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Stephen Jolly: On being elected to council as a socialist

by Dave Riley

The Socialist Party's Stephen Jolly has published a convoluted post on Leftwrites on what he thinks the Left can learn from his experience of trying to intervene into local council. Jolly was elected to Melbourne's Yarra Council in 2004.
I have developed a ‘campaign pro forma’ when a group of residents seek support on an issue: get them to organise a petition as a way to testing out their seriousness and also to get the word out; try and get an article in the local media on the issue of concern; and get the residents to come to the Council meeting and raise the issue. Depending on the issue and the mood, call a public meeting or rally. By this time the other Councillors and senior management are sufficiently softened up to get a better outcome than would otherwise have been the case.

The big pressure I face is from the bureaucracy and other Councillors seeking to get my ‘feet under the table’ and being sucked into a process (which the other Councillors have allowed themselves to be) of playing a role in running a neo-liberal Council. Of undertaking what ex-British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock described as a "dented shield approach" of seeking to alleviate the effects of neo-liberal policies on the community. I was told by one ALP Councillor: "You are now no longer an activist, you are part of government".

Jolly also raises the issue of the determination of a section of the far left to ignore socialist election campaigns like his party's and that of the Socialist Alliance.

1 Com:

Dave Riley | September 28, 2007

Good followup commentary here:Steve Jolly, socialist electioneering, and sectarianism on The Red Wombat Hole

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