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Resolution of the National Bureau of Left Bloc

Political resolution adopted by the National Bureau of the Left Bloc at its meeting on 16 March 2024.
Mariana Mortágua
Mariana Mortágua, Left Bloc coordinator

On the post-election political framework

1. The parties that have been in government for the last fifty years have reached an historic low in these elections. It is a process of erosion, not very linear but of long duration, the result of alternation without a real alternative in the context of European governance.

2. The radicalization of the right, identified a long time ago, is accelerated by the result of Chega, which managed to mobilize new voters, young people and habitual abstainers.

3. This radicalization can also be seen in the programme and discourse of AD and IL. This bloc has an unsolid border with the far right and is shifting its discourse towards an increasingly aggressive liberalism that even takes on far-right topics such as migration or social support, among others.

4. Racism and ultra-conservatism are hallmarks of an international reconfiguration of the right that aims to respond to capitalist stagnation through a new authoritarian program and the expansion of extractivism, the commodification of society and the protection of large and small rentiers. These processes combine support from the economic elite, religious organizations and various geopolitical interests.

5. In Portugal, this project recovers old narratives (the glorification of the colonial past,  Islamophobia and gypsophobia, misogynistic fear of equality) and new discontents (desertification and abandonment by public services), particularly among young people who resent the fact that individual autonomy is inaccessible (housing crisis, low wages, forced emigration).

António Costa's legacy: the biggest shift to the right in democratic history

6. Given the advanced state of degradation of the PS's absolute majority, the determining factor in bringing forward the elections was the judicial process Operation Influencer, which, despite being poorly explained to date, defined the political environment.

7. The centerpiece of the PS's electoral discourse was the defense of "António Costa's legacy", without a trace of self-criticism about the failures of the years 2019-2024 in the response to inflation and the housing and public services debacle.

8. By insisting on keeping this approach towards its absolute majority governance, PS took away the credibility from the hypothesis of a new political majority, defended by all the parties to the left of the PS, to ward off the right and respond to the failures of recent years. In this way, the PS campaign facilitated the shift to the right, which is the biggest in the history of Portuguese democracy.

9. In this adverse context, the Left Bloc was able to maintain its parliamentary representation and even increase its vote by 35,000 votes. The Left Bloc's resilience is due to its clarity in three essential aspects: i) the clarity of the contents of a governance for public services, social rights, work and incomes; ii) the clash with the economic power, denouncing the tax counter-reform of the right and confronting the rentiers, real estate and all the inflation beneficiaries (banking, hypermarkets, energy), who incidentally exposed their hostility to the Left Bloc; and finally, iii) the confrontation with the extreme right, creating the only serious difficulty it faced in the entire campaign - explaining the millionaire origins of its funding.

The left's response is perseverance, unity, struggle and an alternative

10. Perseverance, in the sense of not succumbing to pressure from the right, admitting the corrosion of the left's historic program, whether in the fight for migrant rights, against racism and xenophobia, or by confronting conservatism in the name of human rights.

11. Unity, as a real effort to take the common action of all the sectors opposing the right-wing offensive as far as possible. The first moment of this unitary response should already take place in the popular celebrations of the 25th of April, where all the democratic force, all the people, collectives and movements should be present. The massive expression of commitment to a project of a country based on democracy and social justice is the best counterpoint to those who believe that these elections have buried the 25th of April and ushered in a new era in which only the authoritarian and liberal versions of the same commercialized and unequal society would clash.

12. Struggle, because the depth of the contradictions tearing Portuguese society apart will keep open a series of conflicts in which the left has a decisive role to play under the new circumstances. On the labour front, in the causes of housing or climate justice, in the defence of the NHS, in the affirmation of feminism and LGBTQI+ rights, in the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination, there will be struggles in response to the measures of the right-wing government, as well as mobilizations to isolate the agenda of the extreme right, or even explosions in face of the social impasses that the new government has no intention of overcoming.

13. Alternative, because only with the ecological planning of the economy and true equality policies, only with a socialist program for the transformation of the country, will the project of democracy and social rights that the 25th of April inscribed in the Constitution be fulfilled.

14. The National Bureau underlines the committed mobilization of the Left Bloc's militants throughout the country, who led a highly visible election campaign on the streets and always turned out in large numbers for multiple initiatives. Over the next two weeks, district assemblies will be held to discuss the outcome of the elections and prepare for the European elections.

15. In the weeks of the electoral campaign and the week after the elections, applications to join the Bloc were received at an unprecedented rate in the party's history, more than 1,500 in less than a month. The debate on the electoral outcome should also be the moment to welcome the people who are now joining the Left Bloc. Alongside this debate, moments to introduce the party, its structures and the various possibilities for activism open to each person who joins should also be organized.

European elections

Scheduled for June 9, the European elections are a decisive moment for political clarification in Portugal and to explain the Europe we want. The Left Bloc is already engaged in preparing its candidacy and debating its program for the European elections, which will be approved by the National Bureau on April 6.

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