Some thoughts on Socialist Alternative's 'unity' pre-requisites

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While the ongoing exchanges have not congealed as yet, a difference I do note is that Socialist Alternative tends to have a modest, sometimes even negative, take on prospects for the here and now.

This may be why propaganda seems to loom so large in their perspective.

Fair enough. 

In contrast, the Socialist Alliance seems imbued by an optimism and practice fostered by advancing offshore events (in Europe and the Latin Americas for example) and having a go: any time, any campaign - bring it on.

This underscores the conundrum of how on earth does the Socialist Alliance do what it does if it supposedly lacks credentials on the cadre question and “seems” (apparently) Leninistically challenged?

So there's a topic for discussion: how does the Alliance build a cadre core (and sustain it) without seeming to rely on some of the long standing accoutrements previously deployed as standard clobber for far left cultural identity, political survival and activism?

The related question is why would the Socialist Alliance do what it does?

Because it's ruled by electoralism?!

I don't think so ... as the Alliance says, "We don't just pop our heads up at election time".

Because it can't make up its mind whether to do away with capitalism or not?

Then why would the SA members bother with all this intense activity building all these non-parliamentary street heat means across a broad range of campaigns (more so than any other socialist grouping) the other 364 days of any year outside of a occasional polling day?

Because it has a movementist heart which has displaced its propaganda soul and what once was a Marxian allegiance?

No. But then that has to be on the agenda. Why build what movements how? How does movement work relate to the overthrow of capitalism and party making?

Let's talk that out.

The Alliance — after a decade of existence — obviously ain't going away. While some on the left may have wished for its demise that's not gonna happen.


It will still be there tomorrow and be considered by thousands as the face of socialist politics in this country.

Depending on your point of view that's a plus or ... maybe even an obstacle.

But if it ain't gonna go away what do you do about it? Pretend it's not there (as Socialist Alternative has done in the past)? Seek for some inherent fatal flaw to reveal itself so you can debunk its mission?

Or do you say: “OK, there is indeed a political asset here of some significance which we have to relate to ...”

An activist formation, utilising self evident and disciplined organising methods;

Distributes a regular weekly journal with the broadest reach by far on the Australian left and with significant national and international standing;

Geographical and important membership spread - having more members and more branches than any other far left formation.

Respected and, in some cases, an often leading presence, in several communities and campaigns with a credible aggregation of political and struggle experience to its credit;

Organising centres and sustained branch structure; and

A formation with an open democratic culture and a membership that self evidently is willing to be engaged with, address and discuss any topic thrown at it.

To then suggest, as Mick Armstrong, a leader of Socialist Alternative, does, that the real problem hampering progress towards unity is that you (i.e. Socialist Alliance) aren't “revolutionary enough” for “us”(i.e Socialist Alternative) seems, well, strange.