2 years ago

When:
12 July, 2016

Location:
Socialist Alternative Sydney

Organised by:
Socialist Alternative Club


In most parts of the world, engagement in parliamentary elections is at an all time low, as people vote with their feet against the sham that is capitalist democracy. A common response is to blame voters for their apathy. This is a huge mistake.

The truth is that for working class people - who make up the bulk of abstainers - there is generally little meaning to the charade of parliamentary 'democracy'. The major parties in almost every country in the world have converged on a neoliberal consensus - on the need to 'reform' (read: undermine) public health, education and welfare services, and instead facilitate further police powers and authoritarian attacks on democratic rights and freedoms. In short, regardless of who wins elections, regardless of their election platforms, all that happens is cuts.

Further, a range of institutions have been set up to preclude the possibility of ever breaking from these neoliberal orthodoxies - the EU, independent federal banks, the IMF, and so on. Here in Australia it is the unelected and unaccountable productivity commission and Fair Work who make decisions that affect the lives of millions of people.

Yet recent years have also shown that millions can be inspired to engage in politics if they feel there is a genuine alternative, such as with Sanders in the US, Syriza in Greece, or Jeremy Corbyn in the UK. Given that both Labor and the Greens have utterly failed to inspire the electorate yet again by virtue of their insipid centrism, what lessons can socialists here in Australia draw from these processes?

All welcome for a discussion on these important issues.

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