Socialist Alliance is running in the Queensland elections to help build an anti-capitalist current in Queensland and national politics. We're also supporting the re-election of progressive independent MP Rob Pyne in Cairns and calling for a vote for Greens in other seats.
Labor and the Liberal National Party (LNP) have lost any right to claim they represent the interests of ordinary working people. The last time the LNP was in power, they went on a rampage against workers' rights, civil liberties and the environment. Labor in power this last term has implemented some progressive reforms but cannot disguise their absolute loyalty to big business against the interests of workers who vote for them.
They have both helped make Pauline Hanson's One Nation seem like a palatable option for far too many people.
What is needed is a progressive alternative that can argue the case for genuine reform and can mobilise the popular support to make that happen. This is the pathway towards a more fundamental transformation away from the failed capitalist system.
Take climate change as an example. The United Nations Environment Program is currently warning that existing government commitments have us on a path towards a three degree increase in average global temperature by 2100. This would mean major cities would be under water.
In Queensland, the major capitalist parties are supporting the Adani coal mine which would be the largest coal mine in Australia if developed. That policy is not compatible with taking serious action on global warming and not compatible with saving the Great Barrier Reef.
The Socialist Alliance and the Greens are both opposed to the mine. Rob Pyne remains the only Queensland parliamentarian to have voted against it.
Labor tries to walk both sides of the street on the issue. One Labor candidate was caught out telling voters that the mine would “never happen” because it is “not financially viable”.
Some on the Labor left may think it is clever tactics to go along with the pro-corporate leadership's support for Adani while hoping it just “doesn't happen”. However this is a foolish position that risks having the mine go ahead.
It is much better to argue the case clearly that the mine should be denied approval on environmental and social grounds and in respect for the opposition of traditional owners. More and better jobs can be created in renewable energy and community development projects.
Also, in a dramatic – some may say cynical – media conference on November 3, premier Anna Palaszczuk pledged that her government would not approve the proposed $1 billion NAIF loan to Adani. She claimed this was in response to a “smear campaign” by the LNP and to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest. (Her partner works for a company that helped advocate for the loan.)
However, it is more likely that Labor is feeling the pressure of popular opinion which is running against the Adani mine and even more strongly against the proposed loan. Labor seats – such as that of deputy premier Jackie Trad – are at risk of falling to the Greens and opposing the loan is a cynical way to give wriggle room to Labor politicians who don't feel comfortable with the party's craven support for the mine.
The case of abortion law reform also underlines the necessity of building a progressive alternative to Labor. The issue came onto the agenda when Pyne moved a private members bill to decriminalise abortion.
Even though Queensland Labor has had abortion decriminalisation as part of its platform for decades, Pyne had to resign from Labor in order to move that private members bill.
Once before the parliament, Labor politicians refused to support it and instead manoeuvred to delay it to an uncertain fate in a future parliament.
But why run on a socialist platform instead of just supporting the Greens?
Our view is that you can't just be against something, you need to stand for something positive. It is no surprise that figures such as Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders have had such a positive reception under the banner of socialism.
This is because the capitalist status quo is incapable of solving the problems we face such as rising inequality and a climate change disaster.
At a time when the Greens nationally are tending in a more and more pragmatic direction and when the far right is picking up support, it is more important than ever to argue the case for a genuine socialist change.