Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chris Jenkins: 'We'd like to see Holden's factories nationalised'

Opposing cuts to Medicare and tertiary education and bringing the Holden factories under public ownership are some objectives highlighted by Socialist Alliance senate candidate, Chris Jenkins, in an interview with the January 18 Fremantle Herald.

"This Senate re-run will be very interesting and I think the Abbott government has had the shortest honeymoon of any government elected," Jenkins, who is a Notre Dame University student told the Herald.

Taking the fight up to Abbott and bringing mines and banks under public ownership will be some of the key slogans under which the Socialist Alliance will contest a re-election to the WA senate if the high court determines, as expected, that a new election will be held.

On Holden, he said he’d like to see Holden’s factories nationalised to create more green jobs, arguing the company has been given so many billions in public money the public has a right to exercise democratic control over the factories.

"It’s absolutely scandalous to find out how many public subsidies were going into Holden, and Ford before that," he told the Herald.

"And when Ford was going to the wall shelving those jobs, what we were calling for was the public ownership of those factories and industries to be re-tooled for wind turbines or renewable energies. Or at least the infrastructure for renewable energies, because I wouldn’t say right now we need more cars, we need to work towards a transit system."

Commenting on the small right wing parties that won senate positions at the last poll he said that "we will provide more an opening for those people who are at the other side of things".

However, the Socialist Alliance faces a tough battle to win a senate seat he told the Herald: "We acknowledge we are a very small party ... if we won, we would be pleasantly surprised," he said.

But he also pointed out that socialists have been making small but important electoral advances. In Australia two Socialist Alliance members elected to local governments (Fremantle and Moreland in Victoria) brings to four the total number of elected socialist councillors. More recently Kshama Sawant from the US group Socialist Alternative has been elected to the significant Seattle City Council.

"We have seen with the election of a socialist to the Seattle city council ... that even in a very traditionalist pro-capitalist country ... those inroads can be made.”