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Issue #1908      March 23, 2020

FORTY YEARS SINCE THE FIRST WORKERS’ WEEKLY

A GREAT RECORD TO BUILD ON!

This newspaper you are reading is the product of forty years of battling BY people like yourself, FOR people like yourself.

That makes 1963 an important year for the working people of Australia, for on June 22, 1923, there was founded in Sydney by the young Communist Party the Workers’ Weekly, the first mass-circulation weekly Communist newspaper.

Today the Tribune (circulating nationally from Sydney), Guardian (Melbourne) and Queensland Guardian are the descendants of Workers’ Weekly.

Every week they provide for tens of thousands of Australians the only extensive coverage of the activities of the working class and other people for peace, economic gains, liberty and socialism – both in Australia and overseas.

They present the policies and ideas of the Communists, and others who may serve the interests of the working people, concerning the present situation and the future.

They fight for the working people, and against those who harm their interests – monopoly capital and its various agents.


WORKERS’ PRESS TRADITION

The workers of Australia have produced, distributed and supported journals and newspapers that in some way defended them against their exploiters, over many generations.

As far back as 1883, William Lane was publishing a paper in Brisbane (the Boomerang) that was based on socialist ideals.

Later (in 1890), Lane edited the old “Worker”, organ of the Labor Party, but with the motto “Socialism in Our Time”.

LABOUR DAILIES

Trade unions developed journals for their own members. Some of these have a long and glorious history.

The Labor Party in its early years developed various publications, even some daily newspapers, which for a time reflected the militancy of the rising working class. These passed out of existence after they, coming under right-wing or even direct capitalist control ceased to inspire the support of the workers.

The Communist Party of Australia, formed in October, 1920, experienced an initial period of disunity, during which there were two journals – the International Communist (previously International Socialist) and the Communist (previously the Australian Communist).

Following the unification of the Party, the Workers’ Weekly appeared as the central organ on 22nd June 1923 and was developed as a real newspaper of the workers.

During the period to 1939 – and thereafter under the name Tribune – it developed as a truly national newspaper – a feat which no millionaire capitalist newspaper concern of today can equal, since their newspapers circulate only within separate states.

The Communist Press has been written, printed, circulated, sold and financed solely on the basis of the efforts of the working people, and especially the Communists themselves, who have seen it as a priceless weapon of their cause, in the class struggle and the broad movements for peace and democracy.

Tribune has appeared both weekly and bi-weekly, and for a period in illegal form, under the early wartime ban of the Menzies Government. A number of its press workers and sellers have been gaoled.

But it has never failed to tell the story of the struggles of the working people over those forty years, and so its files are the main documentary of the modern Australian working class and people’s movements.


A FEAT TO BE PROUD OF!

Life in Australia has shown that in the conditions of our society and country, only the Communist Party, leading the advanced working class and people, has proved capable of sustaining and developing a truly independent newspaper, embracing all sections of the working people, which serves the true national interests in the struggle for peace, national independence, higher living standards, democracy and socialism.

This is a great feat, of which all working people can be proud. In a country where capitalist monopolisation of press and other propaganda organs is very highly developed, the Communist Press of the working people can prosper and grow as a fighting weapon, despite all difficulties.

That is something that should be constantly explained to those who may be intimidated by the apparent power of big daily newspapers or disillusioned by the disappearance of one-time Labor daily and weekly newspapers.

BIG FUTURE

This 40th anniversary is an occasion for great celebration because it demonstrates that the working class and other progressive people, in Australia as elsewhere, can overcome all obstacles.

They will continue to build and develop their own newspapers and other publications, increase their circulation, quality and size, and will undoubtedly produce also daily newspapers that will live and grow with the working people, serving their interests still more effectively.

The time to begin is now, this anniversary year, this month, even while planning functions to celebrate the forty years’ achievement.

Selling more copies each week – that is the essence of the way forward – for every reader!

How to do it? – that is the question that must be answered. Tribune will, in the coming weeks, publish as many suggestions as possible, put forward by some of the most experienced sellers and supporters.

At this moment, many Communist Party branches and committees have begun special discussions to find the answers, in the workplace or locality that concerns them.

Recently, members of one Sydney waterfront Communist Party branch threw out a challenge that all of them could lift their weekly sales, better than “all comers.”

What do YOU say to that challenge?

By the time the June 22 anniversary comes around, and given the will to do it, friends of Tribune can give a real lift to circulation figures, and lay the basis for a big drive upward in the second half of the year.

That is the way to begin the SECOND forty years of the Communist press – a period that will certainly take Australia a long way towards the socialist transformation and a developed Socialist Society.

Article originally appeared in Tribune March, 1963.

Next article – Women achieve real equality under socialism

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