The Guardian • Issue #2030

Canberra Branch attends PRC Poverty Alleviation Seminar

If you’re looking to alleviate poverty, there’s no better place to look for guidance than the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Their sheer volume of experience is unmatched – and the runners-up don’t even come close.

Mass organisation and mobilisation of workers under the socialist leadership of the now 98-million-strong Communist Party of China (CPC has seen extreme poverty (defined by the UN as per capita income of less than US$2 a day) eradicated within the country. Close to eight hundred million people have risen from general poverty. Seventy percent of global poverty eradication since 1949 has occurred within China.

On 22nd October, comrades from the Canberra branch of the CPA were welcomed into the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to attend a youth seminar on poverty alleviation. They were joined by postgraduate students from the city’s universities. This coincided with the end of Australia’s Anti-Poverty Week, occurring five days after the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. It also, by chance, overlapped with the CPC’s 20th National Congress.

Ambassador H E Xiao Qian opened the event and gave insight to the history of the CPC’s fight against poverty as well as its coming trajectory. The PRC has successfully attained its first centenary goal (that being the centenary of the CPC’s founding in 1921) of achieving a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Its second centenary goal (marking the centenary of the PRC’s founding in 1949) is to build a fully modernised socialist country. It aims to have all the basic development requirements for this goal met in 2035.

This will require a massive mobilisation of the entire Chinese working class and strong, ideologically determined leadership. It will not be easy. Mistakes have been and will be made. But history has shown that the proletariat of China is up to the task.

Dignitaries from the embassy spoke of different aspects of China’s recent poverty alleviation efforts. Particular attention was placed on policy direction both at a national and hyper-local level. Alleviating poverty is a series of millions of individual person-to-person acts, often requiring years of sustained effort. Stories were shared about individual workers’ impacts on those around them.

Other dignitaries spoke about how the PRC’s education system is targeted at poverty reduction (particularly within poorer rural areas) and about the impacts that individual teachers have had on their students’ lives, and how these actions have rippling effects throughout time and space. Scientific and technological advancements were also highlighted – particularly in the fields of renewable energy and advanced telecommunications.

The Canberra branch of the CPA was then invited to present on the history of our party and its efforts in poverty alleviation within Australia. Our branch president and secretary both spoke. A general overview of the state of poverty in our country was provided. In particular focus was the much greater impact of poverty amongst our First Nations peoples – stemming from Australia’s continued status as a settler colony founded on mass-genocide.

Our party’s achievements are on a much different scale to the CPC’s, but it was a welcome opportunity to discuss the present state of the organised working class within Australia. Party efforts within the trade unions, the unemployed workers’ movement, and within housing campaigns were discussed, looking at both past and present as well as our future aspirations.

Although our material situations are vastly dissimilar and out of necessity we must pursue unique paths (and offer criticism of one another along the way), our goal is one in the same; communism. Working together and engaging in genuine dialogue can greatly galvanise our will. This extends both ways. Our friends in the CPC, especially those who reside in Australia, are watching the actions of communists in the pre-socialist nations and are gaining a deeper appreciation that the communist path is the only genuine way forward. Mass movements must always be in a constant state of revitalisation – and said revitalisation can also be inspired from beyond national borders.

Doctoral candidates from Canberra universities offered presentations. These overviewed poverty alleviation efforts within the ASEAN nations, as well as Brazil and India. Even in non-socialist nations, one theme was evident; the most successful, most radical poverty alleviation drives are all dependent on mass organisation of working people toward a unified goal. Concessions granted from on high are taken away just as easily.

Following the seminar, guests were given a tour of the embassy (including the rarely opened ambassador’s residence) and its many cultural artefacts and artworks. Further discussions were had and fraternal connections made over lunch.

Our branch once again extends our sincerest gratitude towards our comrades in the embassy for their warm hospitality.

As this author has noted before, our branch’s location amongst the national capital’s many diplomatic postings offers great opportunity for dialogue and cooperation with friendly parties.

Proletarian internationalism must guide our every action. Imperialism is a hydra with many, many heads. The struggle for communism is universal. It cannot be led by one country alone.

We look forward to making greater and deeper connections with our international comrades – not only from China, but the world as a whole. We encourage them to keep in touch.

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