[Marxism] Debate in Australia over socialists electorally supporting Greens or socialists
ratbagradio at gmail.com
Tue Nov 20 08:52:36 MST 2007
To call this a debate is a bit of a misnomer as the ISO article in
question has been published a week before the election. Getting an
argued response from the ISO or SAlt on this matter has been akin to
trying to extract teeth.
But the position does reflect very sharply the attitude of both
formations -- the ISO and SAlt in regard to their view of the way
forward. While I'm not quite sure what that actually is, I
nonetheless think it's premissed on a misreading of the nature of the
Greens and their immediate potential to foster some left aggregation
in their verdant shadow.
I also point out that it also 'follows' ( not 'leads') from a shift
by some unions to support the Greens rather than be tied absolutely to
While the ';socialist vote may be set to be small I don't think it
follows, as Glantz writes, that "The space for an explicitly socialist
electoral expression has been closed off for the time being." I don't
think its' closed off. I think the Greens occupy that space so the
task is to ideologically challenge the Greens-- even if that has to be
This in fact has been the experience of the Socialist Party in Melbourne.
Cheer squading the Greens at election time won't do that. You have to
relate to them, true, but some of us have been relating to the Greens
for fifteen years and some of us have been members of the Greens.
Even within the Socialist Alliance there are people with dual party
membership -- Greens and SA. And we know Greens members who actually
do preference the SA ahead of their own party and donate to our
election campaign -- as,also, have several trade union state
In fact, trade union donation aside -- we've received a lot more money
from our membership and support base during this election campaign so
not everyone thinks as Glantz does. (This is relevant because among
other things, the Greens are probably sitting on $AUD3- 6 million war
chest to fund their campaigning)
While its uneven around the country, we've also received more main
stream media coverage than before.
So the narrative isn't quite as David Glantz presents it. ..
As for the SA campaign itself -- its' all been rather interesting as
we come up to the poll. I think it's the best election campaign I've
worked on in terms of helping to organise these alternative exercises.
It's been a creative packaging of some core political policies with a
very broad use of various media forms. Consider the video generated in
this campaign as a marker of some experimentation:
This interview is a very considered popularisation of our politics I think.
Among the literature, our Climate Change Charter I think is excellent
and is a template that other socialists may want to emulate somehow.
and that perspective has garnered the SA an effective niche in
environment politics at this election which outfits like the Greens
aren't too pleased about. Note also the cute climate change quiz in
Power Point a SA member created:
We've also been touring in NSW an exercise we called The Climate
As for poll figures...who knows? Even the Greens vote isn't calculable
at this stage especially in the Lower House. But the irony in terms of
this approach shared by SAlt and the ISO --is that next Saturday
hundreds of SA members around the country will be standing outside
church halls and primary schools, etc along side Greens members and
their ilk talking up and promoting the socialist option. Even chatting
to these Greens activists about such issues as climate. the ALP and
the like.... And if they are similarly engaged, SAlt and ISO members
may be booth working a few of those places handing our preference
voting sheets they have no control over whatsoever, and calling for a
vote for the Greens instead of for socialism'. And inasmuch as they'll
mention their own affiliation to their Greens colleagues or any other
booth workers (as I'd assume that is the point of supporting the
Greens), may often be asked to explain by these same people how
they're different and why, like St Peter's cock crow, they don't
support this socialist party outfit at this particular federal
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