Socialist Alliance education

Socialist Alliance education

Appendix A

Due to the pressure of work, the National Education and Literature Working Group has not yet met in 2011, but below are some thoughts from working group convener Dave H.

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I think all branches have realised the need to step up their educational work with members and supporters, both in SA and in Resistance. Those who are becoming active need a solid grounding in socialist ideas if they are to be effective and survive in the chill ideological winds that constantly buffet anyone who sticks their head above the parapet and seriously questions the system.

Educational materials currently used by Melbourne branch have been circulated. We urge all branches to look at these carefully and consider making use of them.

  • There is a two-part, PowerPoint-based “Introduction to Socialism” seminar series. While the level and concerns of each group of members will differ, and the emphasis in each series may have to be varied, it nonetheless provides a very useful framework for a solid discussion of the socialist critique of the system and our general approach to fighting for a new society.
  • Secondly, there is a revised five-class “Introduction to Marxism” series. While this is still work in progress, the readings have been updated and streamlined and the discussion points refined and presented more clearly. However, these classes should only be offered to comrades who are keen to do them; otherwise the experience can even be counterproductive. At the right moment, these can be a profound experience for comrades, giving them a basic scientific approach to politics.

Of course, on top of these two series there is a large space which can and must be filled with a range of other educational activities (especially for Resistance members): reading circles around articles in GLW; ad hoc guided discussions around key topics (imperialism and war, how capitalism works, women's oppression, etc.); and special seminars/conferences (on a Saturday afternoon) around particular topics or themes.

Above all the formal elements to our educational work, we need to develop a real culture of political discussion in SA and Resistance. We especially want comrades to read our books and pamphlets and talk about them.

The Resistance Books publishing program has slowed down a lot over the last several years. So far this year nothing has appeared. This too is due to the remorseless pressure of work. But we hope to produce the following before the end of the year:

  • A pamphlet on population with articles by Ian Angus, Simon Butler and Ben Courtice and an online discussion of the topic. This could be very useful and popular on our various stalls.
  • Ernest Mandel's pamphlet Marxist Theory of the State so we can move beyond the photocopied versions we currently use.
  • Mandel's Introduction to Marxism (a full and unabridged version).
  • A new edition of the Communist Manifesto.