An independent success
Dave Osler was one of the main organisers of the January 19 Socialist Alliance independents' conference. Afterwards he spoke to Mark Fischer
I was very pleased with today. Attendance was up on what we were expecting. We were anticipating anything from 20 to 40, and 57 turned up. The discussion remained constructive and comradely throughout. While firm conclusions weren't always arrived at, at least we've got some basis for taking this initiative further. We're going to have further discussions on our e-list. We had positive indicative votes on organising some sort of bulletin for the dissemination of information and discussion between independents. We are also going to organise a further 'indy SA' national meeting after the local government elections. By definition, political coherence is not possible in such a disparate group of socialists. But where we do have concerns in common - for instance over issues of democracy in the alliance and the role of independents - it makes sense for us to work together. That is something I hope comes out of today - an enhanced ability for us to collaborate. On the question of an SA paper, in principle I am strongly supportive of the initiative to get some sort of unofficial SA publication together. But - and I suppose it's a big 'but' - I want to see the details. How serious are the forces that are proclaiming themselves behind this project? I am particularly concerned, given the rather chequered history some forces have in collaborating on joint publications with other socialist trends. As a professional journalist, I want to see this or any other newspaper of this type be a serious journalistic proposition. I want a credible socialist newspaper. That's very important. I would need copper-bottomed assurances that this is going to be the case before wholeheartedly throwing my weight behind it.