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A socialist manifesto for Labor

By Marko Beljac - posted Monday, 18 November 2013

The Left in Australia and the world faces a number of serious challenges.

I submit that the Left end of the political spectrum in Australia is increasingly without purpose and without strategic direction.

I submit that the Left of Australian politics faces a most peculiar challenge. That being to develop an ideological narrative that brings together its inchoate campaigns and disparate activists under the one banner.


The challenge is to develop an ideological banner that provides cohesion and strategic direction.

I submit that banner should be a standard raised high and raised in the deepest red.

I submit that banner should be socialism.

I submit that socialists should make the Australian Labor Party, with its organic links to the Australian working class, their natural home.

Although the Australian Labor Party is not a socialist party, and arguably never has been a socialist party, it nonetheless from its founding to today has been a party with socialists firmly ensconced within her bosom.

But why do I say we should be for socialism?


Our lives over the past three decades have been largely shaped by neoliberal structural reforms. Not only within Australia but throughout the world it has been a central tendency of political, social and economic life.

There are many reasons why this tendency should be resisted; because it promotes a crass conception of self; because it tears at the social and cultural fabric that makes life worth living; because it widens the divide between the obscenely wealthy and the rest; because it offers no solutions for the multiple, perhaps existential, crises facing humanity; because it doesn't even offer a sound economic doctrine as shown by financial volatility and lower trend rates of economic growth relative to the post war Keynesian era.

The Left has got neoliberalism wrong; terribly wrong. So wrong that leftists the world over observe in awe as neoliberal austerity marches onward despite the global economic crisis.

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About the Author

Mark Beljac teaches at Swinburne University of Technology, is a board member of the New International Bookshop, and is involved with the Industrial Workers of the World, National Tertiary Education Union, National Union of Workers (community) and Friends of the Earth.

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