Make Capitalism History conference inspires

Following the rich and inspiring World at a Crossroads conference, socialist youth organisation Resistance held its annual national conference on April 13 in Sydney.

Titled "Make Capitalism History", the conference looked at how young people can build a radical alternative to capitalism.

The world economy is suffering a crisis with its roots in decades of unchecked corporate greed. Despite US President Barack Obama recently seeing "glimmers of hope" in the US economic crisis, few others are so optimistic.

As mortgage foreclosures reach record levels and job losses accelerate in the US, it is clear who is really paying for the crisis.

Banks and companies have got multi-billion-dollar bailouts but it did nothing to halt or even slow the crisis.

In Australia, PM Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard argue against workers fighting for better wages while the government stands by heartless companies continue to axe jobs to protect their profits.

Young people will suffer as the crisis takes its toll. Those who study face rising costs of living and the creeping privatisation of university education.

Often, university students have to work just to get through. For the many more who work in casualised, less-unionised industries, job cuts and attacks on welfare are making life hard.

Resistance voted to run a campaign demanding a freeze on rent rises and for a rise in Newstart and Youth Allowance payments above the poverty line.

The conference also stressed that the environmental crisis — the threat of dangerous global warming and runaway climate change — cannot be stopped with corporate bailouts or stimulus packages.

In fact, if governments fail to break with business as usual and take drastic action on climate change, there will be no economy to worry about at all.

Resistance discussed the grim reality of the effects of climate change on the world, and affirmed the need to build a broad, mass and radical movement to challenge governments' and the powerful interests who are resisting change.

Resistance will support and build all of the climate actions proposed at the Climate Summit held in Canberra in January. The next protest is the national Climate Emergency rallies on June 13, to launch the demand for 100% renewable energy by 2020.

When we look at the rest of the world, we can see capitalist governments on the defensive.

New upsurges of people on the streets are challenging authorities across Europe and the Middle East. Growing numbers are inspired by the revolutionary movements in Latin America.

Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia show there is another path out of the crisis very different to the capitalist plan to make working people pay for a crisis they didn't create.

As Resistance activist Gonzalo San Juan told Green Left Weekly: "It was great to see many like minded, conscious and intellectual peers who really understand the nature of the struggles faced by many people against the dirty and corrupt ways of the capitalist system."