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Issue #1479      3 November 2010

Red Flags Still Flying!

Saturday October 30 was the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist movement in Australia. The event was celebrated with exhibitions, films, toasts and meetings around the country.

Adelaide – Anniversary cake.

“The focus for the anniversary celebrations is to look back with pride and to look forward to campaigning for a socialist future for Australia,” Dr Hannah Middleton, CPA General Secretary, said.

“We Communists are proud of our history and want to put it on display.

“At the same time, the Communist Party of Australia is a living and effective part of the campaigns against privatisation, against the war in Afghanistan, for the rights of Aborigines, women, migrants and refugees, for a nationalised health system, and for sustainable development and environmental protection, and much more,” she said.

Greetings

International greetings were received from communist and workers parties in Greece, the Philippines, Israel, Brazil, Ireland, Pakistan, Bohemia and Moravia, the Russian Federation, Martinique, Algeria and Venezuela.

Sydney

In Sydney an exhibition, staged in the Mori Gallery, once the site of the CPA headquarters, included walls of historic material, a large collection of pamphlets and a long wall of campaign T-shirts.

A historical power point display, films and a tape of former General Secretary Peter Symon speaking were played in an adjacent area.

About 65 people visited the exhibition and on Saturday evening a further 60 people gathered to celebrate.

Sydney District Secretary Tony Oldfield paid respects to the Indigenous owners of the land and then welcomed diplomatic representatives from Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador.

He then introduced 91 year old Party veteran Harry Black who spoke about his memories of being a CPA member since 1943. Harry related anecdotes from a life as a communist, saying: “I enjoyed every minute of it!”

He was followed by historian Dr Drew Cottle who gave a fascinating account of episodes from the CPA’s history and also discussed why the Party is relevant and necessary today.

Comrades gathering prior to the speeches at the Mori Gallery in Sydney. Left to right, Xanthoula Mavrantonis, Steve Mavrantonis, George Matouk, Drew Cottle (main speaker), and Tony Oldfield. Also in the background part of the exhibition can be seen.

Perth

The CPA Perth Branch celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Communist movement in Australia with over 30 people from different sections of the labour movement, progressive and community groups.

Guests included officials and rank and file members of the CPSU/CSA, LHMU, CFMEU, AMWU, CSRIO, APESMA, as well as representatives from the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, Anti-Apartheid movement, the Mapuche Chilean Support Group, Socialist Alliance and ACFS.

The function was chaired by Vinnie Molina, CPA National President, who paid respect to the traditional custodians of the land before highlighting the importance of this special moment in history which belongs to the people of Australia.

Historian Professor Charlie Fox spoke on the role of the party with the unemployed, giving leadership to a movement which saw the unemployed mobilised in defence of their class interests.

Andrew Hayward, local CPA Branch Secretary, delivered a talk on party work and the need for activity and ongoing education.

David Fox, a member of the CPA Central Committee, spoke on the role of the party in the trade union movement and its future.

Launching an appeal for donations local branch member Richard Titelius reported that with Communist Alliance candidates running in the 2010 election campaign, the Greens asked him to choose the Greens or the Party. He chose the latter. People responded with applause and generous donations.

In closing there was a toast to the 90 anniversary, a call for unity of the left and finally many joined in the singing of the Internationale. Guests then celebrated around the delicious BBQ cooked by Comrade Oliver Godwin.

Perth attendees.

Adelaide

Adelaide’s 90th celebrations were great.

About 100 people packed into the Semaphore Workers Club (known locally as the Commo) and looked over an exhibition, watched a documentary about the history of the movement in SA, had a meal, heard speeches from different sides of the divides in our history and sang workers’ songs.

A cake with a bold hammer and sickle on top was cut and shared.

A commemorative booklet produced for the occasion was well appreciated.

There was a toast to the unity of the left and 90 years of the Communist movement.

Guests included the President of the Legislative Council, the member for the state seat of Mawson, the Mayor of Port Adelaide Enfield, Sunday Mail columnist Peter Goers, numerous trade union officials, and representatives from Socialist Alliance.

Adelaide – Don Jarrett.

Brisbane

The Party celebration was a resounding success, opening with Sam Watson who gave a welcome to country to about 60 guests.

Ron Monaghan, the Queensland Council of Unions general secretary, spoke of growing up in a Communist family and about the aims and aspirations of that generation of communists.

CPA Central Committee member Rob Gowland spoke of the party’s history and especially its cultural contribution.

Humphrey McQueen spoke of the service of Communists to the people and the need for renewal.

The Brisbane Combined Unions choir performed and donated their new album to the party raffle.

Comrade Ovideo Orellano led the round of applause for the contributions of comrades who have dedicated their life to the party.

Comrade Don was famous as the chef. It has been suggested that his menu and how to make it be posted on the Queensland section of the CPA website.  

Next article – The rich are winning the US class war

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