The Sydney Alliance is founded in the traditions of community organising that have their origins in the United States in the 1930s, and have recently been popularised by Barak Obama. The Industrial Areas Foundation which grew out of Chicago now has over 60 partner organisations in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.
These kinds of coalitions have a track record of success overseas. Citizens UK has successfully taken action for living wages in London, improving London’s minimum wage from $8 to $14 an hour. The Sound Alliance in Seattle USA has organised a $14 million pilot project to create green jobs that retrofit houses to reduce carbon emissions.
The Sydney Alliance is the first example of this kind of organising in Australia.
The Alliance is equally based on the kinds of coalition building practices that have underpinned our own democracy, including the famous Green Bans coalition between the Builders Labourers Federation and residential groups that saved our urban environment. The Palm Sunday peace movements of the 1980s that attracted over 200 000 people at their peak were organised by strong, broad-based coalitions across religious organisations, union and community organisations.