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Australian socialists: `Take back the wealth! Put mines, banks and energy in the hands of the people!'
Election broadsheet of the Socialist Alliance, Australia
May 1, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Bring the mining industry, the big banks and the energy companies under public/community ownership and control, so that they can be run in a way that respects Aboriginal rights, the environment and social justice. The urgent need to address climate change alone demands that these industries be immediately taken out of the hands of the billionaires and their global corporations and operated as not-for-profit public services under the democratic control of the majority.
From Greece to Australia, the whole world has witnessed the moral bankruptcy of capitalism as it has destroyed the lives of billions of people through the wholesale privatisation of our collective wealth and socialisation of their losses.
We cannot afford to leave our future to the likes of Australian mining billionaires Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer, and the faceless bankers. If we do so, we won’t have a future worth leaving to future generations.
May Day message from the Socialist Alliance, Australia
May 1, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As workers around the world take to the streets to celebrate May Day, we are sharply aware that the capitalist system has reached a point of development where it threatens the habitability of the planet on which we all live.
Last month, for the first time in 3 million years, the carbon concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere reached 399.7 parts per million (ppm) at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. In several other parts of the world that day, the reading exceeded 400 ppm.
When CO2 concentrations were last above 400 ppm it was the Pliocene era, when temperatures were 3-4 degrees Celsius and sea levels were 5-40 metres higher than they are today. Capitalism is throwing our planet into dangerous climate change.
Sadly this is no surprise. Capitalism has already devastated the lives of billions of people through exploitation, war and poverty.
"Waterside worker', by Noel Counihan, 1963.
By Chris Slee
March 18, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In his article entitled “Is there a labour aristocracy in Australia?” (published in the Socialist Alternative magazine, Marxist Left Review) Tom Bramble criticises the concept of the “labour aristocracy” on a number of grounds.
International Women's Day 2013 statement by Socialist Alliance
March 8, 2013 -- Socialist Alliance/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The demands of the first-ever International Women's Day Rally in Australia, in 1928, were: equal pay for equal work, an 8-hour day for shop assistants, the basic wage for the unemployed and annual holidays on full pay.
A lot has been won through struggle since 1928 yet women in Australia today still have to struggle some of these issues:
March 2, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Providing facts and analysis, and publicising and organising Latin America solidarity activities in Australia, Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has sought to promote greater understanding and solidarity between the people of Australia and Latin America.
We are therefore delighted to publish Latin America Social Forum (Foro Social Latinamericano), a Spanish-language supplement produced regularly by the Latin America Social Forum in Sydney.
We hope the supplement will help build stronger links and solidarity between the Spanish-speaking communities in Australia and all those involved in the urgent struggles for the people and the planet. In the words of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez: “Time is short. If we don’t change the world now, there may be no 22nd century.”
GLW and Links congratulates the Latin America Social Forum for this important publication, and looks forward to continuing to help build solidarity in Australia, and around the world, with Latin America’s movements for freedom, democracy, sustainability and justice.
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Australia: 'School of Rebellion: social justice education for children and young people' (March 29-31, 2013)
February 22, 2013 -- Green Left TV -- The Green Left Report hosts a roundtable discussion and debate on the millions-strong protests prior to the US war on Iraq, held around the world on February 15, 2003. The roundtable includes some key activists at the time who reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the protests in Australia and lessons for progressive struggles today.
Pip Hinman was a leader of the anti-war movement in Sydney at the time; Nick Deane convened a local peace group; and Jim McIlroy, who has been an anti-war activist since the Vietnam war, was part of the Brisbane protests. Also featured is an interview with Simon Butler, who led Books Not Bombs protests of high school and other young people opposed to the war. Hosts are Mel Barnes and Peter Boyle. Footage of the 2003 anti-war marches in Sydney by John Reynolds and Jill Hickson of Actively Radical TV. The episode ends with Carlo Sands critiquing the notion of the "lesser evil".
Produced by Green Left TV -- media for the 99%. Watch it, share it, film it, support it
February 22, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following document was adopted by the Australian Socialist Alliance at its 9th national conference, held January 18-20, 2013. It first appeared in Alliance Voices, the public discussion bulletin of the Socialist Alliance..
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1. The international capitalist economic crisis is creating a wave of austerity across Europe and the advanced capitalist economies. Austerity measures, dictated by the international financial institutions (the IMF and World Bank) or carried out by governments on behalf of corporate interests, are driving millions into poverty, cutting welfare, slashing public spending on health and education, and slashing jobs and wages. So great is the crisis that millions of young people see no future in this inhuman system.
2. According to
reports, the World Bank's Food Price Index, which tracks the price of
internationally traded food commodities, was 6% higher in July 2012,
compared to the same time in 2011, and 1% over the previous peak of
'They will make splendid allies': The Communist Party of Australia and its attitude towards migrants
February 22, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are two chapters from Australian socialist Douglas Jordon's thesis on the Communist Party of Australia. They deal with the CPA's sometimes inconsistent attitude to migration and racism within the Australian working class. As such issues continue to feature heavily in Australian politics and trade union activity, something the left must always deal with, these chapters provide useful lessons and experiences for socialists today. The chapters are availabe for download as PDF files or can be read on screen below the introduction.
Douglas Jordan was politicised in England in the late 1960s. After arriving in Australia he joined the Socialist Youth Alliance/Socialist Workers League/Socialist Workers Party, in which where he remained a member for 14 years. Today he is a community activist and co-presenter of the City Limits radio program on Melbourne's 3CR.
More than 2000 people protest against coal seam gas in the Illawarra, NSW, Australia, October 2011.
By Farida Iqbal
February 10, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- The shale gas industry-commissioned white paper, The Global Anti-Fracking Movement: What it Wants, How it Operates and What’s Next, makes for some very interesting reading. It was produced late last year by Control Risks, an “independent, global risk consultancy specialising in helping organisations manage political, integrity and security risks in complex and hostile environments”.
The white paper focuses on shale gas, but it also discusses coal seam gas. Shale gas is what features in the film Gasland by Josh Fox, which details the destructive effects of “fracking” on communities in the US.
February 12, 2013 -- Radio Australia -- A Philippine socialist party has thrown its support behind the Australian workers blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant south-west of Melbourne.
Unemployed local tradespeople have been blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant for the past week to protest against the employment of Filipino workers on special 457 visas [for guest workers].
Earlier this week, the Federal Court reserved decision on the Fair Work Building and Construction Inspectorate's bid to end the eight-day blockade.
On Monday, a group of 12 men, including Filipino workers, were helicoptered into the water treatment plant to avoid the blockade.
The chairperson of the Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM), Sonny Melencio, has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program he's concerned Filipino workers are being used to break picket lines.
By Nick Fredman
January 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal; this is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, copyright 2013 Taylor and Francis; Capitalism, Nature, Socialism is available at http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcns20/current.
This article* examines the extent to which Green parties can be considered social-democratic formations. The Australian Greens, since 2010 in de facto governmental coalition with the Labor Party, are posited as an important case study of the global Green party movement. The Australian Greens have generally been seen as a far-left party, as expressing the views of the new social movements or as a site of tension between these two tendencies.
No to sexual assault! Socialist Alliance statement in solidarity with the international movement against violence against women
Mass protest against violence against women, India Gate, Delhi, December 23, 2012. Photo by Rakesh Kumar Meena.
January 5, 2013 -- The Socialist Alliance (Australia) stands in solidarity with the growing movement in India fighting violence against women. Progressive forces in that country have braved police brutality and repression, mobilising massive turnouts at protests against gender violence.
The wave of protests was sparked by the horrific rape on December 15, and the consequent death, of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi.
Indian activists report that a significant new movement against sexual violence has risen up and is putting serious pressure on the government to eliminate the institutionalised gender bias in laws and investigation mechanisms. Young and old people, women and men, who have never before participated in public protests are taking to the streets to demand gender justice.
The ninth national conference of the Socialist Alliance will be held in Geelong (Victoria), from January 18-20, 2013. It is open to all Socialist Alliance members and invited guests.
The national conference is our highest decision-making body, and delegates are elected from each branch to participate and vote at the conference on a number of resolutions on international and Australian politics and campaigns, party building and the plans of the Socialist Alliance for the coming year. The conference also considers any proposed changes to the Constitution and elects the incoming national executive and national office bearers.
Special international guest from Pakistan
Alia Amirali, the general secretary of Pakistan's National Student Federation (Punjab) and a member of the newly formed Awami Workers' Party (the product of the biggest left regroupment in that country), will be the special international guest speaker at the conference. She has some very important experiences to share, as this interview shows.
December 13, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance -- The National Executives of the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative agreed on December 13 to terms under which Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly will endorse and participate in the Marxism 2013 conference to be held in Melbourne, March 28-April 1, 2013.
This first significant national co-operation between our two organisations is a product of discussions that began between the two organisations on November 4, 2012, to explore the possibility of closer collaboration and unity.
Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly will be promoting Marxism 2013 as an important opportunity for all socialists and other progressive activists and thinkers to discuss how we can advance our common cause.
"If we are going to get anywhere with left unity today we are going to have to find a way to get beyond a false argument within the left about who is really 'revolutionary' and who is not, and start discussing, in a constructive way, how best a united left can engage in the struggles against the ills of capitalism."
By Peter Boyle, national co-convenor, Socialist Alliance
December 8, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance -- Once again the question of left unity is on the agenda in Australia. There have been exploratory talks between the Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative and also between the Socialist Alliance and the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). The Socialist Alliance and the CPA worked together in a Housing Action election ticket in the Sydney City Council elections earlier this year.
Socialist Alliance member Margarita
Windisch addresses the 2012 Melbourne Reclaim the Night rally. Transcript HERE.
December 9, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- An article that appeared on the website of the magazine of the Socialist Alternative organisation on November 22, 2012, has sparked an interesting debate across the Australian left on merits of socialists organising against violence against women.
بيتر بويلي، ممثل "التحالف اليساري بأستراليا" :شكرا للشّعب التّونسي الذي أظهر للعالم أنّ الانتفاضة الشعبيّة لا تزال قـوّة مؤثرة
[The following interview with national co-convenor of Australia's Socialist Alliance Peter Boyle appeared in Sawt Chaab (People's Voice), the weekly newspaper of the Tunisian Worker's Party (formerly the Communist Workers’ Party of Tunisia) on November 9, 2012. Tunisian Worker's Party comrades have been jailed for publishing this newspaper, which was produced in clandestinity under both the Bourguiba and Ben Ali regimes. While other papers disappeared because of oppression, Sawt Chaab has survived since 1985 through the determination of many militants. The interview and translation was done by Haithem Mahjoubi (email haithemmahjoubi [at] rocketmail.com) See the unabridged English text below.]
Re-elected socialist municipal councillor Steve Jolly.
Socialist Party member Mel Gregson interviewed by Ian Anderson
November 6, 2012 -- The Spark (New Zealand), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In the recent local elections of Victoria, Australia, socialist candidates won seats in Yarra and Moreland. Socialist Party councillor on the Yarra local council in Melbourne Stephen Jolly won his seat for the third time. [The Socialist Party is associated with the international Committee for a Workers International (CWI).]
* * *
The Spark: So the Socialist Party retained its municipal council seat held by Stephen Jolly, and lost its council seat held by Anthony Main. Can you break that down a bit more?
Graphic from the North Star.
By Peter Boyle
November 4, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 4, a delegation of Susan Price, Sue Bolton and myself, from the Socialist Alliance had an initial meeting to discuss left unity prospects with a delegation comprising Mick Armstrong, Sandra Bloodworth and Corey Oakley from Socialist Alternative.
The meeting was cordial and constructive. A short joint statement was issued that night, which noted that “the basis exists to begin a process of discussion to clarify our respective political positions and engage in collaborative work, with the aim of establishing if unity is possible”. The statement was published on both organisations' websites.
The joint statement said: “It was acknowledged that there are real political differences between the groups, both historic and to do with immediate questions of day-to-day politics and a conception of what kind of organisation the left needs. We had only the most provisional discussion of these issues, and it is clear that we are just at the start of a lengthy process of clarification.