CPA Congress maps a path
The Communist Party's 9th Congress was launched on Easter Friday evening with a packed hall meeting in Sydney. Party delegates from across Australia and many Party friends from Sydney listened to fine speeches by the Party's General Secretary, Peter Symon, CPA President, Dr Hannah Middleton, the National Secretary of the MUA, Paddy Crumlin and Aboriginal activist Kevin Tory. Andrew Jackson presented a greeting on behalf of the Communist Youth of Australia. The meeting was chaired by Steve Gibson, a Central Committee member from Victoria, who welcomed representatives from the Embassies of the People's Republic of China, Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Lao People's Democratic Republic as well as the representatives of trade unions and a number of community and solidarity organisations. The program commenced with Glen Doyle playing the didgeridoo and the audience was welcomed to Aboriginal land by Kevin Tory of the Trade Union Committee on Aboriginal Rights. The recently formed choir of the Communist Youth of Australia entertained as did the El Salaam Group who presented a very enjoyable selection of progressive Arabic music. In an impassioned keynote address Dr Hannah Middleton said: "We are living in exciting times. I am sure you have felt the pulse of it, as resistance grows to corporate greed and the political and economic powers of the transnational corporations — the clothes that capitalism wears today. "Many people are no longer just dreaming about a better world — they are doing something about it. "What is forcing people into resistance today?", she asked. "The transnational corporations condemn millions of people to lives of poverty, hunger and sickness; they destroy food to keep prices high; they make super-profits from the sweat and blood of child labour; they go to war against people struggling for progress and independence; they savagely attack democratic rights; they abuse and exploit indigenous peoples; they impoverish women, plunder the world's forests, minerals, oil and other resources; they cause massive, often irreversible ecological damage. "In the Communist Party we have a vision of an alternative to the political and economic system of the TNCs. Our aim is a world without transnational corporations. "Publicly owned enterprises must play a major role in the economy. In our vision of an alternative society, the purpose of the economy must be to fulfil people's needs, not to produce ever-increasing wealth for private corporations. We are working to finally replace the capitalist system with a socialist one", she said. "The real challenge to the power of the TNCs comes from the people, from actions of the trade unions, environmental organisations, small farmers, Aboriginal communities, people fighting against privatisation, for their local schools and hospitals. "All these movement have to link up to form a united national political alliance. Alliances are effective and powerful and can create enthusiasm and win considerable support. "In the Communist Party we are committed to building the unity, the breadth and the power of the growing resistance movement. We are dedicated to developing the resistance into the revolutionary movement that can and will make this 21st Century the century of socialism", she concluded to rousing applause. Peter Symon in a short address said that the CPA is a working class party. "Workers build the world, they make what we have and have to save the world from impoverishment, unemployment, war, degradation and racism." He asked the question: "What is the Communist Party on about?" He answered: "It is about doing things for people and making life better. It's about stopping individual contracts and sackings, winning better wages and health and safety conditions. It's about solidarity with Cuba and aid to Ireland and the children of Iraq. It's about peace and independence for our country and others like Bougainville, East Timor and West Papua. We are internationalists." He continued: "But that's only a beginning. We workers are builders, creators, nurses, those who work at home, the women, the youth, the migrants who are not yet the owners of our country. "We make all sorts of things but do not own them, we work the land and toil for the banks, we build big buildings, buses, cars, mine the coal, but we do it for others who lick the cream. "What we want is very simple — we call it socialism". He concluded: "There is power in the workers, power in the unions, power in our ideas because it's simple, it's truth, it's freedom, it is the workers' own New World Order." Paddy Crumlin presented best wishes to the CPA Congress. He said that corporate greed had never been so institutionalised. The catchcry of the corporations, the IMF, World Bank and WTO is the rights of the individual. The ruling class he said, tells us that there is no class, but any opposition is reviled. It claims that Marxism is dead, socialism has expired. People want social justice and national sovereignty. Marx gave us a vision to reach our ultimate potential in peace, compassionately and co-operatelively, said Mr Crumlin. "Our collective challenge is to realise our potential" and "to work together to achieve that", Mr Crumlin concluded. The opening night function was followed by three day's of discussion and the finalisation of the Political Resolution which is a substantial statement of the Party's analysis and policies in the present Australian and world situation. Peter Symon presented a report on the work of the Central Committee over the last four years and this was followed by an introduction to the Political Resolution by Anna Pha, CC member and editor of The Guardian. Congress endorsed both reports and adopted the Political Resolution. It also elected a new Central Committee. A number of special resolutions were adopted dealing with the Party's approach to the coming Federal elections, about building the Party in the workplace and in the trade union movement (see page 8), and supporting a conference later this year to formally establish the Communist Youth of Australia. Other resolutions called to stop US National Missile Defence Plans and condemned the plans to hold giant US-Australia military exercises called Tandem Thrust. Another resolution called for maximum encouragement and assistance to women members to enable them to participate fully in party life.