Is Kevin Rudd a socialist?

Kevin Rudd: I am not a socialist, I’m a.....

“It’s good that new federal ALP leader Kevin Rudd has made it crystal clear to Australian voters that he never has been, is not, and never will be a socialist, although it’s hardly front page news”, Dick Nichols, the National Coordinator of the Socialist Alliance said today.

Nichols was commenting on Rudd’s interview in today’s Melbourne Age, in which the ALP leader said that his future vision for the party should be constructed not from “some 19 th - century arcane view of doctrinaire socialism”.

Nichols said: “Kevin Rudd is wrong. The debate over socialism isn’t basically a debate about ‘arcane’ doctrine. “It’s about alternatives to Howard-style economic rationalism and militarism. The ALP leader actually knows that—he’s read our 2004 election manifesto which puts forward a global policy alternative to free market capitalism (see picture).

Nichols asked: “But now that no-one can mistake Kevin Rudd for a socialist, the obvious question is: what is he?”

In his Age interview Rudd invoked equality, solidarity and sustainability as his key principles for Labor. Nichols commented: “Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard won’t find themselves at odds with the Socialist Alliance over these three principles: they are part and parcel of what any decent human being—and any socialist—stands for.

“The big difference between the ALP and Socialist Alliance is about how to make these values real. What policies and strategies really will achieve equality, solidarity and sustainability?”

Nichols asked: “Can we take Labor seriously on equality when it’s got no serious proposals on the table to tackle the poverty of Indigenous Australia, when it has said nothing about a tax system where the superrich pay a pittance while Australia’s charities are overwhelmed?

“It’s good that the new Labor leadership commits to kids from working families having a decent start in life and working people not being ‘cast on the dung heap of the market’. But does that mean dumping the Howard government’s welfare-to work laws? A massive boost to public school education spending? And an end the university fees that the last federal ALP government brought in?

The Socialist Alliance spokesperson continued: “It’s also good that Labor accepts the principle of mandatory renewable energy targets. But sustainability will just remain a nice word unless we see a public energy plan that bans new coal mines and nuclear power as well as investing massively in renewables. Will the ALP deliver?”

“Unfortunately, it seems that socialist policies haven’t had much impact on Kevin Rudd to date. But if he and Julia Gillard don’t improve Labor’s performance they’ll find that these policies—which really do advance equality of opportunity, solidarity and sustainability—will become increasingly popular with Australia’s working people.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION: 0425 221 565 (Dick Nichols)