Published: Australian Communist January-February 1989.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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The Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) is held at a time of great restlessness in the working-class and other patriotic people. That restlessness arises through disillusionment at the failure of Labor Party leaders and trade union leaders to resist imperialism. Imperialism, operating within the general laws of capitalism, takes great toll on the living standards of most Australian people.
The federal Labor government has administered this system of exploitation for the multinationals.
Fraser was tossed aside by the multinationals in favour of the Hawke leadership with its class collaboration of the accords, two tiers, privatisation and now restructuring thrusts. These concepts have dominated the ideological leadership of many organisations of workers and other sections of the people.
This leadership has been at odds with the experience of workers who wish to fight back against the attacks upon them.
Australian capitalism has been in much greater difficulty since early in the ’eighties. The foreign debt skyrocketed. Speculation is rife.
There has been unfettered access to Australia for foreign capital, Further inroads have been made on the limited independence Australia had won.
The rivalry of US imperialism with Japanese and European (including British) imperialisms is more directly experienced in Australian society. It has also meant that the Australian working class and other Australians feel all the instability and recession of the international scene The rich have become much richer and the poor poorer.
The essence of the people’s struggles remains the struggle for independence, the defence of living standards, democratic rights and the environment. The ruling class has attacked the working class and others viciously over the period. The struggles over the ID card, the Industrial Relations Bill, the deregistration of the BLF, work practices and contracts at Mudginberri, and SEQEB, the attempts to privatise public resources, trade-offs, the two-tier wage system, the accord, eta, have all arisen from the domination by foreign imperialism over essential areas of Australia’s economic and political life.
US imperialism has had particular problems. Its power and era of predominance are on the wane. US capitalism has gone from the world’s largest creditor in 1980 to the world’s largest debtor in 1986. This led to the export of capital from Australia to the US. The working class and other exploited classes of Australia consequently suffered declining living standards and unemployment.
US imperialist dominance of Australia is under challenge from Japanese and European imperialists who also challenge the US in the Third World countries of Asia as well as grabbing chunks of US capital in its heartland. The US experiences great difficulties in the Philippines and Nicaragua.
The general crisis of capitalism, which at times becomes most acute, is worldwide.
As a result of the struggle between US imperialism and the expansionism of the Soviet Union, massive armed forces, both conventional and nuclear, confront each other across the heart of Europe and North Asia. Millions of troops and tens of weapons remain poised on either side.
As a consequence the two superpowers have been stagnating economically. The last four years have seen a new period of detente emerge. It is how being consolidated. However, there is nothing but people’s struggle to guarantee the continuation of this consolidation. People’s struggle, the struggle of the Third World nations for independence and the development of new rivals have caused great difficulties for the two superpowers.
Third World countries are the biggest victims of the general economic crisis. The inability of capitalism to harness nature with the massive human, technological, and natural resources available has natural resources available has been exposed in many natural calamities in North Africa and the Indian sub-continent. Unemployment, deplorable living standards, starvation, fascist repression and unbearable exploitation dog the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
National liberation struggles have developed to a high stage in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Palestine, Kampuchea, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. Major anti-imperialist, national democratic struggles have a great intensity in much of Africa, Asia and Latin America. The struggle in Azania, (South Africa), Burma, Korea and Chile have been prominent.
In the developed economies many struggles against declining living standards and for independence from domination by the superpowers ebb and flow but are a constant feature of these countries.
The stagnation of the Soviet economy and resistance particularly of the Afghan and Kampuchean people have forced a policy of drawing back, the attempt at consolidation at home, concession in Eastern Europe and in its relations with the US and some yielding to pressure in Afghanistan and Kampuchea.
US imperialism has been forced to consider adopting a policy of attempting to consolidate at home, concessions to the Soviet Union and concentrating on resisting people’s struggles.
This is sought by a mix of concession while stiffly resisting capitulation: for example the destruction of the Marcos regime in the Philippines while promoting military support to the Aquino regime, the stepping away from Pinochet while promoting limited democratic reforms in Chile; and the push for settlement in Angola.
The whole of the capitalist world has undergone “recession” in this period of US imperialism’s decline. Notwithstanding this general decline and challenge from Japanese and European imperialism, US imperialism maintains its overwhelming military superiority over Japan, the UK, West Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands.
Imperialist powers are currently vying for leadership in the Pacific region and for leadership of particular groupings. The Soviet Union, the US and Japan are instigators of such moves. They stand opposed to the peoples in the Pacific area with whom Australian patriots share the goal of opposition to big power domination. Independence forces need to give attention to the development of firm links of people’s friendship between Australia and the region. Efforts to use Australia as an outpost for imperialist aggression in the Pacific must be vigorously opposed.
World-wide, new centres have and are emerging. In spite of inherent instability, the EEC threatens to have more or less developed a cohesive unity by 1992. This very fact calls forth counter-action by other imperialists. The US and Canadian monopolies investigate firmer economic relationships. Japan seeks to promote a zone comprising Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia with itself as leader.
The US further pressures the Philippines. Both Japan and the US pressure Australia.
The Soviet navy prowls this area incessantly. Gorbachev has advanced major proposals for the Pacific/Asia region.
It is in this situation that the imperialists concoct plans for Australia to emerge as a reliable base for their machinations. The contradictions between the peoples of the region and the marauding imperialisms run deep.
The people’s struggles for national independence, democracy and socialism have isolated the superpowers and driven the international situation towards the major changes experienced over the last two years.
The situation is continuing to develop favourably for the people.
Communists share the anger, frustration and restlessness of the working class and other patriotic Australians at the increasing penetration of Australia by foreign imperialism.
No area of Australian life is free of such domination, Reflecting this, the ranks of the Communists have grown as new people commit themselves to the working-class struggle against exploitation, and the people’s struggle for independence. Renewed emphasis is needed to recognise the leading role of industrial workers.
The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) has consistently fought fur acceptance of the fundamental view that while all international experience must he examined, Australia is our main area of struggle.
Appropriate integration into all struggles of the working class is needed if the Australian people are to succeed in the battle for Australian independence – a necessary stage on the road to socialism in Australia.
Major attention was given to the need to arrive at a correct understanding, of the relationship of Communists to the spontaneous struggles of the people. While there has been some improvement in our understanding, much still remains to be done.
The people make history. Correctly integrated with every level of mass activity and working appropriately with the politically advanced, less advanced and more backward sectors of the people, every Communist participates fully in the historic work to change society. A good way of putting the question is that we never ask anyone else to do that which we have never done or are no willing to undertake ourselves.
Notable development took place, in the understanding of the process of experience of the Labor Party and its leaders, as well as the ACTU leaders and their collaboration with the big monopolies. We campaigned continuously for the most, politically advanced section of the people to get Labor governments returned to office on the basis that the people can only reach complete understanding of the position of the Labor Party as a party of capitalism by their continued experience of that organisation. Tactically, we have concentrated on the activities of the Labor leaders while endeavouring to work in the spirit of unity with the Labor Party rank and file and supporters.
At the same time the Party stood firmly for the mobilisation of people’s struggle – independent of the big monopolies and bourgeois parliamentary politics – as the clear road of advancing the struggle for independence. The Party has rejected standing parliamentary candidates or supporting candidates apart from those who arise as a stage of advancing people’s struggles in the sphere of real political activity – the independent, extra-parliamentary, mass activity of the people against imperialism. In the complex situation of disillusionment with the Labor Party and the parliamentary alternative of a Liberal coalition government, we have promoted people’s independent struggle as the way forward which can challenge the power of the multinationals.
The Vanguard and Australian Communist reflected the struggle of the Australian people and the efforts of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) – to provide its principled ideological leadership to this through study of Australian practice and the general principles of. Marxism and the practice of criticism and self-criticism.
There has been an improvement in the number who contribute to Vanguard and the Australian Communist. The number contributing to both, but particularly the Australian Communist, is still unsatisfactory. The Australian Communist is the Party’s main theoretical organ. It occupies an important position in the struggle for clarity about the correct road to socialism in Australia. Understanding of its theoretical, tasks will certainly result in more and more taking up the task of regularly contributing to it. This problem must continue to get attention from the leadership.
Together with other parties and individuals, we worked to strengthen the overall activity and unity of the various left political forces in Australia. The previous era of sectarianism, characterised by political brawls disrupting the development of many people’s struggles, has been largely left behind. Leadership of the people |s decided in active struggle against the imperialists, with the emphasis on the broadest possible unity of the anti-imperialist forces.
The period since the last Congress marked the first stage in the transition of the Party leadership from the old to the new. This Congress is the first in the life of the Party that is conducted without the wise counsel of Ted Hill. At the last Congress Ted Hill had recommended that he be permitted to relinquish the chairmanship of the Party to allow the further development of younger leading cadres. Still his contribution to the Party extended until his death on 1st February 1988.
His leadership helped greatly the investigation into the major ideological questions that faced the Party, workers and people until his death. The Party and people have lost a great leader.
There is a continual movement of accepting new or different responsibilities by both older and newer comrades. This is an inevitable part of the process of development. The varied experiences of both older and younger contribute to balanced leadership. This will continue throughout the entire life of the Party. It is a transition which requires to be handled with maturity and service to the working class to the forefront. All those who serve the people in a revolutionary party must strive unceasingly to master a scientific: workingclass outlook which in turn must embrace revolutionary practice.
Fuller use is being made of bourgeois democratic rights to publicise the policy of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist). An office has been established and spokespeople have been appointed in various regions and in areas of struggle. There has been a greater use of these means to establish the position of the Party and to encourage suggestions and criticisms, While there remain dangers of too much being exposed to the enemies of the people, both the organisation and the people have benefitted from these moves.
The Party organisation his been able to ensure the Party’s continuing activity in all its aspects: publications, consultations and other public and internal functions, through making appropriate arrangements and through management and collection of funds, as well as through the support offered by the people.
Organisation exists at many levels across the whole country. Communist methods are based on the fullest democratic consultations and the fullest expression of democratic centralism possible within the constraints of the Party’s current methods of operation. To strengthen the Party’s internal life, the responsibility of all comrades is to take the initiative in raising practical matters of winning support for policy and leading the ideological development of the Party. The leadership has seriously striven both to raise its own ideological level and that of the whole Party. This included endeavouring to concentrate on the application of Marxism to the practical tasks of the Party arising from an examination of Australian reality, and avoiding diversion into abstract examination of principles. Much attention was paid, amongst other theoretical questions, to the relationship between practice and ideas; to gaining a greater insight into the basic laws of capitalism and their working out in Australian conditions; and to the fundamental content of the dictatorship of the ruling class which stands diametrically opposed to the rule of the working people under socialism. In all cases, much work remains to be done so that general Marxist principles are fully integrated into Australian reality. To set clear organisational tasks, the process requires further strengthening.
The circulation of publications has increased and the transmission of Communist views to the workers and people was stepped up through the activity of Party members and the publication more regularly of Party pamphlets and leaflets as well is using other methods open to the Party’s members.
It is our view that socialism and Marxism are under serious attack from the ruling class at present. We re-affirm our belief that there is no way forward for the world’s people without socialism and Marxist ideology.
Upholding Marxism and the role of the working class as the leading class in Australian society is fundamental to the existence of an Australian revolutionary Party. The basis of our thinking actions and ideology is the working class and its revolutionary role in history.
We will continue to struggle for the application of Marxism to Australian society in all our work.
We will continue to fight for Australian independence from imperialist domination and exploitation. It remains the present phase of the Australian revolution. We fight for independence and socialism as the immediate stage of the Australian revolutionary process.
We will continue the struggle against U.S. imperialism whilst raising the vigilance of the working class and other Australians against Japanese and European imperialisms. We will draw attention to the danger of Soviet penetration of the Pacific area. We will fight imperialism and reaction in solidarity with workers, oppressed and exploited people the world over to whom we extent our solidarity and greetings. We send out warm fraternal greetings to all those striving to overcome difficulties hammering out the correct steps to build socialism.
We will continue to support the struggle of the Aboriginal people for liberation, from oppression, exploitation and dispossession. We will continue to struggle to uphold the leading role of the working class and its ideology of Marxism and to defeat bourgeois ideology. We will continue to strengthen our organisation by raising our ideological level, recruiting new members and by increasing the influence of the Party amongst the working class and other working Australians.
We will continue to try might and main to serve the people in the struggle for national independence.