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Issue #1762      January 25, 2017

Editorial

“The way has been shown”

The year 2017 is shaping up to be a huge one for the working class of Australia and all exploited and oppressed people around the world. Communists around the world will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Great October Revolution, a momentous turning point in human history in which Russian workers and peasants took power and built a new type of society.

In Australia, the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) will be involved in these celebrations and holding a number of activities focusing on the Revolution, its achievements and their meaning for Australia.

The CPA will be holding its 13th National Congress where it will be analysing current developments and charting the way forward for the next four years. There are also plans to update its program, a document that spells out its policies and longer term aims.

Many are asking how such a reactionary, racist, xenophobe as billionaire Donald Trump could be elected as President of the US. At the same time how did Bernie Sanders who put the word “socialism” on the agenda – something unimaginable a few years ago – gain so much support?

Around the world people are looking for change. Decades of neo-liberal economic policies with cuts to social spending, privatisation, deregulation and attacks on democratic and trade union rights have seen living standards drop, homelessness rise and the gap between the rich and poor widen.

There is confusion. Some fell for the demagogy of Trump, a ruthless billionaire capitalist pretending to care about the poor and exploited.

At the same time hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in the US and around the world to protest at his policies, in particular his attitude towards women.

Cracks are appearing in the two-party system – some very large – in a number of countries as a result of growing dissatisfaction with the major parties and the façade of democracy they give.

In Australia, the left forces remain relatively weak. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is being promoted almost on a daily basis in the media. Hanson and her reactionary views have been “mainstreamed”. They also hold currency in the right-wing forces of the Coalition.

These reactionary forces must be defeated. They cannot be allowed to fill the vacuum left by the major parties.

The Russian Revolution showed that it was possible for the working class to win power and throw out the capitalists. It inspired workers around the world and during the years that followed communist parties were formed, including in Australia.

The Communist Party of Australia brought Marxism to the working class of Australia. Party members have been active in so many struggles – against war, for democratic and workers’ rights, for jobs, for social services, for Indigenous rights, in international solidarity, for a socialist Australia and much more.

Many causes that Australian communists have fought for are still to be won. The working class movement has been at its strongest when the Communist Party has been at its strongest. When struggles are successful it is not long before the capitalist class attempts to wind back workers’ gains.

The current situation, domestically and globally, dictates the need more than ever for socialism – high unemployment, global warming, homelessness, economic crisis, starvation, massive dislocation of people, and war.

These crucial issues will be on the agenda of the Party’s 13th National Congress. Central to this is the building and strengthening of the CPA. So join us in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution and building the CPA and struggle in Australia.

As Lenin put it following the October Revolution: “The ice has been broken, the road is open … the way has been shown.”

Next article – Union veterans’ WestConnex protest

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