In defence of Socialist Alliance's strategy of mass action: A reponse to Socialist Alternative

[Text of a talk given to the Geelong branch of Socialist Alliance on December 3, 2013]

The unity discussions between Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative have come to an end. In a November 3 letter on behalf of the Socialist Alternative National Executive Mick Armstrong wrote: 'The overall political projects of both organisations are not sufficiently similar to carry through a sustained and productive unity that could advance the cause of the revolutionary left in Australia and the broader class struggle.'[1]

Fighting for socialism today

[Talk given at Socialist Ideas Conference, Melbourne, November 2, 2013]

In Australia, as in all the imperialist countries, the capitalist class is carrying out a massive assault on all the gains won by working people in over 150 years. Every TV news bulletin these days features reports of cutbacks, selloffs and outsourcing, attacks on workers rights and attacks on civil liberties — as well as wars and massive misery abroad.

In memory of Doug Lorimer

 photo Davec197572_zps4fcb970e.jpg

[These brief remarks were delivered at a memorial meeting for Doug Lorimer in Melbourne on October 25, 2013, organised by Socialist Alternative. The photo above was taken outside an Annandale polling booth in the 1975 federal election. It shows (from right): Joy Ecclestone, Dave Holmes, Doug Lorimer, (unidentified), Geoff Payne.]

The July 27 Green Left Weekly carried an obituary for Doug written by Pat Brewer. For comrades interested in the basic details of Doug's political CV I would recommend it.

Abolish Australia's secret police

[Green Left Weekly, #977, August 12, 2013]

According to its Wikipedia entry, 'The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is Australia's national security service, which is responsible for the protection of the country and its citizens from espionage, sabotage, acts of foreign interference, politically motivated violence, attacks on the Australian defence system, and terrorism.'

How should a united socialist party work?

[This is the slightly edited text of a presentation given at the Socialism of the 21st Century seminar held in Sydney, June 9, 2013. Included at the end is a response to comments; for the full discussion see Links.]

Today I want to talk about how socialists need to work to win mass influence and how that relates to the unity process between Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative.

Development issues

[The following short presentation was made to a meeting of Moreland Socialists on February 28, 2013 to kick off a discussion on developing our policy platform.]

Scope of the question

What are 'development' issues? 'Development' concerns housing and all the issues of liveability associated with it: transport; urban environment; sustainability; green spaces and parks; schools and other facilities; jobs; and food (how and where it is produced, the cost to the consumer); and many more.

In defence of the transitional method

[This was originally a talk given at the Socialist Alliance National Conference, Geelong, January 18, 2013. When it was run in Links online magazine it attracted a number of responses. I have included my rejoinders below. The four pieces form a more or less coherent whole. See the whole debate at Links.]

Socialist Alternative comrades take us to task

Socialist Alliance is currently engaged in a process of discussion and clarification with Socialist Alternative, with a view to exploring the possibilities of greater cooperation and unity. How this will ultimately develop is an open question. But I think it is fair to say that on both sides today there is a much greater interest in the political positions and approach of the other.