Socialist Alternative unity proposal

Peter Boyle peterb at
Wed Nov 27 19:43:04 MST 2002

It is not clear how serious the (Australian) Socialist
Alternative call for unity with the International Socialist
Organisation really is but if by some chance it is taken up
by the ISO (which has its national conference over the
weekend of December 7-8) perhaps those wings of the
socialist movement in Australia, in combination, would feel
more confident to participate in an open-ended experiment in
broader left regroupment within the Socialist Alliance. They
won't have to worry about the DSP's bigger weight because
together they would have as many or more members.

But come to think of it, even if ISO-Socialist Alternative
unity is unlikely, if the Socialist Alternative joined the
Socialist Alliance together they could still significantly
affect the balance of forces.

Socialist Alternative's worry about electoral work diverting
energy from anti-war work (see
<>) could easily be addressed
by getting the Alliance to focus more on non-electoral work.
Indeed this is already beginning. On November 22, the
Socialist Alliance National Executive unanimously endorsed
the following perspectives for the Socialist Alliance's

1. An open-ended discussion about the nature of the
Alliance, and around key political questions like the nature
of reformism, the nature of the trade union bureaucracy,
etc. This process should lead up to the annual conference in
May, but not end there.

2. A further strengthening of union collaboration. What has
been achieved to date in the NTEU could be replicated in the
CPSU, another union where the Alliance has a relatively
large membership. We should investigate in which other
unions, from state to state, caucuses would be useful. We
should also encourage cross-union committees like the
Alliance solidarity committee in Melbourne. We should
organise another round of union seminars across the country.
We should strengthen our collaboration in campaign work, in
particular in anti-war and refugee rights' campaigns.

3. Raising the Alliance profile by campaigning under its
banner where we can - for instance, the Alliance is an
excellent vehicle for initiating or building protests
against the recent ASIO raids on Muslim families.

4. Raising the Alliance profile more regularly and
thoroughly on all rallies and at other public events, using
placards, leaflets, etc. The ISO understands that this would
involve making greater resources available than at present.

5. Holding Alliance public meetings on key topics as broad
platforms of the left, and organising debate across the left
on contentious issues.

The differences between the various revolutionary socialist
groups that exist in Australia today are really not so
unbridgeable. As the Socialist Alternative's Dianne Fields
says in her letter to the ISO: "We feel that a range of
opinions on the issues you raise is quite compatible with
membership of one united revolutionary organisation. These
issues are quite capable of being discussed in a comradely
spirit in a united group."

Why not join the Socialist Alliance, then, comrades?

Peter Boyle
Peterb at

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