Young people plan resistance

July 23, 2003


SYDNEY — "War is the inevitable result of a system that places power and greed before solidarity and need", Lincoln Hancock, a Melbourne-based activist, told the July 11-13 Resistance national conference, held in Sydney.

The conference, themed "Our world, our future — globalise resistance", was the socialist youth organisation's 32nd national conference since its founding in 1967. More than three decades later, the organisation is still fighting US imperialism and war.

Hancock told the conference that, "defeating imperialism means not only defeating the US war machine. It means fighting for a world in which war cannot exist. ... In the midst of World War I, German revolutionary Rosa Luxembourg put the alternatives bluntly: 'Humanity faces two choices — socialism or barbarism'." Hancock's report, "Today's empire, tomorrow's ashes", was one of three adopted by the conference.

While the US-led War on Terror dominated much of the discussion around Hancock's report, Australia's role as a smaller imperialist power — allied with the White House warmongers, but with its own neo-colonial ambitions in Asia and the Pacific — was also debated.

Australia's intervention in the Solomon Islands was not driven by the interests of the islanders, but by a desire to secure the Australian ruling class' "economic and strategic interests", argued Hancock.

Opposition to Australian imperialism wasn't limited to discussions. On the first day of the conference, delegates attended a rally in solidarity with Aceh, organised jointly by Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific and the Australia-Aceh Association.

A report given by Grant Coleman setting the group's analysis of the state of progressive movements was adopted. A feature panel on campus struggle heard from 1980s student leader Jorge Jorquera, Resistance member Brianna Pike and the International Socialist Organisation's Jarvis Ryan. Pike and Ryan discussed how to mobilise students against threats to higher education, and link this struggle to an anti-imperialist analysis and struggle.

Resistance national coordinator Kylie Moon presented a report titled "What sort of socialist youth organisation?" Six hours of vigorous discussion followed the report, as delegates grappled with the best way forward for socialist youth.

A central challenge for Resistance, Moon's report argued, is "finding the ways to begin to unify socialist youth in this country". The conference voted to try to improve cooperation between different groups organising young socialists — Resistance, the International Socialist Organisation, Socialist Alternative and the young, non-aligned activists in the Socialist Alliance.

Delegates also supported Moon's proposal for Resistance to launch a new magazine. "Our position of supporting Green Left Weekly, through distributing and helping to produce it, hasn't changed with this decision", Moon told GLW after the conference. "We see [the magazine] as something which can convince young people of socialism. It will also discuss how to unite young activists who share a common view that capitalism must be replaced by socialism in a single organisation."

The gathering was addressed by a number of guest speakers: Left-wing journalist John Pilger, Waratah Rosemary Gillespie, a "human shield" during the invasion of Iraq, US anti-war activist Dani Barley and Keef Tomkinson, formerly national coordinator of the Scottish Socialist Youth.

[For information on how to join Resistance, visit the group's web site at <>.]

From Green Left Weekly, July 23, 2003.
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