Socialist Alliance 16th conference discusses collective pandemic response

Photo: Socialist Alliance Melbourne

Delegates and members across Australia took part in the 16th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance on January 15-16.

The two-day meeting, held largely online, heard reports on the capitalist response to the pandemic and worker’s rights, the fight for a safe climate and the struggle for refugee rights and against war.

Additions and amendments to SA’s policy platform were debated. One resolution called the party’s union members to encourage mass delegate’s meetings for a class-based response to the pandemic focussed on workplace health and safety and keeping the community safe.

Despite a difficult year for activists, the conference marked some successes, including submitting 1650 members to the Australian Electoral Commission in a bid to maintain the party’s electoral registration.

Following the success of Ecosocialism 2021, delegates also decided to host the Ecosocialism 2022 conference in October.

The conference heard from delegates and members’ campaign work over the past year, including in the refugee rights movement in Victoria. Experiences from the local government elections in New South Wales, along with helping initiate the successful Inner West Council de-merger poll, were also reported.

A priority for the SA is its focus on its People and Planet Before Profit election campaign. This has been given a boost by the decision of Kuku Yalanji woman Pat O’Shane to run for the Far North Queensland seat of Leichhardt.

O’Shane’s fiery speech at the conference election rally stressed the need to strengthen the fight against capitalism. Others who addressed it were community lawyer, activist and mum Renee Lees, three-term councillor on the Moreland City Council Sue Bolton, community services worker and housing activist Angela Carr, housing and public transport campaigner Andrew Chuter and SA national co-convenor Sam Wainwright.

A new national convenor team comprising Sarah Hathway, Sam Wainwright and Jacob Andrewartha was elected, as was the national executive.

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