Make Howard face the people!

Issue 

BY
ALISON DELLIT

As the bombs rained down on Baghdad, the Socialist Alliance stepped
up its campaign against the war. The alliance is proposing a four-point
plan to undermine Australian participation in the war effort and to throw
out the Coalition government and bring the troops home:

  • A petition campaign calling on opposition parties to use their majority
    in the Senate to block the May budget and force a new election;
  • Industrial action to impede the functioning of the Australian war machine;
  • Ongoing, daily anti-war protests in Australian cities and towns;
  • Massive attendance at anti-war protests.

The campaign has proved immensely popular at anti-war protests. At the
March 22 protest in Brisbane, people were lining up four-deep to sign the
“block the budget” petition, and at a simultaneous protest in Launceston,
more than 150 out of a 350-strong crowd signed the petition.

Socialist Alliance members at anti-war protests raising the “block the
budget” demand and calling for industrial action, have noted the strong
response. Several speakers at the Darwin March 20 protest referred back
to SA member Ruth Ratcliffe’s call, for example, saying “I agree with the
Socialist Alliance!”

A statement being circulated by the alliance explains:

“If this plan is implemented, the people would almost certainly vote
the Coalition out and install a Labor government”, the statement continues.

“But how can we make sure that a Labor government wouldn’t just be a
repeat of Hawke and Keating Labor? ... To get a democratic foreign policy
we need a government based on the struggles of working people. To achieve
that, we need to build the all-round political alternative that will fight
for it, just as it will fight for social justice, equality and democracy
within Australia”, the statement concludes.

The ALP is refusing to block the budget and force PM John Howard to
a vote, a position condemned by the Socialist Alliance. The alliance is
currently circulating model motions for trade unionists, as well as publicising
rallies and other protests. For more information on how to get involved,
visit <http://www.socialist-alliance.org>.

From Green Left Weekly, March 26, 2003.

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