VANGUARD - Expressing the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
For National Independence and Socialism • www.cpaml.org
An international coordinating centre for revolutionary organisations to which our Party is affiliated, has called on organisations to review their methods of operation in today’s challenging times.
The International Coordination of Revolutionary parties and Organisations (ICOR) has 60 affiliates in 47 countries spread across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Some are parties, some are workers’ and union organisations, and all have Marxism-Leninism as their guiding ideology.
The organisational principles of these parties and organisations vary from those, like our own Party, that seek to protect their members from state surveillance and intimidation and harassment by reactionaries, with a relatively small group of public or semi-public spokespersons, to those that are completely open and above ground.
The forms of the bourgeois state under which they operate also vary. Some are bourgeois democracies, like Australia, and some are autocracies and open dictatorships. The parliamentary democracies continually give rise to illusions based on the freedom to organise and to freely express one’s views. If left unchallenged by a thorough grasp of the nature of the bourgeois state and its repressive and coercive role in the class struggle, those illusions coalesce into the ideology of revisionism according to which there is no need for the revolutionary essence of Marxism to be defended and applied.
The ICOR statement is put in the context of the intensifying rivalry and confrontation between the imperialist powers and the economic, political and social crises of capitalism, and says that “Revolutionary parties and organizations must be vigilant and prepared for a stronger confrontation with the bourgeoisie.” To that end, it adds: “The persistence and resilience of the revolutionary work is the fundamental base for class struggle. Revolutionary parties and organizations have to use organizational means and structures which guarantee the continuation of effective revolutionary work and secure communication within the organization.”
Does our Party have those “organisational means and structures”? In large part, our organisational principles, described as the “iceberg principle”, can be said to have guaranteed our “continuation of effective revolutionary work and secure communication within the organisation” throughout the 58 years of our existence since the founding conference in 1964.
In our view, our party’s principles of organisation combined with emphasis on mass work and serving the people in struggle, can protect masses in struggle, revolutionary comrades and the party’s organisation and ideology, from the bourgeois state.
The ICOR statement is a timely reminder of the importance of continuing to uphold our party’s organisational “iceberg” principles to safeguard the party, our members and the mass movements.
The ICOR statement goes on to warn that:
In the face of the aggravating conditions of class struggle, the bourgeois states will increase all forms of repression including attack on democratic rights, imprisonments and murders of revolutionary leaders and activists. Mass movements will face all forms of state repression. Revolutionary organizations will face more and more bans and state terror.
Counter-revolutionary measures such as surveillance of revolutionaries and their work, especially through the Internet and telecommunications, travel restrictions for international meetings and coordination will challenge our daily work. We must be prepared and defend our political freedoms, organize cross-border solidarity actions, organize solidarity with prisoners and protect our revolutionary values.
“All forms of repression” can be taken to mean both state-sanctioned legislation that restricts and punishes the exercise of long-held democratic rights, and the use of street thugs and right-wing extremist social media and other means of harassment and intimidation.
These are the two sides of the coin of fascism. For the bourgeoisie, it is a question of which to use and when. So, they are sometimes seen in conflict with each other, like a snake biting its own tail. Thus, ASIO warns of right-wing and neo- Nazi influence, while the social media platforms of these groups promote the need for extra-parliamentary violent action and the need for an authoritarian control over the mass of the people.
In the past 20 years, a long succession of repressive anti-democratic and anti-working class laws have been rolled out by state and federal governments with full agreement of the two major parties. The laws severely restrict or virtually ban protest actions by environmentalists, workers and working people where corporate profit making is threatened. Military powers to police and the army have been increased to suppress domestic social unrest targeting the pillars of capital. ASIO has been given far reaching surveillance powers.
More must be done to build people’s awareness of the danger of fascism, both in the sense of legislative attacks on our right to organise and struggle, and in the sense of standing up to agents of intimidation and refusing to be cowed by them. The responsibility for this must be taken up firmly by the working class and its union organisations, for they have been the bourgeoisie’s continual focus of attack, and their loss of rights have been the most keenly felt.
The ICOR statement concludes with the observation that “Raising consciousness of revolutionaries and also the masses for secure work is our duty. It will be an important challenge for us to change our past habits and prepare our mind and mode of work according to the current necessities. And the most important is to continuously organize new revolutionaries, to refill and strengthen the revolutionary ranks and to keep a high morale against any challenges.”
We must indeed raise our consciousness, remain vigilant and conduct our mass work securely and without putting information into the hands of the state that will increase our future vulnerability.
Times change. The federal elections and the switch from the conservatives of the Coalition to the social democrats of the Labor Party may convince some that the immediate need to guard democratic freedoms has passed. That is not our view, but people will not be convinced by declarations to that effect by the Communists. Their own experiences, analysed and explained in appropriate ways by Communists, will be the basis on which they move more closely to our political and ideological position.
The ICOR advice is timely and of value to our organisation. We have a set of organisational principles that protect our members, and we have members who strive to apply the mass line in their work with the people. But we need to maintain our vigilance about the intentions of the bourgeoisie, and we need to keep studying so that our grasp of Marxism-Leninism and the works of Mao Zedong is heightened and refreshed, and our practice is improved.
Our organisational principles instill confidence in our mass work and the party.