National Left Conference Statement

secure jobs in a green future ...

Conference Statement

Unite the left to defeat corporate power and win a better world

Austerity, union busting, disempowerment and accelerating climate change are the policies coming from corporate capitalism in Europe and North America as the global capitalist crisis continues. Democracy itself has been usurped in Greece as technocrats impose these harsh policies on behalf of the big financial corporations who created the crisis in the first place. The fascist right is emerging as a political force and as a violent threat as social conflict deepens.

Neo-liberalism has survived as the dominant ideology since the global capitalist crisis broke in 2008. We have to unite to defeat it.

In Australia we face the spectre of a Murdoch media-backed Abbott Coalition government which would impose a very harsh austerity program on behalf of the giant corporations.

The poor, the unemployed and homeless, the newest immigrants and refugees, the people in insecure work on low pay, a majority of them women, and their children, are those who suffer most from austerity policies.

The left, with its internationalism and socialism, its roots in organised labour, the anti-war, environment and social liberation movements, can challenge the harsh ideas and programs now confronting the people everywhere.  We have to answer authoritarian austerity with greater democracy, solidarity, secure jobs, and more equality.

This left renewal conference - secure jobs in a green future... - encourages all the movements for democracy, social justice and ecological sustainability in Australia to expand their campaigns in the adverse conditions we have faced since our last conference in 2010.

To engage with the threats faced by the Australian people as part of our global community, we make our priorities in the next three years:

·         Secure work for all through direct employment and the elimination of labour hire, casual and fake contracting work. Unity of the workers by opposing all racism and sexism, and fighting for equal rights.

·         Reassert a free secular universal public education system from kindergarten to TAFE and university as the basis for a democratic, prosperous and ecologically sustainable Australia.

·         Campaign for renewable energy to replace fossil fuel, with an expanded manufacturing base in Australia, and with industry super funds and community investment in cooperatives like the Earthworker Cooperative as important mechanisms. There must be a focus on just transitions to good jobs in carbon-intensive regions such as the Latrobe Valley.

·         Change the Australian Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia and remove discriminatory sections, continue our support for a genuine Treaty or Treaties; build a movement to roll back the new paternalism of the NT Intervention with more empowered communities.

·         Confront the racism used to vilify asylum seekers and campaign to end mandatory detention whether off-shore or on-shore.

·         Assert Australian engagement in our region as a people’s solidarity for sustainable development and vigorously oppose the US-led drive toward military confrontation with China, with all its threat of nuclear war.

·         Build global campaigns for an effective agreement to rapidly cut carbon emissions to keep global warming at less than 2 degrees Celsius.

·         Build a movement to defend gains in paid parental leave and women’s reproductive rights, and to remove all forms of discrimination based on gender and sexuality.

·         Challenge corporate domination of state policies and public thinking by attacking the failure of neoliberalism and its global free trade agenda, and promoting worker and community controlled industry development, job opportunities, income guarantees, and tax and other policies that encourage meaningful innovation and reduce wealth and income disparities.

·         Build links with workers' organisations internationally and seek to emphasize the global dimensions of the climate and economic crisis.

Our campaigns will expose the 1% who have high-jacked our democracy and are wrecking our planet.

We urge greater democratic participation in basic institutions such as the trade unions, student, women’s and pensioner organisations and progressive electoral parties, such as the ALP, the Greens and emerging left formations.

In the 2013 Federal Election we urge Labor and the Greens to work cooperatively against the Abbott Coalition, and for the left to campaign all-out to expose Abbott as the candidate of the 1% and to build a more progressive and humane political culture. The Left should work with broad progressive forces, such as the anti-Coal Seam Gas movement and new campaign groups like GetUp! on specific issues in the federal elections.

To do all this we must have a better organised and bigger left, by organising more people into our movements.

The left groups which organised this conference are urged to become a formal network with regular meetings after the 2013 federal election, to coordinate campaigns and education on the priorities we are adopting, and to publish a short ‘vision for the future’ to project the conference workshop outcomes.

To deepen our capacity, the network will organise joint training initiatives for union, political, student, ecology and community activists, sponsored and funded by organisations which join this network. Training will include understanding of the global economic and ecological crisis and how a steady state economy might be developed.

By working together we can defeat neoliberalism and push back privatisation, deregulation, austerity and exploitation of people and the environment. By working together we can build a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and deeper democracy, with a strong public sector supporting an ecologically sustainable economy.

Adopted by acclamation at 2.30pm, Sunday April 7, 2013