- by Oliver Neu
- The Guardian
- Issue #2084
CPA General Secretary, Andrew Irving, addressing the Organising Conference.
On the weekend of 19-21 January, the CPA hosted an organising conference that brought together comrades from across the country in Sydney on Gadigal Country. The central theme of the conference was ‘unity in action.’
The conference kicked off with a public event commemorating the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s death, delving into the enduring legacy of his works and their contemporary relevance. During the initial day of the conference, party cadre participated in workshops covering a diverse array of party work. The conference also heard an inspiring speech from, and a tribute to comrade Jimmy Donovan, a 68-year Party veteran, as well as contributions from the Unified Communist Party of Georgia delegate and a visiting comrade from the Danish Communist Party.
One discussion group focused on party organisation, exploring topics such as the role of finance, experiences in establishing new party centres, and the pivotal role of education. The discussions were productive and insightful, touching upon successes and challenges encountered in building the party. A need to find funding streams outside the party, to broaden the recruitment net (including recruiting more actively within unions and universities), and the utility of public-facing events for new branches were covered.
Another session centred on peace and environmental movements. Comrades engaged in criticism and self-criticism, scrutinising the party’s actions in this space. Emphasis was placed on elevating party work in these areas to organise movements along anti-imperialist and climate justice lines.
The Peace and Environment panel looked squarely at the world and local situation. Remembering that the US has been at war for 93 per cent of its history, comrades looked at campaigns for Peace and Social Justice, and how these issues relate to environmental concerns as well as the campaign for Indigenous Treaty and Land rights, and Palestinian self-determination and peace. 2023 and years before that were challenging years, 2024 is not going to be any better, when it comes to wars and destruction.
Comrades committed to being involved and active with the Anti-AUKUS campaign and were reminded to support the effort by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) to put pressure on the Labour government to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
We need to campaign for reductions in military spending. The more our government spends on the military and is involved with US wars the less funding there will be for other important social spending and our environment.
There was also a session addressing the role of party workers in the trade union movement. The discussion highlighted recent campaign activities, and outlined general principles for organising within trade unions. The panel underscored the importance of ground-up, rank-and-file organising, emphasising that respect is earned through exceptional work and effective organising, insulating party members from attacks based on their party affiliation. A long-term goal identified was the need to re-politicise unions to engage in militant struggle and break class collaboration.
The comrades reconvened to discuss the party press and media more broadly. The conversation was constructive, encouraging all comrades to contribute content, from suggested topics to complete articles and everything in between (including rough drafts).
A dedicated workshop on recruitment and retention identified the need for ‘active recruitment’ and the importance of building the party amongst demographics who might hesitate to contact the party directly.
Following the conference, comrades participated in a Palestinian rally in solidarity. The overall consensus was that the conference served as a successful forum where cadre came together to share experiences and foster unity for the year ahead.