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SA-VIC: SA election results smash records!

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  • Commie Bastard
    Hi comrades, Just to let you know of several fantastic results recorded by Wills branch members in the Victorian council elections today. Leon Zembekis won
    Message 1 of 24 , Nov 27, 2004
      Hi comrades,

      Just to let you know of several fantastic results recorded by Wills branch
      members in the Victorian council elections today.

      Leon Zembekis won 1142 votes (13.7%) in the Cotham ward of Boroondara
      Council. This is in Kew, in the eastern suburbs. He was just 201 votes and
      2.4% behind the Greens candidate. There was no Labor candidate.

      In Moreland, Tessa Theocharous and Brian Maher got a combined first
      preference vote of 10.8% in the north-east ward. In the south ward, Judy
      McVey and Terry Costello got 7.7% with some votes still being counted.

      It is likely that our preferences will see the Greens over the line in
      both
      wards, and may see a leftwing Labor candidate beat a rightwing Labor
      candidate in the south ward.

      We had 60 people on the booths and more than 20 attended an election party
      tonight.

      Detailed and complete results to follow. We hope our comrades in Yarra and
      Darebin are able to add to this report.

      David Glanz

      ================
      this is a regular newsletter & announcement list for members &
      supporters of Socialist Alliance in Victoria. For more information or
      to join SA please phone 9639 8622, 9388 0062 or 9386 4815.
      ================
      Heard at the polling booth; voter to ALP "..and if I vote for you I
      get family first"
    • Peter Boyle
      ... branch ... votes and ... These are fantastic results. There is also a note on the Socialist Party s website that they have actually won their first
      Message 2 of 24 , Nov 28, 2004
        --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "Commie Bastard"
        <combasau@y...> wrote:
        > Just to let you know of several fantastic results recorded by Wills
        branch
        > members in the Victorian council elections today.
        >
        > Leon Zembekis won 1142 votes (13.7%) in the Cotham ward of Boroondara
        > Council. This is in Kew, in the eastern suburbs. He was just 201
        votes and
        > 2.4% behind the Greens candidate. There was no Labor candidate.
        >
        > In Moreland, Tessa Theocharous and Brian Maher got a combined first
        > preference vote of 10.8% in the north-east ward. In the south ward, Judy
        > McVey and Terry Costello got 7.7% with some votes still being counted.

        These are fantastic results.

        There is also a note on the Socialist Party's website that they have
        actually won their first councillor in Yarra Council
        <http://www.socialistpartyaustralia.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=560>.


        All this in a week where the Socialist Alliance members in Melbourne
        also played a major role in building the 6-7000-strong Free Craig
        Johnston rally and march, organised a 650-strong John Pilger forum and
        help organise the first Melbourne Social Forum.

        Congratulations comrades! There is no doubt that with a more united
        socialist left, we can take some bigger steps forward.

        Peter Boyle
      • nigel_irritable
        ... wrote: [snip Socialist Party and Socialist Alliance election results] This all sounds very encouraging for the left, particularly after the
        Message 3 of 24 , Nov 28, 2004
          --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Boyle"
          <ppz@t...> wrote:

          [snip Socialist Party and Socialist Alliance election results]

          This all sounds very encouraging for the left, particularly after
          the recent Federal elections where I gether things didn't go so well.

          The Socialist Party getting a councillor elected in Yarra is a
          particularly impressive achievement. Actually winning in a ward as a
          small party is a tough thing to do, as my SP branch in Ireland found
          out recently. Our candidate missed out on a council seat by a
          handful of votes in an all night count, and we have the advantage of
          a relatively bigger national profile. Does anyone on this list know
          if this is the same area where they previously lost a local election
          by a narrow margin?

          Assuming that the SP vote was in the same area it perhaps isn't as
          surprising as the Socialist Alliance one in Boroondara. Has the SA
          contested elections in the area in the recent past? Was there a
          particular local issue which made a big difference?

          Finally, does anyone know if there is a website where Australian
          local election results appear?

          Brian
        • Samuel Campbell
          www.vec.vic.gov.au On Sun, 28 Nov 2004 19:38:43 -0000, nigel_irritable
          Message 4 of 24 , Nov 28, 2004
            www.vec.vic.gov.au


            On Sun, 28 Nov 2004 19:38:43 -0000, nigel_irritable
            <nigel_irritable@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Boyle"
            > <ppz@t...> wrote:
            >
            > [snip Socialist Party and Socialist Alliance election results]
            >
            > This all sounds very encouraging for the left, particularly after
            > the recent Federal elections where I gether things didn't go so well.
            >
            > The Socialist Party getting a councillor elected in Yarra is a
            > particularly impressive achievement. Actually winning in a ward as a
            > small party is a tough thing to do, as my SP branch in Ireland found
            > out recently. Our candidate missed out on a council seat by a
            > handful of votes in an all night count, and we have the advantage of
            > a relatively bigger national profile. Does anyone on this list know
            > if this is the same area where they previously lost a local election
            > by a narrow margin?
            >
            > Assuming that the SP vote was in the same area it perhaps isn't as
            > surprising as the Socialist Alliance one in Boroondara. Has the SA
            > contested elections in the area in the recent past? Was there a
            > particular local issue which made a big difference?
            >
            > Finally, does anyone know if there is a website where Australian
            > local election results appear?
            >
            > Brian
            >
            >
            >
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          • nigel_irritable
            ... Thanks Samuel. Yarra City Council Langridge Ward (3 vacancies) Elected: FARRAR, Jenny (1st Elected) Elected: BARBARA, Annabel (2nd Elected) Elected: JOLLY,
            Message 5 of 24 , Nov 28, 2004
              --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, Samuel Campbell
              <manickze@g...> wrote:
              > www.vec.vic.gov.au

              Thanks Samuel.


              Yarra City Council
              Langridge Ward (3 vacancies)

              Elected:
              FARRAR, Jenny (1st Elected)
              Elected:
              BARBARA, Annabel (2nd Elected)
              Elected:
              JOLLY, Stephen (3rd Elected)

              Votes for this ward were counted using Proportional Representation.

              Enrolment:
              19589

              Formal Votes:
              9417

              Informal Votes:
              922 (8.92% of the total votes)

              Voter Turnout:
              10339 (52.78% of the total enrolment)

              Quota:
              2355


              First preference votes

              Candidate
              1st Pref Votes

              FARRAR, Jenny
              2883

              SALES, Erinn
              109

              JOLLY, Stephen
              1162

              WRIGHT, Zachary
              88

              BERNARD, Jim
              117

              KUCERA, Dominik
              346

              BARBARA, Annabel
              2650

              ORR, Sivy
              958

              BARBOUR, Geoff
              711

              MCPHERSON, John
              296

              TUDEHOPE, Alice
              97
            • Peter Boyle
              A Greens media release says that there has been a more than 25% increase in the number of Green councillors. Extract below. See also
              Message 6 of 24 , Nov 28, 2004
                A Greens' media release says that there has been a more than 25%
                increase in the number of Green councillors. Extract below. See also
                <http://vic.greens.org.au/content/> which notes "The recent
                introduction of proportional representation to many of these Councils
                means that, for some Councils, Green candidates have a realistic
                prospect of being elected for the first time ever."

                Peter Boyle

                GREENS GREET NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT VOICES IN METRO AND REGIONAL VICTORIA

                Greens have been elected to Melbourne, Greater Bendigo, Yarra and
                Moreland City Councils.

                On current votes the newly elected Green Crs. are Fraser Brindley -
                Melbourne; Julie Rivendell and David Jones ­ Greater Bendigo; Jenny
                Farrar, Kathleen Maltzahm, Gurm Sekhon and Sivy Orr ­ Yarra; Josephine
                Connellan and Andrea Sharam ­ Moreland. They join Maribyrnong Crs.
                Colleen Hartland and Janet Rice in bringing a much needed Green
                voices on behalf of their communities.

                Greens Leadership candidates Drs. Richard di Natale and Liz Conor
                polled the second highest primary vote in the Lord Mayoral race, on a
                budget of around $5000, outpolling most big spenders.

                "The Greens polled extremely strongly in the City of Melbourne Lord
                Mayoral contest despite being challenged with a barrage of candidates
                and stooges tumbling down from the top end of town, some brandishing
                wallets thicker than Aunt Betty's pikelets", said Dr. di Natale.

                "Melbourne City CA elect Fraser Brindley is a welcome Green voice
                amidst a sea of business suit grey, bringing a strong and fearless
                advocate for community, residents and progressive businesses."

                According to Cr. Brindley, "The Greens will take up office without
                being beholden to any potential obligations and expectations some
                heavily financed candidates may carry from promises to pave a
                favourable road for those that backed them."

                Greens local government co-ordinator David Risstrom said, "The
                election of Green Councillors to the City of Bendigo is an exciting
                development that will see the return of strong community involvement
                to an important Victorian regional city. Sadly, the loss of sitting
                Colac Otway Cr. Stephen Hart by less than 25 votes is disappointing
                and will be strongly felt by his community. Cr. Hart has been an
                extremely hard working and fearless advocate whose absence will
                diminish the council."

                "With a 25% increase in support at the Federal election and more than
                25% increase in the number of Green councillors, the Greens continue
                to grow in strength every election. On behalf of those who has
                supported us, we thank you and look forward to giving our Councils a
                strong green voice", concluded Cr. Brindley.

                For further information:
                Fraser Brindley,
                No. 1 Melbourne City Council Candidate - 0417 557 477.
                David Risstrom,
                Greens Local Government Co-ordinator - 0418 502 713.

                This media release was written and authorised by David Risstrom, Level
                1, 377 Little Bourke St. Melbourne.
              • Dave Riley
                To state the obvious: this return are a welcomed response the poor federal election results which has generated so much angst and despair on the left and
                Message 7 of 24 , Nov 28, 2004
                  To state the obvious: this return are a welcomed response the poor federal election
                  results which has generated so much angst and despair on the left and within the
                  Greens.

                  Steve Jolleys' SP win also suggests that constant work in localities (as is the SP's
                  standard habit) can generate electoral support at some stage if you continue to employ
                  elections as part of your arsenal.

                  My view has always been that any breakthrough electorally will begin at the local
                  government level but most left groups have tended to ignore these campaigns or when
                  they tackle them, will not be imaginative in addressing them. (I don't say that's easy ).

                  At council level, voting is much more attuned to the business of knowing the candidate's
                  credentials rather than simply relying on their party affilaition. As the Jolly victory
                  proves --and he has not been slow in coming forward -- you need to engineer it so that
                  one of your own generates a local profile. Thsi bascially mean that you act localluy
                  where you can.

                  Now that the Socialist Alliance has over 30 branches we can more directly begin to
                  exploit our locality strengths. However the method of election at the council level varies
                  from state to state --so the QLD Greens for instance, here could not immediately expect
                  to follow suit as the council polling here is of a different nature (and the next is almost 3
                  years away). But the collapse of the ALP vote during the Sydney council polls suggests
                  that the wall has been breached and widened at this vic election. Here in Brisbane the
                  process is much slower and more convoluted such that the Greens can boast no (I
                  think) currently council position state wide(although they did have a guernsay on the
                  Redcliffe City Council briefly before the devlopment lobby prevailed). But the break
                  down of the standard parameters has begun with a Liberal Brisbane mayor and an ALP
                  dominated council.

                  As I recall the SSP first broke through at the local government level as did the CPA
                  here in Bowen (which saw the party win two council positions before Patterson went on
                  to take the state seat) in the 1930s.

                  From my experience within my locality working frequently with the local ALP councillors
                  who I know well-- the grass roots front line for the ALP -- its on the ground PR -- is its
                  councillors. State and federal reps are distant and very inaccessible in comparison so
                  the major networking role falls to those elected in the wards. Indeed, given the largesse
                  that can be swung from these positions, council politics is the motor which can drive the
                  local ALP machine and sustain its support base. There is simply much more contact
                  between the electors and the elected at this level --and more scrutiny. Just as there's
                  more in the way of interests ghrousp trying to secure patronage.

                  dave riley
                • Peter Boyle
                  I think the varying results by socialist candidates in the Vic Council elections mainly reflects the scale of their campaigns. But let s not forget that all
                  Message 8 of 24 , Nov 28, 2004
                    I think the varying results by socialist candidates in the Vic Council
                    elections mainly reflects the scale of their campaigns. But let's not
                    forget that all the socialist candidates shared from the role
                    socialists have played in key non-electoral campaigns, such as the
                    anti-war campaign and the Free Craig Johnston campaign.

                    Most voters don't differentiate very much between socialist this or
                    socialist that in this country and for better or worse the good and
                    bad work of any socialists group currently reflects on socialists as a
                    whole. And the more we can work together, unresolved theoretical
                    differences notwithstanding, the better for us all. I think Steve
                    Jolly's victory makes the case for this stronger not weaker.

                    However, not all in the socialist left in Australia agree. See the
                    exchange below on the Leftist Trainspotters list, for an example.

                    Peter Boyle

                    From: "SIMPLY RED" <davemurray101@y...>
                    Date: Mon Nov 29, 2004 11:34 am
                    Subject: Re: Australian CWI council victory

                    Socialist Party team
                    1359 votes or 14.43% (Jolly himself 1162 or 12.33%)
                    Preference flows resulted in Jolly being elected.

                    Other left results:
                    In other results:
                    Socialist Alliance:

                    Boroondara: 13.7%
                    Morland N: 10.8%
                    Morland S: 7.7%
                    Darebin Rucker: 2.10%
                    Yarra Nicholson: 3.17%

                    Note: The first three SA results are ones done by the non-DSP lead
                    Socialist Alliance branch of 'Wills'. While the other two are the DSP
                    conducted campaigns. Nicholson is significant in particular as the SP
                    scored 30% in a by-election there in 2001 and 9% in the following
                    full council election. Needless to say, the victory of
                    the "sectarian" SP in Yarra-Langridge and the good results for
                    the "opponents of further integration" in Boroondara and Moreland are
                    a big blow to the DSP and their "vision".

                    From: "nigel_irritable" <nigel_irritable@y...>
                    Date: Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:01 pm
                    Subject: Re: Australian CWI council victory

                    --- In leftist_trainspotters@yahoogroups.com, "SIMPLY RED"
                    <davemurray101@y...> wrote:
                    > Needless to say, the victory of
                    > the "sectarian" SP in Yarra-Langridge and the good results for
                    > the "opponents of further integration" in Boroondara and Moreland
                    are
                    > a big blow to the DSP and their "vision".

                    I'm not sure that this follows from the results you talk about, Dave.

                    I don't agree with the DSP or their approach to "left unity", but in
                    fairness to them good election results for socialists - even
                    socialists who don't share their approach - are not inherently
                    damaging to their argument.

                    As I understand it, part of the DSP's rationale for their push
                    towards a "multi-tendency socialist party" is that there are
                    significant opportunities for socialists in Australia in the present
                    period. Some good electoral scores for socialist candidates can be
                    presented as the result of an objectively favourable situation,
                    which of course can only be fully exploited by... well, you can
                    guess.

                    These results may make it harder for them to argue that there is no
                    life outside the Socialist Alliance but they will simultaneously
                    make it easier to argue against those who feel that there is no
                    possibility of electoral advances for socialists in the current
                    political situation. Swings and roundabouts in other words.

                    Now as I said, I don't agree with the DSP. I think that the
                    Socialist Alliance in its current form has little to offer, being
                    composed chiefly of some very small groups and former members of
                    left organisations clustered around the DSP itself - but that's a
                    rather different point.

                    Anyway, congratulations to the SP in Melbourne.

                    Brian
                  • Melbourne DSP
                    I think Peter Boyle is right when he suggests that the general public doesn t differentiate very much between the various socialist groups. An email we
                    Message 9 of 24 , Nov 28, 2004

                      I think Peter Boyle is right when he suggests that the general public doesn't differentiate very much between the various socialist groups. An email we received today on our Socialist Alliance Central branch list from an education officer at a local Melbourne council confirms this. It read as such: Woo hoo, Congratualtions Steven
                      I can only presume he meant Steven Jolly from the Socialist Party.

                      Margarita Windisch


                      Boyle wrote:

                      I think the varying results by socialist candidates in the Vic Council
                      elections mainly reflects the scale of their campaigns. But let's not
                      forget that all the socialist candidates shared from the role
                      socialists have played in key non-electoral campaigns, such as the
                      anti-war campaign and the Free Craig Johnston campaign.

                      Most voters don't differentiate very much between socialist this or
                      socialist that in this country and for better or worse the good and
                      bad work of any socialists group currently reflects on socialists as a
                      whole. And the more we can work together, unresolved theoretical
                      differences notwithstanding, the better for us all. I think Steve
                      Jolly's victory makes the case for this stronger not weaker.

                      However, not all in the socialist left in Australia agree. See the
                      exchange below on the Leftist Trainspotters list, for an example.

                      Peter Boyle

                      From:  "SIMPLY RED" <davemurray101@y...>
                      Date:  Mon Nov 29, 2004  11:34 am
                      Subject:  Re: Australian CWI council victory

                      Socialist Party team
                      1359 votes or 14.43% (Jolly himself 1162 or 12.33%)
                      Preference flows resulted in Jolly being elected.

                      Other left results:
                      In other results:
                      Socialist Alliance:

                      Boroondara: 13.7%
                      Morland N: 10.8%
                      Morland S: 7.7%
                      Darebin Rucker: 2.10%
                      Yarra Nicholson: 3.17%

                      Note: The first three SA results are ones done by the non-DSP lead
                      Socialist Alliance branch of 'Wills'. While the other two are the DSP
                      conducted campaigns. Nicholson is significant in particular as the SP
                      scored 30% in a by-election there in 2001 and 9% in the following
                      full council election. Needless to say, the victory of
                      the "sectarian" SP in Yarra-Langridge and the good results for
                      the "opponents of further integration" in Boroondara and Moreland are
                      a big blow to the DSP and their "vision".

                      From:  "nigel_irritable" <nigel_irritable@y...>
                      Date:  Mon Nov 29, 2004  1:01 pm
                      Subject:  Re: Australian CWI council victory

                      --- In leftist_trainspotters@yahoogroups.com, "SIMPLY RED"
                      <davemurray101@y...> wrote:
                      > Needless to say, the victory of
                      > the "sectarian" SP in Yarra-Langridge and the good results for
                      > the "opponents of further integration" in Boroondara and Moreland
                      are
                      > a big blow to the DSP and their "vision".

                      I'm not sure that this follows from the results you talk about, Dave.

                      I don't agree with the DSP or their approach to "left unity", but in
                      fairness to them good election results for socialists - even
                      socialists who don't share their approach - are not inherently
                      damaging to their argument.

                      As I understand it, part of the DSP's rationale for their push
                      towards a "multi-tendency socialist party" is that there are
                      significant opportunities for socialists in Australia in the present
                      period. Some good electoral scores for socialist candidates can be
                      presented as the result of an objectively favourable situation,
                      which of course can only be fully exploited by... well, you can
                      guess.

                      These results may make it harder for them to argue that there is no
                      life outside the Socialist Alliance but they will simultaneously
                      make it easier to argue against those who feel that there is no
                      possibility of electoral advances for socialists in the current
                      political situation. Swings and roundabouts in other words.

                      Now as I said, I don't agree with the DSP. I think that the
                      Socialist Alliance in its current form has little to offer, being
                      composed chiefly of some very small groups and former members of
                      left organisations clustered around the DSP itself - but that's a
                      rather different point.

                      Anyway, congratulations to the SP in Melbourne.

                      Brian






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                    • dave_r_riley
                      Unfortunately the ever jabbing Dave Murray can t help himself when it comes to the Socialist Alliance....Nonetheless, Jolly s success and the returns for the
                      Message 10 of 24 , Nov 29, 2004
                        Unfortunately the ever jabbing Dave Murray can't help himself when
                        it comes to the Socialist Alliance....Nonetheless, Jolly's success
                        and the returns for the Greens is a significant gain for the left
                        side of politics outside the ALP and this in the ALP lefts'
                        heartland of Melbourne.

                        I'm keen to read more on these elections. However, it isn't true
                        that these are record results for left or socialist candidates. In
                        the nineties socialist candidates were getting up to thirteen
                        percent either as standalone candidates or in coalition with other
                        forces at the council level. I always think the main marker at the
                        present time is how these returns stack up against the results for
                        the Greens. Because that's the main relativity and the core marker
                        of the total alternative left vote. And to be realistic any gain in
                        the socialist left vote will tend for the moment to be at cost to
                        the Greens (and vice versa) --because that's where the competition
                        is focused for the ALP loss of support.

                        And while I am considerate of political space outside the main
                        parties I do suggest that at least at the local government level
                        being recognised as an identifiable current(or personality) locally
                        is a key factor in boosting your return and especially in sustaining
                        it. But on the day many other factors kick in too.

                        Working at that level of politics has been something that the SP has
                        been consistently involved in. The collective experience of the CWI
                        in Ireland and England as well as in Scotland (from which the SSP
                        developed through a major split from the CWI)has been notable for
                        its attention to local level electioneering.They had the enriching
                        experience of the Liverpool City Council to relate to (even though
                        within the Labor Party confines). They do it well and since this
                        current is unwilling to unite with others in moving collectively
                        forward the best we can do is learn what we can from critically
                        assessing their campaigning approach. Despite what Murray suggests,
                        there is nothing organically better about the SP than any one or
                        other of the affiliates of the Socialist Alliance. So if the old CPA
                        or the SP or NicK Origlass or whatever can teach us anything about
                        this kind of politics then we all should be dutiful students.

                        Dave Riley
                      • Samuel Campbell
                        ... What poor result? I don t know about your area but the greens were quite positive about this election and only lamented the rodent s continuing power. We
                        Message 11 of 24 , Nov 29, 2004
                          On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 14:08:15 +1000, Dave Riley <dhell2@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > To state the obvious: this return are a welcomed response the poor federal election
                          > results which has generated so much angst and despair on the left and within the
                          > Greens.
                          >
                          What poor result? I don't know about your area but the greens were
                          quite positive about this election and only lamented the rodent's
                          continuing power. We had an almost 40% increase in vote federally
                          since last federal election. Why, come next election, the greens in
                          most likelyhood will get an even better representation and might even
                          win a couple of lower house seats.
                        • nigel_irritable
                          ... has ... CWI ... This is broadly speaking correct about the experiences of the CWI in local politics, although wrong in so far as it criticises some
                          Message 12 of 24 , Nov 29, 2004
                            --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "dave_r_riley"
                            <dhell2@o...> wrote:

                            > Working at that level of politics has been something that the SP
                            has
                            > been consistently involved in. The collective experience of the
                            CWI
                            > in Ireland and England as well as in Scotland (from which the SSP
                            > developed through a major split from the CWI)has been notable for
                            > its attention to local level electioneering.They had the enriching
                            > experience of the Liverpool City Council to relate to (even though
                            > within the Labor Party confines). They do it well and since this
                            > current is unwilling to unite with others in moving collectively
                            > forward the best we can do is learn what we can from critically
                            > assessing their campaigning approach.

                            This is broadly speaking correct about the experiences of the CWI in
                            local politics, although wrong in so far as it criticises some
                            supposed "refusal to unite with others".

                            The CWI is involved in broader political formations in a large
                            number of countries, including Germany, Brazil, Nigeria, Scotland,
                            Portugal and Holland. Our affiliates have taken the initiative in
                            launching broader organisations in many other countries, including
                            Ireland (twice) and Britain. We suffer from no inherent
                            predisposition to going it alone, regardless of objective
                            circumstances.

                            What we don't do, however, is regard "left unity" as a particular
                            goal in and of itself. Everything is assessed on a case by case
                            basis: what do we feel a particular broader formation has to offer
                            the working class? What are the opportunities open to that grouping?
                            What basis is it organised on? How does it fit in to our strategic
                            goal of encouraging the creation of new mass parties of the working
                            class?

                            On the point Dave makes about local elections, we do have a lot of
                            experience in that regard, most spectacularly in the case of
                            Liverpool City Council. The general point to be made is that our
                            community based campaigning is not simply about getting councillors
                            elected. In a period of relatively low trade union activity
                            sometimes the major class struggles can be expressed in the
                            community rather than in the workplace. That was certainly the case
                            with the mass non-payment campaigns against the poll tax in Britain
                            and the water and bin taxes in Ireland.

                            What's more, it isn't necessary to agree with our political
                            programme to take up succesful community based campaigning work.
                            From a radically different political perspective the Independent
                            Working Class Association in Britain have also had success. Here in
                            Ireland, the other relatively sizeable left group, the SWP, still
                            hasn't won an election anywhere but they have gradually got to a
                            stage where they can score some respectable votes in some wards -
                            simply by aping our methods.

                            Brian
                          • Nick Fredman
                            Vic comrades: were party names on the ballot papers for the Vic council elections? I noticed they weren t on the results on the VEC website. The SP report on
                            Message 13 of 24 , Nov 29, 2004
                              Vic comrades: were party names on the ballot papers for the Vic
                              council elections? I noticed they weren't on the results on the VEC
                              website.

                              The SP report on their victory posted by Peter details some
                              impressive local knowledge and intensive work in the area. It's hard
                              to argue with their assessment:

                              >>It must be said the other reason we won this seat was as a result
                              >>of a decade of hard work in the area. A significant number of local
                              >>people knew of our work saving Richmond Secondary College, on the
                              >>urban environment, on heroin reform, for casual workers' rights etc
                              >>etc and trusted us enough to vote socialist.
                              >>http://www.socialistpartyaustralia.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=561

                              However they seem to be to some extent "sore winners", vis a vis
                              other socialist candidates. While it is true as they state "However
                              there were other opposition candidates who did not get anywhere near
                              our result and in the neighbouring ward of Nicholls the Socialist
                              Alliance candidate came last with 302 votes (3.17%)", this seems to
                              be, conveniently for this argument, the lowest result for SA, and
                              other results are unmentioned. Isn't it a bit sectarian, putting
                              faction above movement, to not even mention good results for other
                              left candidates? Hasn't, for example, every GLW article on all
                              election campaigns mentioned all left candidates?

                              The above mentioned campaigns and issues have been trumpeted for some
                              time by the SP to illustrate their unique brilliance - to some extent
                              justifiably, as there have been real successes, but with real
                              distortions as well. I recall the SP accusing the DSP of bourgeois
                              moralism for apparently not being involved as much as they were in
                              the above-mentioned heroin reform campaign, ignoring the fact that at
                              the time GLW featured a number of articles by key activists involved
                              in this issue.

                              The more general point is that the SP has made a strategic choice for
                              intensive work in one specific area, and while this has undoubtable
                              benefits, there are surely costs as well, in terms of building more
                              extensive support for socialism. It's a big, big country outside of
                              Fitzroy. Remember the SP did not run in the federal elections, and
                              concentrated all its forces on a single ward of a single council. To
                              fairly compare SA and SP and the successes or otherwise of their
                              perspectives, one would have to include all the recent electoral and
                              campaigning work, across Melbourne and nationally.

                              But it's not a pissing competition, it's a question building the
                              influence of socialism amoung class conscious workers and the
                              politically active vanguard, and making realistic moves towards the
                              "mass workers party" mentioned by the Irritable Nigel
                              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GreenLeft_discussion/message/11130.

                              Nigel/Brian thankfully points out "it isn't necessary to agree with
                              our political programme to take up successful community based
                              campaigning work" - it would be a pretty serious megalomaniac
                              delusion to think that all the "successful community based
                              campaigning work" on the planet, even just that of a progressive,
                              pro-working class nature, which is what I presume he meant, was
                              carried out by the CWI. But in any case, were there *any* real
                              differences in the programs of the SP and SA for these local
                              elections? Is it's just that, or mainly that, the SP are better at
                              this work, why couldn't they work more closely with SA in a joint
                              local council campaign accross Melbourne and Victoria, even if they
                              don't want to join SA at present, and win some people over to at
                              least some of their their ideas? It seems the only possible answer it
                              that they have they think "our time will come", and all the other
                              socialist groups will wither as SP unique brilliance becomes more and
                              more apparent.

                              Maybe after another decade of successful work in Fitzroy and nowhere
                              else they'll realise that this is a sectarian delusion. Hopefully
                              with a rise in the struggle they'll realise sooner.
                              --
                            • Peter Boyle
                              (Forwarded from Chris Slee) As a member of both the Wills branch of Socialist Alliance and of the DSP, I would like to comment on the reasons for SA s success
                              Message 14 of 24 , Nov 29, 2004
                                (Forwarded from Chris Slee)

                                As a member of both the Wills branch of Socialist Alliance and of the
                                DSP, I would like to comment on the reasons for SA's success in the
                                Moreland City Council election.

                                The Moreland council area largely coincides with the Wills federal
                                electorate. In the recent federal election we letterboxed most of the
                                electorate twice and part of it three times. We also organised local
                                protest actions around Centrelink staff cuts and the Kodak factory
                                closure, both of which got good coverage in the local press.

                                The results in the federal election were somewhat disappointing. We
                                got a little over 1%. But a couple of months later we got 11.09% and
                                8.98% in two wards of the Moreland council.

                                In the council campaign we took up local issues such as swimming pool
                                staffing levels, but also campaigned on national and international
                                issues such as Iraq and refugees. The council campaign was in many
                                ways a continuation of the federal campaign.

                                I believe that in the federal campaign, while many people were
                                favourably impressed with our propaganda and actions, they
                                nevertheless did not vote for us because they saw Labor and the Greens
                                as the only "realistic" options. In the council elections people were
                                more willing to give us a go.

                                But we should not jump to the conclusion that the federal campaign was
                                a waste of time. The federal campaign helped prepare the ground for
                                the success of the council campaign.

                                Chris Slee
                              • Melbourne DSP
                                It goes without saying, that the election of Steve Jolly to the Yarra Council is gteat for the left as a whole. It obviously emerges from a confluence of
                                Message 15 of 24 , Nov 29, 2004
                                  It goes without saying, that the election of Steve Jolly to the Yarra
                                  Council is gteat for the left as a whole. It obviously emerges from a
                                  confluence of circumstancs, not least of all the local work that the SP
                                  has done in the ward for some years now, nor indeed Steve Jolly's
                                  personal standing, which is obviously high.

                                  One interesting (and somewhat ironic) factor however is the relative
                                  political weakness of the Greens. It's ironic, because in the federal
                                  election, the Greens received one of their highest votes in Australia in
                                  the seat. It's ironic because Yarra was the first council in Australia
                                  to have a Green mayor. And yet they have lost ground to the SP. The
                                  specific reasons are well summarised in the SP's leaflet - the Greens
                                  have simply pushed the neo-liberal barrow, along with Labor. They have
                                  failed to put up a serious fight against the neo-liberal attacks of the
                                  state government, and have been drawn into the 'parliamentary' game with
                                  the ALP.

                                  Against this background, Steve Jolly the individual obviously posed a
                                  progressive alternative. The campaign positions he ran-on were little
                                  different from those of the Socialist Alliance.

                                  If Steve is to succeed as an isolated socialist on council, he and
                                  others will need to build a mobilised base of support in the area. It is
                                  one thing to get people to vote for you - it's quite another to have
                                  people rally in your defence (the dismal turn-out o the last UNITE rally
                                  in Brunswick Street on 3 November being a case in point).

                                  This election result is a credit to the SP, but it is by definition,
                                  bigger than them. It's bigger than any one let group. To make the most
                                  of it for working people in Yarra and elsewhere, the SP will have to
                                  realise this, and once they've finished casting aspersions on all other
                                  left groups, settle down to some serious strategising for some joint
                                  campaign work. Otherwise they risk this great opportunity for the left
                                  being squandered.

                                  Graham Matthews
                                  Socialist Alliance
                                • nigel_irritable
                                  ... wrote: Sorry for the delay in replying to this, but I only just noticed it now. Firstly, Nick criticises the Socialist Party for only referring to the
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Dec 15, 2004
                                    --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, Nick Fredman <sra@s...>
                                    wrote:

                                    Sorry for the delay in replying to this, but I only just noticed it
                                    now.

                                    Firstly, Nick criticises the Socialist Party for only referring to
                                    the Socialist Alliance vote in Yarra City in their statement about
                                    their own election win. As I understand it they were commenting on
                                    the most directly comparable other result for a left organisation -
                                    one in the ward next door.

                                    In so far as they emphasise their consistently better election
                                    results when they talk about the SA they aren't just boasting, they
                                    are making a point about methods and approach. That's something
                                    which Nick kind of acknowledges when he says:

                                    > The more general point is that the SP has made a strategic choice
                                    for
                                    > intensive work in one specific area, and while this has
                                    undoubtable
                                    > benefits, there are surely costs as well, in terms of building
                                    more
                                    > extensive support for socialism. It's a big, big country outside
                                    of
                                    > Fitzroy.

                                    However, this still misunderstands what the Socialist Party's
                                    organising strategy is. The SP does not limit itself to working in
                                    one specific geographical area or area of work. In fact it has been
                                    very active on the issue of the war, on refugee issues, in the
                                    unions etc everywhere it has members.

                                    What it does do though is take community organising seriously, where
                                    it has the forces to do so. Community campaigns are labour
                                    intensive, time consuming affairs that don't normally pay off in
                                    short term recruitment and paper sales. Their benefit is longer term
                                    and they take patience and a willingness to learn.

                                    A related point is that such work, from a socialist point of view,
                                    takes a constant orientation towards the working class.

                                    To
                                    > fairly compare SA and SP and the successes or otherwise of their
                                    > perspectives, one would have to include all the recent electoral
                                    and
                                    > campaigning work, across Melbourne and nationally.

                                    I would hardly have thought it prudent for the Socialist Alliance to
                                    want to include such things as its Federal election results in such
                                    a balance sheet!

                                    It is not in dispute that the Socialist Alliance or DSP are bigger
                                    than the Socialist Party. Nor is it in dispute that they have much
                                    greater resources. What the SP can claim, with some justification,
                                    is that they use their limited resources very effectively.

                                    > But it's not a pissing competition, it's a question building the
                                    > influence of socialism amoung class conscious workers and the
                                    > politically active vanguard, and making realistic moves towards
                                    the
                                    > "mass workers party" mentioned by the Irritable Nigel
                                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GreenLeft_discussion/message/11130.

                                    I wouldn't use terms like "the politically active vanguard", but
                                    that aside I think I would broadly agree.

                                    > Nigel/Brian thankfully points out "it isn't necessary to agree
                                    with
                                    > our political programme to take up successful community based
                                    > campaigning work" - it would be a pretty serious megalomaniac
                                    > delusion to think that all the "successful community based
                                    > campaigning work" on the planet, even just that of a progressive,
                                    > pro-working class nature, which is what I presume he meant, was
                                    > carried out by the CWI.

                                    Which is exactly why I mentioned the Independent Working Class
                                    Association in Britain as another example.

                                    But in any case, were there *any* real
                                    > differences in the programs of the SP and SA for these local
                                    > elections?

                                    I think this draws a rather artificial distinction between methods
                                    and programme, concepts which are closely entangled. It is not that
                                    the Socialist Party calling for the taking into public ownership of
                                    the commanding heights of the economy is a better magnet for votes
                                    than some other left organisation's call for higher taxes on the
                                    rich. As you are no doubt aware, that is not how these things work.

                                    However, the Socialist Party's orientation towards the working class
                                    in community struggles is itself an issue of programme. The way in
                                    which such campaigns are approached is a programmatic issue.

                                    Is it's just that, or mainly that, the SP are better at
                                    > this work, why couldn't they work more closely with SA in a joint
                                    > local council campaign accross Melbourne and Victoria, even if
                                    they
                                    > don't want to join SA at present, and win some people over to at
                                    > least some of their their ideas?

                                    As has been explained before, this comes down to the Socialist Party
                                    having a negative assessment of the nature and potential of the
                                    Socialist Alliance.

                                    They take the view that the SA consists of the DSP, some ex-members
                                    of left groups and other long term activists, and a handful of
                                    others in any active sense. What's more, they see the Alliance as
                                    being far too centralised, something which is deepening as the DSP
                                    continue to push for greater integration. In other words, the SA as
                                    currently constituted is not significant and is unlikely to become
                                    significant.

                                    My own view is that the Socialist Alliance experiment is based on a
                                    wildly incorrect reading of the SSP experience in Scotland.

                                    What made the SSP significant is not that the left groups joined
                                    together. That's a trivial part of what happened and a belated one
                                    at that. The key factor to begin with was that Scottish Militant
                                    Labour had built a real if localised base in the working class in
                                    Glasgow, Dundee etc. Other factors then came into play including in
                                    particular the national question and the uniquely favourable
                                    electoral system. The only other left group of any size at all to
                                    join the SSP was the SWP - and they joined much later and brought at
                                    least as much hassle as assistance.

                                    Looking at Scottish events through the prism of "left unity" suits
                                    an organisation like the DSP, which is smaller than SML in absolute
                                    terms despite operating in a vastly bigger country. The DSP also
                                    lacks any of SML's social base and experience of leading class
                                    struggles.

                                    Brian
                                  • dave_r_riley
                                    I appreciate Brian s -- Nigel Irritable s -- contribution to discussion on the list even if he must comment from afar. It is a pleasant surprise to be able to
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Dec 15, 2004
                                      I appreciate Brian's -- Nigel Irritable's -- contribution to
                                      discussion on the list even if he must comment from afar. It is a
                                      pleasant surprise to be able to exchange points with a supporter of
                                      the CWI without having to gasp at their sectarianism in the
                                      vitriolic form of Dave Murray.

                                      Nonetheless, I think Brian misunderstands the Socialist Alliance
                                      project here in Australia and basically has trotted out the local
                                      franchise's warp take on it. The primary feature of the SA was that
                                      it began cold as an ad hoc electoral coalition based as much as on
                                      the English SA as anything else. The "problem" was that it soon was
                                      much more succesful than that in drawing people to its banner.

                                      Now I know that the CWI is disparaging of "left unity" but the fact
                                      is that the initial small gesture in this regard presented a
                                      challenge of what to do next. This is where the so called Scottish
                                      model kicks in as that was a process there with a specific dynamic
                                      that could perhaps be emulated in Australia. So the Socialist
                                      Alliance decided -- only 18 months ago -- to proceed in the
                                      direction of a multi tendency socialist party.

                                      This is a very new dynamic that is being fostered and it is
                                      unfolding and is being limited by indigenous political factors. What
                                      Brian is not accepting is the logic in this process as similar
                                      experiments are being explored in many places throughout the world -
                                      from El Salvador, to Italy, Portugal, France, etc. There are also
                                      those who suggest that this was the method employed by Lenin to
                                      create the Bolshevik Party. And there is a major international
                                      discussion in place trying to extract the lessons of each and every
                                      one one of these "models". Regroupment projects like the SA are
                                      becoming the new trend in socialist organising and the standalone
                                      Trotsyist programatic grouplet model is tending to be sidelined.

                                      In the light of those other experiments, I think we are doing OK.
                                      Even the CWI franchise here concedes to the new party pitch of the
                                      SA by talking up its notion of a "real" workers party which is the
                                      hypothetical future abstraction it struts out to counterpose to the
                                      SA.

                                      However, while Brian may have a view on the way the CWI does its
                                      work he also assumes that there is something intrinsically special
                                      about the CWI methods of work that no other grouping can emulate.
                                      While it is to the SP's credit that Jolly got elected in Melbourne,
                                      the SA polled equally as well in one sector during the same
                                      election. But we didn' get the preference flow. So the difference
                                      isn't as organic as Brian suggests. But given the SP's long time
                                      work in the area their win warrants study and congratulations --and
                                      our electoral returns at the poll was a huge surprize to many of us
                                      in the SA. But as I say, the SA has to be a student of politics
                                      which proceeds not through the ready schematism of so many
                                      groupuscules but tends to deal with issues as they come to hand.
                                      Thats' how we function and consolidate. Thats' the process.

                                      BRian writes:

                                      > They take the view that the SA consists of the DSP, some ex-
                                      members
                                      > of left groups and other long term activists, and a handful of
                                      > others in any active sense. What's more, they see the Alliance as
                                      > being far too centralised, something which is deepening as the DSP
                                      > continue to push for greater integration. In other words, the SA
                                      as
                                      > currently constituted is not significant and is unlikely to become
                                      > significant.

                                      It amazes me how many ignorant people try to pass themselves off as
                                      experts on the SA. I'm on its National Executive (as well as sundry
                                      steering commiuttees)and even I have a lot of difficulty
                                      comprehending it as a total package. The SA consists in proportion,
                                      non aligned members (long term activists, exers from various other
                                      projects, comrades new to politics, ex members of the greens or ALP,
                                      etc this would make up about 75 -80% of its membership), DSP members
                                      (who function exclusively within the SA) and various affiliated
                                      political groupings (various socialist formations, & migrant
                                      organisations)who maintain an autonomous existence as well separate
                                      from the SA. On the Australian left, the groupings not part of the
                                      SA project are the old Moscow aligned Communist Party, the Socialist
                                      Party, and various fractured segments of international socialism
                                      with the main one being Socialist Alternative. I think we number
                                      somewhere between 1000 and 1500 members (the latest figures aren't
                                      in yet) over 30 odd branches nationwide.

                                      Brian also alleges that the SA is "far too centralised". What on
                                      earth does he mean? Go read the friggin constitution sometime. As
                                      far as I'm concerned, the process of advancing toward a multi
                                      tendency socialist party under the electoral acts we must comply to,
                                      will probably require us to centralise some in the time ahead.
                                      Thats' what party's do -- they tend to centralise their activities
                                      when coalitions don't.And it is partyward that the SA is heading.

                                      As for the DSP's role in this, I draw comrades attention to the
                                      latest edition of the SA internal bulletin in which the DSP, to its
                                      credit, lays out its current perspectives for the SA .(This should
                                      be available on the web soon, branches now have copies of this
                                      edition of the Alliance Voices so contact your local branch). I wish
                                      all affiliates were so open about their take on the SA. And the DSP
                                      has no way of getting its perspectves adopted unless it wins broad
                                      majority support in the SA. For instance this week, the national
                                      leadership of the SA re-affirmed overwhelmingly its commitment to
                                      the SA/GLW partnership. Thats' how it works. Thats' how any
                                      democratic organisation functions and more than any other the SA
                                      does that opening and without mirrors.Indeed, in terms of affiliate
                                      rights it is much more democrtic than the SSP. So does Brian want to
                                      belittle us for being democratic or for being contrary to the views
                                      of the local CWI franchise?

                                      Then Brian offers us his brutal throwaway conclusion: "the SA as
                                      currently constituted is not significant and is unlikely to become
                                      significant." This is the standard non SA groupuscule furphy --
                                      that and the DSP bogeyman. It is served up as a mantra by comrades
                                      who refuse to do their homework. The SA is the most succesful
                                      project on the Australian left since the demise of the Communist
                                      Party. Of course the success is circumscribed by broader political
                                      factors, but we're moving forward unevenly. One of our major
                                      setbacks this year has been the jailing of one of our leading trade
                                      union figures,Craig Johnston. But Craig's jailing and the campaign
                                      we are pursuing for his release, can tell you a lot about the
                                      Alliance's strengths and suggest its significance.

                                      The irony of the various accusations hurled at the Alliance or the
                                      DSP's supposed role in it from non affiliated (or even affiliated
                                      orgs on occasion)is that if they were actually true, why would
                                      affiliates stay in the SA? Why would they bother? What's binding
                                      them to the project? Similarly, if the project was as insignifcant
                                      as Brian suggests and without a forseeable future, why would any one
                                      bother polemicising against it?

                                      Essentially though I can put up with the crap that gets thrown at
                                      the SA because inevitably we have to win or loose kudos primarily on
                                      our achivements. And we have to get used to the fact that other
                                      formations, mainly other competing formations, will denigrate
                                      anything we do. We've only been going four years in toto and 18
                                      months with a MTSP perspective, so I reckon time is going to be on
                                      our side. Even Brian may one day come around to our POV.

                                      dave riley
                                    • bobgould987
                                      By Bob Gould Further to Nigel Irritable s measured and careful discussion of the local government election results in Victoria, it might be useful to add some
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Dec 15, 2004
                                        By Bob Gould

                                        Further to Nigel Irritable's measured and careful discussion of the
                                        local government election results in Victoria, it might be useful to
                                        add some elements.

                                        Firstly, whether socialists decide to run independently in elections
                                        is a tactical question to be decided by the socialists concerned. In
                                        my view it's lunacy to counterpose such electoral exercises to the
                                        work of socialists who decide that their tactical orientation is to
                                        work in the Labor Party or the Greens.

                                        It's even worse to delude yourself that engaging in a fairly
                                        straightforward electoral exercise solves the central strategic
                                        problems facing socialists -- whether you're relatively successful as
                                        the Socialist Party and the ISO have been in Victoria, or relatively
                                        unsuccessful as the DSP/Socialist Alliance has been everywhere in
                                        recent times.

                                        The particular strategic problem facing socialists is clearly the
                                        hegemony of the Labor Party over the organised working class and the
                                        demonstrated viability of the Greens as a small mass electoral
                                        formation to the left of Labor, based largely in the new social layers.

                                        It's pretty clear that when they engage in their independent electoral
                                        activity the Socialist Party and the ISO do so quite seriously, in the
                                        way that Nigel Irritable describes.

                                        The DSP tends not to do it in that way because of its preoccupation
                                        with the internal life of its own apparatus, which absorbs the
                                        energies of that organisation almost totally.

                                        Several conjunctural factors obviously have a bearing on the Victorian
                                        local elections. Firstly, the Labor Party in Victoria has a more
                                        limited tradition of participation in local elections than it does in
                                        NSW and Queensland, for instance.

                                        Secondly, and this is an area where people who know more than me might
                                        enlighten me. It's my impression that when the reactionary Liberal
                                        government of Jeff Kennett enforced wholesale amalgamations of local
                                        councils in Victoria a few years ago, it introduced
                                        first-past-the-post voting everywhere. It appears that a number of
                                        mainly Labor and Green municipalities have reintroduced proportional
                                        representation, which is a progressive step. I'd be interested to know
                                        when that happened.

                                        An even more progressive step would be to increase the number of
                                        councillors from three to four per ward, thus lowering the quota to 20
                                        per cent. Maybe Steve Jolly could consider such a proposal for the
                                        Yarra council.

                                        In the federal elections, the Socialist Party chose not to run,
                                        implicitly recognising the great polarisation in Australian society
                                        between the Labor-Green and the Tory sides of politics in those elections.

                                        The ISO, which did run in the federal elections as part of the
                                        Socialist Alliance, avoided to a large extent the extravagant
                                        anti-Labor rhetoric of the DSP, but the DSP rhetoric tended to
                                        dominate the Socialist Alliance campaign, for which the SA paid the
                                        inevitable penalty of a vote so small as to be off the electoral radar.

                                        It seems to me that better electoral result for the Socialist Party
                                        and the ISO candidates of the Socialist Alliance in the Victorian
                                        local elections is directly due to the less sectarian and more
                                        sensible tone of the ISO and the Socialist Party, both to the broader
                                        Labor movement and to the Greens.

                                        On the face of it, Steve Jolly's statements before and after his
                                        election seem quite reasonable. He counterposed himself as a socialist
                                        both to the Labor Party and the Greens, but he also made an appeal to
                                        the better traditions of the Labor Party and to the ranks of the
                                        Greens for better collaboration around progressive policies. All of
                                        that seems to me entirely reasonable.

                                        He delivered his vote for mayor to the Labor candidate and explained
                                        why. As he only had half a quota, it's quite clear that Steve Jolly
                                        was elected on the Labor Party surplus, which carried over to him as
                                        preferences. Half the votes that elected him came from Socialist Party
                                        voters, and half from Labor voters.

                                        I base this interpretation on local newspapers in Yarra, which have
                                        been sent to me by a friend. Was it the case that Steve Jolly and the
                                        Socialist Party actually exchanged preferences with the Labor Party?
                                        That's a genuine question, because it's not entirely clear from the
                                        local paper reports.

                                        Anyway, it seems clear that Jolly's election is the product of a good
                                        deal more sensible strategic orientation than that of the DSP, both in
                                        the terms described by Nigel Irritable about concentrating seriously
                                        in one area, and also adopting a more realistic overall approach to
                                        the continuing grip of Labor and the Greens on the masses.

                                        PS. One shouldn't underestimate, in this kind of political exercise,
                                        Steve Jolly's individual personal role. He's a colourful immigrant to
                                        Australia with a strong Irish accent and in a modest way a charismatic
                                        figure with a long history of socialist political agitation behind
                                        him. The human element should never be overlooked as a factor in
                                        electoral politics.
                                      • lordludd66
                                        Right,Bob - a parlimentary road to socilaism and a cult of personalities . Now why did nobody think of that before? ... to ... elections ... In ... as ...
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Dec 15, 2004
                                          Right,Bob - a parlimentary road to socilaism and a cult
                                          of "personalities".
                                          Now why did nobody think of that before?

                                          --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobgould987"
                                          <bobgould987@y...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > By Bob Gould
                                          >
                                          > Further to Nigel Irritable's measured and careful discussion of the
                                          > local government election results in Victoria, it might be useful
                                          to
                                          > add some elements.
                                          >
                                          > Firstly, whether socialists decide to run independently in
                                          elections
                                          > is a tactical question to be decided by the socialists concerned.
                                          In
                                          > my view it's lunacy to counterpose such electoral exercises to the
                                          > work of socialists who decide that their tactical orientation is to
                                          > work in the Labor Party or the Greens.
                                          >
                                          > It's even worse to delude yourself that engaging in a fairly
                                          > straightforward electoral exercise solves the central strategic
                                          > problems facing socialists -- whether you're relatively successful
                                          as
                                          > the Socialist Party and the ISO have been in Victoria, or
                                          relatively
                                          > unsuccessful as the DSP/Socialist Alliance has been everywhere in
                                          > recent times.
                                          >
                                          > The particular strategic problem facing socialists is clearly the
                                          > hegemony of the Labor Party over the organised working class and
                                          the
                                          > demonstrated viability of the Greens as a small mass electoral
                                          > formation to the left of Labor, based largely in the new social
                                          layers.
                                          >
                                          > It's pretty clear that when they engage in their independent
                                          electoral
                                          > activity the Socialist Party and the ISO do so quite seriously, in
                                          the
                                          > way that Nigel Irritable describes.
                                          >
                                          > The DSP tends not to do it in that way because of its preoccupation
                                          > with the internal life of its own apparatus, which absorbs the
                                          > energies of that organisation almost totally.
                                          >
                                          > Several conjunctural factors obviously have a bearing on the
                                          Victorian
                                          > local elections. Firstly, the Labor Party in Victoria has a more
                                          > limited tradition of participation in local elections than it does
                                          in
                                          > NSW and Queensland, for instance.
                                          >
                                          > Secondly, and this is an area where people who know more than me
                                          might
                                          > enlighten me. It's my impression that when the reactionary Liberal
                                          > government of Jeff Kennett enforced wholesale amalgamations of
                                          local
                                          > councils in Victoria a few years ago, it introduced
                                          > first-past-the-post voting everywhere. It appears that a number of
                                          > mainly Labor and Green municipalities have reintroduced
                                          proportional
                                          > representation, which is a progressive step. I'd be interested to
                                          know
                                          > when that happened.
                                          >
                                          > An even more progressive step would be to increase the number of
                                          > councillors from three to four per ward, thus lowering the quota
                                          to 20
                                          > per cent. Maybe Steve Jolly could consider such a proposal for the
                                          > Yarra council.
                                          >
                                          > In the federal elections, the Socialist Party chose not to run,
                                          > implicitly recognising the great polarisation in Australian society
                                          > between the Labor-Green and the Tory sides of politics in those
                                          elections.
                                          >
                                          > The ISO, which did run in the federal elections as part of the
                                          > Socialist Alliance, avoided to a large extent the extravagant
                                          > anti-Labor rhetoric of the DSP, but the DSP rhetoric tended to
                                          > dominate the Socialist Alliance campaign, for which the SA paid the
                                          > inevitable penalty of a vote so small as to be off the electoral
                                          radar.
                                          >
                                          > It seems to me that better electoral result for the Socialist Party
                                          > and the ISO candidates of the Socialist Alliance in the Victorian
                                          > local elections is directly due to the less sectarian and more
                                          > sensible tone of the ISO and the Socialist Party, both to the
                                          broader
                                          > Labor movement and to the Greens.
                                          >
                                          > On the face of it, Steve Jolly's statements before and after his
                                          > election seem quite reasonable. He counterposed himself as a
                                          socialist
                                          > both to the Labor Party and the Greens, but he also made an appeal
                                          to
                                          > the better traditions of the Labor Party and to the ranks of the
                                          > Greens for better collaboration around progressive policies. All of
                                          > that seems to me entirely reasonable.
                                          >
                                          > He delivered his vote for mayor to the Labor candidate and
                                          explained
                                          > why. As he only had half a quota, it's quite clear that Steve Jolly
                                          > was elected on the Labor Party surplus, which carried over to him
                                          as
                                          > preferences. Half the votes that elected him came from Socialist
                                          Party
                                          > voters, and half from Labor voters.
                                          >
                                          > I base this interpretation on local newspapers in Yarra, which have
                                          > been sent to me by a friend. Was it the case that Steve Jolly and
                                          the
                                          > Socialist Party actually exchanged preferences with the Labor
                                          Party?
                                          > That's a genuine question, because it's not entirely clear from the
                                          > local paper reports.
                                          >
                                          > Anyway, it seems clear that Jolly's election is the product of a
                                          good
                                          > deal more sensible strategic orientation than that of the DSP,
                                          both in
                                          > the terms described by Nigel Irritable about concentrating
                                          seriously
                                          > in one area, and also adopting a more realistic overall approach to
                                          > the continuing grip of Labor and the Greens on the masses.
                                          >
                                          > PS. One shouldn't underestimate, in this kind of political
                                          exercise,
                                          > Steve Jolly's individual personal role. He's a colourful immigrant
                                          to
                                          > Australia with a strong Irish accent and in a modest way a
                                          charismatic
                                          > figure with a long history of socialist political agitation behind
                                          > him. The human element should never be overlooked as a factor in
                                          > electoral politics.
                                        • alanb1000
                                          ... Calling the Greens a small mass electoral formation is meaningless. There s nothing mass about them. They are a few thousand people - maybe five times
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Dec 15, 2004
                                            Bob Gould wrote:
                                            > the Greens as a small mass electoral formation to the left of
                                            > Labor, based largely in the new social layers.

                                            Calling the Greens a "small mass electoral formation" is meaningless.
                                            There's nothing "mass" about them. They are a few thousand people -
                                            maybe five times as many as there in the Socialist Alliance. "Small
                                            electoral formation" would sum them up perfectly well.

                                            For the record, I tried very hard to exclude the "new social layers"
                                            from my Greens branch when I was in there, with a fair degree of
                                            success. Our major sources of electoral support were areas that had
                                            high concentrations of public housing. While our electorate-wide
                                            votes were nothing much, particular neighbourhoods were much more
                                            interested.

                                            And yes, incidentally, we did have a perspective that at least
                                            overlapped, and in part directly copied, some parts of the SP's work.

                                            Oh yeah, yesterday a local fundamentalist Christian pastor, who is on
                                            the local council, publically apologised for bullying the poor, after
                                            the Greens got stuck into him. He's been going feral for a while
                                            with "morality" campaigns, but made the mistake of starting to bother
                                            people for having untidy yards and houses.

                                            Alan B
                                          • Peter Boyle
                                            Any group on the left is better than the evil DSP -- to Bob Gould. For examples of the SP s more reasonable approach to Australian politics please read:
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Dec 15, 2004
                                              Any group on the left is better than the evil DSP -- to Bob Gould. For
                                              examples of the SP's more "reasonable" approach to Australian politics
                                              please read:

                                              Howard won't give us economic security
                                              Posted on Thursday, December 02 @ 20:46:00 CST by spno
                                              This is the article analysing the post-Federal election situation plus
                                              why Howard won from the current issue of The Socialist.
                                              <http://www.socialistpartyaustralia.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=566>

                                              Socialist Alliance sows illusions in Greens
                                              Posted on Sunday, November 07 @ 00:39:22 CST by spno
                                              While the Socialist Party (SP) is busy putting the blowtorch to the
                                              Greens, another left wing party, Socialist Alliance (SA), continues to
                                              build up their credibility.
                                              <http://www.socialistpartyaustralia.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=547>

                                              The SP's first explanation of why it won the Richmond council position
                                              is quite straightforward:

                                              1. They ran a serious campaign:
                                              "We had two glossy full colour leaflets and a poster (available on our
                                              web site: http://www.socialistpartyaustralia.org). There were two
                                              letterbox drops and over 3000 homes were doorknocked. On top of this
                                              we ran stalls and participated in 3 debates throughout the Ward with
                                              the other candidates in which we felt we won strongly."

                                              2. They sharply opposed the neo-liberal agenda of the ALP-Greens council:
                                              "We successfully branded ourselves as the left opposition to the joint
                                              ALP/Green-run Council."

                                              3. Stephen Jolly had built up authority in Richmond over more than a
                                              decade:
                                              "It must be said the other reason we won this seat was as a result of
                                              a decade of hard work in the area. A significant number of local
                                              people knew of our work saving Richmond Secondary College, on the
                                              urban environment, on heroin reform, for casual workers' rights etc
                                              etc and trusted us enough to vote socialist."

                                              See:
                                              <http://www.socialistpartyaustralia.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=561>

                                              All the left can and should learn from.

                                              Jolly is a talented comrade and has a certain charisma. However, the
                                              SP is heavily dependent on this and I suspect this is one reason why
                                              they have not been able to build the SP far beyond his direct personal
                                              reach.

                                              There is no substantially special programmatic insight that the CWI
                                              owns and the we-have-the-one-true-programmism that it reverted to
                                              after its break with the majority leadership of its former Scottish
                                              section does limit its appeal. But it has built on a good tradition of
                                              local working class community issues that is a strong point of the
                                              broad Militant tradition. This same tradition carries on, I believe in
                                              a more non-sectarian way, in the SSP.

                                              All small socialist groups do have to choose their priorities. So were
                                              the Socialist Alliance comrades who chose to prioritise helping
                                              organise the Free Craig Johnston campaign over that last Victorian
                                              local elections wrong to do so? Should the anti-war movement
                                              organising be left to more conservative forces while socialists focus
                                              on building their particular socialist tendency? Would the socialist
                                              movement in this country have more or less respect for this?

                                              If more of the socialist groups were willing to work together the
                                              left's ability to carry out more effective simultaneous campaigns
                                              would increase. That is why many more socialists -- than belong to all
                                              its affiliates -- have joined the Socialist Alliance.

                                              Peter Boyle
                                            • Nick Fredman
                                              ... Wow, the proletariat of Melbourne is truly advanced, as it can differentiate between not only the Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Party (well, apart
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Dec 16, 2004
                                                Bob Gould writes:

                                                > It's even worse to delude yourself that engaging in a fairly
                                                > straightforward electoral exercise solves the central strategic
                                                > problems facing socialists -- whether you're relatively successful as
                                                > the Socialist Party and the ISO have been in Victoria, or relatively
                                                > unsuccessful as the DSP/Socialist Alliance has been everywhere in
                                                > recent times.

                                                Wow, the proletariat of Melbourne is truly advanced, as it can
                                                differentiate between not only the Socialist Alliance and the Socialist
                                                Party (well, apart for the electoral commission person who sent a
                                                email of congratulation to Steve Jolly - at the Socialist Alliance
                                                address), but different tendencies with SA.

                                                Heavy sarcasm aside, of course it is possible that the differing
                                                results are related to differing methods (I take Nigel/Brian's point,
                                                from his informative post, that methods are related to platform, but
                                                I'd still argue that it is significant that the platforms are
                                                indistinguishable to 99% of voters). However on this Bob offers, once
                                                more and again, not a shred of evidence in terms of policy statements,
                                                activities carried out, or anything else, but another long ramble of
                                                his opinion.

                                                For one thing it seems unlikely that the recent differing local
                                                election SA results for those branches with somewhat more ISO than DSP
                                                influence are due to a greater concentration on "local" or "community"
                                                issues - in the current GLW there's a letter from David Glanz,
                                                complaining that the GL report of the relevant campaign didn't mention
                                                all the stress laid on Iraq and refugees (by the way, in my experience
                                                of my community of the last 8 years, there's always been much more
                                                interest, and certainly activity, on the big national/international
                                                issues - East Timor, reconciliation/justice for indigenous people, the
                                                maritime dispute, local expressions of student and university staff
                                                campaigns, refugees, Iraq etc. - though this hasn't stopped us from
                                                involvement in or showing solidarity with local industrial disputes, or
                                                helping to stop a very silly council proposal for a bypass through the
                                                outskirts of Lismore, an activity which made some Greens and others
                                                urge us to run for the local elections, which we didn't mainly for
                                                financial reasons).

                                                For another thing, even going by the very inadequate measure of numbers
                                                of votes alone, the Gould thesis (ISO serious, DSP nochalant, towards
                                                elections), can be easily disproved. Nearly all the best SA results
                                                have been for SA candidates who happen to be DSP members, in branches
                                                with a strong DSP input: from memeory, 6.5% in previous Melbourne local
                                                elections for Maurice Sibelle, several results of 4-5% in Northern
                                                Territory and Tasmanian elections, and the highest federal election
                                                result of 1.9% for James Vaasilopoulos in Canberra. Of course ISO
                                                members have worked very seriously and hard for many elections,
                                                contributing to some good results like over 3% for the curly-haired
                                                Brisbane comrade whose name escapes me for the Queensland state seat
                                                Inala earlier this year. Of course a number of factors contribute to a
                                                result, and there's a number of measures of sucess or otherwise of a
                                                campaign other than the number of votes.

                                                The important point is that there are some differences in approach, and
                                                platform, for socialists contesting elections, but these aren't
                                                rigidly fixed, or barriers to common organisation, and there's plenty
                                                of commonalities as well, and all this should in any case be discussed
                                                in a comradely and concrete way, rather than with Gouldite bullshit and
                                                sectarianism.
                                              • Pip Hinman & Peter Boyle
                                                ... I agree. The socialist movement here (I think Shane s insistence that there is no socialist movement in Australia just a bunch of iredeemably sectarian
                                                Message 23 of 24 , Dec 16, 2004
                                                  Nick Fredman wrote:

                                                  > The important point is that there are some differences in approach, and
                                                  > platform, for socialists contesting elections, but these aren't
                                                  > rigidly fixed, or barriers to common organisation, and there's plenty
                                                  > of commonalities as well, and all this should in any case be discussed
                                                  > in a comradely and concrete way, rather than with Gouldite bullshit and
                                                  > sectarianism.


                                                  I agree. The socialist movement here (I think Shane's insistence that
                                                  there is no "socialist movement" in Australia just a bunch of
                                                  iredeemably sectarian "socialist propaganda groups" is grossly
                                                  inaccurate and a pointless and painful exercise of self-justification on
                                                  his part -- when will he learn that the discussion is not about him and
                                                  his individual course?) is small and at a very early stage and we can
                                                  all learn from the modest experiences of the various tendencies. It was
                                                  quite funny to read Brian/Nigel Irritable write on this list recently
                                                  that the British SWP had had some success because they had "aped" the
                                                  SP. I suppose when the Socialist Alliance wins a council postion he'll
                                                  say the same. What platform did the SP stand on in Richmond? An
                                                  "anti-neoliberal platform" , in the SP's own words. What platform did
                                                  the SA stand on?

                                                  It is a sad joke. There is not a single revolutionary socialist group
                                                  today that has exclusive rights to some amazing programmatic insight.
                                                  That's sectarian dreaming that it is best for every socialist to wake up
                                                  from. It is RUBBISH. Give it up. It is safer to drink too much alcohol
                                                  than is good for you! That approach never had a "use by date" -- it was
                                                  always useless. Basically every revolutionary socialist group in the
                                                  world that has some Marxist theoretical heritage is trying to pursue the
                                                  same basic program. It is distorted by the fact that most of these
                                                  groups are still relatively weak in the labour movement. This reinforces
                                                  sectarian tendencies.

                                                  Some groups try and break out of that marginalisation by linking up with
                                                  militant elements in the working class when such an opening exists (BTW
                                                  there is clearly a whole political analysis about this that Shane for
                                                  one refuses to see even though it has been spelt out ad nauseum on this
                                                  list -- he doesn't have to agree with this analysis but he should stop
                                                  LYING that it has not been made). They are prepared to build broader
                                                  alliances and new parties where this wil help the process of linking up.
                                                  They are prepared to reopen a collective discussion among broader forces
                                                  in struggle about the socialist program. They are prepared to do this
                                                  through a patient process of collective political engagement, assessment
                                                  and organic programmatic. They are prepared to recognise that other
                                                  forces with different backgrounds have led and are leading revolutions
                                                  and descerve a bit of respect from all socialists in imperialist
                                                  countries.

                                                  That's what is good about the SSP, Socialist Alliance, Danish Red-Green
                                                  Alliance and other regroupment projects. Nobody is pretending that
                                                  there is any perfect model or that they've worked everything out but I'm
                                                  glad to be part of that and not part of the cynical and bitter brigade,
                                                  even if (in Ausralia) it is bigger in numbers than those organising as
                                                  socialists today. I got to see "The Motorcycle Diaries" today and
                                                  enjoyed it. It's one for the idealism and integrity of
                                                  revolutionary-minded youth and a poke in the eyes of the cynical brigade.

                                                  Peter Boyle
                                                • nigel_irritable
                                                  ... It was ... recently ... the ... he ll ... This needs a quick correction. My reference to the SWP slowly learning how things like council elections work was
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , Dec 17, 2004
                                                    --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, Pip Hinman & Peter
                                                    Boyle <ppz@g...> wrote:
                                                    > Nick Fredman wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    It was
                                                    > quite funny to read Brian/Nigel Irritable write on this list
                                                    recently
                                                    > that the British SWP had had some success because they had "aped"
                                                    the
                                                    > SP. I suppose when the Socialist Alliance wins a council postion
                                                    he'll
                                                    > say the same.

                                                    This needs a quick correction.

                                                    My reference to the SWP slowly learning how things like council
                                                    elections work was a reference to Ireland {where I am from), not to
                                                    Britain (where I used to live).

                                                    In Britain they are desperately looking for shortcuts by dropping
                                                    scary ideas like socialism or working class politics. Even if you
                                                    take a more charitable view of Respect, it clearly has borrowed
                                                    little if anything from the Socialist Party. In Ireland, the
                                                    situation is different.

                                                    In the early 1990s, the Irish Socialist Party, then called Militant
                                                    Labour, won a council seat in a working class suburb in Dublin. The
                                                    seat was won through intensive local campaigning.

                                                    That seat in Mulhuddart then gave the SP a useful public platform,
                                                    which came in handy when it came to organising and leading the
                                                    succesful campaign of mass non-payment which defeated the water tax
                                                    in the mid 1990s. Out of that struggle the Socialist Party shocked
                                                    the Irish establishment by almost winning a parliamentary by-
                                                    election in 1996.

                                                    During all this time the Irish SWP had attacked the SP for standing
                                                    in elections and had basically ignored community struggles like the
                                                    water tax. After the 1996 Dublin West by-election they decided that
                                                    there were votes to be had for socialists and they decided to stand
                                                    in elections.

                                                    In 1997 there was a general election. The Socialist Party and some
                                                    others launched a loose left alliance which contested those
                                                    elections. Not only did the SWP not take any interest in such
                                                    matters, they actually stood a candidate against us, doing
                                                    predictably poorly.

                                                    Since then the Socialist Party has slowly established a small
                                                    electoral profile, with four councillors, a member of parliament and
                                                    the short term prospect of further gains. The SWP took a few more
                                                    electoral kickings and then, showing that whatever else you can say
                                                    about them they aren't completely stupid, they started learning.

                                                    They still haven't got anyone elected anywhere or even come very
                                                    close. On the other hand they don't get humiliated as a matter of
                                                    course any more. You could argue that they learnt all by themselves
                                                    or you can argue that they paid attention to a more succesful rival
                                                    right in front of their eyes. Personally, I think the latter is more
                                                    likely.

                                                    As for what I will say about the Australian Socialist Alliance when
                                                    it wins a council seat, let's wait and see if that happens shall we?

                                                    Brian

                                                    P.S. I will try to respond to Dave Riley's longer posting when I get
                                                    some time.
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