The general strike on November 24 called by the CGT and UGT was an important decision for the Portuguese working class. Building a strong general strike, as from the mobilization and organization in our workplaces is a major task for all activists in the days that precede it.
However, it is important to be aware of the fact that the strike alone will not be able to prevent the new Stability and Growth Plan (PEC 3), configured in the State Budget for 2011, from being applied. The general strike must be seen as a first step – an important and decisive one – in the fight against PEC 3. Nevertheless, it cannot be the only one.
The general strike cannot be the only step because the enemies of the workers are many – big businessmen, bankers, government PS / Socrates, PSD / Passos Coelho, European Commission and the IMF – and are determined to wipe out all the social benefits we still have: school and public health, Social Security, aid to the needy, state enterprises, etc… To defeat the austerity plans, it is necessary that our struggle forms are increasingly effective and stronger – with demonstrations of millions on the streets as in France. We must go on a new general strike, and even an indefinite general strike, to compel the government, be it the PS or the PSD, to withdraw or resign, in case they do not meet our demands.
In our struggle plan, we must not forget the important fact that we are not alone. Just as the European bourgeoisie is united to defeat us in this real social war, we rely on our allies, the working class and peoples of Europe. Like us they are also facing this war in their countries. We must plan united actions together with them, e.g. an European general strike against the PECs. It is only by overcoming the national boundaries and by internationalizing our struggle that we will actually be victorious.
Other important battlefront is connected with the achieving of the population awareness. The government and the bourgeoisie, through its media, did a massive campaign to convince the population that the cuts in wages, social support, health and education, and higher taxes foreseen in the PECs are inevitable. That is, they tried to convince people that sacrifices are needed in order to end the crisis. We have to carry on a huge counter campaign to show that all this is just a big lie.
While the government and the bourgeoisie steal our wages, jobs, health and education, the banks continue to increase their profits by speculating on the country’s public debt. The four major Portuguese banks increased their profits in 2010: per day, each bank has gained 4 million Euros. That’s not all: – in spite of terrorism of the government and the bourgeoisie stating that if the State Budget was not approved Portugal would bankrupt, that the interest would not lower and that IMF would come to Portugal – the reality is that even after the agreement with the PSD to make the State Budget feasible, interest rates continue to climb – and debt, therefore, continues to increase. In addition, the truth is that the IMF does not need to come to Portugal because the government is implementing an identical recipe that would be prescribed by the IMF.
We will not pay for the crisis of capitalism. We will fight for the rich to do it! Let us go all together to the November 6 Manifestation – Civil Service. Let us go all together to the November 17 Manifestation – Students. Let us go all together to the November 20 Manifestation against NATO and build a strong general strike. The first one of a struggle calendar in order to defeat – not just protest against – the PEC 3.