Zane Alcorn

I have decided to join the 21st century socialism tendency because I agree with the general thrust of the grouping which is to look at ways of modifying the way we organise to make the Socialist Alliance more democratic and better suited to revolutionary /class struggle activism and party building in todays political terrain.

I have been planning to write something along the lines of what you are about to read for some time and the launch of the 21st century socialism tendency has spurred me to finally do it. I have just read Patrick Harrison’s excellent contribution ‘Our reports’ (Alliance Voices 15, number 1) and was struck by the opening quote from our 11th national conference:

There is an interesting thread in the Alliance Voices blog leading into the 2012 conference regarding ecosocialism.

Comrades Sam Bullock and Adam Baker have advanced an argument for the Socialist Alliance to amend some of our public documents or whatever to say that we are an ecosocialist organisation would amount to some sort of watering down or weakening of our politics.

The Socialist Alliance calls upon the NSW government to order the closure of the Lake Cowal open pit gold mine. The mine is operated by Canadian company Barrick gold.

The mine uses in sodium cyanide and other process chemicals which end up in a tailings dam. The tailings dam subsequently has the potential to release poisonous dust containing cyanide, arsenic and cadmium into the air which could contaminate agricultural land in the region. Lake Cowal is itself an ephemeral lake, which is periodically subjected to major flooding.

Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal, which is in turn the most emissions intensive fossil fuel. To prevent runaway climate change, the burning of coal must be rapidly phased out. The Socialist Alliance rejects the assertion by the Australian Coal Association that Australian coal exports could simply be replaced 'overnight' by other producers if Australian exports were phased out. A phasing out of Australian coal exports would create (at least temporarily) a shortage of supply, sending the price of coal up. The political impact of the world's largest coal exporter cutting exports would be substantial. The two main uses of coal are in steel production (Metallurgical/coking coal) and electricity production (steaming coal).

The Green Bans movement, as it became known, inspired a new type of union practice. The precedent it set could not be more relevant today.

Conventional trade unionism, which focuses exclusively on the pay, conditions and safety of the workers, pretends not to have a position on the critical social questions of the day, including climate change.

Three unions aligned with the right faction of the ALP have called for the scrapping of the 88-day working holiday visa program. They claim this will cause farm bosses to pay better wages. But will it? Or, is it an excuse to scapegoat and play the nationalist card?

randomness