Number 2

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).

Geelong accommodation information for the Socialist Alliance's 6th national conference.

The challenges, opportunities and responsibilities that we socialists face today are pretty huge.

Start with the opportunities. The financial and economic crisis that was never supposed to happen is leading tens of thousands of people to wonder whether socialism’s “nineteenth century doctrine” (words of K. Rudd) mightn’t still have a few things to say about the world we live in.

Sara Moss writes in AV Vol. 8 no. 1 that “It is simply wrong to argue, as some have tried, that only socialism can provide an answer to Climate Change.” She makes the argument that capitalism can stop global warming. As we have outlined in the SA Climate Charter, to really stop global warming would basically need new industrial revolution. Would capitalists allow it or undertake it? They have had the technological potential for such innovation for decades yet instead have invested into finance because it is seen as less risky. Will the current financial crisis force them to invest back into new technology and innovation?

Earlier this year the Sydney Trade Union Committee became the NSW Trade Union Committee, with a widening of membership outside the metropolitan Sydney area. While the committee still meets in Sydney, we have established a Yahoo group to facilitate input and contribution from comrades in other areas of the state. We have also used Paltalk to link up with rural comrades for committee meetings.

Draft agenda for the Socialist Alliance's 6th nation conference. Underlined speakers are still to be confirmed as of November 11.

I have proposed these changes to the National Executive to enhance the Party’s ability to manage its administrative, publicity and policy functions, and to allow SA to function more efficiently and effectively. I propose that new positions of Deputy National Coordinator, National Indigenous Policy Coordinator and national Media Coordinator be created to allow the responsibility for management of national work to be shared by more comrades. I also propose that the national Environment Coordinator be included as a specific position on the National Executive.

Seven Socialist Alliance members descended on Wollongong train station from 6.15am on the morning of November 10 to publicise Saturday's "No rail fare hike; no service or job cuts" rally. We wanted a large team because we expected trouble with CityRail guards and police. Last Saturday two comrades were "warned" for putting up posters and told they would be charged next time — obviously Wollongong Police are responding to Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione's appeal to crackdown on bill posters (because they make people feel "unsafe"!).

The last issue of Alliance Voices carried an Alliance Perspectives document, written by me. The October 23 National Executive decided our Sixth National Conference needs to vote on a shorter resolution, along lines suggested by Victorian State Convener Sue Bolton in a letter to the National Executive.

Socialist Alliance must be put on a more sustainable financial basis. If the party wishes to produce, publish and distribute quality policy material, to pay for basic office space to operate effectively, to actively organise on a permanent basis rather than just during election periods, and to move towards being able to function on a financially stable footing without needing to ask for donations from external bodies, it must take action to augment its sources of funding.

Our Hobart branch has been going fairly well this year. A few months ago we spoke with Illawarra about copying some of their organisational methods, as they seemed to be doing very well. The main change adopted was to move to weekly Socialist Alliance open organising meetings with all the Socialist Alliance members invited, rather than our fortnightly executive meetings made of four elected representatives. We also established an email group for active members, separate from our general Socialist Alliance announcement list.

At its November 6 meeting the Socialist Alliance National Executive settled the delegate ratio for our Sixth National Conference.

The National Executive voted by majority that the conference delegate ratio should be one delegate to eight financial members (or greater part thereof).

Disclaimer — signed articles represent the views of their authors, not necessarily the views of the Socialist Alliance unless otherwise stated. Responsibility for all electoral comment is taken by P. Benedek, 22 Mountain Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007. Alliance Voices submission protocols.