Written by: Alice M. on 29/10/20
CPA (M-L) members are always involved in the many battles of Australia’s working class in workplaces and communities. There’s not enough space in this long article to acknowledge all of them.
CPA (M-L) members were among the rank and file workers in the manufacturing and metals Union (now AMWU) vigorously opposing the Accord concocted by the ACTU and Hawke. A rank and file metals union group and its newspaper were viciously attacked and members vilified by the Union leadership and threatened to blacklist them across the industry. Homes of rank and file outdoor Council workers battling the ALP sell outs controlling their union were shot at in the middle of the night. Much is already known about the history of the BLF under sustained attack by the capitalist state with the help of Labor governments.
In mid 1980s the CPA-ML was warning about imperialism devouring Australia’s manufacturing, de-industrialising and restructuring Australia’s industries and tightening imperialist domination. CPA (M-L) members and party literature warned that imperialist policies of “globalisation” were undermining and destroying the foreign dominated car industry, steel manufacturing, the tools industry and promoting the privatisation of public utilities. The Party was warning that the capitalist and imperialist restructuring is creating two tiers of workers – a small core of permanent workers and a large periphery of casual low paid workers with few rights and conditions.
In the 1970s and 1980s in the long-going big battles in the giant multinational car factories in South Australia and Victoria communists and their supporters were with car workers battling not only against the multinational car company owners, but also against the union official leadership who played more of a role of controlling workers rather than leading and supporting them in winning their demands. Party members were active in car workers’ rank and file organisations and strongly supported by the majority of workers. Over time, both rank and file organisation members and the majority of car workers were supporting action over broader industry issues such as nationalisation of the car industry and broad political issues. The bosses, in collusion with the ALP aligned union leadership, tried to crush car workers’ militancy and their rank and file organisation. Representatives of the rank and file organisation were sacked. But this did not end the militancy of car workers.
In Victoria’s LaTrobe Valley, home to the state’s power stations, Party members and supporters stood up to Hawke and led the long strikes for wages and conditions. They led the massive struggle against privatisation of the state’s power generating stations in the LaTrobe Valley.
The popular theoretical section called Marxism Today, which was featured in every issue of the Party paper Vanguard for many years, and continues today online on the website www.cpaml.org, was originally started and maintained by a group of young railway workers. As well as this, they distributed Party material, and held union positions in their work depots and on state committees for many years. At all times they kept up their close links with fellow workers and supported and guided many struggles. None of this could have happened had there not been regular contact, encouragement and suggestions from the Party leadership.
The tide to socialism and communism is unstoppable. It demands a united communist movement finding common ground to work together in the revolutionary service to the people.