13th National Congress Resolution on Mass Work and the Mass Line
Mass work and the mass line are the principal tenets of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)’s practical and ideological work.
It is the basis on which the CPA (M-L) works to assist in organising, uniting and mobilising the working class and all its allies exploited and subjugated by imperialism and capitalism. Mass work is central to all social investigation and class analysis of objective Australian conditions by the CPA (M-L), in its key task of charting the revolutionary road to an independent, democratic and socialist Australia.
Mass work is the foundation of CPA (M-L) work because it upholds the communist principles of respect and concern for the people and the powerful will for change of the aroused and united people. Mass work is rooted in the material (real) world where truth is found and the practice of struggle is tested and strengthened. Communists learn from the masses who are the source of deep knowledge of the real world.
The CPA (M-L) has an unshakeable confidence in the collective wisdom and power of the working people and relies absolutely on mass struggles and mass organisations of the people. Mass work and the mass line compel communists to identify with the people as one, listening and learning from the people, accepting guidance and wisdom from the people. In turn the communists work with the people, offering guidance in struggles and exposing the nature of the bourgeois state dictatorship, different class relations and their contradictions, the economic, political and social conditions of life and society and always seeking out the primary contradiction in struggle. As Mao Zedong put it, “From the masses to the masses.”
Mass work and genuine integration with the people, especially the working class, is an antidote to the isolation and sectarianism of “left blocs”, intellectual elitism, impatience, arrogance, wishful thinking, subjectivism and individualism. Deep connections in the working class ground communists and activists in the real world of class struggle and all its complexities.
If communists and activists want to dedicate themselves to the struggles of the working class and genuinely strive to lift the conditions of working people they must be with the people at all times. They must be involved in the lives and struggles of the people to understand the concrete conditions, the consciousness and thinking of the people at different times and different places and be able to differentiate between the primary and secondary contradictions in class struggle. Without this intimate knowledge born of practice and investigation, communists cannot know or understand the objective conditions and will either trail behind the people or rush too far ahead, ending in isolation and irrelevance.
Communist mass work is dynamic Marxism-Leninism that informs, organises, unites and mobilises the working class and its allies. It builds collective leadership of the masses and releases the initiative and capacity of the people in struggle. Importantly, communist mass work assists and empowers the working class and its allies to organise themselves, to bring forward their own leaders and instil confidence in the collective power of the masses.
There is no place for passive observation of conditions from the sidelines and laying low waiting for the “conditions to change” or “mature”. Class struggle is always present and in all things, taking different forms and characteristics in different circumstances and conditions. Mass work compels communists and activists to take account of different conditions of struggle and act accordingly.
Immediate demands formulated by the CPA (M-L) are drawn from the concrete conditions and concerns of the people who know the real world. Mass work enables the communist party to develop correct tactics and strategies according to the permanently changing conditions in the anti-imperialist class struggle for an independent, democratic and socialist Australia.
Mass work, mass line and leadership
Mass work and the mass line insist on the promotion and development of many working class leaders from the ranks of the people in mass struggle. Genuine communist leadership promotes and nurtures real leaders from people’s own struggle. Communists seek to both learn from the masses and provide ideological and political guidance to the people in struggle, as distinct from attempting to ‘capture’ leadership positions within mass organisations as a means of ‘self-promotion’ and control. This has nothing to do with the mass line and correct mass work and simply acts to hold back and stifle the growth and expansion of people’s movements and people’s struggles. The CPA (M-L) asserts that the people’s mass organisations and movements can only be strengthened and broadened through the encouragement of many people’s leaders in struggle, as is consistent with good mass work.
Mass work, mass organisations and the united front
Mass work is essential for building a united front against imperialism and capitalism. CPA (M-L) members work in mass organisations with the people, respecting differing views, seeking to unite and organise all people struggling against the effects of imperialist domination. Patiently and appropriately, Communists point to imperialism and capitalism as the primary cause for the problems and hardships of the people and the environment.
The CPA (M-L) firmly opposes the taking over and manipulating of mass organisations and mass campaigns by groups who try to impose their views. This style of work weakens (and sometimes even destroys) the people’s mass organisations and struggles. Rather, the CPA (M-L) seeks to simultaneously learn from and provide guidance and leadership to the working class and all other patriotic people to strengthen the mass campaigns and mass organs of the people in accordance with the mass line.
The 13th Congress of the CPA (M-L) re-affirms mass work and the mass line as its main principle in serving the anti-imperialist struggles of the people, and the foundation of Communist work in the people’s mass movement for an independent and socialist Australia. The Congress urges all comrades to study the works of Mao Zedong, (in particular On Contradiction, On Practice and Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership) and Ted Hill on the question of mass work and the mass line and to propagate this style of work amongst friends and activists. To quote Mao, we must “Take the ideas of the masses and concentrate them, then go to the masses, persevere in the ideas and carry them through, so as to form correct ideas of leadership - such is the basic method of leadership.” (Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership)