The Communist Party of Australia
Manifesto to the workers of Australia
The Communist Party of Australia was formed on October 30, 1920 — just 80 years ago. On December 24, 1920, the new Party published this Manifesto to the Workers of Australia in the first issue of its newspaper The Australian Communist. To the working class of Australia the Communist Party at the moment of its formation, issues this preliminary statement of principles and policy. We hold it as a fundamental principle that it is only by the mass movement of the working class as a whole that our emancipation can be won and, therefore, urge the workers to the careful study of this appeal to prepare for their part in the coming international communist revolution. The Communist Party of Australia, together with the Communist International, accepts the scientific theory that the Capitalist System of production and distribution has outlived its usefulness and become reactionary and destructive of humanity. We realise that this system has in its development and maturity done great service to humanity by bringing about extensive and efficient social production and distribution of necessities, and by introducing wonderful labor saving devices. But the capitalist system itself presents the fundamental contradiction of social production and individual or private ownership both of the means of production and the products. From this fact arise the two classes of modern society — the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie, by virtue of its possession of the State power, established and maintains itself today as the dominant class and is thereby, enabled to shelter behind the empty phrases of popular democracy. By monopolising and holding by any and every means of cunning, deceit, and terrorism, all the means of subsistence, the dominant class perpetuates the existing form of society, while the proletariat, deprived of everything, sometimes even of bare existence, is subjected to degradation and the most humiliating slavery. Thus does modern society present itself as a system wherein one class produces all things and owns nothing, while the other class owns everything and produces nothing. The Communist Party, recognising this contradiction, sets itself to abolish the system, to overthrow this class monopoly, and to abolish the private ownership of the means of production. Its aim is to establish a system of social ownership of the means of production, thereby making the ownership coincide with the social process of production. This contradiction, fundamental in the capitalist system, is most apparent during a crisis caused by over-production. Then there is no shortage of necessities but an oversupply, that is to say, the producers have produced more for the monopolist class for their profits than that class can dispose of. When this point is reached the wheels of production are stopped and the producers, in addition to being deprived of their own production, are deprived of even their ordinary miserable means of subsistence; and are thrown into a state of absolute starvation. In such a case the producing classes unconsciously feel that they are unjustly deprived of access to the amassed products of their own labor. Sometimes they are driven by starvation and this sense of injustice into spontaneous revolt, such as local and general strikes. But, because of their lack of organisation and their ignorance of the real cause of their degradation and starvation and because the monopolist classes are solidly organised into the State, with weapons to hand for oppression and coercion, they are invariably suppressed and beaten, fooled or trapped. They are finally brought back again into the same slavery when the monopolists are ready to set the wheels of production going again. Since the possessing class, in spite of its insignificant numbers compared with the workers is, through its organisation, able to keep the great masses in subjection, we Communists contend that if the workers are well organised for the express purpose of the overthrow of the capitalist system, they can do so during one of these periodical crises. They can then establish a system of production of necessities, not for profit, but for social use. Then would they turn the oversupply or plenty of products to the happiness of all, and not to the starvation of those who have produced that plenty. The Communist Party is essentially a fighting organisation, and not a debating club. While it is strengthening itself more and more by further and further educating its own members and by educating and recruiting new members and branches, it takes an active part in the everyday struggle of the working class. In this way, it demonstrates the futility of fighting for an improved capitalist system and ever directs them to the same one purpose of overthrowing the system by organised mass action. We Communists assert the futility of waiting for the achievement of our ideal by legislation through existing legislative institutions, as these institutions are expressly a part and parcel of the capitalist system. The overthrow of the system means equally the overthrow of all the political machinery of the system, parliament and police, army and navy, etc. The new machine which will be established by the organised force of the workers in mass action, for the protection of the new order in the establishment of its new economic and social system, will be the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. This is only a temporary phase in the new order, and will only exist for the complete annihilation of the bourgeoisie as a class and the economic basis of class antagonism. The State having ceased to exist then, in the words of Engels, State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous and dies out of itself. The government of persons is replaced by the administering of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. Then will Communist society inscribe upon its banner, "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Communist Program For that purpose the Communist Party is: (1) Arranging communist study classes under its own auspices or under those of labor organisations; (2) Holding wherever possible public meetings for necessary propaganda as its aim is to spread the communist idea as widely among the masses as possible, recognising that social revolution will be only possible with an intelligent following of the Communist Party by the masses at large; (3) For the same reason and for the education and recruiting of new members, distributing communist revolutionary literature; (4) Forming groups of its members in every mill, factory, workshop and field so that it is always in a position to direct and control through its members every industrial dispute and disturbance of the workers, keeping always in mind the same end — social revolution — and trying to utilise every spontaneous action of the workers for that one end; (5) Directing its members to take an active and, wherever possible, a leading part in every craft or industrial union, and endeavouring to have its members elected into the executive bodies of these organisations so that these organisations also are directed in their activities towards the same one end of complete social revolution. (6) Endeavouring and actively working to replace the existing craft unions by more up-to-date efficient industrial unions, which would be more advantageous for social revolutionary mass action, as well as an important factor in the communist reconstruction of society. (7) So controlling its members, that each and every one of them acts strictly according to Communist principles; (8) Taking an active part in the election for the existing legislative bodies, wherever it may be for the advantage of the social revolution, to demonstrate inside those institutions that such institutions are expressly for the buttressing of the existing capitalist system, that they are working absolutely and always in opposition to the interests of the toiling masses, and to demonstrate that whenever these institutions legislate in the interests of the workers, they are doing so, not because they sincerely desire to do so, but always because of a danger of revolt from those whom they are exploiting and always with the purpose of preserving the existing capitalist system. (8a) While the Communist Party accepts parliamentarism for revolutionary purposes, it does not exclude from its membership, non-parliamentary communists, providing party discipline is maintained.... [Together] with the 3rd International [the Party] declares that it considers as a crime against the Labor Movement any split or attempt at a split within the Communist Party on this point. (9) Issuing, from time to time, necessary and timely manifestos and calls to the masses for a particular action at a particular time; (10) Inviting all the intelligent workers, men and women, to study communist ideas, to understand them properly and to try to establish communist groups wherever possible, strictly on the principles outlined in this program, be it in a friendly circle, a factory, a workshop, a craft union or an industrial union. THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF AUSTRALIA AWAITS YOUR SUPPORT Issued by the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Australia.