- by Graham Holton
- The Guardian
- Issue #2035
In November, the Brisbane Branch held its CPA National Party School. It began with a Trivia night on Friday, at the Labour Trades Hall in South Brisbane. The money raised went to help the running costs of the branch. The Trivia night was organised by Casey and a recent member, Minami. It was a fun night for all.
Saturday was held in the Junction Hotel in Annerley. The day’s programme was delivered by Christian. His talk was on “Building the Party of the New Type in the Australian Context.” Christian discussed the winning position of the Vanguard of the working class and the importance of uniting with the working class. To achieve this the Communist Party must apply the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the local context. The Party of the new type focuses on the Vanguard using our press and publications to organise party membership. The strategy is to form a united front of the workers and progressive forces around the Party, implementing effective solutions in everyday life. The position of the Vanguard of the workers must be won in practice, not declared in abstract. Winning trust and credibility are critical.
Groups discussed whether the Party at present does have the credibility needed. Mass work connects the Party to the workers, increasing credibility and practical experience for the members. It gains respectability for the Party, politically. There are no short cuts, just hard prolonged work. The organisation of militant workers places pressure on them to be elected into the union’s leadership.
The CPA grew the shop stewards’ network that brought large numbers of workers to the picket lines, thereby gaining credibility for the Party. The workers must be drawn into the struggle and through unity and organisation they will obtain their immediate goals. If they do not do this their struggle will perish, for agitation and propaganda are insufficient. All CPA branches must organise to facilitate Party building, to integrate their lives with the workers. They must have a clear area of work where there are clear expectations of demonstrable activity, with demonstrable results.
On Sunday, David gave a talk on “Communist Theory and Practice of Trade Unionism.” He used Lance Sharkey’s The Trade Unions: Communist Theory and Practice of Trade Union which is published by the Party. David related his own experiences in the Transport Workers’ Union to demonstrate the successes of his union and how it has obtained better conditions for workers. The development of the working class and its organisations is a historical process. The contract between capital and labour is never on equal terms with the only social power the workers possess is their number, united. This power is broken when workers are not united. Trade Unions form centres of organisation of the working class and these are important as organised agencies for superseding the system of wages, labour and capital as found in the capitalist system. Trade unions must aid every social and political movement that seeks complete emancipation of the workers. David then went through the history of the trade union movement in Australia and the impact of the Russian Revolution. Each member of the Party must be a practical trade unionist, mastering the EBA (Enterprise Bargaining Agreement) and know the acts and safety legislation as applied to your union. They must know the union rule book, its history and be financial. They must understand the rules of debate, learn how to conduct a meeting and how to deliver a good speech. We must study the problem of members, the political economy of the industry you work in, and especially, learn how to lead and unite follow workers.
We thank Christian and David for delivering their exciting talks and for all those who could attend.