On Sunday, 3 February, a conference of three socialist groups, the International Socialist Organisation - publishers of Socialist Worker - Socialist Action Group and Solidarity voted to merge their organisations into a united group to be called Solidarity. As a result, for now, Socialist Worker is in hiatus. But we do intend to be back soon, albeit in a new form. In the meantime, we reprint a statement issued by the new organisation - Solidarity - that we are a part of.
A Stronger Left and Stronger Socialist Organization
Forging Unity For the Struggle Ahead
On Sunday, 3 February, a conference of three socialist groups, Socialist Action Group, International Socialist Organisation, and Solidarity voted to merge their organisations into a united group to be called Solidarity.
The merger represents a significant step forward in re-unifying the key groups of the International Socialist Tendency in Australia and the emergence of a new national group committed to building the left and the social movements in Australia.
The merger brings together the members of three groups that have played an important role in the fight against the Howard government – in the fight against the cuts to Higher Education and the introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism, against One Nation, on the side of militant unionism in the MUA dispute, the fight for refugee rights, against scapegoating Muslims and against the so-called war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Together with a joint commitment to the politics of socialism from below, it has been the experience of working together particularly in anti-war work and the lead up to the APEC demonstration against George Bush and John Howard in Sydney that laid the basis for forging the unity of the three groups.
After ten long years of Howard conservatism, the Rudd Labor government came to office in November riding the wave of anger against Work Choices. The Labor government embodies many hopes for real change. But it also presents a challenge to the Left.
Bringing the Burmese and Sri Lankan asylum seekers from Nauru and the announcement that there will be an apology to the Stolen Generations in the opening days of the new Parliament are the first steps to reversing the racism of the Howard government.
But Rudd’s promises have been carefully crafted not to upset the top end of town. Labor’s changes to WorkChoices will fall short even of federal Labor policy. They will not restore the right to strike and even AWA’s will potentially be valid until 2012. A mass Indigenous rally on the opening day of Parliament will show the Rudd government that dispossession is not an historical question and that the Intervention in the Northern Territory is repeating the past wrongs. Now Rudd is talking about fighting inflation but not about maintaining the jobs and living standards of workers.
The fight for social justice cannot be waged from the sidelines. The unified Solidarity is committed to throwing itself into struggles for social justice, to overturn the legacy of the Howard years and to strengthen the confidence of rank and file unionists on the shop floor.
We look forward to working in common struggle with other activists from social movements and the wider left to further these aims.