ALP, ISO oppose solidarity conference

Issue 

BY AARON BENEDEK

MELBOURNE — In Palestine, young people are resisting Israeli tanks with rocks. In Indonesia, students, workers and peasants are mobilising daily against rising prices and job losses imposed by the International Monetary Fund despite military repression. These are just two examples of the life or death struggles that young people are involved in around the world.

To solidarity with these and other young freedom fighters, Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) has initiated a Student Solidarity Conference, to be held in Sydney on April 19-20. The conference seeks to increase international collaboration between democratic and revolutionary activists as well as plan international campaigns.

Unfortunately, not all socialists in Australia support the event. The most extreme opposition has come from the International Socialist Organisation. The ISO has argued against student organisations funding or even endorsing the conference. They have opposed the conference because Resistance and the Democratic Socialist Party play a major role in ASIET. The ISO claim that the conference “is just a Resistance front” and that student organisations and student unions should not support it.

On November 26, at the NSW National Union of Students conference, Resistance members moved a resolution in the Broad Left (a grouping of left-wing activists active in NUS) for NUS to endorse the Student Solidarity Conference. Many left students abstained.

Resistance member Simon Butler told Green Left Weekly:“There are real struggles being waged in Asia against severe repression. The region's oppressors enjoy the support of the Australian government. Left student activists in Australia have an obligation to support these freedom fighters. For the ISO, and some others on the student left, the importance of solidarity has not been understood.”

The ALP left and right factions also voted against NUS endorsing the Student Solidarity Conference at the NSW state conference. However, despite opposition from the ALP and ISO, the conference is gaining momentum.

On December 2, despite opposition from the ISO, the national NUS conference meeting in Melbourne voted to support the Student Solidarity Conference.

[Email for information about the conference.]