Our work in Left Unity

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The Left Unity project in South Australia celebrates its first anniversary this month. Over the last year it has been successful in bringing together progressive groups and individuals in Adelaide to campaign around shared goals and strive for increased co-operation and collaboration. Left Unity is a network comprising of groups including Socialist Alliance, Communist Party of Australia, Organise (Anarchist Collective), the Adelaide Anti-Capitalist Forum and the Eco-socialist Convergence, as well as current and ex-members of the Greens and non-aligned individuals.

Throughout 2011, Left Unity initiated successful events including a demonstration against the Defence Industry Expo and a forum with Malalai Joya on 10 years of the Afghanistan invasion. It was involved in a number of progressive campaigns and actions, including solidarity with Ikea workers, opposing the privatisation of TAFE, and an action against Harvey Norman’s support for the logging of old growth forests. It also jointly hosted a number of educational forums on a range of workers’ rights, environment and social justice issues.

An end-of-year review meeting, held in December, reflected a real sense of pride in the project’s demonstration of the ability of the Adelaide Left to work together in a very effective and comradely fashion. Very little real disputes have arisen and there has been a notable absence of damaging sectarianism within the network. I believe this is a strong achievement itself and shows that the we truly are greater than the sum of our parts and stronger united than divided!

At this meeting, the limitations and current weaknesses of the project thus far were also discussed. The main one was the struggle to attract new people to Left activism, and not just those already heavily involved in other groups and campaigns. There was a general feeling that we now need to move to a more structured formation, and to adopt a more strategic approach to growth and campaigning. It was decided we need to develop formal membership process and a structure, institute fund raising on a more serious level to possibly fund a part-time organiser in the mid to long-term future. We will have a strategic planning session in early 2012. Work has already begun on collaboratively developing a charter that outlines the organisation’s aims, membership/supporter structure, meeting procedure and organisational structure.

Left Unity recently passed a motion to support and applaud the Communist Party of Australia running a campaign in the Port Adelaide by-election, and to encourage all Left Unity members to actively support the CPA campaign. Preparations are now underway for door knocking, leafleting and a fund-raising gig as part of the election campaign, with a range of people from Left Unity, including Socialist Alliance comrades, getting actively involved.