Vote Socialist Alliance on November 10


@box text intr = The November 10 federal election is unlikely to change much in Australian politics. The choice of an ALP or Coalition government offers no choice to stop the war against the Afghan people or to free the refugees or to reverse more than a decade of economic rationalism.

But the election does offer a chance to make a stand on all of these issues: by voting for the Socialist Alliance.

Since the alliance's formation nine months ago, Green Left Weekly has supported it because of its people-before-profits platform, activist orientation and its internationalism.

Just as this newspaper seeks to provide a voice for the anti-corporate, anti-war, anti-racist, pro-worker, environment and feminist movements, so too does the Socialist Alliance seek to provide political representation to these movements. Many of its candidates are leaders of such campaigning groups.

That is why we are advocating a primary vote for the alliance, and preferencing according to its ticket.

In the Senate, this means preferencing socialist and left-wing groups, the Nuclear Disarmament Party, the Progressive Labour Party and then the Greens.

The Australian Greens' central focus on parliamentary change limits their effectiveness as a force for social change. However, unlike the ALP, they are not an openly pro-capitalist party. They do not seek to subordinate the interests of working people to the needs of big corporations. They do not support the government's war on Afghanistan, its war on refugees or its war on workers.

Having more Greens in the Senate would be better than having more representatives of capitalism's second party, the ALP.

We are not the only ones to recognise this. That is why the Liberals have decided to allocate preferences to the ALP ahead of the Greens in Tasmania, preferring an outright ALP majority to having to negotiate with Bob Brown.

The same cannot be said of the Australian Democrats. Offering the necessary support to introduce the GST and pass the Workplace Relations Act, the Democrats have shown themselves willing to collaborate with the Coalition in attacking union rights and workers' living standards. Their decision to preference the Liberals before the ALP in several marginal seats just confirms this.

This newspaper advises you to put the Democrats after the ALP on ballot papers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The question of who forms government is not irrelevant. While the ALP offers merely a slower implementation of the same program (and on the war in Afghanistan and the scapegoating of refugees, not even that) it is marginally preferable to the Liberals' slash-and-burn approach.

Even more importantly, having the ALP in government makes it harder for it to win support from unionists, students and the unemployed, because they can see exactly what sort of policies the ALP represents. It provides better conditions for us to argue that real change occurs outside parliament, not within it.

This is why in the Senate and the House of Representatives, we are asking readers to put the ALP before the Coalition parties and the Democrats.

Whatever party forms government on November 10, however, our task is clear: to keep the pressure up and draw as many people as possible into the fight to stop this racist war and build another, better, more just world.

From Green Left Weekly, November 7, 2001.
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