The Guardian April 4, 2001

Congress delegates have a say: I am so excited ...

Leanne writes:

Soon I will be travelling to Sydney to attend our Party's 9th Congress. I 
am so excited that I have had my bag packed since February 1. I know I will 
be taking full opportunity to catch up with old (not necessarily in years) 
comrades and meet lots of new ones.

We should all have great confidence in our Party's "Political Resolution" 
as a guide to our activity for the next four years.

It certainly looks as if this year will see the end of the Coalition as 
Federal government and the election of the ALP.

While this will give us a small amount of cheer, we need to be prepared to 
expose the ALP as a party that, at the end of day, does not support the 
working class but the ruling class.

We need to be able to use all opportunities to build and strengthen the 
Party, especially in the trade unions, which are still the biggest 
organisations of the working class.

A political education in Marxism-Leninism is, of course, a priority, but 
this alone is not enough. We must be prepared to use this powerful weapon, 
to be active, to organise and recruit.

For inspiration we need to look to comrades like our own Jack MacPhillips 
who, while in his 91st year is still an active and committed Communist.

I would urge all Party members to work together to hasten the slogan "The 
21st Century is the century of Socialism".

Leanne is the Secretary of the Wollongong Branch of the Party and is a 
delegate of her trade union.

* * *
Voice of youth and the ethnic community Dora Anthony says: The upcoming 9th Congress of the CPA will present an opportunity for elected delegates from around Australia to collectively analyse ideological and political developments in society, and the role of the Party. As it is my first experience as a delegate to Congress, I see it as a challenge and a privilege to take part in important discussions, and as a chance to project a voice of the youth and the ethnic community. My concern for youth issues is reflected in my involvement in the newly formed Communist Youth of Australia (CYA) and my work in the student movement at Sydney University, particularly the Marxist Club. I hope that the Congress will be able to give attention to the specific struggles of young workers and students, the need for public education, and other issues concerning youth, including training and employment opportunities, coping with the rising cost of living, as well as environmental protection and Aboriginal rights. As a member of the Cypriot branch in Sydney, I am also aware of the concerns of the ethnic community. I recognise the need to enrich the party with ethnic members who have had valuable experiences in the struggle for a multicultural Australia and against racism and minority oppression, and who have been involved in national independence and anti-imperialist struggles in other countries. The Congress offers a chance to listen to the views and concerns of other delegates, and to learn about the functioning of the Party. Participation at Congress will be an important experience for myself and other young delegates who are also members of the CYA, particularly as the youth group will be holding its inaugural Congress in June this year. I believe that the establishment of a national youth organisation will make an important contribution to the communist movement as a whole.
* * *
The making of a communist by Vinnie Molina I was born in Guatemala, Central America 35 years ago. At the age of 15 I joined the Guatemalan Communist Youth Organisation and three years later, the Guatemalan Communist Party. The Guatemalan Communist Party was made illegal in 1954 when the CIA backed coup put an end to ten years of the democratic revolution in Guatemala. Being a communist was declared to be one of the worse crimes in that society. The Party had to carry on its work clandestinely. Political persecution forced me to leave Guatemala and I went to Mexico. I attempted to return to Guatemala but the hostile conditions forced me to return to Mexico where I became a refugee under the auspices of the United Nations High Commision for Refugees (UNHCR). In my 10 years as a member of the Guatemalan Party, I was involved in student activities, the popular movement for democracy and in other underground political work. I came to Australia in 1995 and in 1996 moved to Perth and soon involved myself in solidarity work with Latin America countries and Cuba. I was elected secretary of the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society, WA Branch and am the current President of the Branch. In 1999 I led the Southern Cross work brigade to Cuba. It was not long before I joined the Communist Party of Australia and became active in its work. I am currently the Vice-President of the Party's Perth branch. I also became active in the trade union movement in the building industry and I now work as a trade union organiser in the construction division of the CFMEU. I am one of four delegates of the Perth branch to the Party's Congress and am looking forward to representing the branch. I have attended international events as a delegate from the Guatemalan Communist Party and I think that the most rewarding experience for a communist is to be elected as a delegate to the Congress of one's own party.
* * *
Great anticipation Warren Smith writes: The Congress of a Communist Party is a particularly important event. Congress is the highest decision-making body of our Marxist-Leninist Party, and its decisions will impact upon the life of the Party over the next four years. There will be a thorough analysis of the work of the Central Committee over its last term of office and the work of the different Party organisations will be reported on by delegates. The election of the Party's leadership is, without doubt, of the greatest importance. The Political Resolution to be finalised by the Congress will put forward the Party's view of the political situation at home and abroad to not only the members of the Party but also to the Australian people. It is my view that the question of building the party remains our primary task. This matter must be approached with sincerity and dedication. Success can be achieved by Party members enhancing their ability to apply Marxism- Leninism to the current conditions and by actively participating in the struggles of the working class. Party building in all areas is of great importance but it is my belief that much attention needs to be given to strengthening our position in the trade union movement. In Australia the trade unions are the main organisations of the working class. The decline in the militancy and the class consciousness of the trade unions is in no small way attributable to the decline of the Communist Party in that area. Congress must ensure that efforts are made to co-ordinate the work of Communists in the trade unions and emphasis must be placed upon the establishment of workplace and industrial branches of the CPA. I look forward to Congress with great anticipation and am honoured to be involved in such an important event.
* * *
Thoughts on the CPA 9th Congress Beryl Miller says: I have been fortunate to have attended nearly all our Party Congresses and despite the difficulties we have to work in and the anti-communism rife in our country, I remain optimistic that socialism in this millennium will be a fact of life. We must remain true to the concepts of Marxism-Leninism. The leading role of the Party in bringing about working class power is paramount. The need for our Party to build its ties with the workers remains still to be done and this will require the whole Party to follow this through together with building the sales of "The Guardian". A better understanding of Marxism- Leninism is essential. There is a deal of understanding of the neo-liberal policies of globalisation in the interests of capital and our Party needs to be in there taking up the debate and showing that capitalism does not work and that socialism is the only alternative. If our Congress can take up these issues, we will be on our way to providing that alternative from the conservative and social democratic forces which cannot meet the needs and policies for the benefit of working people. I am a member and treasurer of the Northern Branch in SA which covers the motor industry of GMH at Elizabeth. For the past 10 years we have concentrated on getting "The Guardian" and our Bulletin into the workplace. It carries articles from "The Guardian") We also distribute it at the monthly meetings of the Maritime Union of Australia and the SA Trades & Labor Council. We also give it to the workers at the Elizabeth Railway Station and the bus drivers at the terminal. We sell The Guardian. I play a leading role in the Union of Australian Women and last year we contributed to the World March of Women Against Poverty and Violence which presented their demands to Koffi Annan last October for an end to poverty and violence against women. Women from 157 countries covering 5,000 organisations took part in this action. In Adelaide the UAW was part of the ACTU Women's Conference on the issue and the UAW produced a kit of material for discussion in schools.

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