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Issue # 1403      18 March 2009


The Party is not over

The opinion of communist parties on developments within society and the economy is aired on a regular basis by the corporate media in many countries. Today 40 percent of the world’s population live in countries where the communist party is in power or participates in the government. In Australia, however, in spite of the consistent activism of the members of the Communist Party of Australia the media monopolies have until recently held to the line that “the party is over”; that the CPA had ceased to exist. The Party was simply ignored by the media.

Times have changed dramatically over the past 12 months. A deepening financial and economic crisis is causing many to question the very basis of our unstable capitalist economy. Quite naturally, people start wondering about the possibility of real change and the logical alternative to an unplanned economy based on the private appropriation of socially produced wealth. Kevin Rudd’s Monthly essay seeks to limit the search for alternatives to a choice of the current “extreme” capitalism or a more benign “social” capitalism. It is an old theme dressed up in new language and presents no real alternative at all.

There is a notable increase in interest in the policies presented by communists. The media is responding with reports about the registration of the Communist Alliance and respectful pieces about the passing of the late General Secretary, Peter Symon. Some have set out to ridicule Party policies for the nationalisation of the banks and a national superannuation scheme. These are sound policies reflecting the needs of working people for security for their savings and investment in the facilities needed in their communities.

Communists are one of the “extreme” voices that Rudd warns in his Monthly essay could gain legitimacy if his changes to capitalism do not work out. The program of the Communist Party is not extreme – it presents a practical way to take Australia out of the grip of the transnational corporations and towards a people’s government. The Prime Minister is right to warn of the danger posed by the nationalist right in worsening economic times. The fact that more people appear to be looking leftward to the socialist alternative is encouraging. It is a development that needs to be built upon and an opportunity to be seized to bring about the sort of real change people are clearly voting for but which, as yet, are not getting.

Amazing contribution from WA building workers

The Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in Western Australia have raised and presented the Australian Red Cross with $635,000 towards the Victorian Bushfires Appeal. Members of the union were stunned by the severity of the fires and the toll they took. They rallied around the state to assist the communities of Victoria.

The union office contributed $50,000. Workers on Perth metropolitan jobs dug deep into their pockets to donate $156,000.

In the southwest, CFMEU members donated $192,000 – $140,000 from Collie (Bluewater site), $47,000 from Boddington and Worsely $5,000. The employers came on board, not only allowing the union to hold meetings to raise money, but also agreeing to match donations on a dollar for dollar basis – adding another $192,000 to the collection.

In the northwest members also gave generously, contributing $45,000.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions gave $250,000, and many other trade unions and individual union members have made substantial contributions to the Appeal. They have demonstrated, as did the thousands of volunteers and others who fought the fires and have given assistance in so many other ways, the basic humanitarian values and collective spirit of people.

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