Voices from the Communist Party - Wayne Sonter



in Java for 11 you [Applause] my name is Wayne Santa I'm a person that comes from the north coast moved to the city I like to think I'm still a bit of a country boy but apparently I'm not huh extremely sophisticated cosmopolitan urbanite I'm being asked about why I've become a communist I think it was I suppose you can look at a passionate side and an intellectual side it was the ideas of Marx that attracted me first I did political science and sociology at the last moment university initially I was going to do psychology with the English second psychology was a lot of behaviorist I decided especially when they stack the Oh of the organism between the stimulus and the response which would seem to have denoted well it wasn't that what we were trying to talk about the first place is the organism by the time I went finished high school I went to uni I was already starting to explore social psychology and sociology because I was traveling around hitchhiking and read that we never got to alive be that sort of stuff and so at the last moment I dropped doing physiology and did sociology that went with my political science and end up I graduated political science sociology at a very conservative school but I did manage through the course of that to end up with a mouse tutor in political science and a Trotskyist tutor in sociology so I gradually moved that I'm intellectual I'm not the sort of person that grew up I'm not a third generation communist my family would be small petit-bourgeois fathers of tradesmen in the country businesses are small he had his own business after a while you know join the bourgeoisie by employing an apprentice I'm a mother's side by farmers so that sort of background him and my first grader I had two things that stirred my radicalism was we used to be visited at our school by the very sophisticated students from Armadale aware and I had left home and moved into the laundry downstairs and the guy from that university burnt his driver's license on my radiator as a protest against the Vietnam War which was obviously a lot further away than Tinga which was about as far as we'd ever sort of traveled at that stage that and I sort of started to sort of get to be an adolescent slouch a bit and started wearing suede shoes without shoe laces and let him both hair grow long and failing to do up my buttons around the place and got through a lot of trouble from the principal and was given an ultimatum of a number of days that get myself shipped up a shipped out but I got I think everyone in fifth and six years eleven and twelve to sign a petition demanding freedom in our craving from the strict uniform and when I was brought in to see what I'd done about his ultimatum gave him the petition with about two hundred names on it demanding our right to dress like slobs if we wanted to so really it was quite elemental sort of that sort of rebellion so now I will call that the passion aside but doing doing the rigor of a conservatory school that was basically in many ways deconstructing sociology was a bit more radical psychology the one year I did it was very behaviorist certain I found myself attracted towards the quite beautiful into integral systems and philosophy of Karl Marx but on the other hand most probably my second favorite philosophy and that understanding would have been Thomas Hobbes who I saw as another very thorough consistent intellectual creation of a system and it was sort of in a way bit gratifying that when Karl Marx was looking at materialist philosophy included people like Thomas Hobbes and his name more as a part of the materialist tradition yes so I suppose I found myself I suppose I revolted against God when I was about 12 I climbed up on my deceased grandfather's library where they'd Stuckey's books because none of the rest of the family read except him and I found a whole lot of turn of the 19th century to 20th century humanist philosophy and raised questions like we should do good because Goods for the good of humanity not to win brownie points to get into heaven so that was my first skepticism and as a result of that I raised that with my local minister on some things and I was basically told to shut up and have faith and doubt reason too deeply which didn't have the effect that he intended it mainly meant that I didn't go back the church again so but I've grapple I mean so I see it's that's grappling with those sorts of issues I was very much a reader as a child as well as a tear about I usually get home covered in mud and dirt and usually had at least one fight every day of my primary school and so they were suppose that's emotional but by reading Marx at that stage people didn't read you didn't study Lenin or even Watsky at universities but it was a lot of there was a Marxist meaning communist intelligentsia in academia that were based on their on the old CPA why would I join a party well I've joined the number of parties before I joined the Communist Party my my first I don't know where this is going but anyway if you want to expel me feel free is the first party I joined via my sociology tutor was to join the socialist labor league as it was called in which was very good I mean that's where I said felt there are a lot more disciplined they were very rigorous they really laid in the things like the Socialist Workers Party which I agree with what they were saying but I mean I also after that I joined that by the time I was 21 I joined the Labour Party I was in that for a long time but I saw myself as a Marxist and of socialists within the Labour Party but I left that by the time that Bob Hawke came around because it was so far beyond the pale by then things like the Whitlam dismissal were quite significant impacts on my life and lots of others I'd say I still maintain the rage that the rest of them especially loud party fighters are forgotten or don't care about anymore if nothing else if you looked at it especially you have to say that showed that reform would not be allowed to work just in my life it was I was finding myself in situations a lot of being a student I became a squatter I was involved in movements like employment rights to work and things like that as opposed to getting a real job full-time and having a career I sort of deviated off into that rather than up into the establishment and the career structure and never changed really I did have some intervening periods of employment between childhood and dotage that had only through all those things I found that I was mixing the struggles or the issues I was involved with I would then go back and read back through a lot of marks but then also started the read Lenin Trotsky mouth from University and a whole range of others people that write on on Marxism the scholars that aren't so famous but they write on it and give insights you know I mean some people reckon they've read capital but it really you need to read lots of people writing on capital or writing on whatever is around to help you understand those things like any literature review you know so it's just I found that it is as an activist you make that commitment I say after such knowledge what forgiveness is once you know that this is the way things work you would have to lobotomize yourself to not do it and a lot of people do lobotomize themselves they're called revisionist I think they you know it's inevitable that you go from the left to the right as you get older well no it's not it's a matter of on the other hand you might be getting deeper understanding through your praxis your actions and your readings and your discussion and it's just as a likely propensity that you will become more deepen your understanding and more committed to to your course of action saying am i are communists in a lot of ways it's a bit like am i a Christian you know you you it's up to others the judge in a way whether you're a communist or a Christian self procurement Malaysia Nasser is is no self praise is no recommendation you know to proclaim you're a communist or like Bob or would that he was a great Aussie and Australia first when you know the secret is he was a CIA asset so he really counted that on the surface by what he was underneath is being a communist should be an aspiration and in many ways I've see that sometimes a hard understanding or an understanding you think it's very firm when you look more closely and with the experience of the years you notice different depths and resonances in the understanding and I could say is if you read the Communist Manifesto every year of your life and you were active throughout that life you would see something new in it that you didn't pick up and I suspect even when the young Marx and Engels were writing it even though they picked up on it they themselves which is you know following years of developing theories at length was they didn't know exactly what they'd come up with when it was crystallized at that moment of what was revolution in in Europe at the time so as I've gone on I get a I'm getting a different understanding of what this process of the revolutionary transformation of capitalism in the communism is and I'm getting more tolerant yeah I see I look at Venezuela I say yes they're doing it in a way they're doing it in a way that's not guaranteeing success the Communist Party in Venezuela is constantly acting as egging it on but there's a revolution if to the extent there's a revolution going on in there at the moment it's not led by the most conscious and committed elements of the class they are still fighting for the step ahead and the mainstream the body let's call them the Social Democrats are leading with the most conscious and committed agitating as an outrigger so that's but then when you look back on that before there were communist parties and Marx and Engels just defined communists has been an integral part of the working class just its most conscious and committed elements we will always have a catalytic and agitation or role we will always say be looking at the understanding and delineating the line of trend and advocating that to our class so in a sense I say well maybe I'm a small C communist-era a lot of people that would see themselves as communists that are no longer and never worry in the Communist Party there are people within other formations even ones that I think are dreadful but within those organizations there would be people that are more conscious and committed than than others even if their party might have in many ways a wrong line so leading into a revolutionary period like we are now is I'm open to it maybe the revolutionary Vanguard is not yet there it is still crystallizing out of numbers of different elements so if you take those sort of things into it I define myself as a communist in the understanding of that doesn't automatically defer anything infer anything but I'd like to think I'm a part of the ongoing struggle and I hope I am getting an understanding that's valuable and can be passed on over the years my specific involvement the I'd see that even though squatting was basically a lot of anarchists and just mishmash I think that that was approached you know as a Marxist type I approach that though it makes me wonder now but it was the idea of getting in the way of capitalism counter to its things and an understanding of way that works so squatting was was an involvement of commitment of an activist at that time I was in with also unemployed unions and things like that the one of the things was a shorter work week Action Committee in a network that became very world wide thin but a world wide coverage for a number of years but it was a lot of work and didn't have time to properly do it but also up on the north coast we formed worked with a group we formed the employment and Resource Development associations and from there we were able to establish a whole range of peace groups through there active as I call it the spine or the or the back up in in a lot of environmental and resident groups that would otherwise have not had and I'll call it the presence of viral communists it wasn't where there were communist organizations but there was a loose network of communists that we worked in a number of popular organizations and working-class organizations even up there I worked in the Labour Party form the very left-wing branch and you know grew it from about five or seven up to into fifty five sixty people over a number of years and cause lots of very interesting perturbations amongst both Nationals and Labour Party up their solidarity groups with AHS Iraq solidarity with Iraq and Australians via trade union solidarity with DPRK hands off Syria but I seem to have a lot of current one is just trying to build and renew the Communist Party itself because there's no greater time a need for a revolutionary Vanguard organization if there is a future it will have to be eventually communist it's the start of human history and have that we must end this super destructive now global system based on class and exploitation sorry we can't continue to exploit ourselves and nature and have a future so yes I see a communist future if we survive long enough to overthrow the class that's destroying the planet




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