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Issue #1945      14th December, 2020

“Unite the masses!” is the main task in 1938


This article originally appeared in The Workers' Weekly December, 1937.

I gladly take advantage of the offer of space in the “Weekly” to send greetings to all Party members and all readers on the eve of a new year. By the time this issue of the “Weekly” is in the hands of most readers, the practical work of the year will have come to an end and everyone will be preparing to make the most of the holiday period. I hope that so far as circumstances permit, everyone will have an enjoyable time and return to the daily tasks of 1938 with renewed vigour.

The year 1937 has been another year of advance for the Communist Party and militant people in the labour movement. Our Party has grown in numbers and has increased its connections with the masses of the people, thereby enormously extending the influence of Communism in Australia.

Many victories have been won for militant unionism during 1937, the most outstanding being the victories of the Miners’ Federation in its negotiations with the employers in several States and the advances made by the metal industry in securing improved wage rates. Notable successes were recorded by militant unionism in the election of leaders, the outstanding one being the general secretaryship of the Waterside Workers’ Federation.

The big event for the labour movement in Australia during 1937 was the Federal elections in which the position of the Lyons-Page government was weakened. The Labor Party did not meet with the success it ought to have achieved had its leaders put forward a programme acceptable to the mass of electors.

Nevertheless, the elections demonstrated the advance of united action in the ranks of the working class and wherever this was most in evidence, the position of Labor was strengthened. The big advance in the vote for our Party candidate in Herbert, Comrade Paterson, points to a probable success in one or other of the North Queensland State constituencies in 1938.

In the first half of 1938 the Communist Party and the whole labour movement will be confronted with State elections in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

In New South Wales, the tasks are to overcome the disruptive influence of the Right-wing leadership in the Labor Party, to unite the working class for the struggle to defeat the reactionary Stevens government, to win to the side of Labor the farmers and the middle classes and to elect a Labor government, subject to the influence of the progressive masses of the people.

In Queensland, the tasks are to cleanse the Labor Party from right-wing and religious sectarian influences and to unite the masses for the return of a progressive Labor government and the election of Communists to the Queensland parliament.

In South Australia, the tasks confronting us are to strengthen the Communist Party and the Labor Party and to defeat the reactionary Butler government.

The year 1937 saw the celebration of the 20th year of the workers’ revolution in the Soviet Union and recorded the tremendous advance economically, socially, and in the sphere of culture of the millions in the most progressive country in the world. The elections to the administrative bodies in the U.S.S.R. demonstrated the widespread confidence in the future of the Soviet land, in the prospects of Socialism, in the leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

The situation in the U.S.S.R. is in direct contrast to the economic and political situation in the fascist countries. The Soviet Union points the way to the people of all countries. In 1938 we must do more than ever to popularise the Soviet Union which demonstrates the correctness of the theories and practice of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin for the toiling people.

While 1937 showed a remarkable advance in the Communist Parties – France, Spain, China, above all in the Soviet Union – and advances in the direction of unity against fascism, the most serious problems of 1937 will remain in 1938. We have done something for Spain in this country, but not nearly enough. We have begun to take up the struggle on behalf of China against Japanese military fascism in a much better way.

Whatever resolutions custom may cause us to make on the approach of a new year, every Communist, every opponent of fascism, must resolve that from the commencement of the factory operations in 1938 and with the resumption of trade union and political activity, we will raise to a very much higher level, the assistance in Australia for the defenders of democracy in Spain.

We must also resolve to do our utmost to assist the Chinese people in their struggle to free their country from the brutal fascist invaders.

The main task in 1938 is to defeat fascism, thus restoring peace to the world and opening the way to further victories for democracy and for the toiling people of all countries.

Next article – “A Merry Christmas to All and a Peaceful New Year”

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