Young people are the hope for the future

Resistance-organised young workers' rights protest, 2006. Photo by Alison Dellit.

To all Socialist Alliance members and supporters: I am asking for your support for the Resistance national conference, Resistance 2010: The World Can’t Wait!, to be held in Thirroul, New South Wales over April 24-26.To all Socialist Alliance members and supporters: I am asking for your support for the Resistance national conference, Resistance 2010: The World Can't Wait!, to be held in Thirroul, New South Wales over April 24-26. Resistance is a socialist youth organisation affiliated to the Socialist Alliance.

It has a special role. As an organisation of young activists that is independently led and organised by young people, it creates new generations of committed socialist activists — which our movement needs simply to survive, let alone to grow. The great majority of the world's scientists warn that we are running out of time to avert runaway climate change. The brutal truth is that, left to its own devices, capitalism will continue to block society from averting climate change.

The biggest capitalist firms are now working out how to make the most profit from "adapting" to climate change. They will "adapt" their corporate plans — but don't count on it saving the world's poverty-stricken majority or our environment. If there are fortunes to be made from war and misery, there will be fortunes to be made from the calamities that will come with runaway climate change. Many millions of people, even entire nations, have been sacrificed at the altar of great profit for the rich. Armies of professional killers, bullies, torturers and liars continue to work every day simply to protect business-as-usual for capitalism.

It is an ugly thought, but also the brutal truth.

The scurrilous capitalist politicians are playing every dirty trick in the book to stop the world's majority from acting together to put an end to their system of runaway greed. In Australia, Labor and Coalition politicians are shamelessly playing the "race card" with a vengeance. After the previous Coalition government stole Pauline Hanson's racist policies and locked up desperate men, women and children seeking refuge from the bloody imperial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Labor government has now had its own shameful "human rights overboard" moment with the suspension of processing asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

It follows Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's continuation of the Northern Territory intervention, which has institutionalised racial apartheid in Australia. But this latest gross moral outrage will spark off another generation of militant activists. The capitalist system is not only a great destroyer of people and the environment, but also of the human spirit.

Any movement that seeks to build a different future needs to have its activist base and its leadership constantly renewed. Hence, organisations like Resistance provide the socialist movement a lifeline. This was evident at the Socialist Alliance conference in January. Our hope lies with the young people who will replace those of us who are no longer as young.

Former leaders of Resistance are now the editors of Green Left Weeklyand a majority of its regular correspondents. In many of the social movements we work in, it is younger comrades playing the leading roles. Where does this commitment and leadership from young activists come from? Organisations, like Resistance, which are run and led by young people, play a critical role. They provide the space and structure within which a new generation of activists can learn from its own efforts — its own successes and also its own mistakes.

But there is a need for solidarity from older activists in our movement. This is why I am appealing for you to join me in attending the Resistance conference. We can help boost the political confidence of our younger comrades, as well as help in practical ways, and in the process strengthen our own commitment to our common cause. The conference agenda reveals the political focus of our younger comrades on the big issues of the day: climate change; racism; war and the ongoing struggles for justice, equality and democratic rights. It is shaping up to be an exciting conference that will be enhanced by special guests including Richard Downs, the highly respected spokesperson for the Alyawarr people, who walked off their community in protest against the NT intervention, and leading Pakistani socialist activist Ammar Ali Jan.

If you can attend the conference, or even part of it, register here. If you really can't come, please send a message of solidarity and/or a donation to Resistance. [Peter Boyle is the national convenor of the Socialist Alliance.]

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