From an editorial in the Communist Party of Australia’s Guardian
In 1991 when the Soviet Union broke up and its leadership destroyed the Soviet Union’s socialist system, the Sydney Morning Herald came out with an exultant front-page banner headline — COMMUNISM IS DEAD!
A statement of confidence issued at that time by the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of Australia (as the Communist Party was called then), expressed conviction that “socialism remains the best and only system capable of meeting the needs of the working people of all countries, is capable of eliminating unemployment and exploitation, doing away with the booms and slumps of capitalism by democratic economic planning. Only socialist societies consistently uphold the necessity of preserving peace on our planet”.
At the international conference of Communist Parties held at the beginning of November this year and which commemorated the 90th anniversary of the 1917 socialist revolution in Russia, the head of the delegation from the Communist Party of China proudly declared: “I bring greetings to this conference from the 73 million (yes, million) members of the Communist Party of China“.
An estimate submitted to the conference was that there are now over 100 million Communist Party members throughout the world and that 40 percent of the people of the world live in countries where the Communist Party either heads the government or participates in the government.
These countries are in different stages of economic, political and social development. Some are developing rapidly such as China, Vietnam and Cuba, where the rate of economic development runs at around 10 percent each year. Others are in the transition stage or have put their foot on the first rung of the socialist ladder.
In a number of countries the Communist Parties are in alliance with other progressive parties or trade union organisations, such as in South Africa.
Politically the developed capitalist countries are a long way behind countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia in particular. They were the first capitalist countries and became rich from the savage exploitation of the colonial people.
In the United States, Britain and other European countries the same process went on. In these countries there was a certain “trickle down” and working class organisations were also able to force concessions but their struggles did not go any further than knocking some of the rough edges off capitalism.
This process is now coming to an end as the inevitable crises which have always beset the capitalist economies once again come to the surface. Furthermore, the former colonial countries and the emerging socialist economies are becoming steadily more powerful economically, politically and militarily.
Communist parties have survived the onslaught of capitalist attacks and ideological subversion in the developed capitalist countries as well. Communism is not dead there either.
One of these smaller communist parties is the Communist Party of Australia. In his contribution to the meeting of international parties held in Minsk and referred to above, the CPA representative said among other things: “Ours is the future and we can gain confidence and optimism from the revolutionary, anti-imperialist and socialist sweep of the peoples of South America, the African continent and in Asia.”