Following on the earlier post on the events page concerning the CPA National Party School on 14-15 March, 2020, here is a program for the school:
Saturday: 9:00 AM-11:45 AM: Introduction to Marxism and the three components and constituent parts of Marxism 12:00 AM – 1:00 PM: Finish the three component parts of Marxism 1:00 – 2:00 PM: Lunch at the Federation Hotel 2:05 – 3:30 PM: Lance Sharkey’s Book ‘The Trade Unions: Communist Theory and Practice of Trade Unionism’ and then a panel of Union activists about how the principles Lance Sharkey outlines are useful in their work and the role of communist trade unionists 3:30 – 4PM: Coffee break 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM: Understanding China 6:00 PM – late: Dinner and drinks
Sunday: 9:00 AM – 10:45 AM: Conducting effective political interventions (rallies, social movements,) and effective banner painting skills 11:00 AM -1:00 PM: The national question, with Hannah Middleton 1:00 – 2:00 PM: Lunch 2:05 – 4:00 PM: Communist interventions and campaigning in local government 4:00 – 4:10: Ending ceremony
Local branch meetings of the CPA usually take place every two weeks. These are an important part of our activities, since we discuss ongoing plans, projects and action. Those who seek to become new members are normally expected to attend these meetings for a few months, to show that they are serious about joining the CPA. As a member or someone seeking to become a member, you will receive a reminder from our branch secretary.
How do new members join the CPA? The ways are many, but for the two of us it was a similar experience: it was due to the Red Flag.
We are both new members of the local Newcastle branch. Sure, we have longer histories as to why we joined, but let us focus on how it was the Red Flag that helped us make an active move to join the CPA. In our different ways, we had been at a march-cum-rally. In Newcastle, these events involve various groups, from unions through to the CPA. And at these events, it has been the custom for local party members to participate and, where possible, fly a big red CPA flag.
Let us tell our stories.
Then, like a swollen river that has broken bank and wall, The human flood came pouring with the red flags over all, And kindled eyes all blazing bright with revolution’s heat, And flashing swords reflecting rigid faces in the street.
When I was a child the Bushwhackers cover of Henry Lawson’s poem was played so often, on a bootlegged tape of my father’s, that I can’t hear it today but be taken back to the autumn of 1985. Those lines particularly stuck with me. The questions it caused me to ask my parents are what set my political compass. Time passed and soon without realising I was working two jobs and political opinion was something I thought I had no time to indulge in.
Fast-forward to March 2014: then it was that I saw the Red Flag above the anti-Abbott march in Newcastle. I was stunned! The Communist Party of Australia existed! It all came back to me. My father’s music, my grandmother’s stories, my great grandfather’s. The sight of the flag that day steeled my resolve to join the Party, and eventually I did. How many are there who have a similar past to mine? When they see “the symbol bright and plain” would they too gather to it? Those whose ancestors were workers, who worked in mines, or manufacturing jobs long since gone? Who have heard the stories of the power of the union, the power of solidarity and collective bargaining? We who have the opportunity of work today may only know the gig economy, working when we can, at the whim of employers, for what we can get. Yet there are still those of us who remember the stories of our forebears and know that the rights left to us were fought for by those who strode under the Red Flag.
And Roland writes:
The first time I saw the flag was in December, 2014: the hammer and sickle, the five stars of the southern cross, and “CPA” on a large Red Flag. I was thrilled to see it, since it told me that the CPA was alive and well, and that there is a local branch. A seed was planted, although it took a while to bear fruit.
The next year, I saw the flag again at another event, and I followed up by sending an email message or two to the central committee. They gave me the local branch secretary’s contact details. After a few talks over coffee with a couple of local members and an invitation for them to attend a “China Road” conference I was organising (sponsored by the Academy of Marxism in Beijing), I eventually raised the question of joining the party. I did so – at long last – towards the end of 2018.
There may be a host of ways to get out the news about the party: word of mouth, social media, the website, The Guardian and Australian Marxist Review. But the Red Flag should certainly be up there with the most important. After all, it is a flag with more than a century of history. It gives an unambiguous message to inquirers and new members like ourselves: the Communist Party is here, it is alive and kicking, and it stands for a clear platform.
As mentioned on our events page, we participated in the climate rally and march in Newcastle on the 22nd of February, 2020.
We approach the scientific fact of climate change in light of our core Marxist-Leninist approach, focusing on the economic and social needs of the vast majority: workers and the common people. For real action on climate change, we need a different system, one that seeks to improve the lives of workers through democratic centralism.
Part of the comprehensive defeat of Hitler by the Red Army was the liberation of Auschwitz. This video, an interview with Ivan Martynushkin who was one of the first Red Army soldiers into Auschwitz, says it all:
The focus in the ICAC hearings about goings on in the Newcastle political scene has been on allegedly corrupt politicians and businessmen. It is easy to pass this off as just a few bad individuals in the system, rather than question the system itself.
However the hearings have lifted the covers on how the system works. Namely, how the political system governs on behalf of big business – the jobs for politicians in the private companies when they retire, the use of ex-politicians by business to gain access to ministers, big developers like McCloy ordering local members to report to him, the local capitalist clubs or fronts that meet regularly and coordinate tactics and host politicians, the smear campaigns that were run to discredit opposition to business projects such as Tinkler’s proposed coal loader.
Democracy under the capitalist system was exposed as a sham, and where the real power lies was revealed. The covers will quickly come down and people will be left with a few “corrupt” politicians as scapegoats.
How should we react?
An unfortunate trend is the turning against politics, often in despair or cynicism. This trend does not challenge the system that creates corruption – it in fact directs attention away from an understanding of how the capitalist system works.
A real solution lies in heightened political activity – but with the political activity directed away from the pro-capitalist parties (whether Liberal or Labor) and in support of a party like the Communist Party that offers a real alternative – because in the end the only alternative to capitalism is socialism. A system not based on greed and on exploiting people, but rather one which emphasises collective activity, concern and respect for one another, and a sense of common destiny and people’s control of their future.
THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT IS WORKING ON A TROOP AND AIR FORCE BUILD UP IN THE MIDDLE EAST, PRIOR TO DEPLOYMENT IN IRAQ AND SYRIA. THE USA HAS REQUESTED IT, AND LIKE A TAME LAP-DOG WE HAVE JUMPED.
Australia has been involved in disastrous wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan at the request of the USA. Will we ever learn?
In Afghanistan, and now in the Middle East, we have been directed to fight radical fundamentalist insurgents. But these groups, the Taliban in Afghanistan (originally created to fight the Soviet Union’s troops protecting the legitimate Afghan government) and Islamic state or ISIS in Syria and now Iraq (created to topple the legitimate Syrian government), were created, supported and armed by the United States and their Arab allies.
With the current deployment of air and ground troops, is the crushing of ISIS the real agenda?
We know that under capitalism, governments act to support and extend the influence of big money and big business- whether it is the US government and American big business or the European Union and European big business. Taking direct control of Iraq again will allow the oil companies to tighten their grip on Iraq’s oil and gas reserves – a grip that had been under threat in recent times. Fighting ISIS also provides a pretext for invading Syria and destroying the Syrian government – a government that has not always toed the Western line and has shown a degree of independence.
Do we want to be part of this? Let us see beyond the propaganda and understand what is really going on.
We must demand that our already deployed troops be brought home and that no more of our troops be committed to these US wars.