The Guardian • Issue #2044

We must win the battle of ideas

Working people around the capitalist world have been hit hard from the employer class. Capitalists will always look at how to improve profit margins from workers’ labour. The employer class also invests massive resources trying to win the battle of ideas.

They use mass and social media with this objective. The working class and its vanguard must win this battle to raise and build class consciousness and class power.

One of the key tasks is to change the language. Like the rest of society, left and progressive forces are subjected to the language of the oppressor and sometimes we succumb to the trap of using the same language to confront the challenge.

For example, in recent times the CPA has been campaigning for a budget for peace. This raises the concepts of defence and militarism. In the battle of ideas, working people are passively whipped by government and mass media propaganda that the huge military budget is necessary for their security and defence. People remember the old doctrine of the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) set up to defend our shores.

However, this has changed and more and more often the ADF are becoming inter-operational with the US forces under their command in offensive actions that have nothing to do with Australia’s defence and security.

For some time now the ADF has no longer had the purpose of defending the country against any possible “invasion” but has been reset to become an increasingly dangerous and destabilising threat in the region. The Pivot to the Asia-Pacific and the exorbitant military budget have become an offensive force, particularly so with the US Alliance at the centre of its doctrine, and most recently with the AUKUS and QUAD treaties and the proposed acquisition of nuclear submarines and the militarisation of Australia’s north.

Our campaign for a peace budget should bring people together under the banner that to give peace a chance it needs a budget. We aim to raise awareness to bring enough pressure on the government to stop the AUKUS treaty and its enormous $270 billion militaristic budget projected for the next five years. That money should be funding for people’s health, housing, and education. No more money for war, peace deserves a budget.

Workplaces have also changed. Workers’ wages and conditions have been undermined and the right to organise is not guaranteed. Workers have no right to withdraw their labour and union officials face many restrictions put in place to control access to workplaces.

The last 15 years have seen the most militant sections of the trade unions severely hit with heavy fines and some officials avoided prison terms only on technicalities. The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) was well funded to persecute CFMEU members and officials. It went through a name change under the Gillard Labor government but the union continued to be penalised under Labour’s Fair Work Act.

The recent IR changes got rid of the ABCC and the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) but their functions and funding were allocated to the Fair Work Commission so we can only assume that those anti-worker attacks will continue.

It is not enough to say that as communists we have the correct political line and policies. We know that socialism means democracy for working people but we need to convince workers and bring them along. We need to use a language that workers will grab and make it their own.

To win the battle of ideas we need to be involved in workers’ struggles and bring to them a class perspective; if it is good for workers, it is good for their families, and the rest of society.

I have just put some examples but much more including interest rates can be added to the list. The Reserve Bank of Australia has raised interest rates nine consecutive times since May 2022 but workers’ incomes failed to keep up.

There is no consideration given to the obscene profits reported by corporations which clearly are the main source for inflation. The banks have also reported an increase to their profit margins forecasting $33 billion profit this year. The people however, struggle with their mortgages and rents on incomes that do not stretch enough to last until the next pay.

The big question for communists is how to convince workers that the system of exploitation must end and that it is their labour that creates wealth and that the benefits of that wealth should be for them and their families.

How can we convince workers that they have the power to change the current system of exploitation? Workers need to develop class consciousness and unite as a class to win the battle of ideas. We must discuss these questions and find ways to win this crucial battle to ensure workers support and walk with us to start resolving their immediate demands and ultimately end the system of exploitation.

Finally, we must bring workers to a position of support against the arms race that robs the working class of a crucial $270 billion plus that could be used to bring real security to families. These funds could be employed to start addressing the climate crisis, disaster relief, rehabilitation, and planning/adaption for preventing future disasters and to provide education, health, and housing. This will require bringing to an end the war preparations that will never deliver anything for working people. Only the organised working class and a strong Communist Party can stop this nightmare. Consider joining the CPA today.

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