Portuguese Communist Party

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Portuguese Communist Party

Partido Comunista Português
LeaderCentral Committee (collective leadership)
General SecretaryPaulo Raimundo
Youth wingPortuguese Communist Youth (Portuguese: Juventude Comunista Portuguesa or JCP)
Membership49 960
Political orientationMarxism-Leninism
International affiliationInternational Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties (IMCWP)
AnthemThe Internationale
YouTube channelhttps://www.youtube.com/@pcppt

The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) is a communist party in Portugal founded in 1921.[1] It is one of the oldest Portuguese political party with uninterrupted existence.


In September 1919, it was founded by revolutionary trade-unionists from the most radical sectors of the labor movement the Federação Maximalista Portuguesa[2]. The worsening of living conditions boosted the expansion and radicalization of the social movement, and in the same year, the General Confederation of Labor (Portuguese: Confederação Geral do Trabalho, or CGT) was formed.

The Portuguese Communist party was founded on March 6, 1921, influenced by the October Revolution. On November 12, 1923, the first Party Congress took place in Lisbon. From its founding up until 2004, the Portuguese Communist Party had 17 congresses in total.[3]


I Congress (1923)

The 1st Congress of the PCP took place on the 10th, 11th and 12th of November 1923, in Lisbon. Around 90 delegates, representing 27 organizations, participated. José Carlos Rates, Secretary General, presented the report of the Executive Committee.

Theses were prepared for the Congress, previously published in "O Comunista" and discussed in the organizations. The Congress discussed and approved a resolution on the organization of the Party and its Statutes, the Program of Action and a Resolution on the Agrarian Question. This last issue is debated at length by Congress.

After a broad survey of the problems relating to agricultural property, Congress advances the claim that "the peasant owns the land that he can make fruitful with his arm". The working conditions of agricultural workers were also debated, and the following motion was approved: «As the law of 8 hours of work for the working class is currently in force and rural workers are also wage earners, we propose that a claim be made immediately to the bourgeois government compliance with this law for rural people» .

The danger of fascism is already pointed out by the delegates; its causes are analysed, the need for working class unity is underlined as an indispensable condition for fascism to be defeated.

Congress also denounces the repression launched by the republican government against worker and union militants. The delegates listen to the reading of greetings from imprisoned communist and union activists, and express their solidarity with them.

The 1st Congress of the PCP, which was attended by a representative of the Communist International (to whose principles the Congress declared its adherence), ended its work with cheers to the PCP, the Communist International, the Red Trade Union International, the workers, the peasants, to the workers of the whole world, to the Portuguese working class, to the workers' united front and to the proletarian revolution.

II Congress (1924)

At the beginning of 1924, the PCP, defending the need for a solid unity of action by the workers in the face of the danger that was advancing, tried to establish with the CGT a front of union unity against fascism. A meeting is even held for that purpose, but the attempt fails due to the anti-communist positions of the anarcho-syndicalists, who dominate the CGT.

In 1925 the Party participated in parliamentary elections forming a bloc with the so-called left-wing democratic forces.

But the unity of the working class around a revolutionary banner remains an aspiration. It is within this framework that the II Congress of the PCP takes place.

The II Congress of the PCP is convened for May 29, 1926, in Lisbon.

More than 100 delegates attend. But Congress decides to interrupt its work, because, meanwhile, on the 28th, the reaction takes the military coup and establishes the dictatorship.

The coup d'état and the establishment of the fascist dictatorship took place at a time when the PCP, given the weakness of its organization and its staff, its still reduced influence, was not in a position to organize resistance. The repression of the communists begins. In 1927, the headquarters of the PCP was definitively closed, followed by its illegalization.

III Congress (1943)

Held victoriously from the 10th to the 13th of November 1943, at a time when the Nazi armies still dominated Europe and the Salazarist dictatorship suffocated the country with extreme methods of deprivation of liberty, the III Congress (1st Illegal) marked the great turning point in history of the Party, which opened a new phase of its activity and made it a great national party.

Congress studied the main lessons of the great struggles of 1942 and 1943, took decisive measures for anti-fascist national unity, namely with the creation of the National Council of Anti-fascist Unity, and pointed to the armed national uprising as a way to overthrow fascism.

Despite the ferocious onslaught of repression and the hard blows it suffered, the PCP managed to guarantee the stability and continuity of its leadership work from this Congress, which constituted one of the sources of its successes, its capacity and political experience, its performance and orientation.

With this Congress, the Party also affirmed the principle, since then rigorously fulfilled, of guaranteeing, even with the limitations and difficulties imposed by clandestinity, the maximum respect for democratic methods in its internal life. When announcing the holding of the Congress, Avante! could rightly say: «At the First Congress it was demonstrated that the Communist Party is already today the true vanguard of the working class, of the hardworking people, it is already today a great Portuguese political force.» At the III Congress, Álvaro Cunhal, José Gregório, Manuel Guedes, Pires Jorge, Sérgio Vilarigues, Alfredo Dinis, Dias Lourenço, among others, were elected to the Central Committee of the Party.

The Secretariat of the Central Committee is made up of Álvaro Cunhal, José Gregório and Manuel Guedes.

IV Congress (1946)

The IV Congress (2nd Illegal) of the PCP took place in July 1946, at a time of great rise in the struggles of the working class and the working masses, of great progress in the development of organizations and unitary struggles. The Party organization grows rapidly.

In the period between the III and IV Congresses (less than three years), the number of communist militants increased six times, and the number of local organizations five times. The number of business organizations has increased. The edition of Avante! quadrupled.

At the IV Congress, the PCP defines the fundamental lines of the way for the overthrow of fascism. It gives political expression to the rich experience of the struggles of this period and makes a consistent analysis of the national political situation. It points to the uprising of the Portuguese nation against the fascist dictatorship as the way forward for the defense of national interests. With this Congress, the PCP reaffirms its policy of anti-fascist national unity.

At the IV Congress, the Party also defines the organic principles of democratic centralism, which guide its organization and form the basis of its Statutes. Following this Congress, and marking the great steps taken in leadership and organisation, several important meetings of the Central Committee of the Party were held in the following years, consolidating their collective work.

At the IV Congress, the following were elected to the Central Committee of the PCP, among others: Álvaro Cunhal, José Gregório, Manuel Guedes, Militão Ribeiro, Pires Jorge, Sérgio Vilarigues, Dias Lourenço, Júlio Fogaça, Francisco Miguel, Manuel Rodrigues da Silva.

The CC Secretariat is formed by Álvaro Cunhal, José Gregório, Manuel Guedes, Militão Ribeiro.

V Congress (1957)

The V Congress of the PCP took place in September 1957, after the difficult period that, with the cold war, Portugal's entry into NATO and the division of democratic forces, had allowed the fascist regime, after the aftershocks suffered in the post-war period, temporarily recover, concentrate its repressive violence against the PCP and restrict the Opposition's field of action.

Outstanding PCP leaders and militants, such as Álvaro Cunhal, were under arrest; others, like Militão Ribeiro, had been assassinated. The V Congress approved an orientation on the strategy and tactics for the overthrow of fascism, translating a deviation to the right, which would later be corrected after a broad debate in the Party in the years 1960-61.

The historic merit of the V Congress was to have discussed the colonial problem within the framework of the new international situation, taking a public position for the recognition of the right of the peoples of the Portuguese colonies to immediate independence. The V Congress of the PCP also took a new step towards the normalization of party life, with the approval of the first Statutes and Program of the Party.

It was also the first congress at which the PCP received greetings from other parties, reflecting the success of the efforts made to develop relations with the international communist movement. The V Congress expressed the vitality, strength and broad influence of the PCP.

Shortly after its completion, the Portuguese people fought one of their greatest battles against the fascist dictatorship, with the candidacy of General Humberto Delgado in the electoral farce of 1958.

The V Congress elected to the Central Committee, among others, Sérgio Vilarigues, Jorge Pires, Octávio Pato, Júlio Fogaça, Jaime Serra, Dias Lourenço, José Gregório, Pedro Soares, Joaquim Gomes, Blanqui Teixeira, Georgette Ferreira, Sofia Ferreira, Maria Alda Nogueira , Afonso Gregório, Manuel da Silva, Américo de Sousa, Gui Lourenço.

The Secretariat was made up of Sérgio Vilarigues, Pires Jorge, Octávio Pato and Júlio Fogaça.

VI Congress (1965)

The VI Congress of the PCP, the last one held underground in September 1965, had a decisive influence on the Portuguese revolution.

The orientation outlined in the VI Congress for the development of the popular struggle and for the reinforcement of the unity of the working class, of the working masses, of all the anti-fascist forces, was at the base of the great waves of struggles that shook the last years of fascism, and prepared its overthrow.

No less important was the perspective given to the Party's tactics and the action of the popular masses with the definition of the path to the overthrow of fascism: "Fascism remains in power by force, only by force can it be defeated."

Historically significant for the Portuguese revolution was the Program for the Democratic and National Revolution, approved at the VI Congress. Based on a profound analysis of Portuguese realities, their economic, social and political characteristics, the influence of external factors, the Program defined the essential objectives of the Portuguese Revolution. He demonstrated that it was not enough to defeat the fascist government and establish freedoms for Portuguese democracy to become viable. Taking into account the nature of the fascist regime – a terrorist dictatorship of the monopolists, associated with foreign imperialism, and of the landowners – the PCP Program indicated that it was indispensable to liquidate not only the political power but also the economic power of the monopolies and landlords, to put an end not only to colonial wars but also to colonialism, to change not only the political regime but also to destroy the support bases of reaction and fascism.

To achieve these objectives, the PCP Program defended the conquest of power by a vast alliance of Portuguese social forces, encompassing the proletariat (industrial workers and rural wage earners), the peasantry (small and medium-sized farmers), employees, intellectuals, the urban petty bourgeoisie and sectors of the middle bourgeoisie.

The anti-monopoly, anti-latifundist and anti-imperialist character of the Portuguese Revolution marked all of the PCP's action in the struggle for the liquidation of the fascist dictatorship and for the conquest of a democratic Portugal.

The VI Congress elected to the Central Committee, among others, Álvaro Cunhal, Sérgio Vilarigues, Octávio Pato, Joaquim Gomes, Pires Jorge, Dias Lourenço, Carlos Costa, Jaime Serra, Blanqui Teixeira, Pedro Soares, Francisco Miguel, Sofia Ferreira, Georgette Ferreira , Alda Nogueira, Angelo Veloso, Alexandre Castanheira.

VII Congress (1974)

The VII (extraordinary) Congress of the PCP takes place on October 20, 1974, under the new conditions created by the 25th of April, in which the PCP quickly transforms itself from a strong clandestine party of cadres into a great mass party. On October 7, 1974, around 30,000 communists were registered with the PCP, a number that rose to 100,000 seven months later. The number of Party organizations also rose rapidly, reaching 6,000 in May 1975.

In the first months of the revolution, the PCP carried out a gigantic work of clarification and mobilization. Thousands of communists are elected to the governing bodies of the popular movement, they are entrusted by the people with important posts in the administrative apparatus and on all fronts of the struggle for freedom. Communists participate in provisional governments.

The working class and vast sectors of our people see the PCP as the firmest defender of their interests, the most faithful interpreter of their aspirations. In this context, the main objective of the VII Congress was to draw up an overview of the struggle of the Portuguese people for the overthrow of fascism and for the conquest of democratic freedoms and to define the PCP's new tasks and responsibilities in national life. Considering that several objectives of the democratic and national revolution, defined in the Program approved at the VI Congress (1965), had already been achieved or were in the process of being practically implemented, the VII Congress approved alterations to the Statutes and to the Party Program, including in this one a an emergency platform pointing to three main directions in the fight for the establishment of a democratic regime: the reinforcement of the democratic State and the defense of freedoms; the defense of economic and financial stability with a view to development; the continuation of decolonization.

Bearing in mind the economic sabotage of big capital and agrarians and their permanent conspiracy against the new democratic situation, the Congress confirmed the fundamental thesis formulated by the Party in the sense that the defense of freedom and the construction of democracy demanded the complete liquidation of power economy of monopolists and landlords.

Since this was an extraordinary Congress, the election of new Party leadership bodies was not part of its agenda.

However, the composition of the Central Committee and its main bodies was made known for the first time. The Central Committee of the PCP was made up of 36 members, effective and substitutes, who as a whole summarized the history of heroism and selflessness of the PCP, its indissoluble connection with the working class and Portuguese workers: 75% were workers or employees; in total they spent 755 years in hiding, including 308 years in fascist prisons.

VIII Congress (1976)

The VIII Congress of the PCP, which took place from the 11th to the 14th of November 1976, in Lisbon, under the motto «With Democracy for Socialism», was the Congress of the balance sheet of the revolution.

It analyzed the last years of the fascist dictatorship, its overthrow by the heroic action of the captains of April, the role of the workers' and popular movement and the people's alliance with the MFA in the development of the revolutionary process, the achievements achieved and the dangers that threatened them.

The Congress characterized the new democratic regime born of the revolution, defined the necessary policy to consolidate and develop it towards socialism, and the role played and to be played by the PCP in the revolutionary process. The Congress emphasized that the consolidation of democracy, the improvement of the people's living conditions, the solution of serious economic and financial problems, the safeguarding of national independence required not a capitalist, agrarian and imperialist recovery policy, but a policy based on respect by the economic and social transformations brought about by the revolution.

The main document of the preparatory work for the Congress, prepared by Álvaro Cunhal and entitled The Portuguese Revolution. The Past and the Future, of which the Central Committee's Report to Congress is a synthesis, constitutes an exhaustive analysis of the revolutionary process, represents a theoretical contribution to the understanding of the process of liquidation of fascism and the creation of a new democratic regime; highlights the main driving forces of the revolution and those seeking to destroy it and restore the fascist past; points out the way and the means of struggle that will allow the workers and the people to consolidate their conquests and drive the revolution towards socialism.

Preceded by extensive preparatory work in which more than 40,000 communists took part, the Eighth Congress approved amendments to the Party Statutes, the Central Committee Activity Report, a Political Resolution and a document proposing a broad set of «measures for the defense and consolidation of democracy and national independence», elected the Central Committee of the Party, with 90 members (54 effective and 36 alternates), which elected the Political Commission, the Secretariat and, as General Secretary, Álvaro Cunhal.

In the VIII Congress, 1282 delegates participated (48.5% workers, 26.5% employees, 19% technicians and intellectuals).

The Congress was attended by 62 delegations from communist and workers' parties, liberation movements and other revolutionary and democratic parties, which constituted a brilliant manifestation of internationalist solidarity with the struggle of the working class and Portuguese workers, an expression of the prestige of the PCP in Worldwide.

IX Congress (1979)

The IX Congress of the PCP took place in Barreiro on the 31st of May and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of June 1979, under the motto «With Portugal, for Democracy».

The preparation of the Congress by the Party organizations was characterized by deep reflection and a lively and interested debate that mobilized around 56,000 Party members, in around 3,000 meetings and assemblies to discuss the Theses presented by the Central Committee and for the election of the delegates.

The Congress examined the activity of the PCP and the heroic struggle of the Portuguese workers and people during three years of prolonged offensive of the capitalist, agrarian and imperialist recovery policy. Bearing witness to an unshakable confidence in the capacity of the Portuguese people to face and defeat the global offensive of the reaction against Portuguese democracy, the Congress approved a coherent set of proposals and lines of action that are essential to defend democracy, improve the living conditions of the people, promote the economic recovery and development of Portugal based on the achievements of April, ensure national independence. Congress approved the Central Committee Activity Report – Avante com Abril! – presented by Álvaro Cunhal and elected the Central Committee of the Party, composed of 133 members (72 effective and 61 substitutes).

1749 delegates participated in the IX Congress (48.3% workers, 25.8% employees, 13.8% technicians and intellectuals, 2.1% peasants; 15.3% of congressmen were women and 38% were under 30 years of age) .

The IX Congress constituted a powerful affirmation of the influence and political authority, of the PCP's living presence in Portuguese society, of its character as a great revolutionary and mass party, democratic and national, a determining force in Portuguese democracy.

At its first meeting, the Central Committee elected at the IX Congress of the PCP elected the executive bodies and as General Secretary: Álvaro Cunhal.

X Congress (1983)

The X Congress of the PCP took place in Porto from the 15th to the 18th of December 1983, under the motto «With the PCP to continue April», and took place in a particularly complex context of the international and national situation, which gave rise to a lively and profound debate around the Theses presented by the Central Committee.

The Congress focused on the worsening of the world situation characterized by the policy of intervention, aggression and unbridled arms race, conducted by North American imperialism with the installation of missiles in Europe aimed at the USSR and other socialist countries. And it examined in depth the continuation of the counter-revolutionary process in Portugal which, through the capitalist recovery, the attacks on the Agrarian Reform and against the freedoms, rights and conquests of the workers, contradicted the productive dynamics, causing recession and external dependence.

Congress approved a set of guidelines for exiting the crisis, relating to institutional stability, economic organization, improvement of living conditions, respect for freedoms and the guarantee of national independence. As an alternative, he pointed to the need to build a democratic government of national salvation, based on the analysis that there were essential objective conditions for the creation of new parties. And when assessing the framework in which the election for President of the Republic would take place in 1985 (130) he decided to exclude any support for Mário Soares as a candidate for that sovereign body.

2114 delegates participated in the X Congress (49.6% workers, 22.3% employees, 2.4% farmers, 15.2% intellectuals and technical staff, 10.5% from various professions; 19.3% of congressmen were women ) representing the more than 200,000 members of the Party (200,753).

The 10th Congress also made changes to the Statutes, necessary both because of the evolution of the political situation and because of the rich experience accumulated with regard to the internal life of the Party.

Constituting a vigorous affirmation of the patriotic and internationalist character of the PCP (there were 61 foreign delegations present), of revolutionary force and indispensable to democracy, Congress approved the enlargement of the Central Committee, which increased from 133 to 165 members (91 effective and 74 substitutes).

At its first meeting, the Central Committee elected its executive bodies – the Political Commission and the Secretariat – and approved the constitution of a new executive body, the Permanent Political Secretariat. Álvaro Cunhal was unanimously elected General Secretary of the PCP.

XI Congress (1986)

The XI Congress (extraordinary) took place on February 2, 1986 in Amadora. Summoned by the Central Committee, just four days before, its sole objective was to define the «attitude of the PCP in the 2nd round of the presidential elections».

The Central Committee had considered, at its meeting on 28 January, that the result of the 1st round of the elections – in which the democratic candidates (Salgado Zenha and Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo) were removed from the 2nd round and the candidates right wing (Mário Soares and Freitas do Amaral) – had created an extremely dangerous situation for democracy. And taking into account the Political Resolution of the X Congress, which excluded any support or vote indication for Mário Soares, the attitude to be taken in the 2nd round required reflection and a decision with a broad participation of the party collective only possible with Congress .

The preparation of the Congress in the very short space of four days – in which more than 800 meetings and plenaries were held, with the participation of more than 30 thousand Party members, highlighted the high militancy of the Portuguese communists and the democratic character of the PCP.

The main objective of the PCP for these elections was the defeat of the right-wing candidates and the election of a democratic candidate, considering it necessary to converge the votes in a single candidate of the democratic forces.

Thus, the candidate that the PCP presented – Ângelo Veloso – intervened in the sense of the democratic convergence to materialize in the vote in Salgado Zenha, right in the 1st round, as the only democratic candidate in conditions to defeat the right-wing candidates.

XI Congress, examining the causes that led to Zenha's defeat, pointed out as decisive the dispersion and loss of votes in Maria de Lourdes Pintassilgo, who did not have any conditions to pass to the 2nd round, much less to win the elections. He also considered that Zenha's candidacy was launched late and that he was faced with a media that resorted to intoxicating public opinion.

The XI Congress warned of the serious threat that an eventual victory by Freitas do Amaral would represent for democracy, at the same time that there was a PSD government with Cavaco Silva as prime minister.

Based on the concrete analysis of the situation, Congress stated that it did not support Soares but considered that the only possible vote to defeat Freitas do Amaral and his ultra-reactionary positions was the vote for Mário Soares.

After a very lively debate, both in the preparatory phase and in Congress, the Political Resolution of the XI Congress of the PCP was approved with two votes against.

944 delegates participated in this Congress, with the following social composition: 41.7% workers; 28% employed; 15.7% intellectuals and technical staff; 5.2% farmers; 9.4% from various sectors and industrial activities.

The XI (extraordinary) Congress was a strong affirmation of the unity of the PCP and an extraordinary proof of its role as an indispensable force for Portuguese democracy.

XII Congress (1988)

The XII Congress took place in Porto, from the 1st to the 4th of December 1988, under the motto «With the PCP for an Advanced Democracy on the Threshold of the 21st Century», within a framework of significant changes in the evolution of the world situation.

The Congress debated aspects of the construction of socialism, as well as the contradictions of capitalism with its inability to solve the problems of workers and peoples. The Congress considered that the complex problems developing in the socialist countries resulted from serious delays, errors and deformations that had to be corrected in order to lead to their overcoming. The Congress examined the progress of the counter-revolutionary process in Portugal, in which the capitalist, landowning and imperialist recovery policy of the PS-PSD government and, at the time, of the PSD majority government, degraded the living conditions of the majority of the non monopolists and subverted the democratic regime with the preparation of the second revision of the Constitution.

Simultaneously, Congress praised the struggle of workers and the popular masses against the right-wing policy, highlighting the scope of the general strike of March 28, 1988. As for the EEC, Congress considered the consequences of the European capitalist integration process to be particularly harmful for Portugal and warned of the need to reinforce the struggle in defense of national interests and sovereignty.

The new approved Program "An Advanced Democracy on the Threshold of the 21st Century" was debated throughout the Party and had the valuable contribution of organizations and militants. The amendments to the approved Statutes aimed both at adapting the articles to the new Program and at enshrining positive organizational and operating experiences. They explained more rigorous definitions of Marxism-Leninism and democratic centralism and deepened aspects related to the rights and duties of Party members.

The XII Congress was prepared under a violent campaign of disinformation, lies and slander against the PCP conveyed by the media, which inserted opinions and publicized activities of Party members who, with their actions in conflict with the Statutes, constituted a group fractional, defending the right of tendency, aiming to mischaracterize the PCP.

2090 delegates participated in the Congress, of which 71.2% were workers and employees, 16.1% intellectuals and technical staff, 1.2% farmers, 1.2% fishermen, 2.5% small and medium-sized traders and industrialists, and 7 .8% corresponded to other situations.

Congress approved the Political Resolution and elected the Central Committee which, in turn, elected the executive bodies and Álvaro Cunhal as Secretary General.

The XII Congress made a valuable contribution to the cohesion of the PCP and to its action in defense of the democratic regime and the progressive and independent future of Portugal.

XIII Congress (1990)

The XIII Congress (extraordinary) took place in Loures, on the 18th, 19th and 20th of May 1990, under the motto «A Party for Our Time».

Convoked to assess the events in the socialist countries, the situation and evolution in the USSR, the rapid advance of the process of restoration of monopoly capitalism in Portugal, the communist ideal and the identity of the PCP, the Congress had as its objective the reinforcement of its intervention capacity in national life.

Prepared under an intense anticommunist campaign, the Congress provoked a great internal debate, in which different and even divergent opinions were expressed. There were 2564 assemblies and meetings and numerous initiatives in which more than 40,000 Party members took part.

Coinciding with the Congress, a meeting of the Central Committee took place, which elected the Secretary General – Álvaro Cunhal, the Deputy Secretary General – Carlos Carvalhas and the executive bodies of the Central Committee.

The Congress debated the internal causes of the crises registered in the socialist countries of Eastern Europe and pointed out the five main negative traits – centralization of political power; limitations to political democracy; party leadership far from the workers and popular masses; fusion and confusion of State and Party functions; dogmatization of Marxism-Leninism – traits that represented a «model» that moved away from the principles and objectives of the communist ideal.

The Congress considered that the serious defeats for socialism that the events in the countries of Eastern Europe meant did not call into question the validity of the communist ideal.

On the reconstitution of monopoly capitalism in Portugal, through the carrying out of numerous privatizations in key sectors of the economy, the Congress deepened the consequences of this process both in terms of the worsening of injustices and social inequalities and in terms of the degradation of political democracy. And he pointed to the need to develop the struggle for a democratic alternative aimed at curbing the anti-democratic behavior of the PSD government.

Congress also evaluated the characteristics and size of the social base whose interests were harmed by the reconstitution of monopoly capitalism, considering that this would enable the construction of a democratic alternative.

2061 delegates participated in the Congress, of which 68.3% were workers and employees, 0.7% fishermen, 1.6% farmers, 9.1% intellectuals, 9.8% technical staff, 3% small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, 7, 4% corresponded to other situations.

Affirming its class nature and its communist identity, the PCP projected itself as a party open to new realities, situations and phenomena.

The Manifesto approved by Congress, which was carried out under strong pressure for the PCP to change its characteristics, clearly responds to the objectives of the great collective of Portuguese communists – «WE WERE, WE ARE AND WE WILL BE COMMUNISTS».

XIV Congress (1992)

Under the motto «Democracy and Socialism – the Future of Portugal», the XIV Congress took place between 4 and 6 December 1992, in Almada.

Faced with the profound change in the world correlation of forces, with the disappearance of the USSR and the defeats in the socialist camp – which paved the way for imperialism to try to impose its hegemony which it called the “new world order” –, the Congress highlighted the importance and meaning of the October Revolution as the beginning of a new phase in the evolution of society, which had important successes, while considering that the defeats suffered in the meantime do not call into question the superiority of socialism over capitalism.

Affirming that "communism is not dead", he assessed the negative consequences for the world of the break-up of the USSR and the disappearance of the socialist camp, which also had repercussions on the international communist movement, with the weakening and degeneration of numerous communist parties.

At the national level, with the advancement of the reconstitution of monopoly capitalism, Congress focused on the impact of foreign investment in Portugal that the PSD majority government encouraged, accompanied by the intensification of the exploitation of workers. With regard to the EEC, Congress denounced the federalist nature of the Maastricht Treaty, which affected national autonomy, independence and sovereignty.

As an alternative, Congress, valuing the indispensable role of the mass struggle, pointed to the need for the convergence of democratic forces aimed at isolating the government and defeating it.

Faced with the offensive against the Party, in which external pressures were associated with internal ones, the amendments to the Statutes focused on greater rigor in several formulations that characterize the identity of the PCP. Collective work and collective direction were considered fundamental organic principles, with the aim of preserving a single general orientation and a single central direction. The Statutes also enshrined changes in the central management structure, namely through the creation of the National Council. The changes to the Program aimed at improving formulations and a greater connection between the National and Democratic Revolution Program and the Advanced Democracy Program.

Approved the Political Resolution and elected the Central Committee which, in turn, elected Carlos Carvalhas as General Secretary and Álvaro Cunhal as President of the National Council.

Faced with a campaign that pointed to the irreversible decline of the PCP, the XIV Congress, in which 1737 delegates participated – of which 69.4% were workers and employees, 18.1% intellectuals and technical staff, 1.3% farmers, 3% small and medium businessmen, 2.8% students, 5.3% miscellaneous – revealed that the PCP is «a necessary, indispensable and irreplaceable party for the defense of democracy and the interests of the people and the country».

XV Congress (1996)

«A Stronger Party. Novo Rumo para Portugal" was the motto of the XV Congress, which took place in Porto from 6 to 8 December 1996.

The XV Congress dealt with the evolution of the world situation, characterizing it as being of great instability and uncertainty resulting from the profound alteration in the correlation of forces resulting from the disappearance of the USSR and socialism as a world system and by the offensive of imperialism to impose the your domain.

It considered that capitalism, in the pursuit of maximum profit, led to an enormous concentration and centralization of capital, at the expense of significant social, democratic and cultural regressions that confront humanity with the danger of civilizational setbacks, along with an enormous ideological campaign projecting capitalism as the terminal phase of the development of societies.

The XV Congress pointed to the need to forge a broad anti-imperialist front with countries whose objective is to build socialism, communist parties and other progressive forces, national liberation movements and states that defend their sovereignty.

In this difficult international context, and in view of the process of European integration, the PCP assumes sovereignty as a fundamental value of the Nation, as it has always done.

Congress approved a set of guidelines for the review process of the Maastricht Treaty, with the aim of ensuring that Portugal does not lose essential instruments for conducting its economic policy and made a clear demarcation between the PS and its government (more than a year ago in office) which pursues the PSD's right-wing policy, fulfilling the Maastricht convergence criteria and forcing the march towards the single currency, demagogically promising more investment, more jobs and well-being.

It unmasked the PS and PSD projects regarding the ongoing revision of the Constitution, namely regarding the electoral laws for municipalities and for the Assembly of the Republic, calling into question proportional representation. It evaluated the accentuated social degradation with high expression in unemployment, precariousness, poverty. He criticized the State's lack of responsibility in relation to social functions, associating it with the path to its commodification.

Valuing the mass struggle in the fight against right-wing politics, Congress pointed to the reinforcement of the PCP as the central and crucial issue for the construction of the alternative and reaffirmed its identity and its project.

At the XV Congress, 1665 delegates participated, of which 528 were industrial, agricultural and fishermen workers, 526 employees, 353 intellectuals and technical staff, 24 farmers, 82 businessmen, 109 students and 43 others who approved the Political Resolution and elected the Central Committee.

The Central Committee elected the Political Commission, the Secretariat, the Central Control Commission and Carlos Carvalhas as General Secretary.

XVI Congress

Under the motto «Democracy and Socialism, a project for the 21st century», the XVI Congress of the PCP took place on the 8th, 9th and 10th of December 2000, in Lisbon.

The Congress focused on the development of capitalism, the consequences of the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the economy and on the ideological offensive that, within the framework of «globalization» and neoliberal policies, highlight the parasitic, predator and inhuman of capitalism.

The Congress stressed that imperialism, in order to guarantee the «new order», deepened militarism and aggressions in which the war of aggression against Yugoslavia represented a qualitative leap that led to the thesis of «humanitarian interference», the subversion of international law and the NATO's new strategic concept.

The resistance struggle against imperialism's offensive was broad and diversified, pointing to the intensification of common action by very diversified movements.

At the national level, Congress considered that the PS government pursued a right-wing policy, privatizations, attacks on workers' rights, subordination to EU policies and NATO's aggressive strategy. Thus, he worsened the country's economic situation, mortgaged national independence, maintained the policy of low wages, which accentuated the indebtedness of families.

The Congress evaluated the evolution of the EU and its neoliberal, militarist and federalist components. He marked the completion of the EMU process, the creation of the European Central Bank, the Common Foreign and Security Policy, which affect the national sovereignty of the Member States. The PCP contrasts this path with a new course of cooperation between sovereign States with equal rights.

1546 delegates participated, 30.9% industrial, agricultural and fishermen workers, 31.2% employees, 23.2% intellectuals and technical staff, 0.6% farmers, 5.1% small and medium-sized traders and industrialists, 6, 7% students and 2.3% diverse. It approved the Political Resolution and elected a new Central Committee which, in turn, elected the executive bodies and Secretary General Carlos Carvalhas.

Congress considered it necessary to break with right-wing politics by proposing a left-wing alternative, which raised the need to reinforce the social, political and electoral influence of the PCP and its connection to the masses. Congress, valuing the recruitment of 5,000 new militants and the expansion of the JCP's ranks, pointed to these reinforcements as priorities.

Carried out within the framework of an unparalleled anti-Communist campaign which, with the intervention of Party members, sought to condition Congressional discussions and decisions, its work culminated in the reaffirmation of its identity and its project of revolutionary overcoming of capitalism.

XVII Congress (2004)

On the 26th, 27th and 28th of November 2004, the XVII Congress of the PCP took place in Almada, under the motto «With the PCP – Democracy and Socialism. A Portugal with a future».

The Congress denounced the violent offensive of imperialism which, under the pretext of combating terrorism, itself becomes a source of terrorism. He characterized the evolution of the world situation as containing great dangers and uncertainties, with the struggle for markets and raw materials, for world domination, which places the defense of sovereignty as a central issue in resistance to capitalist globalization.

The Congress highlighted the struggle of peoples that continues on all continents, in a process of resistance and accumulation of forces. And he pointed out that, in view of the great changes underway, the communist parties, without diluting themselves, must contribute to the widest cooperation with the progressive forces in a broad anti-imperialist front.

As for the evolution of the national situation, Congress criticized the different aspects of the right-wing policy pursued by the PS that led to its removal in early legislative elections. With the formation of the right-wing PSD/CDS governments of Durão Barroso, and, later, of Santana Lopes, an offensive against the democratic regime was developed and the policy of submission to the strategy of imperialism continued. The capitalist and monopolistic recovery policy of successive governments led to various economic groups assuming a dominant role in the economy which, taking advantage of the new labor code, launched themselves into the subversion of workers' rights.

But the response was intense, with hundreds of fights, involving thousands of workers, highlighting the general strike of December 2002.

The European Union, with the revisions of the treaties, the launch of the single currency, the application of the Stability Pact, promoted the so-called «European Constitution» Treaty and pursued the path of a federal Union under the dominion of the great European powers. The PCP opposed such advances, asserting its fight in defense of national interests.

Congress made changes to the Statutes due to the approval of the Political Parties Law and the Political Parties Financing Law. Denouncing the undemocratic and unconstitutional nature of such laws, especially directed against the Party, Congress declared that it would continue to fight for their repeal.

1304 delegates participated in the XVII Congress, 27.8% industrial, agricultural and fishermen workers, 30.2% employees, 26.5% intellectuals and technical staff, 0.9% farmers, 5.8% small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, 7 .9% students, 0.9% miscellaneous.

The Central Committee elected the executive bodies and Jerónimo de Sousa as General Secretary.

XVIII Congress (2008)

The XVIII Congress of the PCP took place in Lisbon, on the 29th, 30th of November and 1st of December 2008, under the motto “For April, for Socialism – a stronger Party”.

In an international context of great instability and insecurity and a rapid process of rearrangement of forces, Congress confirmed the thesis that great dangers coexist with real potential for progressive advances. In its attempt to dominate the world, imperialism deepens the exploitation of workers, develops violent attacks on the sovereignty of States, subverts international law, encourages criminal trafficking and, on the other hand, criminalizes resistance and pursues forces and countries with anti-imperialist positions.

The Congress considered that the deep and rapid expansion of the crisis of capitalism demands its revolutionary overcoming, whose alternative – necessary and possible – is socialism; evaluated the evolution of the national situation resulting from the dissolution of the AR, culminating the resistance to the offensive of the PSD/CDS-PP governments, and the new phase marked by the right-wing policy of the PS Government. A government that, with an absolute majority, carried out the destruction of social rights, along with subordination to the process of capitalist integration of the EU, alienating essential components of national sovereignty, and accentuating the impoverishment of the democratic regime.

The mass struggle, the strengthening of the Party and the question of the alternative deserved particular attention. The Congress valued the intensity of the fight for the valorization of wages, for jobs with rights and against the attack on collective bargaining. He highlighted the importance of the May 2007 general strike. He considered that since the last Congress it has been proved that a stronger PCP is possible, with emphasis on the 7200 recruitments and 660 organizing assemblies that took place.

He considered the PCP March «Liberty and Democracy» (March 2008), with 50 thousand participants, as a great affirmation of the PCP against a perverse law that attacks the autonomy of the parties and their functioning.

Congress projected the need for an alternative policy and a political alternative that is built every day through the struggle for concrete objectives, demanding from all democrats and patriots a commitment to break with right-wing politics, adding that without the PCP it is not possible to build a patriotic and left-wing alternative. In the XVIII Congress, whose social composition confirms the class nature of the PCP (58% of the delegates are industry or service workers), 1461 delegates participated who approved the Political Resolution and elected the Central Committee, which in turn elected the executive bodies and Jerónimo de Sousa as General Secretary.

XIX Congress (2012)

The XIX Congress of the PCP took place in Almada on the 30th of November, 1st and 2nd of December 2012.

Under the motto «Democracy and Socialism – April Values ​​in the Future of Portugal», Congress, in addition to approving the Political Resolution and election of the Central Committee, made changes to the Program and the Party's Statutes.

Evaluating the international situation, the Congress highlighted as fundamental traits the worsening of the structural crisis of capitalism, characterized by a process of overproduction and overaccumulation of capital, associated with the violent exploitative and aggressive offensive of imperialism, which workers and peoples, through struggles that they have developed, show that they do not submit. Regarding the process of European capitalist integration, the Congress considered it to reveal the crisis of capitalism in Europe and its fundamental pillars, concluding that the European Union is not reformable.

At the national level, Congress focused on the economic crisis the country had reached and which resulted in an enormous social regression, loss of sovereignty and the impoverishment of the democratic regime by the action of the PS/Socrates governments. Through a severe austerity policy, contained in PEC I, II and III, the consequences of the crisis were transferred to the people who resisted and fought, isolating the government. Following the rejection of PEC IV, with elections scheduled for September 27, 2009, PS, PSD and CDS with the Government that emerged from those elections and the support of the President of the Republic subscribed to what the PCP designated as the Pact of Aggression, a commitment that handed over the country to the troika (IMF, ECB and EU), which went on to determine economic and social policies. The PSD/CDS-PP government pursued these guidelines and further deepened social injustices and inequalities. The PCP presented a patriotic and left-wing alternative as an alternative to the policy of abdicating national interests. For its success, the reinforcement of the PCP, the development of the mass struggle and the alteration of the correlation of forces favorable to a patriotic and left-wing policy are necessary conditions.

The changes to the Program aimed to characterize the concrete stage of the struggle, which was inscribed in its denomination: An Advanced Democracy – the values ​​of April in the future of Portugal. The Programme, considering Advanced Democracy as an integral part of the struggle for socialism and communism, asserts Portugal's inalienable right to define its own path of development, and reaffirms the central role of the mass struggle for its realization.

The amendments to the Statutes were only in matters resulting from the amendments to the Party Program.

In the XIX Congress, 1241 delegates participated who elected the Central Committee, with 152 members, being 65.8% workers and employees and 25% women.

The Central Committee elected the executive bodies and Jerónimo de Sousa as General Secretary of the PCP.

The Congress confirmed the realization of a tribute to Álvaro Cunhal, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, for his thought and action in the fight for freedom, democracy and socialism.

XX Congress (2016)

XX Congress «With the workers and the people – Democracy and Socialism» was the motto of the XX Congress of the PCP that took place in Almada on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of December 2016 and within a general framework of the sharpening of the class struggle, in the world plan. It confirmed the essential elements inherent to the nature of capitalism – exploitation and oppression – which, being at the origin of its structural crisis, accentuated the brutal offensive of imperialism against workers and peoples and against processes of sovereign affirmation of States.

The Congress appreciated the vast and diversified struggle that develops on all continents against imperialism and its aggressive strategy, which raises the need to increase the action of the communist movement and its cooperation with other progressive forces, placing the national space as decisive ground for social transformation.

It also evaluated the crisis in and of the EU, resulting from the reinforcement of instruments of economic and political domain that accelerated its contradictions and that placed the debate around a «reconfiguration» or «disintegration» of the Euro Zone and of the EU itself, while they developed propaganda maneuvers aimed at whitewashing the various EU policies.

The Congress reaffirmed its condemnation of the capitalist integration process and denounced the constraints arising from it at the national level, aggravating national problems and leading to the weakening of national independence.

In a situation of recession, destruction of productive capacity and public disinvestment, Congress condemned a set of unconstitutional measures by the PSD/CDS government which, harming workers' rights and degrading the State's social functions, led to unemployment, wage freezes, the attack on collective bargaining and the worsening of fiscal policy, leading to a period of alarming situations of poverty and emigration.

Congress valued the resistance to this offensive, with the mass struggle and the intervention of the PCP leading to the defeat of the government which, with the alteration of the correlation of forces in the Assembly of the Republic, opened the way to a new phase of national political life that allowed restoring, defending and conquering rights, although in a limited and insufficient way.

Congress pointed to the need to break through blockages and constraints for the construction of a patriotic and left-wing alternative, and appealed to all political and social forces that do not accept the decline of the country to converge in determined action against right-wing politics.

1154 delegates took part in the XX Congress, with a large majority of workers and employees, industry and service workers, who elected the Central Committee. The Central Committee in turn elected the Secretariat, the Political Commission, the Central Control Commission and Jerónimo de Sousa as General Secretary.

The 20th Congress affirmed the PCP as the carrying force of the necessary policy for a Portugal with a future.

XXI Congress (2020)

The XXI Congress of the PCP took place on the 27th, 28th and 29th of November 2020, in Loures, under the motto «Organize Fighting Advance – Democracy and Socialism».

The Congress analyzed the evolution of the international situation, which continues to be marked by the structural crisis of capitalism, in which the sharpening of its contradictions was more exposed by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, further highlighting its exploitative, oppressive, aggressive and predatory nature.

In a complex framework of rearrangement of forces on a world scale, imperialism is increasingly betting on interference, militarism and war in order to assert its hegemony. But the persistent struggle of workers and peoples and the necessary convergence of communist parties and other democratic and anti-imperialist forces assert themselves as a factor of resistance, advancement and transformation.

When assessing the evolution of the EU, Congress considered that contradictions, tensions and rivalries had deepened, of which the departure of the United Kingdom is an expressive example.

The deep crisis of and in the EU is, in itself, an expression of the structural crisis of capitalism.

The Congress underlined that capitalism is not the terminal system of human history, emphasizing socialism as a current and future requirement.

The Congress analyzed the struggle of the workers and the people, appreciated what the new phase of national political life between 2015-2019 represented and highlighted the decisive intervention of the PCP and the mass struggle to defend, restore and conquer rights. In view of the change in the correlation of forces at the parliamentary level in 2019, the PS minority government was freer to implement its class options. As a result of the pandemic and its exploitation, an offensive against workers' rights was developed, which deserved a response, with the CGTP-IN assuming itself as the driving force in the struggle of workers for their rights.

The Congress – which took place within the framework of a violent anti-communist offensive which, under the pretext of the epidemic, intended to prevent its own realization – highlighted the need and urgency of building a patriotic and left-wing alternative that breaks with the domination of big capital and submission to the European Union, in which the strengthening of the PCP and its influence and the mass struggle are central aspects on the path of advanced democracy with the values ​​of April in the future of Portugal, with socialism and communism on the horizon.

Marking the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the life and struggle of the PCP, the Congress rejoiced that the Party had always been, today as in the past, associated with the conquests of the Portuguese workers and people.

Due to the epidemic, 618 delegates participated in the XXI Congress – 52% of which were workers and employees – who elected the Central Committee which, in turn, elected the executive bodies, the Central Control Commission and Jerónimo de Sousa as Secretary General.

The Congress was not attended by foreign delegations, but received more than 60 messages from communist parties and other anti-imperialist forces.


The current General Secretary of the Portuguese Communist Party is Paulo Raimundo.[5] The Central Committee consists of 108 members.[6] The Secretariat of the Central Committee consists of 9 members.[7] The Political Committee of the Central Committee consists of 23 members.[8] The Central Control Commission Consists of 9 members.[9]


The Portuguese Communist Party's Constitution has 13 chapters and was last updated on November 30, 2012. It claims to be a "party of the proletariat, the party of the working class and of all Portuguese workers." In the Constitution, it states that it upholds "Marxism-Leninism as its theoretical basis" and plans to build socialism and communism in Portugal.[10]


  1. "How the PCP was born" (2006-12-29). Portuguese Communist Party. Archived from the original on 2021-12-02. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  2. João Madeira (2011). The Portuguese Communist Party and the Cold War: "sectarianism", "right-wing deviation", "Towards victory" (1949-1965) (Portuguese: O Partido Comunista Português e a Guerra Fria: "sectarismo", "desvio de direita", "Rumo à vitória" (1949-1965)) (p. 45). [PDF] Lisboa.
  3. "A brief history of Party Congresses" (2004-11-28). Portuguese Communist Party. Archived from the original on 2023-03-11. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  4. PCP (2020-12-05). "A Brief History of the Congresses" pcp.pt.
  5. "General Secretary". Portuguese Communist Party. Archived from the original on 2023-03-11. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  6. "PCP Central Committee". Portuguese Communist Party. Archived from the original on 2023-03-11. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  7. "Secretariat of the Central Committee". Portuguese Communist Party. Archived from the original on 2023-03-11. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  8. "Political Committee of the Central Committee". Portuguese Communist Party. Archived from the original on 2023-03-11. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  9. "Central Control Commission". Portuguese Communist Party. Archived from the original on 2023-03-11. Retrieved 2023-03-11.
  10. "Portuguese Communist Party Programme And Constitution" (2023-03-12). Portuguese Communist Party. Archived from the original on 2023-03-12. Retrieved 2023-03-12.