Ten activists from Thai Red Australia, plus Guatemalan and El Salvadoran activists from the Latin American Social Forum, were part of the 80-strong Socialist Alliance NSW state conference on May 22 in Sydney.
The conference launched Socialist Alliance’s federal election campaign. In the opening session, Senate candidate Rachel Evans outlined a “people’s budget” that puts the environment and people’s wellbeing over militarism and profiteering.
Her Senate ticket partner, Soubhi Iskander, spoke of his 59 years as a socialist, which included torture and jail, and of the struggle against dictatorship and oppression.
Newcastle candidate Zane Alcorn's “anti-capitalism rap” had the crowd in stitches as he hammered the racism and injustice of the major parties and the system they defend.
Jess Moore, candidate for Cunningham, spoke passionately for the rights of young people and for a real education revolution, while Parramatta candidate Duncan Roden said we urgently needed a mass people’s movement to win climate justice before it was too late.
Grayndler candidate Pip Hinman condemned Australian support for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Workshops at the conference included: a discussion by the Thai Red Australia activists on the history and ongoing struggle of the poor in Thailand; the population debate in the environment movement and climate campaign; queer and women’s rights struggles; and on racism in Australia, manifested in refugee-bashing and the NT intervention against Aboriginal people.
Also discussed was the use of new media to help promote the socialist cause; ideas for how socialists can get their ideas across; and lessons for community campaigning, using the upcoming protests against US President Barack Obama as an example.
The conference set a statewide target of 350 members in a four-month campaign and elected Chris Williams and Paul Benedek as NSW co-convenors.