Using local Socialist Alliance blogs

Urgent appeal. Socialist Alliance needs to submit an updated list of over 1500 members to the Australian Electoral Commission to maintain our electoral registration and appear on the ballot at the next federal election. We're asking all existing members and those interested in joining to confirm your willingness to support our electoral enrolment by filling in this form.

Illawarra Socialist Alliance has started to regularly update its local blog — Illawarra — and it’s really paying off. The last Socialist Alliance branch meeting had 12 people turn out. That doesn’t sound like heaps but was great considering many active comrades couldn’t make it (six people present weren’t non-members, two of these joined).

The blog helped build the meeting. In the three weeks lead-up the main post on the blog was a big ad for the meeting (which was about Obama’s victory). We also ran a poll (“Who would you vote for US President?”) for the three weeks as a way to publicise the blog and generate interest in the meeting.

When the poll closed the day of the meeting 55 votes were cast: 36 for Ralph Nader (65%); 11 for Barack Obama (20%), 8 for Green candidate Cynthia McKinney (14%) and 0 for poor old McCain! Many of Nader’s votes came from the Democratic Socialist Persepctive comrades, but heaps of votes were cast by Socialist Alliance and Resistance members (emails plugging the blog, poll and meeting were posted on many e-lists). The meeting’s discussion was really rich and full of debate. Three students from Bulli High school were present; two took part confidently.

Of course, you can’t beat phoning people as a way to convincing them to come to meetings, but we should make the most of things like local blogs to spark interest in events and keep them in people’s minds.

So check out — Illawarra — and cast your vote in our latest poll!!

PS. Two months ago alarm bells rang down here on the Illawarra: our financial membership was down to 18 due to lack of follow up etc. The branch launched a membership campaign to get back to 50 by the end of the year. After the recent meeting we’ve pushed back to 42 paid-up members. It’s worth having a look at membership now in the lead up the national conference in Geelong.