SEARCH Foundation: Election 2022

History of SEARCH

The SEARCH foundation arose about the same time the Communist party of Australia (CPA) liquidated itself in 1991. SEARCH assets that came directly from the Communist Party were devoted to academic publications, music & the arts and to fund small ‘community’ organisation like the Grassroots Centre in West End in Brisbane/Meanjin that Norma Nord ran until rents became too high.

Also a Communist controlled company, Coronation Press Ltd, sold the CPA HQ in Fortitude Valley to Creative Broadcasters Pty Ltd (4ZZZ) by underwriting an interest free loan until the community radio station could come up with $225,000 which was far less than the land (pictured) at 291 St Paul’s Terrace was worth at the time or since. The sale may or may not have been legal but certainly was not in the spirit of the purpose of the Communist Party that took generations to develope.

The building fronting Barry Parade which housed the People’s Bookshop, Coronation Press, a dance hall and Communist Party rooms, now 4ZZZ.

It could be said that SEARCH  tried to find solutions that did not relate directly to the working class from which the Communist Party had grown. The CPA had, over time, resorted to social democracy rather than socialism as its original objective, to reformism taken there under the leadership of John Halfpenny, Laurie Carmichael, the Aarons brothers and others. Halfpenny in pursuit of a safe seat, Carmichael to bring about the Price and Incomes Accord , and the Aarons family to join a kind of left-wing political elite.

SEARCH looked to the environment movement, to gender issues, to the peace movement, to community in order to find some alternative to capitalism. A new left party so broad it lost its socialist ideals and its organisation. Economic Rationalism was critiqued but no alternative found.

Now the SEARCH foundation is looking to getting rid of the Morrison government. Fair enough. But what is the alternative? What is needed is working class organisation like that once maintained by the Communist Party. Radical change can only come from the grassroots. Yet again, capitalist exploitation and class is in sharp focus with banking and financial instability, the high cost of food and housing and war in Europe and others looming in Asia. The very reasons that the Communist Party was originally formed. There is an notion of revolution abroad but no organisation to do the hard work of building socialism.

Below is the SEARCH Activists Guide to the 2022 Election to ‘Throw out the Morrison Government – and fight for change!

In the absence of a socialist party, SEARCH supports some of the GREENS policies but criticises others. For example on First Nations People, ‘SEARCH considers that The Greens risk jeopardising the success of the invitation made to the Australian people by First Nations people in the Uluru Statement of Voice, Treaty, Truth.’

For workers, SEARCH claims that: ‘The Greens and ALP policies will lead to improvements for workers, especially the job security of the precarious workforce, preventing wage theft and reducing the gender pay gap. Union access to workplaces will be improved and this should make unionisation easier.’

SEARCH ignores the sellout of workers under Laurie Carmichael’s Prices and Incomes Accord that the Labor Party adopted and promptly forgot about control of prices. Labor in government launched 13 years of loss of real income and tragic consequences for unions who opposed the Accord, the BLF and the SEQEB workers sacked in Qld by the Bjelke-Petersen government. Worse still the ALP adopted neo-liberal policies that have drastically set back union organisation and workers living standards. There is no Jeremy Corbin in the Australian Labor Party so why should things be any different for workers under Labor than under the Liberals as claimed by the SEARCH foundation document?

Ian Curr
27 April 2022

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