Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Anti-Revisionism in Australia


Anti-revisionism as an organized force in Australian communism dates to the early 1960s, to a split in the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). During the 1950s, a large number of CPA cadres went to China for extensive training and they returned to Australia heavily influenced by what they had learned. When the Sino-Soviet split became public, a number of Australian Communists quickly sided with the Chinese. By 1963 a split was inevitable and on March 15th of the following year the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA (ML)) was founded. About 200 ex-CPA members, almost all from Melbourne, joined it, including some prominent trade union officials.

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The leading figure in the breakaway group was Edward Fowler (Ted) Hill, a Melbourne barrister who had been Victorian State Secretary of the CPA. Other noted figures were Paddy Malone and Norm Gallagher of the Builders Labourers Federation; Clarrie O’Shea, secretary of the Tramways Union and Ted Bull of the Waterside Workers Federation. Indeed, a group of “rebel unions” inside the Victorian trade union movement coalesced around CPA (ML) leadership. The Building and Construction Workers/Builders’ Labourers’ Federation (BLF), Painters And Dockers Union, Waterside Workers’ Federation, Tramways Union, Clothing Trades Union and twenty-two others, represented a so-called “class struggle” wing of the movement for several years.

During the early 1970s, the CPA (ML) attracted some following among radical students at some Australian universities, notably Monash University and La Trobe University in Melbourne and Flinders University in Adelaide. Students began to challenge university authority and several Maoist students – Albert Langer, Brian Pola, Barry York, Fergus Robinson – were imprisoned for violation of university orders which banned them from campus grounds.

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The CPA (ML) in 1970 initiated a broad mass organization to expand this work – the Worker Student Alliance (WSA). It has been estimated the WSA came to have 500 Melbourne members, with 150 in Adelaide and smaller groups in Sydney and Perth. The WSA’s most notable student leaders were Albert Langer (later a party Vice-Chairman) and Jim Bacon (Bacon later renounced communism and became Labor Premier of Tasmania). Some academic figures, such as the historian Humphrey McQueen also supported CPA (ML) policies, even if they did not become party members.

From the beginning, the CPA (ML) closely followed the Chinese Communist Party line. During the Cultural Revolution, the Party newspaper, The Vanguard called for world revolution, railed against the “modern revisionists” of the Soviet Union and denounced the CPA as “the Aarons revisionist clique.” However, changes in Chinese policy in the early 1970s, particularly after U.S. President Richard Nixon’s visited to Beijing caused major disaffection, particularly among the party’s student following. The Worker-Student Alliance collapsed in 1973 and the party lost its leading position in the student movement.

With the development of the “theory of three worlds,” which the CPA (ML) ardently supported, it began to actively promote “Australian independence” and the need for Australia to join an international front against the two superpowers as the first stage in the struggle for socialism. The CPA (ML) formed the Australian Independence Movement (AIM) and used the blue Eureka Flag as its symbol. AIM attempted to woo “patriotic” sections of the national bourgeoisie to the cause of Australian independence, the struggle against the two superpowers, and increasingly over time, to a campaign against the Soviet Union. This approach led to a split in the party, with those opposed to the direction of the new “nationalist” line leaving in 1978.

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The dissidents formed the Red Eureka Movement (REM) in 1977/1978 with Albert Langer as its leader. REM accepted the need for Australian independence but objected to what it saw as the CPA (ML)’s erroneous strategic line on this question. It accused the CPA (ML) of pursuing a one-sided approach in attacking “Soviet social imperialism”, while ignoring the obvious connections between the Australian State and U.S. imperialism. It was one thing to say the Soviet Union was the rising imperialism, and correct to notice it had interests in Australia, they argued, but it was not the dominant imperialism in the world and certainly not in Australia.

REM also criticized the CPA (ML) for its effective abandonment of the struggle for socialism within the pro-independence movement:

The Independence Movement... is far wider than AIM and similar organizations. The way to build strong, genuinely broad mass organizations for independence is not by watering down our line in the hope that masses will come and join us... but by taking our line of revolutionary Independence and Socialism out to the masses...

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REM formed its own group, the Movement for Independence and Socialism (MIS) to rectify these deficiencies.

During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s various other dissidents left the party or were expelled, founding groups that disagreed with the analysis of the CPA (ML). Supporters of the cultural revolution that left included the Clarrie O’Shea backed Committee to Reconstruct the Communist Party of Australia founded in 1984 and which later changed its name to the Committee for a Revolutionary Communist Party in Australia, and the Marxist Workers Party of Australia. The last major split in 1988 resulted in the formation of the National Preparatory Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Australia by supporters of Norm Gallagher.

Ted Hill’s retirement in 1986 and death in 1988 left the party with no recognized public figure. The current Chairperson of the CPA (ML) is Bruce Cornwall. The party continues to issue The Vanguard but otherwise conducts little visible political activity.

Section Index (in alphabetical order)
Committee in Defense of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought
Committee to Reconstruct the Communist Party
The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) in International Polemics
The Red Eureka Movement
The Struggle Against Revisionism in the Communist Party of Australia, 1962-1963

Historical Works and Background Materials

Maoism in Australia by Bernie Taft

Melbourne's Maoists: The Rise of the Monash University Labor Club 1965-67 by Daniel Robins

Builders of communism, A report on the 21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, by E. F. Hill

“Victory Over the Hill Group ” by Ralph Gibson [from his My Years in the Communist Party, 1966]

Differences in the Communist Movement: Views of the Communist Party of Australia by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Australia

Fascism and the Left [What about the degeneration of communist parties holding no power?]

What Kind of Party? Marxism and Revisionism in Australia by Brenda Kellaway

Primary Documents

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The Struggle Against Revisionism in the Communist Party of Australia, 1962-1963

Speech of E.F. Hill to the Central Committee, Communist Party of Australia, February 1962

From Speech of P. Malone to Victorian Conference, Communist Party of Australia, April 1963

Speech of K.C. Miller to the Victorian State Conference, Communist Party of Australia, April 1963

Letter of E.F. Hill to R. Dixon, Then National President, Communist Party of Australia, dated 9th May 1963

Letter of K. C. Miller to the Central Committee

Clarrie O’Shea’s Letter of Resignation from the Communist Party of Australia (17th April, 1963)

Declaration of Australian Marxist-Leninists

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The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Looking Backward, Looking Forward by E. F. Hill

Review: Looking Backward, Looking Forward by Ted Richmond [in Canadian Revolution]

“Australian Communist” on Complete Break with Revisionism [Peking Review, February 5, 1965]

International Communist Unity Imperative by E. F. Hill [Peking Review, February 26, 1965]

On the Struggle for a Principled Marxist Stand [Peking Review, February 26, 1965]

C.P.S.U. Leaders Persist in Khrushchov’s Line [Peking Review, #21, 1965]

Australian “Vanguard”: C.P.S.U. Leaders’s Revisionist Intrigues Become Clearer [Peking Review, #33, 1965]

All Marxist-Leninists Will Repudiate the Soviet Revisionists by E. F. Hill [Peking Review, #15, 1966]

Why There Cannot be Unity with the Modern Revisionists [1966]

China’s Cultural Revolution Is a Crushing Blow Against Imperialism and Revisionism [Peking Review, #39, 1966]

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Mass Understanding of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought is Necessary by P. Malone [Peking Review, #40, 1966]

China’s Great Cultural Revolution Strikes Terror into U.S. Imperialism and Soviet Revisionism by E. F. Hill [Peking Review, #41, 1966]

The Struggle Against Revisionism Involves the Fate of the Peoples of the Whole World by E. F. Hill [Peking Review, #42, 1966]

“Vanguard” Exposes Soviet Revisionists as Serving U.S. Imperialism [Peking Review, #7, 1967]

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung Welcomed [Peking Review, #7, 1967]

Chairman Mao Is the Greatest Marxist-Leninist by E. F. Hill [Peking Review, April 21, 1967]

E.F. Hill’s Speech to University Students on China’s Proletarian Cultural Revolution

China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution Establishes the Supremacy of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought by E. F. Hill [Peking Review, September 8, 1967]

Australian Communists Expose Revisionist Views of North Korean Leaders

Chairman Mao Is the Greatest Genius of Marxism-Leninism of the Present Era by E. F. Hill [Peking Review, January 19, 1968]

Chairman Mao Has Raised Marxism-Leninism to an Entirely New Stage by E. F. Hill [Peking Review, #14, 1968]

King’s Murder Exposes Duplicity of U.S. Rulers

Phony Peace Talks

Comrade E.F. Hill Praises Chinese P.L.A. Founded And Led Personally by Chairman Mao [Peking Review, #33, 1968]

Khrushchevites Back-Peddle on Stalin

Comrades Chen Po-ta and Kang Sheng Hold Talks With Comrade Hill [Peking Review, #48, 1968]

Conversation Between Mao Zedong and E.F. Hill, November 28, 1968

Chairman Mao Meets Comrade Hill [Peking Review, December 6, 1968]

Revisionist Treachery Against Vietnamese

Democracy For Whom? by E. F. Hill

Integrating Mao Tse-tung’s Thought With Revolutionary Practice in Australia [Peking Review, #10, 1969]

Study Mao Tsetung Thought by Integrating It With Revolutionary Practice of Australia [Peking Review, #1, 1970]

Study of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought Must Be Enhanced [Peking Review, #19, 1970]

World’s People Warmly Acclaim Chairman Mao’s Solemn Statement [Peking Review, #22, 1970]

Study Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought More Intensely [Peking Review, #46, 1970]

Oppose supplies for Japanese militarism’s war preparations [1971]

Economic crisis in Australia [1971]

Continuing Revolution by Stages [1971]

It is Right to Rebel Against Reactionaries [1971]

Trotskyism and Revisionism. Teachers by Negative Example [1972]

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Australia’s Revolution: On the Struggle for a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party by E. F. Hill

Some articles on striving for Marxism-Leninism in Australia [1974]

Combating wrong tendencies is a Marxist principle [1974]

A guide to people’s struggle for an independent Australia [1974]

Soviet Social-Imperialist Expansion in Indian Ocean [Peking Review, #9, 1974]

Greeting 10th Anniversary of Founding of Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) [Peking Review, #12, 1974]

Australian revisionists in deep trouble by the October League (Marxist-Leninist)

Imperialism in Australia. The Menance of Soviet Social-Imperialism by E. F. Hill

Comrade Wang Hung-wen Meets Comrades Hill and Bull [Peking Review, #10, 1976]

People’s Mass Movement For Independence Grows – Certain To Get Marxist-Leninist Leadership

Modern Revisionism Main Danger In Working Class

Sinister Activities Here of Brezhnev Clique Begin to Surface More

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Detente Splits Capitalist Class – Fight Appeasement of Soviet Social–Imperialism

A Capitalist Parliament Will Give People No Benefits. Mass Struggle for People’s Power Only Solution to Crisis

The “Two Lines” Came Out Clearly in this Year’s May Day Demonstrations

The Dangerous Game of Appeasing Soviet Social-Imperialism

A Bird’s Eye View Of Soviet Social-Imperialism’s Activity In Australia

Comrade Hill and Wife in China [Peking Review, December 10, 1976]

1976 Shows Way For 1977 – Towards A People’s Republic

Resist And Expose Soviet Imperialism

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’Workers, Working and Patriotic People’ Expresses Content of United Front

Imperialism is “Undeveloping” Australia

Struggles of the People Sweeping Past Phoneys

Chairman Hua Meets and Fetes Chairman E. F. Hill [Peking Review, December 17, 1976]

Class Struggle within the Communist Parties. Defeat of Gang of Four Great Victory for World Proletariat. Some Experiences by E. F. Hill

Comrade Hill’s Letter to Comrade Hua Kuo-feng [Peking Review, March 11, 1977]

The People Can Never Be Repressed – Defeat New Penal Powers

Chairman Mao Tsetung Stands On the Pinnacle of History – Excerpts from an Article by Comrade E. F. Hill [Peking Review, August 19, 1977]

The Great Cause of Australian Independence by E. F. Hill

Australian “Vanguard”: Unite All Marxist-Leninists in Oceania [Peking Review, April 7, 1978]

’Seek truth from facts’ – The heart of material dialectics [from The Australian Communist #103 (January-February 1981]

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Is Mao Zedong a fallen idol? [from The Australian Communist #103 (January-February 1981]

The current situation and some issues concerning the work of the CPA (M-L)

Defence should be the concern and property of the Australian people

Uniting theory and practice demands study of classics and of our history [from The Australian Communist #113 (October-November 1982]

The Sixth National Congress of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Provisional General Programme of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Revolutionary unity is the great goal of workingclass

Mao Zedong’s unique contributions to the international cause by E. F. Hill

Condolences from the Communist Party of China [On the death of E.F. Hill]

Statement of Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist): Socialism Guarantees the Extension of People’s Democratic Freedom

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The Struggle for National Independence – Uniting the Australian People [1988]

Communism and Australia. Reflections and Reminiscences by E. F. Hill

Central Committee Report to the Seventh National Congress of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Draft General Programme Adopted at the Seventh National Congress

CPA (ML) Delegation Visits China

Attempts to Bury Marxism Doomed to Failure

Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) 12th Congress Report, June 2009

Programme of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) [Adopted at the 12th Congress in 2009]

13th National Congress Resolution on China

Periodicals

The Australian Communist, Issues #1-10

The Australian Communist, October-December 2010

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The Communist Party of Australia (M-L) in International Polemics

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Unions: Capitalist or Workers’ Organizations? by the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Workers Must Fight to End Capitalism by N. Sanmugathasan

Unions Are Not Static by Arne Swabeck

Once More on Trade Unions by the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Unions and Revolution by the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Don’t Abandon the Workers: Trade Unions Are ’Schools for Communism’ by Walter Linder

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Red Eureka Movement

Floating with the Tide is a Revisionist Principle. (A criticism of E.F. Hill’s pamphlet “Class Struggle Within the Communist Parties)

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Letter the Central Committee, Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Red Eureka Movement

Draft Resolution on Tactics

Draft resolutions Submitted to R.E.M. Conference of December 3, 1978

MAYDAY! – SOS! – MAYDAY! – SOS! – MAYDAY! – SOS! [leaflet]

The Rebel #1

The Rebel! #2

The Rebel! #3

The Rebel! #4

The Rebel! #5

The Rebel! #6

The Rebel! Vol. 2, #1

The Rebel! Vol. 2, #3

Discussion Bulletin #1 [containing Alan Ward’s “Three Worlds”]

Discussion Bulletin #2

’It’s only rock ’n’ roll – or is it?’ [from the Discussion Bulletin of the Red Eureka Movement, November 1980]

Revolution, The Only Solution to Unemployment

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Committee in Defense of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought

Bulletin of the Committee in Defense of Marxism-Leninism Mao Tsetung Thought [1983]

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Committee to Reconstruct the Communist Party

Today is May Day – International Worker’s Day! [1986]

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