- The Guardian
- Issue #1984
Below are some of the first policies adopted by the SPA at its first congress in October, 1972. As you can see, the Party’s progressive platform is as relevant then as it is today.
– PEACE –
The SPA declares that imperialism is the breeding ground of war and that the ending of imperialism is essential to man’s need for a world of durable peace. At the same time, the SPA stands for building the broadest national and international peace movement calling for peaceful co-existence and peaceful competition between nations of differing political and economic systems as an essential alternative to military confrontations and outbreak of war.
- A scaling down of Defence Department expenditure.
- Opposition to any nuclear armament by Australia. Ending of all nuclear tests above and below ground, total nuclear disarmament and destruction of all nuclear weapon stockpiles.
- Australian foreign policy to be based on the principles of peaceful co-existence between nations having different political and economic systems.
– IMMEDIATE ISSUES –
Immediate issues for working-class unity in action include inadequate wages, continuing price rises, high-level taxation, inadequate social · services, continued high-level unemployment, inadequate education services, pollution of the environment, likely further involvement in war and threats to democratic rights. These problems are aggravated by a state of continuing economic crisis which is beyond the capacity of the government to solve. There is need to strengthen trade union and workplace organisation and to use a variety of forms of action including strike action.
– WOMEN –
The SPA stands unequivocally for full equality of women in every sphere of modern society. Women’s position has been an inferior one since the advent of classes. Only the joint united class struggles of men and women can win socialism, the basic requirement. for the emancipation of women. Under socialism, equal pay and opportunities in all spheres have become an accepted part of life. In Australia, as in most countries, increased attention to women’s position in society flows from the increasing number of women in the workforce. There is need for increased struggle, including job action for equal pay. There was need to develop women to play a prominent part in the – trade union movement as well as the Socialist Party itself. Other needs are:
- The right to job and educational opportunities, including the availability of apprenticeship and technical training.
- Pre-school, after school and holiday child-care facilities.
- Paid maternity leave.
- Extension of family planning clinics, financed by the government.
- Contraceptives to be free of sales tax. Legal abortions to be available.
– INDIGENOUS PEOPLES –
The Socialist Party declares its support for Aboriginal peoples fighting to preserve and develop their own languages and cultures, for the possession of their tribal lands and the mineral wealth in those lands. Aboriginal people should be free to choose whether to live in Aboriginal Communities or as part of the non-Aboriginal community. They should enjoy equal rights with other Australians – industrially, politically and socially. The SPA stands for unity between the Aboriginal movement, the labour movement and all progressive forces. The Party places emphasis upon the winning of Aboriginal peoples to the working-class struggle against monopoly and for a socialist Australia. It declares that Aboriginal workers must be seen above all as members of the Australian working class, fighting with all workers against monopoly capitalism.
The Socialist Party of Australia (SPA) was formed on the 5th of December, 1971. The following year, it published its first newspaper simply titled SPA. In making the announcement of its formation, the Party stated that:
“[…] [P]eople may ask; ‘Why the need for a new revolutionary Party? What has happened to the CPA?’
It is no secret that an open struggle has been going on in the CPA for a number of years against the present leadership which has deserted the teachings of scientific socialism, moved away from the working-class and based itself on radical-power movements and upon a sect known as Trotskyism. The CPA leaders abandoned development of working class united action adopting instead, divisive policies and tactics which weakened the struggles of the trade unions, the peace movement, and other progressive organisations. Its policies have become so hostile to the world socialist system and the communist movement that it is politically isolated internationally.
The lesson to be learnt is that a revolutionary party can exist and grow only if it bases itself on scientific socialism and is committed to the concrete issues facing the working people.” The SPA’s scientific analysis ultimately proved correct. The SPA, now CPA, still exists, fighting for the working class and oppressed masses, while the old CPA liquidated in 1991 when it proved no longer to be a viable, left-wing alternative. It has since transformed into the democratic socialist think tank, the SEARCH Foundation.
The SPA held its first congress on the 2nd of October, 1972. Its radical platform is still as relevant today as it was fifty years ago, highlighting the accurate scientific analysis of Marxism-Leninism. The Party has stood firm on these issues, never wavering, and has been present in the trade unions, the peace movement, Indigenous struggle, climate movement, among other spaces.
In 2021, we have seen renewed growth in our Party as the ailments of capitalism worsen. We will continue to fight for socialism, for equality, for the working masses. The struggle, comrades, is just beginning!