Extracts from the Chairperson's Report to the 13th Congress
Since the last Congress the global capitalist crisis has deepened and spread. Imperialism, mainly US, has extended its grip over Australia economically, politically and militarily.
The monopoly mining and finance capital sections of the imperialist ruling class are in a more dominant and powerful position economically, and exert greater influence and control over Australia. International monopoly capital (imperialism) and the severe capitalist economic crisis are restructuring the Australian economy. De-industrialisation of Australia is accelerated. International finance capital expands its influence over Australia. Imperialist austerity is imposed on the people and public funds are syphoned into the coffers of monopoly capital.
The rate of exploitation of the Australian working class has intensified, yet the overall rate of profit for industrial and finance capital continues to fall. Surplus value produced by workers, especially in the mining industry, soars.
The mining boom in Western Australia and Queensland is masking the realities of the capitalist economic crisis across Australia and the growing difficulties for many working people.
There’s no job security for the majority. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been wiped out in Australia in past three years. Casualisation, contracting, part-time and outsourcing jobs overseas is spreading. Nationally, more than 30,000 public sector jobs have been axed, and many more are in the pipeline. There is a shrinking core of permanent full time workers and an expanding periphery of casual and non-secure work. Big business is demanding cutting out penalty rates.
At the same time, the cost of living for the people is rising. The cost of housing, utilities, transportation, education and healthcare increases, while public and community services are cut back. Spending on social services, the aged and the sick is slashed back.
Small and medium producers and manufacturers struggle to survive. Bankruptcies amongst the working people and small businesses rise.
The capitalist economic crisis, imperialist restructuring and competing interests between different sections of monopoly capital are deepening the political crisis of the bourgeois parliamentary system. Disillusion with the main parliamentary parties, politicians and monopoly media grows.
Contradictions between imperialism (monopoly capital) and the working class and working people are sharpening. Anti-imperialist sentiment amongst the people deepens. (This has not yet developed into an anti-imperialist consciousness as we describe in Marxist terms).
It is expressed in the disgust and anger at the rapacious greed of mining monopolies and banks, the appropriation of national wealth by mainly foreign mining monopolies, banks and multi-national corporations sending immense profits off shore; de-industrialisation and wiping out of Australia’s value adding, processing and manufacturing industries and jobs by big monopolies (mainly foreign owned) the stranglehold of the Coles Woolworths duopoly on farmers, the people and food production; the takeover of Australian food production and land by foreign corporations and finance capital.
It is expressed in the anger against privatisation and off shoring jobs overseas, large foreign investments in all sectors of the Australian economy. Alliances are being formed between unions and small farmers to protect jobs and the livelihood of rural communities. Calls for national sovereignty are raised more frequently.
The capitalist state seeks to shackle even more the working class’s capacity to organise and struggle. Working people’s struggle and anger is directed into parliamentarism from where struggle can be easier controlled. At the same time the state makes preparations to step up open attacks on the organised working class and employs greater use of force against the people
There is more desire and determination by workers and some union leaders to struggle and defy the anti-worker oppressive laws. The recent outbreaks of struggle by workers and the defiance of anti-worker laws are bound to increase and spread.
Disillusionment, disappointment and anger with the Labor Party grows, as social democracy has less room and capacity to manoeuvre and keep up the illusions in a world-wide capitalist economic crisis. We need to catalogue all the sell-outs and attacks by the ALP who opened wide the door to attacks on the working class.
For a long time there’s been an absence of a comprehensive and consistent revolutionary working class (anti-imperialist) position introduced into working class i struggles. This has assisted the capitalist ideology of social democracy and dependency on imperialism to disarm the working class. Australia’s objective social and economic conditions and the historical origins of the ALP are a fertile ground for the illusions and ideas of social democracy to take roots.
The economic crisis, deeper imperialist plunder, attacks on the working people and erosion of even timid bourgeois democratic rights opens up future struggles.
Reviewing the work of the party
Since the last Congress the party’s position on the national independence struggle and socialism is better understood. The party’s work in raising class consciousness on national independence, building grass roots workers’ and communities coalitions and mass movements, and independent working class struggle, have been advanced in struggles over a number of years, and are more evident in struggles today.
Party members are actively involved in working class struggles and movement, against attacks on the working class, people’s services, the environment, housing, for national independence and sovereignty, against the US-Australia military alliance and the growing opposition to multinational economic domination.
There are plans to publish a series of publications on monopoly capital (imperialism) domination of Australia; the economic crisis and attacks on the people; the mining and manufacturing industries, and linking the immediate demands of the people to the anti-imperialist class struggle for independence and socialism.
Vanguard continues to come out every month, regularly and punctually. It is not an easy task by working class comrades who hold normal jobs and are involved in the day to day lives and struggles of the people, political struggles and building the party ideologically, politically and organisationally, both nationally and locally.
Generally, we receive positive comments on Vanguard putting forward an anti-imperialist position and a Marxist-Leninist perspective and view on the current conditions and struggles of the working class and the people. However, there’s a need for more Marxist examination of struggle and conditions and systematic and concrete social investigation. Seeking truth from facts. Vanguard needs to sharpen the anti-imperialist and socialist political perspective that puts forward a working class vision and alternative to the capitalist economic crisis.
Since the last Congress three years ago, the website has been successful in promoting the Party’s revolutionary anti-imperialist socialist perspective in Australia. The website provides a point of contact and enquiry for people interested in finding out about the CPA (M-L) and our position.
The recent revival of the Australian Communist has been received well and has improved the standing of the Party.
One of the problems in bringing out Marxist theoretical journal in our conditions is that unless the theoretical propositions put forward have been tested in practice (specifically in Australian conditions), and grounded in the rigour of scientific investigation, the discussion remains theoretical. It is a reflection of shortcomings and limitations in our practice and theory.
It is only natural that there are different opinions in our approaches to the application of Marxist political economy to Australia’s present conditions, the bourgeois state dictatorship and the tactics and strategies of the mass movement on the revolutionary road to socialism in Australia. These are the laws of dialectical materialism. The present differences are not antagonistic and should be handled in the spirit of above all else building the capacity of people’s struggle and mass movement. We do this by Marxist investigation of conditions and connecting the study of Marxism to the immediate and longer term practical tasks in the people’s movement.
Internationally, we have expanded our connections with a number of Marxist-Leninist parties, and need to pay more attention to improving this.
Party’s work for national independence and socialism
Since the last Congress the party’s non-public work has grown. Activism by public and non-public party members in the struggles of the people has expanded. Party members are actively involved in building and strengthening mass organisations and provide assistance and leadership in the working class struggles, unions, communities and single issue people’s struggles. All these struggles flow in the direction of an anti-imperialist and socialist Australia.
The Party has strengthened connections with previous members and long time supporters. Discussions have been initiated with some comrades with whom political differences in the past could have been handled better, more dialectically. We need to learn from these mistakes. An important aspect of party rectification is to overcome errors of sectarianism, commandism and ultra-leftism in some areas of our work, to strengthen the working class and people’s movements.
A major part in building the organisation is the ideological and political study (Mao, Marx, Lenin, Ted Hill), with attention to mass work and the mass line as the communists’ main style of work. The majority of CPA (M-L) members are engaged in non-public work in their workplaces, communities and mass organisations; in many struggles on workers’ rights, unions, environmental groups, housing , education, anti-war movement. The majority work on the immediate concerns and the well being of the people, in the people’s mass organisations and movements. Presently, they are mainly issues of immediate reforms and demands by the people.
Mass work at this level (where the majority of the people are at) is the work that all Communists do naturally in their normal course of life. But left at this level and without skilfully linking the immediate struggles to the monopoly capitalist class dictatorship and the imperialist control of Australia, the working class will continue to drift within the confines of bourgeois social democracy and the dead end of parliamentarism and narrow limitations of trade unionism, without building the confidence and vision of its own enormous capacity to bring about fundamental change and run the society for itself and the people. The most important aspect of these immediate struggles is building on the experience and lessons of working class collective organisation and mobilisation, and exposing the fundamental dictatorship of the monopoly capital’s class dictatorship..
Working Class Struggle and the State
The bourgeois state is sharpening its legislative state apparatus and institutions to smash the unions and suppress working class struggle. Party members working in unions and working class struggles have been active in the struggles to resist the attacks and build a strong and independent union movement connected to its allies in the community. Sharper class analysis should be introduced into the struggles of the working class exposing the industrial laws as tools of capitalist state dictatorship. Even in the struggle against the ABCC we did not consistently link the laws to the role of the capitalist state to suppress working class struggle.
Movement for Australian Independence and Sovereignty
People’s sentiment for Australian independence and sovereignty is rising. There is growing concern about control of Australia by foreign multinationals and the big banks (imperialism).
It is expressed through the widening opposition to the US driven Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement; the power and control of foreign mining and multinational corporations and banks over Australia’s economy; control of foreign owned car industry over motor vehicle production and manufacturing in Australia; Australian governments’ subservience to US imperialism and the integration of Australia’s foreign policy and defence forces into the US military forces, and the US-Australian alliance; the rapacious greed of mainly multinational owned mining industry.
There is wide concern about control of Australian food production by foreign agribusiness corporations and the domination of agriculture by foreign capital; and the wealth from Australian natural resources in mining and agriculture pocketed and sent overseas to multinational corporations. Campaign initiated by some unions to protect and develop processing minerals and value added industries in Australia, has gathered wide support. Australian government’s subservience to US on Wikileaks and Julian Assange has repulsed many people. More calls are made for Australian independence and sovereignty.
Investigation and Study
Most of our comrades are deeply immersed in the day to day life and struggles of the people. Often this leaves little time and inclination for systematic and disciplined revolutionary study, social investigation and summing up experiences of struggle. The all-pervading pressures of reformism weigh down on struggle. Reformism can also dampen the enthusiasm of activists looking for a fundamental change in the direction of people’s movement towards a more revolutionary vision. The people’s mass struggles for reforms on workers’ rights, the environment, jobs security, democratic rights, and against the austerity measures are rising and more new and young worker activists are looking for ways to break through the burden imperialism imposes on the people and the environment. The situation is changing rapidly, and there is only optimism and confidence in the struggles of the people.
For Australian Communists, Australia’s working class and our revolutionary struggle is the main arena of work and commitment. Our starting point is Australia’s working class and the people. There are contradictions between China’s growing investments in Australia and the interests of Australia working class and people. Differences on China are likely to be reflected politically and ideologically within our organisation and will be handled in a non-antagonistic manner and consistent with our position on foreign investments’ relations to Australia’s working class’ struggle for an independent and self-reliant economy controlled by the working class and its allies.
Working class leadership
The Party is committed to assist the Australian working class in its historical task to unite and lead the people in freeing Australia from imperialism (monopoly capitalism) and move towards winning a truly independent, democratic and socialist Australia.
The dedication and working class discipline of a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Party to the interests of the people serves as an inspiration to all those looking for a fundamental change where the working class takes the power to run the society for the interests of the people.