By Sean Healy
More than 250 young socialist activists are expected to descend on Melbourne for four days in July for the annual Resistance national conference. The theme will be "Rebellion, resistance, revolution: dare to struggle, dare to win", reflecting Resistance's commitment to fan every flame of rebellion against injustice into a strong and organised movement for socialism.
Participants will discuss the big issues of world and Australian politics NATO's war in the Balkans, the volatile situation in Indonesia and East Timor, the prospects of resistance to the Howard government and plan Resistance's activity for the coming year.
Two major resolutions will be presented to the conference for discussion and voting. One is an assessment of young people's attitudes towards political struggle and socialism; the other concentrates on the women's liberation movement and debates on issues such as prostitution, transsexual women, the relationship between gender, race and class, and how to rebuild an active and broad feminist movement.
Over the past year, Resistance has dramatically escalated its solidarity in support of our sisters and brothers in East Timor and Indonesia, including organising an "exposure tour" to Indonesia for student activists, film showings and meetings on campus, and an international day of solidarity calling for an end to Australian military aid to the Indonesian regime.
The Resistance conference will not only discuss solidarity, it will engage in it: a demonstration in support of East Timorese independence has been called for Friday evening, July 9.
Three international guests will attend the conference: Dhyta Caturani from Indonesia's People's Democratic Party and SMID (Students in Solidarity for Democracy in Indonesia), Farooq Sulheria from the Labour Party Pakistan and the National Student Federation, and Gerry Arances from the Philippines Socialist Party of Labour and League of Socialist Students. All three will speak at a public meeting, "A new rise of the left in Asia?", on Thursday night, July 8.
"The national conference is a crucial part of Resistance's activity", conference organiser Kerryn Williams told Resistance. "It's a chance to discuss our experiences, make an assessment of the world around us, get our bearings and set our plans. It'll be very inspiring to be part of a genuine, collective democracy at work and see the real possibilities for building a strong socialist movement."