- The Guardian
- Issue #2075
One hundred and three years of the workers’ struggle and counting. 30th October is the anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Australia. On 30th October in 1920, about 13 people met, inspired by the then-recent Russian Revolution. Those people wanted justice, and power for the working people who make up the majority of the population, and produce all of the wealth of the country. That struggle continues today.
There have been many ups and downs since then, and this is no time for a history lesson. There have been a lot of firsts. The Communist Party of Australia was the first political party to commit to full rights for Aboriginal people, and has continued to fight for that cause ever since, as witnessed by our vigorous campaign for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. The CPA was instrumental in the fight against sending pig iron to the Japanese military dictatorship in the run-up to World War II, at a time when Australia was run by Peter Dutton’s fascism-friendly predecessor Robert Menzies. The Party also pointed out that the Spanish Civil War was acting as a dress rehearsal for Hitler.
Since that meeting in 1920, communist countries put the first men and women in space, achieved victories against the world’s dominant super power in Vietnam, China, Korea, and Cuba, lifted millions out of poverty, and inspired millions more.
The Communist Party of Australia is going strong today. New Party branches have opened in NSW, the ACT, South Australia, and Queensland, and new members are applying to the Party every week.
Party members are active in unions, the Peace Movement, refugee protection, the fight for public housing and for tenants rights, and the environmental movement.
Others are in those movements too. CPA members work constructively with other people for progressive causes, and bring to those causes an awareness of the class nature of Australia. We are informed by Marx’s understanding of class relations, and of the nature of capital.
Recently some Party members in Melbourne, campaigning for the Voice to Parliament, were accused by a passer-by of being “authoritarian and utopian.” The Communist Party of Australia is neither. We have a vigorous internal discussions in which members have not only the right to their own opinions, but have an obligation to share those opinions. As for being ‘utopian,’ we are realists, seeing clearly the actual conditions people labor under, rather than being the kind of realists who look at the world as it is in one moment and conclude that nothing can be changed.
103 years is a long time, but the Communist Party of Australia is needed now more than ever. Capital and free markets have had things their way for decades. This means that generations have grown up thinking that a society in which the free market is idolised is the natural state of things. Free market ideology has brought the world to where it is now; with massive inequality, workers casualised and powerless, and with an ongoing Climate Crisis that threatens to make this planet uninhabitable.
Things can be different, and a better world is possible.
In the Guardian each week, many of our articles show how people are working to change things. A lot of those articles end with a link to causes you can join or donate to.
As well as those calls to action, there is the Communist Party of Australia itself. Have a look at our website, get informed, get active, and support or join the CPA!