Discussion

During the July National Council meeting, a report touching on media engagement and youth recruiting spurred several comrades to discuss the Alliance's use of social media, on both an organisational level and as used by individual members

I want to start a discussion about the relation of theory to practice in building a revolutionary socialist movement. I have encountered a great deal of hostility online and in passing in everyday life to activity and work that is theoretical. I have posted philosophical musings online only to have such content met with derision for being complex or immediately inaccessible to ordinary people. One such post I made about the meaning of “materialism” in Marxism was met with the reply, “How would you explain this to a working class person?” as if the post was not of any value unless it could be immediately understood by an ordinary worker.

Australian farming is in crisis. Multinational corporations are buying up prime food-producing land, just as free trade treaties come into play that will allow them to sue governments that affect their profits by attempting to regulate their use of that land. This is a massive threat to Australia’s family farmers’ ability to continue to produce sustainable clean, green food to feed our population and export globally.

Newcastle Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy had a pretty steady year of actions.

Australia is the most urbanised country on Earth, with 89% living in urban areas, and the continuing alienation of urban from rural means that most urban people have little knowledge and less experience of rural land management issues.

In the absence of a movement on the question of housing, despite the fact that a third or more households in Melbourne are experiencing housing stress, Socialist Alliance needs to have a clear and prominent position on housing as well as actively demanding action when opportunities arise, especially through the Moreland Council position.

At our last national conference, we resolved to establish a policy committee to review our existing policy, to draft new policy and to proposed amendments to existing policy where required. We also resolved to create a 'pocket edition' of our policy and a new policy template.

With the recent establishment of the tendency and the eventual unfortunate resignation of members from Socialist Alliance I wanted to put some concepts forward for reflection, discussion and debate at National Conference that could improve branch engagement, foster greater transparency and formalise a NE nomination process that is party members driven and branch sourced as reflected in our practice as a political movement more generally.

In his article In Defence of the Alliance, Ben Courtice says we need “more quantitative and systematic analysis of the limits of current activities, especially those that might be routine or taken for granted, with an open presentation of alternative options. Engage a statistician if necessary!”

A split is never fun and the loss of a group of mainly young comrades that has significantly weakened a branch is not to be welcomed. It has been oddly jarring however, coming almost straight after a successful public conference, forming closer links with campaigning leftwing Queensland MP Rob Pyne, an election campaign featuring a barnstorming effort by key First Nations movement leader Ken Canning, and some significant successes in mobilising people and alliance-building resulting from our local councillor positions.

Most members of the former 21st Century Socialism Tendency have now resigned from Socialist Alliance.  But I think it is still worth critically discussing some of the Tendency’s ideas.

The Tendency seemed to dismiss the whole history of the international left during the past hundred years as a “failed” project... 

While the 21st Century Socialism tendency left before their views had a chance to be debated, some of the issues they raised are worth further consideration, and the response to them also.

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