Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

E. F. Hill

Australia’s Revolution: On the Struggle for a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party


The highest form of revolution is the seizure of political power by armed force. The perspective for Australia is that all struggle must flow into armed struggle for the revolutionary overthrow of imperialist domination and for the establishment of an entirely new democracy. We may call this the national-democratic revolution. That is an essential step in the continuing struggle for proletarian socialist power. In this respect too there have been big developments. In 1961 the faces of so-called hardened revolutionaries who called themselves Communists turned white when the perspective of armed struggle was advocated. And these so-called revolutionaries ridiculed the idea, using it as one of their central pieces in attack upon Marxist-Leninists. How ridiculous! they said, how unreal! what flights of fancy! The universal truth of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought however shows that the central task of revolution is the seizure of power by the working class and its allies by armed force and that this truth does apply universally. Step by step and faced increasingly by the violence of the police, Australian workers, working people and other patriots are understanding the real role of force and are understanding that reactionary force must be combated by revolutionary force. No longer can the ruling class assume that a show of force will cow the workers.

But again the revisionists do great service for the bourgeoisie. They urge peace, peace and more peace and no resistance to police violence. Their line is being repudiated. Workers and working people and revolutionary students are taking counter measures against those who say (as showing the mind of the ruling class) “they got some baton today and they’ll get a lot more in the future”. Certainly great progress has been made in grasping the truth that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Organisation based on this truth must be worked at.

The political process then is the repudiation by the masses of parliamentary and trade union politics, peaceful transition to socialism, legalism, and positively it is the step by step advance to the perspective of revolutionary violence. The path to the central task of revolution, the seizure of power by armed force, is being sought and found.

This occurs in a particular world situation. Australia does not exist in isolation, in a vacuum. It exists in a real world where the revolutionary movement is on the upsurge. And the most active component in that upsurge is the struggle of the peoples in the countries particularly of Asia and then of Latin America and Africa. These countries constitute the essential exploiting sources of imperialism and particularly U.S. imperialism. The peoples are in active revolt against imperialism, and in many cases in armed revolt.

Australia is seen by the imperialists as a base for suppression of this movement in Asia. But it is impossible to suppress this movement. It has gone from victory to victory. It is bleeding U.S. imperialism white. It has lost important positions in Asia. Its nature will never change. U.S. imperialism is the chief exploiter and oppressor of the Australian people too and it most certainly exploits and oppresses the American people, black and white. It is precisely the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America who have taken up arms against it and are daily weakening it. Australia, too, where the anti-imperialist revolution is as yet not as well developed as in these countries, plays a vital part in the process. Its revolution is an essential part of the world movement for liberation, independence and revolution. The movements in various countries merge, moving in a continuous process step by step to higher stages. Though development is uneven, its end result is the general anti-imperialist revolution as an essential of the world proletarian socialist revolution. Thus there is a common struggle. The oppressed colonial peoples are fighting, arms in hand, the enemy of the Australian people, U.S. imperialism; the Australian workers and working people are co-ordinating their struggle with that of other peoples. In Australia, the working class maintains its leading role, and the Communist Party its initiative and independence in the united struggle against U.S. imperialism. It is all part of the world-wide movement.

The labor party in Australia remains a party of capitalism. The nature of social democracy does not change. Certainly the labor party has done much to develop Australia as a nation but as a capitalist nation still dependent upon imperialism. Lenin aptly characterised it as a “liberal bourgeois party”. He spoke (1913) of the then Liberals (today again Liberals after many changes of name) as “Conservatives”. The tactics of the rule of the imperialist bourgeoisie and their local collaborators in Australia vary from time to time. Sometimes the situation is best suited by the rule of outright conservatives, sometimes by the labor party (the bourgeois liberals). Previously we commented on the labor party. We insist upon the vast difference between the leaders of the labor party on the one hand and the rank and file on the other. The rank and file of the labor party, particularly the workers, move towards the revolutionaries; its right wing leaders carry on the rule of the bourgeoisie in Australia. The advent of a labor government in Australia in 1972 was a tactic of the bourgeoisie. Essentially it maintains the imperialist domination of Australia while at the same time making concessions to the movement within Australia (part of a world wide process) towards independence and development of the central power in Australia – Australian nationhood. Within Australia too, the challenge of the people is met by more and more repression. There is far more resort to what can be described as fascist measures and used alongside bourgeois democratic deception. But whichever is used, the essence remains as the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

Thus the struggle against repressive fascist measures is a component part of the struggle against U.S. imperialism and its local flunkeys. It is not a thing in itself and it is not a question of defending democratic rights for the sake of defending bourgeois democracy against fascism. It is a case of insisting on, defending and extending democratic rights for the sake of defending them and defeating the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The old error has taught the Communist Party and the revolutionary workers a lesson; that lesson is that there is not a hard and fast line between bourgeois democracy and fascism.

In the whole range of problems, the Communist Party has the job of fighting and participating in the fight for the immediate demands of the working class and working people as part of the struggle and preparation, of struggle for the seizure of power by the workers, working people and other anti-imperialist forces by armed force.

All streams of political struggle in Australia then run into the general stream against imperialism. That accords with the situation throughout the world. The ever extending and developing Australian united front against U.S. imperialism is a component part of the world wide united front against U.S. imperialism. That united front is gaining bigger victories day by day. U.S. imperialism is weakened day by day. In the era of the collapse of imperialism this united front is a mighty contribution to U.S. imperialism’s collapse. The united front directs and will direct its blows against the rivals and successors of U.S. imperialism.

An essential feature of the class struggle is the part played by the socialist world in it. The leading socialist country is the People’s Republic of China. It is guided by the ideology of Mao Tsetung Thought. It is a powerful inspirer of revolutionary thought. No material export of revolution can succeed because revolution cannot be imposed on another people. It is the act of a given people. But revolutionary ideas know no country. They are taken up by the masses who, armed with them, make revolution. The Thought of Mao Tsetung is international. The Chinese people have fought U.S. imperialism in its intervention in China, in its aggression against Korea and its illegal occupation of Taiwan. And they have fought U.S. imperialism ideologically and politically in all its struggle for world domination. And similarly they have fought its collaborator Soviet revisionism and its partner and protege Japanese imperialism. Inspired by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought it has an enemy common to all mankind. It is the most powerful base of revolution. Its socialist advance is an outstanding political fact.

Organisation serves ideology and politics. The Communist Party (M.L.) seeks continually to strengthen its organisation for the sole purpose of serving that ideology and those politics. Organisation has no reason merely as organisation. An undoubted historical tendency in the Communist Party was for- the concentration to be on organisation as such.

Party building, as we said earlier, was conceived largely as a matter of numbers, and the contribution of those numbers measured in terms of party newspapers sold, finance collected and new members gained. The central organisation was concentrated in big headquarters staffed by full time paid functionaries. The party leaders and functionaries had no social job and lived as something of a race apart from other workers and working people. Branches and committees of the Party largely followed a routine, stereotype of activity. Party members largely confined their contacts to other party members. They lived in a closed bloc of left people, a left bloc. All this was injurious to real mass work. It was the organisational expression of the subjectivism about which much has already been said. The closed left bloc carried out parliamentary electoral activity. In large measure it was organised to serve parliamentary and trade union politics.

To serve proletarian ideology and politics there must be proletarian organisation. The first thing is that the Communist Party is the party of the proletariat and the proletariat has the leading role in the revolutionary movement. We pointed out that in Australia not only has it the leading role, it is also the main force. We have demonstrated that the proletariat is the special product of capitalism and is its gravedigger. But it is also the main force in the revolutionary struggle. It follows that the Communist Party must be organised deep in the heart of the working class. The Australian workers are concentrated in factories in the main capital cities. The Party organisation primarily must be based in these workplaces. There are rural proletarians amongst whom the Party must be organised. There are smaller farmers and there are other sections of the population. Any failure however to put the main emphasis on Party organisation in the workplaces reflects an ideological and political failure to see the character of the revolution in Australia, as an anti-imperialist, new democratic revolution in which the proletariat has the leading role.

The Party organisations must serve the people in revolutionary struggle. They require to propagate the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and wage political struggles in accordance with that ideology. The struggle for the immediate demands of the workers is part of the political struggle. Party organisations fully participate in this but keep in mind that such immediate demands can never be ends in themselves. They are essential training for the actual revolutionary struggle against imperialist domination and for carrying that struggle through to socialist revolution. The workplaces too are the main source of armed workers under whose leadership all the anti-imperialist forces will be united. All the Party organisations’ activities are directed to serving the central task of the seizure of power by the anti-imperialist, new democratic forces.

Whereas history knew the Communist Party largely as a publicly existing party with interests in parliament and the trade unions and its members publicly identified as Communists, the Party now sees that, like an army and its various arms, its organisation must be trained in all means of political warfare. That involves mastering all forms of struggle – peaceful and armed, open and secret, legal and illegal in carrying out mass work.

Party organisation then is a thoroughgoing departure from the old left-bloc. It seeks to have its members deep among the masses to learn from them and to teach them, to teach them and leam from them. It requires no great headquarters and no army of paid full time functionaries to serve the people in Australian revolutionary struggle. Such things are indicia of bourgeois political parties.

Party members serve among the masses in the factories. They are workers, of the workers. “The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.” (Mao Tsetung: On Coalition Government, Selected Works, Vol. III p.257.) A handful of Communists do not make history but they participate in the making of history by the masses. By reason of their ideology and politics they concentrate the real hopes and aspirations of the masses who have a potentially inexhaustible enthusiasm for socialism. Mao Tsetung said: “The masses are the real heroes, while we ourselves are often childish and ignorant, and without this understanding it is impossible to acquire even the most rudimentary knowledge.” (Preface and Postscript to Rural Surveys, Selected Works, Vol. III, p.12.) The Party organisation exists to work with the masses.

Mao Tsetung’s remarks about the Communist Party of China in principle fully apply in the Australian Party:

Another hallmark distinguishing our Party from all other political parties is that we have very close ties with the broadest masses of the people. Our point of departure is to serve the people wholeheartedly and never for a moment divorce ourselves from the masses, to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from the interests of individuals or groups, and to understand the identity of our responsibility to the people and our responsibility to the leading organs of the Party. Communists must be ready at all times to stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interests of the people; Communists must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes, because mistakes are against the interests of the people. Twenty-four years of experience tell us that the right task, policy and style of work invariably conform with the demands of the masses at a given time and place and invariably strengthen our ties with the masses, and the wrong task, policy and style of work invariably disagree with the demands of the masses at a given time and place and invariably alienate us from the masses. The reason why such evils as dogmatism, empiricism, commandism, tailism, sectarianism, bureaucracy and an arrogant attitude in work are definitely harmful and intolerable, and why anyone suffering from these maladies must overcome them, is that they alienate us from the masses. Our Congress should call upon the whole Party to be vigilant and to see that no comrade at any post is divorced from the masses. It should teach every comrade to love the people and listen attentively to the voice of the masses; to identify himself with the masses wherever he goes and, instead of standing above them, to immerse himself among them; and, according to their present level, to awaken them or raise their political consciousness and help them gradually to organise themselves voluntarily and to set going all essential struggles permitted by the internal and external circumstances of the given time and place . . .

Conscientious practice of self-criticism is still another hallmark distinguishing our Party from all other political parties. As we say, dust will accumulate if a room is not cleaned regularly, our faces will get dirty if they are not washed regularly. (On Coalition Government, Selected Works, Vol. III, pp.315-6.)

Party members are those who are actively involved in the class struggle, who accept the constitution and programme, are prepared to work in a Party organisation, carry out the Party’s decisions, observe Party discipline and pay membership dues. This accords with qualifications for Party members the foundations of which were laid by Lenin. Left over from history also is the idea that anyone can join the Party and somehow it is shameful that a left worker does not join the Party. Days were when anyone at all, who need do no more than sign a form, joined the Communist Party in Australia. But if the Party upholds proletarian ideology, politics and organisation it follows that Party membership is a big and responsible undertaking. A high quality is required. Error lies in insistence upon too high a quality. There are no ready-made Communists. It is the job of the Party continually to strive to lift its quality and those of its members. This is a never ending process. Devotion to the revolution and determination to uphold the politics and ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought open the way to Party membership. There cannot be too exclusive an attitude and there cannot be simply a liberal attitude that anyone may join. The conditional character of Party membership means that real Party membership only exists when the Party member is conscientiously serving the people in accordance with proletarian ideology and politics, conscientiously striving to remould himself in revolutionary struggle, combating self, repudiating revisionism, wielding the weapon of criticism and self-criticism. This is a persistent continuous struggle. If he becomes apathetic he ceases to be a real member, and his party organisation will arrange to end his membership.

The Party operates according to the principle of democratic centralism which establishes leading bodies elected through democratic consultation, unified discipline, the individual subordinate to the organisation, the minority to the majority with the highest body the National Congress and between Congresses the highest body the Central Committee.

The whole Party organisation studies Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and struggles to integrate its general truth with the actual conditions in Australia.

The Party is a living organism. It is not something fixed and static. It operates not as some sort of machine endlessly repeating a few formulae but as a vanguard organisation in revolutionary struggle.

Historically in Australia it has reached the stage where a decisive step has been taken to build a revolutionary organisation. That organisation is based upon the proletariat, seeks to uphold and apply proletarian ideology and determine upon correct proletarian politics in the class struggle in Australia. It strives to realise what Mao Tsetung has said: “The Party organisation should be composed of the advanced elements of the proletariat; it should be a vigorous vanguard organisation capable of leading the proletariat and the revolutionary masses in the fight against the class enemy.”

The class struggle in Australia and in the world determined that the revisionists would split from Communism. They did so in the early sixties. Organisationally they split away and established what they call a Communist Party. “A human being has arteries and veins through which the heart makes the blood circulate. He breathes with his lungs, exhaling carbon dioxide and inhaling fresh oxygen, that is, getting rid of the stale and taking in the fresh. A proletarian party must also get rid of the stale and take in the fresh, for only thus can it be full of vitality. Without eliminating waste matter and absorbing fresh blood the Party has no vigour.” (Mao Tsetung).

The Communist Party in Australia lives. It has got rid of the stale and taken in the fresh. Its life continues governed by the law of contradiction.

The Communist Party in Australia has a long history. It has participated in many struggles. After more than 50 years it has raised to the forefront Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and affirmed that proletarian ideology and politics must command its organisation and that that organisation must serve ideology and politics. It has affirmed the leading role of the working class, that revolutionary struggle is a continuous struggle, continuing revolution that goes through the phase of anti-imperialism and new democracy as essential to the socialist phase, that the anti-imperialist new democratic revolutionary struggle reaches its highest form in armed struggle, that under the leadership of the working class all anti-imperialist forces must be united. The struggle to build the Communist Party continues and will continue for a long historical period. It will go on into the victory of socialism in Australia and for a long time after the victory of socialism.