The Socialist Alliance campaign for Marrickville council is underway, with a ticket of three committed activists nominated for the north ward. The candidates are Pip Hinman, Jill Hickson and Howard Byrnes.
"Our campaign slogan is 'power to the people'", Hinman told Green Left Weekly. "This reflects our support for the campaign to stop privatisation of electricity and also our view that we need a radical shift towards participatory, grassroots democracy at all levels of society."
"The most important step that we would take to expand local democracy at the council level is to establish an extensive community consultation and decision-making process to draw up the council budget", Hinman said. "This would give residents much greater say over which council services are provided and how they are run."
The campaign kicked off with a screening of Who Killed the Electric Car at the Addison Road Community Centre on August 15. The film was chosen because it highlights the power that corporations have, not only to influence government policy, but also to dictate to consumers what products we are able to consume. "This highlights the need to break the power of the corporations, which is one of our main aims", Hinman said.
Another important campaign activity was the "super Saturday" petition campaign against electricity privatisation on August 16. Socialist Alliance has had extensive involvement in this campaign, including taking primary responsibility for organising a protest outside state Labor MP Carmel Tebbutt's office (see report on page 2).
The September 13 council elections take place a week and a half before state parliament resumes. "The next session of parliament is likely to deal with Premier Morris Iemma's privatisation legislation, so we see this issue as an important part of the campaign", said Byrnes, who is a long-term construction union activist.
"It would have been good to have a state-wide poll alongside the council elections, but right now we are calling on voters to write 'stop the power sell-off' on their ballot papers", Byrnes explained. "This won't spoil their votes but will help show the level of community opposition to privatisation."
The Socialist Alliance is organising campaign stalls throughout the election campaign and calling on volunteers to help. Letterboxing and helping on stalls are two key ways that people can assist the campaign. "We especially need financial support to help the campaign", Hinman added.
Socialist Alliance will give preferences to Greens in the election and will call for a first preference vote for them in the wards where the alliance is not running. Phone Alex on 9690 1977 or 0413 976 638, or visit alliance.org/nsw for more information and to get involved.