Socialist Alliance membership guide
Anti capitalist, feminist, eco-socialist & anti-racist
One way or another, the 21st Century will be decisive for the fate of human civilisation. Unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed swiftly and drastically, scientists tell us the result will be environmental catastrophe on an almost unimaginable scale, threatening the survival of humanity and countless other species.
Alongside this developing ecological disaster, the system shows no sign of being able to escape its worst economic slump since the Great Depression. This shows that the structural crisis of capitalism has not been resolved and is deepening.
The current ecological and economic problems facing the world have happened precisely because we live in a political and economic system — capitalism — that puts profits ahead of people and the planet. To save ourselves and the planet, we need a sharp change of direction towards a system that that puts people and the environment at its centre — socialism.
Imagine a society where each individual can live a life of dignity and fulfilment, without exception; where discrimination and prejudice are wiped out; where all members of society are guaranteed a decent life and the means to contribute to society; and where the environment is protected and rehabilitated?
This is socialism — a truly humane and ecological society.
The socialism we support is based on these five principles
- Solidarity and collaboration. Not dog-eat-dog competition.
- Environmental sustainability & eco-socialism. Not environmental degradation and destruction that hits the poor the hardest.
- Participatory democracy. Where workers and communities make decisions directly and representatives are accountable and recallable.
- A social and democratic economy. Where people's needs come before corporate profits.
- Equality. Between peoples, nations, religions, genders and sexualities.
The Socialist Alliance - a short history
Socialist Alliance is an anti-capitalist party, formed in 2001 by people who saw an urgent need for greater left unity to fight attacks on the rights and living conditions of workers and the poor.
A commitment to unity and alliance building remains a centrepiece of Socialist Alliance’s approach, and it continues to seek out opportunities to work with other parties and individuals and to regroup with other forces to advance the movement for social change.
An activist party
Since its beginnings, Socialist Alliance members have been active in campaigns for economic and social justice, including the labour movement, environmental campaigns and campaigns for refugees, women’s rights, civil liberties and equal rights.
We encourage all members to be politically active and to help build the Socialist Alliance.
We believe that a mass action approach — building large, broad, open, democratic and effective campaigns — gives people the best chance of achieving social and ecological change.
We believe that by acting in their workplaces, communities, and on the streets, working people can develop the power to create a just and environmentally sustainable alternative to profit-driven capitalism.
This means we work with diverse forces — some more radical, others less so. Through struggle and working together many people come to more radical conclusions, even socialist ones.
Socialist Alliance is a federally registered political party, with state registration in a number of States and regularly participates in elections. We gain important insights from members with local council experience, some of whom have been elected multiple times.
Socialist Alliance contests elections to give a voice to working-class struggle, to win a broader hearing for socialist ideas and to meet the need for working-class political representation at a time when mass attention is focussed on solutions. We believe it is important to participate in election campaigns to win a broader hearing for socialist ideas.
Socialist Alliance representatives who are elected to political office will take no more than the wage of an average worker.
They also commit to use any parliamentary position to initiate and support community campaigns, support the struggles of workers and social movements, fight reactionary policies and promote the mass campaigns that can defeat the attacks on jobs and living standards.
Unlike other parties such as the Greens and the ALP, we don’t believe that parliament is the main vehicle for social change. Real and lasting social change only comes through ordinary people organising and being active in their workplaces, campuses and communities.
Socialist Alliance has developed a range of policies arising out of our campaigning work and responding to the issues of the day. They form the basis of our electoral platforms and guide our work.
Our policy platform can be viewed at socialist-alliance.org/policy
Socialist Alliance helps to support the independent progressive newspaper, Green Left, which covers many of the issues and campaigns that Socialist Alliance members are involved in.
Our Common Cause is the regular column of Socialist Alliance in Green Left.
Green Left is widely recognised (within and beyond Australia) as one of the most authoritative left-wing weekly English-language sources of news and political analysis in hard copy and on the web.
Green Left carries weekly news and analysis and is essential reading for members and activists engaged in broad left and green debate and discussion across Australia and internationally.
Socialist Alliance strongly encourages members to become a supporter of Green Left (from $5 per month) to ensure the paper’s ongoing viability.
Members are encouraged to help distribute Green Left and sell supporterships.
Membership rights and responsibilities
Any individual who broadly agrees with the aims and objectives of Socialist Alliance and agrees to participate in the non-sectarian, co-operative spirit of the Alliance is eligible to join.
There is a voluntary membership fee which helps funds activities. Only those who pay the annual membership fee are eligible to become Voting Members. Local branches or the relevant state body (in the case of applicants who live too far away from a branch) ratify Voting Members.
A member commits to help recruit to Socialist Alliance, support its projects and participates in its democratic structures to the best of their ability.
Socialist Alliance encourages full participation of all members as activists and leaders at local, state and national levels of the organisation and as candidates and branch officers.
We actively encourage working class women, Indigenous people, immigrants, LGBTIQA+ people, people with disabilities and young people to take on leadership roles within the Alliance.
Membership assumes a commitment to a non-sectarian, non-sexist and co-operative way of working. We look to build unity, positively supporting and encouraging the notion of alliances and ensuring that any critical debates are conducted in a positive manner and without personal attacks.
Once decisions have been taken by the party’s branches and elected bodies, all members are expected to present that decision as the position of the Socialist Alliance, both in public and in dealings with other political organisations. At the same time, individual Alliance members and affiliate organisations are free to indicate their agreement or disagreement with any Alliance decision.
How we organise
Socialist Alliance is a democratic organisation: we discuss, debate and decide what to do based on a majority vote. We then test out our decisions in practice and reassess if necessary.
The basic units of our party are local branches. Branches elect committees, or working groups, to help carry out the work of the branch. They also elect delegates for state and national conferences.
Our highest decision-making body is our national conference with delegates elected by local branches. All national officeholders are elected by the national conference.
The National Executive (NE) is elected at the national conference and is made up of directly elected members. The NE is responsible for carrying out the work of Socialist Alliance between conferences and establishes a range of national working groups and policy groups, as required.
Meetings of the national council can be convened by the NE two to three times a year. The national council is made up of the NE, plus elected representatives of each local branch.
Affiliates & Platforms/Tendencies
Progressive groups that support the socialist goals of Socialist Alliance are encouraged to affiliate to Socialist Alliance. Members of other parties, organisations and groups who join Socialist Alliance may keep their identity as members of these organisations while participating fully in the development of Socialist Alliance.
Any individual or affiliate organisation also has the right to form a political tendency for the purpose of influencing Socialist Alliance policy and activity.
Campaign working groups
Members involved in specific campaigns are encouraged to regularly meet in a working group to discuss and evaluate their work. Working groups in Socialist Alliance organise around the campaign for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander rights, for refugee rights, the campaign against fracking, cross-campus and education rights, campaigns for LGBTIQA+ rights, for trade union campaigns and international solidarity.
Socialist Alliance members participate in maintaining and contributing to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal (links.org.au), an online international journal of socialist debate and discussion, published since 1994.
Socialist Alliance members are encouraged to read Links and to use it as an educational resource, as it carries in-depth socialist analysis and discussion on a range of international issues and publishes authors from the front line of diverse struggles around the world.
Resistance Books (resistancebooks.com) is a non-profit, progressive book publisher & distributor of the classic works of Marxism, socialism & contemporary radical titles and are the preferred publishers of Socialist Alliance booklets and publishers of a range of progressive titles that are utilised in our educational programs.
Socialist ideas, discussion and debate
Socialist Alliance encourages all members and affiliates to participate fully. This means that members may have a range of political positions within the framework of a common socialist perspective.
Alliance Voices is an all-year round public discussion website open to Voting Members of Socialist Alliance to discuss and debate Alliance policy, broader politics, and to raise proposals on and to discuss the strategic direction of the Alliance. All Voting Members are eligible to submit articles for publication.
Send submissions to the editors via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Educational classes, seminars and conferences
Local branches organise regular introductory classes on socialism and the politics of Socialist Alliance. We run a range of classes on political theory (including an introduction to Marxism) as well as Green Left reading circles at activist centres and on campus. New members are encouraged to undertake educational classes as soon as practicable after they join Socialist Alliance. These include introductory classes on socialism, feminism and Marxism.
The annual Socialist Alliance conference also includes educational sessions.
Socialist Alliance also organises national Marxism schools, educational workshops and public seminars and forums on topics including the environment, women’s liberation, racism, imperialism and more.
The yearly membership fee that all members pay contributes to ensuring that branches can finance their activities.
In most major cities there are activist centres which progressive campaigns and organisations, including Socialist Alliance and Green Left, utilise as meeting and organising spaces. Socialist Alliance encourages its members to support these activist centres with regular donations and pledges.
We also encourage members and supporters to contribute to the annual Green Left Fighting Fund appeal and to become a supporter of Green Left.
The Socialist Alliance also conducts fund appeals amongst its members and supporters for specific campaigns, including its election campaigns. Donations up to $1500 are tax deductible.