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Issue #1803      November 15, 2017

Taking the Party to the People

The Communist Party of Australia will be holding its 13th National Congress in Sydney from December 1-3, under the banner of “Taking the Party to the People”. The period since the 12th National Congress in 2013 has been one of rapid change. Capitalism is in crisis on all fronts and its effects are being felt around the world – economic, food, water, refugee and environmental crises as well as ongoing conflicts and the threat of new wars, possibly nuclear. These crises have a common thread – their origins lie in the system of capitalism.

Social and economic inequality has continued to rise during those years. The capitalist ruling class and its governments have waged an all out offensive on trade union and democratic rights and taken back past gains of workers’ struggles. At the same time ongoing militarisation and war have drained government coffers and pose new threats to security around the globe.

The main document to be considered by Congress for adoption is a draft Political Resolution which sets the path for the coming four years. Congress will also be considering minor amendments to the Party’s Constitution and some amendments to the CPA’s Program which have the aim of updating its content. These proposed amendments retain the Marxist Leninist ideology and political line of the Party. Congress will also elect a new Central Committee.

Around 70 delegates are expected from across Australia. A number of newer and younger members are attending their first Congress and looking forward to taking part in setting the direction of the Party’s work over the next four years.

The Central Committee distributed a draft of the Political Resolution to all Party members in May. Over the following months, Branches discussed the document and drafted many amendments that were then considered by the Central Committee. This membership input has considerably enriched and strengthened the document, and the final draft adopted by the Central Committee was circulated to Congress Delegates several weeks ago. It will be put to Congress for adoption.

The draft Political Resolution in 2013 stated: “Our Party’s immediate tasks are to build our numbers, to strengthen Party unity and activity, to develop the class struggle and to build the movement to challenge the power of monopoly capital. We are committed to fighting for workers’ rights, democratic and proletarian internationalism, the preservation of peace and the environment, with a perspective of socialism.”

These tasks remain. But the draft Political Resolution for the 13th Congress shifts its focus to improving the Party’s presence and increasing its activity in the community.

“The inequality developed by the current system has discouraged and disenfranchised the people. While many have headed for right-wing groups and political parties, we should see this as an opportunity to take to the party to the people. Opportunities present themselves while people stand up to struggle to maintain and improve their current condition and rights, as Communists we should be on the barricades with them,” the draft Political Resolution says.

It continues: “These developments, along with the gathering momentum towards global environmental catastrophe, have led to a crisis in civilisation and a threat to continued life on the planet. This makes the overthrow of the capitalist system that has produced this grave situation humanity’s most urgent need for this and the coming generation”

Need for Communist Party

The need for a strong, influential communist party in Australia has never been greater. The Rudd/Gillard Labor governments failed to fulfil the hopes of many for a better Australia. Conditions worsened following the election of the Abbott Coalition government in 2013. Abbott’s attempts to destroy Medicare’s bulk billing, cut pensions, roll back Gonski funding, introduce repressive anti-union laws and his denial of climate change saw the Coalition’s popularity stakes plummet.

Living standards, wages and working conditions continue to be eroded and cuts to health, education and social security are hurting working people. Wage theft is rife as employers find new ways to avoid their obligations.

The return of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and a ten-fold increase in fines is making it almost impossible for unions in the industry to carry out their legitimate business. Workplace deaths and serious injuries are on the rise.

There was plenty of money for corporate tax cuts, fossil fuel rebates and billions of dollars for war preparations but not enough to give the unemployed an extra $50 a week or to help pensioners out. Homelessness continues to increase and housing affordability shows no signs of improving.

Disillusionment with the major parties is growing. “However, much of this disillusionment is being expressed in support for populist right-wing groupings, notably One Nation, indicating on one hand the strong ideological hold of the mass media on much of the population, and on the other the difficulty for progressive forces to effectively reach out to the masses,” the Political Resolution notes.

Capitalism is trying to take back all the achievements of the working class and peoples’ struggle.

Struggle for real change

The working class has its trade unions that play an important role in defending and promoting the interests of workers, but it also needs a political party of its own. The Labor Party does not fulfil that role, although within its ranks there are many sincere working class members who hope it will change.

The Communist Party declares itself to be a working class party. It openly and proudly takes sides, the side of the working class. That is the fundamental difference. The Communist Party and its newspaper the Guardian are on the side of the workers and want to change the system to one that protects and promotes workers’ interests – socialist.

This struggle is not just an economic one but political and ideological. The ideological struggle centres on raising consciousness of the class nature of the capitalist system and the existence of the class struggle.

The failure of the major parties to meet people’s needs is facilitating the rise of neo-fascist and other extremist forces as people look elsewhere for solutions. The ruling class is creating fear and fostering divisions in the working class on the basis of race and religion to prevent the unity of the people in support of left and progressive alternatives.

“The CPA and the Australian trade union movement currently lack the strength to defeat the forces of the right on their own. However, in unity with other progressive community forces, the extreme right attack on trade union and other democratic rights can be defeated,” the draft Political Resolution states.

The draft Political Resolution concludes by saying: “Despite the inequality in the contest between the old society and those seeking to establish the new socialist one, we remain confident that the 21st Century will be the century of socialism. No force on earth will stop people struggling for their liberation and no machine devoted to hiding the truth of the failure of capitalism to establish conditions of peace, equality and prosperity can deceive and pacify workers and other exploited people forever. The cracks in the facade are appearing all over the world. The future belongs to socialism. It is our job to now take the Party to the people.”

Hence the main theme of the Congress: “Taking the Party to the People”.

If you would like to know more about the CPA and its aims, then you are very welcome to attend the opening of the Party’s Congress which will take place on Friday, December 1 (See invitation below). Bring your friends, colleagues and family. It will be a great night with entertainment, speeches and refreshments.

Next article – Culture & Life – October 1917 continues to inspire

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