The Socialist Party had a very successful annual National Conference in Melbourne last weekend. The Friday night featured a debate amongst the left and the theme was ‘Where is Australia Going?’. The crowd was a mix of Socialist Party members, a few Green Party members, trade unionists and ordinary people interested in the views on offer.
Greens candidate for the seat of Melbourne at the upcoming Federal election, Adam Bandt was followed by Union Solidarity leader, Dave Kerin and SP’s Councillor in the City of Yarra, Stephen Jolly.
The main themes were: the fragile nature of the economic upturn; the fact that big layers of society have missed out on the boom; the collapse of the ALP as a party willing to represent working class people; the low level of class struggle at the moment and the need for a new workers party. We also discussed likely perspectives if Howard was re-elected and if Rudd won. A bucket collection on the night raised over $150 for the fighting fund!
On Saturday morning we discussed international issues. Anthony Main spoke on Iraq, the world economy, China and our region, while Denise Dudley concentrated on Latin American developments and especially on Venezuela from where she has just returned. We explained our support for the reforms undertaken by Chavez but warned of the dangers of counter-revolution there as along as the power of capitalism remained unbroken in Venezuela.
On Saturday afternoon we discussed the plans for building our party for the next 12 months, including youth and student work, electoral work and education. SP members were confident that we will build in the next period. A fighting fund appeal to our members raised over $4,000 in donations!
That night we had a trivia night which was hosted by one of Australia’s most popular comedians, Corrine Grant. Just over 170 people packed in the Trades Hall ballroom for a fantastic night. The event brought together some of Melbourne’s best community campaigners from the Atherton Gardens Residents Association (AGRA), the Save St. Andrews Kindergarten campaign and the Socialist Party.
Speeches were from Brandon Sahnkovich Chair of AGRA, Caterina Stella from the Save St. Andrews Kindergarten campaign and Stephen Jolly. Both Brandon and Caterina pointedly thanked the role SP played in their campaigns and there was an inspiring ‘Three Cheers for the Socialist Party’ from the crowd.
Corinne Grant was brilliant as usual and everyone was impressed with her staying on after the questions finished to talk to so many people. It was marvellous to see public housing residents, trade union and students activists, Kindergarten parents and SP members all mixing in so well. $2635 was raised on the night being split between the three groups.
By Socialist Party reporters