- The Guardian
- Issue #2017
On the 22-24th July, comrades from across the country from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Canberra, and Queensland met in Sydney to learn about everything from dialectical materialism to trade union activity.
On Friday, the National School had its opening night. The opening night was the pamphlet launch of the 2022 edition of Communists and the Trade Unions by former Socialist Party of Australia President and stalwart of the labour movement Jack McPhillips. Hosted by Assistant President of the NSW State Committee Franc Stregone, the opening night featured speeches from CPA Assistant General Secretary David Matters (reprinted on page six), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Deputy National Secretary Warren Smith, and MUA Veterans National Secretary Jimmy Donovan. Each comrade not only spoke to the importance of communist work in the trade unions but also to the example of McPhillips’ legacy. The event was hosted at the MUA Hall and live-streamed on the CPA FB page, utilising – for the first time – broadcasting software that elevated the Party’s production quality to previously unseen levels. Such was the level of professionalism of the event that the NSW State Committee was receiving order requests during the live-stream!
Saturday started with a session on the examination of The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism written by V. I. Lenin. The session was led by Matters, who not only carefully explained the nature of dialectics but concretised these ideas within the context of class struggle. Matters approached the material through the lens of a working-class thinker, allowing many to give serious consideration to theory and practice. As a result, a large part of the focus was on explaining the capitalist mode of production. The second session of the day was a panel entitled Communists in the Workplace and the Union Movement. It featured rank-and-file members, organisers, and elected officials. There was diversity in industries, too, from the public transport, Maritime, the public sector, warehousing, and healthcare sector, each speaker talked about the particular difficulties they faced and tactics they developed. Despite their different work environments, they all had one common aim: how to immediately benefit working conditions and pay. It doesn’t matter if you call yourself communist/unionist/worker. You prove yourself in deed, not in theory, by winning tangible gains. Comrades throughout the room contributed their experiences to bolster the discussion.
Sunday started with a deep analysis of dialectical materialism by Australian Marxist Review board member Roland Boer. Boer not only spoke to the history of dialectical materialism but also highlighted how deeply embedded in nature and how it was applied to political economy and revolutionary struggle. Boer’s delivery was incredibly accessible and insightful with comrades enthusiastically asking questions and using their own examples to understand the more complex points. The final session was dedicated to an examination of the key parts of the CPA’s Constitution, in particular, what duties we have as members of the Party and what can be done to build socialism.
The weekend allowed comrades and prospective members from across the country to come together, often meeting for the first time in person. After the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an immense feeling of elation and a sense of unity that simply can’t be replicated online.