Young activists prepare for conference


By Sean Malloy

"Resistance takes an active stand on issues important to young people. This year's Resistance conference will reflect the diversity and dynamism of our activities this year and our plans for the future", says Jorge Jorquera, assistant national coordinator of Resistance, which is preparing for its 21st national conference.

"When injustice becomes law resistance becomes duty", is the theme of the conference, which will run July 4-6 in Melbourne. Jorquera says the theme reflects the political situation young people face now.

"On the national and international level, questions of democratic rights and economic equality are coming to the fore. We've seen this with the Earth Summit, where delegates, particularly from the Third World, underlined the connections between economic equality, democracy and the environment."

The conference agenda includes reports and discussion on Australian and world politics. "The discussion on international politics will look at issues such as the North-South divide, not just economically but also in terms of environmental destruction, pollution and political dominance of the South by the North. Other issues include the world recession, the growth of rival trade blocs, developments in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and the decline of US capitalism.

"Australian topics include the role of ALP governments in driving down living standards through economic restructuring and a long list of regressive legislation, such as the abolition of the youth dole, the tertiary education tax and the introduction of Newstart and Jobstart.

"The crisis of the two-party system and the problems of both Labor and the Liberals are other interesting aspects of Australian politics. Currently there are three minority state governments — NSW, SA and WA. In the Wills by-election, Labor and the Liberals received only 30% and 26.9% of the vote respectively", Jorquera added.

Women's liberation and the environment will also be important topics at the conference. "We thought reports on women's liberation and a report on the environment were needed. Women's rights are under attack, and the environment is an enormous and vital topic. Young activists need more than a general understanding of these issues." There will be panel discussions on the Fact and Fantasy File and a charter of youth rights.

In keeping with Resistance's activist approach, the conference will set some goals in a report on "Strategies for radical youth". Preparations are under way in Melbourne, and organisers report a good response to initial publicity. "We've had a stream of registrations inquiries, including interest from the media", says Kylie Budge, a Melbourne organiser of Resistance.

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