The SEARCH foundation held a conference called “Secure Jobs in a Green Future: Australian Left Renewal Conference”, on April 6-7. It featured international guest Costas Isychos, a member of the Greek left party SYRIZA and head of the party’s external and defence policy.
Isychos spoke about the history of SYRIZA, its early struggles to develop as a united left force in Greek politics and its recent rapid rise to 27% support in the elections last year. He outlined the grassroots work of the organisation and called for increased international solidarity in the face of the threat of attacks from Greek, European and other capitalist classes.
The conference attracted hundreds of attendees to several plenary sessions and 15 workshops. There were many discussions of key environmental, political and economic issues. One, titled "Campaigning for a Green Future," featured Dave Kerin speaking on the Earthworker Co-operative initiative and Jess Moore on the campaign against coal seam gas.
The main plenary sessions, titled "Building a Stronger Left," "Uniting to Fight the Abbott Coalition," and "Strategic Priorities for the Left," heard a variety of speakers from the unions, social organisations, the Greens and the ALP.
The final conference statement called for united left action and the creation of a "formal network" of left groups to organise the next conference.
The conference adopted a final statement that concluded: “By working together we can defeat neoliberalism and push back privatisation, deregulation, austerity and exploitation of people and the environment.
“By working together we can build a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and deeper democracy, with a strong public sector supporting an ecologically sustainable economy.”