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Australian Greens

Australia: ‘People are capable of running society themselves’-- socialist councillor Sue Bolton

Click for more on left electoral politics at the municipal level and for more on the Australian Socialist Alliance

April 23, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton spoke to Dave Holmes about her work as an elected socialist local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne, Australia.

* * *

You were elected to the Moreland City Council for Socialist Alliance in October 2012. Many of the themes and issues raised in your campaign struck a chord with a wide range of people. There was also a fair bit of accident and luck: you headed up a ballot with 24 names on it and the ALP ticket was split.

There were two main reasons why I was elected. One was that our campaign theme, “community need not developer greed”, struck a chord with residents who didn’t know either Socialist Alliance or me because many residents are directly effected by developer greed.

Australia: SYRIZA’S victory and building a green-left alternative

Socialist Alliance activists march on May Day in Sydney last year. Photo by Peter Boyle.

By Susan Price

February 14, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- What lessons can we learn from the recent victory of SYRIZA for building the anti-austerity movement and a political alternative to neoliberalism here in Australia? Australian Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, in her recent article in New Matilda [see https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/58246], writes that the left in Australia should wake up and take notice of what is happening in Europe. I couldn’t agree more.

Rhiannon writes that the European developments give those on the progressive side of politics encouragement and build our hopes, and then asks the reasonable question, “But do they have any direct application?” To that we can answer, yes. Not because we can or want to create a carbon copy of SYRIZA, but because there are some general lessons that can be applied here.

Israel the aggressor, not Gazans; Condemn Israel’s violence, not Palestinian resistance

Young opponents of Israel's war of terror protest, in Sydney, August 2, 2014. Photo by Susan Price.

By Tony Iltis

August 2, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- “This is not a war. It is genocide”, reads a popular slogan on homemade signs at protests against Israel’s current attack on the Gaza Strip. 

The body count is enough to illustrate the one-sidedness of the violence. For the first nine days of their assault, Israeli forces pounded the besieged territory from the land, sea and air, but did not send forces in. About 250 people were killed in these nine days. Only one was Israeli.

Israeli ground operations that started on July 17 increased the casualty rate for both Palestinians and Israelis. By August 1, 1592 Palestinians and 66 Israelis had been killed, the New York Times said. That is 24 Palestinians killed for every Israeli.

Dramatically larger than the disparity between the two sides in overall numbers killed is the disparity in the number of civilians killed.

On the Israeli side, only three of the fatalities were civilians — 95% of Israelis killed by Palestinians were combatants. 

Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem published figures on July 31 that showed that between July 8 and July 30 less than 14% of the Palestinians killed by Israelis were combatants. 

Three Palestinian combatants have been killed for every Israeli combatant while 473 Palestinian civilians have been killed for every Israeli civilian.

Australia: Socialist Alliance's 'Australian Political Perspectives' resolution

More than 100,000 people mobilised across Australia for “March in March” 2014, in more than 34 towns and cities, in the largest anti-government protest for nearly a decade.

Adopted by the 10th National Conference of Socialist Alliance, June 7-9, 2014

Introduction

1. Australia has escaped recession for more than two decades, despite the impact of the Asian and global financial crises on the world's economies. While Australia experienced strong economic growth in the years following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), economic growth has now slowed to 2.8%, and is mainly driven by commodity exports, consumer spending and housing investment. With mining projects shifting from the capital investment stage into production for export, falling commodity prices, as well as increased global competition for commodity exports will likely impact on Australia's export income (and economic stability) in the years to come.

Watermelons or tomatoes? Social democracy, class and the Australian Greens

[For more on the Australian Greens, click HERE. For more on Green parties around the world, click HERE.]

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.

Abstract

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.

Australia: Socialist Party local councillor re-elected in Yarra, Melbourne

Re-elected socialist municipal councillor Steve Jolly.

For more articles on socialists in municipal councils, click HERE.

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?

Mel Gregson: The campaign in Yarra was very successful with almost one in five voters across the city voting for us. We stood a team of five candidates, including current councillors Stephen Jolly and Anthony Main.

Australia: Socialist Alliance wins seat in Melbourne municipal council

For more articles on socialists in municipal councils, click HERE.

By Chris Slee and Selena Black, Melbourne

November 3, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Socialist Alliance candidate Sue Bolton (pictured above) was elected to Moreland City Council in Melbourne’s northern suburbs in the October 27 municipal government elections. Bolton received 9.5% of the first-preference votes in the council’s north-east ward, which covers Coburg, Fawkner and part of Brunswick. Twenty-four candidates contested the four available positions in the ward.

Bolton came third on primary votes, behind Greens candidate Lenka Thompson with 14.37% and Australian Labor Party (ALP) member Michael Teti with 10.42%. Bolton came in ahead of Liberal Party member Rob Thompson, who mangaed 9.39%, despite spending up big on his campaign.

Although the ALP candidates generally exchanged preferences, a large number of people who gave their first preference to an ALP candidate disregarded the how-to-vote cards and gave their second preference to Bolton. Bolton clearly campaigned as a Socialist Alliance candidate.

Australia: Left-Green unity is an objective necessity

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge addresses the Socialist Alliance national conference in January 2012. Photo: Peter Boyle
By Peter Boyle

February 4, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper, The Australian, has been on a campaign to destroy the Australian Greens because the party represents a big electoral break from the two-parties-for-capitalism system that has dominated Australian politics for more than a century. In the past two weeks, this campaign has been hyped into McCarthyite Cold War hysteria.

The Australian Greens and Palestine: confronting the 'inconvenient truths' of the party's right of return policy

In 1948, more than 800,000 Palestinian men, women and children were forced to flee their homes.

[After a year of debate, and under pressure from right-wing forces, the NSW Greens decided on December 4 to retreat from supporting the global pro-Palestine boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. Below, Tony Harris discusses the background to the policy.]

By Tony Harris

November 25, 2011 -- This article first appeared at Watermelon, and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- In March last year, 35 prominent Jewish Australians signed a petition renouncing their automatic right of return to Israel, labelling such a right a “racist privilege” while Palestinians, ethnically cleansed from Israel in 1948, are denied their rights of return under international law.

Australia: Greens' BDS stance widens debate over boycott of Israel's apartheid

By Pip Hinman and Peter Boyle

May 18, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samah Sabawi, from Australians for Palestine, addressed a May 13, 2011, community forum in Holy Trinity Church Hall, Dulwich Hill, a suburb in Sydney, which was called by local residents to discuss the controversy (incited by Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd media empire) around a December 2010 decision by Marrickville Council to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel's apartheid. Samah is introduced by Father Dave Smith, the local Anglican parish priest.


Samah Sabawi, part 2

Former Greens parliamentarian Sylvia Hale dissected the NSW Greens' stand in support of BDS and the struggle around the Marrickville Council position.

Green illusions and the carbon tax

By Tim Anderson

April 30, 2011 -- The proposal for a carbon tax raises the issues of tax equity and political strategy. Yet despite their inter-relatedness, we need to disentangle these issues to focus on the original question. As a mean of addressing climate change, the carbon tax proposal comes in the context of difficult global negotiations, where almost any proposal has been seen as a breakthrough, and where (after the last financial derivatives bubble) there is justified suspicion of emissions trading schemes.

In Australia the political context includes a narrow, two-party debate which has reverted to tax incidence, with both major parties basically captured by the major investor groups and Labor having recently been humiliated over a failed proposal for a new mining tax. Into this mix we have the Greens, presenting as an alternative, yet signing an accord with the Labor government over its carbon tax.

I would like to briefly touch on the tax equity issue, before moving to the carbon tax and then to the question of political strategies.

Tax equity

Australia: Strong support for Marrickville council's stand against Israel's apartheid

April 19, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following letters and statements have been sent to the Marrickville City Council, in Sydney, Australia, in support of its decision to boycott Israel. The council has been under enormous pressure from Australia's capitalist media and the pro-Israel lobby to reverse the policy. For background information, please see "Australia: Murdoch press demonises Greens over support for Palestinian rights". For more on the BDS campaign and the struggle of the Palestinian people, please click HERE.

Marrickville council – continue to stand on the right side of history!

By the Palestinian BDS National Committee

Australia: Murdoch press demonises Greens over support for Palestinian rights

Racist vandalism of Greens’ election campaign billboards, Sydney. Photo: Peter Boyle.

By Samah Sabawi

April 10, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- While Palestinian, Israeli and international non-violent protesters who march against Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories are literally showered in sewage, beaten, arbitrarily arrested and sometimes killed by Israeli forces, the battle against non-violent resistance has taken its own ugly form in Australia.

Supporters of the non-violent global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement — especially members of the Greens — have been subjected to abuse in a deliberate national campaign of misinformation and slurs orchestrated against them. It has questioned their values and integrity and falsely accused them of anti-Semitism.

The war on BDS is part of a concerted effort to sabotage Palestinian and Israeli non-violent resistance against Israel’s 43-year-old illegal occupation and its 63 years of discrimination against non-Jewish Israeli citizens.

Give Israel the South African treatment

“I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, the description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would be a description of what is happening in South Africa” - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, New York 1989.

By Antony Loewenstein & Moammar Mashni

March 6, 2011-- Green Left Weekly -- When Desmond Tutu made this comment, the South African apartheid regime was still in power. In 1994, after 45 years of racial segregation, the apartheid era was officially over. When watershed moments like this occur, multiple factors can be attributed. But history is clear that one of the many reasons this tyranny finally succumbed was an international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS).

Australia: The nature of the Greens: a rejoinder to Nick Fredman

Australian Greens MPs and federal Labor Party leaders sign the agreement to back the ALP in government.

By Ben Hillier

October 23, 2010 -- In a recent article (“A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens”, available at marxistleftreview.org) I argue that the Greens cannot be regarded as a left alternative to the Australian Labor Party. My conclusions are based on the following considerations:

1. The Australian Greens is a pro-capitalist party with no organic links to the working class – either ideologically or organisationally.

2. The Greens is an organisation 9000 strong that has several thousand unionists as members. Yet they have no activist base in the union movement. There is no union/workers’ fraction in the organisation; no Greens unionist conference; and it has no rank-and-file groups. The organisation has made no serious attempt to intervene into the workers’ movement at all. It has a number of officers from the union movement as members, but no organised current in the bureaucracy.

Australia: A response to Socialist Alternative on the Greens and class

Greens' leader Senator Bob Brown addresses a rally demanding action on climate change.

Ben Hillier replies at http://links.org.au/node/1959

By Nick Fredman

October 13, 2010 -- Ben Hillier’s article, “A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens” (available at http://www.marxistleftreview.org/) contains some useful information and analysis on the Australian Greens, a formation that has achieved a significant breakthrough in the recent federal election. Hillier is correct, generally, in writing of the Greens’ “populist left nationalism” and “middle class ideological basis”. But he over-emphasises the sociologically middle-class nature of the Greens’ voting base (and probably membership), as part of a general confusion on class today. In a related error, he is quite wrong, and quite sectarian, to state that the Greens “do not in any sense represent an alternative to the ALP” [Australian Labor Party].

Australia: Interview with new Greens MP Adam Bandt: 'I'll give a voice to the social movements'

Greens MP Adam Bandt.

Adam Bandt interviewed by Jody Betzien

September 2, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly --  Adam Bandt, the Australian Greens' MP elect for the seat of Melbourne (long considered a “safe Labor seat”), and the Greens' first House of Representatives member to be elected in a general election has been very busy since the August 21 election. He says he left the triumphant Greens' election night party at 11pm thinking that he would have to do some media the next day so should get a good night's sleep. He woke up the next morning and after a couple of hours having coffee and reading the paper, the situation sunk in. “And that was the last two hours I've had to myself since”, he told Green Left Weekly in a wide-ranging interview conducted on September 2.

Australia: The DSP in the 1980s

[This first appeared as the introduction to Building the Revolutionary Party: Jim Percy Selected Writings 1980-87 (Resistance Books: Chippendale, 2008). Dave Holmes is now a leader of the Socialist Alliance in Melbourne. This and other writings are also available at Dave Holmes' blog, Arguing for Socialism.]

By Dave Holmes

This is the second volume of writings and speeches by Jim Percy, one of the founders of Australia's Democratic Socialist Perspective and its longtime central leader until his death in 1992. These seven items — reports given by Jim to conferences and leadership gatherings of the DSP (or SWP, Socialist Workers Party, as it was known in this period) — span the years 1980 to 1987.

Australia: Swing to Greens a shift to left as neither major capitalist party wins a mandate

Newly elected Greens MP Adam Bandt with trade unionist supporters during the 2007 federal election.

By Peter Boyle

August 24, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- By denying both the ruling Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the opposition Liberal Party-National Party coalition an outright majority, in primary votes and in federal House of Representatives (lower house) and Senate (upper house), Australian electors on August 21 voted “neither of the above” for the traditional parties of government. The result after election night was a hung parliament, with several rural independent MPs and one Greens MP to decide which party will form the next government.

This followed an election campaign in which the major parties conducted an ugly race to the right, most notoriously by scapegoating the few thousand desperate refugees who attempt to get to Australia on boats.

Australian socialists: `Vote Socialist & Greens, put Abbott's conservatives last'


Sam Watson, Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Queensland. Longstanding leader of the Aboriginal community of Brisbane, campaigner against Black deaths in custody and for Indigenous rights.

On July 24, 2010, Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly spoke to Peter Boyle, national convener of the Socialist Alliance, about the political climate of the 2010 federal election, to be held on August 21.

* * *

Many progressive people are feeling depressed about the federal election. How do you see it?

The Australian Labor Party and the conservative Liberal Party-National Party Coalition are in a “race to the bottom”, as Socialist Alliance lead Queensland Senate candidate and Murri [Indigenous] community leader Sam Watson aptly put it.

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