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Organisational Principles and Rules (15th Congress)
The organisational principles of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) are based on the Party’s continuing Marxist analysis of Australian society, described in the General Program and Party media. The Rules must be considered in conjunction with this ongoing analysis.
The Communist Party arises from the struggles of the Australian people. It aims to embody the highest ideals and hopes of the working class. It strives for the most intimate possible knowledge of Australia, its history and its present situation. The Party acts with complete confidence in the Australian people in their struggle against imperialism and capitalism.
The Party must be able to function under any circumstances and be able to maintain its work through rapid changes of conditions. Full attention must be given to the fact that Australia is a bourgeois dictatorship concealed under the cloak of parliamentary democracy. In reality, the illusion of democracy is a cover for suppression of the working class and all other working people by the imperialist-led monopoly bourgeoisie through its state apparatus.
Methods of organisation should be infinitely flexible in form but strictly consistent with the existing conditions, the needs of the working class and fundamental Marxism. Careful consideration must be given to all experience, along with regular reviews. In this way, appropriate conclusions can be drawn so that adjustments can be made in good time.
Given the non-revolutionary situation and the Party program of the anti-imperialist revolution continuing to socialism, Party members must carry out mass work among the people, listen and learn, be actively involved in the day to day struggles of the Australian people, and strive to provide leadership and build organisation among the working class. In mass work, consideration must be given to barriers which may arise by the declaration of Communist allegiances.
In conditions of parliamentary democracy it is important to utilise democratic liberties to the advantage of the working class.
Public and semi-public spokespeople are a small but important part of Party organisation. Publicly identified people should be of the highest calibre; be clearly linked with the working class, have won respect through prolonged involvement in struggle and be subject to the direction and discipline of Party leadership.
Attention must be given to maintaining the Party’s working class patriotic character and encouraging the highest quality of its cadres.
The main organisational principle of the Party is democratic centralism. This means that decisions are made collectively after democratic consultation. This process applies at all levels of the Party – Branch, State Committee, Central Committee and National Congress. When a majority decision has been made it becomes binding on all to carry it out, so that it may be tested in practice and then amended or discarded if proven incorrect or unsatisfactory.
The National Party Congress is held at least three to five years, and is the supreme Party organisation. It takes place as a process of democratic consultation of all members and supporters over several months. It sums up experience, sets policy and elects members to the Central Committee of the Party. The method of the Congress consultative process and formal Congress meeting must be consistent with organisational principles.
The composition of the Central Committee should reflect the strength and depth of Party organisation across the country. Positions are reserved to provide for representation of each State, women, youth and First Peoples comrades.
The Central Committee is the leading body of the Party between Congresses and is responsible for the overall direction of the political work. It shall elect its Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson(s) and Executive Committee officers. Supervision and implementation of Central Committee decisions is vested in an Executive Committee comprised of Central Committee members, the personnel and number of which are decided by the incoming Central Committee.
Where an elected Central Committee member cannot attend meetings or carry out duties, the relevant State Committee may provide a Proxy.
A casual vacancy on the Central Committee may be filled by the co-option of a member, if agreed by the Central Committee. Other co-options may occur if agreed by the Central Committee.
Party members are organised under the supervision of the Central Committee, individually or in State Committees or branches, having regard to the actual conditions which exist at the time, the needs of individual Party members and the working class as a whole.
State Committees are responsible for carrying out Party policy decisions as determined by the Central Committee. Each State Committee shall appoint a responsible comrade to convene regular meetings, to monitor the work and to coordinate communication with the Central Committee.
The Central Committee may set up any sub-committee needed to implement policy.
All Party funds belong to the Central Committee. A Finance Sub-committee, elected by and answerable to the Central Committee shall be responsible for central Party funds and associated bank accounts. Annual Party dues will be determined by the Central Committee, falling due on the Party’s anniversary 15th March. A portion of dues collected by the relevant State Committee may be retained for Party activities in the State.
Membership of the Party is open to a person who accepts and applies the Program and Rules of the Party, is prepared to be organised in a manner determined by the relevant State Committee and pays such dues as determined by the Central Committee.
Applications or nominations for membership shall be treated individually and approved, deferred or declined by the relevant State Committee.
During the first year of membership new members must participate in study and discussion sessions arranged by the relevant State Committee. These will be based on the Party’s Basic Study Course with other topics selected according to the individual and collective needs.
Members must serve the interests of the working class and working people of Australia, subordinate private interests to those of the working class and Party, strive to master and apply the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism, maintain study of Australian life using the stand and viewpoint of Marxism, develop and orient their ideological outlook in the process of maintaining close ties with the Australian people, consulting with them so as to learn from them.
Party members identify themselves with the masses of the workers, whether politically advanced, intermediate or backward, so as to serve the great cause of Australian independence and socialism. They should strive to develop new and appropriate ways to conduct mass work, contribute to the collective life of the Party by summing up experience, and encourage the recruitment of new Party members.
Discipline in the Party arises from the conviction of the correctness of Marxism-Leninism. It is based on the understanding that the development of the collective wisdom and strength of the Party is the only way to resolve the problems of the Australian revolution. Correct service to the working class can only arise if the Party develops fully conscious discipline based on the collective wisdom of the Party. Correctness of Party policy can only be tested where the Party acts as one in carrying out decisions.
Members must observe Party discipline and carry out Party decisions conscientiously. They should practice self-discipline, principled criticism and self-criticism, and be honest, open and above board in Party matters. Factions are incompatible with the principles of democratic centralism and undermine collective unity.
Members must use only designated Party communication channels in the discussion and handling of their political and organisational responsibilities to the Party.
A member who for ideological reasons, becomes politically apathetic or at variance with the Party, may withdraw or be persuaded to withdraw. The Central Committee determines methods of resolution of problems with members.
Where differences arise, Party members have the right and duty to criticise Party bodies and make proposals to them. In the first instance, matters should be raised through the relevant State Committee, and if not resolved, there remains the right to report directly to the Central Committee. If a member holds different views about the decisions or the directives of the Party, he or she shall raise their views in the Party while carrying out the decisions conscientiously.
It is essential to create a political climate in which there is mutual respect, centralism and democracy, discipline and initiative, both unity of will and personal ease of mind.
Members of the Communist Party accept a lifetime commitment to the study and application of Marxism, to the welfare of the Australian working class and the great cause of Communism.