Published: The Vanguard, Vol. 13, No. 48, December 16, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Several articles in The Australian Communist (No. 80) discuss the correctness of the term “workers, working and patriotic people”. This phrase has been used regularly in Vanguard to describe the anti-imperialist forces in Australia. It is an accurate and concise term. It helps all Marxist-Leninists understand the nature of those different groups who can be united in the fight for an independent Australia.
A basic principle of Marxism- Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought is, as Chairman Mao often stated, to unite all those who can be united to isolate and oppose the main enemy. While the enemy within a country comprises a mere handful of traitors, the people make up the vast majority of the population.
Who are the principal enemies of the Australian people? Clearly they are the U.S. imperialists and the Soviet social-imperialists. The U.S. imperialists through their economic and political control of Australia, actually hold state power. The Soviet social-imperialists in their worldwide bid to oust the U.S., attempt to undermine this dominance. The coup of November 1975, carried out by U.S. imperialism and its local lackeys, showed the extent to which the Soviet Union had made inroads into this country by wooing the Whitlam government.
U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism both have their local supporters within the ruling class – traitors to the Australian people. In the economic field these traitors are the comprador capitalists. As Vanguard recently pointed out: “The essence of the comprador capitalists is national betrayal. To whom is a secondary question in times of a rising imperialism replacing a declining one.” (25 November 1976) The comprador capitalists combined with their political representatives – the Frasers, Hawkes, Whitlams, Courts etc. – and their ideological spokesmen – the traitor press – at the beck and call of U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, are thus the enemies of the Australian people.
Who, then, comprise the workers, working and patriotic people? First, the workers, because of their objective class position in the production process, the oppression they suffer and their concentration in industries owned by the multi-nationals, form the foundation, the heart of the enti-imperialist forces. The heroic struggles initiated by workers in the automobile, oil and mining industries illustrate this fact.
The working people include working farmers and workers in the service sector (e.g. administration, the public service, teachers etc.). In a capitalist society the principle he who does not work prospers, he who works has nothing, sums up the relationship of exploitation between the capitalists and their employees. Objectively, all working people can play a role in the anti-imperialist movement.
Patriotic people is an even broader term. In can include national capitalists, that section of the capitalist class squeezed mercilessly by the multi-nationals and their comprador servants, who usually run small businesses. Objectively, they can also participate in the struggle for Australian independence.
It is clear that the phrase workers, working and patriotic people both unites and distinguishes between three different forces in the fight for national independence. The working class forms the backbone of this movement. In the main it stands firmly and unequivocally at the forefront of this struggle. However its ultimate goal is a socialist Australia as a transitional stage on the road to communism.
The working people are more and more forced into the ranks of the working class. Yet at this stage they are not solidly committed as a group to the independence movement
The patriotic people, particularly the national capitalists, vacillate, turn from the people to the traitors and back again. Of course they exploit workers in the production process. But ultimately they must face up to the multinationals and their comprador allies, or go under completely. Their ultimate goal is different from that of the working class and sections of the working people.
Leadership of this united front must come from those people who comprise the most authoritative, influential and experienced members, (see Peking Review, No. 45). In Australia this leadership is provided by the CPA (M-L).
This article, based on limited experience and partial knowledge, is my understanding of this important term. No doubt corrections and additions are necessary.
Concise phrases which are easily remembered are essential to every revolutionary movement. In the Medibank struggle, the slogan “Defend and Extend Medibank” resounded throughout the streets of this country. Chairman Mao was the master of summing up a situation in a nutshell. The phrase “workers, working and patriotic people” serves precisely this purpose for the Australian people.