Joint statement: CPA and CPA (M-L)
The Communist Party of Australia and the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist), the names of which enshrine the objective of the revolutionary working class, jointly honour the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 in this, its centenary year.
While acknowledging differences in some aspects of ideology, politics and organisation, we are united in professing the significance of what was undoubtedly the greatest political event for the revolutionary working class movement of the Twentieth Century.
The October socialist revolution was the first successful coming to power of the working class, but not the first attempt to do so. The Parisian workers established the Commune in 1871 but were eventually defeated and slaughtered by the French bourgeoisie.
Marx and Engels, the pioneer analysts of the economic laws of motion of capitalist economy, drew important lessons from the failure of the Paris Commune. One of these was that it had proved impossible to maintain a working class state power through reliance on the old machinery of government, including its political, judicial and coercive (army, police, gaols) institutions.
Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades utilised the economic and political theories of Marxism, and further developed theories on the role of a required vanguard party, on methods of revolutionary struggle, on new political, judicial and coercive institutions, and on the fight against the watering down of Marxism by opportunists and revisionists, to the point where it was appropriate to refer to the whole of these teachings as Marxism-Leninism.
The Great October Socialist Revolution inspired workers and other exploited people around the world. It lit a spark which inspired peoples' movements for liberation across the world, including in Australia. Empowered by the revolution and the Communist Party, Soviet workers enjoyed expanded educational opportunities, free basic health care, improved housing, a rich cultural life, and women were supported to enter the workforce on the basis of equal pay for equal work. All this in a society untouched by the ravages of the Great Depression, a society in which unemployment was abolished. Inevitably, given the rising strength of US imperialism in particular, and the massive losses suffered by the Soviet Union and its people in World War Two which broke the back of fascism in Europe, there were both gains and losses.
The Revolution led to the foundation of the Communist Party of Australia in 1920, from which both the current CPA and CPA (M-L) derive, and lifted the spirits of workers engaged in many trade union and other struggles. Historic gains were made by these struggles that featured Communist leadership and the influence of its revolutionary ideology.
Poll after poll and public outpourings in recent years testify to a genuine support and longing by the Russian people for the conditions of the socialist era in the Soviet union.
While this sentiment has yet to develop into a qualitatively different phenomenon – conscious mass revolutionary struggle for a refreshed attempt at building socialism – our two Parties are confident that the peoples of the former socialist Soviet Union will sooner or later embark on that path.
Our two Parties absolutely reject the defeatist view that, with the ending of the first Soviet Union, socialism has failed. The main class contradictions and class struggle between labour and capital, revealed by Marx and Engels, and further enriched by Lenin, have not disappeared, but are sharper than ever.
Class struggle has intensified around the world. The resolution of the antagonistic contradiction within the capitalist relations of production, between social production and private appropriation, can only be resolved through the revolutionary working class and its allies, led by a genuine Communist Party of the working class, replacing the capitalist means of production and its state apparatus, and building a new socialist society that serves the needs and interests of the people and the environment.
The revolutionary change towards socialism and communism proceeds unevenly, there are both advances and temporary set-backs, but the principal trend is towards communism. This is the dialectical principle and practise of Marxism-Leninism. The Australian revolutionary movement can learn a great deal both from the giant achievements, and some retreats, in the prosecution of revolutionary change.
The revolutionary communists in Australia pay tribute to and honour the legacy of the Great October Socialist Revolution by learning the lessons from the work of the Bolshevik Communist Party and the revolutionary masses in the years leading up to the revolution, and later in building socialism.
The greatest tribute we can pay to the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 is to absorb the lessons from its experiences and struggles and apply them to building a revolutionary mass movement and revolutionary communist party in Australian conditions.
In 2017 in Australia we are witnessing aggressive and increasingly draconian attacks on Australian workers through anti-trade union legislation, the rise of racist and arguably neo-fascist movements like the Hanson and Bernadi Parties, a lowering of ordinary living standards through low or non-existent wage growth, unemployment, under-employment and casualisation, and a housing crisis driven mainly by speculation and tax laws that favour the rich.
There is no doubt that these factors will become more acute in the future.
Our two Parties have absolute confidence that the Australian people will ultimately heed and learn from the example and lessons of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 and build socialism in our country.
Glory to the Great October Socialist Revolution!
Workers of the world, unite!