May, 2008, Trotskyist Platform:
Planks on Which We Can Stand Solid And Work Hard to Help Build The Communist Movement
Trotskyist Platform stands against the capitalist system. We struggle towards a socialist society where exploitation of labour, racism, oppression of women and colonial subjugation of “Third World” countries will become things of the past.
The force for social liberation is the working class allied with the other oppressed sectors of society. But for this force to be applied, workers have to unite to act collectively. The working class must be organised to fight for their common international interests … rather than being sucked into the divisive nationalist agenda of supporting only Australian workers and Australian industry.
To open the road to socialism, the toiling masses must depose the exploiting class and grab political power for themselves. They will have to establish a workers state to facilitate and defend the transition from the old society to the new. Then as victories over capitalist rule spread internationally and more and more people embrace a socialist economic system based on collective ownership of industry and infrastructure, the need for any state withers away.
A workers state cannot be created by simply modifying the existing capitalist state. The capitalist state – which has at its core the police, military, prisons, courts and secret police – has been built up precisely to maintain the rule of the exploiting classes. Therefore, it cannot be an instrument for progressive social change regardless of which party is in government. This state will have to be swept away by the toilers.
Now, a decisive section of the masses will only embrace a radical solution during those few moments when their own living experience convinces them that they have absolutely no other hope. But in the long run the irrational capitalist system cannot but create horrifying wars and economic meltdowns. This does not at all mean that our struggle today is reduced to simply preaching the need for socialist revolution and waiting for the right moment to act. The unity of the working class and its confidence in its own power has to be built right now in the course of many hard fought struggles for immediate and urgent gains. But for such battles to be successful and for them to add to the overall struggle, they must be guided towards a strategy that helps the masses to trust only their own collective power and to never rely on any institutions of the capitalist class or the capitalist state. Here the practice of TP differs sharply with that of many other Marxist groups. Those groups often raise slogans that reinforce the illusion that capitalist state organs can aid progressive causes.
TP argues for full-on industrial action to smash anti-union attacks. We oppose the idea that the anti-worker laws of the bosses and the unashamed union busting of conservative governments like the recently ousted Liberal Coalition can be defeated through campaigning for Labor governments. The ALP inevitably betrays its working class base by bowing to the same ultra-rich capitalist class that the right-wing Liberals represent.
We have to struggle to reverse the horrific injustices perpetrated by Australian capitalism against this country’s Aboriginal peoples. Union/black actions against racist police violence are needed. A political bridge towards such mass mobilisations must be constructed by firstly involving the most committed trade unionists, black activists and leftist youth in demonstrations against racist state terror. Alongside Aboriginal leaders and other anti-racists, TP has actively helped to build actions in support of black people persecuted over the February 2004 Redfern and November 2004 Palm Island resistance struggles against racist state brutality.
TP participates in protests against the brutal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our main banners at the September 2007 anti-war APEC protest rally read “Troops Out of Iraq and Afghanistan! Australian Military/Cops Get Out of East Timor, Solomon Islands and NT Aboriginal Communities!” Exposing how ALL interventions by the Australian military whether in the Middle East or “at home” are reactionary assists activists to realise that this military is not “our” military but the capitalists’ military. And that understanding is crucial if we are to here build the type of actions that can really defend those resisting colonial occupation abroad: like trade union black bans against supplies to the Australian military.
We oppose the so-called “War on Terror” with its justifications for increased powers for the rich people’s state and with its incitements for racist scapegoating. In response to the 2005 Cronulla Beach white supremacist riot, TP built and participated in anti-racist rallies with the aim of promoting the need for a mass union/”ethnic” anti-racist convoy to Cronulla to make the beach safe for Middle Eastern and other non-white people.
In our struggle against capitalism we must of course support those anti-capitalist conquests that have already been made, no matter how far from the “ideal” they may be. The 1949 revolution in China created a workers state there which, although embattled, today remains in place in the world’s most populous country. That mass revolution brought terrific benefits for workers, peasants, women and ethnic minorities. While the Chinese government’s post 1978 market reforms allowed capitalism to make dangerous inroads, the key means of production in China still remain under majority socialist-type state ownership. That has been key to China’s economic success. However, the deforming pressure of surrounding imperialism must be relieved if China and the other remaining workers states (including, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea) are to be able to progress to real socialism. Simultaneously, within these countries themselves, the toilers must replace existing vacillating leaderships with ones that are fully committed to egalitarianism, fully committed to actually pursuing the class struggle to a victorious conclusion, both at home and on the international arena, through the active political mobilization of working class people.
TP calls for the building in Australia and other imperialist countries of united-front campaigns to defend the workers states (however deformed) in China, Cuba etc against forces pushing for capitalist counterrevolutions. There must be actions to protest against the anti-China U.S./Japan/Australia military alliance, to oppose the anti-communist Western-backed exile groups (like the Miami-based Cuban “pro-democracy” outfits or the right-wing Falun Gong in China) and to support workers states when they do take actions to retard capitalist penetration (such as when China introduced a new pro-worker Labour Law that is in many ways the opposite of Howard’s Workchoices.) To this end, TP has waged campaigns against the demands of Western corporations and governments for Red China to sell off its core state-owned corporations.
For a Revolutionary, Internationalist Leadership of the Workers Movement!
The horrors of capitalism impel tens of millions of the exploited around the globe to participate in union strikes, anti-colonial struggles and other fierce resistance actions. Out of these battles, the masses can rise to an understanding of their need to rule but only if self-sacrificing activists within the oppressed classes are able to guide the quests for justice onto an anti-capitalist path. To be strong enough to accomplish this task the activists must themselves be welded together into a powerful force and be hardened through immersion in the knowledge of past battles. In other words a revolutionary party must be built. In this country that can only be done whilst simultaneously clearing away all the Labor Party-type ideology that is dumped onto the workers movement: Aussie nationalism, subservience to capitalist parliaments, aversion to militant industrial action and support for Australian imperialism abroad.
The construction of a revolutionary movement is a complicated process. TP works hard to assist the development of a consistently anti-capitalist party. This is not simply a matter of recruiting sympathisers to our banner. We seek to ensure that other sections of the workers movement will themselves adopt parts of and eventually the whole of a revolutionary socialist program. Taking into account the current period and our own situation as a tendency created just two years ago, those supporting TP engage in the following work:
• Joining in class battles. We aim to in this way not only support campaigns in the interests of the downtrodden but to also train our own sympathizers in social struggles.
• Intervening in just campaigns by proposing strategies that will both assist the movements to triumph and to ensure that those involved in the mass struggles are, through fighting for its slogans, guided towards a revolutionary perspective.
• Distributing pamphlets and leaflets applying the full Marxist program to current events.
• In those cases where the left ends up mobilized behind reactionary agendas (such as when the left marched in September 1999 for Australian “Troops In” to East Timor or the current support by some socialist groups for pro-imperialist “Free China” exile groups) we will expose these campaigns, not least so that potentially useful fuel ends up in the correct engine.
• In cases where the left (due to its presently inadequate opposition to the capitalist state) would otherwise fail to take a stand on a question of far-reaching significance for the oppressed, we seek to help initiate united-front campaigns.
• At other times, where the level of understanding within the left on a key issue requires a serious boost, TP will help to inject some consciousness into the movement by aggressively publicising and holding symbolic actions.
TP stands in the tradition of the early years of the Communist International (CI) that was formed in the wake of the October 1917 socialist revolution in Russia. The CI would soon unite together revolutionaries from China to Russia, from France to the U.S. We look forward to the future regrouping of sincere worker militants and leftist youth into a party based on the principles that the Communist International was founded on. We look forward to a future world where there will not only be no subjugation but where every person will be able to, depending on their own interests, reach their full creative, cultural, scientific and artistic potential. ♦