'Defeating the monster that is imperialism'


Emma Clancy

These three young activists will be special guests at the July 8-10 Resistance national conference in Sydney.

Maria Rosa Jimenez, Venezuela

Maria Rosa Jimenez is the head of student affairs of the Venezuelan socialist youth organisation the Frente Francisco de Miranda (FFM). Set up in 2003, the FFM has more than 15,000 young members, who are leading social missions that have brought free education and health to poor areas.

As well as carrying out practical work to empower people and improve their quality of life, the FFM is playing a critical role in stimulating discussion about creating what President Hugo Chavez has called the "new socialism of the 21st century".

Jimenez told Green Left Weekly: "We believe that the Venezuelan revolution cannot remain solely focused within its own borders — we need to spread what we are constructing here to other countries because it is not possible for one country on its own to defeat the monster that is imperialism."

Hendrik Ervan Baldus, Indonesia/West Papua

Hendrik is the chairperson of the presidium of the Papuan National Student Front (FMNP), which is struggling against the repression and exploitation of the West Papuan people by the Indonesian government and military. Student activists and community groups are at the forefront of the deepening political struggle in Papua — for the closure of the Freeport mine, for more resources for the Papuan people, and for the withdrawal of the Indonesian army, which is notorious for committing human rights atrocities against Papuans.

Hendrik is also involved in the left-wing Indonesian People's Democratic Party.

Joe Carolan, New Zealand

Joe Carolan is an organiser for Unite, the new union signing up thousands of young, casual workers through its Supersize My Pay campaign. Unite's struggle against the discriminatory youth wage has captured the imagination of a generation of exploited young workers, who are learning that if you put up a fight, you can win.

Unite recently won significant pay rises and the phasing out of youth wages for thousands of workers employed by Restaurant Brands, which covers Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut and Restaurant Brands call centres. With real results to show, Unite's membership is rapidly rising, and it has even started organising Supersize My Pay clubs on schools.

Carolan is an activist with Socialist Worker and is inspired by historical examples of "how a small group of dedicated socialists could build a massive citywide union movement".

From Green Left Weekly, July 5, 2006.
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