Climate Change and the Death-Wish of Capitalism

By Renfrey Clarke, Adelaide Branch.

If modern industrial capitalism were a person, he or she would be on suicide watch. The system that has brought us quantum physics and reality television, modern medicine and the columns of Andrew Bolt is set on a course which, by all the best reckoning, points directly to its doing itself in. 

But it’s not as though Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer are battling the impulse to hand the world over to a more rational and humane system—say, one that strikes a sustainable balance between human desires and the environment. No, when the mega-rich embrace a death-wish, it’s a real Twilight of the Gods affair. 

Capitalism goes-–everything goes. Climate, coastlines, most living species, food supplies, the great bulk of humanity. And certainly, the preconditions for advanced civilisation, perhaps forever.

Ethiopia’s struggle for dignity

By Degeufe Hailu, Sydney Central branch.

In 1935 became Ethiopia the first and only country in Africa that defeated a European colonial power during the “scramble for Africa”, making it the only independent nation in Africa that has never been colonised. 

On March 1, 2014, we Ethiopians celebrated 118 years since the Battle of Adwa, one of the most defining and significant battles in history. It became an inspiring symbol of anti-colonial struggle and helped pave the way for other anti-colonial movements.

As Paul B Henze author of Layers of Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia, wrote, “The defeat at the Battle of Adwa as the beginning of the decline of Europe at the centre of world politics.” 

Draft International Perspectives Resolution for the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference

The following draft international perspectives resolution is submitted by the Socialist Alliance national executive for discussion in the lead-up to the 10th national conference on June 7-9, 2014. Comrades can propose amendments or additions by sending them to:

Recent experiences and lessons in building Brisbane branch

By Liam Flenady, Brisbane Branch

Over the last 18 months Brisbane branch has made a very real turn around. At the start of 2012 the branch was in disarray, was largely demoralised, and was in the middle of a financial crisis that almost lost us our activist centre. Yet we must have done something right, because less than 18 months later, we now have a whole new layer of youth around the branch who are doing incredible work and are excited about the building the party. Our recruitment, contacting and integration are beginning to function very well. Our finances are improving and our Green Left sales are not where they should be but are slowly progressing. We are now playing a leading role in one of the most important campaigns in QLD (civil liberties) and have a strong implantation on UQ campus for the first time in years. Our branch meetings have grown from 5 people to 12-16 and their level of engagement and political content has increased immensely.

Stepping Stones

By Dave Riley, Brisbane Branch 

Our constitution describes the branch as the basic unit of the Socialist Alliance.” We grow both by making  our branches bigger  and by forming new branches in suburban and regional centres. 

Whatever success we may have had is predicated on the presumption that these 
‘basic units’ are our primary means of expansion. The method is straightforward: enlarge the branches we’ve got now and make new ones.

In this contribution I want to explore that assumption and try to reset it.

For a campaign to nationalise the car industry

By Chris Slee, Melbourne District

GMH, Ford and Toyota all plan to close their vehicle manufacturing operations in Australia over the next two or three years.  Tens of thousands of workers will lose their jobs in car factories, and in factories making car components.

Meanwhile there is an urgent need for more public transport.

We should call for the nationalisation of the vehicle industry, both to save jobs and to begin the process of converting it to make public transport vehicles (buses, trams and trains).

To popularize the idea, we should leaflet May Day marches and other union rallies and meetings, as well as leafleting the car factories.

We should take the idea of nationalisation into the unions covering the vehicle industry, especially the AMWU.  Socialist Alliance members who are members of these unions should raise motions on the issue in union meetings.  The motions should call on the unions to organise a campaign for nationalisation, including rallies and marches, and (where there is sufficient support amongst the workers) industrial action.

Defending comradely solidarity in Socialist Alliance

By Lisa Macdonald (Sydney West Branch), Karen F (Melbourne District), Pat Brewer (Illawarra Branch) and Peter Boyle (Sydney Central Branch)

[Explanatory note: This contribution was prepared by a working group tasked by the National Executive with reviewing our Constitution and Code of Conduct to clarify and strengthen the organisation’s ability to prevent and deal with abusive and violent behaviour in the organisation. 

The working group also contributed to the section of Susan Price’s contribution, “Thinking about Party Leadership and Functioning in Socialist Alliance” on “Sexism, Racism, Homophobia, Ableism, Ageism in the Party”.

The document is a revision of the original Socialist Alliance Code of Conduct (adopted in July 2003, and published in Alliance Voices Vol.3, No.10, September 2003) with new appended guidelines to assist leadership bodies dealing with reports of sexual assault by members. The contribution also proposes some small amendments to the Socialist Alliance Constitution.

Discussion on the draft is welcome and will assist the working group to prepare a revised document and a contextualising report for consideration at the SA National Conference in June.]

Recent Contributions