The written - and online -- pre-conference discussion for the 8th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance's finishes today two days before the actual conference begins in Sydney.
The conference will be held at the new Activist Centre there which is big enough and flexible enough to house a large mob.
Discussion has been vigorous in the pages of Alliance Voices and there have been close to 100 documents, proposals and amendments contributed.
The key focus has been the draft resolution -- Towards a Socialist Australia -- which has already gone through a few re-writes as part of an ongoing collaborative process.
The idea to put together a document which starts to encapsulate the answers to the questions “Why Socialism?” and “What Does the Socialist Alliance Stand For?” in a popular style came about late last year.... This process has been the result of positive collaboration within the Alliance and reflects our current practice with policy development and discussion on our campaigning e-lists.Assuming that the draft is approved at the conference, the next step will be to commence a process of continuing discussion about the document within the Alliance, as well as public consultation with our allies, collaborators and individual supporters, with a view to formally adopting it as a document of the Alliance at our 2013 National Conference. How branches choose to go about this consultation will be up to them, and dependent upon the particular circumstances in each city and state, but branches should start a discussion about this soon after the conference -- Susan Price : Rationale for the Towards a Socialist Australia document
Since I've been under the weather I haven't been actively engaged in party debates to the extent I was two years ago. But ever a meddler I contributed two discussion items on what I called 'Atlargeness' -- Article I and Article II.
The advantage of being at-large as I am is that you get to meditate on the condition.
A theme in some of the exchanges has been identity which I think is a political trap. I'm dedicated to judging an outfit on what it does and how it does it -- not on what it thinks it is. On the socialists left there is far too much boutique identity politics. After 40 years of it I've had my fill of shibboleth making and program posturing.
Ironically Towards a Socialist Australia not only tries to define what the Socialist Alliance is and strives for but in its genesis it also suggests what the Alliance does.