After a year of discussion, the Freedom Socialist Party disaffiliated from the Socialist Alliance (SA). We helped found the Socialist Alliance back in 2001, because we wanted to see a united front where socialists — both affiliated and non-aligned — cooperate to present a strong and clear socialist message in the electoral arena. For the first couple of years, we were very hopeful that the Alliance would succeed in achieving this goal.
The project was effectively derailed during 2003, when the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) announced a plan to “dissolve” into Socialist Alliance and to commence building a “multi-tendency socialist party.” Our opposition to this major change of direction was articulated in a leaflet we distributed at the 2003 National Conference and in this magazine. The situation deteriorated further at the next conference, when the DSP used its numbers to entrench its organisational and political domination and to disenfranchise all of the other affiliates. Since this conference, the Socialist Alliance has become an “alliance” in name only. Increasingly, SA has adopted the politics of the DSP leadership, excluding and deriding dissenting views.
The sectarian takeover of the Alliance led inevitably to its demise. Affiliation is meaningless if affiliates have no rights or responsibilities. SA no longer operates in a democratic fashion and, for that reason, has no internal life outside that of the DSP. As a result, it is no longer capable of attracting a significant base for socialist ideas and activism through campaigning in the electoral arena. The disappointing thing is that for the first couple of years of its existence, Socialist Alliance had this potential. The current leadership of the DSP must take all responsibility for its failure.