Your browser is not Javascript enable or you have turn it off. We recommend you to activate for better security reason


A workers’ party of a new type

Written by: Ned K. on 25 April 2024


If you ask people what comes to mind when you ask them the question "what political party, if any, do you support?" many people will say the Liberal Party or Nationals or Labor Party or the Greens or even "the Teals". An increasing number of people will say " None, they're all the same!"

What all these parties have in common is that they equate a political party with parliament and the people's involvement being the one day of the year every three or four years when elections are held.

Within official trade union circles, most are affiliated to the ALP and their leaderships urge their members to vote Labor because they are "better than the Liberals". If members ask for more information, they may get told that both the Unions and the Labor Party are part of the " labour movement".

So many workers especially, generation after generation, have voted for the Labor Party in the hope of significant changes to their working, family and community lives. More and more workers question what type of "labour movement" the Labor Party leaders are talking about. The decline of the Labor primary vote at elections is an indication of this disillusionment with the Labor Party as the working people's political party. 

Kevin Rudd, the former Labor Party leader and Prime Minister, gave an insight in to what the ALP's "labour movement " means in his first parliamentary speech in December 2006 when he said,

"Our movement for a century fought against Marxism, if you bother to read your history. We have had nothing to do with Marxism and madness. We have always seen our role as what we can do to civilize the market. That is where we come from as a tradition...So when it comes to our Labor values of equity, sustainability and compassion, we do not just believe that these, in themselves, are self-sufficient and worthy of being pursued. We also hold that they are values necessary to enhance the market itself."

Yet it is the volatility of the so-called "free market" of the system Rudd talked about that led to hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs as one manufacturing industry after another moved overseas because the "free market" was more profitable for the capitalists. 

The Labor Party and all parliamentary parties and even the ACTU leaders were powerless to stop it at best and at worst supported this "free market" destructive impact on working people's lives.

Workers Party of a New Type

One day about twenty years ago in Melbourne, I was at a union and community meeting about what needed to be done for workers to break out of the cycle of hope and disappointments experienced with Labor in parliamentary office, I heard a woman who identified as Dulcie (above) start talking about how workers needed a Party of a new type. Someone asked her what she meant by a "Party of a new type".

She replied with words to the effect that parliamentary politics and their parties were a very limited form of democracy which was outside of the involvement and control of the people who put them into parliament on election day. 

She said that people sensed this, and this is why workers and community struggles and issue-based organizations arise on all sorts of issues.
She said in all these struggles, leaders arise at the grass roots level. Some of these leaders were invited to channel struggles into parliamentary channels, but not many. Most remained leaders among the people involved in their particular struggle and community.

Dulcie said that what was needed in her view was a political Party that linked all the leaders within the myriad of people's struggles into an unbreakable network across the whole country. Such an organization would unite people for fundamental change of society away from capitalism's "free market" economy. 

Someone asked Dulcie why she thought this would happen. She replied that through exchange of views between grass roots leaders and exploring ideas and social theories that served working people and their communities rather the free market and profit motive, a people's movement would develop so powerful that the parliament and the small minority of corporations would be overcome and a new society of socialism serving people not profit would emerge. She said the big money people and those with privileges in parliament would not give up without a fight, but "we are many, they are few" 

She said that was what the CPA (ML), of which she was a member, was striving to become: a Party of a new type, but that it was the working people themselves who would determine if it "made the grade".



Print Version - new window Email article


Go back