Published: Australian Communist January-February 1989.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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1. The Draft General Programme of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) aims to examine Australian and world reality from the standpoint of Marxism.
Marxist philosophy holds that the material world – matter – is primary. Ideas – consciousness – are the reflection of this objective reality.
Marxism is a guide to action, based on practice it recognises all things in nature and society as constantly coming into being and passing away.
From this basic standpoint the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) views Australia as a capitalist society characterised by production for profit.
Profit is derived from unpaid labour time.
Workers’ labour power is purchased on the market by the owners of capital. Put to work in Australia, on average in half the working week, it produces values sufficient to cover wages to maintain a worker and family. The value produced in the remainder of the working week constitutes surplus value, the source of profit.
The commodities produced by workers’ socialised labour are privately appropriated by monopoly capitalists. They will continue to be produced so long as they can be sold for profit on the market.
This factor is the cause of the alternating cycle of boom or crisis of capitalism.
It is inevitable that sooner or later these social conditions will impel people to organise to end the conflict between the socialised labour process and private ownership of the decisive means of production, the big factories, mines and corporate farms by the establishment of socialism. With socialism, production takes place for people’s use.
To prevent the tiny minority of previous exploiters destroying the newly-established socialist system, the working class and its allies, who together can call upon the support of the majority of the people, will set up a new political state apparatus.
In the socialist era, the material and moral conditions are laid to proceed to the higher epoch of classless Communist society in which the full potential of all human beings is realised and the needs of all can be met.
2. We live in the era of imperialism, that stage of capitalism when monopolies and finance, capital (i.e. bank and industrial capital merged) dominate; when the export of capital as against the export of commodities assumes pronounced importance; when the world has beep divided amongst big trusts and multinational corporations and when there are no longer any new territories to be seized without imperialist conflict.
3. The present phase in the struggle to end capitalism in Australia is the battle to win Australian independence from the foreign imperialist interests and their local allies which constitute the core of Australian capitalism. Though Australia has achieved an important measure of independence, big foreign powers have maintained decisive political, economic, diplomatic, military and cultural influence. The US took over from Britain as the dominant imperialism in Australia. Japanese imperialism now rapidly expands its Australian interests, challenging US pre-eminence. The key sectors of Australia’s economy are dominated by giant foreign multinationals and a few big local monopolies which are bound up with them (through joint ventures, foreign borrowings, trade).
4. The great cause which unites the Australian people is the struggle for Australian independence. The nation’s wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer, chiefly foreign monopoly hands. As a result millions of ordinary Australians suffer intensified exploitation, falling living standards, growing poverty and unemployment, increased repression and discrimination, bankruptcy. Australia’s natural wealth and heritage are looted for monopoly profit. The resulting struggles against foreign imperialist domination at the heart of Australian capitalism are objectively struggles for Australian independence, although the participants in most cases may not make this connection.
5. The working class is the leading class in this struggle. While imperialism’s action takes heavy toll on the lives of the majority of Australians, farmers, business people, shop-keepers, black and white, irrespective of ethnic origin, the centre of its attack is aimed at the working class hem whose labour it derives maximum profit. Large-scale production forces the Australian working class, the most numerous class, to be the most disciplined, cohesive and politically-conscious class.
6. To maintain and protect foreign imperialist domination of Australia, a powerful state machine has emerged. It consists of the bureaucracy, police, courts, gaols, armed forces, intelligence outfits. It seems to stand independently over Australian society but in fact it exists to enforce imperialist domination. Parliamentary democracy with its limited formal democratic rights operates within this context. While such rights have positive aspects, imperialist domination, capitalism and the state machine’s repressive, violent character are still the central feature of the capitalist state. A whole system of ideas is pushed ceaselessly through Australia’s mass media, education system, culture, etc., which disguises imperialist domination and monopoly exploitation and presents them as inevitable. Capitalism’s “natural” tendency is towards erosion of democratic rights and more open repression, particularly in periods of deep economic or social difficulties for the imperialists. There is always a danger that Australia’s imperialist overlords will discard the democratic fašade and rule through systematic, open, ruthless violence – fascism.
7. Imperialism means grave international instability and the possibility of world war. The greatest danger of world war comes from [the rivalry between the two super powers, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. This overshadows world events and greatly influences the situation within Australia. At the same time, Japanese imperialism challenges the world preeminence of the United States. Tensions arise from the rivalries among US, Japanese and European monopolies; a trade war can easily lead to a shooting war. Ordinary people everywhere demand the right to live in peace. They want an end to all nuclear weapons, chemical and other means of mass destruction. In their millions they are actively fighting to force their governments to abandon all aggressive policies and actions.
8. The struggle for national independence embraces all people’s actions to improve their lives.
In struggle people will conclude that parliament and the main political parties exist to administer on imperialism’s behalf.
As an alternative to foreign imperialist domination, the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) supports ’demands to nationalise the key industrial and financial institutions, to expropriate and re-distribute foreign-owned corporate farms; to end the oppression and exploitation of the Aboriginal people who were dispossessed by British imperialism; to tax the top Monopolies and the rich to the hilt to provide finance necessary to raise wages and living standards and provide adequate social services; and U.S. ownership of bases in Australia ceases. In order to achieve adequate presentation of the people’s case for national independence, there would need to be people’s radio, press, TV, etc. Measure such as these would strength Australia’s independence. Foreign imperialists will fight all moves towards independence. In the face of probably ruthless and violent suppression by the capitalist state machine which serves foreign imperialism, and the necessity for defending people’s democracy against aggression, interference and subversion, the people must be prepared for all means of struggle, and their hopes for a better life demand that they take power into their own hands.
The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) supports all demands which arise out of people’s struggle against imperialism.
9. The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) exists to assist the process of winning Australian independence and through that, Australian socialism. The Communist Party arises from the struggles of the Australian people It aims to embody the highest ideals and hopes of the majority of Australians. It endeavours, from the scientific standpoint of Marxism, to examine Australian and world reality and participate in changing Australian society in accordance with the process of development which Marxism shows is actually going on. It strives for the most intimate possible knowledge of Australia, its history and its present situation.
The Party acts with complete confidence in the Australian people. Its organisation is among the people. Its work is in accordance with the degree of understanding of the people at a given time and with the object of step by step raising that understanding towards an understanding of the overall social process.
Whether or not people have little or much social knowledge, the job of the Communists is to be with them. The Party seeks to inspire the workers to develop all progressive Australian forces, win over the middle forces and isolate the handful of reactionary enemies of the people. It must be able to function under any circumstances and be able to maintain its work through rapid changes of conditions. In particular, full attention is paid to the hostile activities of the state machine serving foreign imperialists. The Party insists upon members of the highest quality. Members of the Communist Party accept a lifetime commitment to the welfare of the Australian people and the great cause of Communism.