Revolutionaries Must Command the Material Interests of Society


To my peers, and everyone else who feels demoralised or confused by the NSW state election:

Like you, I am tired, to the point of exhaustion. It has been so long since we have had good news. The march of Communism in Australia has seemingly ended and gone into full retreat. Just yesterday, I was accused of “stealing” boxes from Bunnings. You know the refuse boxes near the checkouts at Bunnings? Apparently you can take too many of them and be refused service. And by “too many” I mean one too many.

Just yesterday, and I really mean yesterday, I saw the police stopping cars and guarding events seven times in a two hour period. The police were literally crawling all over Sydney City on Saturday.

I was listening to radio 2SER 107.3FM on Thursday, and they had an editorial report on how the NSW Police are basically guns for hire in our city. The police will now guard whatever event you want for cold hard cash. Police approval of music festivals and other similar events is condition on how much money they charge you for guarding your event.

The election result here in NSW has emboldened the Right and the Police, and virtually every reactionary layer of society, merely within a week. I feel like people are treating me differently all of a sudden. People seem meaner and more selfish, and have adopted a “fuck you, I’ve got mine” mentality. Perhaps I should qualify what I mean by that. Not everyone has become meaner, but my general intuition and social sensitivity gives me the impression that reactionary layers of society feel more comfortable treating me and people like me like shit.

I felt very demoralised and depressed by the NSW state election result. Until I found out that the popular vote of the election would have handed the ALP and the Greens a coalition government if our state employed a proportional representation electoral system. I was much more aware of the gerrymandering in Victoria because I was much more intimately involved in the Victorian Socialists election campaign.

In Stephen Jolley’s electorate, the immoral and cynical preference trading of right wing micro-parties ensured that even though Jolley came in with the fourth highest vote, he would not be guaranteed a seat in the Victorin Legislative Council.

So, I am happy to completely write off Australia as not even having the appearance of a democracy. For instance, the amount of cash you now have to hand over to the electoral commission has now risen to astronomical heights. You would now need hundreds of thousands of dollars to field candidates in every seat in a state, let alone get “above the line” on the now misleadingly confusing senate ballot paper.

So despite all these terrible things, I feel heartened that the reality of the situation in Australia is very simple. I feel silly saying this, but I really believe it – Australia is not just an economic dictatorship, but a political one as well. The biggest corporations allowed to trade in our state pay no tax. Enormous handouts of taxpayer money are just dished out without question, and line the pockets of the rich. Wages are now as low as they could possibly go, without being below the means of subsistence. The rich have never had it so good in Australia. I would go so far to say that we are not even “capitalist” anymore, by any Marxist definition of the concept. We are more likely a highly technologically advanced feudal nation, where we are serfs paying off enormous arbitrary tithes to power companies, mortgagors, landlords, and retail companies.

The reality of the political landscape of Australia is not complex at all. Our parliament is the simplest and most transparently corrup body of hollow people I could ever fear. Politicians in our country do and say what they are paid to do and say. If the money stops flowing, the representation in political policy ceases. I bet you all my material possessions that you can pay a politician to do literally anything.

I suppose this is no news to some. I suppose the argument I am trying to put forward is that the solution to combating the incredible degeneracy of the Australian political landscape is much simpler than it is usually made out to be.

The outlines of a way out of this mess were spelled out to me by the wonderful pane of speakers I had the privilege of hearing that were sponsored by the Australian Venezuela Solidarity Network. As you know, Venezuela is a society that was making incredible strides towards establishing socialism, until the country, for various reasons, entered crisis. Venezuela is suffering from a terrible colonial history of being a nation forced to be a one-export state. Its currency is most likely subject to sabotage by all the main imperialist centres of capitalist finance. As a result, Venezuela’s economy has ground to a halt, and daily life has become very difficult for its population to live through, by conventional means.

But despite the lies and the wanton utter bullshit that pours out of the mass media about Venezuela, something miraculous is happening. The people are getting by. The people are making do. They may be more emiserated now than they were at the height of the success of the progress of socialism in their country, but the Venezuelan masses have started to self organise. They have begun to tackle the issue of the scarcity of necessities themselves. They provide employment and material compensation where there is none, and where it is needed.

This presents the solution to the crisis of Communism in Australia. We need to provide alternative structures to capitalism right now. We need to be creating the material power we need to fight capitalism within capitalism. We are constantly faced with the problem of not having enough resources and material power to promote ourselves and force our way into the political arena.

How else do you think the AYCC was able to organise the enormous masses of students for the incredible climate action rallies we have all been to? Money and material resources. Forgive me if this sounds cynical or conspiratorial, but from my experience with the AYCC, and having been a member in the late 2000s, I believe they are a front for the ALP. At the very least the left wing of the ALP.

Marx and Engels talk about the organic nature of humans being labour, or work. Something has to change about the way we do activism because we are not treating activism for creating Communism as work, we are treating it as volunteering. If we could set people to work, if we could somehow cease being parasitic on people’s daily commitments, we could smash the ALP and the Liberal party and the Greens.

The great successes of the revolutions in China and Vietnam were because the political and military factors of society were able to be separated from the way social change was able to be done. I submit the economic factor of social change is able to be searated out in Australia’s case.

Somehow, and I don’t know how, we need to be able to command the material interests of society, or at least enough for a revolutionary party of anywhere from 5 000 to 10 000 members – the former limit being the relative size of the DSA, if it were proportionate to the size of the Australian population.

I hope this letter finds you well,

Blair Vidakovich.