Over the course of nearly 40 years, the Greens have been transformed from a tiny environmentalist organisation into a sizeable and serious party perceived to be to the left of the ALP. This article will look at the origins of the Greens and the class basis of their politics; examine the demographics of their voters and membership, and comment on their organisational and political dimensions before looking at their current political trajectory.
The idea that Aboriginal inequality is caused by the racist attitudes of ordinary people is widespread. Yet it was not working-class attitudes to Aborigines that drove the Australian government’s 2007 intervention into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. Instead, elements of the middle class played a crucial role.
The need for a socialist workers’ party that could rebuild rank and file union organisation and mount sustained resistance to every ruling class attack could not be more sharply posed. This is a task that Socialist Alternative has dedicated itself to over the last fifteen years. While we are still far from being the mass party we need to be – a party that could intervene in and attempt to lead every struggle by workers and the oppressed – we have, despite the generally difficult political climate, made modest steps forward and are now the largest organisation on the revolutionary left in Australia. This article is an attempt to sum up the lessons of the debates in the International Socialist Tendency (IST) about the assessment of the political situation and perspectives for building revolutionary organisations that led to the formation of Socialist Alternative in 1995.
The rise of Islamophobia in the West needs a clear and principled response from the left. Mick Armstrong takes a critical look at the traditions of "secularism" and the failure of even some in the socialist left to oppose anti-Muslim racism.
Tom Bramble, using a wealth of data, refutes arguments which claim that the Australian working class no longer has the power to challenge capitalist rule.
The Labor Party is in crisis. Its branch structures continue to fracture, its active membership continues to shrink, its working class vote continues to decline and year after year the party shifts further to the right. Can it in any sense still be regarded as some form of workers’ party? Ben Hillier argues that the answer is a qualified “yes".
Louise O’Shea, an activist in Equal Love, argues that by years of steady campaigning,organisations committed to same-sex marriage rights have brought the issue from the margins onto the political agenda. She shows how it became a prominent election issue and is putting pressure on the ALP.
Tom Bramble looks at the rise of China and considers the conflicts for Australian imperialism: pulled between making the most of China’s booming growth and remaining loyal to the US, which sees China as a potential threat to their imperialist domination.
Jim Cairns was a sincere socialist. He was one of the most prominent campaigners against the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s. Mick Armstrong shows that, despite being far to the left of any of today’s politicians, Labor or Green, Cairns could not use parliament to bring about fundamental change as he hoped.
Tess Lee Ack takes on the common assumption that racism among workers drives government policies and shows who actually promotes it.
Diane Fieldes looks at the dismal experience of the Gillard government. She argues that the formation of a minority Labor government with the backing of the Greens and populist independents did not create an opportunity for the left as many thought it would in 2010.
Corey Oakley looks at the rise and fall of the post-war ALP left in Victoria and NSW in the post-war period, and examines the reasons why the once radical Labor left degenerated to the sorry state it is in today.
Tom Bramble debunks the theory that there is an aristocracy of labour in Australia.
Mick Armstrong argues that socialists should recognise riots as an important part of working class struggle and shows the role they have often played in Australia.
Cecilia Judge and Adam Bottomley outline how Australian Services Union members won what has been described as the most significant victory for gender pay equity since the 1970s.
Katie Wood looks at the 1969 Clarrie O'Shea strike.
Ben Hillier and Tom O'Lincoln chart the origins and development of capitalism in Australia.
Diane Fieldes looks at the impact on the family of women's increased participation in the paid workforce.
Rebecca Barrigos explains how both the rise of the modern higher education system and the erosion of free education under the impact of neoliberalism have served capitalism.
Tom O'Lincoln argues that Australia's interventions in Asia after World War II were the hallmark of a developing imperialist country determined to dominate the surrounding region.
Vashti Kenway looks at why Australia is so close to Israel.
Roz Ward argues that "community policing" is just another form of coercion which does nothing to halt the brutalit of state police forces.
Sandra Bloodworth reviews a new book by Clare Wright, Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. The historical material in Wright’s book not only confronts the masculinist narrative of Eureka which has dominated Australian historiography, but also confirms some key Marxist arguments about women and social struggles.
With a wealth of empirical data, Tom Bramble explains how neoliberal policies at the centre of both major parties’ agendas have served the capitalist class well.
Rebecca Barrigos looks at the frequent government attacks on student unions since the 1970s.
Louise O’Shea explains why the Abbott government is the most unpopular first term government in Australian history.
Terry Irving’s book The Southern Tree of Liberty celebrates working people, their grievances, their organisations and the struggle for democracy before 1856 as revealed by working class newspapers, many never consulted by historians before.
Vashti Kenway argues that Australia has a long history of discrimination against Muslims, culminating in the rabid Islamophobia promoted by both Liberal and Labor governments to justify Australia’s involvement in a series of wars in the Middle East.
Mick Armstrong explores how World War I led to enormous class struggles in Australia, and led to a split in the Labor party, a general strike and a political radicalisation that shaped the next decades of working class politics.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s historical novel Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind) was published by Penguin in 1983. Max Lane, argues it should be read by anyone wanting to understand the history of Indonesia in the late twentieth century.
Katie Wood draws together a rich history of working class struggle for equal pay for women. Unlike some historians who present equal pay as a "feminist" issue won by women's mobilisations against men's resistance, she shows that it has been a union issue since the nineteenth century.
Liam Ward has assembled a remarkable history of struggle by Chinese workers in Australia which has mostly been ignored or misrepresented.
Sam Pietsch looks at the response of Australian governments, both Liberal and Labor, to the challenge of Indonesian independence in what they regard as their "backyard".
Ben Hillier shows how the economic ordering of Australian capitalism helps consolidate bourgeois hegemony.
Rebecca Barrigos brings together research by social and oral historians who have recorded a terrible history of Aboriginal oppression in Weipa, Aurukun and Mapoon on Cape York Peninsula.
Tess Lee Ack analyses the phenomenon of Pauline Hanson in the 1990s: her support base, how media promotion boosted her profile, and how she was stopped the last time around.
Ben Hillier outlines the role of the mining industry in the development of the Australian economy, situating the latter in the global division of labour, and outlines the challenges facing the Australian ruling class in the twenty-first century.
In the context of the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Bramble compares the history of splits and struggles in the Australian Labor Party with those of its British counterpart.
Ben Reid offers a detailed study of where and why support for Pauline Hanson is strongest.
Rather than a welcoming, multicultural society, Australia has a menacing history of serious fascist organisations involving figures treated with respect in our history books, as Louise O'Shea explains.
Vashti Kenway challenges the idea that the camps on Manus Island and Nauru are a departure from the norm in Australia, examining the use of concentration camps in Australia from the earliest days of invasion.
Tom Bramble, drawing on decades of research and active involvement in the labour movement, argues that 35 years of passivity and class collaboration rather than an emphasis on militant, class struggle unionism is the core reason our unions are in crisis.
Rebecca Barrigos digs into the history of economic development, ruling class strategies and the labour movement of Queensland to explain why the state has its own distinct political traditions.
Tom Bramble analyses the factors driving the terrifying growth of the police state in Australia.
Jordan Humphreys explores the nature of immigration to Australia. By highlighting its importance to ruling class strategies for economic growth he explains how and why the numbers and origins of immigrants have changed over time.
Tess Lee Ack draws together anecdotes and lessons from her involvement in the founding years of international socialism of 1970s Australia, from which Socialist Alternative was formed in 1995.
Alexis Vassiley reviews an excellent new book describing the brutal policing of Indigenous peoples in the Kimberley in the late 19th century.
Diane Fieldes reviews a fascinating new work that documents the early formation of working class consciousness in Australia.
Australia and the US have initiated a new cold war with China. In this timely piece, Liam Ward explores the sordid history of anti-Chinese racism in Australia.
Tom Bramble surveys the election results and puts forward an explanation for Labor's surprising defeat that rests on the party's long-term shift to the right.
Liz Walsh reflects on the experience of launching the Victorian Socialists.
Gavin Stanbrook and Diane Fieldes celebrate the life of a pioneering Indigenous activist and trade unionist.
Stephanie Price reviews this excellent new book which documents in great detail the means by which unions and the ALP sold a corporatist version of neoliberalism to the working class.
Tom Bramble draws a snapshot of a stuttering world economy facing multiple constraints on future growth.
Sarah Garnham assesses the new climate movement and makes a case for a revolutionary perspective.
Catarina Da Silva looks at the economic roots of Australia's bipartisan support for the fossil fuels industry, arguing that a timely transition is impossible within capitalism.
Mick Armstrong reviews The Making of the Labor Party in New South Wales 1880-1900 , a text which challenges the standard assumptions of most labour historians about the origins of the ALP.
David Glanz documents the sordid history of Australian imperialism in the South Pacific.
In this fascinating piece, Mick Armstrong explores the politics of the heroic Industrial Workers of the World, Australia's first mass revolutionary working class movement.
Tom Bramble assesses and rejects the argument that the end of 'fordism' means the end of working class power.
Phil Griffiths explores the origins and ongoing realities of anti-Japanese bigotry in Australia.
Tom O'Lincoln surveys the history of Australian imperialism, arguing that Australia has independent reasons for maintaining the US alliance, which it uses to dominate and exploit peoples across our region.
Mick Armstrong looks at the impact of World War I on the class struggle in Australia.
Anne Picot provides a history of the Australian anti-war movement of the 1960s.
David Glanz summarises the debates in the movement against the first Gulf War.
Tony Belcher examines the Australian economy during the 1980s, arguing that the Australian capitalism was in a weak position going forward.
Tom O'Lincoln recounts the rise and fall of Australia's last reforming government, finding that the myths of Whitlam's radical policies do not reflect the more pragmatic reality.
Tom Bramble reviews the weakened state of workers' organisations in Australia after a decade of the Accord.
Mick Armstrong recounts the rise and fall of the NSW Builders Labourers’ Federation, and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the radical left that turned the union into one of the most impressive examples of socialist unionism in history.
Diane Fieldes and Jordan Humphreys look at how rank and file higher education workers rebelled against attempts by both university managements and their own union to impose job losses and attacks on their wages and conditions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jack Crawford reviews Liz Ross’ new book about workers’ resistance to the Prices and Incomes Accord.
Sam Pietsch reviews an account of the struggle for independence in West Papua, and the history of Indonesia’s occupation.
Omar Hassan analyses the economic, political and social dynamics unleashed by the pandemic.
Mick Armstrong surveys the many debates that emerged during the founding of the CPA, drawing out lessons for contemporary revolutionaries.
Tess Lee Ack revisits some highlights of militant struggles by teacher unions in Australia.
Terry Irving looks at the life of Vere Gordon Childe, and explores the reasons for his suicide.
Jordan Humphreys offers a Marxist explanation of Indigenous oppression today.
Liz Ross reviews Terry Irving's new book on the life and thought of Vere Gordon Childe.
Diane Fieldes reviews Sam Oldham's book about radical Australian trade unionism in the 1970s.
Emma Norton reviews Brian Toohey's book about the making of Australia’s security state.
Omar Hassan assesses the uneven social and political impact of the pandemic, and presents some explanations for the faster than expected economic recovery.
Jordan Humphreys excavates the history of the early workers' movement and finds substantial evidence for Aboriginal involvement in the famous shearers' strikes and that the AWU made real efforts to support their struggles.
Nick Everett reviews a recent book documenting an inspiring history of Indigenous class struggle.
Tom Bramble examines Australia's aggressive role in the growing imperialist competition in the Indo-Pacific and argues that the left must oppose Australia’s involvement in the US-led war drive.
Jordan Humphreys uncovers the forgotten history of the early Communist Party's role in the fight for Indigenous rights.
Omar Hassan surveys recent shifts in the global economy and warns that workers face escalating assaults on our living standards, while the ruling class prepares for war.
Mick Armstrong examines the record of Labor Prime Minister Ben Chifley, and demonstrates that, despite his working-class background, Chifley was no friend of the workers, either as a union official or as a politician.
Rick Kuhn critically reviews the economic strategies promoted by the left in Australia, in particular the left nationalist ideas popular in the 1970s and ’80s. He argues that such reformist strategies offer no threat to capitalism and no way forward for the working class.
Jordan Humphreys reviews a book that critiques privilege theory politics and polemicises against those on the left who counterpose the rights of Indigenous people to those of migrants.
Liz Ross reviews a book on Britain’s atomic tests at Emu Field (SA) in the 1950s, which documents the secrecy and recklessness surrounding the tests, their terrible impact on local Indigenous groups and the Australian government’s complicity.
Phoebe Kelloway surveys the development of the healthcare system in Australia in the post-war years. She recounts how capitalists and doctors fought against universal care, how Labor repeatedly walked away from its progressive commitments, and how nurses have struck to fight back.
Nick Everett reviews Labor’s abysmal record on Indigenous rights: a history of repeated betrayals and failure to challenge racism or achieve fundamental improvement.
Mick Armstrong traces the development of Trotskyism in the context of the far left in Australia.
Omar Hassan explores the social and political ramifications of inflation and rising interest rates, growing geopolitical instability and the prospects for working-class resistance.
Sam Pietsch reviews a new book analysing Australia’s role as a junior partner of US imperialism and critiquing the “rules-based international order” that serves to legitimate the interests of the US and Australian ruling classes.
Duncan Hart reviews a useful book that exposes the systemic exploitation and shameful wage theft faced by workers in Australia.
Jordan Humphreys examines the political implications of the recent expansion of the Indigenous middle and capitalist classes.