Re An open letter to the Communist Party of Australia

Peter Boyle peterb at dsp.org.au
Thu Jul 31 22:22:55 MDT 2003


Here is the CPA's justification for splitting the peace
movement in Sydney. It is published in the July 30, 2003
issue of the Guardian (see
<http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/g1148.html>).

* * *

CPA Statement:
Divisions in the Sydney peace movement

In September 2002, forces linked to three groups — the Palm
Sunday Committee, the Sydney Network for Peace and No War —
came together to found the Walk Against the War Coalition.

The Walk Against the War Coalition successfully organised
the mass protests against the invasion and occupation of
Iraq. However, behind the successful actions there were a
range of conflicts on organisational and political matters.

The political position and behaviour of some groups in the
Walk Against the War Coalition provoked increasing anger and
frustration among a range of the affiliates. In response,
they began in April to discuss how best to continue and
develop the anti-war work in Sydney. The Communist Party of
Australia (CPA) was invited into this process in mid-June.
It culminated in the formation of the Sydney Peace and
Justice Coalition on July 7.

Almost all the members of the Walk Against the War Coalition
were invited to participate in the Sydney Peace and Justice
Coalition. It is incorrect that, as Democratic Socialist
Party (DSP) member Nick Everett claims, the new coalition
was "kept secret from many affiliates of the Walk Against
the War Coalition, including the NSW Greens, Socialist
Alliance, Muslim organisations and representatives of local
peace groups, solidarity organisations and many individuals
who have been active in the peace movement." It is correct
that the Socialist Alliance was not one of the groups
invited to join the new coalition.

The CPA made it clear that it does not in principle support
what amount to organisational bans in a broad movement. They
undermine the concept of a broad coalition in which a range
of groups, whose policies and approaches may diverge on many
questions, come together to work on those issues held in
common.

We hold the view that organisational measures do not solve
political and tactical differences. Such conflict will
continue, although in different forms, and will still have
to be fought out politically and over time.

However, the principle of trying to unite the broadest
possible movement should never be treated as an absolute,
isolated from other considerations.

Our main concern remains to work with other groups to
consolidate and develop the anti-war movement in Sydney on
as broad a basis as possible. The new Sydney Peace and
Justice Coalition has a far broader base among trade unions,
community and peace groups, sections of the ALP and
religious bodies than do the ultra-left groups.

We also believe that the composition of the new coalition
can provide an effective basis for much more sustained work
in the trade unions to make the slogan "peace is union
business" real.

The Charter of the Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition brings
together anti- war and anti-globalisation issues — a move we
regard as positive.

The quality of the work of the Sydney Peace and Justice
Coalition and its popular influence will be determined over
time. The degree to which trade unionists, community
organisations and younger people, especially on university
and college campuses, will become involved will also be
determined by the attractiveness and vigour of the
activities of the new coalition.

Claims made by ultra-left groups that the changes will
undermine the anti- war movement and exclude the left depend
on whether ultra-left and Trotskyist organisations are to be
seen as genuine left groups and whether they are prepared to
take a more constructive approach in the coalitions they
join than has often been the case in the past.

There are many experiences in other areas of political work
that do not lead us to give a positive answer to this
question.

CPA members in the Walk Against the War Coalition had been
concerned for some time about the disruptive role of the DSP
and some other ultra-left (Trotskyist) groups in the
anti-war campaign in Sydney.

While anti-war coalitions in other States issued leaflets
and other material explaining and analysing events in the
Middle East, in Sydney the Walk Against the War Coalition
was generally unable to achieve consensus and was therefore
only able to publicise slogans and events. This was a
serious weakness.

It became a greater problem, which had the potential to
destroy efforts to inform and educate the community, at a
time when mass mobilisations were on the wane.

The need to confront new issues — the threats against North
Korea (DPRK), Syria and Iran, and the free trade
negotiations between Australia and the US are just two
examples. — as well as the ongoing campaign against the
occupation and privatisation of Iraq demand more public
education. But they also make the likelihood of political
divisions and blocking actions even greater.

There were on-going divisions on the Coalition's attitude to
the United Nations, on questions including the number and
selection of speakers and the approach to the organisation
of street actions.

There was concern about the approach of the ultra-left
groups to the blossoming local peace groups. The local
groups they dominate have focussed on an intensive program
of actions irrespective of the ability of communities to
cope. The real potential for these groups, in our opinion,
lies in them concentrating on community work and drawing
previously inactive people into membership of and activity
in the local groups.

Many active anti-war groups and individuals in Sydney
distrust the DSP, believing that the prime focus of their
activities is not to build the anti-war movement but to
expand their own party's membership and influence.

For CPA members in Sydney, as elsewhere in Australia, the
task remains to link and to build — in the best way possible
in the objective circumstances — the anti-globalisation and
anti-war movements, reinforcing in every way possible their
anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly, democratic features.

Communist Parties discuss resistance to capitalist
globalisation and war

by Dr Hannah Middleton President Communist Party of
Australia

Communist and Workers' Parties from all over the world,
including the Communist Party of Australia, met in Athens on
June 19 and 20 to exchange views and examine strategies in
the fight against capitalist globalisation and war. The
conference, which was convened by the Communist Party of
Greece, was attended by 59 Parties with written
contributions and messages of greeting received from a
further 20.

The Parties at the conference were largely agreed on their
analysis of the imminent and great danger to the world as a
result of corporate globalisation and the imperialist war
drive.

Communist Parties discuss resistance to capitalist
globalisation and war

by Dr Hannah Middleton President Communist Party of
Australia

Communist and Workers' Parties from all over the world,
including the Communist Party of Australia, met in Athens on
June 19 and 20 to exchange views and examine strategies in
the fight against capitalist globalisation and war. The
conference, which was convened by the Communist Party of
Greece, was attended by 59 Parties with written
contributions and messages of greeting received from a
further 20.

The Parties at the conference were largely agreed on their
analysis of the imminent and great danger to the world as a
result of corporate globalisation and the imperialist war
drive.

The Communist Party of Canada summarised the components of
the Bush offensive as:

* a "socio-economic offensive to impose "free trade" deals
and other corporate 'globalisation' schemes on all national
economies, forcing some to integrate into one imperialist
cartel or another, while excluding others to the very
margins of the global economy;

* unprecedented attacks on workers' rights and living
conditions through privatization, the destruction of public
programs and services, legislative attacks, and state
repression;

* wholesale attacks on the democratic rights of the people,
especially their right to organize and dissent; and

* the military-strategic offensive of U.S. imperialism and
its allies to crush resistance and impose its global
domination."

* The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said "the process
of globalisation itself intensifies these tendencies of war
and aggression. This comes precisely because of the fact
that in its efforts towards the economic recolonisation of
the third world, globalisation has led to an intensification
of economic exploitation on a world scale..

"Further, the sharp widening of inequalities, both between
the developing countries and the developed countries and
between the rich and poor in all countries, is leading to
large-scale depravation and want. Such large-scale
impoverishment of a majority of the world's people means the
shrinkage of their capacity to be the consumers of the
products that this globalised economy produces. This renders
the entire process of globalisation to be simply
unsustainable."

The Communist Party of the United States added: "The Bush
doctrine is a radical new set of policies marked by
overwhelming military superiority, preemptive attack, regime
change, first use of nuclear weapons as offensive weapons,
the militarisation of space, military occupation, direct
colonial rule and elimination of national sovereignty."

USA cannot win its war

The Communist Party of Denmark commented: "A policy like
that pursued by the US provokes resistance. Not only
resistance from the broad popular masses, who are against
war, but also from other states, whose intentions may be as
dirty as those of the US, but who have opposite interests.
The more the US persists in this policy, the more resistance
it will provoke. Therefore the USA cannot win its war
against the world."

The Communist Party of Ireland added that "the American
imperialists and their British and Spanish acolytes .. do
not have the capacity to control the world, according to
their fancy. They can, however, destroy it."

There were some differences on the processes underlying the
new level of imperialist aggression and arrogance.

The Sudanese Communist Party pointed out: "What has made
this offensive possible is, in the final analysis, the
radical change in the world balance of forces that resulted
from the collapse of the Soviet Union."

In contrast, the Communist Party United States said: "This
policy is not an inevitable outcome of this stage of
capitalist globalisation or the balance of power on a world
stage. It is a policy of choice connected with the political
ascension of the extreme right wing."

Devastating effects of globalisation

Analysing the impact of corporate globalisation, the
Communist Party of India commented:

"People in the South, as well as the poor, working people
and middle strata in advanced capitalist countries, suffer
from the devastating effects of imperialist globalisation
such as increasingly unequal income distribution; worsening
working conditions; massive unemployment and
underemployment; mass poverty; under-utilisation of immense
productive capacity; transfer of wealth from South to North,
and from the working people to the big capitalists; growing
indebtedness of developing countries; deteriorating terms of
trade; growing economic and political power in the hands of
MNCs [multi-national corporations]; domination of the
financial oligarchies including the new speculative finance
capital; degradation of the environment and subordination of
developing countries for the interests of developed
countries, etc..

"The general consequence of capitalist globalisation is the
increase in poverty and unemployment. The gulf between rich
and poor has widened with nations and among nations .
between 1960 and 1989, the countries of the North with the
richest 20% of the world's population saw their share of
world income increase from 70.2% to 82.7% while the share of
those in the South with the poorest 20% shrank from 2.3% to
1.4%. Unemployment and insecurity has led to a decline in
health standards, return of epidemics like cholera and
malaria, increase in crimes and detriment of the
environment. The per capita income in Asia and Africa is
much worse than what it was in the 1960."

The Communist Party of the United States added: "The Bush
doctrine of unending war also has its domestic expression —
to take back every gain won by the working class and people
over the past century. It entails a massive shift in wealth
to the rich and a new concentration of monopoly power,
including greater concentration of the corporate mass media
..

"The US economy continues to deteriorate. States and cities
face the worst budget crisis in 50 years and are deeply
cutting social programs. Since the stock market bubble burst
in 1999 and Bush became president, over 2.5 million jobs
have been lost."

The New Communist Party of the Netherlands pointed out:
"Only the United States disposes of a military budget for a
world war, amounting to US$400 billion. Compare this to
Russia's $65 billion (16.3% of the US military budget),
China's $47 billion (11.9% of the US), France's $29.5
billion (7.4%) and Germany's $25 billion (6.25%). It is only
the US that is extending its military interventions on all
continents, is preparing wars of aggression in the whole
world and is ready to use nuclear weapons in the coming
world war."

Fascism

A number of Parties discussed the looming threat of fascism.

The Communist Party of Canada said that "capitalism is
having more and more difficulties coping with its own
intrinsic contradictions, reflected in global relative
over-production, spiraling debt, widespread immiseration of
the masses, especially but not exclusively in Third World
countries, sluggish economic growth, environmental
degradation, and, not least, intensifying inter-imperialist
rivalry.

"In such turbulent conditions, the danger of fascism is
rising up again in many countries, a dangerous development
which must not be underestimated."

The Workers Party of Belgium stated: "Bush is establishing a
US-style fascism to reinforce his already established world
hegemony and to fight militarily any potential rival on any
continent..

"The Bush administration has been pursuing the fascist
theory of 'pre- emptive' nuclear attacks."

The Communist Party of Denmark added: "The similarity
between Bush and Hitler is neither a similarity in
character, nor a similarity of ideology. It is
crisis-stricken capitalism and imperialism manifesting
itself in its most brutal, destructive and reactionary form.
It is capitalism in a phase of development, where it is no
longer capable of creating and building — where war and
destruction and looting competitors are the only activities
still yielding an acceptable profit."

Working in mass movements

A major theme of the conference was how communists should
work within the anti-globalisation and anti-war movements
and the problems they are facing in this task.

In her opening contribution, Communist Party of Greece
General Secretary Aleka Paparigha said:

"In this growing international movement, the constant goal,
in our opinion, should be to reinforce its anti-imperialist,
anti-monopoly, democratic features, so that it will dispute
the present system and be firmly based in the movements that
are developing on the national level which constitute its
primary wellspring..

"We believe that the reinforcement of these features in the
movement will constitute a substantial contribution to the
people's struggles to confront new reactionary measures and
wherever possible, to prevent new wars and interventions",
she said, "and above all for this movement to become a power
for overthrowing the present-day correlation of forces on
the national, regional and international level..

"Our opinion is that we must at all costs avoid the danger
of the communist movement becoming diffused in the broader
movements that are springing up. Our conviction is that
without the distinctive presence of the communists, these
movements will either be paralysed or degenerate into
harmless movements in terms of the current state of affairs,
and will operate as a pretext for perpetuating this
system.."

Comrade Paparigha stressed: "The policy of alliances and
co-operation that each party has and the need to retain its
independent role are not, in our view, contradictory, but
support each other."

Democratic rights

The Sudanese Communist Party pointed out the significance of
the struggle for democratic rights within the new mass
movements, saying:

"We are witnessing a qualitative leap forward towards the
criminalisation of social protests, of resistance against
exploitation and oppression, of the very existence of
progressive forces. The decisions by the EU and capitalist
governments to enlist parties as terrorist organizations,
the increasingly insolent attitude towards Cuba, and the
ongoing plans to outlaw political parties, mark a very
serious new step in this direction. Imperialism is setting
in place the instruments and mechanisms for repression
against the working people and popular resistance to its
policies."

Discussing some of the problems being faced by Communist and
Workers Parties, the Tudeh Party of Iran said: "Communists
need to understand the dynamics of the present
'anti-globalisation movement' and some of its inherent
weaknesses such as its single issue dimension, distrust of
traditional political structures, reluctance to become
involved in political struggles."

The Communist Party in Denmark stated: "Many of the
movements that we see at the moment are characterised by a
lack of understanding of the connections between the
capitalist system itself, imperialism, globalisation and
war.

"Many of those who are active within those movements,
especially those from the younger generations, know little
or nothing about Marxist theories. Others either try to
revise Marxism or even work deliberately against it.

"When the fundament of these movements is limited to
petit-bourgeois theories it very often leads them astray.
Either into extremism or into a de facto support of
neo-liberalism and by that actually a support to the forces
of imperialism."

The Communist Party of Finland said: "Despite the fact that
we share many goals with this anti-globalisation movement,
there are also those in these movements who resist
co-operation with communist. . some of this resistance may
be explained as a reaction to the work of trotskyites and
other groups that have tried to aggressively take over these
organisations."

The Communist Party of Greece stated: "Our concern lies in
the fact that in this movement, an enormous effort is being
made by various forces — especially social-democratic ones —
to lead it, and that we, as a communist movement, are not
developing our own intervention to the degree required by
circumstances."

Co-ordinating communist work

Most conference participants shared an understanding of the
need for and benefits of greater international co-operation
among Communist and Workers' Parties to fight the new
imperialist order.

However, participants still considered it too early to
create some form of a co-ordinating committee, especially as
some Parties remain concerned about the danger of repeating
past errors made by the international Communist movement.

The final press communiqui states that the distinct
presence, consultation and co-operation of Communist and
Workers' Parties should help the process of developing
"co-ordination and joint action of broader democratic, anti-
imperialist, anti-monopoly and patriotic forces as well as
of the multiform movement against capitalist globalisation".






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