Program of the Australian Communist Party
The Australian Communist Party is a Marxist-Leninist organisation that seeks to lead the revolutionary transformation of Australia from being a capitalist society to a socialist one. The Party is the inheritor of the best traditions of the Australian working class and applies the teachings of Marx, Engels and Lenin to best advance the interests of the working class and other exploited people through struggle. It is an internationalist party that recognises that the war against the dictatorship of capital will finally be won only through the victory of socialist revolutions around the world and progress in the construction of a stateless, classless Communist society.
Members of the Australian Communist Party are obliged to be active in their workplaces and communities. They must work with Party organisations to best serve the people and win workers and other exploited people to socialism. Membership of the Party is a lifelong commitment to the cause of the workers and other exploited people of the world. We understand socialism to be the state power of the working class (the dictatorship of the proletariat), the abolition of private ownership in the means of production, a planned and centralised economy, the more direct involvement of workers in control of their workplaces and communities though new structures and progress leading to the creation of Communist society.
Social democracy and the undermining of workers’ strength
The Party seeks to build the strongest ties with the struggles of the working class and less privileged in Australian society and to earn a position of trust and leadership. The ACP respects the struggles of the Australian working class and the leading role of Communists in achieving many of its greatest gains throughout its long history. During those episodes, Communists were able to overcome the limiting influence of social democracy. Social democracy claims that workers’ rights and interests can be secured without challenging the rule of capital. This battle of ideas and tactics continues to this day and the ACP is determined to win workers to support the creation of a system where their demands and needs are at the centre of decision-making. That system is socialism.
The grip of social democratic ideas on the Australian movement is strong. Organisation is often based in a trade union consciousness of a “fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay” that ignores the reality of antagonistic class interests between workers and capitalists. The defeat of epic strike struggles in the 1890s led to the formation of the Australian Labor Party and the pursuit of a parliamentary strategy to improve the lot of workers. Despite its program containing a “socialisation objective”, the party never sought to dismantle capitalism. It led Australia into imperialist wars of conquest and imposed austerity on workers during times of capitalist crisis. The close relationship between the trade unions and the ALP led unions to tie their tactics to the electoral fortunes of Labor.
This lack of vision and militancy has cost the Australian working class dearly. It has led to the disillusionment of many workers and trade unions now struggle to remain relevant. The ACP is determined to inject class consciousness into the labour movement and to draw the most aware and active workers into its ranks. It works towards the independence of the trade union movement from the ALP and to demonstrate leadership in the deepening struggles ahead.
Australia and the world
Australia began as a collection of British colonies built on the dispossession of the Aboriginal peoples, the exploitation of their labour and that of convicts and migrant workers. From its early days as an agricultural economy to an emerging industrial one, Australia has played a subservient role in the system of capitalism and imperialism. It was first locked into the global strategy of British imperialism and now US imperialism. Australia followed its masters into war after war for the conquest of markets, resources and geo-strategic advantage.
Australia is a middle-ranking imperialist country in its own right with a special role in the Indo-Pacific region. It serves as a “deputy sheriff” shoring up US dominance of the region and, through the hosting of military and spy bases, the global reach of the US military.
Australia’s role has brought suffering to the people of Australia through deaths in imperialist wars and the sacrifice of their needs to those of the US-led war machine. Its support for US imperialism has caused untold suffering through war and the regime of exploitation it continues to impose.
The Australian Communist Party must prioritise the struggles of the Australian working class, which will be best served by pursuing an independent foreign policy based on solidarity and mutual benefit. At the same time, it must fulfil its internationalist duty to show solidarity with workers and other people struggling around the world, often in even more trying conditions than those experienced in Australia.
The ACP and the left
The Australian Communist Party was founded in response to the failure of the left in Australia. The working class internationally has suffered from decades of well-planned legislative and ideological attack. The intention of this attack was to remove the trade unions from the workplace and to destroy any clear class consciousness in the labour movement and society in general. In Australia, this process reached its pinnacle with the introduction of the Prices and Incomes Accord by the Hawke Labor government in 1983.
Educational institutions played a role in blurring and denying the class nature of society. Post modernism became the dominant outlook of academia as did economic theories claiming full confidence in “free” (monopoly-dominated) markets and total private ownership. The most recent tactic of the planners of this ideological attack is to divert discontent with capitalism into identity rather than class politics. In this period, protest has become formulaic and ineffectual.
The Australian Communist Party is committed to tried and proven tactics of class struggle and practical support to deprived communities. In this project, the Party realises that much of the left, which has been distracted and diverted from its core task, will not be ready to fill this vacuum. For some time, the ACP will need to work to demonstrate the efficacy of this approach to building the forces for genuine change. A major task of the ACP will be to persuade the left to return to its origins of class struggle and mutual support.
A socialist Australia
The struggle for a socialist Australia is the central task of the Australian Communist Party. The ACP has no illusions that this struggle will be led through parliament. The ACP may well be able to encourage such a struggle through its representation in parliament, but the base for the overthrow of capitalism will be built in the workplaces and communities. The working class will play the main revolutionary role and use any means necessary. The leadership of the ACP in this period of crisis and revolutionary transformation will be indispensable.
In this struggle, the allies of the working class will be the more progressive small proprietors and family farmers being squeezed by the same monopoly forces as workers. The ACP is not an exclusively urban-based movement and is committed to expanding its reach to workers living in rural and regional Australia.
A socialist Australia will strive to undo the injustices heaped on the Aboriginal peoples of the country. Questions like land rights will never be resolved under capitalism. Private ownership of land and resources are the enemies of both the Aboriginal peoples and the non-Aboriginal workers of Australia. There is a mutual interest among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in destroying the capitalist system.
In the same way, other divisions created among working people by capitalism can only be finally removed by the creation of a socialist society. Divisions among workers are artificially created or exacerbated on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and other aspects of diversity among the working class. The aim of the ACP is to remove barriers to collective action in the interest of all workers and to stress the common interest of all exploited people in the building of a socialist society.
Humanity at the crossroads
Workers all over the world are confronted with a deepening crisis of capitalism. It is an economic, social and environmental crisis created by capitalism and for which it has no solution. The struggle against capitalism and for socialism is a global one. The ACP is committed to leading this fight in Australia. The road will be hard and difficult to navigate but the choice is oblivion or a better life for all. Communists welcome this challenge and are ready for the sacrifice it entails. The ACP welcomes all people committed to these objectives and prepared for the massive tasks that lie ahead.