Resistance gets going


By Sean Healy

Resistance has mapped out its plans for growing and strengthening after a very successful year.

Resistance's National Council, meeting in Sydney on October 19, spent a full day planning the future, how it would make the most of its expanded profile and notoriety and how it would organise the many new members who have joined.

Since its national conference in July, Resistance has organised two enormously successful high school strikes (on July 24 and August 28) which mobilised, in total, 23,000 high school students and put a big spanner in the wheels of the Hanson bandwagon.

In response, Resistance has met enormous media and public interest. Resistance became public enemy no. 1 for right-wing hacks everywhere — Piers Akerman compared us to the Nazis (huh?), Paddy McGuinness called on ASIO to investigate us, Stan Zamanek flooded the airwaves with hate, newspaper columnists wrung their hands about socialists organising on high schools. We became a symbol of fighting back against racism for many, many others.

In the last three months, 700 people have joined Resistance, primarily high school students, but also university students, young people in and out of the work force, whoever.

Where does Resistance go from there?

1. A new Resistance magazine in Green Left.

The new Resistance magazine, four pages and a full-colour cover each week, will cover news about campaigns and issues, news about Resistance, big features (on Jabiluka this week), little snippets of life and activism, even a cartoon character.

It'll provide an introduction to socialist politics, an understanding of the issues, a handle on what's happening and a way of sharing experiences and ideas. It'll be a big new step in raising the street profile of both Green Left and Resistance.

2. Keeping up the fight against racism.

It's anti-racist activism that Resistance has become most closely identified with. That's not going to end just because the election's over — not even because Pauline lost her seat in parliament ("I don't like that"). Her partner-in-crime, John Howard, still needs his bubble burst.

The focus for Resistance's campaigning will be opposition to the uranium mine at Jabiluka, a particularly vile example of racism, but we'll also be organising more Rock Against Racism concerts, further demonstrations and actions, more street campaigning.

3. Building up our "street heat".

If you want to change something, you have to do it collectively, loudly and publicly. So there'll be demonstrations a-plenty — Reclaim the Night demonstrations had large Resistance contingents; in coming weeks so will demonstrations in solidarity with East Timor and actions against the Jabiluka mine. Resistance is also planning further demonstrations in its own name in various cities.

4. Resistance clubs on high schools.

There are now Resistance members on close to 150 high schools across the country. Now we're going to try to go beyond that and organise clubs on those schools, groups of Resistance members who campaign on the issues and raise socialist politics.

In coming weeks, we'll start to share the experiences of those attempts, but already many Resistance branches are laying out plans for first meetings and activities before the end of the school year.

5. More regional organising.

There's been lots of interest in Resistance from regional areas from Townsville to Ballarat, more interest than ever before. So now we're going to start to get that organised — meetings, getting information around, forming more lasting groups, building close contact between the established branches and the potential ones.

6. A new e-mail newsletter, RES_NET.

Taking advantage of the PC and e-mail revolution, Resistance launches this week a new e-mail newsletter. RES_NET will feature articles from the Resistance magazine as well as further news and issues, all easily accessible through an e-mail subscription system that will grow and grow.

7. Green Left summer blitz.

To coincide with the start of summer, the end of exams (finally!) and the music festival season, Resistance is going on an all-out one-week blitz to get Green Left and the Resistance magazine out as widely as possible.

In the week, November 30 to December 6, Resistance activists will be everywhere, at demonstrations, at festivals and most especially on the streets, getting socialism out to people, introducing the newspaper to those who haven't seen it before and joining more people to Resistance.

8. Socialist summer schools.

No, it won't be like normal school! Not even in the slightest — these schools will actually help people learn and think for themselves.

These special socialist summer schools will be held all over the country and will introduce newcomers to socialist politics. What is capitalism? Can socialism really work? How do we bring about socialism? Your questions answered at the socialist summer schools.

And away we go!

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