A MAY DAY IN MELBOURNE
Against the view of some of my unemployed friends, I went to the May Day March on May 6. They were a bit crook on the May Day participation because of its domination as they saw it, of the trade unions. The organised trade union leadership had not helped the unemployed campaigns. They also saw the trade unions dominated by Stalinists. But it became evident to me that other sections of the march were pro-Stalinist. One Turkish group had a banner with photos of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin - the EMEK PARTISI. When I queried this group at their photo of Stalin - they gave me a leaflet in Turkish, and my attempt at dialogue fell flat.
Talking to one of the CEPU (Communication Electrical Plumbers Union) organisers, I remarked about the Stalin photo - his reply, "to me, Stalin did a lot for the Russian people." About the march - there are a lot of my members here today."
One of the speakers was Karen Batt about the Blind Protection workers struggle, "we supported that struggle, there is a BBQ for the plumbers on Thursday."
At the March, the political groups were in evidence - the DSP, ISO and their breakaway, Socialist Alternative, the Spartacist League, the SPA and the pro-Chinese party.
Where was the unity here and the slogan of the Communist Manifesto. "Workingmen of all countries unite!" - What had happened?
So I procured a manifesto from one of the propaganda tables of a political group and found the answer: "The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest by degrees all capital from the bourgeoisie to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State ie of the proletariat organised as the working class. Compare this with Bakunin's great slogan, `The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the workers themselves" (I think Marx used this slogan as propaganda value only - not understanding the contradiction with his previous statement in the Manifesto which I have shown above).
It was interesting that the May Committee in Melbourne had Tom Mann on their leaflet today. Early this century, Tom Mann was a syndicalist, agreeing with Bakunin. It was only when Lenin got to him, that he became a supporter of the Communist Party and was used by the Bolsheviks in the Red International union organisation in 1920. No mention of this by the May Day Committee.
This rather terse report must give us some idea of the problem facing us in our August Conference.