Activists describe conference

Issue 

Chris Williams, 18, student at Victorian University of Technology, joined Resistance during the conference

I have been active in the campaign against education cuts in Melbourne. It's a campaign I feel very strongly about. Through working with people involved in Resistance, I came to realise that what they were saying made a lot of sense.

I learned heaps at the conference. I found it all pretty mind-blowing. Like so many other people, I was told when I was growing up that I had no say and that we can't change things.

Seeing the breadth of Resistance as a national organisation with links to other like-minded groups overseas, hearing about Resistance's experiences from around the country in campaigns, I have come to think differently.

Erica Garret, 16, high school student

I joined Resistance last year during the campaign against French nuclear testing. I was angry and frustrated with society and the state of the world. I really wanted to do something.

I found the conference a real inspiration. The atmosphere created by bringing so many young people together who felt the same way was great.

The conference went through the reality of how the world works today. The rich are getting richer and the poor are starving. Profits are put before everything. Environmental destruction, women's oppression, racism, the terrible future for most young people, are evidence that society needs to be pretty fundamentally reorganised.

And if we don't do something now that Howard has been elected, things will go backwards even faster.

Lisa Young, 25, quality assurance clerk, joined Resistance in 1995

The main thing about the conference that inspired me was that there really are politically aware young people out there, who don't like what they are seeing and are serious and committed about changing society for the better.

I got active through the women's movement. But while it is important that women unite and stand up for their rights, the gains you achieve can only go so far. Resistance is a group that recognises that a revolution can only be achieved by incorporating all social justice issues and mobilising the broadest layers of society.

The capitalist system feeds off sexism, racism and homophobia, which divide people and stop them from seeing their common interests in overthrowing a system based on profit. Resistance is all about uniting these movements for a bigger struggle.

Lachlan Malloch, 21, student at Macquarie University, joined Resistance in 1996

I joined because I felt that if I didn't get active and encourage others to do the same, I would be letting the current cycle of repression and poverty continue unchallenged.

The democratic nature of Resistance really impressed me, seeing the breadth of membership represented and deciding collectively on our tasks and political perspectives for the coming year.

I think the conference proved that socialism is not a dead ideology. Many people believe that any attempt to institute a more equal and just society is doomed since the collapse of so-called socialism in the USSR. We are fighting today for a different kind of democratic socialism.

A lot a of young people are joining Resistance today because a socialist outlook is the only one that makes sense of the world and puts forward concrete ideas about how to change it.