The weekend of 23-24th July saw a highly successful Socialist Party National Conference. Members from around Australia converged on Trades Hall in Melbourne to discuss the current political situation, our work over the past year and our plans for the year ahead.
With the Howard Government, now in control of both houses of parliament and poised to launch far reaching assaults on the Australian working class, this years conference was one of particular importance.
The opening session on The Modern History of Neo-Liberalism was led of by Erinn Sales and set the backdrop to the two day conference. This discussion was essential for comrades to better understand the period we are moving into.
Flowing from this was the session on Australian perspectives led off by Anthony Main. It highlighted the fact that since the coalition’s re-election the actual balance of class forces has remained effectively unchanged. It was also explained that the ALP’s policies, despite opportunistic attempts to capitalise on workers fears, embrace the very same ideas of neo-liberalism that the Liberals do. As workers see the true nature and extent of Howard’s attacks along with the lessons learnt from subsequent struggles, socialist ideas will (and already are) gain the ear of more and more workers.
Later on day one, flowing from the political perspectives SP discussed our organisational tasks. It was agreed that a new full time national organiser would begin work in four weeks from the conference. A successful subs-drive was held following a discussion on the political roll of a full time organiser in a revolutionary party. SP is now financially in the best situation it’s ever been since being formed in Australia in 1985. Congratulation Comrades!!
Day two of the conference kicked off with an intense discussion on China led off by Greg Bradshaw. We looked at China’s role in the region, its role in the world economy and its internal situation. Many points were made about China’s precarious relationship with the US, the situation with Taiwan and the predicament that Australian capitalism now faces having to balance between economic ties with China and political ties with the US.
Stephen Jolly gave a report on 8 months work on Yarra City Council and we discussed future initiatives for council and electoral work. Comrades heard of the fantastic work the Socialist Party has been doing in Yarra side-by-side with the community.
The last session of the weekend was on UNITE and SP’s youth work. The session was led off by Kylie McGregor who explained the current and impending situation for young people in Howard’s Australia and the revolutionary role of youth historically. She also reported on the highly successful UNITE School Strike and Rally Against Howard. SP pledged to make youth work a priority over the next period.
A fighting fund appeal raised over $2500 with more pledges still to come in. We closed the conference with a fighting rendition of the Internationale and all comrades went back to their branches better equipped to play an important role in the fight back against Howard and against capitalism.
By Antony Alder