From Thursday 9th July to Saturday 11th July, Socialist Alliance participated in the Queer Collaborations 2015 conference as we have done previously for many consecutive years. This included hosting 3 political workshops on ‘The Origins of Queer and Women’s Oppression’ (Mia Sanders), ‘Marriage Equality and Beyond’ (Rachel Evans), and ‘Rainbow Revolutions’ (Coral Wynter).
Socialist Alliance members also sucessfully moved two motions through conference floor. The first was a solidarity motion with Stephanie McCarthy, a victim of transphobic violence, following the outrageous outcome of her court case (Moved: Mia Sanders). The second motion was for QC to endorse upcoming Marriage Equality actions around the country (Moved: Rachel Evans).
Prior to this, a motion was passed to elect an action committee to plan an action to take place on the Sunday of QC, which included the vetting of all banners and placards to be presented at the action. The motion also included a statement to ensure the action committee was politically diverse.
Four members of Socialist Alliance, 2 of which are from Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance, the youth wing of the party, volunteered to be a part of the action committee after attending an initial action planning meeting earlier that afternoon.
A suggestion from the floor requested that all candidates should list their political affiliation. Due to an indication of dissent being raised all candidates were asked to leave the room so that conference floor could discuss the candidates privately.
Dissent was raised against Patrick Wright who identified himself as left wing, and had presented a workshop on the Marxist Alternative to Privilege Theory earlier in the afternoon. Patrick was accused of being racist and erasing people’s identity due to a political difference that had been raised in the workshop on the nature of identity politics.
The same accusation was leveled at Mia Sanders, Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance National Co-Convener and Queer Officer at UWS who attended the same workshop. Mia was accused of being racist and "claiming that her narrative was superior to others". This was due to her making the statement that working class queers do not have shared material interests with ruling class queers. Mia gave the example that she had little in common with Tony Abbott’s sister, despite having a shared identity.
Dissent was raised to the 4 Socialist Alliance members running for the committee, on the basis of there being “too many socialists”, before a motion was passed to dissent en bloc to specifically the four Socialist Alliance nominations, who were accused of making an attempt to stack the action committee despite being a minority of the nominees.
On Saturday 11th July in the evening, Patrick and Socialist Alliance members were approached by two members of the grievance committee and informed that they had all been banned from conference floor for the rest of QC 2015, and specifically that Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance National Co-Convener Sarah Hathway, has been given an indefinite ban from conference floor for all future QC conferences.
The reason given for the ban was breaching confidentiality of conference floor, which we were informed is part of the standing orders. The standing orders were amended on the Thursday of QC, however the amended standing orders were not available to conference delegates.
When those who were banned raised this issue, they were informed it was their responsibility to follow standing orders.
Socialist Alliance seeks to build a broad and united movement to advance LGBTQIA+ rights, as is our history in the campaign. As Socialist Alliance members argued throughout the conference, our strength is in our unity and shared struggle, not division and exclusion. Socialist Alliance seeks to work with all activists of diverse political views, and we believe Queer Collaborations should be inclusive of students of differing political views.
We are disappointed with the anti-socialist sentiment that was displayed on conference floor, and specifically the discriminatory motion to dissent to all Socialist Alliance members on block during the election of the action organising committee.
We reject the unfounded allegation of racism against Mia and Patrick, for putting a materialist argument against privilege theory in Patrick’s workshop.
Socialist Alliance has a long-standing history of participating in Queer Collaborations, and we hope to continue to participate in future QC conferences. To this end we call for the bans to be lifted.
Socialist Alliance QC Delegation
Sarah Hathway - National Co-Convener of Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance
Mia Sanders - National Co-Convener of Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance, UWS Bankstown Queer Officer
Rachel Evans - Socialist Alliance Spokesperson for LGBTQI Rights, SUPRA Queer Officer
Liam Cohrs - Socialist Alliance
Dima Al-Msodny - Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance
Patrick Wright - Left wing Activist
Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance is the youth wing of the Socialist Alliance, and comprises all members of the Socialist Alliance aged 26 or younger.
Young people — students, young workers and the unemployed — play a vital role in building movements to make fundamental social change. Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance seeks to engage, educate and involve young people in getting active to change the world.