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About Us

An introduction to the Communist Party of Australia

Why we exist; the ideas we believe in

The Communist Party of Australia believes there is a way to overcome Australia's economic and social problems. To do this it is necessary to change the direction of politics in Australia and, eventually, to replace the capitalist system with a socialist one.

The Communist Party is a party of activists who work in trade unions, peace and environmental groups, solidarity organisations and a variety of other community movements as well as running campaigns in the name of the Communist Party.

The members of the CPA work to eliminate unemployment, poverty, injustice, homelessness, racism and war. These problems arise from the domination of our society by huge profit-hungry private corporations.

We work for a society in which publicly owned enterprises will play the major role in the economy.

We encourage the participation of people in democratic decision making and management.

We want a society in which Aboriginal people, women, and migrants are treated equally and with dignity.

We work for a society where the environment is protected.

We believe that the needs of the people should be put first and not the wealth and profits of private corporations.

We strive to develop the Communist Party into a party capable of helping to educate, organise, unite and fight together with all the left, progressive and democratic political forces in building a broad people's movement with the working class as its core.

Many demands have been won in the past and we believe much more can be achieved by a movement which is united and determined to stand up for what is right.

The work of Party members and the Party's policies are guided by a set of ideas which are called Marxism-Leninism.

Wage and salary earners and their families, professional people, farmers, pensioners, unemployed people, students make up over 85 per cent of our population. They are the overwhelming majority.

These are the people suffering because of the exploitation imposed by monopolies, the privatisation of public enterprises, deregulation, cuts in government spending, and unemployment. The Communist Party of Australia is on their side.

The CPA has comprehensive policies on most issues. We are happy to discuss them with you at any time.

The detailed policies of the CPA are contained in the Party's Program and in a Political Resolution (read/download them from our CPA Publication section or email sales@cpa.org.au ($5 + p&h) for a hard copy).

The CPA publishes a weekly national newspaper, The Guardian and it is the responsibility of members of the Party to help in its distribution and sale. The CPA also publishes a journal, The Australian Marxist Review.

About the CPA

The Party was formerly known as the "Socialist Party of Australia", but changed its name to "Communist Party" at the 8th National Congress in October, 1996.

The Communist Party of Australia has some main features:

  • The Party's objective is the socialist reconstruction of Australian society;
  • The Party's ideas and policies are based on the theory and practice developed by Marx and Lenin, often referred to as "Marxism-Leninism". The Communist Party of Australia applies Marxism-Leninism to Australia's circumstances;
  • The Party is a working-class party, recognising the leading role of the working class in social change. The Party includes in its ranks workers, students, members who are professionals, small business people, farmers and pensioners. Members are women, men, young and old, and have different national origins. All are united by a commitment to work for the interests and needs of the working people of Australia;
  • The Party recognises the need for the working class to build links with other sections of society who are exploited by big business. This requires the Communist Party to win substantial influence within the working class at the same time as actively building alliances with other left and progressive political forces;
  • The Party members, at Congresses and other Party meetings, work out and decide all our policies.

Members' rights and responsibilities

Every CPA member belongs to a branch which usually meets fortnightly.

Communist Party members have both rights and responsibilities. They can express views on Party policy or activity, contribute to the Party's newspaper or journals, and stand for elected positions. There are opportunities for critical discussion and analysis at all levels of the Party.

Members are expected to be activists and to carry out decisions once they have been collectively discussed and decided by the majority. All members pay a fixed membership fee and are asked to make additional voluntary financial contributions.

 

Strategy for change

Our aim is to activate, strengthen and unite all the organisations and individuals committed to a new direction for Australian politics. This is the way to build a movement capable of challenging the real controllers of economic and political power in our country - the big corporations. This is the way to change the direction of Australia's political life.

Our aim is to strengthen each struggle by bringing together all groups and individuals involved, preferably in a coalition.

People will be empowered when they are united in action. They become enthusiastic and confident.

In Australia today, no one political party has enough support to form an alternative government at Federal, State or local Council level. No one party or group represents all progressive and democratic opinions.

That is why coalitions and other forms of co-operation such as an exchange of preferences and common platforms are especially important at election times.

Parliaments have an important place in the whole process of the struggle to advance the interests of the people - but only if work in parliaments is linked to the struggle by the people outside parliament. Building the mass movements into a strong, united, militant force is fundamental for real change.

The present two-party system, in which government is alternately shared between the Liberal-National Party Coalition and the Australian Labor Party, is not serving the people.

The emergence of alternative and independent political forces in various parliaments, who see the importance of fighting for the rights and interests of the ordinary people of Australia and against the forces of economic rationalism, shows that things are changing. Australia does not have to be condemned forever to the old two-party system.

To break the two-party system of government, we have to increase the number of progressive, "people's parliamentarians". Our aim is for a left and progressive people's coalition to win government.

Socialist society

The many changes the CPA proposes will eventually lead to the establishment of a socialist political and economic system.

In a socialist system publicly owned and controlled enterprises would become the dominant form of ownership in our economy. This would not exclude some forms of private ownership continuing to exist for a long time.

While industries must be efficient and be able to balance the books, the benefits from increased production must be passed on to the people who are doing the work. This means placing limits on private profit making.

Conditions for the investment of foreign capital would be controlled and regulated, as would be the export of profits, so no other country or transnational corporation could gain a dominant position in the Australian economy. This will help maintain Australia's national independence.

Economic planning is necessary in a socialist society to prevent the booms and slumps which are a persistent feature of all capitalist economies. Planning would enable the best use to be made of the nation's resources, the technical skills of workers and to protect the overall needs of the people.

A socialist government would be democratic and made up of representatives of the workers, scientists, technologists, intellectuals, farmers and small business people. There would be the right of recall so that elected representatives who do not do their job well could be replaced.

For socialism to work, the working people must be intimately involved in helping to run the country and industry. Workers would be involved in management and in decision making at all levels.

Socialism and democracy go hand-in-hand. In addition to having the right to elect the government and to stand as a candidate in an election from time to time, the right of all to participate fully in social, economic and political life would be encouraged.

A socialist government would insist on the peaceful, negotiated settlement of international disputes and would consistently support mutual international disarmament. Aggression and interference in the internal affairs of other countries would be replaced by a policy of friendship, non-interference and respect.

A major task for a socialist government would be to educate everyone in an attitude and lifestyle which respects and protects the environment. Protection of the environment calls for scientific knowledge, constant vigilance and public awareness together with democratic involvement and accountability.

The CPA and you

If you are not already a reader of The Guardian we invite you to become one either by taking out a subscription or by arranging for the paper to be delivered to you by one of our members.

You are also able to help finance The Guardian by making a contribution to the paper's Press Fund.

You can also help by making financial contributions to the Party's general funds either at a meeting or by post. We do not receive any big business subsidies or get an income from paid advertisements. As a working-class party we depend on the support of our members and supporters to keep our work going.

Party branches often run discussions on various topics. You are welcome to join in such discussions and express your views. Please contact the local Party organisation for details.

If you need assistance with any work you are doing in a trade union, peace group, community organisation or any other body, get in touch with us. We will be pleased to help.

Joining the CPA

If you decide to join the CPA, you have to fill in a Membership Application Form. It is a simple, straightforward form and can be obtained from any Party member you know or by writing to your nearest Party office.

Your application for membership has to be supported by a Party member who signs your application form as your nominator.

The application is then presented to a Party organisation (usually a Party branch) for consideration.

Membership is open to all who are 16 years of age or older, who normally reside in Australia, who accept the Party Program and Constitution, and are willing to be active in a Party organisation.

Membership fees are $100 per year for those receiving an income above the age pension rate and $25 per year for those receiving the age pension or less.

Upon acceptance of the membership application by the Party organisation, the applicant becomes a full member and is entitled to exercise all the rights and duties which are set out in the Constitution.

Who to contact

For more information about the Communist Party please click HERE.