Here are some of the frequently asked questions we encounter from people interested in Communism and what is involved in joining the Party and being a Party member. Our primary motivation is to see the Working Class become the Ruling Class and thereby accomplish its rightful portion of the wealth of the world.
The journey to that end is of necessity a long and convoluted one. There will be successes and failures but, through it all, the aim remains the same, that the workers themselves should be the owners of the means of production and the beneficiaries of the wealth their labour creates.
Workers of the World, Arise!
IS THE CPA ANTI-COAL?
No, the CPA is anti-monopoly and anti- private ownership of all the main areas of the economy, including mining of coal and other sources of energy. The CPA recognizes that mining currently provides jobs for people, and that under capitalism, workers have only their labour to support themselves and their families. At the same time coal mining, as it is currently practiced by the big monopolies such as BHP- Billiton and Rio Tinto, is destructive to the environment. Further the burning of fossil fuels contributes to global warming. The CPA encourages workers in the mining industry, through their union, to struggle for employment security, fair wages and conditions, and safeguards for the health of workers. It also argues that workers and their unions must demand safeguards for the well-being of residents in affected areas, and for safeguards in relation to environmental damage. The capitalist owners of the mines live overseas; miners, their families and other workers often live near mines and it is their health and their environment that is damaged by mining and pollution.
But in the bigger picture, the CPA urges workers to enter the political struggle, alongside the CPA, for the overthrow of the dictatorship of capital and its replacement by the government of workers and their allies (the majority of the people). Mines, along with the major areas of production, would be socialized and run democratically on the basis of proper planning for the needs of the people, not the need for profit of individual owners. Mining would then be run on a different basis- employment would be guaranteed and at the same time proper decisions about the environment without the influence of private profit hungry companies. The government, on behalf of the people, would develop renewable, non-polluting sources of energy.
IS THE CPA A BUNCH OF RADICALS?
The CPA is not an anarchist organization, nor a sect or cult of true believers. It is a political party, but not just another left or progressive party like the Greens for example. It has a philosophy – Marxism-Leninism- by which it understands the world and interprets events. The CPA is a party of like-minded people who believe that the current economic system based on exploitation and greed (capitalism) cannot be reformed or humanized. The dictatorship of the private corporations must be replaced by a government that is based on the needs of workers and their allies. This is what is meant by the expression that the CPA strives for the replacement of the class in power not the party in power. A workers government would socialize the main areas of the economy and run them not on the basis of the profit motive, but on the needs of society, with proper central planning and the involvement of the people in the running of the new government owned factories, mines etc.
How will this change of the class in power be achieved? It strives to win support in elections and gain seats in parliament in order to disseminate its views and help in the main tasks of:
Bringing class and socialist consciousness to working people, and
Building an anti-monopoly, democratic movement of workers and their allies. It is this movement that will lead to the transformation of society. The movement works to defend and extent the gains of workers and their allies (e.g. Medicare, wages and conditions, welfare services, unemployment benefit and assistance, disability services etc.), but it does not stop there, it must push on for a new society – a socialist, democratic society.
WHAT IS MEANT BY BEING ACTIVE?
To participate in party campaigns, attend meetings and classes – not just be a book member. E.g. assist in the electoral campaign of a party candidate.
ADDITIONAL VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS?
If affordable, to make regular donations to party finances –but only as much as you can afford. No policing or embarrassment or record keeping.
ATTENDING BRANCH MEETINGS?
Branch meetings are held fortnightly, and it is important to try and get there. However, apologies are perfectly acceptable. Work and family commitments will prevent attendance at times and this is understandable.
FIXED MEMBERSHIP FEES FOR LOW INCOME EARNERS?
There is a substantially reduced annual membership fee for low income earners, students and people on benefits.
STUDY GROUPS AND CLASSES?
Held regularly once a month after branch meeting.
DISTRIBUTION OF CPA MATERIAL?
Usually distributed as a group. No requirement to stand on street corners alone or distribute at your workplace if it would not be in your best interest.
WHY SHOULD I JOIN THE CPA?
Firstly, you’re fed up with how our current society operates (i.e. capitalism), based as it is on exploitation and greed, and feel the need for change.
Secondly, you look at the writings of Marx and Lenin and the concept of socialism, ask questions, attend some meetings, and you want to commit to working with other comrades who share these ideas.
If this is the case then the CPA is for you!
Did Communism fail in the Soviet Union?
It is argued here that communism “failed” in the Soviet Union not because there was anything basically wrong with the socialist-communist system, but rather because of counter revolutionary forces, both internal and external, that moved the country back towards capitalism rather than strengthened socialism. This process began after the death of Stalin and rise of Khrushchev, culminating in the so called reforms of Gorbachev. There were two parts to this move away from a socialist-communist path:
A) In the Soviet Union ideas arose of a market style socialism –central planning was weakened, and there was an emphasis on enterprises being autonomous and making a profit rather than working for society to satisfy the needs of the people. Small private businesses were encouraged which led to a petty bourgeois mind set – away from a focus on social need and community towards individualism. When industrial and other types of production becomes based on making a profit rather than on meeting the needs of the people then this is a move back towards capitalism and individualism. Socialist collective production to meet the human needs of society is lost.
B) There was a weakening of the power of the Soviets. The Soviets were the collectives based around workplaces, which elected the deputies to the various governing bodies in the Soviet Union. The exercise of the workers power was through these collectives. This was changed to district representation as in capitalist parliamentary democracy. Workers’ power was weakened. In addition, with the emphasis on enterprises making a profit, the free time workers had to participate in government and administration was whittled away –the priority became work, overtime etc. in order to maximize profit. This left the administration and government of the country to the bureaucrats. “The task of socialism is not only to proclaim a power to the working people, but to ensure that the working people do have the real, practical possibility to exercise this power. If a worker stands eight hours at a machine and can only take part in state governing at the end of the day when the doors of the state committees etc. are closed, the workers power remains on paper. The only thing left is to hope that the paid apparatus of hired civil servants will nevertheless operate (for some unknown reason) for the benefit of the working class and the whole society. However, being beyond any control, the management apparatus becomes so much infected by the bureaucracy disease that it becomes a mechanism for governing in its own (rather than the working people’s) interests.” – Mikhail Popov, writing after the implosion of the Soviet Union.
The above two factors were the important parts of the process that led the country back to capitalism. It was the betrayal of socialism, not the failure of socialism.