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Issue #1806      December 13, 2017

Political Resolution: “Taking the Party to the People”

Educate Agitate Organise

Finalising the main document of the 13th Congress – the Political Resolution – was a mighty collective effort on the part of the whole membership of the CPA. Drafted and then circulated by the Central Committee at the end of May, it received close attention and discussion by Party Branches right through to the end of August. Over 200 amendments to the draft were received from Branches, State and District Conferences. Two large discussion journals were circulated with contributions from members keen for the Party to make the most of the opportunities presented by the crisis of capitalism.

Aaron Beardsell – delegate from Perth Branch. (Photo: Anna Pha)

The Central Committee then considered the amendments and submitted the final document to the Congress. Members whose amendments did not go forward are encouraged by the Party’s Constitution to pursue their proposed changes to the floor of Congress if they so choose.

In the end, the document presented by General Secretary Bob Briton was unanimously endorsed. Comrades’ involvement and contributions have produced a document the Party believes effectively summarises the political environment we work in, reviews the work of the Party since the 12th Congress and maps the way forward for what promises to be a period of even stronger growth for the Party.

War on workers

In the document, the Party recognises the enormous task it has set itself – to provide coherent leadership to the fightback against the attacks from its class enemy. The escalation of these attacks is now commonly and rightly referred to in the trade union movement as the “war on workers”.

“Through class struggle the working class accumulates valuable experience that contributes, in combination with the political- ideological work of Communist parties, to the development of class and political consciousness. The political and ideological work of Communist Parties is a critical factor in the development of this political consciousness.

“The Communist Party of Australia must be built into a party capable of organising, educating, leading, uniting and fighting alongside all politically progressive forces in building a broad people’s movement for real change led by the working class. The essence of this movement must be anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and democratic.”

The attacks on the working class in Australia have an international context, they are part of an agenda pursued by all capitalist governments. The Political Resolution makes it clear that, unless an effective fightback is organised, the situation is set to deteriorate.

Global context

The international backdrop to the Party’s Congress received considerable attention in the Political Resolution. The election of Trump as a signal for an escalation of US imperialism’s drive for global dominance was explained. Tensions in the region, involving the threats against the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were placed in this context. So was the theft of resources from the Australian people with the Turnbull government’s commitment to spend $1 trillion on military equipment to assist the US administration’s plans.

“Capitalism is in crisis and its impact is being felt in every part of the globe, including Australia. The present crisis threatens the stability of not just the global financial system but the capitalist system itself. The full impact of the crisis has not yet been felt in Australia. The crisis has its roots in the capitalist mode of production, in globalisation, in the massive amounts of accumulation and concentration of capital that are the product of monopoly capital’s growth and penetration of world production and markets. The largest of these transnational corporations have assets far larger than those of the many countries they dictate to.

“The situation has been compounded by the growth and domination of parasitic financial institutions which have diverted billions of dollars from the productive sphere into highly speculative activities and outright gambling.”

The many wars and threats of wars made by imperialism make grim reading, as does the description of the climate emergency, the refugee crisis and the many other related crises of capitalism. The Political Resolution is written with a sense of urgency about the tasks of the Party.

Party is key

Ideological clarity, the need for action and education were emphasised in the Political Resolution. The Party doesn’t encourage “activism” without priorities and overall purpose.

“Unity is based on knowledge of what we are trying to achieve. In developing this leadership, we need to develop our own sense of humility and be prepared to learn, study and practice. We must avoid the pitfall of arrogance that sees us as the ones with all the answers and instead practice fraternity with our own comrades and those we seek to work with. This means learning from them as they learn from us.

“Discipline is also essential in how we behave and work. Our goal is the creation of a society that will set about eliminating the problems inherent in capitalism – war, exploitation, environmental destruction, oppression, poverty, unemployment, ignorance, bigotry, racism, discrimination and the lack of access to services and rights.”

The toxic climate promoted by the ruling class through its media and elsewhere is explained. The main targets are the organisations capable of resisting the ruling class agenda, chiefly the trade unions, but division is also promoted between men and women, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, people of different sexual orientations and different religions. Unity in struggle is vital as is the building of the Party that can unite the different struggles taking place.

Build the Party at the base

Consistent hard work on the part of every member and every Party Branch is demanded in the document. There is a need for more professional materials and a respectful approach to others in mass work.

“All Party organisations must focus their work over the next four years around building Branches as centres of political activity and campaigning in the mass movement in the interests of workers for socialism. In this process attention to education, recruitment, finance, and the Guardian is essential. Party Branches should be centres of political activity in the industry or locality in which they work. This means carrying out campaigns, developing contacts with others who are struggling around similar issues in a way that builds each Branch into a respected political force in these areas.

“To effectively achieve its aims, the CPA and its members must be an integral part of the day-to-day struggles of the working class and community. The Party’s leadership capability can only be developed and proven by putting it into practice in the people’s struggles consistently over many years.

“Occasional involvement in local issues will not help the Party win the leadership of the working people in their locality or workplace. We need to recognise the big changes that have occurred in composition of the working class in Australia. Over the last three decades most large manufacturing enterprises have disappeared from our suburban landscape making it more difficult to organise people in their place of work.”

Prospective members and people willing to be mobilised will need to be found in our communities, as well. Promising examples of community/union solidarity need to be nurtured and replicated.

Campaigning with the end goal in sight

The Political Resolution points out that Party activists should never lose sight of the end goal of the many struggles for improvements in the lives of working people. That is socialism – the power of workers to replace the dictatorship of capital.

“If people are prepared to mobilise for progressive demands, Party members have the duty to actively support them. But they also have the duty to ensure that the struggle for immediate demands contributes to the development of the working class’s understanding of its power and ability for victories at all levels of political power. Our campaigning must be for goals that reflect the broadest concerns of the working class – jobs, wages, democratic rights, social services, public education, public health, housing, affordable living costs, etc.

“We campaign for reforms to improve the situation and further the rights of the working class but that they are not be limited to these improvements. Temporary victories cannot be allowed to divert workers from the class struggle. At each stage the Party needs to be clearly explaining that reforms must be used to develop the class struggle to win fundamental change.

The full text of the 13th Congress’ Political Resolution will be available soon on the Party’s website

Next article – Culture & Life – A dystopian future?

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