Socialist Alternative (Australia)
||This article may contain improper references to self-published sources. (March 2013)|
|Split from||International Socialist Organisation|
|Headquarters||Victorian Trades Hall, Melbourne, Australia|
Socialist Alternative (SA) is a revolutionary socialist organisation in Australia, identifying with Trotskyism and the Marxist tradition of "socialism from below". Formed after its founding members were expelled from the former International Socialist Organisation (ISO) in 1995, today it claims to have the largest active membership on the Australian far-left – as acknowledged by others on the far-left. With branches across Australia, their membership operates within the trade union and student union movements and grass roots campaigns such as those supporting same-sex marriage rights, refugee rights and Palestinian national liberation. They oppose the US and Australian military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, austerity measures implemented by governments in response to the Global Financial Crisis and they support the Arab Spring and Occupy movement.
Though one of SA's stated aims is to contribute towards building a revolutionary party that can intervene in – and lead – mass working-class struggles, they do not consider themselves a political party at their current size and influence. Originating in the political tradition of the International Socialist Tendency, SA defend the position that a socialist revolution can only come about through a genuine workers' upheaval "from below" and argue that all existing states commonly described as socialist countries are actually "state capitalist" economies.
SA host an annual far-left political conference in Melbourne each year called Marxism, which has grown to attract over 1000 attendees – which has featured international guest speakers such as John Pilger and Malalai Joya – becoming the largest conference of its kind in Australia. SA also host regular political meetings and events and produce political commentary and analysis through their own various publications and through other publishers in which the organisation puts forward their positions on Australian and international issues. They publish an online magazine, Socialist Alternative, which is also sold in a hard copy version and publish a biannual theoretical journal, Marxist Left Review.
SA was established in 1995 by ex-members of the former International Socialist Organisation (ISO) in Melbourne. Following debates over the orientation of the ISO to the Australian political situation, the members were expelled for arguing the ISO held "overblown" expectations of the 1990s combined with "a super-inflated estimation" of their own capabilities. This was part of the debate internationally within the International Socialist Tendency (IST) over the nature of the contemporary political situation and how socialists should respond, with the leading organisation in the IST, the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) arguing, the 1990s were like "the 1930s in slow motion". Like in Australia, splits occurred within the IST in other countries, including New Zealand, Greece, Germany, Canada, South Africa and France. In addition to splits, the International Socialist Organization in the United States were expelled from the IST.
SA has links with a number of other groups which were previously part of the IST, such as the ISO in America, the Internationalist Workers' Left in Greece, Socialisme International in France, and both Socialist Aotearoa and the International Socialist Organisation in New Zealand. Since 2013, SA has maintained permanent observer status within the International Committee meeting of the Fourth International, a worldwide organisation of revolutionary Marxists.
Early years 
Until 2003, SA was based primarily in Melbourne, until the organisation began to establish branches in other Australian cities following a surge of growth out of the S11 protests against the 2000 World Economic Forum meeting in Melbourne. However Melbourne still maintains the largest membership nationally with three branches. SA now claim to have the largest active far-left organisation in the country.
SA was invited to join the Socialist Alliance in 2001. The Alliance grouped together the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP), the ISO, and other Australian far-left groups and individuals. SA eventually declined to join due to the Socialist Alliance's strong emphasis on running in parliamentary elections. This parliamentary emphasis in the flat political climate was seen by SA as a restriction to building activism on the ground and representing a turn towards reformist politics. SA entered into unity discussions with the Revolutionary Socialist Party (a split from the DSP) in 2012 "on the basis of a straightforward revolutionary Marxist program... for socialism in Australia today", which prompted the Socialist Alliance to reopen unity discussions with SA.
Lebanon War 
In 2006, SA claimed their members were wrongly accused by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students of "exploiting tensions in the Middle East to promote anti-Semitism" at the University of Melbourne and other Melbourne campuses. They were also accused of assaulting Australian Liberal Students' Federation members who supported Israel during the Lebanon War. SA was likewise accused of being unsympathetic to Jewish groups during what was allegedly the highest period of anti-Semitism since the 1940s and demonstrating on university campuses where the majority of this was occurring. A member of SA from RMIT University wrote a controversial email referring to some pro-Israel students at that university as "Zionists (who) felt the need to assert their racism and fetish for genocide and mass slaughter of Arab people".
SA members argue that they are anti-Zionist and not anti-Semitic. It claims that accusations of anti-Semitism are slander from apologists of Israel who defend an apartheid state and maintain that such slander "just makes it more difficult to fight actual anti-Semitism". SA claims that its goal is to "demolish the lies upon which the racist state of Israel was built, and argue for the only real solution to the Middle East conflict – a single secular, democratic state in historic Palestine, one in which Palestinians and Jews can live in equality and peace".
SA maintains that Israel does not represent Jews, but simply claims to do so. They point out they have Jewish members, such as Rick Kuhn and Patrick Weiniger and insist that the organisation "take[s] a firm stand against all forms of racism". SA claims that they have "supported innumerable protests against anti-Semitic bigots such as the Holocaust denier David Irving" and believes that Israel's most strident critics are often Jewish themselves, citing Jewish Marxists Leon Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg in their opposition to Zionism, who saw it as a pro-imperialist ideology.
With a presence within most broad-left campaigns, SA has participated in protests against what they perceive as attacks by the Australian Government on industrial relations, student unions and higher education, Aboriginal rights, refugee rights, women's' rights, LGBTI rights the environment and free speech. They have been involved in anti-war, anti-racism, anti-Zionism, anti-capitalism, anti-corporate greed and anti-uranium mining demonstrations. SA members are identifiable during street marches with the red flags carried in their contingent or red bloc.
SA has been involved in organising within anti-war campaign groups such as the Stop the War Coalition and has participated in demonstrations across the country, including the protests against the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the 2008–2009 war on Gaza, the 2007 APEC Conference, the 2006 G20 Summit, the 2006 war on Lebanon, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan and have been involved in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and solidarity actions with the Arab Spring.
Same-sex marriage 
Since the Howard government introduced legislation in 2004 to ban same-sex marriage in Australia, SA has participated in the Equal Love campaign – the main campaign group that advocates marriage equality in the country. Many SA members have been elected as National Union of Students Queer Officers and have used this position to promote Equal Love and attack the Rudd-Gillard Government for not repealing the ban. SA claim they play a key rôle in holding the campaign together, which resulted in the largest demonstration of its kind in Australia outside the 2011 ALP National Conference. SA member and Victorian Equal Love Convenor Ali Hogg, was voted the most influential LGBTI Australian by Samesame.com.au and the sixth most influential Melburnian by The Age for her activism in gay and lesbian rights in 2011.
Since early 2009, SA has played an active rôle in building Students for Palestine, a nation-wide network of pro-Palestinian student activists and have been involved in demonstrations and campus activity, including the protests against the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid and helping fundraise for the Viva Palestina 5. In 2011, SA members were among 19 arrested in a Melbourne demonstration targeting Israeli-owned chocolate chain Max Brenner as part of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the state of Israel.
SA is active within the Refugee Action Collective and other broad campaign groups formed under the Howard government to mobilise opposition to mandatory detention and offshore processing. They have participated in protests against detention centres such as Woomera and Baxter, including the breaking out of refugees in 2001. SA is opposed to the entirety of mandatory detention as a policy and supports open borders. Since the election of the Rudd-Gillard Labor government in 2007, they have continued to organise and campaign around the issue.
Membership routine 
The organisation has branches in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Adelaide. In Melbourne, SA are based at Victorian Trades Hall. Branches hold meetings to discuss current political developments and Marxist history and theory. SA advertise public meetings through leafleting on street stalls, campuses, at demonstrations and through bill posters.
Student activism 
SA participates in campus student union elections and in the National Union of Students – in an attempt to win positions to influence student politics – as a faction, of which it claims to be the largest to the left of the National Labor Students. They are known for their hostility towards both the Liberal and Labor parties. Despite their strong presence in many social movements, SA activists have often[who?] come under criticism for having a "counter-productive" attitude towards movement work, prioritising recruiting new members over sustainable activism. They are also known for their use of megaphones to drown out political debate to which they disagree through the loud, repetitive chanting of slogans. They have come under attack from a range of factions in student politics, including Liberal students, both Left and Right Labor students and claim to have been slandered by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, for their strong opposition to the state of Israel.
Students and student union activists form a large composition of SA's membership and their political work often emphasises university-based campaigns. According to National Executive member Mick Armstrong, SA's focus on student work is part of a perspective that the organisation has adopted for the political period, due to what they see as their limited size and influence in the working class movement and the lack of any substantial radicalisation in society. SA's political orientation to students mirrors the development of the British Socialist Workers Party during the 1980s.
SA members are, or have previously been active in student unions such as the Queensland University of Technology Student Guild, Swinburne Student Union, La Trobe Student Union, Monash Student Association, University of Melbourne Student Union, RMIT Student Union, University of Western Sydney Students' Association, University of Sydney Union, Charles Sturt University Students' Association, Curtin University of Technology Student Guild, University of New South Wales Student Representative Council, University of Melbourne Graduate Student Association and Victorian College of the Arts Student Union. The membership of the organisation also includes secondary school students, active in their schools.
Trade unionism 
Worker members of SA are politically active within the trade union appropriate for their industry, while employed student members are also involved in their respective trade union. SA has active trade union members in, amongst others, the Australian Services Union, the National Union of Workers, the Australian Education Union, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Community and Public Sector Union, the Electrical Trades Union of Australia, the Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union, the Australian Nursing Federation and the National Tertiary Education Union, in which lecturer and SA member Liam Ward was elected to the RMIT University Branch Committee as part of a left-wing oppositional ticket that replaced the previously established union leadership in 2010.
SA reject the practice of forming separate 'red unions' such as Unite, arguing that such projects isolate socialists from the organised working class and are premised on a top-down method of artificially substituting a radical union leadership for the rank and file, instead arging for activists to rebuild rank and file organisation within existing unions irrespective of their conservative leadership. In 2010, SA member and Queensland Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association delegate Duncan Hart organised supporters of same-sex marriage within the union in a rank and file challenge against the socially conservative SDA leader Joe de Bruyn.
The working class 
SA analyses the world in terms of the political and economic ideas of Karl Marx and subsequent theorists in the Marxist tradition, including the Trotskyist and International Socialist traditions. In holding that capitalism cannot be reformed to meet human needs, it believes that the capitalist class and its state must be overthrown by means of a working-class revolution from below, in which the direct producers in society unite to overthrow their employers and the ruling class, through democratically expropriating the means of production and reorganising society along lines of mass democracy through workers' councils. Or, as Marx and Frederick Engels asserted: "The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself." They hold that a socialist society will, by removing the material basis for oppression and democratically reorganising society to meet human needs, place an end to not just to wage slavery but eventually, to all class exploitation. SA also believe that as a result of a socialist revolution, phenomena such as racism, sexism and homophobia (which they argue only materialised with the emergence of class society) will eventually disappear alongside the material realities that underpin them – among which include the nuclear family and the state.
SA are hostile to other far-left tendencies who look to forces outside the working class, such as anarchism and Castroism, which they characterise as substitutionist, elitist and ultimately, siding with reaction. SA also believe identity politics – such as liberal feminism and black nationalism – present a false unity between members of oppressed groups across class lines by positing that all members of an oppressed group hold a common interest in fighting oppression. In the case of the latter as an example, SA believe women's oppression can only disappear with the abolition of all classes.
Revolutionary party 
SA claim to be committed to avoiding pretensions they believe characterise much of the left. Describing itself as a "propaganda group" at its current size, SA attempts to relate to its audience primarily on the level of ideas, rather than seeing itself as a party that can be capable of leading mass struggles. While SA supports existing trade unions as essential components of workers' struggles, they believe that capitalism can only be successfully overthrown if a revolutionary party is built to challenge the hold of the ALP and the trade union bureaucracy over the working class, in conjunction with similar parties internationally. SA's strategy for building a socialist organisation is outlined in the book, From Little Things Big Things Grow, by one of its founding members, Mick Armstrong.
SA has over the years tried to establish unity talks with both Solidarity and its predecessor organisation, the International Socialist Organisation, (the group from which SA's founders were expelled) yet have remained unsuccessful. This could be in part to do with SA's perspective of currently identifying as a propaganda group, which has been controversial within the Australian far left in general.
SA announced in October 2012 that it was engaged in unity discussions with former political rivals the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), stating that: "Unity is possible between our two organisations because we agree on the fundamental question of the necessity of building a clear cut revolutionary organisation in the here and now" advocating "an organisation of activists involved in the struggles of the day arguing for socialist politics, not a party of passive paper members oriented on parliamentary elections." While acknowledging the two organisation's "not immaterial" differences on the class nature of the USSR, Cuba and Vietnam, SA state that members would not have to disavow their opinions as they believe "it is possible to discuss these and other important political issues as they arise... The organisation will decide its policies and orientation collectively and democratically but all members will have the right to publicly express their individual opinions."
The state 
SA hold the position first put forward by Engels in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State that class society cannot exist without "institutions of coercion" (the state) in order for the ruling class to remain in control. They are therefore hostile to the police and what they deem other "repressive" forces such as the courts, parliament, government bureaucracy, education system and the media and argue the implied neutrality of these bodies to be a myth. They have claimed that the rôle of the Australian police force since inception has been to stand with the country's rulers against the interests of the mass of Australia's workers and the poor. SA accuse the police of institutionalised racism, corruption, violence, of attacking protesters and striking and picketing workers and of the "blatant murder" of Aboriginals in custody.
In 2012 the Police Federation of Australia demanded that the Victorian Trades Hall Council cancel an SA public forum on "police racism and violence", as Trades Hall was where the meeting was to take place. The Council complied with the Police Federation's request however the meeting went ahead after a number of people turned up for the meeting and occupied the Trades Hall foyer, causing the Police Federation to split from the Council. SA responded by saying "good riddance".
SA supports the right to self-determination of Australia's Aboriginal people and opposes the intervention which was initiated by the Howard Government and continued by the Gillard Government in the Northern Territory. The organisation condemns racism and has in the past criticised other far-left groups in Australia, such as Solidarity and the RSP, for what they deem capitulating to racism.
SA also accuses the governments of Australia, the United States and the EU of promoting racist scapegoating toward Arabs and Muslims under the guise of the "War on Terror". They support the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab or burqa and accuse secularists on the far-left who oppose them, such as members of the New Anticapitalist Party in France of anti-Muslim racism, arguing bans on Islamic dress further oppresses Muslims and encourages racism towards them. SA also unconditionally support the right of people in the Middle East today to resist US and Israeli occupation, in line with Vladimir Lenin's position of "the right of oppressed nations to self-determination".
SA oppose both of Australia's major parties' policies on the mandatory detention of asylum seekers seeking to enter Australia, which they characterise as racist and believe that there should be no restrictions on immigration. They call for the release of all refugees currently held in detention, the closure of all immigration detention facilities and contrast Australia's border control laws with accusations of the Australian military and federal police of having invaded the national borders of countries such as the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another position of SA which separates them from much of the Australian far-left, particularly the former Democratic Socialist Perspective (now merged with the Socialist Alliance), is their opposition to the Australian military intervention into East Timor in 1999, seeing it as not a humanitarian action but an opportunity for Australia to secure its strategic and economic interests in the region.
State capitalism 
While not a member of the International Socialist Tendency (IST), SA generally remains committed to the ideas and positions associated with the IST tradition of Trotskyism advanced by Tony Cliff, which sees the states of the former USSR, Eastern Europe, China, Vietnam, North Korea and Cuba as being in no sense socialist, rather forms of "state capitalism", where workers are exploited by a bureaucratic ruling class.
SA have argued that rival socialist organisations (particularly on the Australian far-left) – such as the Socialist Alliance, the former DSP and the RSP – who promote the idea that such states represent some form of socialism (or what the IST and SA term "socialism from above") are "Stalinist" in nature. SA does not however preclude individuals who subscribe to such theories from joining their organisation. SA sees the October 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia as a genuine socialist revolution but assert the following "imperialist" attack on the country and the failure of the revolution to spread to Western Europe lead to its ultimate defeat by Stalin's "counter-revolution".
Australian Politics 
SA are hostile to the conservative Liberal Party and are highly critical of the Labor Party (ALP) for its perceived rightward shift and acceptance of neo-liberalism. SA classifies the ALP as a "capitalist workers' party" – seeing it qualitatively different to the Liberal Party due to its organisational relationship with the trade union bureaucracy – that still governs in the interests of the capitalist class. SA are critical of the ALP's Fair Work Australia, which they see as a similar version of the Liberal's WorkChoices, alongside its maintenance of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
SA moreover hold that the Greens are not a left alternative to Labor, and consider it a middle-class party equally committed to the maintenance of Australian capitalism as the two major parties and accuse them of "populist left nationalism". SA reject reformism outright and defend Rosa Luxemburg's position in her work Social Reform or Revolution that reformism is "not the realisation of socialism, but the reform of capitalism".
SA maintain the position that parliamentary elections are not the key to social change and do not stand candidates at their current size and influence. However, they do not reject voting in elections outright and see elections reflecting the state of mass political consciousness. Therefore the organisation promotes who they vote for and who they believe the left should support during election periods, for example calling for the left to unite around SYRIZA in the 2012 Greek legislative election.
In the 2010 Victorian state election they actively campaigned for Socialist Party candidate Steve Jolly in the seat of Richmond, and called a vote for left-wing candidates in other electorates, instead of a vote for the ALP or Greens, arguing that Jolly's union-backed campaign confirmed the possibility of a left alternative to the ALP gaining strong votes. They called for voting the Liberals last.
In the 2007 federal election they called for a first preference vote for the Greens and a second preference to the ALP, as a protest vote against the party for what they saw as the party's rightward shift.
In the 2004 federal election they called for a vote for the ALP or the Greens in the lower house in the hope to remove the Liberals, and a vote for the Greens in the Senate to remove the Democrats for what they saw as their co-option by the Liberals. The Greens vote was again a protest vote against the ALP, whom SA characterised as alienating their traditional support base.
In the 2001 federal election they called for a vote for the Socialist Alliance in the seats it contested, for its "unambiguously anti-war and pro-worker stance". In the other seats, they called for what they said was "little choice but to grit our teeth" and vote for the ALP over the Liberals.
Annual conference 
Previous years 
SA hosts an annual public conference called Marxism each Easter weekend at the University of Melbourne Student Union, supported by 3CR. As of 2012, Marxism is co-hosted with the International Socialist Organisation from New Zealand. The conference invites activists from across Australia and internationally as guest speakers. It has grown to attract over 1000 attendees and has become the largest far-left conference of its kind in the country.
John Pilger said of the conference:
Marxism in Melbourne is now Australia’s premier festival of debate and free speech on issues that are either excluded from or suppressed by the mass media: issues such as the government’s agenda for indigenous Australians, Palestine and propaganda in its many disguises. I salute the organisers.
Previous speakers 
Previous speakers at Marxism have included:
- Sameh Akram Habeeb – The Palestine Telegraph founder
- Abdul Baig – former Maribyrnong Detention Centre detainee
- Joe Carolan – Unite Union organiser
- Richard Downs – anti-Northern Territory intervention activist
- Cordelia Fine – author and academic psychologist
- Gary Foley – Aboriginal Tent Embassy co-founder
- Wilson Fortaleza – Partido ng Manggagawa activist
- Recaredo Gálvez – Chilean Winter student activist
- Mamdouh Habib – former Guantanamo Bay detainee
- Malalai Joya – former National Assembly of Afghanistan MP
- Thanasis Kourkoulas – Internationalist Workers' Left central committee member
- Logan Laituri – Iraq Veterans Against the War activist
- Lars Lih – author and academic
- Chie Matsumoto – LaborNet activist
- David Melenrels – Die Linke party activist
- John Minto – Socialist Aotearoa activist
- John Mullen – Socialisme International editor
- Trevor Ngwane – Anti-Privatisation Forum founder
- Leia Pettey – Occupy Wall Street activist
- John Pilger – journalist and documentary maker
- Ashley Smith – International Socialist Review editor
- John Tully – author and historian
- Sherry Wolf – National Equality March co-convener
2013 conference 
Marxism 2013 included a return of Pilger and Foley, along with other speakers such as Billy X Jennings of the Black Panther Party, Brian Jones of the US International Socialist Organization, former leader of the US Socialist Workers Party Barry Sheppard, representatives from the International Socialist Organisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Socialist Alliance, activist and blogger Antony Loewenstein, activist and author Jeff Sparrow, Australian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference co-organiser Kim Bullimore, representatives from the Nava Sama Samaja Party from Sri Lanka, Partido ng Manggagawa from the Philippines, and activists from Mindanao, Indonesia, and Pakistan among others.
Magazine and journal 
SA publishes its political commentary and analysis twice a week in an online magazine called Socialist Alternative. The hard-copy monthly version of the same name is sold on street stalls, at university campuses and political demonstrations.
In 2010, SA launched a biannual theoretical journal aimed at responding to current debates on the left called Marxist Left Review, edited by Sandra Bloodworth. The organisation sees the journal as a more substantial publication than its magazine, providing more in depth arguments on issues such as the class basis and trajectory of the Greens and the liberal defence of the Northern Territory Intervention.
As of 2009, SA members edit the annual online theoretical journal: Marxist Interventions (MI). The journal is an update of the previous MI, which SA members also contributed to. The update aims to move beyond Australian politics, yet retains an Australian bias. The overall aim of MI however, remains the same: to make Australian Marxist writings more readily accessible to audiences. Arguments taken up by MI have included the Marxist attitude towards religion and what they view as "Australian imperialism" during the Pacific War.
SA members have also contributed texts to international publications such as the Marxists Internet Archive, International Socialist Review, Socialist Worker, Monthly Review, CounterPunch, ZNet and International Viewpoint.
Books and pamphlets 
Work by leading SA members has been issued by other publishers. In 2011, Tom O'Lincoln wrote Australia's Pacific War: Challenging a National Myth published by Interventions, which aims to debunk Australia's moral high ground in the Pacific War. Peter Stanley of the National Museum of Australia said O'Lincoln's book "challenges us to re-consider what we assumed we knew about the Pacific war."
In 2010, Cambridge University Press published Tom Bramble and Rick Kuhn's Labor's Conflict: Big Business, Workers and the Politics of Class which traces the history of the Australian Labor Party from its formation through to the Gillard Government from a Marxist perspective. University of Sydney professor Frank Stilwell described it as "recommended reading for anyone wanting to understand the Labor tradition in Australia".
In 2008, Bramble attacked the rôle of the trade union bureaucracy in Trade Unionism in Australia: A History from Flood to Ebb Tide also published by Cambridge University Press. Australian journalist John Pilger described the book as "An essential read."
Kuhn also wrote a biographical study on the Polish-German Marxist economist, Henryk Grossman: Henryk Grossman and the recovery of Marxism published by University of Illinois Press, for which he won the Deutscher Memorial Prize in 2007. Chris Harman, editor of International Socialism called Kuhn's study "a valuable addition to our theoretical armour."
In 2005, several members contributed to a book analysing Australian working class militancy: Class and Struggle in Australia published by Pearson Education, which Kuhn also edited. Ken Buckley of History Cooperative called it "hard-hitting and sharp".
Also in 2005, O'Lincoln wrote a book on the origins of the Australian ruling class: United We Stand: Class Struggle in Colonial Australia published by Red Rag Publications, which University of Melbourne professor Verity Burgmann said "uncovers new aspects to Australia's history of struggle".
In 2004, Liz Ross wrote Dare to struggle, dare to win! Builders Labourers fight deregistration, 1981–94 published by Vulgar Press, which outlined the history of the militant Builders Labourers Federation. David Renton of Labour History said the book "takes seriously the challenge of understanding the past".
SA also self-publishes a range of pamphlets on topics ranging from Women's Oppression to Australian Labor History. In 2008 they published a pamphlet arguing for the relevance of Marxism to understand the Global financial crisis: A crime beyond denunciation: a Marxist analysis of capitalist economic crisis and a polemic defending the role of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution: How workers took power: the 1917 Russian Revolution. Both pamphlets were written by Sandra Bloodworth.
In 2007 they published the controversial From Little Things Big Things Grow: Strategies for building revolutionary socialist organisations by Mick Armstrong, which argues their orientation for building a cadre organisation in times of revolutionary downturn and a critique of the Australian Labor Party: The Labor Party: A Marxist Analysis by Armstrong and Bramble.
Notable members 
- Mick Armstrong – Author, Stop the War Coalition co-organiser and Austudy Five arrestee
- Sandra Bloodworth – Author and historian
- Tom Bramble – Author and University of Queensland Industrial Relations senior lecturer
- Ali Hogg – LGBTI activist and Equal Love spokesperson
- Rick Kuhn – Author and Australian National University academic
- Max Lane – Author and former National Executive member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party.
- Azlan McLennan – Political artist and student activist
- Tom O'Lincoln – Author and co-founder of the International Socialist Tendency in Australia
- Liz Ross – Author and Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives founder
- Van Thanh Rudd – Political artist and activist
- Kalinda Ashton – Author and academic
- Ezekiel Ox – Singer/songwriter and activist
- Jeff Sparrow – Author and Overland editor
- Jill Sparrow – Author and activist
See also 
- International socialism
- Revolutionary socialism
- International Socialist Tendency
- National Union of Students
- Equal Love
- Students for Palestine
- Refugee Action Collective
- Stop the War Coalition
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Socialist Alternative (Australia)|
- Socialist Alternative Online magazine
- Marxist Left Review Biannual theoretical journal by Socialist Alternative
- Marxist Interventions Broad-left theoretical journal by Socialist Alternative members and others in the International Socialist tradition
- Marxism Socialist Alternative annual national conference
- Stop the War Coalition Campaign group for anti-war activists in Australia
- Equal Love Campaign group for same-sex marriage rights in Australia
- Refugee Action Collective Campaign group for refugee advocacy in Australia
- Students for Palestine Campaign group for Palestinian solidarity in Australia
Further reading 
- Documents and statements Discussion documents, position papers and the like written by Socialist Alternative.
- The origins of Socialist Alternative: summing up the debate Journal article summarising the group's origins up to 2010.
- From little things big things grow Socialist Alternative book on strategies for building socialist organisations.
- Socialist Alternative and the ISO – Perspectives for Socialists Socialist Alternative document discussing the group's history.
- Socialist Alternative (1995 -) Reason in Revolt: Source Documents in Australian Radicalism archive containing early Socialist Alternative publications.
- Marxist Interventions: Articles from Australia in the social sciences Old Marxist Interventions archive.
- Marching down Marx Street: The International Socialists in Australia, 1972–92. Tom O'Lincoln's Red Sites document discussing the history of the International Socialist Tendency in Australia.