Talk:Socialist Alternative (Australia)

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Talk:Socialist Alternative (Australia)/Archive1 Start to 2008

Editorial style[edit]

At a rough count, 12 out of the article's 18 paragraphs begin with "Socialist Alternative". Obviously, that is indeed the subject matter; but that many repetitions reads quite poorly. I propose that the article be changed to show some variety, see those substitutes I included in the "Activity" section for examples. (talk) 15:06, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

RFD: Contracted as "SA" versus spelt out as "Socialist Alternative"[edit]

With no previous discussion listed, I'd like to advocate that the first use in each paragraph is spelt out, as it encourages better word flow and pacing, and looks less like a ticket stub. I'd prefer second uses to be spelt, but its harder there. Finally, too many sentences and paragraphs begin SA. A sentence should never begin with a contraction if we can avoid it, especially if the contraction forms a sound like "Ess Aye", it halts the reading flow. Fifelfoo (talk) 09:45, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

An important point hasn't been covered[edit]

How are Socialist alternative funded? It seems to me to be highly important as they need a finnancial source to continue their activties. Posters, server costs and other items don't pay for themselves. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:58, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

There's no mystery to this: socialist groups' members make regular donations and sell literature and campaign materials. But you won't be able to fund much referenced material, except when they run fundraising campaigns. --Duncan (talk) 19:59, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Donations? That's a strange way of putting it. Socialist Alternative say they run on donations, but to tell you the experience of someone I know who's an ex member of the group, the group says they run on donations even to its members, but if you do not pay your membership fees they actually harrass you and tell you have 'outstanding' fees (technically). The group practically REQUIRES that you pay to be a member. --Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy (talk) 13:36, 14 November 2009 (UTC)
the funding of left-wing groups in Australia is of inherent interest. Please use reliable sources only. What my mate said, or what I know from direct knowledge can't be used for wikipedia. Fifelfoo (talk) 08:26, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
This would be slightly more scandalous if it weren't the case that all trade unions and political parties collect membership dues. Nice try though.
They have a dues system. Members payments are determined by their income level. Its in their constitution [1] . Not exactly cloak and dagger stuff.

Disparity in numbers[edit]

My utmost apologies if this has already been covered however are there any significant factors which has caused a disparity of numbers? I know that there are significantly more in New South Whales than there are in Victoria, however protests before the Iraq war may have caused this. My utmost apologies I'm just looking for an explanation in the disparity in members. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:48, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Though large in NSW, Socialist Alternative is certainly much larger in Melbourne, where its membership is spread across three branches. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:55, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

General warning 2009: uncited contributions[edit]

This is a general warning to people thinking of making uncited contributions that meet dubious criteria (numbers, assertions of internal positions held, oral statements by members, etc.). Not only will your contributions be reverted, but you will be warned, and action on warnings will occur. Please continue to make great contributions, that are appropriately cited. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:38, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't find the article to be generally poor on citing. But if you're specifically referring to the membership numbers, then SA is definitely second largest next to the Alliance. But the Alliance is NOT defined as a revolutionary socialist organisation. Far left organisations don't tend to regularly update and release their memberships as there's usually a lot of in- and out-flux. But for people familiar with such groupings in Australia it's relatively well-known that none have the ~250-300 active members that SA does: roughly 160 in Melbourne, 60 in Sydney, 15 in Perth, 10 in Canberra, ~20 in all other cities. DSP membership used to be around the same figure, but since their split with RSP they no longer have those kinds of numbers. -- Franz.87 (talk) 11:42, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I am familiar with the Australian left. Your qualifier sounds like a "no true Scotsman". While this article is reasonably cited, its also single-sourced and self-sourced. While an organisation rarely has any reason to lie about, for example, who the public spokesperson is, there is a cachet in claiming largeness. It demands citation. Fifelfoo (talk) 12:59, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I know you are and that's why I'm surprised you're disputing this, even though you probably know it to be a fact. If not please explain what other groupings have those kinds of numbers of active members. Cheers. -- Franz.87 (talk) 16:05, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't know it to be a fact, its one of the reasons why I'm asking for a cite. Apart from counting issues to do with Socialist Alternative's orientation to student work and the resulting membership churn; apart from the "no true Scotsman" of "revolutionary socialist", I want something slightly better than "you know it to be true, feel it in your bones." Additionally, its not discussed in the article and shouldn't be in the lede on that basis alone. You're asking now for a devil's proof that they aren't the largest revolutionary socialist group: an unacceptable strategy in demonstrating their size. Do we count issued membership cards, attendance at meetings, cadre? If its as well known as it is, then someone will have moaned about Socialist Alternative's size on their blog, or Socialist Alternative will have made the boast in a recorded medium. And if membership size is important enough to be in the lede, then its certainly important enough to discuss in the body of the article near the student recruiting stuff. But it isn't. And none of the claims are cited. Fifelfoo (talk) 17:17, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Notability of current members[edit]

You say that an article needs to be notable to have a place, this is correct, however the article's content should be notable as well. Putting non-notable 'current members' in it is pointless and bulks the article up without reason. The current student union officials are not notable what so ever, prove to me how they are? I will continue to remove those people from the list until you can prove their actually notable. -- (talk) 04:48, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

While article subject must be notable, article content does not have to be notable: check the policy. Red linking Biographies of Living Persons who are non-notable would be bad. Additionally, while student union leadership positions don't produce notability; the volume of student union leadership controlled by a student union faction is an important topic. Fifelfoo (talk) 05:15, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
No discussion before the last edit, edit summary the same justification given above. Going to WP:AN/I. Please see: Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#Socialist_Alternative_.28Australia.29_and_IP_conduct_in_relation_to_the_inclusion_of_office_holders_in_Student_Unions. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:34, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I will leave this up to the admins to decide, but it seems that other people agree with me on this, (ie. steve) I do not wish to go against the rules of Wikipedia, I just wish to have articles contain only appropriate information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:42, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
If there's an opinion forthcoming from Administrators Noticeboard that's firm on the content stuff, I'd be happy with that. However, if that doesn't solve the content issue, perhaps we can call for a Request for Comment process from uninvolved editors on the issue that we'd all agree to abide by, and seed the process with clear opinions and options? Fifelfoo (talk) 10:51, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
FYI, I'm now using this account. I'm unsure how to call for a request for comment, but I believe that would be a good idea. I honestly do not think that the student union members (except for the NUS members) should be listed. --Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy (talk) 18:13, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
No worries. First we should craft an RFC question. Then we'll lodge a Request for Comments through the labyrinthine wiki system. Hows the following (feel free to edit it): Fifelfoo (talk) 23:49, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Patrick Weiniger appears to have written only one article for On Line Opinion, (, and their website lists some 1,000 authors ( If he is notable, it seems unlikely that it is for this one article. Cause for revision? --Dnasin (talk) 13:55, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

It certainly seems the wikipedia article's misrepresenting Weiniger's involvement in the publication, so sounds like a good revision. Fifelfoo (talk) 14:03, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Google searches for "Fleur Taylor" + "Refugee Action Collective" return no relevant results past 2005. The most recent reference to her in an organisational capacity appears to be from late 2004. This seems misleading. Cause for revision? Dnasin (talk) 16:43, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

re: patrick weiniger; true, weiniger has only 1 published article on online opinion but note the 16 comments relating to his controversial article, the numerous letters to the sa editor about the same article, and also note the letters in one of the same sa editions about another controversial weiniger article: The problem with conspiracy theories and the ongoing controversy around that article. Marxwasright (talk) 12:12, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
Personally speaking it seems like some of the 'Notable Members' are only mentioned in places such as Socialist Alternative and Wikipedia entries. I'd request this part of the article be revised and the actual notability of the members shown from 3rd party sites. Just because SA seems them as notable does not mean they are. Seems like shameless self promotion to me, regardless if its for a good cause or not. Theradeon (talk)
Tom Bramble, Tom O'Lincoln, Azlan Mclennan, Ezekiel Ox, Marc Newman, Alistair Hulett and Sandra Bloodworth - These names seem to be the only really notable members/ex-members. Being an activist does not make you notable for wikipedia. --Theradeon (talk) 14:28, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
The relevant guideline is WP:NLIST. The two criteria for each name in the list are sufficient notability that you would otherwise mention them in the article text if the list didn't exist, and verification of their membership of Socialist Alternative, via references in reliable sources. This is a slightly lesser criteria than the general notability guideline for either politicians or creative professionals (eg. journalists), but it is just as important.
You could argue the first criteria either way for most people in the list, but the second one is pretty black and white. Most of the names in the list are unreferenced. Even if you know the person personally, you can't add their name here without a reliable source verifying their membership of the organisation. Absent this, the unreferenced names should be removed. Euryalus (talk) 12:52, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I would argue the first criteria (sufficient notability to be mentioned in the article without the list) would lean against most names in the 2011 Student Union Office Bearer list in particular. For example - as it stands now Rebecca Hynek is listed twice and yet a Google News (and Google News Archive) search for "Rebecca Hynek" doesn't match any documents. Can her notability be indicated in any reliable thrid party source? Australian Matt (talk) 11:41, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Per the above and WP:NLIST, I have removed those names from the list that are completely unreferenced and for whom no claim of notability has been made. There is also a WP:BLP argument here - "material about living persons must be written with the greatest care and attention to verifiability, neutrality, and avoiding original research." Going forward, it would be great if people referenced any names they wanted to add, rather than just posting them and not returning.
A number of the remaining names also stretch any notability definition and are referenced from sources that wouldn't meet WP:RS. But that's a separate discussion - for fringe political groups reliable sources can be a challenge and the notability criteria for in-article lists are somewhat less than for article topics.
As always, comments and criticisms welcomed as part of the ongoing discussion on this page. Euryalus (talk) 10:30, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Looks good to me, although I'm having trouble seeing why we need lists of current office bearers at all (referenced or not).  -- Lear's Fool 12:04, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Me either. I'd also add that this reference for Patrick Langosch being an SA member doesn't mention Socialit Alternative at all. Can anyone find an alternative reference? if not we are back in the BLP and NLIST territory mentioned above. Euryalus (talk) 04:37, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Draft Request for Comment[edit]

Editors on this article disagree about the inclusion of certain content. They want external opinions and have agreed to see the consensus of this discussion as binding on their edits.

[Editor 1 signature]
[Editor 2 signature]
[Editor n signature]...

Background In Australia, student unions exist at a National, State, and University level. Office holding positions are elected through complex mechanics on a yearly basis.

Content of the Request Should members of the Australian Socialist Alternative organisation who are office holders in a student union be included in this page:

  1. If they hold office at the National level, in the National Union of Students
    1. As a President, General Secretary, Treasurer, Education Officer, or Vice President of NUS
    2. As any other elected Officer
  2. If they hold office at the State level
    1. As a President, General Secretary, Treasurer, Education Officer, or Vice President of a state branch of NUS
    2. As any other elected Officer
  3. If they hold office in a local University student association
    1. As a President, General Secretary, Treasurer, Education Officer, or Vice President
    2. As any other elected Officer
I see why you;d want to do this, because this list of 2010 student union holders is deeply not notable and poses the question of what happens in 2011. However, wikipedia is not a directory. In itself, being election to student union position may not be notable at any level. --Duncan (talk) 10:48, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd suggest this request for comment be put forth as the "Notable Members" list seems to be self promoting rather than informative. None of them seem particularly noteworthy. However, if one holds high up positions on NUS or President/etc positions on student council or are actually of relative celebrity, then yes, they are notable. It seems they only hold notability in this article as they are known in the organisation or have used their position in the organisation for personal notoriety and self advertisement. --Theradeon (talk) 14:23, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Allegations of Anti-Semitism Section[edit]

Okay, it appears that there's some disagreement about the addition of the italicised part in the following sentence of this section: "They were accused of assaulting students who supported Israel during the Lebanon War, among whom included members of the Liberal Party who allegedly overturned SA campaign stalls." Can I suggest that there be some kind of consensus formed here regarding this sentence in particular and the section generally before any more changes are made? -- Lear's Fool (talk | contribs) 12:52, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

I think the remark about the stall here comes from this article, which says:
"In Sydney last month, a Jewish student was pushed to the ground and others spat on. At Monash, a Young Liberal member staffing a stall supporting Israel was grabbed by the throat and threatened, while the table was kicked over."
This suggests that it was in fact a pro-Israel stall that was knocked over, although the source doesn't officially say that the culprits were SA members. Accordingly, I think the italicised part in my post above should probably be removed from the article. I'm going to remove it for the moment, but if anyone feels that this is inappropriate, please post here if you re-add the section in question. -- Lear's Fool (talk | contribs) 13:03, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't understand the basis for this [1] revert. Any comments? --Duncan (talk) 12:14, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

To keep neutrality in the document I have removed the word "zionist" from the title of the "allegations of anti-semitism". Wikipedia should remain neutral and having that word adds a bias. Theradeon (talk)

Okay that explains the one word in the heading. I don't understand the revert to the rest of the article. --Duncan (talk) 10:44, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Jewish students?[edit]

The following sentence is apparently problematic:

A member of SA from RMIT University wrote a controversial email referring to some [Jewish] students at that university as "Zionists (who) felt the need to assert their racism and fetish for genocide and mass slaughter of Arab people."

The reference provided for this section is here. The word "Jewish", indicated above, has been added and then removed 8 times (if I've counted correctly) in the last month. It would be good if this could be discussed here rather than reverting every few days. The problem with this sentence is that it's referenced by a first party source that provides very little context about what actually happened. Because of this, we must be particularly careful not to say anything that the source itself does not say. Here, the source does not say that the people referred to were Jewish, but instead refers to them as Zionists. Accordingly, the word "Jewish" should only be re-added if a source can be found to confirm that the student's referred to were in fact Jewish. -- Lear's Fool (talk | contribs) 06:38, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

I agree. I am sure SA would say that not all Zionists are Jewish, and that most Jews are not genocidal. --Duncan (talk) 23:39, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Okay, User: has changed it to "Pro-Israel" instead. I appreciate the effort to compromise, but this is still unsourced. I do not believe we can add any adjective in that place until we have a second- or third-party source about the event to more solidly establish the facts. -- Lear's Fool (talk | contribs) 07:19, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Here is a source which suggests that the word Jewish is most appropriate:

"RADICAL left-wing groups at Melbourne universities are exploiting tensions in the Middle East to promote anti-Semitism and recruit members, according to Jewish student groups.

“There’s a real feeling of threat,” said Deon Kamien, Victorian president of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students.

He said Jewish students for the first time felt targeted as Jews, rather than supporters of Israel. “When they walk past socialist stalls (on campus) they feel very uncomfortable, especially when called ‘a f—ing Jew’,” Mr Kamien said." (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 10:41, 7 April 2010 (UTC).

That's a totally different source, referring to a general feeling across many campuses. This story actually refers to a specific set of interactions, and we have no information about the ethnicity of the participants. They could be been Jewish on boths sides, or on neither. --Duncan (talk) 10:42, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Revert War[edit]

Both Alans1977 (talk · contribs) and RedUnderTheBed (talk · contribs) should probably take a step back for a moment here, both of you are very close to violating the three revert rule. What are the problems? Lets thrash it out on the talk page. -- Lear's Fool (talk | contribs) 13:07, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

I add relevant notable material that is well referenced and remove unsubstantiated statements of facts and it gets reverted. I don't see what the problem is at all. Perhaps RedUnderTheBed (talk · contribs) could care to enlighten. Alans1977 (talk) 13:16, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
if controversy over campaigning tactics is to be included it should at least be under a relevant section Marxwasright (talk) 03:10, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Looks fine to me. Alans1977 (talk) 23:51, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Number of times Socialist Alternative magazine is reference[edit]

Does anyone else find it problematic that this article references the Socialist Alternative magazine 34 times to back up statements of fact about Socialist Alternative? Alans1977 (talk) 23:58, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes. When I have the time I'll remove non-independent sources - but it'll take some time and patience. Australian Matt (talk) 06:19, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
And by all means if anyone else is keen - go for it! Australian Matt (talk) 06:20, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Why shouldn't the only publication in which an organisation puts out its positions be referenced in an article dealing with the politics of said organisation? Most of these links to the magazine are citations for claims made by Socialist Alternative - not AUJS or the Labor students, but Socialist Alternative. Many back up direct quotations. No where else will you find references for SA's work as one of the main forces behind the Equal Love campaign, nor are you likely to find information about the group's union activity in a non-SA source. The reason is simple - small far left organisations are limited in their influence and therefore receive very little media exposure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
Nothing is wrong if quotations are putting forth the opinions of the organisation when that is made plain that is what it is, the political stance taken by an political organisation. However a lot of the references to the Socialist Alternative magazine in this article are put in to back up statements of fact. So what we have happening is statements of fact favourable to Socialist Alternative's political position for which Socialist Alternative is the author of the references given for those statements. So if I write something saying I'm a nice guy and make that writing publicaly available, it's reliable evidence of me being a nice guy (rather than it being evidence of my opinion of myself)? Any such referencing would ensure a fail in any university essay. Alans1977 (talk) 10:27, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I think the self-published sources are still a concern - are there any responses to the note above from Alans1977? Australian Matt (talk) 02:13, 15 March 2013 (UTC)


"The ex-members had been expelled from the ISO after a debate about how to increase membership." This is the funniest thing I've read all week. Long live the People's Front of Judea! --MQDuck (talk) 01:45, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, that is amusing. --Duncan (talk) 22:16, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
what the fuck is the point of this particular discussion stream exactly? Marxwasright (talk) 03:37, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

retrieving marxism from the stalinists[edit]

user: i re-inserted differences between other left groups as the intro is meant as a summary of article's main points. the section on theory and ideology already covers sa's position on stalinism and state capitalism. i don't think one sentance in the intro about this is problematic. i agree sa aren't solely defined by other left groups but should have no shame in differentiating itself from backers of one party dictatorships, which the i.s. has been trying to do for decades, no matter how small the left is. Marxwasright (talk) 08:16, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Even if your claimed "differences" with other left groups amount to slander? You've learnt something from the Stalinist school yourself comrade... (talk) 11:57, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

"I know very well how often you repeat that you are criticising Stalinism and fighting it. But the fact is that your criticism and your fight lose their value and can yield no results because they are determined by and subordinated to your position of defence of the Stalinist state. Whoever defends this regime of barbarous oppression, regardless of the motives, abandons the principles of socialism and internationalism." -Natalia Sedova Trotsky Marxwasright (talk) 14:54, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

This entire article appears to have a large number of weasel words, has a distinct lack of NPOV, and the "notable members" section doesn't seem to meet the standards of COI in the slightest. Does anyone have any suggestions of what could be done about this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Heartofunformed (talkcontribs) 23:55, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Length of article[edit]

Does anyone fee that this article is too long? It is longer the sites on Bolshevism, Trotskyism and almost as long as the site for the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens. When the long lists of ALP and Greens notable members are subtracted the pages for these mainstream mass membership political parties is only slightly larger than that of Socialist Alternative. Surely, such a small organisation so lacking in popular influence deserves much less space? honestly, most of this content does not meet any requirement of notability, the history of factional divisions, philosophies of party building, etc are, to be frank, quite irrelevant. A brief and accurate summary could be accomplished in a few hundred words, and this would accurately reflect the place Socialist Alternative occupies in the wider world

Yes, I do think the article is too long, but you'll need to show why sections of the article aren't worthy of inclusion in and of themselves, instead of comparing it to other articles. Australian Matt (talk) 07:13, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Jade Eckhaus[edit]

As Australian Matt and I have pointed out, the source cited does not say that Eckhaus is a member of Socialist Alternative. While further discussion would be fine, repeated addition of this unreferenced, controversial material about a living person will almost certainly lead to either blocks or the page being protected.  -- Lear's Fool 04:32, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Addition of members[edit]

The addition of a number of members is inappropriate. Not only is it unnecessary to add non-notable individuals such as student union office-bearers, per WP:BLP, we require reliable sources for their membership of SA. Simply having written for SA publications does not establish membership (current or otherwise).  -- Lear's Fool 14:07, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

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israeli working class[edit]

i removed the following section mainly because it is out of place in the "Palestine solidarity" sub-section of "campaign activity". it would be more appropriate in somewhere such as "Theoretical origins" section. it was also not sourced:

"SAlt considers the Israeli working class incapable of opposing their governments treatment of Palestinians, comparing Israelis to poor white Southerners in the US and arguing that they have a stake in the persistance of racism that cannot be overcome through class-based struggle."

Marxwasright (talk) 15:29, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

2015 extreme lack of WP:NPOV and WP:RS[edit]

Papers published by political parties do not appear to meet WP:V or WP:NPOV. This article appears to have next to no WP:3PARTY, WP:RS or WP:NPOV sources, and an abundance of first party sources and OR. I'll likely start to clean the page up and remove a lot of this over the next few days- if anyone else has suggestions of where to find reliable sources that meet the criteria, that would be useful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fractal amalthea (talkcontribs) 10:16, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ {{cite web|url= Alternative Constitution|publisher=Socialist Alternative|accessdate=1 August 2011}}