[Marxism] A comment on Socialist Alternative

Philip Ferguson philipferguson8 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 24 19:39:35 MST 2013

Stuart comments about SA (Socialist Alternative) as if all they do is
thrown eggs at old anti-abortion reactionaries, do some refugee work under
their own name and get in a few scrapes with the cops.  Unlike SocAll
(Socialist Alliance), which patiently talks to workers in socialist
election campaigns.

The other weekend they had 170 at their trade union day school in
Melbourne.  SA has a sizeable layer of members who are active in their
unions, including as delegates.  These folks talk to workers *all the
time*, about stuff from working conditions through to refugees to broader
world events.

It seems to me that SocAll is guilty of a certain amount of begrudgery.
The SocAll project has stalled, failed even.  SA has gone ahead, not only
recruiting a solid layer of campus activists, but building up a small but
real base of activists in a number of unions, and attracting much of the
original RSP.

Even the fact that Stuart refers to Socialist Alternative as SAlt and the
Socialist Alliance as SA is a kind of silly sectarianism.  Socialist
Alternative existed first and always referred to itself as SA; also it's
the bigger of the two in terms of actual activists.  But Socialist Alliance
tries to appropriate even the initials!

I also do find it odd that SA is denounced for calling some actions in its
own name.  There's this strange practice in the imperialist countries of
being very pro the J8uly 26 Movement, the Bolsheviks, the Sandinistas, the
Chavistas etc, none of whom built broad fronts *before* taking actions in
their own name and establishing their political credentials very firmly.

I think it's a pity that the merger process hasn't continued between SA and
Socialist Alliance.  Such a merger could have produced a group of maybe 600
or 700 activists, the equivalent of a Marxist group of about 9,000 or more
in the USA.  But I don't buy the idea that all the blame is due to
wild-eyed ultraleftism and sectarianism on the part of Socialist


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