Written: May 29, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Patrick Muldowney, Anita Hood and Paul Saba
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May 29, 1977
To all members of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
For some time we have been concerned about certain problems in the revolutionary struggle in Australia, but until recently did not see it as a question of Party line. We now see it as involving revisionism in the Party which has influenced us as well as everyone else. We are now determined to break from this revisionism and launch a rectification campaign to unite the Party against it.
The catalyst in forming our views has been the denunciation of China’s “gang of four”, the arbitrary way that this was imposed on the Party, the enthusiastic support given to what appear to be bad developments in China and the publication of the revisionist pamphlet “Class Struggle in the Communist Parties”. There has also been the unprincipled handling of differences with the Party of Labour of Albania and other fraternal parties.
Although this was the catalyst, the main thing is that we have come to realize that the line of the Party leadership as expressed in Vanguard does not reflect the Party program, and that the Party organisation is not in accord with the Constitution and is being liquidated as an organised fighting vanguard of the Proletariat.
The line in Vanguard pays only lip service to the Australian revolution, and tolerates a bourgeois nationalist trend. “Struggle” for independence is taken as a thing in itself and not as part of the Australian revolution. Superpower contention has been taken as the key link, not class struggle.
Instead of practical, direct leadership of the mass movement, there is abstract propaganda and general “calls” for struggle. While the revolutionary movement forges ahead, actively challenging and confronting the power of the authorities, the Party leadership trails behind.
A backward orthodox trade union official is even again being promoted as a Party leader.
Party members raising these and other questions in the “proper way” have been met with a flat refusal to discuss anything, vilification, abuse, lies, evasion, attempts to “freeze” people out, a deliberate rumour mongering campaign and public insinuations in Vanguard.
This flagrant violation of Party principles, did not intimidate opposition but caused us, as well as others, to begin meeting together to exchange views and experiences. As a result we are now aware that the Central Committee does not function, that there has been no proper Party Congress and that much of the Party organisation is in disarray.
Accordingly we demand a general Party discussion and rectification campaign to re-establish a Marxist-Leninist line and leadership and rebuild the Party along Leninist principles, and to prepare for the holding of a genuine Party Congress.
The Party leadership has already not only refused to hold a general Party discussion, but has also refused to discuss things properly with individuals and has even refused to pass on documents from Party members addressed to all members of the Central Committee, and has not consulted with all Central Committee members about this struggle.
Accordingly, subsequent to the open attacks in Vanguard, we as Party members, including past and present Central Committee members, have already been forced to form a group, together with others, to promote the struggle.
The “RED EUREKA MOVEMENT” is publishing “STUDY NOTES” to reprint reference material relevant to the current struggle, without polemics. We will also be publishing positive statements of our views, without explicitly contrasting them with the views of others.
We have already begun discussing the whole situation generally among Party members and supporters. We have not yet circulated any documents sent in by individuals to the Party leadership, but will from now on be showing some material around without circulating it.
We are not forming a new Party, but trying to avoid a split in the present one.
Party leaders have explicitly called on those in opposition to “go your own way”, “form your own Party” and “shout it from the rooftops”. We will not do that. Those who say this should realise that the Party is not their property, any more than it is ours. It belongs to the Australian working class. If these people want to go their own way, or form their own Party, that is up to them. They have already been doing too much shouting from the roof-tops.
We will continue carrying out our duty as Party members. We are forced to do so outside the “proper channels”, and together with non-Party members, as long as the Party leadership refuses to carry out their duty. If the Party leadership agrees to a proper internal discussion with an internal discussion bulletin, open to, and circulated among all members then our group will be dissolved and no doubt others who are also getting organised will reconsider their position too.
A statement from the “RED EUREKA MOVEMENT” is enclosed. This was to have been circulated among Party members and supporters, after one month’s notice to you, assuming the situation remained unchanged.
On reflection we have decided to make no ultimatum. We will circulate no statement unless we are forced to. Since some of us have been meeting together as an organised group (without a name) from the beginning of April, it is time to let this be known, Indeed we have been sharply criticised for not doing so earlier. But we see no reason to go further than that at this stage.
We realize that this letter can be used by those who seem bent on a split, as a justification for provoking one. This is the main reason we have not taken this step earlier. We cannot prevent Vanguard saying what it likes, but for our part we are bending over backwards to avoid being provoked and will continue to do so.
We hope the Party leadership will seriously think over whether it is prepared to abide by the Party constitution and Marxist-Leninist principles and discuss things properly within the Party, or whether it is really determined to split away from the Party. We believe the Party should solidly unite on the basis of democratic centralist principles of organisation and discipline. We are prepared to unite with any comrade who abides by the Party’s Program, Constitution and decisions, irrespective of differences on any particular questions, or past unprincipled behaviour.
Please circulate the above statement to all party members.
(list of 15 signatures attached)