An open letter to members of Socialist Alternative

Dear comrades,

We write to challenge the lies and misinformation in the letter written by leading Socialist Alternative (SA) member Tom Bramble that was published on www.sa.org.au. We won’t address the tone of the letter (calling us amongst other things “gutless wonders”) – as we are not interested in mud slinging matches. We are however interested in the facts of the matter:

Members of Solidarity and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) did not oppose calling a second rally against the genocide in Gaza. In fact, there was no dissent about a second rally from anyone in the campaign – the emergency meeting held at AHIMSA House on January 4 was unanimous in its support for a rally.

The first time there was any disagreement about when to hold a rally was at an organising meeting on January 7 at Brisbane Square Library meeting room where SA members argued for a rally on January 17 to be announced at the rally on January 10. The sentiment at the meeting was against holding another rally so soon, with members of the RSP and Solidarity arguing for a rally on the 24th to allow more time to build for it. SA did not put a motion for a rally on the 17th to this meeting. Such a motion was though put to the meeting on January 12, and passed with a significant majority. Members of the RSP and Solidarity who had argued to give Justice for Palestine more time to build a rally on the 24th (instead of holding two rallies) immediately swung into action to support building the rally for January 17.

Any discussion that there has been about a public meeting was part of thinking through how to find a variety of ways to motivate people to get involved in the ongoing campaign and was in no way counterposed to holding further rallies. This was explained clearly by members of both Solidarity and the RSP.

These are the facts of the matter. While we can continue to have our disagreements about what is tactically best for the campaign the most important thing is that the discussion is had out without the resort to point-scoring, lies and misinformation which are all thoroughly destructive for the campaign.

But what is most disgraceful in Tom’s letter is the suggestion that Solidarity argued that “rallies should be put on hold until the campaign could get more whites involved”. This is an absolute lie and SA should be ashamed of itself for publishing such slander. Solidarity and others in the campaign have vigorously sought to broaden the campaign. SA members have played their part in this also – contacting various NGO groups and student organisations. To suggest that this work is somehow capitulating to racism is absurd in the extreme.

Neither Solidarity nor the RSP have argued against the voicing of opposition on the streets. Both our organisations have played an important role in initiating and organising this emergency campaign. We see no reason for Tom’s lies and slanders. All groups have worked well together in organising the rallies, even when there was the tactical disagreement about when to hold the next rally. As the campaign for freedom for Palestine continues into the future, with renewed determination, we would hope that such a collaborative approach could continue.

With this in mind, SA members need to ask themselves the question of why these lies and slanders are being spread? It is not healthy for your organisation or for the campaign.

In the spirit of collaboration,

Kathy Newnam & Hamish Chitts (Revolutionary Socialist Party), Mark Gillespie (Solidarity)