Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)


Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)

The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA(ML)) is an Australian political party based on the writings of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. The party describes its ideology as Marxism-Leninism, and does not use the term "Maoism" which is commonly applied to it by others.

The CPA(ML) was founded in 1964, following a split in the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). The split was a result of the rupture in the early 1960s between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of China (see Sino-Soviet split). The leading figure in the breakaway group was Ted Hill, a Melbourne barrister who had been Victorian State Secretary of the CPA. Other noted figures were Paddy Malone and Norm Gallagher of the Builders Labourers Federation, Clarrie O'Shea of the Tramways Union and Ted Bull of the Waterside Workers Federation.

During the early 1970s the CPA(ML) attracted some following among radical students at some Australian universities, notably Monash University and La Trobe University in Melbourne and Flinders University in Adelaide. The CPA(ML) operated on university campuses through "front" organisations such as the Worker-Student Alliance (WSA) and the Monash Labor Club. Its most notable student leaders were Albert Langer and Jim Bacon (Bacon later renounced communism and became Labor Premier of Tasmania). Some academic figures, such as the historian Humphrey McQueen, also supported CPA-ML policies, even if they did not become party members.

Until the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 the CPA(ML) followed the Chinese Communist Party's "line" with absolute loyalty. The party paper "Vanguard" reprinted Chinese statements verbatim and lauded every achievement of the Chinese Communist Party. During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s the CPA-ML echoed the ultra-revolutionary rhetoric of the Chinese media, calling for immediate world revolution and railing against the "modern revisionists" of the Soviet Union and the pro-Soviet parties such as the CPA, which they described as "the Aarons revisionist clique."

Nevertheless the CPA(ML) immediately supported the sudden change in Chinese policy in 1972, when United States President Richard Nixon visited Beijing and established a Sino-American alliance against the Soviet Union. This, however, caused major disaffection among the party's student following. The Worker-Student Alliance collapsed in 1973 and the party lost its leading position on the far left of student politics.

The CPA(ML) and its remaining student followers abandoned Maoist rhetoric and began to promote "Australian independence" as the first stage in the struggle for socialism, forming new fronts such as the Australian Independence Movement and using the blue Eureka Flag rather than the red communist flag. This eventually led a split in the party, with those opposed to the new "nationalist" line leaving in 1978.

During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s various dissidents left the party or were expelled, founding groups that disagreed with the analysis of the CPA(ML). Supporters of the cultural revolution that left included the Clarrie O'Shea backed Committee to Reconstruct the Communist Party of Australia founded in 1984 and which later changing its name to the Committee for a Revolutionary Communist Party in Australia, and the Marxist Workers Party of Australia who continue to publish Red Flag. The Red Eureka Movement formed in 1977/1978 now exists through the website www.lastsuperpower.net. The last major split in 1988 resulted in the formation of the National Preparatory Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Australia by supporters of Norm Gallagher. What remained of the party continued to defend the Chinese Communist Party.

Ted Hill's retirement in 1986 and death in 1988 left the party with no recognised public figure. CPA(ML) founder and prominent trade unionist, Norm Gallagher, was initially jailed for alleged corruption but following an appeal the trial and verdict were declared "unsafe". The current Chairperson of the CPA(ML) is Bruce Cornwall. The party continues to publish "Vanguard" on a monthly basis but otherwise conducts little visible political activity.

External links

* [http://www.vanguard.net.au/index.php The Vanguard] expresses the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist).
* [http://www.alphalink.com.au/~radnat/lessons.html Lessons For Nationalists: The Communist Party Of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)] A commentary on the CPA(ML) from the perspective of an Australian nationalist.


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