Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

Unions and Revolution

First Published: The Vanguard, July 10, 1969.
Reprinted: In the Progressive Labor Party journal, World Revolution, Nol. 2, No. 3, January 1970.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

Vanguard continues to receive criticism about what is described as the “rubbishing” of the trade unions. One critic said: “You keep on throwing cream puffs while we in the unions do the job of fighting the boss.”

It is good that we receive such criticisms. It comes mainly from trade union officials. It shows that what Vanguard has to say is having some effect and is certainly being discussed in the ranks of unionists.

In any new approach to matters there is always misunderstanding.

Vanguard says and will continue to say that orthodox unionism does not advance the cause of the working class because it ties the workers to capitalism.

What is the cause of the working class? Is it to run around in the circle of capitalism getting a few cents here and a few cents there for this and that section of working class? What is the overall economic picture today after years of such activity? It is that exploitation has intensified. Wages continually fall behind living costs. Democratic rights are whittled away. Without overtime or two persons in a family working things would be very grim indeed on today’s wage levels.

We hold that the cause of the working class is the struggle to overthrow the capitalist class and win the dictatorship of the proletariat. And to be true to the cause of the working class we must expose everything that diverts people from it.

We believe that the economic struggle should be waged because only in struggle will the working class raise its class consciousness and commence to act as a class. But the theory of’ class struggle must be brought to the working class. Experience has shown that the working class does not raise its theoretical understanding only by struggling for wage rises.

Australian experience certainly confirms the above.

The former Communist Party was unable to break out of the economic circle. It was overwhelmed by trade union and parliamentary politics.

It did not put before the workers clearly the need to act as a class against the exploiting class. It did not have as its central aim the destruction of capitalist class state power and its replacement by the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Revisionists keep saying that it is always “premature” to talk about revolution. Of course this is an excellent way of putting off the question of revolution for ever. How nice and convenient for the ruling class!

Let us for one moment imagine the difference there would be in the Australian revolutionary movement if the former Communist Party had developed correct revolutionary politics right from its very inception and had overcome revisionism.

Certainly we could say that revolutionary class action would be further advanced and bourgeois ideology would not have the mass grip it has.

If it is premature to talk about revolution today in Australian conditions then it was certainly premature for Marx and Engels to talk about revolution in their day.

However, the reality of struggle today shows that revolutionary concepts are spreading far and wide in Australia. The worldwide struggle against revisionism led by the Communist Party of China which is headed by the great Mao Tsetung, is preparing all working people ideologically for revolution.

Trade unionism stands opposed to revolution. It concerns itself merely with reform which fools the workers into believing that their lot can be improved under capitalism.

Reforms are the cream puffs!

Vanguard is trying to do as best as it can the job of preparing the Australian working class and other working people for revolutionary struggle.

This ideological preparation must be made. It entails fighting precisely the idea that capitalism can be reformed into Socialism through the trade unions and parliament. People act according to how they think. This is fundamental. While bourgeois ideology holds sway, they will not act in a revolutionary way.

That is why the most important job today is to integrate Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung thought with the struggles of the Australian people. We will continue to do this.