Volume 11

These are my own views on the two documents that have been put forward by the National Executive for discussion in the lead up to the 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance.

I am puzzled by Adam Baker's statement in Alliance Voices no. 6 that: “The torture and murder of Muammar Gaddafi by pro-imperialist and monarchist cutthroats was the point where the penny dropped. The SA as broad party strategy was not only leading to the party sliding into liberal and opportunist errors - it was also leading us to support Western triumphalism.”

The second Climate Change Social Change conference, despite numerous obstacles, was a huge success. This is because of the numbers of people who attended and the fact we managed to pull on a broad, open, inclusive conference that addressed both the Marxist/socialist educational content and also reached out to an extremely wide range of campaigns and groups.

It was a boost — educationally and politically — for everyone who attended. Given where Socialist Alliance is at nationally, the second Climate Change Social Change conference was a massive achievement.

Our policy document is called “The Charter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights” and our email group “sa ATSIrightswg”, both quite deliberately.

Consultations by SA members on the ATSI Rights Working Group concluded that the Aboriginal groups we are working with around the country either don't mind whichever term, prefer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, or strongly object to “Indigenous”.

The Socialist Alliance needs to have this debate about the ecosocialist movement. We don't need ecosocialism for several reasons.

One is that Marxism is about ecological sustainability by its very nature. Marx and Engels closely studied ecology and the work of Charles Darwin.

The fact that the liberals are now blaming Marxism for ecological destruction in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union is wrong. That was the fault of Stalinism, not socialism.

I largely agree with Peter Boyle's argument in his article "Let's focus on what to do, not on identity" (Alliance Voices, vol. 7).

Comrades, in my comments below I don't mean to sound critical of Socialist Alliance. It is a wonderful, the best, organisation and I am proud to be a member. I admire so many of our comrades for their hard, consistent, reliable work and talents. It can be daunting being in such company.

Some of what I have written, you may say already happens, is already true. Maybe just not determinedly or clearly enunciated. Culture, art and the social should be consciously integral to our politics. I don't even know how to do that.

I would like to submit the following letter from Ian Angus as part of the discussion  about the term “ecosocialism”. It is legitimate to hear his response because his presentation at the Climate change Social Change conference (which Resistance Books has published as a pamphlet) has been taken up by Adam Baker in his contribution to Alliance Voices.

This is very specifically directed at Melbourne SA issues but I think it deserves national airing as the discussion may perhaps reflect on problems elsewhere; and because Melbourne is one of our most important branches nationally because of the political life in that city. Unfortunately the organisation there is in the worst state I’ve ever seen it.

The draft resolution Towards a Socialist Australia says: "The Northern Territory Intervention is a massive bipartisan attack on Indigenous rights and welfare. It represents an attempt to gain control of enormous potential mineral wealth for the benefit of the corporate rich."

I think there are several motives for the federal government's Northern Territory intervention.

In the Brisbane Socialist Alliance Branch pre-conference discussion recently, there was some discussion over the usefulness of the concept of "ecosocialism" as a vehicle for building the socialist movement today. I would like to defend the assertion that the term "ecosocialism" is now a vital instrument for reconstructing a mass socialist movement in the current world political situation.

This isn’t a conventional discussion contribution; it doesn’t propose specific amendments.