Radical politics around the world


By Sean Malloy

"The Resistance national conference is one of the best vehicles for young activists to discuss, plan and think about radical politics.

"Young people around the world are becoming increasingly active and organised to change society", says Jorge Jorquera, Resistance national coordinator.

Green Left Weekly spoke to Jorquera about the radical youth organisation's upcoming national conference in Melbourne, July 3-5.

Jorquera says the 1993 conference includes "an inspiring array of international guests and themes. The great advantage of having international guests is that the conference will get a better picture of what's happening internationally — in many cases, first hand."

African National Congress Youth League leader Jerry Ndou will be speaking on the first day on the Youth League and the challenges it faces in the current South African political situation. He will also be speaking on an international panel that includes activists from Indonesia and New Zealand.

Green Left Weekly correspondent Catherine Brown "will be using her experiences and research in Europe to outline the growing upsurge in that region, taking into account the Maastricht voting and the ongoing economic problems", said Jorquera.

"Representatives from the League of Filipino Students and the Indonesian Forum for International Solidarity will add the Asian dimension to the world picture."

The conference, says Jorquera won't be looking only at international issues. "We plan to have a thorough discussions about politics in Australia. Since Labor re-won government, they have been consistently breaking their election promises. What another term of

Labor means for young people, the republic debate, unemployment, changes in education and so on, will be included in the discussion."

The conference will be able "to compare the differences and similarities between Australia and other countries with Labor Party-type governments that are trying to implement austerity programs.

"The Australian Labor Party's shine has dulled considerably since 1983, when they were first elected. This year's elections show that the choice between the ALP and the Liberal party is a choice of who hurts less rather than between distinct alternatives.

"Young people are becoming aware that changing society for the better shouldn't be left in the hands of people like the ALP or the Liberal Party. Resistance is an alternative to the passive politics promoted by the ALP and Liberals; we encourage an active involvement in politics. Our approach to politics also goes way beyond the narrow outlook of parliament."

A Resistance conference is a dynamic event, he says, with young activists meeting and discussing their experiences and activities. It's also where Resistance discusses and decides collectively its work and projections for the next year.

"A thoughtful part of our conference agenda will be around the reports 'Being a Radical Activist Today' and 'Resistance in Action'. These reports will initiate a discussion about what we should be doing to develop our organisation and work. We will be looking at what skills and education we need to improve on, what projects we can undertake and what perspectives we should adopt for our campaigning work.

"We structure the conference so that participants, whether they have been a member of Resistance for five days or five years, can participate actively in one way or another."

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