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One force, many struggles

Summary of the political resolution adopted by the National Convention of the Left Bloc at its meeting on 27 and 28 May 2023.
Photo: Ana Mendes

The absolute majority of the Socialist Party (PS) is a fast-wearing government that maintains privileges and opacity while it aggravates inequality and the impoverishment of the people. The risks of the world situation impose systemic ruptures and policies to guarantee and stabilise living conditions. The solution to this apparent paradox is built, throughout Europe, on the proposal of the left and the linking of struggles.

I.    A Good Life for All

1.    A good life for all people, without exception: this is the aspiration that drives us. A comfortable home, work with rights, quality public services, time to enjoy life on a habitable planet, access to culture, individual and collective well-being: living well requires material conditions for a dignified existence and is more than that. It is self-determination about what we want to be, it is freedom and respect for our choices. It is care and interdependence. It is the security of the future, of salary and pension. It is the peace of a place in the world that does not depend on competition against others or the tyranny of the market. It is the sharing of common goods and democracy that decides the essence of socialism. 49 years after April 25, we reaffirm our determination to update and expand this greater project of freedom, in all spheres.

II. The business of the crisis

2.    None of the radical dangers besetting humanity is of natural origin.

3.    In the post-financial crisis, the recovery of the rates of return on capital has been achieved through access to cheap money, granted by central banks, which has fuelled new speculative bubbles. This destructive dynamic cannot be corrected without limiting speculation, protecting rent and limiting rents, deglobalising financial flows, closing off offshores, imposing public control of banks and strict rules against property speculation.

4.    The climate crisis is the result of a conscious choice made decades ago in favour of energy production, transport and consumption models, deforestation and intensive livestock farming, which caused irreversible climate change.

5.    The nuclear risk is exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, which is the result of an attack by Russian expansionism with the declared aim of re-establishing the borders of the tsarist empire and nullifying the independence of that country.

6.    The war has become the pretext for reinforcing the militarisation of Europe under NATO command, while witnessing the proliferation of governments with an ultra-nationalist imperialist profile in various regional powers.

7.    The pandemic risk persists, linked to human action, whether at source (deforestation or intensive production of animal protein) or in the delay in the sanitary control (vaccines under private ownership).

III. For a turning point in Europe

8.    The European Union is confronted with the limits imposed by its treaties, for the militarist clinging to Washington and for the abandonment of the Paris goals. It is necessary to build the foundations of another Europe, which replaces the current treaties by policies of effective cooperation, free from the blackmail of sovereign debts, which must be restructured.

9.    This European impasse is also the stage for a dispute between the extreme right and centre-right liberalism. With rare exceptions, the balance of power has degraded against the left.

10.    The existence of a US global hegemony does not alter the imperialist nature of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, which Left Bloc (Bloco de Esquerda) has clearly condemned.

11.    The misunderstanding of the imperialist nature of the oligarchic Russia has biased the politics of many sections of the left. The fact that the USA takes China as the main enemy for its economic and military power does not make defensible this militarised one-party regime which projects itself in economic ambition over several continents.

12.    The EU must implement non-aggression treaties between European states, creating a policy of security and cooperation that respects and supports the realisation of the right of all peoples to self-determination.

13.    The Left Bloc reiterates its call for the holding of a peace conference for Ukraine, under the impulse of the UN and the European Union, accompanied by a complete halt to the current arms race, in particular nuclear threats.

IV. Europe under threat from the radicalised right

14.    Under more individualistic or more authoritarian formulas, we are witnessing a liberal acceleration. To increase the privileges of the elite that it defends, the radicalised right is calling for an assault conservatism - racist, xenophobic, anti-feminist, anti-LGBTQI+ and anti-union.

15.    Putschism is part of this political culture. The Trump/Bolsonaro model has seen resounding failures in the use of violence but also historic successes in the instrumentalisation of judicial power. The traditional right accepts being its vehicle for positions of power.

16.    For the Left Bloc, the defeat of the radicalised right depends on the affirmation of a programme that responds to the social majority with transformative policies and ecological planning. Without prejudice to the importance of unitary action, our strategic response is based on confronting the logic of capital accumulation. 

17.    The liberal centre, subjugated to the European law of the market, claims to recognise the problems of our times, from housing to climate, but cannot respond to them within its self-imposed borders. Against racism and discrimination, the left fights for democracy and seeks unity with those who resist the culture of hatred of the radicalising right.

V. The strongest opposition will be the one which affirms an alternative

18.    The government's foundation in economic power is still protected. In exchange for a fiscal counter-reform and the naturalisation of the real decrease of wages, the employers offered the government a slogan: the social concertation agreement. Banks and large food distribution chains continue to inflate prices; energy entrepreneurs welcomed the promotion of the secretary of state who protected them the most. Since 2019, prime minister Costa makes the blocking of essential aspects of labour legislation a point of honour. Along with the abandonment of health, this blocking has prevented understandings on the left. The actual absolute majority allows the largest transfer of income from labour to capital since the beginning of the century.

19.    The PS found in the growth of Chega the electoral formula to try to save its absolute majority. The commitment of the prime minister and the PS to promote parliamentary polarisation with Chega aims to fragment the space of the right and frighten the electorate of the left.

VI. Combats of Hope

20.    Vast sectors of the working class remain distanced from union participation and collective bargaining. The rate of unionization is low and declining, in a context where precariousness, degradation of laws and power relations and the exhaustion of sectarian closed models of union action combine.

21.    The Left Bloc affirms the social centrality of the capital/labour contradiction and translates this recognition into priority for the labour organisation of the most precarious sectors, for the struggle against the impunity experienced in day-to-day labour relations and for a structural reform of labour relations and the legislation that frames them.

22.    Part of the working class, the immigrant and racialised population faces increased obstacles, being treated either as a "problem" to be solved or as a contingent of cheap labour to be managed according to economic cycles. The Left Bloc advocates closer ties between all segments of the working class. Large demonstrations by immigrants and anti-racism protests have marked national politics in recent years.

23.    The subjugation of housing to the logics of the liberalised market denies part of the population access to a decent home. Growing social mobilisation defends the right to housing as a common good protected by the Constitution.

24.    The international movement for climate justice is mobilizing to respond to the urgency created by the approach of a point of no return. The Left Bloc supports and participates in the struggles for climate justice.

25.    The Left Bloc is committed to the struggles in defence of animal welfare, which today involve thousands of people throughout the country in a critique whose ethical foundations concern individual behaviour but also the production model, namely food production.

26.    Threatened with disruption, public services have their first line of defence in the struggle of their professionals. The Left Bloc is committed to raising the struggle for public services through transversal popular mobilisations.

27.    A project of well-being and social emancipation also includes reorganising and expanding public services. The Left Bloc is on the side of people with disabilities, for their right to an independent life, which breaks with the paradigm of welfarism and institutionalisation. We reaffirm the proposal of a National Care Service.

28.    The extreme right expresses a social conformation inherited from colonialism and dictatorship. Today's anti-racism and the struggle against the far right are also combined. We strengthen ideological dispute and mass resistance.

29.    Politics is not defined by artificial electoral calculations, but requires reflection, a clear programme and mass struggle. We learn from various international experiences - the NUPES in France, the political-union resistance in the United Kingdom, the Irish Republican Left, the “Frente Povo Sem Medo” in Brazil.

VII. Party Organisation

30.    The Convention debate will welcome the comrades who will participate in it for the first time. The continued growth of the Left Bloc is the proof of its vitality and the need for a reliable left.

31.    The Left Bloc has strengthened its organised activity on some fronts. It stands out, in the post-pandemic, the labour front and also the LGBTQI+ front.

32.    The reduction of public funding following the 2022 election results imposed a demanding adaptation of the party´s structure. The strengthening of the party's self-financing is a change of internal culture that must deepen.

33.    Most of the memberships received since the last Convention come from young people. The Left Bloc will strengthen initiatives aimed at youth.

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