Thе Communist Party of Australia

  • Просмотров 598
  • Скачиваний 6
  • Размер файла 58

Essay from theme: The Communist Party of Australia It has been generally accepted that the events at the ninth annual conference of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) in 1929, resulting in a change of leadership and the ousting of the “right-wing deviationists”, were a turning point in its history. The incidents which surrounded the 1929 conference, the characterisation of the leading players, the role of the Communist International (Comintern), and the estimation of its outcome have been variously interpreted but none doubt its significance. The period has been covered by a number of writers but the material recently made available by the Comintern Archives in Moscow may serve to illuminate the story further. One of the main issues discussed by those who have dealt

with this period has been the significance of the intervention by the Executive Committee of the Communist International (hereafter known as the ECCI) prior to and on the eve of the ninth conference. Opinions on this matter may be coloured by hindsight and one's own leanings. J.D. Blake has made the point that it is easy to use documented evidence to prove a certain case and filter out (albeit unconsciously) evidence which does not fit the pattern. In making judgments on the role of the Comintern and on its effect on the policies of the CPA this is particularly evident. The Comintern has been perceived as an alien organisation subversively interfering with Australian politics by some, and as an embodiment of working class international solidarity transcending national barriers by

others. Present day knowledge of Stalin's domination of the Comintern from 1929 can also distort our perceptions of the way it was seen then. In writing a history of the Communist Party, the position taken by Lance Sharkey, one of the central figures in opposition to the Kavanagh leadership, is that the ECCI intervention was vitally necessary in order to overcome what he considered to be the right-wing opportunism of the Central Committee Executive (CEC) if the CPA was to develop as an independent force. In this he is supported by Ernie Campbell in his analysis of the period. Jack Blake judges the differences between the antagonists as "not so fundamental as they were later made to appear" but sees the intervention by the ECCI as the factor which turned the scale in

favour of the opposition “at least at the top”. Alastair Davidson's view is that the opposition gained the ascendancy over the leadership as a result of support gained by appeals to both the ECCI and the rank and file resulting in the defeat of the leadership at the ninth conference. Tom O'Lincoln asserts that with Soviet backing the opposition's victory was assured, while Peter Morrison rejects the view that the CPA was a tool of the Comintern. He states that the defeat of the Kavanagh leadership at the conference was a direct result of the experience of the CPA in Australia with the Sydney-based national leadership finding itself out of step with its state constituents. The ECCI was merely “a pawn” in the game. In reviewing the role played by the ECCI in the 1929 events

it is also important to note that the nature of the relationship between the Comintern and the CPA changed over time. Following the recognition of the CPA in August 1922 as the affiliate of the Communist International (Cl), contact was for several years via the colonial department of the British section, and by 1928 through the secretariat of the CI's Anglo-American Section. These early years were difficult ones for the new party. After the poor showing in the 1925 NSW state elections Guido Baracchi, editor of The Communist, had (unsuccessfully) proposed the liquidation of the CPA. In 1926 Jock Garden, secretary of the NSW Labor Council, left the party also believing the CPA had no future. Both Barrachi and Garden were formally expelled by the CPA at its sixth annual conference