BY ROHAN PEARCE
"CHOGM and the Commonwealth Business Council are the next stops for the anti-corporate movement and we're going take to the streets with a clear message — global justice not global misery", Angela Luvera, Sydney Resistance central branch organiser told 50 activists in Sydney on May 26, at one of a series of regional conferences organised by the socialist youth organisation.
"We want to force the Australian government to boycott the next World Trade Organisation round and break the chains of debt that help perpetuate poverty and underdevelopment in the Third World. We want to build on the victories made by the protesters in Seattle, Melbourne, Prague, Nice and around Australia on May 1 — we're answering 'their' globalisation with a globalisation of our own. We're globalising solidarity and resistance to the corporate agenda of neo-liberalism", Luvera said.
"The S11 and M1 protests have been part of a significant shift in Australian politics", Peter Robson, a Newcastle Resistance activist, told the Sydney conference. "We're seeing the growth of a movement that challenges some of the fundamental features of capitalism. People are taking to the streets to protest corporations' 'right' to destroy the environment, pay workers as little as a $1 a day or sponsor the assassination of union organisers in the Third World."
The conferences were held to discuss the next steps for Resistance's participation in the growing movement against corporate globalisation. Other priorities for Resistance, including the campaign against the government's attacks on refugees and building the Socialist Alliance, were topics of discussion.
A feature talk at the 50-strong May 20 Melbourne conference by Resistance member Kylie Moon highlighted the meeting of the Commonwealth Business Council, being held in Melbourne in preparation for CHOGM, as a further opportunity for activists in the movement against corporate globalisation to have an impact.
In the closing session, "Prospects for socialism", Melbourne Resistance organiser Fred Fuentes examined the significance the rise of the anti-corporate movement and related developments, such as the Socialist Alliance, have for socialists.
On May 26 in Brisbane, the city that will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in early October, discussions based on a very different view of corporate globalisation to that of the government leaders who will attend GHOGM were held. A conference of Queensland activists organised by Resistance was attended by 40 members of Resistance and other left-wing activists.
"It was an important opportunity to discuss how we can make the CHOGM protests successful", Susan Austin, an organiser for Resistance, told Green Left Weekly. "Brisbane activists will be central to ensuring we have a well-organised protest."
In Perth on May 26, a significant part of the discussion about globalisation was dedicated to making plans for extending pro-refugee campaigns. "The contradiction between the talk of a 'globalised world' by the corporate elite and the reality of the 'fortress mentality' displayed by the imperialist countries, such as Australia, has horrific consequences for people fleeing the Third World", Resistance activist Chris Latham told the conference. Plans were made by conference participants to launch the Refugee Rights Action Network on Murdoch and Curtain universities.
Kerryn Williams, Resistance national organiser, told Green Left Weekly that, "Resistance played an important part at S11 and M1, both in building the protests and being part of the blockades. The next focus for the movement is going to be CHOGM in Brisbane and Melbourne — and we're going to be there. The growing revolt against corporate plunder of the Third World and the devastation of the environment for the sake of profit gives socialists the chance to take the offensive against the corporate elite — and that's exactly what we're doing."
[Resistance regional conferences are also being organised in Canberra and Hobart. Check calendar for details. Visit the Resistance web site at <http://www.resistance.org.au>.]