National Members Forum - 20 and 21 April 2024

SEARCH National Members Forum 2024

Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 April

NSW Teacher’s Federation, 33 Mary St, Surry Hills

Register by clicking here

SEARCH members are coming together in Sydney on 20 and 21 April 2024 for a National Members Forum to discuss the interlinked crises of our time, international and local responses to them, and SEARCH’s contribution to developing a durable and effective socialist movement in Australia. There has never been a greater need for an alternative to current systems of exploitation, domination and war, and the existential threats of nuclear war and climate catastrophe.

Members and the Committee have been discussing the policy and political themes and key organisational questions that should form the basis for the Forum’s program. In finalising the program, the Committee took account of views expressed at two national pre-meetings open to all members, and of views some members submitted in writing.

Aims, themes and purpose

The National Members Forum program provides for members to discuss four major themes:

1. Inequality, the rise of the authoritarian Right and how to defeat its agenda

2. A People’s Economy for a Planet in Peril

3. Peace, Solidarity, International Justice and an Independent Foreign Policy

4. SEARCH priorities and roles to respond to these challenges, and how should that be reflected in the vision, goals, policies and activities of SEARCH.

Format and program

This event is for SEARCH members to have their say on current key issues, on socialist alternatives, and on what SEARCH and the left more broadly can and should do to work for such alternatives. Keynote speeches and plenary panel sessions will inform and set the scene for substantial breakout discussions, which will be allocated most of the time.

This as a forum by and for members. We are currently confirming speakers, who will predominantly come from the SEARCH membership. You can see an outline of the program below.

A full program will be sent to registered participants. We will provide regular updates by email and on the SEARCH website.

Ticket costs

We ask that members contribute $10 | $20 for a ticket, but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. Contact us if you need assistance to attend, as per below.

Assistance to attend

This event is primarily an ‘in-person’ event – to participate in it fully you will need to be there.

Please let us know if you need assistance to travel and stay in Sydney. We have a limited budget to help with transport and-or accommodation, and some members in Sydney can provide a billet for members from outside Sydney.

Please also let us know if you require childcare or child-minding to attend.  The NSW Teachers Federation has spaces that can be used to look after children while participants engage in the discussions and workshops.

Please also let us know if you have any mobility or accessibility issues that may affect your participation.

Members can also help other members attend by either billeting or by donating to travel and other costs via the SEARCH website here.

Program Outline

This Program Outline sets out the themes and topics of the Forum’s four half-day sessions. A full program with speakers, times and other details will be provided when all speakers are confirmed. In general, the plenary panel sessions will be 60 minutes and the breakout workshops will be 90 minutes. There will be mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks.

DAY 1 – Saturday 20 April

1. Opening remarks and Welcome
2. Keynote Address: First Nations’ continuing struggles for rights and justice
3. Plenary Panel 1: Inequality, the rise of the authoritarian Right and how to defeat its agenda

The rise of the authoritarian ‘populist’ right threatens hard-won progressive gains and further progressive reforms and radical social change. Discussion on its causes, impacts, and the role socialists can play in resisting and defeating its agenda

4. Members Breakout Discussions

Members will join breakout discussion groups to address the themes, ideas and issues arising from the Keynote Address and Panel 1.

LUNCH

5. Plenary Panel 2:  A People’s Economy for a Planet in Peril

Radical changes towards a sustainable economy that puts people before profit and preserves Earth’s ecological systems. What are democratic ecological socialist perspectives on these crucial issues?

6. Members Breakout Discussions

Members will join breakout discussion groups to address the themes, ideas and issues arising from Panel 2.

CONFERENCE DINNER: Sat 20 April at 5:30pm for 6pm – with Senator Barbara Pocock

DAY 2 – Sunday 21 April

7. Plenary Panel 3: Peace, Solidarity, International Justice and an Independent

Foreign Policy

The growing threats of war, nuclear conflagration, climate catastrophe, economic exploitation and big-power domination – and the failures and hypocrisies of the ‘international rules-based order’. Prospects for a reinvigorated peace movement, the growing movement against AUKUS, and for an independent Australian foreign policy.

8. Members Breakout Discussions

Members will join breakout discussion groups to address the themes, ideas and issues arising from Panel 2.

LUNCH

9. Socialist Reponses to the crises and SEARCH’s Role

a) Rapporteur(s): Report-back on key themes, views, proposals and outcomes from the breakout workshops over the weekend

b) Roundtable: Several SEARCH members will speak on key outcomes from the Forum, their views on priorities for SEARCH that apply our democratic ecological socialist perspectives to the current circumstances and realities, and proposals for SEARCH’s role and work in the period ahead.

c) Open session: Members’ contributions from the floor

10. Closing remarks: Executive Officer and Vice President

CLOSE: National Members Forum 2024 concludes     

 

 

****** Speakers and program update *****

 

Register here to attend


We're pleased to announce speakers for the keynote opening address and for three main panel discussions at our National Members Forum on the weekend of 20 and 21 April 2024.

Opening keynote address

Thomas Mayo will open our 2024 National Members Forum. He will talk on the continuing struggles of First Nations peoples for rights, justice and self-determination, following the Voice Referendum. Thomas is of course a national figure promoting the Uluru Statement from the Heart and campaigning for Voice, Treaty and Truth. He is also an author who has already published several books, and a senior national official with the Maritime Union (MUA).

Thomas also gave the opening keynote address at our 2017 National Members Forum, just four months after the Uluru Statement from the Heart had been adopted by about 250 First Nations representatives meeting at Uluru in May 2017. We are lucky to hear from him again, as the struggles of First Nations peoples continue in the aftermath of the Voice Referendum.

Speakers for Plenary Panel Sessions

As previously advised (see the program outline here) the Forum will consist of four half-day sessions, the first three of which will be on themes around some major issues of our times, and the last one will be a members’ roundtable on socialist responses to these issues and the role of SEARCH.

In the first three plenary sessions, each speaker will address different aspects of the topic, followed by a brief Q&A, then breakout workshops with plenty of time for members to discuss the issues raised and how we respond to them. The last session will be a plenary, with a panel of members to open the discussion with their perspectives on SEARCH’s socialist responses, followed by contributions from the floor.

SATURDAY 20 APRIL

Session I: Inequality, the rise of the authoritarian Right and how to defeat its agenda 

The rise of the authoritarian ‘populist’ right threatens hard-won progressive gains and further progressive reforms and radical social change. Discussion on its causes, impacts, and the role socialists can play in resisting and defeating its agenda. 

Speakers: Frank Stilwell, Osmond Chiu, Fiona Laughren, David McKnight, and Natasha Watt.

Session II: A people’s economy for a planet in peril

Radical changes towards a sustainable economy that puts people before profit and preserves Earth’s ecological systems. What are democratic ecological socialist perspectives on these crucial issues? 

Speakers: Steve Murphy, John Wishart, James Miranda, Felicity Wade, and Anitra Nelson.

 

Dinner: Doing politics in the current Parliament: Is there a parliamentary road to progressive change?

Speaker: Senator Barbara Pocock AM, Australian Greens Senator for South Australia will be the Forum Dinner speaker. 

Get your tickets now!  Tickets available here

 

SUNDAY 21 APRIL

Session III: Peace, solidarity, international Justice and an independent foreign policy

 The growing threats of war, nuclear conflagration, climate catastrophe, economic exploitation and big-power domination – and the failures and hypocrisies of the ‘international rules-based order’. Prospects for a reinvigorated peace movement, the growing movement against AUKUS, and an independent Australian foreign policy. 

Speakers: Patricia Ranald, Bob Makinson, Tasneem Roc and Marcus Strom

Session IV:  Socialist responses and the role of SEARCH

A Report-back segment on outcomes from the previous three sessions will be followed by a roundtable panel of members to open general discussion for all participants. Speakers for the opening panel to be confirmed soon.

Speakers to open Breakout Workshop Discussions

We are in the process of inviting members with experience, interest and involvement in particular issues, campaigns and movements to help facilitate and get the discussions going in the breakout workshops. The proposal is that there will be just two speakers to open discussion in each of the breakouts, for a maximum of five minutes each.

If you would like to volunteer to be a speaker, facilitator or notetaker in workshops on particular topics, please email us at [email protected]

REGISTRATION AND ASSISTANCE FOR TRANSPORT AND ACCOMMODATION


You can register by clicking here, and email us at [email protected] if you need help with getting to Sydney or a place to stay.

We are pleased that so many SEARCH members have already agreed to to speak on the various panels. But the participants and contributors we really want now is you! So we hope that you'll register today, if you haven't already, to be part of this important Forum for all SEARCH members.

We will provide further details soon of remaining speakers to be confirmed, speakers’ specific topics within each theme, speaker bios, and so on.

 

WHEN

April 20, 2024 at 9:30am - April 22, 2024

WHERE

NSW Teachers Federation
33 Mary St
Surry Hills, NSW 2000
Australia
Google map and directions

CONTACT

Luke Whitington · · 0296984918

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.