Volume 8

The December 2 ABCC demo over here was very good; well over 2000 present maybe as much as 3000. Biggest contingents were from MUA and AMWU at around 1000 each.

Moved: Dick Nichols.

  • Conference resolves that the Socialist Alliance shall have two National Spokespersons in the coming National Indigenous Rights Spokesperson
  • National Anti-War and Civil Liberties Spokesperson

The Socialist Alliance condemns the violation of human rights in Tibet and affirms its support for right of self-determination of the Tibetan people and other oppressed minorities in China. We also call on the prime minister Kevin Rudd not to attend the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Passed by the National Executive on April 24, 2008

Introduction

In 1788 Australia was invaded and colonised, but the sovereignty of the original inhabitants of this country was never ceded. Across the continent the Indigenous peoples resisted. But treaties were never negotiated over the use or settlement of the land, and the colonisers invented a legal fiction — terra nullius — to justify their illegal and violent annexation. By pretending that the land wasn’t inhabited by a “civilised” people, the likes of James Cook and Joseph Banks laid the basis for two centuries of racism and oppression.

Moved: Liam Mitchell (Blue Mountains).

The Socialist Alliance Conference notes that the Rees Labor government in NSW has continued along the path of privatising the electricity sector in that state, even after the previous leadership was forced out due to mass opposition to the original plan.

Moved: Dick Nichols

Resolution on updating the Socialist Alliance workers’ rights charter.

For some time now - dating back at least to our 2003 national conference - we've recognised the need for the Socialist Alliance to produce our own "lively and compelling case for socialism", in the form of a book or pamphlet that outlines the case for socialism.

Up until now, we still haven't produced such a document. We have, of course, produced many excellent policy documents — from the Climate Change charter to heaps of material on fighting unions, to Indigenous rights documents, a welfare charter and much more.

The problem

The current drought, exacerbated by global warming, has shown that current levels of water use are completely unsustainable in Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent. Excessive water use, especially by heavy industry and water-intensive agribusiness, is causing irreparable damage to our fragile ecosystems and creating chronic watershortages.

Conventional free-market economics aims to solve this problem by putting a price on water and allowing it to be tradedby those who can afford to purchase it.

The Socialist Alliance condemns the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the state of Israel. While oppression against the Palestinians takes different forms — through the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, the siege of Gaza, the breaking up of the West Bank into isolated ghettos, Justify Fullsystematic violence and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel or exile as refugees — we recognize that they are all part of the same struggle for Palestinian self-determination. That the Socialist Alliance supports:

Moved: Pip Hinman

That Socialist Alliance continues to give priority to re-building an anti-war movement around the key demand of: troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to supporting and initiating protest demonstrations against the war, this means encouraging all union members to look at the possibility of winning their union to an active position against both wars.

That Socialist Alliance also seeks out the opportunities to highlight and oppose the anti-democratic anti-terror laws and call for their abolition.

Conference notes that the first federal Labor government in over a decade won the 2007 election on the basis of union and social movement organisation against the Howard government, as well as re-winning some working-class support though its commitments in the areas such as health, education and welfare.

While the Rudd government largely maintains support from progressive, broad left and union circles, its future responses, especially in the area of labour rights and action against climate change, are highly likely to disappoint many of its present supporters.

  1. The international financial crisis has provoked large numbers of people to question the capitalist system and the ability of the market to solve problems such as the threat of climate change. For the first time in a long time, people are starting to talk about public ownership and question why governments can instantly come up with the funds to bail-out the banks but never find the money to fix the problems in other areas such as health and education.