Socialist Alliance 'will make a mark'

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

BY JORGE JORQUERA Picture

MELBOURNE — “It is exciting to hear of the newly established Socialist
Alliance. Australia has for some time now had a great need for a left alliance.
The Labor Party appears to have moved to the right, finding itself where,
I believe, the Liberal Party was in the late 1970s. It is therefore not
surprising that there is no need for a Liberal Party anymore (as voters
have recently indicated in a couple of states).”

Ellen Kleimaker may have had tongue firmly in cheek, but the sentiments
of the Victorian Trades Hall Council's women's and equity officer were
also those of the more than 270 people who packed into the Brunswick Town
Hall to launch the Socialist Alliance on April 10: the time has come for
a real left alternative to the Labor and Liberal parties.

The Socialist Alliance brings together, for the first time, nine different
socialist groups in a common electoral front: the Democratic Socialist
Party, the International Socialist Organisation, the Freedom Socialist
Party, Workers Power, Workers Liberty, the Workers League, the Worker Communist
Party of Iraq, Socialist Democracy and Socialist Alternative.

“The Socialist Alliance will make a mark at the federal elections. And
if Howard is defeated, the Socialist Alliance should swell under a new
federal Labor government”, the Democratic Socialist Party's Jackie Lynch
told the meeting.

Lynch announced that the DSP was putting all of its resources into supporting
the alliance, including its four offices in Victoria.

The International Socialist Organisation's David Glanz spoke of the
urgency of constructing an alternative. “If the ALP would offer its supporters
what they wanted, this meeting would not exist”, said Glanz, pointing out
that in the Latrobe Valley only eight people asked for food parcels during
the holiday season in 1991, but 239 people did last year.

Glanz also argued that the Socialist Alliance was a crucial alternative
not just to the major parties' economic rationalist policies, but also
to the anti-government, anti-globalisation rhetoric of Pauline Hanson.

Melbourne University queer officer Darren Kane, speaking for Queers
United to Eradicate Economic Rationalism, also argued for the Socialist
Alliance to build on activism and be part of the movements.

While many of those speaking from the floor were enthusiastic about
the alliance, the Socialist Party's Steve Jolly said he was wary of the
alliance being dominated by its two largest organisations, the ISO and
the DSP, and announced that his group has already decided to run its own
seperate candidate in the seat of Melbourne.

Ricky Lane from Workers Liberty argued that no such domination existed
and that all nine member-parties were committed to make the alliance an
inclusive organisation.

Endorsements from Monica Morgan of the Yorta Yorta people, comedian
Rod Quantock, Luke van der Meulen of the Latrobe Valley district of the
construction, mining and energy union, author Verity Burgmann, textiles
union organiser Annie Delaney and manufacturing workers union state secretary
Craig Johnston were also read out by the meeting's chair, the Freedom Socialist
Party's Alison Thorne.

Visit the Socialist Alliance web site at <http://www.socialist-alliance.org>