BY LISA MACDONALD
SYDNEY At the beginning of August, the nine branches of Socialist Alliance in NSW will begin to pre-select candidates for the March 2003 NSW election.
A state conference at the University of Technology, Sydney, on August 3 will pre-select 10 of the 15 upper house candidates that the alliance has decided to stand.
The alliance obtained state electoral registration in February. It is the only left organisation to have obtained registration under NSW's draconian electoral laws, ensuring that the socialist option will appear above the line on the upper house ballot paper, as well as on ballot papers for all lower house electorates in which the alliance stands.
The alliance's 15 upper house candidates will reflect and help build the wide range of movements and campaigns that alliance members are active in, including campaigns to defend workers' wages and conditions, the movement to free the refugees and the campaign to oppose Washington's war of terror on the Third World.
In July, Socialist Alliance branches in Lismore, Newcastle, the Illawarra and across Sydney have been discussing which local seats to contest.
The August 3 conference will assess the experiences gained in last year's federal election campaign, debate a range of key policy questions and discuss what type of state campaign will best strengthen the progressive movements outside parliament while consolidating a radical left electoral alternative in Australia. The rest of the upper house ticket and preference policy will be decided at a second state-wide conference on November 2.
This is the first NSW election to be contested by the Socialist Alliance and members are confident that the alliance's activist, movement-building approach to achieving political change will strike a strong chord with many people. The fact that it unites so many left parties and individuals with extensive campaigning experience, and is serious about raising the socialist flag in the electoral arena should also attract many activists not yet in the alliance.
Anyone interested in the Socialist Alliance and its campaigns is welcome to attend the conference. To find out how you can join the alliance or get involved in the NSW election campaign, phone 9690 1977 or contact your nearest branch (details at <http://www.socialist-alliance.org>).
From Green Left Weekly, July 17, 2002.
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