Platform preamble for a worker's plan

Platform preamble for a worker's plan

Workers' Liberty proposes changes to the preamble of the platform.

The main point of our proposals is to make it clear that the agency that can create the socialism that the SA advocates is the self-organised working class. We can connect the capitalist present to the socialist future by being for self-directed working-class organisation in the present. The action program of the Socialist Alliance is an action programme in so far as it gives support and political voice to working-class struggle and interests at every opportunity. We are not simply angry about the injustices of the present, we stand for a socialist future that is neither pie in the sky, nor the product of legislation. It will be the act of the working class.

We as the SA can do the greatest service to creating that future by making it the central theme of our campaign that we live in a classed society and that we side with the working class. We should challenge the invisibility of the working class in Australian politics, not fudge it as just one issue in a rainbow coalition of interests.

Neither should we present ourselves, or a later, larger edition of ourselves as a SA, as the force that can or will create socialism. Our aim is to give voice to the struggles of those who will create socialism. So, for example, we cannot “empower communities” ourselves: working-class communities through struggle can discover their own power.

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Draft platform preamble

(changes in bold)

Theme

For a workers' plan to rebuild Australia — tax the rich, seize control from the profiteers, rebuild jobs, expand public services, create a democratic republic.

Introduction

The Socialist Alliance stands on a platform of total opposition to the profit-driven economic rationalist agenda of social austerity, privatisation and deregulation. While tremendous wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, millions of us face transport chaos, low pay, job insecurity, homelessness, racism, and environmental destruction. Working-class communities who campaign for their needs and rights can empower themselves as a collective alternative to private ownership, and could then redistribute the wealth of society, create jobs, expand public services, and improve welfare and services.

The tremendous wealth of Australia is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority. Only by ending the concentration of power in the hands of that minority can the wealth that exists be used for the benefit of working people. Every major industry should be re-organised on the lines of social provision for need-publicly owned, and democratically controlled by the workers and the community.

The Socialist Alliance will stand candidates in the next federal election to give a voice to working-class struggle, to the need for working-class political representation. We will stand to offer an alternative that Labor is not. We recognise that on issues such as the GST, health and education, Labor is offering far less than what traditional Labor voters want. The Socialist Alliance stands in complete opposition to the racist and right-wing Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party.

If elected, a Socialist Alliance candidate would reject the perks and personal pay-outs of parliamentary office and take only an average worker's wage. In parliament, Socialist Alliance candidates would use their position to give a voice to workers' struggles and social movements, fight reactionary policies and promote the mass campaigns that can defeat the attacks on jobs and living standards.

A movement for change requires above all that the labour/working-class movement renovate itself by developing policies, campaigns, industrial struggles, internal democracy and co-operation with all workers, environmentalists, anti-racists, and other social movements, to put forward an alternative to corporate control of society. A sustained mass campaign of total opposition to the ruling class offensive can bring together the forces to replace capitalism with a socialist society, based on co-operation, democracy, liberty and ecological sustainability.

By socialism, we mean nothing like the old Soviet Union, but instead solidarity raised from a principle of resistance to the guiding principle of society. We mean the working class organising to liberate itself from the rule of profit and create its own democracy, abolishing the privileges of managers and officials. Every major industry should be reorganised on the lines of social provision for need, publicly-owned, and democratically controlled by workers and the community. No rich and no poor, no profits and no wage-slavery, no mansions and no homeless, no jobless and no overworked!

A two part platform

Workers' Liberty proposes that the list of policy points should be divided into two parts, one to encompass the full extent of the programme we can agree upon as socialists, the other a section for central items for the coming federal election (much as the British SA adopted an extensive platform and a set of “priority pledges”). This would enable us as an Alliance to discuss and develop a fuller socialist programme, and to campaign in the elections on a more immediately relevant action platform. This would mean we could keep items in the platform that we all agree with, or at least discuss them as policies on their merits, even if we are not all convinced that they should be argued for in material for the coming election. For example some SA members think that the demand to “open the borders” is too advanced. Others think “disarm the police” gets no real grip on electoral politics this side of full socialist revolution.

If this approach to the policy points is to be used, it will be most helpful to making progress at the Conference if the affiliate organisations in the National Liaison Committee agreed to it in advance of the Conference.

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