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Theses on a Strategy for the Revolutionary Communist Organisation

Theses on a Strategy for the Revolutionary Communist Organisation

Preamble: The Need for Strategy

Communists need a strategy! This fact has remained true for as long as communism has been a self-identified political tendency within the proletarian movement. In the long battle between labour and capital, between the communist revolution and the forces of reaction, it is not enough to rely on immediate activity, hoping that some spontaneous action will be enough to overturn centuries of capitalist rule. A strategy is required, one that can chart the course from class disorganisation and the political marginalisation of communists, to a communist revolution and beyond. This document seeks to outline the Revolutionary Communist Organisation’s strategic orientation for the first time - establishing a general line of march for the organisation moving forward.

The situation we are in could not be more dire. The vast majority of the proletariat are disorganised, engaging in individualised and limited forms of class struggle and solidarity outside of the structures of the traditional union movement. That minority that is within the bureaucratised and opportunist trade unions are systematically demobilised, and politically bound to the thoroughly bourgeois Australian Labor Party. The Australian Greens, a middle class party with a left-populist wing, offers nothing in terms of a possible communist workers party.

The radical left, where it deigns to speak openly of revolution, is trapped within hollow political sects or decomposing “unity” organisations with no solid political basis. Those outside of the sects are caught within an endless swamp of NGOs, anarchistic lifestyle groupings, academic navel gazing, and political backwardness.

What unites the entirety of the proletarian movement, from its most opportunist leadership to its most pathetic sects, is a total lack of a strategic orientation. How do we get from here, to our goals? In the following theses, the Revolutionary Communist Organisation seeks to outline in broad terms a general strategic orientation for the communist movement.

The Communist Horizon

  1. The aim of the Revolutionary Communist Organisation (RCO) is the achievement of a communist society. Communism is defined by the abolition of markets, states, money, and classes, and the creation of a society of free producers, operating in accordance with a common plan centred on human flourishing, where the free development of each is the precondition for the free development of all, through the principle of each contributing according their ability, and each receiving according to their needs.

  2. Communism is an emergent tendency in human history that seeks to overthrow class society through the collective action of the oppressed and exploited. It is the real movement against the present state of things. As such, communists are the enemy of class societies in all their forms, including capitalism (be it private, state, or self-managed), feudal oppression, patriarchy, and slavery.

  3. The capitalist world system is the current dominant mode of class society, and the dominant mode of production. As such, our efforts are largely directed towards the overthrow of this system, and towards winning the class that can bring about this overthrow - the proletariat, a class of all those dependent upon the wage fund.

  4. The immediate tasks of the communist movement are the seizure of private property through expropriation, the formation of a workers republic and the dissolution of the bureaucratic and military apparatuses of the bourgeois state through the creation of a people’s army, and the establishment of a planned economy. These tasks cannot be completed without first overthrowing the capitalist nation-state system that defends the old order, and the establishment of a proletarian dictatorship - meaning the direct and uncompromising rule of the working class and its allies.

  5. This proletarian dictatorship must absorb all state functions which are not to be abolished, centralising them into the commune - the direct expression of the armed and organised proletariat through its democratic councils and political structures.

  6. We cannot expect the ruling class to voluntarily relinquish power, nor to concede their hold of humanity through peaceful means. Nor can we simply lay our hands upon the existing apparatus of state control and manipulation. A revolutionary struggle is necessary, through which the proletariat must be brought to power and the bourgeois state apparatus smashed. This will necessarily take the form of an armed conflict, most likely insurrections, general strikes, street fighting, and potentially a civil war. Communist revolutionaries must prepare accordingly.Marxism as Political Strategy

  7. No party or military clique can replace the mass action of the proletariat in revolt. The basis for a revolutionary seizure of power can only be the organisations of class power created in the struggle of the proletariat. These organisations include militant industrial unions, strike committees, and Councils of Action, also known as workers councils. These are the latent form of the Commune, the direct and active politicisation of ordinary life through the construction of a genuine, republican democracy.

  8. In the initial stages of a revolutionary situation, only a militant minority of the proletariat may have been won to the need for revolutionary action. However, in order for a communist revolution to be successful, a majority of the proletariat must be won decisively to active participation within the revolutionary struggle.

  9. It is a necessity that communist revolutionaries form themselves into a party with the explicit purpose of establishing a communist society. This party can only arise from the advanced and militant sectors of the working class (the vanguard) unified around and informed by the long tradition of Marxist theory and investigation. Such a party must be active and disciplined, while being open to a broad range of interpretations of the fundamental programme of communist revolution. Its political basis must be a communist program of action, a document which outlines the immediate tasks of the party upon the seizure of power, and makes explicit the aim of international communism and liberation of all humanity. Acceptance of this program must be the basis for unity within the communist party.

  10. The proletarian struggle does not simply reside within the workplace, or the daily struggles over hours and wages. The proletarian movement must seek to generalise its struggles against capital, into struggles over rent, over social reproduction, over state repression, and over the conditions of students. These struggles are just as vital to the emergence of a genuine communist revolution, as the bread and butter questions of the industrial proletariat.

  11. In regions where the tasks of the anti-feudal, anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, and democratic struggles have not been completed, and the national bourgeoisie has utterly given up on the national liberation struggle, the proletariat must ally with the urban and rural poor, and landless and working peasantry in order to build a revolutionary movement that integrates core national, democratic demands into a general struggle for communism, against imperialists, reactionaries, patriarchs, feudalists, and capitalists.

    The Role of the Communist Party

  12. The communist party must work to create a mass base in the proletariat, and agitate constantly towards the seizure of power by the masses. Such a party must be both democratic and centralist, must educate and organise its membership, and must build communist fronts in every part of society - building a mass membership and base to become a party-movement of the militant proletariat. The communist party must never conceal its aims, nor should its sections hide their affiliation.

  13. The communist party should take an active role in the class struggle, by seeking to attract workers to radical activity, and seeking to break unions away from reformist and opportunist parties and leadership. It must also seek to support new forms of organising, including shop committees, social centres, and red unions if they promise to draw more workers into active and militant class struggle.

  14. The communist party should take all steps to participate in the movements of the masses, seeking to raise its voice in all matters that concern the proletariat - be they issues of patriarchal oppression, or oppression of racial and national minorities, or ecological destruction. The communist party must be a tribune of the people, and agitate constantly against all forms of oppression and class society. This includes forming groupings that seek to organise around specific issues, including forming organisations of the oppressed.

  15. The communist party should publish and agitate for its views through propaganda and publications. It must seek to reach as many people as possible, drawing them into activity through word and deed. Communist publications should allow for openness of debate and freedom of discussion within the communist movement, while making clear the official line of the party’s majority.

  16. The communist party should seek to run in bourgeois elections, only to the degree that they can use such events to build support for communism, running on a communist platform with communist slogans, and to use the bully-pulpit of elections to attack and expose the bourgeois parties. Elected representatives of the communist party should only take the wages of an average worker, and be entirely disciplined by the party’s line. The communist party should never enter coalition with bourgeois or reformist parties, nor should it seek to administer the bourgeois state, even at the local level. Indeed, the aim of the communists in election activity should be to explicitly call for the elimination of the bourgeois constitution, and the creation of a social republic through the winning of a social majority for revolutionary change. The winning of a popular majority for revolutionary change can be understood as a sufficient but not necessary mandate for social revolution, regardless of the legal or constitutional framework it rests within.

  17. The communist party should make all efforts to prepare for the seizure of power through the establishment of workers guards, stewards organisations, anti-fascist fighting groups, and even an armed wing of the organisation. These institutions should be drilled and trained by the party, and should be accountable to the movement as a whole.

  18. The communist party should always seek to be amongst the most militant and advanced of the proletariat and its allies. It should be in every strike, in every riot, in every occupation, at every blockade, that represents the advanced sector of the class and its struggle. It should seek to agitate towards generalising the particular, organising the disorganised, and radicalising the middling. Its aim should be to agitate amidst the masses to confront the capitalist state and the world it represents.

    United Front, Revolutionary Front

  19. In the struggle against reaction, it is necessary for the communist party to form a united front with all proletarian forces, including reformists and opportunists, so as to bring the entire mass of workers into the struggle. A united front must never be extended to include concessions to bourgeois forces (the failed "Popular Front"), and it must be based on the freedom of all forces to criticise publicly the leadership of other parties. During a united front, the communist party must maintain strict political independence - marching separately, but striking together.

  20. In the course of a revolutionary situation, it is necessary to win a coalition of revolutionary groups to a strategic commitment to take power. This revolutionary front must be organised on the basis of mutual respect and non-sectarianism, while maintaining the political independence of the relevant parties, and the right to criticise other political groupings.

    Against the Sect, for the Party

  21. In the absence of such a party, the communists must seek to build organisations that do not fall into sectarian bickering or movementist tailism. Nor can communists allow themselves to be dragged behind opportunistic turns towards bourgeois electoral politics. Instead, the communists must organise themselves into groupings, to engage in communist work in a non-sectarian way, and to lay the foundations for a future communist party on the basis of an upswing in the class struggle.

  22. In the current moment, the communists must work to build support for communist ideas within the workers movement, building support through publications and organs of critique. Communists should also seek to join or initiate class organisations that adhere to communist principles.

  23. The formation of a new communist party would require the regroupment of certain sections of the radical left with a significant intellectual culture, based on an upswing of the class struggle and a mass influx of formally politically inactive workers to new sites of communist activity. This combination of factors is vital for a potential communist party to not be trapped within the structure of the sect left, or fall into political vagueness. It is through this process of regroupment and renewal that we can hope for a return of genuine communist politics.

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