Victorian State Election 2018: Meet the Victorian Socialists!

I don’t have time to read all of this!
The Basics

socialists.jpg

Website: https://www.victoriansocialists.org.au
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vicsocialists/
Themes: Socialism. Workers.  People before Corporations.  Unions.  Equality.  The environment.  The evils of capitalism.

With friends like these…
The Group Voting Ticket

The group voting tickets of Australia’s various Socialist parties are always such a reliable barometer of left to right politics, and the Victorian Socalists are no exception.  At the top of our ticket, we always have the Greens, the Animal Justice Party, Labor, Fiona Patten’s Reason Party and the Voluntary Euthanasia Party.  The order various slightly, but the Greens are almost always first, and the VEP are always fifth, with the others in between.

At the foot of the ticket, we have the Liberal Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, the Australian Country Party, and the Australian Liberty Alliance.  All the independents, grouped or otherwise, are dumped wholesale at the bottom of the ticket – the Socialists were clearly too busy preparing for the revolution to read up on them.

I’m interested to note that the Socialists seem to share my suspicions about the Australian Country Party, putting them even lower than the LDP and the DLP.   Incidentally, I’m pretty sure this one is a real ticket and not a Druery special – it’s pretty consistent across the  board, and matches what I expect from the Socialists.

The Body Politic
Policies, Snark, Terrible Theme Songs and Other Observations

Aha!  I have reached the home stretch, and the big advantage of my alphabetical ordering of parties is that from here on, I’m looking at parties who might turn out to frustrate me, but are highly unlikely to enrage me.

The Victorian Socialists are, I believe, an alliance of several older Socialist parties, one of which is clearly the Socialist Alliance, since I see that Sue Bolton is a candidate.  (I’m trying to work out why I know Steve Jolly, because both face and name are familiar, but I can’t place him).  Their slogan is ‘For people, not the powerful’ which is pretty classic socialist stuff, really.

Interestingly, unlike other party slogans, this one doesn’t invite or demand anything of the reader – it’s just a statement of what they stand for.  Juxtaposing ‘people’ and ‘powerful’ also implies that they are here to stand up for the little guy, not big business or wealthy people, but just the everyday people.

As I said, very socialist.

I am entirely unsurprised that they originally formed up to context the Northern Metropolitan Region.  I live in this region, and it’s the sort of area where an event to meet candidates from all sides of politics habitually includes Labor, the Greens and the Socialist Alliance.  There is no right wing of politics in the People’s Republic of Moreland!

Here’s how they introduce themselves:

Our political system is broken. Anyone can see the Liberals rule for their corporate mates whenever they are in office, but Labor is little better. No wonder people are tuned out, pissed off, or voting for crazy far right parties. It’s time the left offered a real alternative.

The Victorian Socialists, a coalition of unionists, community activists and socialists, has come together because we think it’s time there was a socialist voice in the Victorian parliament.

You aren’t going to find a lot of other political parties saying that people are ‘tuned out and pissed off’.  But the Socialists aren’t afraid to use the language of the people!

To find their policies, one must, naturally, turn to their Manifesto, because of course they have a manifesto.  (I do love a good socialist party.  And I’m pretty excited that they aren’t all fighting each other this time.  Makes a nice change.)

Incidentally, their manifesto has this cartoon – all in red – of people wearing hard hats or holding babies, or otherwise looking like Workers, holding a white sign that says MANIFESTO on it in red.  This is not a party that is afraid to look like a bunch of commie trade unionists, basically.

Across the world, from Manchester to Minneapolis, from Mexico City to Melbourne, people are embracing socialism. They’re workers from the old industries, young people in precarious jobs, students on the poverty line, single parents and seniors living on benefits, Indigenous people pushing back against colonialism, migrants and recent arrivals facing racism and exclusion, women and LGBTIQ people changing the world.

I’m having an attack of ‘Sister Suffragette’ now:

From Kensington to Billingsgate
One hears the restless cries!
From ev’ry corner of the land:
“Womankind, arise!”
Political equality and equal rights with men!
Take heart! For Missus Pankhurst has been clapped in irons again!
No more the meek and mild subservients we!
We’re fighting for our rights, militantly!
Ahem.
Let us continue.

After decades being told by the right that capitalism and the market was the only alternative, and years being told by the centre-left to be polite and make small demands, a global movement has said Enough! The popularity of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and Bernie Sanders in the United States shows that people want an alternative to the mainstream, establishment politics.

Oh my.  One could say the same thing for popularity of Trump, unfortunately, but I note that the Socialists are not choosing this example.   It’s certainly true that plenty of people are getting justifiably fed up with the political class.  But a certain amount of political knowledge and sense is actually necessary if you want to actually make things happen in politics.

Since the turn of the millennium, global capitalism has delivered us wars leaving millions dead and displaced, a financial crash throwing many tens of millions into poverty, and a relentless rise in profits and power for the wealthy. To fight this, we’ve been asked to accept the leadership of people who are part of the system and dedicated to its preservation, and of parties with no fight in them, no willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with those on the street.

Now we’re fighting back.

So basically what we have here is the language of revolution again.  It’s interesting that we are getting this from both the left and the right.  Actually, it’s a little disturbing, to be honest.  I am not happy with our current batch of politicians, but I can’t think of many occasions where revolutions actually wound up improving things for the people who needed them.

Anyway, after being told that if the Socialists win they will ‘fight on the streets and in Spring Street for a state run for people, not the powerful’, we move on to reading about their candidates, and again, their descriptions are full of words like ‘struggle’, ‘veteran’, ‘fight’ and ‘activism’.  (I am so going to be doing wordclouds for all the political parties once I’m done with reading their policies, and this one is going to be in the shape of a giant red flag, if I can manage it…)

We are informed that Australia is one of the richest countries in the world and can afford a decent society, but to do so, we must change course.

Corporations should pay more taxes, rents and levies. Property developers should be forced to build amenities and infrastructure with the houses and units they construct. Our key industries should be put back into public hands and put to work to benefit all of us – not the bank accounts of their owners. We must rip up all the deals that give our money to big companies.

Again, note that there is a lot of fairly violent imagery here – property developers are ‘forced’ to build amenities.  We must ‘rip up’ all the deals.  There is definitely a feeling of ‘if the government won’t fix things when we ask nicely, then we will force them to do so’.  I’m kind of a great big socialist myself, and I agree with all their complaints, but I can see why this makes some people uneasy.

We get reminded about the rises in costs of living, low wages, a lack of public housing the sale of assets, and the fact that the 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 70 percent.  Note that we still haven’t got onto the policies yet.  We are still being reminded why it is that we should be very angry.

Millions of low-waged workers and those on benefits struggle to pay rent, buy food, medication and other necessities week on week. One third of parents skip meals so their kids get three meals a day…

Many young people will never own a home, or have secure housing. They will struggle from week to week for years to come, or for the rest of their lives…

The Australian economy is a heist. All the wealth and all the things we need are created by us – retail and hospitality workers, labourers, drivers, cleaners, warehouse pickers, educators and health professionals.

I sort of love that last bit about our economy being a heist.  They haven’t quite come out and said that property is theft, but you just know that they are thinking it.

Worst of all, we are told that the government then encourages us to blame each other for our problems –

Blame migrants. Blame “dole bludgers”. Blame Aboriginal people. Blame anyone but the real culprits.

If they can’t get us to blame each other, they try to distract us. They want us to worry about our Muslim neighbours. They want us to worry about refugees coming by boat. They want us to think that gays, lesbians and trans people are undermining our way of life.

And that really is something worth getting angry about.

OK.  Now that the socialists have got us feeling angry, what are we to do about it?  Why, vote for them of course!

Their campaign platform is very much my cup of tea:

  1. A whole-of-state jobs and industry plan.
  2. Decent affordable housing for all.
  3. An expanded public transport system that works.
  4. Communities that can resist racism and over-policing.
  5. Better schools, with no hidden costs to parents, in every neighbourhood.
  6. More parks and green space.
  7. Union rights to organise.
  8. Public ownership of the power and public transport companies.
  9. The creation of a Great Forest National Park and a transition from old-growth logging to plantation timbers and replaceable products.
  10. A massive public investment program to make the Latrobe Valley a global hub for renewable energy.
  11. An end to the scapegoating of migrants and the children of migrants. Our candidates will always call out racism and stand proudly with these communities.
  12. An end to discrimination and racism against Indigenous people.
  13. Programs for women that address gendered poverty and women’s health, as well as family, domestic and partner violence.
  14. Action on LGBTIQ discrimination.

And now we move from the language of anger to the language of empowerment, because the Socialists won’t just fight for us, they will fight side by side with us.  They believe in community organising, and raising the voices of campaigners in the suburbs.

Oh, and this is interesting:

A Victorian Socialist in parliament will accept only an average worker’s wage and use the rest to help fund community campaigns to change our city and our state for the better.

This may actually be my favourite campaign promise so far.

And now, to the policies!

Housing

The Socialists believe that a home should be a basic right.  They want to hold Andrews to his promised reforms to rental agreements, but beyond that, they want to address rising costs, with a five year freeze on rent increases.  They would like to replace rental bonds with a mutual public insurance, to cover damages arising from tenancy.

They want to implement ‘inclusionary zoning’, requiring that 20% of new developments over four storeys include low cost housing.  They also want to make sure new houses are safe and well built, and they want to massively expand public housing, and end land banking by creating a ‘build or yield’ rule for developers – ‘build within 18 months of purchase, or have the land compulsorily acquired by a new state government affordable housing development corporation, to either on-sell, or develop itself.’  Similarly, they want a land tax for those with more than two properties, or for properties left vacant for more than two years.

While I can see lots of dodgy ways to get around these last two ideas, I actually think they are pretty good.  Part of the housing issue at present is developers who acquire land and choose not to develop it until the market is right – often pricing people who actually want to buy houses to live in out of the market.  And another problem is property owners who would rather leave a property vacant than rent it out for a bit less.

Basically, this removes the incentive to get into housing as an investment, which has been one of the key drivers of the rise in housing prices.

The Socialists also want a state mortgage bank, with base-rate mortgages, and they want to make housing co-operatives easier to make.

Planning and Transport

The Socialists want a commitment to green space in new housing development areas, but most of all, they want community consultation.  They note that large parts of north and west Melbourne that were formerly industrial areas are being decommissioned, and they want planning for these areas to be in the hands of the community, not big developers.

The Socialists oppose the North-East link, which they feel will increase congestion, and they’d much rather build the Doncaster train line and boost public transport instead.  Speaking of which, they just generally want more public transport, especially in the North, and they want to return it to the public sector.  As a northerner, I can certainly relate to this remark:

It’s worst of all in the north and west of Melbourne, where safe Labor seats get a few scraps thrown at them every four years. Improvements to the system are welcome; but loyal Labor voters are missing out.

(Nobody cares about the Upfield line.  Nobody.)

(Nobody cares about Mernda or Hurstbridge, either.)

They also want public transport to be free, and they want 5 minute peak and 10 minute off-peak services, and they want to extend the Craigieburn and Mernda train lines and the 72 and 19 tram lines, as well as connecting Reservoir to South Morang.  They want more buses, too.

I… don’t quite know how they plan to afford all this.  I mean, I really, really like it, but I don’t know how they will make it happen.

I think they feel that between paying bonuses to train companies for ‘just doing their jobs’ and the ‘rorting of the public purse’ by public bus companies, we could make enormous savings just by de-privatising, and these savings could be channelled into their improvements.  But I don’t think their maths adds up.

Oh, and they want more customer service staff at stations.

Public Transport isn’t just for the cities, though, and the Socialists also want better train lines in regional Victoria, particularly around Geelong, Ballarat and Warrnambool.    Gippsland misses out again, I see.  Nobody loves Gippsland, not even the Socialists, and they love everybody.  Except the capitalists.  But I digress.

Another thing Socialists like is bicycles, and once again, I am feeling very much as though this is a party that wants my vote, specifically, because my bike path is one of the ones they want to improve.  Thanks, guys!

They basically want more bicycle infrastructure and a proper cycle path network, and also secure bicycle parking at public transport hubs.

Jobs

Especially jobs for the north.  Can I just say, it’s novel and fun having a political party that apparently really wants my vote specifically?  I never see local issues from my area coming up in anyone’s policy platforms, and having them come from a socialist party which I’m already predisposed to like is just icing on the cake.

So, the Socialists are pretty unhappy that nothing has been done for workers after the closure of the Ford factory in Broadmeadows.

What’s missing is a clear vision of where societies like Australia are heading: to a situation where capitalism and the market have no interest in large-scale social investment, and in which large-scale public investment must be deployed to create a productive, well-waged, high-tech society, offering secure employment combined with flexibility for workers, expanded personal and study leave, and opportunities for meaningful, interesting and challenging work.

We’re not proposing more public giveaways and tax breaks to private businesses that give nothing back. We’re proposing massive, publicly owned investment in Melbourne’s north, with a combination of direct state ownership, public investment bond issues, co-operative development and real industry assistance. A 21st century democratic socialist economic development plan could create a “virtuous circle”, in which large-scale public industrial production powers a revolution in Victorian infrastructure, generating tens of thousands of jobs and reviving communities served by the infrastructure it creates.

So, they want to start off with a major public corporation dedicated to creating renewable power.  They feel that this could revitalise both the north of Melbourne and the Latrobe Valley.

As ageing power plants are replaced – not in 30 years, but in 15 or 10 – with modular, scalable plants, wind farms, solar cell ranges and megabatteries, these areas will acquire new prosperity, focus and identity. Power costs will fall steadily, in turn making Victorian industry more efficient.

This feels very utopian, but not actually impossible.  Then, of course, we are reminded that the reason this isn’t happening is that the major parties are in the thrall of major corporations who don’t want the competition of public enterprise.  It’s OK, folks.  We know you are socialists.  We know that you are very excited about this sort of thing!  Let’s get back to the policies, eh?

They also want world class recycling centres in Craigieburn and Epping.  Also – slightly randomly – a new university in the north-western region:

We need the campus of a major university, to provide jobs in its construction, and a centre for training and tertiary education for the region.

I love the order of priorities there.

Privatisation, Poverty and Workers’ Rights

The socialists are against it.  Interestingly, they view the National Disability Insurance Scheme as an example of this:

The NDIS is the latest of these: presented as a social reform, it will draw social care into the private market, leaving people vulnerable and without services.

I have heard a lot of complaints about the NDIS and its delivery, but that’s a new one for me. I’d love it if any of my readers who have had dealings with it would care to comment.

Essentially, the Socialists feel that privatisation, particularly of utilities, is one of the biggest drivers of cost of living, and I think they are right.

They also want to lift both pension rates and minimum wage to the level of a living wage – which should be 60% of the average weekly wage.

Again, I love this idea, but question the economics of it.

The rights of workers are at the centre of any socialist program. We will fight for the right of all working people to organise for collective representation, to strike, for safety and the best possible conditions in the workplace…

The right to strike is a basic democratic demand. Workers cannot have a say over the conditions at work without it. It gives the boss the right to ride roughshod over them in between bargaining periods. Beyond that, workers’ experience of their collective power can give them confidence to stand up to injustice wherever they see it. The solidarity that is the life blood of the workers’ movement can undermine the scare campaigns that demonise Muslims, Indigenous people and people from non-white backgrounds and are used to distract people from the real pressures in their lives. It reinforces that the real enemy is our bosses and the people who help them maintain their system of exploitation.

Translation: we are the socialist party.

I mean, there are really no surprises here, but I thought you’d enjoy the lifeblood of the workers and the fact that the real enemy is our bosses.

The Socialists are unsurprisingly pro-union, and want to change existing industrial laws, which they believe are skewed unfairly towards the bosses.  They also want the government to commit to not awarding contracts to companies who exploit these laws.

They are also concerned about the erosion of the eight hour day, and the effect it has on workers’ health.  They want:

  1. No construction work on Sundays, public holidays or RDOs unless there are urgent safety concerns.
  2. Strict 10-hour limit on shifts to create new jobs, cut back on accidents and increase quality of life.

They would also like more public holidays and more generous long-service provisions for workers.

The first of these would be a vote winner for any red-blooded Australian, I would think…

Police and Prisons

Victoria has one of the lowest crime rates in the western world, and in Australia, yet there’s a relentless push to keep the public in a state of permanent fear – and then to offer “law and order” solutions…

Both major parties have pushed for a “tough on crime” approach. What is becoming clearer is that this approach is specifically targeting the poor, homeless and people of colour. The same approach is not being used against companies that commit wage theft, lower safety standards, resulting in workplace deaths, and engage in tax evasion.

I think the Socialists actually have a really good point on this one – white collar crime can harm a lot of people, yet jail sentences are typically shorter than they are for others sorts of crime.

The Socialists want ‘rehabilitation and transformative justice’, and to help people find ways to integrate back into communities after serving their time.  They also want treatment, education and counselling services for prisoners, which sounds sensible to me.

Because they are socialists, and they do love a good conspiracy, they also think that the law and order approach is ‘part of an agenda to strengthen state powers and erode civil liberties’.  I’m less convinced by this theory.

Unlike virtually every other party, the Socialists think that the current system makes it too hard for people to get bail or parole.   I… am less convinced by this.  The Socialists have a tendency to utopian thinking, where if everyone is happily employed and well paid, they will work together and help each other and not commit crime.  And this is a lovely idea, and probably true for some kinds of crime… but for a lot of violent crime, the motivation has more to do with power than with need, and it’s the violent crimes where I think we do have to be a lot more careful about bail and parole.  So I’m not sure the Socialists have got it right this time.

The Socialists are also concerned about ‘police brutality toward Aboriginal people, people of African backgrounds, young people and people with mental illness’, and point out that police undergo only one day of training to deal with people who have mental illnesses.  If true, that’s an enormous problem.  They point out that:

In response to a spate of killings of people with mental illness in the 1990s, Victoria Police instituted a longer training program and the number of deaths fell for a period – until the old culture of control reasserted itself. Better training is the minimum.

I’m in favour of this.  And also in favour of their call for an independent body to investigate complaints against the police – expecting any group to investigate complaints against itself with no oversight is a poor idea.

Racism

The Socialists are against it.  They are especially unimpressed by the ‘African Gangs’ hysteria, and about the media’s participation in targeting people of colour, and point out that racist harrassment and abuse goes up when negative media commentary goes up.

They claim that Labor has been as bad as the Liberals on this, which I think is not true.

The Socialists welcome refugees, and express solidarity with Aboriginal Australians.  They will ‘fight side by side’ with the Aboriginal community for a treaty, and want better health services and legal services for Aboriginal people.

And they ‘support the protests organised on 26 January that commemorate this day as an invasion and the beginning of the dispossession and genocide of Aboriginal people’.

Environment

I bet you didn’t know that capitalism causes climate change.  But the Socialists know this.  They know this *very hard*.

The planet is in crisis from climate change and habitat destruction, a direct product of a world economy based on capitalism, nationalism, and profit-directed growth… This is a crime against humanity by capitalism, and Victorian Socialists will be fighting it from day one. At federal and state level, we need a radical lift in targets for emissions reduction and renewable energy.

So yes, they want to ditch fossil fuels, lift emissions targets, and revitalise our manufacturing industry, with the aforementioned publicly owned renewable energy corporation in the Latrobe valley and recycling hub in Craigieburn.

They also share the Greens’ vision for the Great Forest National Park, and end old-growth logging while keeping the timber mills open with timber from plantations.  And they want to reduce waste.

The Socialists also call for a thorough scientific assessment of rivers, wetlands and water tables.

There is enough water for everyone if comprehensive conservation measures were adopted and its use fairly allocated. Such an approach would remove the need to build further large, environmentally damaging, dams.

I hope they are right about this, but I’m not sure they are.  Obviously, water needs to be publicly owned, because we are socialists.  And they want stormwater to be collected and used to irrigate parks and gardens.  They do not like large dams, or land clearing in water catchment areas, but they do like water tanks and will subsidise irrigation efficiency technology.

Regional Victoria

Victorian Socialists acknowledge that many of the social services that ought to be properly funded, publicly owned and improved are worse outside of Melbourne. People’s access to social services should not be reduced because they live in the country.

In addition to trains, the Socialists want to make sure there are more health services in regional Victoria.  The trick, of course, is getting the staff to go there, but apparently they will pay specialists to attend country centres.

Once again, we have the creation of public sector jobs in regional Victoria, with an emphasis on renewable energy technologies, and now also electric cars.

They are a bit weak on agriculture.  I get the impression that they want to express solidarity with the worker, but aren’t sure quite what to do with farms.  They are worried about wage theft and farm workers, and they are concerned about sustainable farming and lost biodiversity, but I can’t see any farmers supporting them with these policies.

Education

The Socialists want to fully fund a first class public education system, and smaller schools that are responsive to community needs, improve maintenance of school buildings, and remove state funding from private schools.  Also:

All government schools to be provided with a full range of student support services, catering to the needs of all students. These services should include counsellors, educational psychologists, nurses, doctors, lawyers, disability workers, youth workers and social workers. In particular, schools need to be provided with the necessary staff and facilities to properly cater for special needs of students with disabilities.

At last, someone remembered that people with disabilities exist!

They don’t like right wing attacks on teachers or right wing propaganda curriculums, and they want to abolish NAPLAN ‘which is primarily used to pit schools against each other and to attack teachers’.

I’m not too sure about NAPLAN, but it’s certainly true that statistics relying entirely on student results tend to disadvantage schools who have a large population of kids from non-English speaking backgrounds, or kids who have learning disabilities, or other issues.

They also want to restore the TAFE system and ban private providers.  Apparently, the Andrews government does not go far enough on this.

Health & Ageing

Once again, the Socialists want more funding for hospital beds, better salaries for nurses, and better ratios for aged care workers.  They particularly want more funding for hospitals in the north.

The AMA rightly objects to the punitive funding model that fines hospitals that cannot accept emergency admissions or for readmissions – a neoliberal model that is anathema to health workers’ commitment to their patients. Mistakes happen through under-resourcing, exacerbated by these fines.

OK then.

They are deeply concerned that the very existence of the private health system undermines standards in the public system, citing increased waiting times and, more alarmingly, differences in life expectancy for cancer patients.

The Socialists want to make primary healthcare more affordable, noting that many doctors don’t bulk bill because the Medicare rebate hasn’t kept up with expenses, pushing more people into emergency departments.

Oh dear, and they do not like the NDIS one bit.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was introduced with much fanfare by the Gillard government, as a masterstroke. Socialists were among the few who at the time who argued it was a Trojan horse for privatised healthcare providers to invade public care and close down state providers. Sadly our fears were borne out.

Look, there are clearly a lot of problems with the way the NDIS has been rolled out.  In particular, it seems to be very, very hard to get onto it at all if you have a chronic illness or a mental health issue, and the level of bureaucracy involved even if you do get onto it is staggering.

But I’m inclined to see this as massive incompetence than conspiracy.  I mean, I also think it has been deliberately under-funded by the current government, and am very willing to entertain conspiracy theories in that direction.  But calling it a Trojan horse for privatised healthcare is, I think, a little excessive.

Anyway, the Socialists are going to fight for a public care system for those most in need.

They also want to extend Medicare to cover more allied health services and community dental services.

In addition, they want a lot more funding for mental health support.

On drugs, the Socialists want to decriminalise recreational drug use, and treat addiction as a health problem.  They want more safe injecting rooms, and more rehabilitation services, as well as pill testing facilities at nightclubs and major events.

(I’m fascinated by this last one – it’s a policy I’ve never seen prior to this election, but there are at least three parties spruiking it.)

You will be astonished to learn that the Socialists object to the privatisation of aged care, and want to increase the aged care pension to a liveable income.

Equality

I’m pleased to see that this particular iteration of Australia’s various socialist parties embraces intersectionalism and understands that one can be disadvantaged on more than one axis.

So for women, the Victorian Socialists want to redress pay and superannuation inequality and provide free childcare (while paying early childcare educators a reasonable wage).   They note that restoring penalty rates, and permanent work over part time and contract work is something that will impact women, many of whom are in insecure and part-time work due to caring responsibilities.  They want to tackle sexual harrassment and domestic violence, and they support free, accessible abortion services.

For young people, they want to abolish youth wages, noting that ‘the current discrimination makes it harder for young people to leave difficult family situations and means working class parents need to financially support their children for longer’.  They also want to raise the Youth Allowance, but recognise that this is a Federal issue, so in the meantime, they want free public transport for students, as well as subsidised housing and utilities.  They want to make sure young people in foster or residential care can stay until the age of 21, and they want to make sure high school students are educated about safe sex, consent, and sex and gender diversity.

For LGBTIQ people, the Socialists will end all forms of discrimination, and particularly want to address bullying, mental health services and housing for young people who have to leave their homes due to family rejection.

For sex workers, the Socialists support full decriminalisation, and also unionisation.

To the barricades!

And that’s all.  The Socialists are, unsurprisingly, socially progressive and pro-worker.  The pro-environment stuff is excellent and not necessarily something we could have counted on (I was reminded by my German penfriend that coal is quite a contentious issue for socialists in Europe, for example).  They are very excited about the evils of capitalism.  Maybe a bit too excited – I find their militant language a little startling and offputting.

But I suppose someone has to keep the red flag flying high, and if not the Socialists, then who?

I like all their policies, but question their economic viability.  I mean, to me this looks like a glorious, beautiful shopping list of all the best ideas we could think of, but I’m not at all sure we can have all of those things simultaneously.  I’m charmed, but not entirely convinced, by their utopian ideas about society, particularly as applied to crime.

The Victorian Socialists will go high on my ballot, because I want to believe in a world where we can have nice things.  I think our Parliament could be greatly improved by a socialist or two to keep them honest.

But I’m not quite ready to join the revolution yet…

socialists.jpg

10 thoughts on “Victorian State Election 2018: Meet the Victorian Socialists!

  1. Steve Jolly is a Yarra City councillor, a longtime activist in the Richmond area (he was very prominent in the campaign to save Richmond Secondary College during the Kennett years), and the most well-known member of the Socialist Party (formerly known as Militant).
    Socialist Alternative are the other main socialist party involved here.

  2. Yes, Socialist Alliance are also part of it – you’d already mentioned them so I didn’t think I needed to mention them again. It seems to be mostly Socialist Alliance, Socialist Alternative and Steve Jolly’s Socialist Party – not sure if any of the remaining smaller groups are taking part this time. (They’re probably still wary of their experience with Socialist Alliance, which was supposed to be this kind of alliance, but was stacked out and taken over by the former Democratic Socialist Party.)

  3. I’m so proud of the various socialists managing to coalesce into the Victorian Socialists for this election. Managing to present a united front will at least help them on preferences, rather than the usual sly digs that their alternative party is insufficiently wedded to the cause of revolution.

  4. I am finding it bizarrely amusing that most of what I have heard about the Victorian Socialists this election has been people in their own camp throwing other people under the bus. It has been entertaining.
    (Nobody cares about Mernda or Hurstbridge, either.)
    I’ll give you Upfield, and even Craigieburn, but Mernda has literally just been extended and Hurstbridge finally has duplicated track to Greensborough. And level crossings coming out on both lines (now if they do the two on Bell St that would help.)

  5. Pingback: The One and Only Cate Speaks Endorsed How to Vote Card! | Cate Speaks

  6. Disabled people don’t make it into their list of marginalised groups. This really holds me back. Especially given their belief that the NDIS was a trojan horse for privatisation (I am with you – the current government don’t mind if the NDIS hurts people). They are, I suspect, the sort of group that would cheerfully only consider the opinions of the people paid to provide services to us, while ignoring the voices of disabled people.

    I have opinions about privatised services and the effect on care provision, but what I don’t see here is anything that indicates that my opinions matters or that disabled people are to be understood as a legitimate sector of the community.

    • Thank you for pointing out what I missed. That’s a real concern.

      I note that they do express concern about educational opportunities for children with disabilities, and supported living facilities for people with complex disabilities, but now I’m re-reading their manifesto with this in mind, there is a bit of a sense that disabled people are a sector of the community that needs to be looked after / protected, rather than one that might have ideas of its own about how it would prefer to be treated. I’d say this is unconscious bias rather than intent, but you’re right about the likely results, and that’s a problem.

      Damn. And just when I was getting all excited that the socialists had figured out that there might be axes of marginalisation other than the socioeconomic ones…

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