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Communist Perspectives 2023

Communist Perspectives 2023
  1. The capitalist world system has entered into a period of profound structural crisis. This crisis, which has been unfolding for decades, is the product of capitalist accumulation hitting structural and geographical limits that cannot be easily overcome. The forms of appearance of this crisis are multitude: ecological catastrophe, demographic collapse, financial crises, and inter-imperialist rivalry and realignment. The objective conditions for world communist revolution: the structural crisis in capitalism, and the inability for various factions of capital to overcome these crises, are ripe.

  2. The past 30 years have been characterised by the world-historic defeat and retreat of proletarian power around the world. With the collapse of the bureaucratic and reformist wings of the socialist movement in the wake of the collapse of the USSR and the triumph of the neoliberal wing of the capitalist class, the workers movement has been broken, its traditional base largely liquidated. The characteristics of this period are the generalised collapse of communism as a real politics: the decline of working class organisations, the fragmentation and confusion of the social movements, the marginalisation of the communist left, and the degeneration of Marxism as an intellectual project.

  3. This period of reaction has given rise to a distinctive central contradiction of our current epoch: the contradiction between advanced objective conditions for revolution and relatively backwards subjective conditions. Overcoming this contradiction is the central task of Marxist organising today.

  4. This contemporary period of reaction and its subsequent effects was preceded by the capitulation of the socialist movement to a variety of nationalist, reformist, liquidationist, populist, and opportunist delusions. These delusions overwhelmingly sought to fuse the workers movement to the project to reform and manage the capitalist state, and to eliminate the centrality of proletarian class struggle and revolution to the socialist program.

  5. The working class in Australia has largely decomposed as a political subject. The trade unions as well are on the retreat, representing a small minority of the broader working class. Where unions do exist, they are overwhelmingly conservative, corporatist, and joined at the hip to the Australian Labor Party.

  6. The Revolutionary Communist Organisation recognises the necessity of breaking the stranglehold of the ACTU over the workers movement. In its industrial work, the RCO will work to build a labour movement that is independent of the corporatist trade union bureaucracy - with the aim of affecting a split in the trade unions. Against the bureaucratic, craft-oriented, and conservative union movement, we raise the banner of democratic, militant, industrial unionism. Against the conservative slogans of fair wages and fair hours, we raise the revolutionary slogan of the abolition of the wage system.

  7. The Australian Labor Party, which in name is the political representative of the Australian working class through its connections with the trade union bureaucracy, is in fact a bourgeois corporatist party and Australia’s primary party of capital. As such, the Labor Party is relied upon by capital to engineer key social reforms during periods of crisis, as well as maintain control of workers through the control-nexus of the trade unions. Therefore, the ALP must be understood as a considerable obstacle to the emergence of a mass communist workers movement.

  8. In order for a communist revolution to be successful, the proletariat must possess a political instrument in the form of a revolutionary party. This party must be the mass expression of the vanguard of the proletariat, and bring together the disparate sectors and tendencies of the proletariat into a single force capable of challenging bourgeois power and smashing the capitalist state.

  9. The preconditions for the emergence of this party do not yet exist. As such we are in a pre-party stage, in which the primary task is the preparation of the necessary conditions for the emergence of a communist mass movement. These preconditions are: the proliferation of a Marxist intellectual movement, including study circles, socialist clubs, and Marxist publications, and the re-emergence of a proletarian vanguard in the form of militant class struggle. It is through the fusion of these two forces that a mass communist party is possible.

  10. The last thirty years has seen the proliferation of “alternative” strategies for social revolution, all of which sought to marginalise and reject the centrality of the revolutionary party. These strategies, be they the movement of the squares and occupation tendencies, the “leaderless resistance” tendencies (liberal or anarchist), or the attempts to renew social democratic, labourist, New Deal Liberal, or other Left Populist illusions. All of these projects have been world-historic failures. The partyist, revolutionary left must reassert its program: an organised fusion of the workers movement and Marxist politics in the form of a revolutionary vanguard and the formation of a mass workers party with a revolutionary platform.

  11. In the absence of a mass communist party, many young workers and socialists have sought to join and influence the Australian Greens. This is largely justified with appeals to a Left Populist project, and seeks to forge a “left wing position” in the capitalist electoral sphere. In doing so, a Greens-oriented strategy skips over the necessary period of deep class organisation necessary to build a mass working class political force that is not subject to the influences of bourgeois politics and ideology. Indeed, it does so by joining a political party that is largely composed of members of the progressive petit-bourgeois and the professional classes, and which has more in common with the structures of an NGO than a mass workers party. Most importantly, these socialists do not advocate for a real break with the capitalist political order: the question of state power remains uncontested. The Greens are simply not a replacement for a mass communist party.

  12. The Victorian Socialist project has sought to overcome the contradictions of the Greens by creating an explicitly socialist electoral front to unify various leftists into a coalition to “get a socialist into parliament”. Beside its obvious geographical limits, the Victorian Socialists are limited by an opportunist political program that is socialist in name only. In addition, the fact that the Victorian Socialists are an electoral front, and not a political party in their own right with the necessary forms of common mass work, leave it vulnerable to the pitfalls of previous left unity fronts. While we welcome efforts at Marxist regroupment, the Victorian Socialists as it currently stands is an insufficient basis for a mass socialist workers party.

  13. Much of the revolutionary left is today confined to confessional sects. These organisations are characterised by their commitment to specific points of theoretical doctrine, a resulting culture of intellectual conformity and stagnation, and a bureaucratic centralist mode of political organisation. There is simply no hope in any of the existing political sects, and it is only through participation in the process to renew a mass communist party that these tendencies may be able to revitalise themselves as real expressions of proletarian politics.

  14. While the Revolutionary Communist Organisation is not opposed to Left Unity, the question must be Left Unity of what type. A Unity of Sects will simply construct a larger sect, often transforming common electoral fronts into playgrounds for sectarian intrigues. Neither should we abandon the Marxist program in order to pursue unity with state loyalists, petit bourgeois liberals, and other class enemies. The vital task then is Class Unity and Marxist Unity - the construction of a revolutionary Marxist tendency around the program of a Workers Republic, and the fusion of this tendency with the advanced layer of the proletariat.

  15. In the contemporary period, the decomposition and atomisation of the working class has made a period of organisational politics necessary. This means that the Revolutionary Communist Organisation needs to prepare itself for deep organisational work in building organs of class struggle, such as worker, student, and tenant organisations, and turning these organs into schools for communism through the construction of Industrial Agitation Committees. It is only on the basis of mass organs of class struggle can agitational politics become possible.

  16. Wherever possible the RCO must support the emergence of militant worker groups, student action committees, and tenants unions. We seek to keep these organisations militant and independent of bourgeois class influence, and fight for nationwide federations of militant workers organisations, with the long term aim of supporting the formation of a national federation of workers organisations, as a class struggle alternative to the ACTU-NUS-NGO bureaucracy.

  17. The current period of inter-imperialist rivalry has made an authentic politics of proletarian internationalism more important than ever. As such, the RCO should assert its internationalist perspective as well as its defeatist perspective in regards to Australia’s own imperial ambitions. As such, the RCO is committed to opposing inter-imperialist proxy conflicts in Ukraine and broader Eastern Europe, including social imperialist tendencies that support NATO as a guard against competitor imperialisms. In addition the RCO should agitate strongly against inter-imperialist competition in the Asia-Pacific, including any potential conflict over Taiwan.

  18. In Australian politics, there is a liberal state-sanctioned anti-racist/multicultural, anti-sexist, and pro-Queer-LGBT ideology with backing from elements of the capitalist class and the state, often associated with the Labor Party and the Greens, as well as the institutions of the bourgeois academy. These ideologies are ultimately pro-capitalist and individualist, being an outgrowth of a form of bourgeois governance in the contemporary period of capitalism. They reject the revolutionary and progressive role of the working class and emphasise a fragmentary politics of representation and state recognition within an imperial project over any kind of mass struggle or revolutionary anti-imperialism. There has also spawned a pseudo-radical and easily co-optable variant of identity politics, which sheds the overt pro-capitalism but is bound at the hip to the State through the same politics of recognition. It is vital that the revolutionary anti-racist, feminist, and queer liberationist movements break thoroughly with this form of bourgeois recognition.

  19. In particular, the NGO’s have become a mode of governance of popular power in much the same way that trade union bureaucracy played in previous waves of struggle. This layer of careerist bureaucrats build their careers off the back of managing and “representing” various oppressed peoples and social movements. They must be swept aside by the revolutionary movement, and no real alliance can be made with such forces.

  20. This does not mean that the oppression of women, migrants, indigenous people, or gay and transgender people has ended in Australian society. These forms of oppression persist structurally across the economy, and in rates of incarceration and social violence. In turn, the period of contemporary crisis has seen attempts by reactionaries to reinstall previous modes of capitalist regulation through the restoration of traditional white, patriarchal social norms. As the crisis in world capitalism persists, it can be expected that these tendencies will go on the offensive.

  21. The inability of both official and radical identity politics to counter this reactionary tendency and offer genuine freedom to all the oppressed and exploited increases the urgency of developing a Marxist approach to migrant, indigenous, women’s, and gay and trans emancipation. We recognize the working class as the vanguard and tribune of the oppressed while emphasising the importance of these freedom struggles

  22. With the election of a Labor Government, there have been new attempts to manufacture consent for a program of capitalist restructuring to better deal with the world-crisis. The Labor Party has been somewhat effective at dampening social struggles, and many progressive forces are unwilling to attack the ALP government directly. As such, this period should be one of organisation and rebuilding for the communist movement, in preparation for waves of struggle unleashed by future social crises.

  23. In the absence of a genuine communist party, the Revolutionary Communist Organisation must play the role of a pre-party formation. The task of the formation is the preparation of revolutionary cadres for the merger of the worker and socialist movements, as well as preparing the intellectual and organisational groundwork for such a merger.

  24. In the current period, the Revolutionary Communist Organisation must focus on professionalisation and building capacity for coming periods of struggle. As such, an orientation towards building effective propaganda and militant apparatuses, as well as reaching out to like-minded forces in the Oceanian Marxist left is vital. Only through a long process of fighting for programmatic unity and the merger of the worker and socialist movements, can a revolutionary communist vanguard be forged and prepared for the struggle for a workers republic.

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