Resolutions from the 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance

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1. Resolution on trade union movement

Socialist Alliance will continue to campaign for the repeal of all anti-worker laws, including the Building Industry Improvement act and its replacement.

Noting Section 4(b) of the Socialist Alliance perspectives document endorsing the national Right to Strike Campaign, this Socialist Alliance National Conference requests that the National Trade Union Committee to implement and support this campaign.

In doing so, the committee shall meet regularly and provide regular updates on the campaign through Socialist Alliance publications (i.e. the Socialist Alliance Newsletter and Alliance Voices).

2. Campaign to put mining sector under public ownership/control

Socialist Alliance will investigate a campaign to put the mining, gas and oil industries under public ownership and control.

That we research the policy and ideological issues raised by this campaign and how to practically carry it out.

That we consider ways to make resources available to work on research and coordination of the campaign nationally.

3. Ninth national conference of the Socialist Alliance

Each National Conference will decide on a date and location for the following National Conference prior to the end of the Conference.

The Constitutional requirement to hold a conference at least every 2 years will remain unchanged.

The 9th national conference will be held in Victoria on January 19-20, 2013.

4. Green Left Weekly

That Socialist Alliance recommend to the Green Left editorial board that it investigate and report on a change in the presentation of the paper, its design, look, type of paper, fonts and all other defining features of GLW.

This report should also include any required training.

5. International Left Network

That the Socialist Alliance participates in the international left network proposed in the December 15 letter (below) from Alfons Bech, Nisar Shah, Roxana Miranda, Terrie Julien, Gustavo Soto, Adolfo Moye Rosendy and Alexander Alayo, and to advise the regional organisations with which we collaborate of this decision.

6. Socialist Alliance Perspectives resolution

Adopted by the 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance

The global economic crisis which erupted in 2008 is not over and its global political consequences are still emerging. It threatens to combine explosively with the global climate change emergency which is now at a critical stage with a number of “tipping points” nearing or, possibly, already reached.

While Australia has not so far experienced the high levels of unemployment and deprivation that have hit the United States, Europe and many other countries, significant sections of its population are struggling to keep up with rising living costs and facing high levels of job insecurity.

State intervention has not stopped the capitalist system from having regular economic crises - indeed governments have to spend more and more money each time to bail out the capitalists.

The capitalists' response to each successive crisis increases the contradiction between increasingly socialised production and ever more concentrated private ownership. The richest capitalist states now wage permanent imperialist wars in order to carry on business amidst the unprecedented global inequality. This creates millions of refugees who confront increasingly fortress-like borders around these countries and restrictions on the rights of asylum seekers enshrined in the Refugee Convention. All this deepens capitalism's political crisis and makes it clearer to the exploited majority that it needs to be replaced with a new system based on cooperation and ecological sustainability .

While capitalism cannot escape the regular economic crises, we should not expect these to automatically bring down the capitalist system - as long as the majority can be made to shoulder the pain of these crises. If the exploited majority does not collectively resist this attack, the capitalists can deflect the blame for the pain on to oppressed minorities who it scapegoats exploiting racist and other reactionary prejudices.

The growth of capitalism into a monopoly stage (imperialism) resulted in uneven economic and social development in the world and, consequently, uneven development of the world working class struggles. This shaped the history of the 20th century. However, the capitalist response to its 1974-75 global economic crisis was to impose the policies neo-liberal globalisation in all sectors of the world. This began to provoke a deep crisis of political legitimacy. A powerful wave of revolt began sweeping Latin America in the late 1990s and in 2011 the Middle East erupted with the “Arab Spring” revolts. The “Arab Spring” helped inspire exciting new anti-capitalist movements in many of the advanced capitalist countries, such as the Indignado and Occupy movements and other European anti-austerity mobilisations.

The first challenge for socialists today is to immerse ourselves in the new wave of struggles that are erupting, to build them and to offer real leadership in these struggles. An equally important challenge for socialists is to take full advantage of the expanded political opening created by this new wave of popular anti-capitalist sentiment and mobilisation to win many more people to socialism. A united socialist movement will mean greater success in responding to both of these challenges.

Socialist Alliance perspectives resolutions

  1. For an end to the tyranny of the 1%
    1. The Socialist Alliance enthusiastically welcomes the 'Arab Spring' revolts in the Middle East and North Africa and the exciting new anti-capitalist movements in many of the advanced capitalist countries which these revolts have inspired, such as the Indignado and Occupy movements and other European anti-austerity mobilisations.
    2. The Socialist Alliance commits itself to building the Occupy movement and all other mass democratic expressions of the new wave of struggle and will work consistently to broaden the base of these movements and deepen its democracy and unity in action.
    3. The Socialist Alliance recognises the strong internationalist spirit of the new movements and commits to building solidarity with all revolts against tyranny and exploitation around the world. However, the Socialist Alliance also recognises that the governments of the richest and most powerful capitalist states are seeking to intervene in the “Arab Spring” revolts to further their own imperialist aims. The Socialist Alliance opposes such interventions.
    4. The Socialist Alliance recognises the expanded political opening created by this new wave of popular anti-capitalist sentiment and mobilisation to win many more people to socialism. A united socialist movement would mean greater success in responding to this challenge.
  2. For a united and active socialist movement
    1. Socialist Alliance should continue its efforts to unite and organise in a broad socialist party anyone who supports the replacement of the capitalist system with a socialist system based on real people's power, social justice and ecological sustainability, and who agrees to work together in a constructive, democratic and inclusive manner.
    2. The Socialist Alliance continues to encourage and organise its members to be active in a wide range of social movements. Socialist Alliance members play important roles in building these movements, ensuring their democratic functioning and arguing for strategies that mobilise the largest numbers of people in campaigns for progressive change.
    3. The Socialist Alliance, as a campaigning organisation, should continue to consistently give voice to all struggles against attacks from the capitalist class and its governments. This not only helps build these movements but also helps develop socialist consciousness, the realisation that we need to replace capitalism to end these injustices and the ecologically unsustainable direction of our society.
    4. The Socialist Alliance welcomes the collaboration that it has built with other left-wing and socialist organisations and communities. In particular, it welcomes the stronger ties with has built with left-wing sections of the Latin American, Congolese and Nepalese communities in the period since the 7th national conference. Socialist Alliance will continue to build on its collaboration with the progressive sections of these and other migrant communities.
    5. The Socialist Alliance welcomes the election of Anthony Main of the Socialist Party to the City of Yarra council in January 2011. There are now three socialist local councillors in Australia, the Socialist Party's Steven Jolly (also on Yarra Council) and the Socialist Alliance's Sam Wainwright in Fremantle City 8th National Conference Council. All three socialist councillors have consistently championed the interests of the working class and other oppressed groups and helped empower and mobilise progressive movements.
    6. The Socialist Alliance welcomes new regional progressive alliances such as Community Voice in Wollongong and Left Unity in Adelaide. It welcomes the election of progressive independent Reverend Gordon Bradbery as Mayor of Wollongong and notes his support for several progressive community campaigns, including the campaign against Coal Seam Gas mining.
    7. Socialist Alliance supports the election campaign of the Communist Party of Australia's Bob Briton for the seat of Port Adelaide in upcoming South Australian elections and welcomes further collaboration with the CPA and other left parties and groups in future elections. The Socialist Alliance is committed to building the maximum unity possible among socialist and other left-wing groups and individuals in Australia. Left unity is a necessary step to building the largest socialist alternative possible and crucial to convincing the mass of working people to break with the ALP.
    8. As a part of the struggle to strengthen a united socialist movement, Socialist Alliance promotes its own election campaigns at federal, state and local council levels. In 2012, we welcome the endorsement of two Socialist Alliance candidates for the Queensland state election due in the early part of this year - Mike Crook for Sandgate and Liam Flenady for South Brisbane. We will do our utmost at state and national levels to publicise and build the Queensland election campaign, and any other election campaigns Socialist Alliance may be involved in this coming year.
  3. The Socialist Alliance, Labor and the Greens
    1. The Socialist Alliance recognises that right-wing Labor governments in power do not serve the interests of working people, but reinforce the domination of the capitalist class. The Socialist Alliance will also continue to relate to ongoing disaffection within the ALP, among its ranks and even some sections of the unions affiliated to Labor. The Socialist Alliance looks to collaborate with all ALP members who resist the neo-liberal trajectory of Labor in government, its racist treatment of Aboriginal and Strait Islanders and refugees, its attacks on democratic rights and its support for imperialist wars.
    2. The increasing gap between the expectations of working people and the real action delivered by Labor governments continues to open political space to Labor's left. The Socialist Alliance recognises that the largest part of the electoral space to the left of Labor is being filled by the Greens. The Socialist Alliance seeks the greatest possible political collaboration with the Greens, but also understands that it has an important responsibility to present a socialist perspective at elections and to present clear alternative policies when the Greens support the ALP's neo-liberal attacks (Tasmania), when the Greens tail the fake ALP response to the climate change crisis or when the Greens retreat under the pressure from its own right-wing (eg, the NSW Greens' retreat on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign again Israeli Apartheid).
    3. The Socialist Alliance looks to build the strongest “red/green” unity between socialist and climate/environmental organisations and activists as possible. The Socialist Alliance seeks the greatest possible collaboration with environmental and climate activists at a grass-roots level, but also at a political level, including the greatest possible collaboration with the Greens. However, the Socialist Alliance also recognises the need to keep alive an independent socialist voice and a mass movement (not a narrow parliamentarist) approach to politics.
  4. Engaging in the battle for ideas
    1. The Socialist Alliance notes the success of the the Climate Change Social Change conference in Melbourne, October 2011, and commits to organising a series of well-publicised and nationally built Socialist Ideas state conferences in 2012, to facilitate a wide-ranging discussion of socialist ideas.
    2. The Socialist Alliance welcomes and endorses the national Right To Strike Campaign, which was initiated out of the first Union and Community Summer School in Melbourne in December, 2010. Socialist Alliance welcomes the proposal to hold a national gathering of unionists and activists supporting the Right to Strike in Sydney on May 14, 2012, on the eve of the ACTU Congress (which will be be held from May 15-17 in Sydney). Socialist Alliance commits to helping to organise and build this campaign, and to the 8th National Conference organising and building this event as part of our ongoing commitment to strengthening the militant wing of the labour movement in Australia.
    3. The Socialist Alliance will seek to better use Green Left Weekly and Links, the online International Journal for Socialist Renewal, to promote a broad and rich discussion of socialist ideas.
    4. The 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance adopts the "Resolution on socialism" as a public draft and commits to publishing it in pamphlet form and to organising public discussions and consultations on this draft around the country in 2012 before presenting a new draft to the 9th national conference. Our objective is to use this process to deepen agreement about our socialist ideas within the Socialist Alliance and promote a broader discussion about socialism.
  5. Strengthening the Socialist Alliance
    1. The Socialist Alliance recommits itself to a greater projection of socialist politics, to a better organisation of our resources, and a larger role in Australia politics. To this end, the 8th national conference strongly recommends to the incoming national executive to set the party's next national conference a year from this one.
    2. While the Socialist Alliance welcome all forms and levels of participation by its broad membership, it also recognises the importance of developing a strong socialist activist culture in its membership and the critical importance of winning more young people to socialist activism. The weekly national newsletter will continue to promote activism and the Socialist Alliance will try to organise more frequent and effective education and training programs for socialist activists at the branch, district, state and national levels. Conference encourages branches to organise targeted campaigns to recruit to Socialist Alliance, to increase Green left Weekly distribution, financial contributions and education.
    3. Socialist Alliance needs to actively engage with and recruit young activists. To this end, Socialist Alliance works with the socialist youth organisation Resistance to the two organisations' mutual benefit. Socialist Alliance seeks to develop closer collaboration with Resistance at the branch and national level. To facilitate this, Socialist Alliance offers automatic membership to all members of Resistance.
    4. Socialist Alliance welcomes the acquisition of the new Sydney Resistance Centre/Green Left Weekly office/Socialist Alliance national office and the new Fremantle Activist Centre, which will be home to our Fremantle branch. Socialist Alliance commits to further resourcing branches so that they can organise more effectively.
    5. While we were not successful in our campaign adopted by the 7th national conference to get to a financial membership of 1000, the 8th national conference agrees to launch a new campaign for 1000 members by the next Socialist Alliance national conference. With this in mind, branches are encouraged to set up recruitment committees.
    6. Socialist Alliance seeks to improve its regular political contact with all its members, not just those who regularly attend branch meetings forums. Since the last conference a weekly national newsletter has been emailed to some 600 members. In addition 50% of Socialist Alliance members are subscribers Green Left Weekly. This conference commits to a campaign for at least 60% of all Socialist Alliance members to have subscriptions to Green Left Weekly by the next national conference, the campaign to begin in February 2012, to lead up to and include campus Orientation weeks. New members will continue to get a free introductory four-week subscription to Green Left Weekly.
    7. Socialist Alliance resolves to continue to support and work with Green Left Weekly as a broad paper for the socialist and progressive movements. The Socialist Alliance will continue to encourage its members to write for the paper, help distribute it, and help fundraise for it. By organising stalls, writing for distributing Green Left Weekly and through informational forums organised by branches, the Socialist Alliance can help train its members to be more effective activists and to help galvanise opposition to capitalist tyranny. Socialist Alliance will campaign for a 20% increase in the number of people regularly distributing Green left Weekly in 2012.
    8. Strengthening the Socialist Alliance requires campaigning for regular financial support from our members and supporters. We support $250,000 as the target for the 2012 Green Left Fighting Fund and will campaign for a 20% increase in the numbers of people with supporter subscriptions to Green Left Weekly and with regular pledges towards the maintenance of the local Activist Centres.