ensuring the rights, freedoms and democratic guarantees and their exercise in companies, in the right to demonstrate and to strike, in the right to protest, in demanding and defending the regular functioning of institutions, against attempts to lock them down under the pretext of the epidemic.

Yes, we fight for socialism and it is inseparable from the fight for democracy! Socialism needs democracy, the conscious participation of workers and people in order to assert itself, develop and consolidate itself as a form of superior organisation of the life of a people that it is.

Socialism, this new society that we aspire to build, where the following are expressed as fundamental objectives, among others: the abolition of the exploitation of man by man, the liberation of workers from all types of exploitation and oppression, full employment, the materialisation of a developed economy and at the service of all with the socialization of the main means of production, within a framework of diversified economic backgrounds, the constant increase in the material and spiritual well-being of the people in general; full access to education, the progress of science, technology and art; the disappearance of discrimination, inequality, injustice, the materialisation of a life of equal rights for men and women, the insertion of youth in the life of the country, as a dynamic and creative social force and respect for the human person and for nature.

At the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century, here we are. We are the Portuguese Communist Party. A Communist Party worthy of the name!

The Party that remains determined in the affirmation of its communist identity, whose reinforcement we build day by day, deepening the connection with the workers and the People!

It was and is worth looking to the future with confidence, determination and hope, because we pursue the noble ideal of the emancipation of the workers and peoples, because we want a better life, because we want a developed, progressive, independent Portugal, where the people decide.

A Party that is the party of youth, because it has always had a deep identification with the dreams and aspirations of young people, inseparable from their ideal of freedom, justice, peace, solidarity and fraternity.

A Party of the youth because it has always counted on the valuable work of the organisations of young communists, whose legitimate heir is the Portuguese Communist Youth that we salute from here!

Just as we salute the Portuguese women, when on March 8 we celebrate International Women's Day, reaffirming the everlasting commitment to the fight for their emancipation, appealing to the participation and dynamization of the ongoing initiatives for equality and women's rights.

Long ago we proved that victories do not make us rest and defeats do not make us surrender. We communists know: it is worth fighting for. We know that the future does not happen, it is built and conquered!

Life in these 100 years proves that the PCP is an indispensable and irreplaceable necessity for the workers, the people and the country.

With the experience and the value of its past and its vigorous present action, the PCP is also the great party of the future.

The struggle goes on and will go on, certain that the future has a Party!

Long live the Portuguese Communist Party!