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Issue #1755      November 2, 2016

Necessity and progress

October 30 marked the anniversary date of the foundation of the Communist Party of Australia in 1920. It was an historic event and signalled the formation of a party taking Marxism as its guide.

A number of events influenced the formation of communist parties at that time, not only in Australia, but also in a number of other countries as well.

It was shortly after the ending of World War I, which was caused directly by capitalism and resulted in enormous loss of life and devastation. The experience of this war was a contributing factor in the Russian socialist revolution of 1917 and revolutionary upsurges in many other European countries.

In Australia, the modern working class was beginning to emerge with the foundation of a steel industry in 1912, when the BHP was established.

Labor Party governments had sided with the imperialist governments of Europe in the war and attempted to conscript soldiers to fight overseas.

Some utopian socialist organisations existed before the formation of the Communist Party of Australia and they had awakened an understanding of the class nature of society and opposed capitalism. But their solutions to the problems of the working people were inadequate.

At that time the first publication of the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and some others brought scientific socialist ideas to readers.

On the one hand, the reformist, compromising policies of the Labor Party became apparent. On the other hand, the one-sided anti-parliamentarianism of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was seen to represent blind alleys in the struggle for the overthrow of the capitalist system and its replacement by a social system based on the interests and needs of the working people.

The years of struggle of the Communist movement in Australia have been marked by ups and downs and by many achievements. The movement has persisted despite the never-ending campaigns of the capitalist class to exorcise it from society and, these days, to declare that socialism has been tried and found to be a failure and is now dead. They only wish it were true!

Communist parties now exist in more countries than ever and in a number of countries; such as China, they have formed governments and are building socialist societies. In other countries Communist parties participate in the present governments – South Africa, for example, and lead provincial or state governments as in India.

The working class has grown enormously in the last 100 years and is by far the single largest class in many countries and, together with the peasantry, comprise the overwhelming majority of the populations of all countries.

Yet millions remain poor, impoverished and unemployed in a period when all human needs could be met by the productive capacity that exists. The necessity to bring an end to the capitalist system was never more apparent or necessary. The obscene profits of Australian banks show what wealth is being ripped out of the sweat and toil of the working people, wealth which could have been used for the overall benefit of the working people.

Marxist and Leninist ideas remain true and are the reliable guide to a better society. It was socialist ideas and policies that rapidly transformed the once backward economy and lives of the Russian people. It was socialist ideas and policies that enabled the people of Vietnam and Cuba to defeat the efforts of imperialism to strangle those countries. It is socialist ideas and policies that could also redistribute wealth in Australia and reverse the present environmental degradation which is a direct result of capitalist rip, tear and bust economic practices.

Socialist ideas based on the collective social needs of men and women could eliminate war from the affairs of humanity.

The Manifesto to the Workers of Australia was issued by the CPA shortly after its formation in 1920. It declared “the capitalist system of production and distribution has outlived its usefulness and become reactionary and destructive of humanity ...” Today’s task is to change and replace it.

Next article – On Bob “the Dodgy” builder

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