The Guardian 14 September, 2005
CPA 10th National Congress
Build the Party in the Working Class!
Every Member an Activist!
CPA President Dr Hannah Middleton
The 10th National Congress of the Communist Party of Australia will meet from Friday, September 30 to Monday, October 3 under the slogan: Build the Party in the Working Class. Every Member an Activist!
Elected delegates and Central Committee members from around Australia will come together to chart the way forward for the CPA at a time of great opportunities and great dangers for the working class and other exploited sectors of our community.
Ruling class attacks
The federal government’s changes to workplaces are excessive and frightening. Never before in Australian history has any government tried to tear so many basic rights from away workers and their families as the Howard government is doing with their industrial relations laws.
The so-called "war on terrorism" is being used as an excuse for far-reaching anti-democratic measures. New legislation and the build-up of "security" forces are not only intended to crush any form of dissent on the part of specific groups or individuals, but also to silence the voices of democratic organisations that oppose the policies of conservative governments.
There are many other areas of struggle which are bringing people into action — for peace and an end to the military alliance with the US, to defend the public health system, to maintain public education, to protect the environment, for Aboriginal land rights, to oppose the steep rise in university fees, to maintain womens’ rights and conditions, for migrant rights, for fair prices for farmers, and more.
People are coming into action in greater numbers, responding to the need for new struggles to defeat the attacks being made against workers, against the trade union movement and against the democratic rights of the people.
Spontaneity and courage are not enough. There must be breadth, unity, organisation and leadership.
Unity in action
For the struggles to succeed, we must build and strengthen active coalitions of left and progressive political, trade union and community organisations. These coalitions must be based upon the unity in action of the working class.
As the draft Political Resolution to go before Congress says:
"In Australia, a broad democratic movement that unites all left and progressive parties, trade unions, community organisations and progressive individuals is needed to start challenging the existing structures of economic and political power."
Building a united movement of the working class and other social forces requires a great deal of Party members, above all that they are educated politically and are activists.
But none of this can be achieved without activity among, with and for the people. Comrades must be involved for it is no good preaching from the sidelines. We must have a party of activists.
Congress must take decisions which help us build a strong, activist Communist Party, with deep roots in the working class, a party that is able to play its essential role.
Congress Political Resolution
Congress is part of the ongoing process within the Party of testing theory against practice and guiding our practical activities on the basis of the Party’s analyses and policies.
One of the main responsibilities of Congress is to consider the Political Resolution which assesses the current situation, estimates developments and lays out the Party’s policy priorities for the next four years (until the next Congress).
The resolution analyses the social, economic and political conditions that today, in a period of TNC-dominated capitalism, confront the Australian and the international working class movement.
Analysis is essential, but is not enough. Analysis explains the interaction of social, political and historical causes and effects, but the political resolution also presents proposals to change these and policies to help resolve the problems.
The third element of the resolution is action to build campaigns and support for the policies put forward by the Party.
As Marx wrote: "The philosophers have interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it."
The Political Resolution directs its call to working class and popular organisations which can take sustained and united action not only to exert mass, effective pressure on governments, but also to build a longer term movement for social change, a movement which aims to win a people’s government.
This Congress will also decide on proposed changes to the Party Program.
The Political Resolution is a document which essentially covers two four-year periods: the four years since the last Congress and the coming four years.
The Party Program deals with a much longer historical period and lasts for a much longer time.
Amendments to the Program do not deal with recent or immediate developments. They are intended to sharpen and expand our assessment of this epoch of capitalism and the transition to socialism.
One of the important tasks of Congress is to elect the Central Committee, the body which leads all Party work between Congresses.
Congress also brings together Party members from all parts of the continent. Comrades who may not meet again for another four years have the opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas and to relax together socially.
This opportunity is appreciated by many comrades who value the chance to get to know and learn from other Party members who share the same ideals and commitment.
Congress is not just four days. It is a process that lasts much longer. There is a party-wide discussion of the Congress documents which lasts for about six months.
This long process aims to involve, educate and develop us and to refine and develop our analysis, policies and activities so that we may better achieve our basic purpose: building a socialist Australia.
One purpose of the pre-Congress discussion is to draw on the experiences and understanding of the entire Party membership to ensure that the Political Resolution is as informed and correct as possible.
Another is to ensure that all Party members are involved in the examination and assessment of Party policy.
This is an essential element of democratic centralism which, our Constitution says, is "a process which entails ascertaining and converting the will of the majority of members into policy decisions which become binding on all".
The pre-Congress discussion also has an educative purpose. It is intended to help make sure that all Party members are aware and informed of Party policy.
The Congress Political Resolution is an invaluable living document which is available to guide and assist Party members in their work over the next four years.
"What is the CPA’s view on.....?" is a question that is often asked. The first place to go for an answer is the Political Resolution.
Here we find the analysis and policy points that may answer the question directly and immediately or provide us with the principles to apply to the problem so we can work out the answer.
The Political Resolution can and should be a constant guide for our Party activity at all times.
It allows us to bring that "something extra", the special contribution that only the Party can add to a struggle.
Our 10th Congress will take place in an exciting period.
The struggles against the military, political and economic forms of corporate globalisation are the dominant and defining political issues for the foreseeable future. This movement is what is new, what is coming into being and what will be the fundamental determinant of this new century.
The draft Political Resolution concludes:
"Modern society is at a turning point. Never has its division "into two great hostile camps, into two great classes, directly facing each other bourgeois and proletariat", been sharper or clearer….
"We declare that the 21st Century will be the century of socialism. That is the objective of our work and activity. But whether this is achieved cannot be taken for granted. It will depend on the successful outcome of the struggle against capitalism and imperialism. This, in turn, depends on the organisational, political and ideological maturity of the Communist Parties that must lead it."