Resistance 2008: Together we can change the world

Issue 

More than 200 people from across Australia turned anger into action at the Resistance National Conference, held in Sydney from June 27-29. Activists met to discuss everything from revolutions in Latin America to the next steps in the climate change campaign.

More than 200 people from across Australia turned anger into action at the Resistance National Conference, held in Sydney from June 27-29. Activists met to discuss everything from revolutions in Latin America to the next steps in the climate change campaign.

Over the course of the conference, Resistance members shared the successes of the past year's campaigns, such as leading the massive youth mobilisation against George Bush last September, and heard enthusiastic discussion about the coming period.

The conference heard inspiring reports from youth involved in international struggles, highlighting the importance of solidarity with global activism. "Confronting the Empire" <197 as the conference opening was called — reaffirmed Resistance's internationalist focus.

"The Middle East and Latin America remain the two major 'poles of opposition' to imperialism and capitalism", Tim Dobson from Wollongong said at the opening public meeting. "However, we can see struggles and political developments throughout the world. We're committed to forging international links with radical youth across the world, understanding that a victory for people anywhere is a victory for people everywhere."

Israeli activist and Resistance member Isaac Shuisha reported on the growing resistance to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shuisha campaigned against the occupation of Palestine from within Israel and told the conference solidarity with Palestine will be important in the growing opposition to imperialism. "There can be no peace without justice", he said. "It is very important for people all around the world to rise and say to Israel: no more!"

The revolutionary movement sweeping across Latin America is cause for renewed confidence in the socialist project. Kiraz Janicke, who has been based in Caracas for 12 months writing for Venezuelanalysis.com and Green Left Weekly, brought inspiring news from the continent that Ecuador's president Rafael Correa, described as being in "not just an era of change" but "a change of eras".

Resistance and the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network will send Janicke on a national speaking tour to continue promoting the Venezuelan revolution.

The optimistic vibe created from hearing about Latin America's radical alternatives to the capitalist war-machine rapidly turned to urgency as Peter Boyle of the Democratic Socialist Perspective reported that scientists had reported a 50% chance of the North Pole completely melting during this northern summer.

"That's next month", he told shocked Resistance delegates and others.

So "red-green" is the theme of the coming year of activism, with youth climate forums and ongoing climate emergency rallies, such as the Melbourne rally that Resistance was a big part of, being major priorities (see article page 10). The Garnaut report, commissioned by a Rudd Labor government that is dragging its feet on climate change, will only give Resistance activists more ammunition to argue for radical action to halt climate change. National action upon the report's release was identified as a key activity for Resistance.

The new federal Labor government was also discussed as Resistance planned other national campaigns. PM Kevin Rudd, in his "honeymoon period", has delivered symbolic gestures such as the apology to the Stolen Generations and the signing of the Kyoto Protocol.

However, addressing the theme "Rudd is no solution", speakers argued that Rudd's conservative agenda poses no solution to the myriad of problems facing us, such as the racism of the Northern Territory intervention.

Delegates at the conference recognised that Rudd will not implement the progressive change many wish to see unless he is forced to by mass movements of working people. Resistance knows that young people can lead such a movement.

The conference concluded that we must look for opportunities to protest wherever possible, bringing attention to the already hypocritical actions of the new government in relation to denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples and the worsening conditions for Aboriginal people in the NT under the intervention, which was introduced by the Howard Coalition government 12 months ago.

To get involved and be part of the solution, contact your local Resistance branch (see contact details on page 2) or visit http://www.resistance.org.au.

Together we are plenty, we can make a difference.

[Rhiahnon Kennedy and Jay Fletcher were delegates at the Resistance National Conference.]