Choose life, choose to resist

February 19, 2011
Image: Zen/Flickr

A lot of my mates tell me that they're just not that into politics. However, I think what they really mean is that they're not into politicians. And too right, almost all of our politicians are decidedly uninspiring.

But these uninspiring politicians also are condemning, imprisoning and killing innocent people. And they are doing it in our name. This makes politics something we can't afford not to be interested in.

We don't have to be okay with the actions of our government. It is up to the people to hold their governments to account, especially when there is so much we should be critical of.

I choose to resist because I am not okay with coal companies and other big businesses getting to meet with the government, when I can't even get a response to a letter sent to a cabinet minister or my local member.

If money is really where the power is, we don't have democracy.

I am not okay with US Private Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old alleged WikiLeaks source, being imprisoned in solitary confinement for almost a year without trial.

If he did as has he is alleged to have done, Manning simply upheld the pledge of allegiance he made when entering the military — it's just that he decided his allegiance was to the people of his nation, not its ruling elite.

I am not okay with one soldier's death being given more space in the newspaper than the (at least) 100,000 Iraqis that died in the war that Western governments waged.

A soldier’s death is tragic and unnecessary, but so too is the genocide that took place under false pretenses.

I am not okay with the wars our governments continue to wage in the name of liberation and freedom, and I'm certainly not okay with imprisoning the victims of those wars when they seek refuge on our shores.

Detention denotes guilt, but the guilt is ours. And if our wars are really about liberating people, why are we not fighting the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda where women and children are routinely raped, tortured, mutilated and murdered?

Desmond Tutu once said: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice you’ve chosen the side of the oppressor.” And for as long as we let our discontent exist merely as a rant over a beer with our mates, we're complicit in the dodgy politics our “leaders” inflict on our nation, and the world.

If we look to the history of struggle in our nation, and international examples, we can be inspired by the fact that people's power does work.

We've seen it recently in Tunisia and Egypt, where the people successfully demanded an end to the repressive regimes of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak respectively.

We've seen it in Britain too when the government announced it would cancel plans to sell off forests.

We've seen it in Australia when women and Aboriginal people were given the right to vote. We've seen it with homosexuality being decriminalised in the 1970s and 1980s. We've seen it in the abandoning of plans to build the Franklin Dam in Tasmania.

These examples prove the importance of people's resistance, and show that together we are stronger in the fight against injustices.

Resistance provides a space for young people to come together, share ideas and take action. We organise ourselves, we plan campaigns, we celebrate victories.

Over the years Resistance has been instrumental in many campaigns to mobilise young people around the stuff that matters most.

In the late 1990s, students walked out of their high schools to protest the rise of racism and Pauline Hanson's One Nation party.

In 2003, students all over the country took part in a strike against the war in Iraq. In 2007, there were protests to oppose George Bush's visit to Australia for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit (APEC).

In 2008, condoms were handed out to oppose the Pope's opposition to contraception and reach out to young Catholic pilgrims visiting from around the world for the World Youth Day.

Every year there is peaceful direct action against coal companies at the annual climate camps around the country.

Together we can unfuck the world, one win at a time.

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