Sunday, May 9, 2010

Australian Left Renewal Conference - May 29-30

This week at Left Focus we're promoting the Australian Left Renewal Conference - to be held in Sydney at the end of this month.  (May 2010)  Feel welcome to follow the URLs included in the text below for more information...

Perhaps the most important conference on the future of the Left in Australia in years...  Read on...

Australian Left Renewal Conference

weekend May 29-30, 2010

University of Technology Sydney Building 2

Broadway, Sydney

Democratic responses to the social and ecological failure of global capitalism

International Left responses to the global crises

Alliances between environmentalists and unionists that show the way forward

The Left and its strategic direction

12 Workshops and 4 Participatory Forums

International speakers - from the Philippines, Venezuela, India and South Africa

Be part of the change!

Follow the URL below for Program

Follow the URL below for Registration Form

The SEARCH Foundation’s program of ‘left renewal’ has convened Roundtables in Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney over the last three years. This national conference will bring all those efforts together and reach out to more people across movements, organisations and political parties.

The national conference will focus on two levels of change – addressing the global crisis and the need to move to a green future, and the need for the left movement in Australia to change and renew itself as part of
that process.

The Cosmpolitan Civil Societies Research Centre, set up in 2007, is an interdisciplinary research initiative at the University of Technology, Sydney, that brings together scholars from a range of disciplines in the broad social sciences and humanities to investigate the practices that are crucial in enabling social cohesion and change in cosmopolitan societies.

Organised by the SEARCH Foundation & the Cosmpolitan Civil Societies Research Centre, UTS.

Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre

Level 3, MaryAnn House,

645 Harris Street

Ultimo NSW 2007

SEARCH Foundation

Level 3, Suite 3B, 110 Kippax St

Surry Hills NSW 2010

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  1. “Left Renewal” is of course a very good idea, although it has been a much-discussed subject for years.

    Inevitably the first difficulty is just what one defines as “Left”. Marxists, for instance, are clearly a long way to the Left of the Greens, for instance. It would be natural to infer that the virtually non-existence of the former group (marked for instance by the self-closure of the former DSP), as compared to the not unrealistic hopes of the latter group, discredits the non-liberal left political streams. Yet a century ago Marxism did not govern anywhere. So while the fact even after forty years of Greenery, they don’t govern anywhere is not the serious negative it might seem, one should be humble about asserting that it is the correct alternative.

    It should be a very very sharp reminder of the difficulty not just of getting power, but also of hanging on to it. One of the key realities regarding any leftist “regroupment” is that it does require a clear philosophy and it does require real party discipline.

    As the feeble policy efforts of various sort-of-left groups – and the Greens – have shown, a clear philosophy is not so easy to instil. It is all too common for supposedly progressive democratic organisations to come to be run by a clique (always including any paid full- or part-time manager) that is much more interested in protecting its power and privileges than in doing the job and advancing the beliefs it was funded and/or paid by its members to do.

    While none of us like discipline when it is applied to us, discipline remains a necessity; those who in theory or practice refuse to accept that fact are not serious about wanting leftist government. Conversely, internal party structures need to be democratic. Democratic centralism is centralist, but it is also democratic. Simply formulating and achieving general acceptance of reasonably clear standards of behaviour for leftists in leftist organisations would be itself be a real gain.

    Socialist groups here will be judged by their effectiveness in promoting socialism here. While it is good to hear of leftist doings overseas, there is a tendency to present the flavour of the year/month/decade (delete whichever is inapplicable) as some sort of decisive triumph. We’ve had the Scottish Socialist Party, the DSP, the UK SWP, Respect, and on the fringes the New Zealand Workers Charter, with the rather more successful exercise in Venezuela and of course Cuba, the most truly socialist survivor (though one should not overlook Vietnam).

  2. This conference looks truly awful.

  3. After 20 years this is the best that the financial wing of the Communist Party of Australia can come with? I can't believe how 3rd rate it looks. Pity Nick Clegg is Deputy PM now or he could have been the most left wing person there.

  4. Perhaps they could invite Malcolm Fraser instead?! haha


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